Abuse. What is “abuse”?
Dictionary.com defines abuse as:
1. to use wrongly or improperly; misuse: to abuse one’s authority.
The problem with the above definitions is that they (for the most part) rely on definitions of behavior as defined by social perception.
For instance: “to use wrongly or improperly . . .”. But what is “wrong”? Right and wrong (or good and evil) are often defined by the people, who in turn define the society . . . which in turn begins to define the people, as well as what is “right” or “wrong” in this old world of ours. Think of the kings and their decrees to do some wrong (usually in order to “right some right – or wrong” – depending on how you want to look at the thing. A person named “Hitler” and the Nazi people are one that come to mind.) And come to think of it, in the USA “we the people” use “them” (the ‘damned politicians’) to create our own rules regarding behaviors and things.
But either way what it comes down to is what you “see” as “right” or “wrong” in a particular situation is going to be in large part defined by your own society (the one you live it), what you are taught (by parents and friends), your own heart, and the experiences you have gone through.
But either way, “right and wrong” are defined by YOU, and your own perceptions. And therefore “abuse” can be defined as a thing based upon perceptions – yours, mine, his and hers – and the society that we have come to live in (and, it appears, are currently changing . . . but who’s “right” and “wrongs” and we believing?? Ours? “Theirs”? Or someone else’s? Sometimes I (and we) find ourselves wondering.
My wife (by current sexual definition) was sexually abused at an early age by an older man. Yet she’s never had any trouble (not one iota!) – in ever dealing with it. She was twelve – he was twenty-one – and “they were in love” (or at least she was in love with him.)
“I was mature for my age,” she stoutly defends. And (really!) – she doesn’t have any problem with it at all – and I’m not going to make it a problem. After all, it’s all in whether she’s been abused – and in her own perceptions she has NOT – therefore, if anyone is having a problem with it – who’s problem IS it? Not hers – it’s the problem of the person who has the problem in accepting that she doesn’t have a problem with it – not one of hers.
It’s a hard issue to deal with sometimes. “Was it abuse?” or “Discipline for it’s own time?”. Hard to say sometimes . . .
But this thing I know for sure:
Abuse is abuse when it affects you negatively for a lifetime or so. Abuse is abuse when it makes you sad, down, and depressed.
Abuse is abuse when you come away physically injured in some kind of way; when someone hurts you by degrading and wearing you down . . . reducing you to a nub in personality and outgoing behavior; when someone takes away your freedom and things – when they trap you and leave you all alone.
Abuse is when the hospital (in some well meaning society no doubt!) – comes and takes you and locks you away – and you come away ‘unhappier’ than you were before; with more social stigma (and blocks) in the way; more things happening in your life than you can stand or had before. Not that this has happened to us – we are quite happy, if somewhat frustrated sometimes – and are sailing quite right and soothingly along – really! – but we did find that our incarceration in the nuthouse wasn’t something that was done to our own benefit – indeed, it made us bitter in some ways (though ultimately forgiving, mind you). Mankind is quite a mess in ‘our own opinion’, by the way, and we won’t grieve when the whole operation goes to hell (or heaven) in its own handbasket or something . . .
But this abuse thing . . . it’s kind of interesting. In some countries, cultures, and times almost anything has (at one time or another) been “acceptable”, “promoted” or simply overlooked (and over-ignored sometimes . . . like these things with “men’s issues” that we’ve been having here lately – ever since we’ve been ‘abused again’, that is!).
Just goes to show . . .
abuse is often a matter of perceptions. But no matter how you cut it – when someone’s been hurt . . .
someone’s been abused.