This has to be the feature I missed the most during April. We have a lot to cover before we get to Clyde, so grab your cuppa and snuggle in because the fans are blowing away the humidity and the mosquitoes. Here’s hoping it does not rain for a while, as we are going for a walk.
Before I get any further, I have to admit…I have been thinking about this post all week. I had my mind set on what I would be writing by Wednesday. As luck would have it, that train of thought has derailed…there were no survivors.
Instead, I want us to take a short tour. (Each will open in another tab, so you will not lose this page as we walk.) Across the blogosphere, a theme has emerged this week in some of the blogs I visit. Each of them were talking about different instances, but they were all talking about the same thing: Abuse.
The Same, But Different
Over the last few decades, people are treating one another with less respect. For some people, it is about lies and failing to protect. Even when we can understand the explanation, it does not mitigate the damage.
For others, it is betrayal and physical pain. The truism of added insult to injury is a physical altercation with someone you considered a friend, after you find out about the team effort betrayal.
Still others fall prey to the desires of narcissists who cannot see beyond having their perverse fantasies fulfilled.
Then, there are the ones who never walk away from the abuse. Those left behind after their deaths are left to cope with the insanity of it all.
While we never truly understand what makes the abused stay without screaming out to those who dearly love them, or even those whose authority should protect them, we never understand the abusers. None of us want to identify in ourselves the inner demons necessary to survive merely by the pain inflicted on others.
Behind the Curtain
In all of the non-understanding, we have to ask ourselves if we are part of the problem or the solution. The short form to what makes abusers abuse is a single word:
If you have not read the poem, click the link. Skip down to the end of the post. It is the mentality of the abuser (in 51 words). Abusers need the euphoria of being in control, having power over someone else (sometimes many people).
They do not recognize their own bully instincts when they are picking victims who are weaker (children) or not manipulative. Very smart people are abused because they lack the capacity to see manipulation for what it is. Most every person who is abused is in a situation where they seek the love or approval of their abuser. It is why they stay.
But what of contributors?
The underlying desire of all (marginally functional) parents is to provide better for their children than they had. It is the generational jet fuel which powers innovation. Unchecked, it is also fuel for entitlement.
It is also a battle axe wielded to smash the dreams of grandeur. When parents do not see the potential in their children, whether intentionally or through practicality, they instill in the children feelings of inadequacy which can last a lifetime and become the bequeath to the next generation.
When you step back and ask yourself if your message is getting though to your audience, you may just find out you are not conveying the message you thought. In this way, we foster abusers. Think not? Let’s look at a familiar scenario.
Teen has a cell amongst his collection of gadgetry. It is the first edition of the latest model, and it has fallen onto the concrete whilst Teen was horse-playing with friends. No visible damage is evident, but it no longer works.
Parent calls the telephone provider to get a replacement, despite lack of insurance. Denials are made as to culpability for the non-performing cell. After much manipulation and lying, a new cell is delivered, overnight express for no extra charge.
Teen has learned there are no adverse effects to misbehavior, against which warning issued. Teen also learns to lie to get what he wants.
Teen becomes Twenty-Something and marries. TS sees nothing wrong with using these tactics on Mate. Isn’t that what TS is supposed to do? TS is convincing arguing how everything in the relationship is Mate’s fault. Each victorious argument strengthens TS’ penchant for abuse.
Mate has no knowledge of the lesson Parent (did not realize was) conveyed to TS. Mate feels inadequate in the relationship, endures increasing abuse from TS and eventually begins teaching Child how to please a domineering mate, by example and design.
Quaint asks Mate for the latest news. Mate tells of how Child is not performing up to par. Quaint offers advice on how to demand obedience and command respect. Quaint has no idea what Child is not doing…being submissive to abuse.
Break the Cycle
The cycle is not always about abusers who raise abusers. Sometimes, abusers raise victims, who never have any idea they are victims. All they have ever known was abuse. How do we make a positive difference?
Admittedly, although formal education about and against abuse as a normal function of social studies would be a nirvana scenario, it is unlikely for a plethora of excuses…not the least of which is varying opinions as to what constitutes abuse.
There are simple things you can do to make a difference in abusive situations:
- Never be silent. When you see abusive behavior, report it to authorities. If sacrificing a friendship is the cost for saving a life, it is worth it.
- Avoid being abusive. Be cognizant of others’ reactions to what you do and say. Consider how you would feel if someone else were doing what you are.
- Listen. When a friend tells you of feelings of inadequacy, bullying, violence and/or verbal, sexual or physical abuse, get the facts. Your friend may not know what they are going through is abuse.
- Know where to go. Locate a shelter in your area. Periodically, (when you set the clocks back/forward) check to be sure it is still there. Even if you never need it, someone you know might.
- Raise awareness. Participate in conversations and events which demonstrate the definitions of abuse.
Dearest friends, this message weighs heavily on me. But, that is what the SEP is for…how I affect M3 and how M3 affects me. This week, I expected a lighthearted return to the Saturday Evening Post. Alas, it was not to be.
Where the SEP normally turns abruptly to another subject, this one cannot. It is a subject which requires attention now.
I am going to ask you to take a poll and talk to me about this subject, as it was one which was to follow the Quaint & Mate series. Part of me was grateful for the challenge to have left this subject untouched. After watching the posts in the first section develop and discussions begin, I knew I needed to get with the program and finish a task left undone.
Please enter some of the many forms of abuse I did not list in the poll. If your answer will not fit, refresh the page and add another choice, or comment below with the remainder of your other answer, if you do not mind talking about it publicly. Please forward the poll or the post to anyone you think would give any feedback whatsoever, hatemail included. I know this will generate much of that.
When the series concludes, you will have a better understanding of why I do not broach it often any more.
Until next time,
Have you ever been in an abusive relationship? Do you know someone who is currently in an abusive relationship? Have you ever helped break the cycle of abuse?
If you have never met Quaint, Parent, Teen or Child, visit The M3 Players to discover who these people are.
The blogs linked in the first two sections are, in order of appearance:
Thank you for sharing your stories.
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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