A couple days ago, I shared a real-life example of a common abuse tactic where a person pretends to ask a “simple request,” but then punishes you for disagreeing:
“Today, I very clearly told a man “NO, I am not comfortable with what you’re asking me to do,” but, still, he kept trying to shame me into feeling differently…”
I was talking about Trans folks (and their allies) who say that it’s “common courtesy” to let individuals define their own pronouns and control the English language.
Unfortunately, a dear friend of mine discovered first-hand what happens when you point out that it’s not really a “simple request” so much as a DEMAND which will be met with rage if you fail to meet it.
Do you think an abuser will be grateful for having his or her behavior checked?
Do you think he or she will say, “Wow, I can see where you’re coming from!” or “In the future, I will try to demonstrate the same courtesy for YOUR beliefs that I expect you to have for mine?”
But before I share the actual screenshots, I need to offer a LANGUAGE WARNING: Abusers often use very angry words while trying to gain power through intimidation OR in effort to provoke an equally-aggressive response from the person they’re bullying.
So, if it’s hard for you to watch while someone unloads their rage on innocent people who don’t deserve it, please be warned:
Note: I was told just a few days ago, “It’s a simple request for common courtesy to use certain words when you’re asked…”
“You owe me because YOU are all murderers.” Interesting, isn’t it?
“You brought my anger on yourself…”
“If you don’t want me to use strong language, then learn…”
Is this as obvious for everyone else as it is to me?
Later, a new person tried to calm the agitated Trans individual:
Red also tried again to take the high road by appealing to Grey’s humanity and saying (correctly) that EVERYONE needs grace…
But abusers literally cannot allow others, like Red, to share stories of their own suffering for any amount of time. When Red was vulnerable about injustice she has experienced, Grey could not allower her to keep those feelings without trying to one-up her:
Note: Many abusive individuals DO have histories of being abused, and they often use their stories to justify perpetuating the cycle.
“You’re hurting me…”
“You started it…”
“I’ll stop when you stop deserving it…”
“My rage is warranted…”
“If you loved me, you would listen…”
Do you see how this works, Reader?
They believe this so thoroughly that they have standard responses when an outsider tries to stop the abuse, too! They say things like:
“You don’t understand our relationship.”
“I’m doing this because I care about him/her”
“This is for her own good…”
It’s important to understand that this person actually believes all of the verbal abuse is self-defense.
In Grey’s world, having chronic pain and a “friend” who shares the wrong blog posts is an attack which counts as “torment,”and all of it is a good enough excuse to unleash rage.
When you try to defend yourself against an abuser, no matter how careful and gentle you are, they will simply double-down on the idea that they are the victims, and the people they are hurting deserve it, somehow.
Abusers will insist, over and over, that what has been done to them is of huge consequence, but what they do to hurt others isn’t that big of a deal…
They will start by demanding “common courtesy.”
But if that doesn’t work to bring you under control, make no mistake: they will take it further.