2017-02-07 by Object of Contempt
Emotional abuse, psychological abuse, covert abuse, intimacy anorexia… they overlap in multiple ways. The tactics and the effects on the recipient can be very similar. People who have never been through it may think terms like “abuse” and “victim” are overkill. Those who have been through it, especially for a long time, know that it can be “crazy-making”.
This is serious. In this context, “crazy” does not mean what most people may think. (Say… have you met my friend, Harvey? He’s a 6-foot tall invisible talking rabbit! Oh, here come some nice men in white coats!) Instead, imagine being treated as if your memory, perception, ideas, even basic expectations about life (“my mom will always love me”, “my spouse would never betray me”) were out of touch with reality. The impact to a person’s soul is significant, even debilitating over the long haul.
It is in this crushing crucible that I was forced to learn a lot about what society says love is, what christian churches say love is, what the Bible says love is, and also about what my assumptions about love were. That may sound like I made it more complex than it had to be… well, I did. My perceptions of love were distorted because I was relying on models that made love seem very scarce, and like something that had to be earned. Again, this is a common story among victims/survivors.
This search for a definition of love is not just a philosophical quest. Victims frequently find themselves trying to explain love to their abuser. Victims, assuming that the problem is about misunderstanding, will often exhaust themselves trying to explain something as basic as love. But communication isn’t the problem. Abusers don’t care about their victims’ happiness or well-being. They certainly do not have enough decency or sincerity to address a victim’s concerns in a straight-forward way. Instead the victim gets played and given the run-around… and that’s on a good day.
This carousel of misdirection, withholding love, shifting blame, and direct lies has a real impact on a victim’s spirit. It doesn’t make them crazy, but it definitely makes a victim feel crazy. It trashes confidence and creates turmoil in the core of the soul. The only benefit is that it can eventually lead a victim to really investigate what love really is. Victims actually want to know what love is so they can find it, and know that they are actually giving it. This is the place where it has brought me. The next post will emphasize the “love” part of Crazy in Love.