In the shoes of others

Privileged people can still be abused

- I would like people to understand about me that although I grew up in a privileged background, it doesn't take away from the fact that privileged people can still be abused by their parents, and they can still be, within a system of oppression as a woman, even if you're in private school, even if you're in financially very privileged position, abuse doesn't discriminate. Everyone can be emotionally abusive, everyone can be physically abusive. And just because you have money, doesn't take away from how painful that experience is, and also I would like people not to judge, you know, someone who comes from a wealthier background, and think that just because they can pay for therapy and they can go to therapy, it doesn't undo the damage that's already been done. Yes, I'm in a more privileged position than other people who have been to therapy, but it doesn't take away from the fact that I'm still in pain. And I'd also like my partners not to judge me and be like « Yo, I can fix you! Because like I'm a maaaannn! And if I can't fix you, no one can! ». Fuck off with that shit! So yeah, that's what I would like...

- So, I assume that you've heard people saying basically things like « You have the money, you can go to therapy, so you shouldn't complain... », how does that make you feel when someone says that?

- Yes... I think what I feel is that like... I and a lot of people who have been emotionally abused, and there are similar traits to what happens across the board, whether you're rich, poor, or in the middle. So I think it would be better to have a conversation about how those things are affecting us, how socio-economic situations have put us in those positions, and then collectively come together and fight any future kind of oppression and stigma around kids who have been emotionally and physically abused in the past. And it makes me upset when people are like « Oh but you have a nice life at home » in terms of like « You're taken care of financially ». In some ways that's more of a manipulative trait because your parents will be like « Oh I'll cut you off » or « I won't give you money if you do these things » and then that can take away from your livelihood as well, so even if you grew up with money, it's not a guarantee to any kind of capacity, especially if you have narcissistic abusive parents...

- It sounds like at times you've been pushed to act in a certain way or another by your parents...

- Yes, and it's not what you always want, especially as a woman growing up in a British elitist society, you are told from a very young age how to conform, when to conform, how to act, how to speak, how to dress, and even that itself is a really difficult thing, because it takes away your individuality as a literal human being, and doesn't give you the space to grow as a person, and just basically refines you down to « You're a posh white gal who's growing up with money, stop complaining, you don't really know the struggle ». I don't know other people's struggles and I wanna learn about those struggles, and I want to help those people, but I would also like people to understand the struggles that I've been through as well. It's not a matter of who's gonna fucking lost, like, this is not the trauma olympics, everyone's got shit. Be there for everyone, in whatever capacity you can be.

- Is it a conversation you had with your parents?

- I think sometimes we got through, but other times it's better just to go on your own two feet, to get a job, walk away out of the situation and in some ways it's just better to just financially provide for yourself, and obviously I am in a position where I can get a job, and I can do that because university is like full time, but not as full time as you can't get a job and you know...

- How are you feeling today, growing up with this traumatic past?

- I think I feel foreign in a way, because the truth is when you go to university and you are financially stable, which I am at the moment, thank God, you get to enjoy your life for the first time as a person who is not constricted by the constraints of abuse, and that's a wonderful and beautiful thing to experience, to truly experience true individuality without any constraints. So yeah, I feel good today...

- I'm wondering, if you think of someone who told you « Oh you shouldn't complain », let's say this person would sit and just listen and try to understand... what would you say to this person?

- I would say « You don't know me, you don't know what I've been through, if I was to sit down and tell you what I've been through maybe that would help, but also it's not my emotional job, it's not my job to make you understand, it's not my job to tell you about my trauma so you can understand it, that's just retraumatizing yourself emotionally. So, I would say « Maybe go and do some research, maybe go and sit down and think about it, and also think about being kind, everyone is going through things you know nothing about, so be kind always ».

- What's the most important thing that you've learnt from this experience? I guess you never had another experience, we just have one life... maybe I should phrase it like... how having this background influences you today?

- I think it makes me want to work in the public sector with women who have been domestically abused, I'm deciding at the moment whether I want to retrain as a journalist or retrain as a psychotherapist, and I think the most important thing that we can do now, considering the mental health crisis that's happening, is to be kind, and also to utilize our skills to go into places and help other people. And I think this needs to be for men and women, because obviously women, I think in some respect are socialized to care more about other people, men are sometimes socialized to make money, it's the way that capitalism and the patriarchy work, so I think it needs to be for both men and women to work together, to try and combat the big mental health crisis that's happening at the moment.

- Thank you for addressing that... is there anything you would like to add around all of that?

- Hum... live your life by the principles of being kind, every single day to whoever you meet. Never judge someone's experience, and when someone tells you about their experience, just shut up and listen before you say anything. You can't fix their problems, all they need is an ear.

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