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Lux 🤖🤠 Alptraum @LuxAlptraum
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People frequently talk about how women love partners who treat us badly — for the "nice guys" of the world, this is a pretty common explanation for why they're not getting laid.
Now, obviously this is a misogynist, fucked up line of thinking. *But* I don't think it's completely invented. I just think it's a misreading of a survival strategy some women engage in when dealing with abusive — or even just boundary pushing — behavior.
Back when I was in my 20s and dating a lot, I would not infrequently encounter men who pushed my boundaries early on: ignoring some of my lighter nos, pressuring me to not use a condom, basically, the kind of shitty but not quite rape stuff that's all too common.
One could argue that the *rational* decision would have been to say, "These men are trash, I should walk away from them." And mid-thirties me would probably make that decision.

But in my twenties, that was not how my thinking worked.
Because what's not really discussed is that if you make the decision to walk away (or, even worse, if that person just up and ditches you) *you have to emotionally deal with the reality that someone violated your boundaries*.
And, sure, we say we loves strong women who fight back — but realistically we only champion those women if they *avoid* being violated in the first place. If you get violated and leave, you still have to deal with the feeling that you were the idiot who got taken advantage of.
So. When I was younger and more fragile and terrified of dealing with trauma, what my brain told me when someone violated me was that, hey, if I made this guy my boyfriend, it would all be okay in the end.
If I walked away (or again, even worse, if the dude just ghosted), I was just some dumb bitch who a guy had been able to use and then get away from. But if we started dating, then whatever shitty thing had happened in the beginning would, I thought, become water under the bridge.
I keep stressing that a dude who'd abused me ghosting felt even worse than me walking away for a very specific reason: I want you to understand why, even when someone had been shitty to me and then started ghosting, *I would sometimes continue to pursue them*.
From the outside, I am sure this looked like me begging to be treated like trash. And it definitely encouraged/rewarded shitty behavior from men.

But from the inside, it felt like it was the only logical way to preserve my sense of myself as someone who was not a victim.
So. What is the takeaway here?

First: Telling women we just have to be strong and walk away from garbage men frequently backfires because it creates this mindset where if we someone fail to do that from the beginning, admitting that feels worse than putting up with abuse.
We should definitely tell women — everyone, really — that they have a right to their own bodies, and help people recognize when behavior is abusive.
But the more we champion this idea that "strong" people walk away from abuse immediately, the more we encourage people to stay in abusive relationships.
Second: The thing that helped me, honestly? Being able to forgive myself. Being able to realize that, for a complicated array of reasoning including my feminine socialization and tendency to freeze up in abusive situations, immediately avoiding abuse was never going to be easy.
Being able to recognize that having my boundaries violated wasn't a sign that I was a dumb, weak idiot; but a sign that some people are awful and abusive and manipulative; was the thing that really helped me find my strength and learn how to stand up for myself.
People seem to think that talking about toxic masculinity and the utter shittiness of many masculine behaviors is giving women a pass to make bad decisions and play the victim card.

But it's not. What it is is giving victims the ability to forgive ourselves and become survivors.
(I feel like that went a little bit off the rails as I was writing it, but I also feel like I made some good points? Anyway, dating men and masculine people is a head trip, and if you're really going through some toxic stuff right now, know that I get it and I'm rooting for you.)
PS I framed this primarily in terms of men and women because a) "Women love being treated like garbage by men" is a widespread cultural belief and also b) in my dating experience, this dynamic was more common with men than with women.
But I think the feelings I expressed are likely common among many people of many genders and orientations who find it hard to walk away from toxic partners, and I don't want to erase experiences outside of a hetero context.
(Also don't want to erase the experiences of men who are abused by women, who likely feel an even more intense version of denial because no one believes men can be abused)
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