If you have not already, click over and read The Crane Wife, by CJ Hauser. I had to read the article three times. There was so much to it. The Crane Wife details the story of a woman willing to silence herself over and over again every level for the sake of a broken relationship. Upon reflection, and consistent with what I've seen in my practice, I believe that the core of abuse has two types of trends.
1. The Double Standard—the rules, the expectations, the feelings, the needs, the preferences that I apply to you NOT to me. And every day reflects a need to start over to appeal to their trust and to stabilize their confidence as if nothing has been given or served their interests ever before.
2. Preoccupation with one’s own perception. In other words, a person is more in love with the image they hold of themselves—as a hero, a martyr, a clown, a leader, a giver/provider, a healer, a visionary, or a low maintenance lover—than the reality of how of how they are actually experienced. Your experience interrupts them. This intrusion will not be tolerated.
The antidote to such mistreatment? The golden rule—treat others like you would have them treat you. Accept the consequences of your behavior—acts of omission are equal to acts of commission. Regardless of intention, the way we impact others needs to matter. When it doesn’t, we are left to our navel gazing and control tactics. Gaslighting is just as destructive as a slap on the face. And the more we are convinced that the things we think, feel and need are less significant than someone else we become easily exploitable.
Those who are our true friends would never allow this. Those who love us look out for our long term best interests. They have our back to defend our character when we aren’t able to defend ourselves. And they give us the benefit of the doubt when we have lived well within the intention and expression of delivering on our promises.
There are a lot of theories about being low maintenance and requiring less—become what people want and you’ll be less of a burden, more loved. The deal is that to be loved is to be included in the picture—to be the crane flying like royalty, preening her feathers and embracing that she is worth having her needs carefully monitored and delivered. Those who love us wouldn’t want us to be any less for us. That is the plumb line. That is the marker for what is truly meant when we say love bears all things. Love loves bearing all things, sees it as an honor, and loves giving us choice and control in the midst of that.