How to Deal With An Abused Person (or at least me)

So, a quick Trigger Warning: Talks of Suicidal Thoughts/Self-Harm, Depression, racism, Addiction and Abuse. Also I make several backhanded comments about Ayn Rand, Andrea Dworkin, Heidegger, Porn, GNU/Linux, W.E.B DuBois (who is an awesome dude, just for the record. Read, “The Souls of Black Folk”) and Nietzsche. You’ve been warned.

There are people in this world who are conscious of just about every little thing they are responsible for, and have experienced, to the point of being paralyzed. I’m in that category (or at least percieve myself as within such, for I’m only a Homo Sapien). The people who are knee-deep in pollution, violence and struggle feel the shame of not just their actions but also their very existence. No amount of research or rhetoric is enough to clear the taint. Sure, they try to “work on themselves”, swallow the dominant culture’s narrative about, “deserving” their pain, to the point where they’re willing to sell out those in the same position as theirs just to be accepted. Except the day of acceptance never comes, at least not with that method. At best, you’re tolerated because you toe the line. At worst, you’re an annoyance they can’t wait to be rid of. Being an attack dog for abusers and their status quo may get you some juicy scraps, but you’ll still be put to sleep at the end. Part of me suspects that the same is true for those who grandstand about how “moral” or “awesome” they are.

Since I was young, I have always percieved a sort of distance between myself and most other people, who appeared above me as something as close to a monotheistic God as anyone can get. My childhood abuse (some of which sustained into my teens and adult years) has only made that gap even wider. I’ve been through bouts of depression, gone to a support group, seen therapists, talked to social workers, taken medication and tried to heal. The Human Gods of every side walk the earth, barely giving a shit because their righteousness teaches them that they don’t have to. The people who have hurt me? They may not have perfect lives, but I will probably have to wait for the rest of my life before I get a good apology from most of them. Even worse, I may have hurt others as well, and I’m not perceptive enough to realize what I’ve done…not before it’s too late, anyway. All I know is that every day I walk with guilt and shame…though maybe I’m a huge narcissist, so I only feel shame. At least that’s how The Last Psychiartirst (who as of this writing has not updated their blog since May 3, 2014) frames it. Fuck, I need an actual therapist, not a fucking advice column with a shitty comment section. Am working on that as I write this.

My dream is to be able to look abusers/abusers-to-be in the eye and have them realize that they come from the same pile of shit as I. Maybe then I won’t be so fucking chickenshit around them. Maybe then they won’t be so poisonous. I may mimic their words, join their clubs, read their books and immoulate myself to their cheers, jeers and backhanded concern, but I still hurt inside. I fucking hate them. All of them. They may profess to love me for being like them, but here’s the truth: professions of love without a realization of the ground one shares with the other is not love, but vanity. Am I an intellectual because I read books and think about shit, or am I an intellectual because I read/ruminate on Andrea Dworkin/W.E.B. DuBois/The Bible/The Quran/Ayn Rand/Whatever You Happen To Like? I’ll be more explicit: your love for me is shallow if you’re not willing to realize that for all of my heavy thinking, I’m as much of a disgusting worm as you are…as I am.

If you’re the kind of person who thinks about what “side” one is on as you help a suffering person, you need to take a long look in the mirror. I may want to kill myself at times just because I read a few articles and conclude that the only way to right the wrongs is to spill my own blood, but if your pity is not based on me being a human being but instead on me “doing something wrong”, fuck you. Are you going to save me because somehow I “realize” something that fits your view? Am I just a rescue project that will later be put to work- oh, I’m sorry, have a “normal life” that just happens to be like your shitty life?

Let me go even further into this. A long time ago, I have written down a series of posts on Twitter of which I have not received an answer save for one person who shall not be named. I won’t begrudge people for not commenting on everything I say, for I realize (that fucking word) my own irrelevance. No amount of crying makes me important, and if other people have lives, who am I to force their attention? At the same time, what I wrote was something of a confession. A confession of all the sycophantic, mewing, stupid bullshit I put up with, and perpetuated, for years just because I thought being on “the right team” would save me from myself. So…I’ll just write them down here, with some edits made for grammar/spelling, plus extra clarification which might make it a bit longer. No screenshots or Storify pages, for I don’t want people knowing where I wrote this:

1. Why do I concern myself with what I know? Because if there’s one thing I fear more than death, it’s being judged as “lower”.

