That said I have continued to observe, reflect and ruminate on the relationship between nice girls and Not So Nice's. There's a term called co-dependency that needs to be better understood. Not only in its manifestation of pain for the codependent, but also in its origins. I particularly like the definition proffered by Robert Subby as,
"an emotional, psychological, and behavioral condition that develops as a result of the individual's prolonged exposure to, and practice of, a set of oppressive rules--rules which prevent the open expression of feeling as well as the direct discussion of personal and interpersonal problems."What is important in this definition is that it strikes at the genesis of codependency. Look, I am not going to argue that Nice Gals don't sometimes become the bitches their tormentors proclaim them to be...but they get there as a result of having their tender feelings of love and nurture abused and violated. The oppressive set of rules is what started this damned roller coaster, and that is why the stigma about codependency needs to end. No one starts out codependent. They are trained to be so and become so only after their survival instincts respond to abuse.
And I get that abusers can become abusers after being abused. It definitely happens. But it's not always abuse that predicates abuse. Sometimes it is thwarted privilege that is experienced by the NSN as a abuse that spurs abuse. There is a difference, and while the result may look the same the distinction is important. Here's a great quote from most righteous commenter Humanbein on Twisty's blog that describes so well what I mean:
Yes, I agree. They justify their odious behavior because your time, energy and body are THEIRS GODDAMNIT and to the extent you express any agency over these basic human rights you are labelled as having comitted an act of aggression justifying retribution of a violent nature. And since all Nice Gals have been thoroughly trained in empathy and non aggression we recoil at such an accusation and commence to the soothing that perpetuates the codependency and abuse.
But go ahead and blame her. Blame her for being simultaneously too strong and too weak. Because that's fair. No catch-22 in that at all. Asshole.
Incidentally this whole Nigella Lawson being strangled by her husband during a conflict has had me in flashbacks and nightmares about that awful dungheap Hee Haw. This image basically encapsulates our communication. Nighty night.