Are You Waiting To Be Invited?

by Annie Kaszina on November 24, 2008

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        In my last post I spoke of a woman,
        who like so many abused women, settles for crumbs from the banquet of
        life, because she does not really believe that there is a banquet out
        there.

       

        One reader emailed me to disagree with my
        viewpoint.  I was, she felt, too harsh in my judgements.   She had
        reached the stage (still a way short of rock bottom) of accepting that
        she was a miserable person to be around. Hence her partner could not be
        blamed for expressing his distaste for her.  In other words, the process
        of emotional pulverization was so far advanced that she had lost sight
        of all that he had said and done to reduce her to that
        state.   

       

        I can remember feeling like that also, and
        challenging the few people who were concerned enough to tell me my
        relationship was toxic.  (It undoubtedly was.)  But I had to believe in
        something.   

       

        When you can’t believe in yourself, you
        end up clutching at the nearest thing that looks halfway solid.  That
        thing is most usually your abusive partner. 

       

        My reader ended her email with these
        words: 

        I
        believe there is a banquet out there, but possibly I am not invited to
        it due to social ineptitude or something
.” 

       

        It is a
        statement that sounds almost reasonable until you ‘deconstruct’
        it.  What saddened me first was the ‘victim-speak’, the
        conviction that she was naturally, inevitably, excluded from one
        of life’s blessings.   

       

        ‘Victim-speak’
        is, of course, born of ‘victim-think’ and, like my reader, I too have
        been there and spent way too long there.   

       

        That doesn’t
        make it true.   

       

        Abused women
        wait to be invited to the banquet of life and that invitation may never
        come.  Certainly, it will never come soon enough.   

       

        Then it struck
        me.  Abused women wait to be invited when, in reality, it isn’t that
        kind of banquet.  What it actually is, is a self-service banquet. 
        Anybody and everybody has an equal right to pitch up and serve
        themselves.  They also have the same right as anyone else to sit
        wherever they choose and share conversation and enjoyment with
        whomsoever they choose.

       

        Do they
        habitually do this?

       

        No, they do
        not.  They focus desperately on being invited by the one person who, of
        all people, has an interest in excluding them from that banquet.  And so
        they stand with their back turned to that banquet, transfixed by their
        abuser who, despite protestations to the contrary, does not ‘do’
        banquets.   

       

        Small wonder
        they register no invitation.

       

        Were they
        facing towards the banquet, and the people at the banquet, it is
        possible that some would try to include them.   

       

        Still that is
        not the point.   

       

        The point is
        that everyone has an equal right to invite themselves.   

       

        Either we avail
        ourselves of that right or we do not.  The more we avail ourselves of
        that right, the easier and more consistent our inclusion and welcome
        will be.   

       

        The reality is
        that the other people at the banquet naturally expect us to invite
        ourselves, as they have done.  They wonder that we do not.  They
        mistakenly assume that if we exclude ourselves it is because we do not
        want to be part of it, do not want to associate with them.  They will
        respect what they wrongly believe to be our preference.  You cannot
        expect them to know more about you than you give them to understand.   

       

        Besides, it is
        not about them.  It is all about you.   

       

        The banquet is
        there.  The place is always there for you.  It is down to you
        when you invite yourself.  Before, I’m guessing that you didn’t know how
        it worked.  Now you do.

       

        So
        when will you invite yourself?
       

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