Why do abusive people really happen to you?

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by Annie Kaszina on September 4, 2017

Why does it always happen to me?”

“Why does it always happen to me?” is a question I used to ask myself rather a lot – about the abusive people in my life.   It’s also a question that I hear a lot from clients – and pretty much anyone who has been  around abusive people.

It’s a rotten question.

Why?

Because it sends you off down a dead end.  If you ask yourself what is wrong with you, your mind will oblige by pulling up a thousand possible answers – usually dictated by something that your abusive partner said to you with a view to hurting and humiliating you as much as possible.

These days, I don’t go there. It serves no useful purpose. I encourage my clients to avoid it, also.

However, change is not always quite as linear as we might like.  I have a belief that when you learn a lesson, The Universe likes to test you on it. The Universe wants to be sure that you really know it.  That means being competent to apply it – as opposed to just saying you’ve learned it.

Right now, I’m living an interesting moment.  The Universe is, shall we say, testing my proficiency.  Again.  At a deeper level than before, naturally. (Not that that makes me feel a whole lot better.)  So the question becomes, can I behave like a rational grown up? Or am I going to throw the Pity Party of the Decade?

I’ll admit that a part of me still has a weird fondness for a good Pity Party – or, more correctly, it would dive into a damned good Pity Party. If only the Pity Party was just about Pity.  After all, the Pity Party is a sort of inept striving towards self-compassion, isn’t it?

Problems with the Pity Party

Theoretically, maybe.  In reality, the Pity Party is a million miles from self-compassion.  Let me tell you why.

The Pity Party always starts at one of the “Why me?” watering holes.  Actually, the Pity Party is a franchise whose most popular venues are all “What’s wrong with me?”, and the “Why does it always happen to me?” watering holes.

The Party starts with a good bit of sadness.  However, it rapidly turns to self-flagellation.  You remind yourself of everything that anyone could ever say – or has ever said – about you that is critical and destructive.  You tell yourself that that is your past, present and future truth.

Yuk!

The past month has been extraordinarily trying for me.  The Pity Party franchise has sent me daily invitations…

When Life is tough enough…

When Life is tough enough already, the Pity Party only makes it worse.  I prefer heavy duty self-care, stress-busting techniques, and whatever lifts my mood. Where I lived before that included frequent trips to my wonderful local coffee shop, otherwise known as my haven, and the 4th emergency service.

Yet, even there, The Universe one day caught up with me to check I could apply The Lesson(s) properly.  Here’s what happened.

A perfectly unremarkable bathroom visit was disrupted by someone rattling the door handle furiously. I emerged to an angry male creature snarling menacingly, “It’s a disabled toilet only.” (Untrue) He stated categorically that I had no right to use it. Ever! That bathroom was really his, all his.  It was “His Precious”.

I tried sweet reason with him.  When I failed, I walked away, leaving him still spitting bile. He  headed first to the counter, and then to the door.  Before leaving, across a crowded coffee shop, he yelled, “Selfish bitch” at me. (That quite took me back to You-Know-Who!)

Resisting the mild temptation to go and punch this charmer (he weighed about 300 lbs to my 110), I informed the manager.  It turned out that the charmer had just roundly abused the manager, also. Abusive people abuse people.

6 Powerful Learnings

Powerful Learning #1 So, it doesn’t just happen to me, then!

The manager did not feel that I had to justify myself.

Powerful Learning #2 It’s not somehow my fault, and I do NOT have to justify myself.

In fact, it was a strange day at the coffee shop. It must have been Difficult Customers Meet Up Day, because the shop boasted far more unpleasant people in one morning than they normally do in a month.

Powerful Learning #3 Sometimes it just rains crap.  When that happens, anyone and everyone can get rained on!

Now, other customers, and staff came up and expressed their concern for and solidarity with me.

Powerful Learning #4 A lot of people can be fair-minded, and actually CARE!) 

The manager, and I – and the other lovely staff members – were all subjected to Mr Toilet-Priority’s bad behavior.  Why?  Simply because he happened along.

Powerful Learning #5 Mr Toilet-Priority bears the responsibility – and the condemnation – for his own sucky behavior.

Mr Toilet-Priority is not a nice guy, we all agree. He has issues. He thinks he has more rights than anyone else. He thinks he can name call, twist facts, and visit judgement on people, at will. Just like any emotionally abusive man.

Powerful Learning #6 Mr Toilet-Priority  routinely treats Everybody Else as a lower form of life.

Mr Toilet-Priority actually had the gall to order the manager to keep the toilet door locked so that only the deserving Toilet-Priority few, can have access.

Does Mr Toilet-Priority remind you of anyone?

He certainly could  remind you, too, of abusive people you have known.

Toxic entitlement

The behavior of abusive people – like Mr Toilet-Priority – stems from their toxic view of their own extraordinary entitlement.  The accusations that they level at you, are never about you. Mr Toilet-Priority and his ilk have just reached a point where they are busting a gut to disburden themselves of – at least some of – their load of negativity, and nastiness.  Abusive people discharge their nastiness onto you – simply because you are there in front of them.

You get my drift.

The dross that drossy people say about you is never about you. Bad stuff happens to anyone who happens to be in the firing line of someone acting up a dross storm.

That’s all there is to it.

Ultimately, the only sane answer is to take yourself out of the firing line: physically, and/or emotionally.

I really wouldn’t have minded not having the experience of Mr Toilet-Priority. I had more to do with my life than have an unexceptional bathroom visit turn into a minor trauma. However, since it did happen to me, I’ll take from it, and share, all the learnings I can.

I’m guessing that learning from the experience is a lot more than a Mr Toilet-Priority will ever do. After all, why bother to look at yourself when you can curse everyone around for being selfish, and lazy, and not recognising your sacrosanct priority?

Powerful Learning #7 from abusive people.

Powerful Learning #7 It’s funny, isn’t it, how the people who accuse you of being selfish are always defending their sacred, inalienable right to be… well, selfish?

Hey ho!

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