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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Recognizing if you’re being Abused

Avoid playing the victim and victim blaming! This is serious and to be treated with honesty. It might be tempting to pretend to be abused to not be held accountable for your actions or lack thereof. Likewise, it might be tempting to blame a real victim of abuse for their misfortune. Both of these are gravely irresponsible, so own up to what is truly going on. Here’s what you can do:

• Check yourself. Are you bending over backward to fulfill and satisfy others at your own expense? Are you putting up with more than you signed up for or deserve as a human being worthy of basic respect and acknowledgment? Are your needs and wants last or secondary to others’ more egotistic desires? Have you made your (reasonably set) limits evident to others and you’re still being pushed past them?
• Check for motivations and intentions. You may not be able to read minds and hearts, but there are times when these are relatively obvious if only we bother to pay attention. Do not assume. Do not expect the worst for no reason at all. Remain as objective as you can and, if it is a viable option, gather input directly from the source (this is not a good idea if the person is dangerous or would put you in danger in some way). “Was it your intention to push me this far? If that’s so, why?” Look at their response with some amount of skepticism. Are they trying hard to make wrongs seem right when they clearly aren’t, defending abusive behavior? Are they attempting to laugh and brush it off to dodge the questions? Are they genuinely pained that you’d think they were willing to mistreat you because they are doing what they can to treat you well or are they just offended because you could see through the facade they believed was so perfectly put together? Do they not make any significant effort to correct themselves even though there’s much to correct? If you cannot ask them directly, don’t ignore the red flags. Actively and continually going past your comfort levels to the point where you’re unable to function properly does show a lack of consideration. Be lucid in finding the answers to what their motivations and intentions are; accusing others of being ill-meaning is not to be taken lightly.
• Check the alternatives. Are there ways life could be easier and kinder for you without being overindulgent? Would you be able to perform better under other circumstances? What would be more just for you?

You might not like what you figure out upon exploring these aspects of your reality. And unfortunately, many forms of abuse are ingrained and accepted in today’s world - and there’s not much we can do about it. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll be able to be completely free of abuse, but you can reduce as much of it as it’s possible for you. Again, I’ll stress the importance of being honest with yourself about this because things aren’t as simple as pointing fingers and claiming abuse. Playing the victim (when you’re not) can also be a form of abuse. And so can victim blaming, whether it’s you who’s the victim and you’re taking the blame (abusing yourself) or it’s somebody else. Do not rush your interpretations for there’s much to factor in to reach suitable conclusions. 

For further guidance, look for other available information on this issue - many abuse survivors and professionals have freely shared their findings.

See also: What is abuse?