…do not let anyone, especially your abuser, gaslight you by telling you that you are unable to take criticism, insane or lacking a sense of humour.
There is a huge difference between legitimate criticism and abuse, and no one should have to feign laughter in the face of unacceptable behaviour. No one should have to apologise for not seeing the funny side when cruelty has been perpetrated by another.
Instead, you need to ask yourself, ‘What does my abuser’s need to laugh tell me about him/her? And do I actually want a relationship with such a person?’ and, ‘Is this criticism simply yet another example of projection, another tactic to make me take the blame for everything?’
If you know that you have a ripe, vulgar and ready sense of humour, that you laugh uproariously and as often as you can – and yet you are largely silenced, unable to even titter, with certain people, read the signs and make the connections.
If the freight of criticism and undermining is so heavy that you are bowed down under it, and unable to see any good in yourself, face the reality of what is happening to you.
If you are having to account for every thought and action, face the minutiae of interrogation for the slightest throw-away line, or gentle joke, do not twist yourself into a knot of shame and blame. Look at the other as well.
And if the occasional ‘I love you, you know’ does not sit squarely with your instinct, do not try to shape abuse into warped ‘love’…
Do not let anyone – no matter how well-meaning; no matter how long they’ve known you – tell you that you are misinterpreting, imagining, exaggerating or over-reacting to abuse. Do not let anyone tell you that you’ve got it wrong when your gut reaction knows that you have attracted an abuser. Do not let anyone condone abuse by siding with the abuser, or sitting on the fence.
These may be grim thoughts for Valentine’s Day – but not everyone receives red roses, cards and chocolates on February 14th. Some people get withered buds, sharp thorns and fear instead.
If that’s you…
Resist if you can.
Get the fuck out, if you can’t!