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abuse with no abusers

Since we are raising the question about abusive behaviour (my own or others)

I’m suddenly reminded about Teju Cole’s white savior industrial complex article in the atlantic:

we agree that there is rampant misogyny, but misogynists are nowhere to be found; homophobia is a problem but no one is homophobic

And, as stated by my title abuse with no abusers.

It is somewhat interesting to me that these facts can be recognized

  1. Abuse culture exists
  2. Many common behaviours sanction by society are abusive

without also seeing that, yes, this might actually mean you. and your behaviour are abusive.

And by ‘you’ there I mean me.

I have abused people. I have manipulated them. These are things that have happened. I didn’t recognize it at the time. With some of these people, they may actually still not recognize it – because one of the main functions of abuse culture is to pretend like it doesn’t exist.

In a world like we live in, anyone has the capacity to be an abuser. We are, in fact, actively encouraged to abuse. To view dysfunctional and toxic expressions of love as healthy and desirable. But abuse isn’t unidirectional. It does not flow from ‘other’ people to you.

We cannot afford to conceive of abuse as something that only other people do. We cannot live in a world where there is abuse but no abusers.

And i don’t mean to speak of my abusive behaviour as if it was long into the past. It has only been about 6 months since the last time someone named me as their abuser. And they weren’t (and aren’t) wrong.

While it is also true I have GAD. And that I worry a lot about the goodness of my behaviour and whether or not I’m hurting people or the ways that my actions make me complicit in oppressing others.

But I’d rather worry about these things that live with the delusion that somehow, beyond all belief or credibility, that I’ve managed to reach a point in my life where I abuse no one, hurt no one, and oppress no one.