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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Recognizing if you’re being Abusive

Clearly, I can’t convince remorseless abusers to stop the abuse they so badly crave to do and perhaps immensely benefit from. However, if you’re looking to change your ways so that you don’t do more harm than you ought to, recognizing if you’re being abusive is a place to start. Here’s what you can do:

• Check for how okay others are with your actions. I don’t mean being a people pleaser (this could invite abuse toward you). What I mean is: Were your actions hurtful? And if so, was this necessary? Like when we sometimes must endure some pain in order to heal or improve? Or like when it’s just the way things go and there’s not much that can be done about it? And I repeat: Was this necessary? Do not try to falsely excuse and justify poor or cruel behavior but do not let others shape you to their whims either.
• Check how balanced and fair your giving-and-taking dynamics are. No, it’s not about always keeping score and expecting reciprocity (this can turn into abuse, too). It is more complex than that. Nevertheless, at least noticing how much you’re taking from others in relation to how much you’re giving back (of value) can give you an idea of when too much is too much. Caution: Do not fall for tricks designed to make you feel indebted to others when you can’t afford it. Any truly generous person would give without expecting in return unless they themselves are in need and/or do not have much to give. In which case, it is likely best to be transparent about it and make the exchanges a deal and a balanced and fair trade.
• Check yourself. Are you excessively greedy and insensitive? How’s your self-control? And how about your conscience? If you’re unable to empathize and sympathize with others’ genuine suffering, are you still able to draw a line and decide not to cross it for their sake? You are not obligated to become a martyr, sacrificing yourself for others, but you can form your character in such a manner that it is not abusive.

Changes won’t happen overnight and you ought to want to make them happen for them to happen. There might be many trials and errors as well as relapses. Keep going. Some will notice and thank you and some will not (and they might not owe it to you). But keep going.

See also: What is abuse?