Everyone who knows me knows someone who has been abused. Because, you know me. You’ve seen me hide it, minimize it, leave it and eventually overcome it.
You didn’t see the bruises, because I didn’t share those photos. And most were below the surface, anyway. Deep, in places that made me question what was real.
You know someone who has been abused. You can say that. It’s true. It’s sad, too.
Part of overcoming an abusive relationship, or really part of overcoming anything at all, is learning from it. Growing, yes. But learning – so you can spot the signs again. Because any one human does not corner the market on any one trait.
You can be sure you’ll see it again. And life, if you learned, teaches you to expect it, recognize it and avoid it. It’s why it’s hard for me to stomach certain behaviors. And it’s why those behaviors lead to analysis on a deeper level, one that I fully realize has the potential to piss off about 163 million people, if polls are right.
Our country is in an abusive relationship with the person chosen to lead it.
Don’t eject yet. Don’t think this is about politics. It’s not. It’s not.
It’s about a personality. It’s about one person, one person’s actions, one person’s choices. It’s about the frailty of one person’s ego, and the lengths this person will go to protect it.
I’ve tried touching on this concept before, treading lightly with the knowledge that every word has the potential to be seasoned unfairly with my political beliefs. So it hasn’t worked.
But this is not political. This is about abuse, something I know, something that is relatable. And what timing – since it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
This is not a hit piece. It’s not about policy. This isn’t about politics at all, save for the fact that this person was elected by our country. It’s an unfortunate footnote, to be honest. If this person were not elected, not associated with any political party, his abuse would be seen for what it is. Abuse.
This is, with a great deal of optimism and open-mindedness, hopefully an awakening.
I remember sitting under an umbrella watching – as my kids had begged me to do – tricks they were trying from the side of the pool, each one landing with a hearty splash and eye contact directly after they had surfaced, to make sure I had seen their sweet moves. Friends I counted as practically family sat with me, using the chaotic period of soaking wet children and dry adults to show me something they had talked with me about a number of times before.
The man slid his phone my way. On it was a chart. In it were signs, signs that I had not understood until that moment.
And, within minutes, I could check just about every box. And I did, out loud.
Yes, he demonstrated intense emotions. Yes, crazy jealousy. Yes, incredibly critical. Yes, he blamed others for his actions. Yes, definitely one to sabotage at every opportunity. Yes, the isolation was real. And, yes, the control was constant, and the anger was seemingly ever present.
I couldn’t leave then. Because, life is complicated, much like our political process. But I became aware of something I had always made excuses for in the past.
His actions were abusive. And wrong. And I didn’t need to live with them. The same goes for our country.
Hear me: I’m not saying Republicans are abusive. I’m not saying one party is better than the other. I’m saying this country is in a damaged, perverse relationship with a human who uses abusive tactics to remain in control. Of everything.
I’m an independent, anyway. I’m someone speaking from experience on a human level. Not a political one.
Remember that you know me, unless this somehow goes viral and strangers read this, then, well, you don’t. That’s unlikely, though, so remember who I am.
Imagine this one person was not elected. Imagine this one person was doing these things that he’s doing on an international stage to one, single person. And now remember that he is doing this to singular people over and over and over again, into the hundreds of millions.
When he says something, and it’s recorded, in front of cameras or on a transcript, he said it. And when he insists he didn’t say it, or blames media or some other scapegoat for his own actions, he is abusing the public, not to mention his office.
He is isolating us on a global level, in ways that may take an incredible amount of time to repair, much like an abuser who closes social circles of their victims down to pinholes. When he displays anger in ways that are irrational, or makes people in his presence feel uncomfortable – that is abuse and it is by design.
He’s the boss. He has infinite wisdom. He calls the shots. Don’t forget it.
His attempts to control the minds of the public, the media, the public narrative in an erroneous way, is reminiscent of a propaganda era that relies heavily on manipulation. It’s abusive. And it is the exact temperature inside an abusive, domestic relationship.
Remember, I was there.
He is fluent in the abusive tactic of gaslighting, making the public (or an abuse victim) question what is real, if they’re crazy, or overreacting or if they’re actually the problem. Even when they haven’t done anything. At all.
In reality, he actually did the thing he is accusing others of doing. I lived that. And still do. I just don’t let it in.
I used to say that an abuser can make a victim believe the sky is not blue – that it is in fact green – because the abuser said so. And they said so in so many ways, using so many tactics. It’s more or less a storm of manipulation, one that makes you wonder where the hell you actually are, like getting caught in a wave, sloshed around until you’re unsure which way is up.
His ability to discredit any and everything that doesn’t align with his mission is exceptional. And it’s hard to watch.
It is not easy to leave. It sometimes takes an explosive altercation. Sometimes a tragedy. Sometimes injuries, emotional or physical or maybe even political, that can’t be bandaged and forgotten.
Of all the pain an abusive relationship causes, I think it might be most potent to those who are looking on from the outside. They know they can’t do anything to persuade the person to leave. They can only inform them. And support them. And let them know that what is happening is wrong and that they’ll be there for them once they get out.
So, that’s what I’m doing here. For our country.