[cw emotional abuse, animal abuse]
If you are experiencing or have experienced emotional abuse please reach out to those around you. There is nothing shameful about this experience, despite what our (my own included) self-talk says to us.
This is absolutely not our fault.
Insofar as I can tell this person who targeted me actively targets people with specific traits, and said targets tend to fit the following approximate typology:
- intelligent (ideally with the support of a strong mentor/mentor group),
- research interest or focus in media analysis (specifically comic book, video game, and film analysis),
- previous experience/s of abuse,
- previous experience/s of mental and/or physical illness (but usually both),
- a love for dogs (yes, actually).
This person with whom I was in an abusive relationship has an established pattern of abusive behaviour. Approximately, in my experience and based on the experiences of others who have shared with me, it goes…
- perform reluctance at becoming friends,
- disclose that their previous friend/friend group was traumatizing,
- ask you to remove said people from your life,
- be hyper-critical of you/your work one minute and unbelievably supportive the next (ie. display grooming/honeymooning behaviour),
- lie to you about what others (including mentors, faculty advisors, friends, etc) are saying about you,
- ingratiate themself into any current social group you have,
- further attempt to isolate you from said social group,
- if there is a dog involved they will abuse/neglect said dog and blame you for it/attempt to convince you that you’re the abusive/neglectful one,
- stop speaking or elsewise communicating with you over an extended period of time,
- will threaten you into not speaking with them (ex. I’d hate to think of what would happen if…, I value our relationship so much I’d hate for something to happen if you don’t do x/y/z…, etc),
- when confronted with their behaviour will double down on their actions,
- will proceed to yell or scream that you’re actually the abusive party (in my case it was on National PTSD Day, and they accused me of talking about my symptoms too much/accused me of yelling back at them and further triggering their behaviour),
- will either then repeat the cycle or remove themself from your life almost entirely,
- “almost” entirely because you will then become the traumatic and abusive one, which may further isolate you.
It is my belief that this person is required to be the most intelligent, most physically and/or mentally ill, and the most cared about person in any room. Negative attention is still attention, and many of us have felt/did feel guilt for not being able to support them and provide the attention to them they appear to require.
While this is a very bare-bones post I already have abouts 1400 words written in a pseudo-memoir form explaining my specific experiences. Until or if I post my abuse narrative I am comfortable with people reaching out for clarification with the understanding that I may not respond. Thank you.
Note: I don’t really know where to go from here in order to have myself feel safe again. With that said I want to stress that I don’t believe punitive justice helps anyone, and that in order to make actual change transformative justice is necessary. I am absolutely not sharing my experience in the hope that this person is punished for what they have done to me and others, but rather I am sharing in the hope that this person gets the help they need. This is in order to aid them in not repeating this pattern of abusive behaviour moving forward, and to thus not abuse others in the future.
If you’d like to learn more about what transformative justice is/looks like please read the Transformative Justice Handbook. While the focus of the handbook is on childhood sexual abuse, in my opinion as a victim of CSA as well as other forms of interpersonal and systemic abuses it’s laterally relevant to most–if not all–situations of abuse.