There is a skill most survivors of abuse possess. It’s not exactly something to be proud of, but something engrained and very difficult to overcome even in the midst of recovery.
We can be absolutely savage assholes to those who repeatedly ignore our basic requests for various boundaries. I’m not immune to the use of this skill. It’s almost a reflex especially when my buttons have been pushed eighty bazillion times. Something clicks inside my head and the compassionate, caring, empathetic Kelli goes right out the window replaced by cut throat savage asshole Kelli.
I’m not proud when that aspect of my personality pops through, but I’ve learned especially over the last year and a half that it isn’t entirely something to be ashamed of either. It’s something I need to take responsibility for and be aware of for certain, but it’s also a valuable part of defending my self worth against those who would take advantage of me.
I guess it’s part of my larger fight response. Having such a hearty fight response kept me alive in many of my more violent instances of abuse, but now that I’m not in an abusive environment finding a productive healthy use for my very valid F the F off when I’m annoyed is difficult.
It really boils down to self control and understanding what deserves my response and what doesn’t. It’s still a balancing act that I’m working on. Often times I slip off and my savage comes out in full force which can damage relationships. Of course, not all relationships are worth having in the first place and sometimes a little savagry is necessary to completely end lingering connections to toxic people dancing around the fridges of my life.
My therapist explained that sometimes to really end a toxic relationship especially with a bully or someone who tries to manipulate your feelings, you have to use the skills gained from your abusive past and strike back with as much snark, apathy and ferocity as you can muster. I still don’t really know how I feel about it, being one who opts for kindness 90% of the time, but the way my therapist described it makes sense. You can tell someone the stove is hot and will hurt if they keep pushing buttons, but some people just don’t believe it until they get burned.