2. I want to know EVERYTHING. Absolutely everything. Impossible. Time is running out. I am 24 years old as of this writing.

3. I had it drilled into my head that, “Knowlege is power”…but no matter what I “knew”, I was often powerless.

4. Reading Andrea Dworkin doesn’t improve my relations with people. Neither does Nietzsche, Heidegger, Cooking Recipes, Erotica/Porn, Yoga, Jazz Music, My Job, Cinema, House Music, Video Games, or GNU/Linux. Every subject is both worthless and the only way you’ll survive in the world. Everything is both an indulgence and a necessity. At least to my fucked up mind it is.

5. At the same time, why do I want to relate to other people in the face of my being hurt by some of them?

6. I keep trying to do the hard thing, relating to others, because I despise myself. It is through love of others that I love myself.

7. People would say that the last statement is backwards. People say that one has to love themselves first. Except I wasn’t taught to love myself.

8. I was taught to admire, live up to, and love others as a way of making me, “well behaved” compared to the other rowdy “Ghetto” kids of my day. So the command, “Love yourself” feels like a selfish cop-out that would surely lead to evil.

9. Even the supposed Greek ideal, “Know Thyself” feels like a cop-out. Why? Because one relates to the world by experiencing it first before themselves.

10. In other words, one’s, “self” is formmed as one stumbles through the world, forms it as they go. The self is what one makes of it, but the material of such is always outside of themselves. So much for, “Thinking for yourself.”

11. At least, that’s how I conceive of myself, while describing myself to others and trying to win their love/attention. That hardly works.

12. The more I describe Myself, the more I break apart, cease to function like people are supposed to function.

13. The harder I work to be intelligible, the more impossible I am to speak to. Because my interpretation clashes with the ideals/preferences of the other.

14. People praise me for being so hard on myself, presumably because I’m “The Good One” compared to…some other people, I guess. The praise comes in the form of pity, pity that barely comforts me or heals my pain.

15. People also express concern that I will be on a different level than them, presumably of a terrible level because it is not theirs. Such concern comes in the form of calls for “humility”…a humility I was presumed to have had when I was abused as a child. Humility in the form of trauma. “Boys will be boys”, “I raised a man, not a snitch” etc..

16. Calls for humility are often calls for the other to be on the same level as you/they/me. It is often framed as an ideal that should be carried forth for the entirety of one’s life, but I am all too aware of the person who makes such a call.

17. Nietzsche once said that one’s philosophy is only as good as the person who espouses it. By that metric, everyone has failed. Even Nietzsche.

18. When people give praise or criticize, how much do they really know of me? Of anyone? Anything?

19. One time I was described as being comfortable within my own skin. In other words, stable. By what metric? For I’m only stable for long, and when the long runs out, I’m found to be difficult. Then, my companions talk to me less. Then, they disperse.

20. Since that’s the case, does being, “human” mean sanding off one’s complexities, even one’s curiousity and knowledge, in order to enjoy other’s company?

21. No…the preceeding statement is too binary. Perhaps people like SOME parts of my neurotic self, not everything. Someone who is best served a la carte. But is that the only way to survive the human race? Does my questioning of all this decrease my chances of being with someone who loves me, as a friend or something more?

22. On that note, Andrei Tartakovsky once urged the young to embrace loneliness. I wonder how weak I am, for having wrote this in a place where people can access it as they please, or for puking all of this over some close friend of mine who will likely be so overwhelmed that they won’t know what to say.

23. For a person who has been/is being abused (or mulls over injustice and suffering), knowledge is not power. Companionship is. I am only here by the strength of people who once gave a shit about me. I survive because I try my best to. I thrive not by merit, but by stumbling into some better place, however temporary that place is.

