I don’t hide the fact that I’ve experienced emotional abuse. Really, I don’t hide much. But part of overcoming the abuse was educating myself on exactly what happened to me. I am now, more than ever, able to spot abusive behavior and see red flags, even if they’re subtle. However, just as I was unaware of how prevalent emotional abuse is and how dangerous it can be, the rest of the world didn’t seem to learn with me. So when I point out a problematic behavior, it’s not as if everyone aware enough or enough of a decent human being to acknowledge what they did wrong, apologize, and avoid this behavior in the future.
This time, the conversation started out innocent enough. I had liked his profile after he liked mine and he seemed like an interesting person. We start chatting about Netflix when I said that I love Walking Dead. He responded with this.
So he said that he doesn’t like Walking Dead. I don’t really care. I know lots of people that don’t like the show and/or have no interest in watching it. Who gives a fuck? I liked the show so I said my piece about it. And then…My ex used to poke at me just to get a reaction. One time he harassed me about the childhood sexual abuse that I experienced so badly that I threw a bowl of salsa and burst into tears. This is absolutely an emotional abuse technique and one that I have personally experienced. I did not appreciate it and I, as calmly as I could, let him know this.
Can you guess his reaction? Do you suppose he was understanding of an emotional abuse victim? Do you think he realized that what he did was wrong? Are you shitting me? This is Men of OKC.Of course, it’s a lighthearted joke. It’s all a lighthearted joke. You can say anything and just stick “LOL” or “JK” on the end and that makes whatever you just said hilarious. To everyone. It’s like an automatic get out of jail free. Hence the joke that it’s not rape if you say LOL, JK afterward. That defense is used in court all the time.
Also, look at that. He’s not only educating me on what lighthearted jokes are, he knows that I’m not ready to date. How nice of him to inform me of what I should be doing. And he called me “hon”. How sweet. He really cares.
He moves onto completely abuse quotation marks. This alone is something that would make me not want to date someone. But yes. My polite request to not be manipulated into reactions is offense. He is completely innocent. I am overreacting.
I told him my standard “Thanks for the blog fodder” and peaced out. If nothing else, he just proved that he is not someone I want to date and unable to even recognize that his own actions are harmful.
Emotional abuse is not a joke. It’s not lighthearted. It’s appropriate to speak out against it. Emotional abuse is devastating and yes, very hard to cope with. But you know what makes it easier to live with? Being respected and listened to when something makes you uncomfortable.
In the end, I just dodged a bullet. I spotted emotional abuse, I spoke up, and got absolute confirmation that that’s what it was. I will probably never so much as be in the same room as this man. And I can be glad that I said something now before things got any further.
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