Sunday, July 15, 2007

Confusing Pleasure and Pain: III

The thing about abuse is that you confuse abuse with attention. It becomes impossible to make the distinction between someone paying attention, noticing you, loving you, and being cruel, abusive, and using you.

And when you can't tell the difference, all sorts of completely unacceptable behaviors begin to seem normal or at least acceptable. And you don't know if the reason they feel so bad is because there's something wrong with what this other person is doing, or because there's something wrong with you.

You don't know if the bad feeling is because you're bad, or because what's happening is bad. And you don't know if something bad is happening because you are bad, or because the other person is bad. And you don't know if what's happening really is bad, or just a different kind of normal that you should feel ok about even though you don't.

And sometimes what feels bad also feels good And you're also getting a special kind of attention that maybe no one else seems to get. And that's the point where it becomes impossible to know the difference between abuse and attention, between good and bad, between pleasure and pain.

So you go through life not being sure how to draw any lines between yourself and others, because feeling bad isn't reason enough to change anything. You let all sorts of bad energy into your relationships 'cause you don't know you have a choice. And you don't know that things can feel more good than bad.

And you don't trust anyone anyway. There's the sense that whatever has happened will keep happening, and it will last forever. And if you at least care about someone, even if there's lots of bad between you, you think that bad is inevitable, so you stick with it.

You stick with discomfort and sorrow and confusion and an awful, empty, aching feeling that love shouldn't be so awful. But because attention and abuse are so mixed-up for you, you really, truly don't know that it can be different. And you find every reason in the world why what is never ok is somehow ok for you.

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