24. No one outright told me that I have to suffer to be a good person…well, ok, my religious upbringing did. In my adult life, however, it’s implied. My predicaments/skin color/gender/consumption/whatever the fuck kind of metric people have…these things are what determine my morality, apparently. What I actually DO comes later, and when people get to that part…ho, boy.

25. Many people feel sympathy for me, or say some variant of, “Don’t worry, you’re on the right side”. When it comes to my self-loathing, or my habit of using whatever information comes my way as a weapon against myself, few people actually tell me to stop doing that. They just tell me, “Wow, that’s sad”, or “Oh, don’t be sad”. Then they lecture me/talk with me on how maybe that new piece of information I’m using to hurt myself is actually a good point to consider. Dealing with my responses, trying to steer it in a way where it’s like my constant guilt and shame is a healthy thing. Like talking to a fucking addict and telling them that their consumption is somehow good for them, not knowing how much it rots them away from the inside. Feels like people are throwing fucking confetti all over the goddamn place when I tell people that I hate myself because of X (X being something that some moralist or intellectual gets all hot and bothered about), like they’re saying, “AT LAST, SOMEONE WHO FUCKING KNOWS ABOUT THAT THING OR THAT PERSON.” Like seeing a person on fire and saying, “Wow, their pair of Oxfords are nice”.

26. And yet…the few people who have told me to stop using such information to stop hurting myself, or even to stop looking at such information entirely…people who addressed me being on fire rather than the “style” I was in at the time…they are no longer with me. Why?

27. Well, the reasons vary, but I know what I personally did about it: the same stuff I’m doing with today, juggling pieces of information gleamed from news magazines, blogs, books and even comments…using it all as a weapon against myself because, hey, it’s what made me seem like such a sympathetic person. Especially if said weapon is based on someone’s favorite cult of personality. And they got tired of it. All of them. Their departure implying that it’s my fault for not putting myself out, that it’s my fault that my feet hurt because I put on those fancy shoes on too tight, preventing myself from experiencing joy without imagining some ghost of my intellectual past creeping up on me like The Shape from “It Follows”. All my fault. And they’re probably right.

28. So, the cycle continues. This will probably continue with other people. Other friends, lovers, children, seniors…until they drift from me as well, carrying pieces of their bullshit with me just because part of me thinks I’ve somehow benefited from it. Ready for the next person that comes along. Waiting for the next person to tell me to stop, drop and roll.

Do you get what I’m saying now? Re-read all of that again. Look up the subjects I’ve name dropped if you don’t understand them. Read it 3 times. Then…approach me, with these questions in mind:

Do you root for someone you care about in your life? If so, do you root for them to get better, or for them to stay where you are? Is your sympathy really based on humanism, or exclusiveness? Do you want to help people, or just people you happen to like?

Answer those questions honestly. Think on them. Look in the mirror. The next abused person you meet who is hurting themselves because they’ve been taught to do that? Choose your words carefully. An abused person does not have to be on your fucking team to get better. They need someone who will lead them towards getting fucking better. Don’t sell them a new religion or political stance unless it’s about them getting better, and even then…do not throw a fucking party when that person decides to wave your flag, or quotes your favorite thing, or goes on your diet, or even if they fucking complement you.

As long as we live in a world where abuse and pain are present, your actions in the present and future are what matter most. Your flag, no matter what it is, is just a glorified ass-wiping rag. Fuck your flag, god, philosopher, leader, author and priest. Fuck all of them. If you’re a good person, you better be prepared for them to spit on your flag. You better be prepared to just act for the person, with no thought on what goes through their fucking head. No, it doesn’t fucking matter if they’re going to hell, or if they’re a degenerate, or if they’re on “the wrong side of history” or whatever the fuck kind of rationalization you have for treating people with kid gloves.

If the person who suffers insults your beliefs or their existence/actions are a blight on your beliefs, take the fucking insults like an adult. Be the savior you pretend to worship and emulate. Only then will your words be worth a damn.

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