I have closed, deleted and eradicated (what? no alliteration? Shhhh, don’t tell me) my online dating profiles. After almost 3 years, I have dated two guys briefly, and been on about 5 dates. It’s a pain in the ass. It has also brought to life the commonality and complacency of verbal abuse in today’s society.
It is amazing how rampant abuse is in our world. It is in any sort of relationships; romantic, parental, friendly, coworkers- any of them. It is between any combination of gender, age, or beliefs. It is direct, “You’re an idiot”; subversive, “S/he’s an idiot”; gas-lighting, “Are you sure that’s correct?”. Yes, I am guilty of it at times, too. In my defense, I try to be aware of my actions and verbalize accordingly. I’m not perfect and people are idiots.
So here are some of my experiences – I will try to keep it light and funny, but please understand – these are all forms of abuse:
Dating: Well, you’ve read several examples of this if you follow this blog. One guy got mad at me because I did not want to see a picture of his “big black dick”. Another one stated up front (hey, kudos to him) that he wanted a submissive, complacent female by his side to gaze lovingly in his eyes. I am all about compromise. Submission, not so much. One guy, who seemed very sweet if not particularly motivated, asked me what I wanted, then proceeded to do what he wanted. It’s not a super big deal, but it was a subtle way of saying, “F* you, I don’t care what you think/want, even tho this (particular situation) was all about you and really has nothing to do with me, I’m going to do what I want to do for you and not what you requested.” Another guy came over for dinner to meet an out of town friend who was visiting. He promptly went and laid on the bed and took an after-dinner nap while we cleaned the kitchen. We were still in the “let me impress you” stage. I knew it wouldn’t get any better.
Work: Women in positions of power who are threatened and intimidated by other women. Being over looked based on gender, being considered “less than” because of less experience or gender. Did you realize that micro-managing is a subtle form of underminement and abuse? In most jobs, there are several ways to achieve the desired result (OK, use a little common sense here – some jobs must be done step-by-step, in order, lest you blow up half the city. I’m not talking about that.) When a manager does not trust you to get the job completed appropriately, what is the point of giving you the job? When they want you to do it “their way”, they are telling you that you are not enough – smart, organized, timely, etc. By belittling you, undermining you, gossiping, tattling (you know what I mean), they are abusing you to make themselves look better.
Parent/Child: Obviously we have to teach, guide and grow our sweet little ones until they can make it on their own – and even sometimes after adulthood, life throws them a curveball that requires a little parental guidance and help again. However, when we name call: idiot, selfish, stupid, dumb – it is abusive. When assistance is given with the attachment of dictator, it is not given out of love, kindness or compassion. It is given with an opportunity to lord over and hold in bondage other individuals.
We are not victims – unless we choose to be or allow it: especially in our own private social circles. Relationships are not unbreakable bonds. You owe no loyalty or devotion to others who treat you with anything less than respect, consideration, and kindness.
The other day, I found myself in a discussion at work. It was a very loud discussion that included some choice words. I felt that I had been put in danger because of another person’s nonchalance. There were three facts of the situation which I reiterated several times in escalating volume. The most direct, derogatory thing I said was “Fuck You” -which is more of a desired action than character attack. However, this other person called me “Stupid”, a “bitch” and stated I didn’t know what I was doing. Upon reflection of this discussion, I was happy with myself to have stuck to the facts and not reduced the argument to name calling in the heat of the moment. The other party tried to deny their culpability by blaming me. Not any more. I have enough self-doubts, I don’t need your assistance.
Another chronic situation in my life is my brother. Honestly, that relationship is so unhealthy and dysfunctional I have to admit I don’t always take the high road. Unfortunately, he does not hear anything until he is so beat down he has no more mud to sling. The best thing for me (and him)? Break off that relationship. I will not accept abusive behavior by friends or acquaintances, why would I accept it from relatives?
Blood is not thicker than water – love has the ties that bind. Real love. Love as mentioned in the Bible. So, rather than sink to the level of the abuser, rather than behave abusively myself, I choose to remove those people from my life and find others who know how to respect, guide, assist, encourage, and bless my life. Life really is too short to waste on bullshit.