co-participation

by imnotyourfavoritepossession

Thinking about this question, why don’t I feel like I deserve anything better…

An acquaintance of mine recently blogged about her past sexual abuse. She mentioned that one of her abusers encouraged her to do ‘evil’ things and to think of herself as a ‘wicked’ person. He wanted her to think that she was just as bad as him.

That makes sense. It’s easier to control a person if you can make them feel as if they are an equal participant in the abuse rather than a victim of it.

It’s tempting to whine and complain and criticize when all you ever hear is whining, complaining, and criticizing. Tempting, but counterproductive. You are not your abuser. Don’t act like them.

Life is difficult. It can be hard to be a good spouse and parent at times. We all have our moments on the edge, moments when we feel like we’re about to lose control, or even have the occasional outburst. But what if our partner isn’t on our side during trying times? What if, in fact, our partner is deliberately trying to make things worse in order to provoke us into an outburst? If we know what they’re doing, it’s possible to not play into their game. But what if we have no idea there is a game being played?, How easy is it to maintain control when the other person in the situation is doing everything they can to undermine us and we don’t even realize it?

This is a foreign concept to the victim of abuse. Victims are in the habit of accepting blame, not blaming others. But what about the abuser? They have no problem assigning blame to anyone and everyone but themselves. They don’t let any opportunity slip to ‘remind’ the victim of their blameworthiness. Yet, if we’re such awful spouses, why do they stay in the relationship? If we’re such bad parents, why do they allow us to take almost soul responsibility for child care? More than likely, they’ve seen to it that they have all of the power in the relationship. So why don’t they use it?

The answer is easy. Surely, they’ve only kept us around out of the goodness of their hearts! They love us too much to let us follow our own tendencies towards self-destruction.

They are quite magnanimous, these abusers, aren’t they?

Or maybe we haven’t participated in the abuse but we have become convinced that, though our SO is a lout, we’re no prize pony ourselves. Sure, he/she isn’t perfect, but I have my faults, too.” Does this sound familiar?

Well, of course we have our faults! Everyone does. Victims of abuse actually have more than our fair share of faults. Insecurity, anxiety, depression, addiction, substance abuse, the list of potential reactions to abuse goes on and on. We don’t keep the house perfectly or spend enough quality time with the kids? Insecure, depressed, anxiety-ridden people usually aren’t perfect housekeepers or parents. But does that mean we should stay in the situation that is making us depressed, insecure, and anxiety-ridden? I say, hell no.

Hell no.

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