2016-11-25 by Object of Contempt
I’ve tried to write since the last post over three weeks ago. I’m still around, but I’m struggling. Mostly, it’s the isolation shutting me down. Since I’ve had this pain thrust in my face so completely, it seems that I should take advantage of the opportunity to describe a few things about it.
First, the stereotypical description of isolation from most resources about abuse are lacking. They describe a controlling individual who is micro-managing every contact that is made in every way. That is an accurate description of isolating behavior all the way at one end of the spectrum of possibilities.
Another type of isolation has more to do with gatekeeping behavior. This is a style that enforces boundaries rather than micro-management. It is far more subtle because it is the normal way to enforce healthy boundaries. Of course, if you don’t have authority (not the parent), or the boundaries are actually cruel limitations (no happiness or dignity for you), or the boundaries are enforced cruelly, then you have something that is unfair and hurtful at best. Teenagers and parents are always hashing this stuff out. It’s common to get it wrong. Abusers, however, make it a way of life. It is a pattern. They don’t listen to the pain in the victim. Isolation that is inflicted using gatekeeping makes the victim feel like trash because they are “hurting” the abuser by “crossing their boundaries”.
Another way people have isolation thrust on them is insidious. It is a matter of the victim’s response. The victim is doing more than just avoiding embarassment. It may seem unfair to say isolation is “thrust on” victims when it is their own response, but what I’m talking about here is a withdrawal for the purposes of either protection or healing (or both). Isolation and aloneness may become the victim’s preferred state after a long period of contemptuous abuse. It may even outlive its “usefulness” as a coping strategy, but it is still a coping strategy that wouldn’t have been needed in the absence of abuse.
A third method for causing isolation is a matter of social engineering. There are several tactics for pulling this off. Describing all of them is beyond the scope of this post, but you can easily google the terms and find scads of resources. The truth is, you will probably not need Google to tell you what these things are: smear campaigns, triangulation, flying monkeys, anger baiting (making you look mean or crazy), displaying contempt (giving cues to onlookers about the victim’s lack of value). The result of these methods is a group/community of people that no longer take you seriously. They may actually go so far as to heap their own contempt on top of the abuser’s contempt. This would seem to be easier to pull off in a small group, tightly knit by cultural values. A church or club would be an example. A victim can have their entire support group, not just taken away, but even turned against him.
The last cause for isolation (at least that I am aware of), is one that I have experienced frequently. It is the result of the symptoms of trauma. When a person endures abuse and contempt, he or she will necessarily go through all the steps of grief at some point. These steps include anger, which is seen as wrong in some groups. Anger is certainly something that people generally avoid. Even just the presence of grief is off-putting to many people. How many times does a victim have to hear that the problem is a lack of gratitude? Those with (C)PTSD will usually struggle with hyper-vigilance (seeing abuse in places where it is really just an error), lacking trust, hyper-arousal (overreacting to people that even threaten to prod open wounds). If those don’t put off people from helping you out, then just try telling them what is hurting you. That often does the trick.
The end result of all this is a spiritual woundedness that is compounded by spiritual suffocation. The overwhelming loneliness is completely contrary to how God made us to live and be. As a child I experienced a lot of the more overt control and isolation. Now, I experience the others more. I can tell you it has shut me down. I’m not stupid, but I don’t see a way out… not without help. But… I’m isolated. Catch-22. I have to say, God’s approach to the oppressed is not what I’m seeing in those who claim to know Him. If it weren’t for God and the Bible, I’d be dead and gone. Even the best people in Heaven are often hated here on earth. Jesus is known as a “Man of Sorrows”. He knows what it is like.