I ended 2014 on a bit of a brutal note. The past few weeks have been a bit of a surreal blur. The best thing I can say about what I’ve been through is that it has opened my eyes to some harsh realities, namely abuse and how subtle it can sometimes be. I have learned what love really looks like, so I’ve decided to write a post that I hope will be able to help you identify what it doesn’t look like.
It’s all about recognizing the red flags and finding the strength to put an end to it. It’s not easy and, more importantly, it’s not always safe. It would probably be wise to confide in someone, to ask for help, and you should never feel ashamed of that.
Most instances of abuse are pretty much invisible, kind of like gas. They’re always present but you don’t really know what you’re dealing with until you’ve already been poisoned and rendered helpless. It’s a slippery slope but it is one you can climb back from, even if you are doing so by the tips of your fingers.
Abuse is never the fault of the victim. Under no circumstance does anybody have the right to put somebody through traumatic experiences. Most people with abusive tendencies are narcissists, psychopaths or alternatively, and perhaps sadder, just plain assholes. For those who have just lost their way and found themselves incapable of respecting people properly for whatever reason, there might be a sliver of hope. For those whose issues run deeper, there is none. Don’t lie to yourself. Their issues are so intensely ingrained that if you attempt to untangle that web you will just get caught up in it yourself, and it just gets stickier and stickier the longer you stick around and believe you can change them.
Anyone who tries to undermine or discredit your ideas, beliefs, hopes and dreams, your experiences and how they’ve shaped you, is a dick. To be fair, they don’t even deserve to be named after something that can be quite glorious. They are scum. If you know someone like this you need to do the following, which works quite well if perfectly exeuted: flash them a big old smile paired with a middle and index finger hand sign held high in the air. Then walk your fabulous ass away forever, or until they can change if possible, while remembering that you deserve much better than to to be subjected to such assinine behaviour. Their problem, not yours.
Anyone who makes repeated advances at you despite being met with rejection, who doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about the meaning of the word no, who stalks you, is possessive or jealous of you and the things you do, needs to go. Anyone who makes you uncomfortable with their suggestive words, or uninvited physical contact — violently, forcefully, or not, because I know some people like to try to blur that line — needs to go, too. To jail.
I’ve found myself in many abusive relationships — familial, romantic, platonic, work-related — and while most of those instances of abuse were easy to detect, a few of them managed to slip under my radar and stay there for too long. As a sensitive person, it’s easy to think (or let people lead you to believe) that you take everything the wrong way and that you could probably benefit from chilling the F out. But, no. Don’t. Whatever it takes for you to feel respected and safe and sane, do that. And as for those who don’t follow your lead, who don’t treat you the way you are showing them you need to be treated, you can leave them in 2014.
Ask Celina your love questions at firstname.lastname@example.org