Jun 2016

No Evidence of Happiness Vs Anger

A fellow survivor sent this to me recently, and it really, REALLY, struck home.

        Being abused can seriously affect your ability to distinguish between “not obviously pleased”
        and “obviously displeased” because   abusers go from Neutral to Hostile for absolutely no
        discernible reason, and eventually you start worrying that everyone is going to be like that
        and you start feeling this urge to make absolutely sure that the people you care about aren’t
        mad or upset, because to you, “there’s no evidence that they’re not angry” is the same as
        “there’s evidence that they are angry”

What does this mean?

Well, for example, let’s say that things are going ok with the husband. But, I’m hyper aware that he’s not in a great mood. I start looking back at what I could have done to put him in a bad mood, because to me, being in a mood that is not ‘happy’ is obviously ‘not happy’ to me and this could be the same as mad or upset. Since they aren’t ‘happy’, there isn’t any evidence that that doesn’t mean that they aren’t mad or upset. So, what can I do to make them happy, so that there is evidence that they aren’t angry?

Just last night, I noticed that he was laughing with his other partner. This is evidence that he’s not angry. Well, he doesn’t always laugh with me. So, no evidence that he’s not angry, equals evidence that he is angry. So, he’s not laughing with me because he’s angry or upset with me. Now, my brain shifts into ‘not only is he angry or upset, but because he’s not laughing with me, then he’s specifically mad or angry with me’.

To someone that hasn’t been abused, that is looking at this situation from the outside, they would wonder why I would think my husband is mad as me. There is NO evidence of this anger. But, to me, there is no evidence of his happiness, therefore he’s angry. Anyone that knows my husband, knows this is so far from the truth, it isn't funny. 

With either the boyfriend or the husband ..or hell, even the sister. If they aren’t reaching out to me and showing evidence that they are happy with me, it’s the same as me having evidence that they are unhappy with me.

Now that I’ve seen this quote, it makes perfect sense though. I can remember having conversations about my ex-husband and how I felt he didn’t love me. Why? Because there wasn’t evidence that he did. Therefore, no evidence that he loved me was the same as having evidence that he didn’t. No neutral ground. Lack of evidence of something positive, automatically equals something negative. So, I bend over backwards to make someone love me and show me they do. A LOT of my energy is spent thinking about this, with; significant others, children, friends, family, etc.  I didn't realize it, until reading this quote. 

It’s confusing, I know.

But, it does answer why I’m either working overtime trying to make people happy with me, or constantly thinking that people are unhappy with me.

Luckily, I have grown some and am learning that neutral is possible. Or that no evidence of happy does not automatically equal unhappy.

What a mess!

And the frustrating thing is, it’s not a mess I created, but I have to live with it and those around me have to deal with me living with it.