Sunday, June 5, 2016

Harnessing the Power of an Abuser to Defeat Them

An abuser can seem emotionally needy. You can get caught in a trap of catering to him, trying to fill a bottomless pit. But he’s not so much needy as entitled, so no matter how much you give him, it will never be enough. He will just keep coming up with more demands because he believes his needs are your responsibility, until you feel drained down to nothing. - Lundy Bancroft

The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as obvious. - Lundy Bancroft

The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others. - Albert Schweitzer

The #1206 “fiction” series continues …

Abigail sat in a quiet coffee shop, staring at her laptop screen.  She had endured one legal form after another for many months and still they kept coming.

“Will this thing ever end?”, she sighed to herself.

Sometimes she wondered if the system was designed to protect the people who hurt others.

“That couldn’t be true, could it?”, she thought to herself, “Maybe it was easier to give up and go back to him.  It seems less stressful than this.”

Her phone rang and she glanced at it for a moment before answering it.

She spoke to the man on the other end of the line for a few minutes but was suddenly surprised when he interrupted her, asking her what was really going on in her Life.

She hesitated a moment, wondering what to say and then said “Well, I’ve had a problem with him for about a year or so …..”

Suddenly the phone was taken out of her hand by a man who sat down across from her.

“Hello”, the man said into the phone, “My name is Gabriel.  Here is what is happening.  Abigail was emotionally and physically abused by her husband for many years and when he died, her son took over.  He has extended the abuse to …..”

Abigail waved her hands and shook her fists in anger at Gabriel as he outlined to the person on the other end of the phone about the 30+ years of abuse that Abigail had endured from her husband and now her son.

Gabriel listened for a few minutes as the voice on the other end of the call thanked him for bringing clarity to some things he had suspected for a long time.  Gabriel thanked him for listening, ended the call and passed the phone back to Abigail.

“What the hell did you do that for?”, Abigail asked, “Who the hell are you?  That’s nobody else’s business.”

Gabriel smiled at Abigail as he allowed her to release her anger against him.

When he felt she was done, he held up his hand to silence her.

“Before I answer your questions, I’d like to tell you a story”, Gabriel began.

Abigail started to protest but the look in Gabriel’s eyes silenced her.

“Good”, said Gabriel, “Blessed silence.”

He continued.

“There once was a friend of mine who was bullied incessantly in school, with some bullies accompanying him for his entire school Life, taunting him from grade 1 or 2 right up to when he graduated high school.  They did everything they could to keep him down to their level, a level filled with pain, anxiety and a desire to go nowhere in Life.”

“What happened to him?”, asked Abigail.

“Oh, he grew up and went on to quite a successful career”, replied Gabriel, “But it didn’t come without help along the way from people who helped him when he needed it the most.”

“In fact”, continued Gabriel, “They were sent to serve people and when their job was done, they left but he never forgot them.”

“What do you mean?", she asked.

“Well”, replied Gabriel, “One of them died of heart failure a year after high school.  Another, after helping her children get a good start at Life, took her own Life as the pain she had helped others overcome for years became too much for her to carry.  He still stops by to visit their burial places every year when he is in his hometown.”

“Why are you telling me this?”, asked Abigail.

“Excellent question”, replied Gabriel, “This man went on to a very successful career, far exceeding any plans he or anyone else had for him.  However, he never forgot what could have happened had the bullies of his youth been successful in destroying his belief in himself.  He also never forgot what people had done for him without any reward for themselves.  As the years went by and he became more enabled to help others, he realized that his experiences were not unique and that there were many people out there who sought to hurt or diminish others.  He believed that his career and Life experiences had prepared him to help others and so he set about to serve others and to lift them out of abusive situations.”

“Wow”, said Abigail quietly, “He must have been very bitter.”

“Not so”, replied Gabriel, “He had no patience for those who hurt others but he was always willing to find ways for people to heal themselves if they were earnest and honest about doing so.  Some years ago, he had returned home and found himself at a gas station standing next to someone who had bullied him as a child.  The person he observed was poorly dressed and had no teeth.  He introduced himself to “the bully” and instead of the bully responding harshly, the bully started speaking to him about how he was trying to turn his Life around.”

Gabriel paused but Abigail said nothing.

“My friend listened to the bully for a while before taking out a business card and offering it to him.  He told the bully that if he could help him in any way, then he should reach out to my friend.  The bully looked up at him with tears in his eyes and asked “Would you really do that for me?” to which my friend replied “Of course”.”

“They said goodbyes and went on to live their respective lives.  Two weeks later, my friend received a call telling him that “the bully” had died suddenly of a heart attack, not having reached his goal of turning his Life around.”

Abigail sat for a moment, taking in the story before saying quietly, “Life is short.”

“Yes it is”, replied Gabriel.

They sat in silence for a while.

Gabriel cleared is throat and began to speak.

“My friend has helped a lot of people overcome abuse over the years.  Do you know why he does it?”, Gabriel asked as he stared intently at Abigail.

Abigail shook her head but said nothing.

“Every time he sees someone battered or bullied”, began Gabriel, “He sees himself in their place.  He remembers how alone or afraid he felt and he thinks about what would have happened if they had been successful in diminishing his Spirit.  He doesn’t do this on purpose.  He actually can’t help it and in some strange unusual transference, he sees the person’s bullies and batterers as the ones who sought to diminish him as a child.”

Abigail swallowed hard, wondering what kind of person this was.

“He knows that his Life became what it was not only because he didn’t give up but because other people entered his Life at the right moments and lifted him in just the right ways.  They didn’t stay in his Life forever but he never forgot them and felt that to honor their gift to him, that he needed to do the same for others.”

