Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What it Means to Defend

You see, for me, "defense" and "love" go hand-in-hand, one can not exist without the other. When you love something or someone, you practice basic defense techniques when verifiable harm comes their way. But, if that's true, you might ask, why are there people out there who would jump to defend someone else's child from some perceived threat? I can't speak for everyone. But for me, I do have a genuine love for all children, and an even broader love for the rights of all humans. So in defending a child that is not mine, love is still present, it's just a different kind of love than what I feel for my own children. But the instinct is still there to protect those who are being attacked or threatened. I feel that it is my job, my duty, my responsibility to defend the innocent from harm when it is within the realm of possibility.

A narc reading the above statements would, no doubt, turn around and say, "Well, I love my son/friend and therefore I am trying to defend him from his evil, manipulative, cowardly, heinous, ugly, stupid, crazy, [on and on ad nauseum] bitch of a wife." Let's be clear that this is not the type of defending I am referring to. When my husband says he is happy with his choices, he loves his wife, and that people need to put an end to their viscous attacks "in the name of love" then he is calling a cease-fire on those behaviors because they are no longer legitimate defense techniques. I am well aware that people like NMIL and EFIL, OG1 and Exhibit A are all acting under the notion that they are "rescuing DH" from my "evil grasp." The problem is that he asked them not to, and they are choosing to ignore his request because they have some lingering sense of entitlement. That means they are not defending him, they are attacking him and his choices. They are attacking me. They are continuing to claim "ownership" of a person who never should have been objectified in the first place. The following is an example of "bad defense" where NMIL was attempting to defend her Self by pitting one child against the other, demonizing me, and objectifying DH. In an email to DH prior to the birth of our DD, she wrote:

I think SIL feels left out a little – you know it hard to lose a brother when he becomes a man and not a big toy.

At what point was DH ever a "big toy?" And why, pray tell, is SIL supposed to feel included in the birth of our child or our marriage? Furthermore, when does a brother getting married and having a baby mean that he has been "lost?" Again, NMIL is a woman who claims her actions are a direct result of her "pure" intention to "protect" and "help" her son. In reality, she's just protecting herself from whatever threat she has perceived on her person. The threat she sees is, of course, me.

So the above is NOT the kind of defense I am talking about - when a person perceives that their own Self is under attack. Acting in the name of love for another human being in order to protect yourself from some perceived threat is not really loving, it's selfish. Instead, I am referring to the kind of defense that occurs when you take the hit so that your loved one does not. True defense starts with an instantly alert, almost panicked feeling that springs up when you see genuine harm making it's way toward your loved one. I'm not talking about forcing your kids to wear gloves outside because you are afraid they'll pick up germs and catch a cold. I'm talking about the split-second decision to stick YOUR arm in the way of the door to prevent it from slamming on a child's arm.

Defense sometimes starts with words, but it must always end with action. I know this concept must be a really hard one for ACoNs to understand, because you have been trained to take and take and take and never defend. When you have trouble defending yourself, it must be an even more difficult of an undertaking to protect someone else. But when we get down to the wire, really loving someone means that you are willing to put yourself in the direct line of fire to protect that someone from being hurt. True defense happens when you accept your own pain and suffering, when you rise against your own fears, and when you acknowledge that you may be hurt in the process. When you are ready to take the bullet, then you are practicing true defense and are showing your love to the fullest extent.

OG1 opened up her conniving criticism at DH by claiming to "really care" about him. I saw no caring in her words. Instead, I saw a person who felt some threat to her Self, and sought to lash out at the husband of the offending party. I saw a person who never once asked how DH felt about the situation or acknowledged his request that she talk to me instead of attack him. I saw a person who believed an explanation was owed to her because she feels ownership of DH for having known him longer than me.

It seems that DH was surrounded by people who revoked their love when he defended himself, and so he just learned how not to. But I have this to say: he is unlearning those unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors and teaching himself what it means to "defend." He has found that love and defense go hand in hand, because it's what I have been showing him all along. Love trumps hate, every time folks. You can't force us to drink your Haterade. DH may have struggled with putting up his shields and going on the offensive in the past but not anymore. I know that DH loves me. And with love, defense is not far behind.

8 comments:

  1. When my DH defended me, from my family's vicious criticisms, they called him "disrespectful" and "hurtful." The worst damage my FOO has done over the course of my Truth Campaign is hate on DH. Spread lies about him to their friends. Post bullshit alluding to him on FB. Try to turn me against him. The idea that he is my partner in life seems eternally lost on them. I'm afraid the damage is too great to ever really heal, especially since they are hell-bent on holding onto their pride.

