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On not taking sides

Every now and then, a reference to my ex will pop up on Facebook. Obviously I dislike when this happens-- I feel best when I am never reminded of his existence in any way, because the thought of him still makes me angry. But what also bothers me is that people who ostensibly like me are still socializing with with him. And I'm not sure if that's fair or not.

Most of my friends, particularly the ones most important to me, have basically cut ties with him. I didn't ask any of them to do so-- and for the record, I still don't --but most of them chose to anyway. From what I heard, people either heard what his behavior was like during our relationship and were too grossed out to continue associating with him, or else had gotten fed up with him ages ago and were relieved that they didn't have to continue dealing with him for my sake.

But one or two people said to me, "I don't want to choose a side." I never asked anyone to, nor did I expect them to, but I remember Captain Awkward wrote a column about that once. I think her advice is pretty excellent in almost every case, balancing compassion with personal responsibility, but I don't know if I exactly agree with her in this case. I think that people can have reasons for not cutting ties with someone they know to be abusive for a lot of reasons. They may not have the strength required to cut someone out. They may be trying to deal with the situation in a manner other than isolating the abuser. They may have their own problems that they have to deal with first before they can make such a drastic step on behalf of another person. I get that. I can forgive that.

But when someone posts about having socialized with the man who abused me, I can't help but wonder... What are they thinking? Do those people not realize that he abused me? Do they not believe me when I say he did? Do they just not care? And I can't lie, it feels hurtful. I guess it kind of aggravates my fear that people don't believe me. I remember when things got really bad, sometimes I would wish to myself that he would just hit me, so I'd have incontrovertible evidence of how he badly he was treating me.

It took me a long time to own the fact that it wasn't just a bad relationship with an asshole. I was so ashamed that I let it happen that owning that I got abused took me time after the breakup. Because despite what the healing narratives teach you, I wasn't so psychologically damaged by the process that I had no awareness of how badly he was treated me, or any delusion that I deserved it. I let it happen because I couldn't get myself together enough to put a stop to it. I'm ashamed of that. But it was abuse, and I'm not going to pretend it wasn't. I'm not hiding it anymore. But when it doesn't seem to matter to people... I don't know how to feel.

I don't know. I'm not trying to take anybody to task or change what they choose to do. I'm not even saying anybody's in the wrong. It just makes me feel funny, and I'm talking about it.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2016 05:45 am (UTC)
I support you talking about it. I thought a lot about whether and how to continue socializing with him in light of what you have said about him and ended up deciding to do so, but it has certainly influenced my opinion of him and how closely I interact with him. I am willing to accept your negative opinion of that decision--of course you would judge me for it. If you are interested in my perspective on it, I can share it, but only if you think that would be helpful or interesting to you. I am sorry that this is upsetting to you and that my decisions contribute to that--I can certainly understand how that would be the case.

If the mention of him on FB is the one I saw today, then it's from a person who has made the same choice in another even more public case than yours and will not hear anything negative about that man, either. In that case I know that she does believe the woman in question is lying. I don't know more about her perspective on issues of abuse in relationship, but it would seem there's a pattern there.
Jan. 10th, 2016 01:53 pm (UTC)
No need to explain-- I have a lot of respect for you and believe that you have reasons you have considered. I do appreciate you mentioning that you considered what I've said, though. That makes me feel heard, so thank you. As I said, I don't mean to take anybody to task. I understand that life is complicated and sometimes it's not possible to do everything on pure principle. But I think my feelings and my brain are a little divided on the issue. Seeing it makes me sad, but that doesn't mean I necessarily think it's really a sign of not caring. Just trying to balance dealing with the two.
Jan. 11th, 2016 04:39 pm (UTC)
I can't help but wonder... What are they thinking? Do those people not realize that he abused me? Do they not believe me when I say he did? Do they just not care?

I saw this post on Top LJ... totally agree. While my relationship with my ex was never abusive, exactly, he did leave me pretty brutal circumstances near the end, but whenever my friends mention him, it's like I'm the only one who remembers the pain I went through trying to get over it.
Jan. 12th, 2016 05:04 am (UTC)
I've been trying to compose a response that is not super inflammatory, but then I had to stop to go work on getting people to cut ties is another abusive asshole, and, well, 100% believe you, he sucks, and I'm sick to death of hypocrites and cowards.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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