Saturday, March 24, 2012

Don't Think: The Rule of Abuse

     A huge factor in long term abusive cycles are rules.  After using intimidation to convince or force the victim to stop resisting, an abuser creates a set of rules.  The first and foremost rule of chronic abuse is Don't Think.  This rule lets people get away with murder.  Really.  Because once a person has been intimated out of thinking, they will stop using their observations to define reality and instead twist reality to fit into the "reality" set for them.  

     These "realities" may eventually completely contradict a person's observations, but at first they usually don't.  In the beginning as the abuser is just gaining power he or she may tell the truth with just a dash of lie thrown in.  At this point their prey might still break and run, so the abuser wants to appear kind and all powerful to be seen as a necessary hero.  The difference between them and an actual hero is whether or not they threaten to harm a person for any reason.  It may seem obvious, but to someone in an abusive relationship it isn't; a person with truly good intentions will not threaten to harm another.  As an abuser gains complete control, it no longer matters how ludicrous their instigated realities may be.  The victim has now been subdued into believing anything.
     The most classic example of this abuser/victim relationship is the "Battered Spouse Syndrome".  A person who is constantly physically, emotionally, and verbally abused who believes heart and soul in at least one of the "realities" set by their spouse.  The most blatantly false one is that they are loved by that spouse - anyone else can see that no action supports that.  Less obvious but no less sadistic false "realities" are that they as the battered spouse are worthless, helpless, ugly, stupid, etc.  These internalized beliefs will keep them from seeking help or believing that they could ever be considered worth helping.  Because their actions are now based on that "reality", their life will reflect and seem to reinforce that belief.  They have in essence been trained to abuse themselves.  It is no longer an action being inflicted from an outside source, it is a mentality that is their way of life.

     This part of an abusive cycle is not highlighted or talked about so much.  Once, if, that battered spouse or abused victim gets up the courage to leave their abuser, they still have to change that abusive mentality within themselves.  As long as they accept the original abusers' set "reality", they will continue to act on it.  It is impossible to live a healthy fulfilling life while accepting and acting on false beliefs that sabotage it.  Day to day challenges become huge obstacles; 

While a healthy mindset reacts to problems like this:
          Problem        leads to       Action        leads to       Solution          leads to         Problem Solved

The mindset of someone trained in abuse react to problems more like this:
          Problem        leads to         Denial           leads to      Problem x2         leads to     

          I am not worth fighting for           leads to         Silence         leads to        Problem x3          leads to     

          Action         leads to       They will get angry        leads to        Inaction          leads to       Problem x4

          leads to      Action         leads to       Collective Denial          leads to       Problems x5        leads to 

          Action         leads to       Collective Resistance         leads to       Problem x6          leads to 

          Giving Up
          Persistence         leads to       Solution

     The primary rule Don't Think has to become Think For Yourself.  Honest observation can turn false realities into honest and helpful ones; "There is nothing wrong with me.  I deserve to speak my mind."  "I am worth taking care of.  I will make that medical appointment."  "I am not stupid, I am smart.  I am going to go to college."  "Not all people are cruel.  I can ask for help."  Sincere observation is the kindest reality, as people find out they are wonderful and in turn demand wonderful treatment.  It is the birthright of every living being.

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