It occurs to me that I mean something specific when I say: stop bitching. I think other people may mean different things. It's time to define terms. In this post I talk about why people should compare abuse. I need to elaborate more, I'm good with that.
I do not mean that people should suck it up and continue to be abused because things aren't that bad. Ever. Never ever ever. I mean that people should stop bitching and start acting. Bitching, to me, is complaining about the same situation year after year without any effort to change things. This is one of those areas where I'm not popular in Domestic Violence conversations. Because people tell me at great length how hard it is to leave. I may not be the best person to talk to. There are other people who can be more sympathetic to that point of view. I don't want to stomp on people. I've had strong experiences that color my voice. If you at any point feel like I am telling you that you deserve what you are getting or that you should stay please know that it is your own insecurity. I don't think that.
But I do think you need to get the fuck out. I think that planning is awesome. To me there is a difference between bitching and complaining. I complain a lot, I have no problem with complaining. Complaining changes over time. You aren't still talking about the exact same behavior situation ten years later. If you have been married to an abusive asshole for twenty years and you say the same things about his behavior over and over then you are bitching. Change something. If you don't want to leave, put your fucking foot down. The person you are in a relationship with has no impetus to change unless you force the issue. They will not magically become nice some day out of the kindness of their heart. If he's verbally abusive and you are tired of hearing it start wearing ear plugs. Seriously.
If you notice that you are saying the exact same complaints as you did five years ago it's time to change things. Seriously. Take responsibility for your life. It's yours to live. No one else. If you are unhappy with your life what do you want it to be like? I don't mean lottery fantasies, though I have them. I mean what are small sustainable steps you can take? Where do you want to be in five years?
I think that lack of forward planning is part of the reason people get stuck. They never get into the nitty gritty of what it would take to change their life. It is hard. Very hard. Life is hard sometimes. Harder for some than for others always.
I do not think that people should take abuse and shut up. I think they should stop taking abuse. If you choose to stay in an abusive relationship, that's a choice. Own it. Figure out what you can do to make the situation work for you. Find a way to come to peace with your choices and stop bitching.
Get involved with your community. That is the most important piece for abuse victims, in my opinion. If you know you are never going to leave your abusive piece of shit husband even though you should... go find something to do with your time. Find a volunteer project. Get out of your house and away from that man and find something to do that you can feel good about.
I walk around my neighborhood with trash bags cleaning up. It's a random thing. It's rare that people notice. But it's important to me. It's something that I am concretely doing that makes the world a better place. I can go do it today. I need no help from anyone else. I don't have to organize or commit. But at the end I have this little feeling of goodness. I know who and what I am. No one can take it away from me. I am a caring person. I do things that are invisible to other people and I keep a tally in my head. Ok fine, other people may not appreciate it. I do. It's part of the bulwark of my self-esteem.
If you want to be able to talk about your shitty husband, at least change the complaints. You need to grow and change as a person. You can choose how you feel about situations. You can develop internal bulwarks against abuse. You can know in the pit of your stomach who and what you are without changing any part of your life. This will also lead to a cessation of bitching. Think very hard about what you actually do with your behavior. Make lists. Decide for yourself what kind of person you are.
If you are told you are worthless, go pick up garbage in your neighborhood. It's a thankless job. No one will notice. But you know that you aren't worthless. It's a task that needs to be done and you did it. You didn't pass the buck until someone else was paid for it. You provided effort into the universe. You can go home and smile a little smile of joy to yourself. Don't tell people you did it. They tend to look at you funny and ask why you bothered. You know who you are. No one can take who you are away from you without your permission.
Build yourself up. Find a way to create an internal life that gives you freedom. I don't mean escapism. I don't mean drugs. I don't mean reading popcorn books. I mean find a way to know that you are putting good energy out into the universe. Do something that you feel proud of. It will change how you talk about yourself and your life. You will stop bitching. You will stop bitching because you will feel less bitter.
I complain a lot. It's a bad habit. I write similar stories about my family year after year. Of course I try to justify myself a lot. People are like that. I am trying very hard to get to the place where I am not bitching about my family any more. I talk about them. I explore my feelings, but I'm not bitching because I have changed my perspective and how I talk about them and even what I say substantially.
I think people should talk about their abuse situations extensively. I think they should examine their own experience as many times as they need to move on. Moving on means changing your life and going and doing something else. It means stopping the abuse. Somehow. I don't feel like I'm a great person to give advice on how to stop abuse. I have followed the scorched earth policy. It's not required in most cases. I don't really know exactly what other people should do. That's not my story.
Noah told me once that if you couldn't look back on yourself 18 months ago and say, "Man I sucked" you aren't working hard enough. That pretty much summarizes my approach to life. In no way shape or form do I think people should shut up and take abuse. People are too important for that.