    They may believe they are trying to defend me from my "evil abusive spouse" - but when the truth is he is a loving, supportive partner - it all becomes a manipulation. Sad because I feel that is the worst thing they've done, and I don't believe they'll ever be sorry for it.

    xo
    upsi

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  2. I'm feeling it, Upsi. NMIL and her crew have done the very same thing to me. I know how your DH feels. I even understand how you feel because I can see it in my DH.

    We're all in this together, telling our horror stories around the campfire.

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  3. Ooh, big toy. That's what an ACON is, all right.

    To tell the truth, I've ALWAYS been MUCH better at defending ANYONE and EVERYONE else, just not myself. I still vaguely think it a sin to stand up for myself, but will happily stand up for others. It's been a joy, for instance, telling my NF "Back off from my daughter and APOLOGIZE for telling her HOW to color in her coloring book!"

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  4. PA - I'm glad to hear that you were at least able/willing to defend others, even if you could not (at the time) defend yourself. That is definitely a step in the right direction. To go from there, it's all about learning how to apply those skills to protect yourself.

    I'm super impressed that you are confident to protect your DD when she needs you. Awesome.

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  5. i've always been really sensitive to injustice too. even though i now recognize extreme holes in my self-defense in the past.
    i even defended my dad when my mom would unjustly criticize him in front of me. HAH. he didn't appreciate it and he doesn't do the same for me so i'm done with that. that's none of my buzznass anymore.
    another thing that comes to mind is there was this really obnoxious mean assholey science teacher we had in highschool. gunther. everyone hated him. he would punish us with extra assignments if we did something wrong. he was sarcastic and sneering and condescending towards us. moody and just abusing his teacherly power and actually talking crap about his students. he made the whole class pretty tense. once i had to roll my eyes at him. and he saw me. and i didn't care what he said. my classmates called me brave and a hero after that. though i felt kind of embarrassed afterwards, for being 'out of line'. but i just couldn't take his bullshit and why no one called him out on that crap. so i'm kind of proud of myself now.

    another thing that comes to mind was in college, with my roomies. we had this one big bully of a roomie, loud, superficial, lying, weaseling, always finding some way or excuse to get out of responsibilities and to get stuff for her advantage. we were setting up for a party and when me and her were getting some stuff ready, she started badmouthing my other roomies, saying 'why do we have to be doing this. where are M and N? they're so lazy.' i couldn't believe it. M and N are the opposite of lazy. theyre extremely geeky studious people. and at that moment, they were out buying party stuff, which we BOTH knew. SHE was the one who was lazy and vacuous and vapid. all talk. even though everyone else seemed intimidated by her, (she was big, healthy, and strong. and extroverted.) i freaking stood up for my roomies. i was like WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. THEYRE NOT LAZY. WTF. she got all surprised and defensive saying 'hey, why are you getting mad, i'm not even talking about you.' i didn't care. she was so FULL of shit.
    that said though, i dont think N and M would have done the same for me, and it was kind of a wasted effort. still man was she just vapid full-of-herself blah blah blah.

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  6. I've always championed the underdog...taught the special ed. kids no one else wanted to teach, rescued dogs and cats, stood up for my big brother when my NF beat him... These things made me an object of ridicule by the NPs.

    Another thing is normal parents WANT their kids to grow-up and create their own families with loving partners. These fruit cakes think that means their kids are lost???

    Fuck 'em!

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  7. Sigh... how did I miss all these entries? Hmmm.... Blogger probably. Interestingly enough, the last few days have been leading up to this, or at least they all tie in amazingly well. I first started learning to defend when I had my dog. I couldn't defend me, but I would defend her whenever the Narcs called her dumby or stupid or yelled at her because they were mad. Not acceptable. Couldn't do it for me though. Then when BPB pinched me, again, and I decided enough was enough, my counselor had me write a letter to the daughter I don't have, telling her what she didn't have to put up with, and then he asked why I had to put up with all of it. I'm learning to be a defender. The problem with the Narcs is that ACoN are not real people, they are extensions of themselves, so they have to keep them in line. Keep up the good fight!

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  8. I'm so extremely lucky that my NM hasn't resorted to these tactics to try and get at me. She's tried going THROUGH my wife to get to me, and she still treats my wife with some modicum of respect. I think my folks think she's the weak link. They've often emailed her saying that they understand that she has to stand by her husbands side, BUT...

    I feel your love and commitment with each post, Jonsi and and I can't emphasize enough how lucky you and DH are to have each other. It's tough to weather these kinds of beatings. If only our Ns knew that this usually drives the targets closer together rather than tearing them apart...

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