“By the same token”, Gabriel continued, “while he has a zero tolerance policy for bullies and batterers, he never fought them head-to-head at their level because he knew this would only fuel what drives them.  He realized that his career provided much smarter, more effective ways of nullifying their negativity than direct, useless, angry confrontations.  In cases like the bully he met years later, he demonstrated that he could forgive but only if the person knew they needed to change their lives.  He did this because he knew that the man standing before him would be a great asset in helping prevent abuse of others.”

“Unfortunately that didn’t come to fruition”, said Gabriel quietly, “Life is short, as you noted.”

“When my friend sees someone else bullied or battered”, concluded Gabriel, “He simply must help them.  He feels that to not do so would not honor those people who helped him.  He also wants the battered and bullied to have a taste of the Life he has enjoyed, a Life only possible when one shakes off the yoke of intimidation, diminishment and abuse.  He sees your abuser as abusing him as a child.  Maybe it’s twisted but everyone has a motivation that is often unseen or not easily understood.”

“Wouldn’t he want to release this feeling and move on?”, asked Abigail.

“Why?”, replied Gabriel, “It provides him with a great sense of purpose beyond merely building successful companies.”

“Do you know what he would say to you?”, Gabriel asked, staring in her eyes intently.

“What?”, Abigail replied, unable to look away from his penetrating gaze.

“He would tell you to stand up for yourself and honor the divine Spirit within you.  You are worthy of so much more than an abuser wants you to believe of yourself.  You have aspirations and talents that will take you far in your Life.  Your abuser doesn’t want you to see this and in fact, wants you to see a Life constrained by their narrow view of the world and themselves.  In your weakest moments, fight the voice in your head that wants to give up and give in to the bully’s incessant pressure to diminish yourself.  If you give up, you trade away your Life, giving it to them to use in any way they see fit.  Unfortunately, they way they see it is filled with pain, hurt and diminishment for you.”

Gabriel paused for a moment.

“Forgive the expression”, he said, “But you are seen as a piece of worthless shit and will be seen and used as such until your end comes, whether that end be physical, emotional, financial or anything else.”

Abigail sat in silence, taking in the stranger’s story.

Gabriel nodded towards her cell phone.  “When you told your friend that this problem was a year in the making”, he said, “You in fact were lying not only to him but to yourself and to the Universe.  A friend asked you what was wrong and because you were embarrassed or didn’t want the world to know your secret, you diminished the problem.  Playing down a problem when the Universe sends someone to you tells the Universe you are in denial, inviting more complex, painful lessons to be imparted upon you until you are ready to accept and speak your truth.”

“When you speak your truth loudly”, continued Gabriel, “You invite the Universe to send people to you who will help you, just as my friend received help when he needed it.”

“Always speak your truth, Abigail”, said Gabriel as he stared at her intently.  “Acknowledge your truth, demand that which honors your Spirit and never allow anyone to diminish you. Help comes to those who do this.”

“And when I can’t do this?”, Abigail asked.

“In your weak moments, that’s when people like me show up in your Life”, replied Gabriel, his eyes glittering as he smiled.

He paused for a moment.

“After all", he said as he smiled, “The batterer who hurts you hurts me.”

Abigail’s eyes welled up as she realized what he had just said.

“And I really don’t want to be hurt”, replied Gabriel as he saw the truth dawning in her eyes, “I have too much living left to live.”

“So do you”, he said quietly.

Abigail’s eyes were momentarily blinded by the tears that flowed and she put her head down and wiped them.

Looking up to ask Gabriel a question, she realized ….

…. that she was alone.

To be continued.

© 2016 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved


The story you have just read is a true story.  I am sending it as a long distance dedication to "Veronica" (name changed to protect her identity - she knows who she is).

We all have “Veronica’s” around us but we may not know their story or may know it but choose not to get involved.

It matters that we get involved.  CBC Television aired a program that demonstrates what happens when we don't take the subject of domestic abuse seriously.  The story of Basil Borutski, accused of the first degree murder of three domestic partners, can be found here.

As for Gabriel’s admission, I understand his position completely.

I am Gabriel.

And while bullies like Clifford, Gilbert, Barry, Paul and other people sought to diminish me over the years, I went on to a career that was filled with blessings.  Donna, who died in her first year of university, Bonnie who took her own Life when her demons overcame her and Tim who tried to turn his Life around but was cut short before he could do so, remind me that we are called to serve and that Life is short.

While IPOs and other things fill my Life and produce the most “awards”, the greatest “rewards” come from serving others.

We are given Life context for a reason.

Seeing this reason and doing something with it matters.

I could think harsh things about the bullies early in my Life who sought to diminish me but instead, I thank them.

They propelled me in ways they hadn’t hoped for and while I didn’t always know what I wanted, I knew what I didn’t want.

I also learned what I couldn’t accept, something that drives me to serve those who feel they are unworthy or who feel the pressure of others who want them to feel this way.

I know what it means when someone doesn’t let you fall and to honor them, I can’t let others fall either.

Oftentimes, the great career we build merely exists to provide us with the tools and abilities to accomplish something totally unrelated.  I believe that our lives are directed by a Higher Authority who fills our Life with experiences with a purposeful intention that goes far beyond the mundane lives we live.

Have you ever felt this way?

Someone is waiting for you to answer this question with your own truths.

What are you waiting for?

Series Origin

This series, a departure from my usual musings, is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks as well as my own professional background as a Wall St. / Fortune 25 strategy advisor and large-scale technology architect.

While this musing is just “fiction” (note the quotes) and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)

This “fictional” musing is a continuation of the #1206 series noted here.