There are so many things that can lead to someone getting abused. lack of self-esteem and lack of acknowledgement of self are usually the result of something else.
I’ve become well aware of some of the things that lead me to get entwined in a relationship with someone covertly abusive.
I’ve taken a long, blinders-free look at the toxicity I grew up surrounded by, in school and despite a mostly loving family, at home as well.
I’ve acknowledged those things that caused me to have no clue about boundaries and healthy coping mechanisms. The lacks of anyone able to teach me those things.
I’ve acknowledged that I was never a willing victim and that in some things I stood up for myself (as much as I could) and I’ve struggled but never accepted being a victim. I can never accept that, you see. I’m too entrenched into true equality and justice. I’ve realized I’ve always been my own person. I’ve sought, my whole life through, those answers needed to protect myself and others but sometimes those things, those answers, were not obvious and very difficult to find or define.
I’ve now acknowledged that I struggle with, and feel as if I’m failing myself from lacks of, speaking my own truth. That I am one of many people who fall into the trap of “too much understanding of others”. I understand the reasons someone turned toxic. I understand they may not know any better (how can I judge or point fingers when no one taught me those things and I struggled to find that knowledge and only found it by luck after many years of abuse?). I understand it to the point that those “reasons” become “excuses” and I’ve let toxic behaviors slide on account of “understanding why” they did this. This understanding is great on some levels, but the allowance of those toxic behaviors is not. It is a lack. It is the un-acknowledgment that I, too, am a person. That there are no excuses to be toxic or to allow someone else to breach your boundaries.
Often times we also feel unsure..is this a boundary being breached? what is happening… and we allow the uncertainty of a situation to make us excuse bad behaviors and boundary-crossing. Because behaviors are not always clearly definable, in the moment, as the breaching of a boundary. Sometimes there is an entire well… it doesn’t seem that bad because of … reasons… and then you do not identify it as a clear issue when often times, it is.
Youth and naivete and social pressures can certainly make us doubt our inner voice of “this is wrong and should not be happening to you” and so we do not listen.
It can be as simple as you saying: “well… I don’t know… I’m not feeling like doing this”
and a reply of: “oh come on, it’ll be fun… you’ll enjoy it..” and continuous pressure to do it anyway despite the misgivings of our inner-voice. Sometimes even after we’ve said a clear “No!”, especially after we’ve said a clear “no!”.
What people who have not been through these situations often do not understand the “grooming” involved, or the nudging done to get us to betray what boundaries we do have. The crafty manipulator will latch on and nudge and coax and groom and cajole their intended prey into losing all sense of their own boundaries and into accepting they be breached without understanding what is being done to them or why.
Truth is we do not learn about red flags and boundaries as we grow up, especially if we were not raised in an environment with clear boundaries.
Lack of boundaries and plenty of denial come together to breed toxicity. Both the abuser and the victim, where the abuser grows into overgrown sense of entitlement (loss of accountability and sense of responsibility, loss of humility, loss of the idea that others have rights as well and are people too, over exaggerated sense of self, exposed to toxic love and toxic attention, toxic “caring” – which really is not caring at all) and the victim loses their belief in their own rights (loss of self, loss of a sense of having rights, loss of any boundaries they gained, loss of the sense of mattering- at all, to themselves and to anyone else- sense of being deprived of love, attention, caring).
I think that is what the signs to look for in order to prevent abuse.
Often times it’s not easy to prevent because it’s difficult to see the early signs.
This is a great big insight into early childhood development and where to look / what to look for.
When children are forgotten, they often forget themselves as well. When children are given too large a sense of being great, they forget how great people around them also are. There needs to be a balance and in toxicity there is no balance.
To heal toxicity in the human soul, we need to restore that balance.
I strongly think this is the key. This is the key to solving so many issues we see in the here-and-now of today’s society.
I am writing my story, I am digging out the bits and pieces that, forgotten, lead me to where I am today. I am putting insight into it. I’ve no clue where it will lead but then I’d no clue where life would toss me and what insights it would give me… none of us ever know ahead of time.