Why do they have such a need for power and control?Some people will tell you that it's because they have a domineering personality, or low self-esteem, or a bad temper, or because they see women as possessions, or because they abuse substances.Let me be clear: I’m not trying to appropriate the experiences of people who have suffered far worse than I have.Other people are emotionally abused for decades; I was emotionally abused for three months.Other people have PTSD, dissociation, panic attacks; I was left with the crazy I already had. It wasn’t like the other kinds of abuse, the kind that progressed to rape or physical violence. Let me just lay out the facts: My abuser found me through my first blog, a tiny Livejournalesque operation which I wrote through most of my first year of college and which was mostly devoted to the adventures and mysterious ways of my vagina. He opened up about his insecurities—about his virginity, the sexual kinks he had never admitted to anyone before, the way all his friends seemed to leave him; his vulnerability made me fall in love. and woke up only to open my chat client first thing in the morning. They might have a different opinion about the gender wage gap even when he was obviously right, or believe Andrea Dworkin made some interesting points in between all the bull, or think it was a little problematic that he was calling women “hysterical” for having a different opinion from him about rape culture. After all, they were attacking him, and it was only fair. He was very proud of me that, unlike everyone else, I never attacked him.I didn’t even think of it as abuse until a friend told me, about six months after the events, that she was a counselor for abuse survivors and if I ever wanted to talk I should PM her. I avoided my friends to talk to him; even when I was on vacation he texted me constantly. This sort of thing was supposed to happen to other people. I’d known about emotional abuse since elementary school, I could deconstruct rape culture with the best of them, I complained at my friends for hugging people who didn’t want to be hugged because that was a boundary violation. And as long as people were attacking him, he was allowed to use every tool he had to defend himself. In the online communities we both participated in, I found myself apologizing for him, cleaning up his messes, being the diplomat. When he told ironic racist jokes that made me uncomfortable, or sent me porn that I found faintly disgusting and didn’t want to see, I just swallowed down my distaste and pretended I liked it.Perhaps you blame it on not having been in a relationship for a while; you decide you simply forgot how to be in a relationship.You assume — you convince yourself — you have become selfish because you have unrealistic wants and needs (like the need for unwavering, enduring respect and honesty).
Other people experience it in person; mine was always through a phone or computer screen. He introduced me to the Magnetic Fields, Tad Williams, and the word “masculism.” He bought me my first vibrator. I know I sound like some kind of abuse survivor or something, but it’s really true.
It was Maya Angelou who said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”In my case, I experienced a type of abuse I never even knew existed.
As I learned, abuse is not always a clear-cut issue (e.g.
And although these and other factors may be present, there is a deeper reason.
The manner in which we react to our spouses is often related to the attachment we had with our own parents while we were growing up.