Well, Kyeli made a brave, honest post about abuse, so I’ll do my best to make my own brave, honest post about abuse. This is based on yet another epiphany I had during Iron Pentacle class and now feels like a good time to share it.
I’ve been on both sides of abuse. I’ve been the abuser, and I’ve been abused. Not so much with the physical abuse, and not even so much with the verbal abuse either, but definitely with the emotional abuse. Pressuring, manipulation, pushing to see how much you can get away with, that sort of thing.
But in Iron Pentacle class, when we were talking about the point of Power, we split up into groups and formed stop-motion statues to illustrate words like “oppression” and “victim”. Then someone said something about gender roles, and it hit me — all my abuse-giving was when I was male, and all my abuse-receiving has been while I’ve been female.
What the hell does that mean?
That I’ve deeply internalized these gender roles, and when I transitioned to female, some part of me said, “Okay, time to start letting yourself be pushed around now”?
That it’s entirely coincidental, and just happens to coincide with when I did a lot of personal growth?
I don’t know.
But what I do know is that both sides of the coin suck. Abuse is gilded Power, and being abused is rusted Power. Either you’re taking someone else’s power away (not good) or you’re letting your own power be taken away (also not good.) The middle ground is fierceness and holding healthy boundaries. Standing firm in your own power while not infringing on others.
It’s like I’m going through the classic thesis / antithesis / synthesis steps. I abused others, overreacted when I realized what I had done and let myself be abused, and am now in a nice happy place with no abuse either way.
It’s hard to talk about abuse. If you say you’ve been abused, people look at you like you did something to deserve it. If you say you’ve been an abuser, people look at you like you’re a monster.
But if we can’t talk about it, how can we learn?