All relationships have boundaries, but people usually don’t state them explicitly unless the other person has crossed the line. Therefore, openly stating a boundary implies that the other person has done something wrong, and members of estranged parents’ groups aren’t having that.
—issendai, Down the Rabbit Hole: The world of estranged parents’ forums, “Estranged Parents and Boundaries”
Possibly of painful interest to those of you with family issues and crummy parents. This is mostly just quotes, but if you’re like me, it can be illuminating/helpful to see echoes of personal experience atomized like this. Obvious content warning for self-entitled parents saying awful things.
Hi, folks. If you don’t mind, let’s sit down and have a talk. An actual, honest talk, if you will.
This is a post about the target audience of imperative grammar (i.e. command words) in the context of talking about abuse in relationships. It’s also a post about making moral-grounds proclamations about sexual violence. It’s also a post about the internalized obligation to have sex. It’s also a post about that thing that we usually call victim-blaming. It may even be a post about rape culture in the guise of fighting rape culture? And, basically, yelling at abuse victims to stop getting abused.
Hmm, okay. Here’s a thought, spurred by a fandom post of all things. I’ve seen arguments to the effect of “romance is not sex” and “sex is not intimacy,” and so on, but how about this: intimacy is not good.
And by that I mean: intimacy is not care. It can be but is not necessarily nurturing, or safe, or nice, or fond.
I need to be able to name the bad or negative intimacies because otherwise that leaves me with a relationship scale from “strangers, no connection” to “best of loves, closest kinship” with nowhere to place the rot and the lousy. There is an unwanted intimacy with witnesses to an embarrassing moment. There is an intimacy with the people who have seen you at your worst because they personally dragged you there. There is an intimacy in the connection between yourself and the ones who have deeply hurt you.
“Intimate” is not the same as “good.”
It can be powerful and electric and full of a yearning to prove something without. being. good.
It’s important to me to be able to recognize a sense of intimacy without always construing it as something positive, and I’d hope that would be important to other people, too.
This is a piece of what I think makes it so difficult to make external (in words) certain negative experiences. You might be able to recount all the moves made and the words used, but it’s sometimes hard to capture how immensely personal it feels. How potent, how close to the bone. That’s intimacy, is what it is. Some intimate interactions are made all the more negative by how intimate they are.
Anyway that’s why I need people not to take the term “intimacy” itself as a ringing endorsement, thanks.
Okay yeah and branching off that last post, how about this wild idea: Abusers… are… unreasonable. They do unreasonable things. They have unreasonable expectations. They are unreasonable. So I’ve got no clue what some people are on about whenever they say something like “imagine a parent getting mad at their kid for X, that doesn’t happen because that’s just ridiculous.” Hey, real fun fact: “it’s ridiculous” has never been enough to stop humanity from doing cruel and violent things. Holding that expectation at all is ridiculous. And more importantly here, it begs the question: Why are you expecting abusive behavior to be reasonable? Why are you talking like there exists any abuse where you’d look at it and say, “oh, yeah that makes sense”?
Do me a favor and pay attention to that. If someone’s position is that real abuse is “reasonable,” that’s the kind of thing that calls a person’s entire politics into question.
People who say “sincerely believing that ________ is abuse is an insult to real abuse victims” are an insult to real abuse victims.
[text: Instead of saying “There are aces who have been abused for being ace!” what if we started saying “If you don’t believe abuse survivors who are ace, you don’t support abuse survivors.”]
More than a year ago I wrote this post on “gray area” violence that has now made it onto the RFAS Recommended Reading page. Reflecting back on that now, I’ve got some thoughts on how to give reassurance to people whose stories set off those kinds of red flags for you — when someone relates a past experience that sounds, to you, exactly like rape, sexual assault, or abuse, but they themselves explicitly communicate that, for whatever reason, they see it as more of a gray area.
Here’s a rough outline of what’s been helpful and unhelpful, in my experience, from on both sides of the problem.
(context: [cw for BS] link link )
You know…… How shallow is your support/allyship/solidarity/whatever the in-crowd is calling it, when it doesn’t even seem to occur to you that the person you’re talking to might well be a trauma survivor themselves*? How limited is your willingness to understand the stories of survivors beside yourself, when you think it’s “insulting” for a trauma survivor bring up the #seriouslysurvivor and #actuallytraumatized tags as a point of reference, in a way that’s genuinely relevant to the argument being made — because the argument being made would be say that those are bad and wrong and stealing?
What use is that, to finally concede “I’m not saying there isn’t overlap” [between being ace & being traumatized and/or abused] but to persist in treating designated online ace tags as an Offense — while pretending that isn’t an invalidation to some survivors in and of itself?
What good is that? Why act like having trauma and wanting designated ace safe spaces can’t possibly be related, as if there’s anything trauma can’t be related to?
Just… blows my mind, that someone, ostensibly thinking they’re standing up for/prioritizing trauma survivors, can think they have the moral high ground by placing that ideal second to criticizing those dirty, icky aces.
*I checked and yes, at least one of the people I’m reacting to w/ this is a survivor themselves. Doesn’t change my mind, since that doesn’t make anyone infallible, but yes I did bother to confirm this. And my thoughts here are more in general about how these conversations go down than about these specific individuals.
Been disappointed to see more joining onto the “-phobia” bandwagon with (spreading?) use of “aphobia” and “acephobia,” trading on an equivalency between a phobia and an evil ideology. Really not keen on that. Instead of saying “aphobic” or “acephobic,” it’s easy enough to just say anti-ace.
If you need a noun, there are lots of nouns that can be applicable. Anti-ace prejudice, anti-ace bigotry, anti-ace harassment, anti-ace vilification, anti-ace abuse, anti-ace violence.
For hetero-focused things, you can specify anti-ace heteronormativity.
There’s also compulsory sexuality and sex-normativity as decent terms.
And I’m not sure why “acemisogyny” isn’t already a thing.
Lots of options! Lots of ways to get at the idea of ace-targeting wrongness and harm without resorting to “-phobia.” I know it’s just to follow an established pattern — and my beef is with the entire pattern, too, but I’m just addressing one of the groups I’m part of here.
Can we please agree to put this one on the shelf?