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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %ABUSE SUFFER ADDICT DEPEND RESCUE VICTIM RESPONSE 910303 There is much suffering in the world. Many innocent people are victimized by abusive people who engage in much violent activity. Many others try to be responsible and seek ways to minimize abuse, violence, and suffering; but it is often not clear what way will lead out of the cycle of abuse, suffering, misunderstanding, alienation and revenge;leading to more abusive behavior. Some people regard abusers as evil people who must be treated abusively to keep them from being abusive. Such people become abusive in their efforts to keep others from being abusive. Some people regard abusers as irresponsible people who must be controlled by coercive measures, in order to force irresponsible people into behaving responsibility. All too often the coercion becomes violent in one way or another, and the cycle of abuse is perpetuated through the misguided efforts to stop it. Some people feel that there is nothing that they can do to be of help, so they look the other way and pretend that there is no abuse, or that they cannot respond in ways which will long term lead to less abuse, victimization and violence. Abusive people tend to be people who have been abused at some point in their lives. Abuse can be active abuse which is relatively easy to recognize. Abuse can be passive abuse in which the absence of love, affection and honest dialogue leaves the victim harmed in much the same way that the victim of active abuse is harmed. Passive abuse of children and young people in the absence of active abuse, can lead to abused people who as adults engage in active abuse which is violent in obvious ways. The wisdom of the Twelve Step Programs patterned after those of Alcoholics Anonymous make clear that the abusive behavior of the alcoholic is rarely if ever stopped short of death in the absence of love, affection and honest dialogue. Well intended attempts to control abusive people drag the well intended controllers into the cycle of coercion and violence; and into the cycles of dishonesty about their behaviors, and about the bitter fruits of their behaviors. Non- addictive people cannot seriously try to control the behavior of addicts, without themselves thinking and behaving like the addictive people they try to control. The way to minimizing abuse does not involve engagement in sophisticated or brutal exercise of power to be in control. To minimize abuse we must take good care of ourselves, and not let ourselves get dragged into the thought patterns of abusers, as we try to deal with them. If we do not take good care of ourselves, we become tired and grumpy and more likely to do foolish things in frustration and anger; more likely to get dragged into the thought and behavior patterns of abusers. If we do not take good care of ourselves because we sacrifice ourselves in unhealthy ways in our efforts to take care of others; we become tired and resentful, and in our frustration cannot engage in honest dialogue, cannot be appropriately affectionate, and cannot be the instruments of Love. When we expect more of ourselves than we can reasonably expect, we end up frustrated and unable to be as helpful as we might be. To be helpful we must respect our limits. Being dishonest about our limits contributes to the cycle of abuse. It is not our responsibility to deal with all the abuse we become aware of, for that level of responsibility is beyond our limits to fulfill, and it is not helpful to anybody for us to concern ourselves with all abuse we know about. The most we can do is to responsibly take good care of ourselves and within our limitations give ourselves to honest dialogue, being appropriately affectionate and being authentic instruments of Love. When abused and abusive people encounter honest, affectionate and loving people, they may gain a vision of alternative ways of dealing with the pain of not knowing honest security, freely given in love and affection. There are risks involved and prudence is in order. Abused and abusive people need time to adjust to new possibilities, but they do need to be offered new possibilities; and they need to be free to make choices among a widening buffet of possibilities. They have known too few alternatives and most of them have involved abuse. They need to come to know non-abusive alternatives. Giving where abused people are coming from, non-abusive alternatives are likely to be viewed with great skepticism. Abused people are on the defensive for good reasons. They need to learn how to recognize new situations where it is not necessary to be on the defensive when being offered situations where they really and truly do not need to be on the defensive. Trying to control abused people just presents them with additional situations where they reasonably feel that they need to be on the defensive; and inevitably prone to abusive behavior. Then abused people will find it exceedingly difficult to believe that it is possible for there to be a situation where they do not have to be on the defensive. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================