When Writing Becomes Difficult

Written by on July 3, 2013 in Conversations on the Healing Journey with 6 Comments
holding hands

Photographer Unknown

I’ll be writing more about covert abuse today. But writing about this topic is challenging. It’s depressing. I find it difficult to continue on this subject for very long. The process entails harvesting years of personal experience, looking at my family of origin and every dysfunctional relationship I have gravitated towards throughout most of my adult life.

But I know this is useful…not only to myself but to others. What haunts me is the confusion and disorientation I have experienced most of my life dealing with people for whom relating to others was synonymous with manipulating them.

What is most painful to me is looking back and seeing the sheer magnitude of my naivete, to see how it was taken advantage of in situations where I offered complete — and unmerited — trust to predators or just users happy to take advantage of whatever was thrown into their laps. And to know this is what I was groomed for.

However, what I was born with was and is an analytical mind. I dissect situations…and I interpret poems.

When you think of it, it’s a very similar process. A poem, which is a thing of beauty, carries its message within images, color, emotions. It does not give up its meaning easily. It requires interpretation.

Covert abuse is not a poem. There is nothing beautiful about it. But it does require the same kind of skill to read behind and between the lines, to interpret what is before you, to get to the truth behind the spin of swirling color and false representations.

Maybe that’s why I can help delineate some of the dynamics behind what is covert abuse…because I’m an artist.

But an artist cannot live in arid places too long, and covert abuse is arid with no heart, no soul, just intensity like baking heat, deluding itself into thinking that intensity is the same as passion. Covert abuse is a desert where nothing can live, not even cactus.

Covert abuse isn’t a person, though a name may pop up when we read about it. Covert abuse is a dynamic, a choice, and while there are those who live their entire lives in that space, it’s important to remember that while it can be a part of humanity, it’s not the entirety of humanity.

And this is what I need to remember, and this is what is so easy to forget when you spend hours writing about it. But write about it I must and write about it I will. Because I’ve been there, and I did not have anyone for the longest time to reach out a hand and help me navigate out of the craziness that covert abuse is.

These words is that hand and it’s extended to you if you need it. You’re not alone.

~Demian Yumei

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About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, uses spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. She's a long time traveler on the healing journey and has a lifelong love affair with the creative process. .


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  • Lady Nyo says:

    I am so glad I found you…and this blog.  It’s been many years before I found the company of those also recovering from abuse…family and marriage abuse, and yes, friends, too. 
    No, it is not the entire of humanity, but for some of us…many of us, it takes up a lot of space. We are smothered, strangled with it, until we get our feet under ourselves, and are able to break free and run.
    Thank you for your post.
    Lady Nyo

    • DemianYumei says:

      Lady Nyo Welcome, Lady Nyo! Very happy to meet you 🙂 You’re certainly right about it taking up a lot of space. I was just thinking about how much of my life abusive relationships and dynamics have consumed, and while that thought can be depressing I am very grateful things are different *now* and for growing awareness. Lots of pieces to recover, but it’s happening…
      Amazing how much spinning your wheels you can do if you don’t know what you’re dealing with. Lots of expended energy and never going anywhere…either in that relationship or in others where you’re just swapping partners but not changing the dynamics. 
      Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate the encouragement! 

  • Doc says:

    I am enjoying your blog. I’m a male who suffered anger issues (drug related) and , well to be blunt, became a bit of a monster. Verbally abusive – but this is something I am curious about in itself as I sit reading blogs and writing one even as I try to figure out how to do what is right and desired by my wife. Verbal abuse has been directed at me often. I have made HUGE mistakes (well, relatively perhaps not, but BIG enough to have a troubled marriage. But, sincerely, why do so many ‘are you abused?’ websites seem to …assume the husband is abusive and at complete fault, though abuse from wife seems NEVER  mentioned? Please understand I don’t mean this as a accusation or any thing like it, I just wonder is verbal abuse or covert abuse REALLY as exclusive (opposed to female to male abuse)?
    I take responsibility for my actions and am actively changing. I WANT to be informed. to be sure I am not ‘covertly abusive’ or anything remotely like it. I just can’t believe that females are the only ones verbally abused to the degree one would guess from the blogworld. But then, is it a female who is more likely to discuss openly, thus the difference? still so many sites seem to have no tone of wanting a troubled marriage to work. It sometimes seems like blame and support without many blooggers taking any responsibility.
    Again, please know this is a general question and not meant to imply anything of you or your blog.

    • DemianYumei says:

      @Doc Hi Doc, and welcome to this blog! Thank you for your comment. You raise a valid question. I do not believe, and it has not been my experience that males are the only ones who verbally abuse. Perhaps if you google “verbal abuse” you may find more blogs that are written from the perspective that highlights verbal abuse from males. It may be true that females are more likely to express their feelings and experiences in this manner than men. That, however, doesn’t mean fewer men than women are verbally abused. I suspect that is not the case. 
      II would welcome more men to join their voices to this discussion on covert abuse. It’s hard, I think, for men to admit they’ve been victimized by verbal abuse. If women don’t like being looked at like they’re crazy when they’ve been gas lighted, then I can imagine it’s even harder for a man who is not only seen as crazy but weak. Perhaps verbal abuse might generally look different when directed toward men than women…but maybe not. I’m wary of making too many generalizations based on gender. 
      I have read blogs that do acknowledge the existence of women verbal abusers, but since many blogs are written from personal experiences out of heterosexual relationships and it appears the majority of the authors are females it’s not surprising to have that slant when writing about intimate relationships. However, I think if you look further, there are a good number of blogs and/or individual posts about verbally abusive sisters, mothers, aunts, etc. So I don’t believe the general blogosphere is claiming only men verbally abuse. I think a lot depends on the context, who is likely to write and what words you google.
      If you google “relational aggression” you will find lots of material about that form of covert abuse, which entails manipulating relationships and verbal abuse — as a female form of aggression. Many of these blogs and articles will explicitly state or imply that it is a uniquely female phenomenon. It is not. 
      This is one of the reasons why I use “they” as a pronoun a lot in my writing. Not because I’m grammatically challenged — I KNOW I’m breaking the rules — but because I want to include both sexes in the use of covert abuse and it’s varying forms. I prefer the plural “they or them” to include both male and female as a truly neutral pronoun — rather than the so-called sex specific generic pronoun or the cumbersome he/she usage. I’d rather forgo the singular/plural agreement than do the mental gymnastics required to see a female in my head “too” when I read the word “he” or “him”. 
      However, I do know that when I write from my own perspective I can become sex specific as I draw from personal experience. I will try to be more mindful of that in my writing. But sometimes when I write it is right for me to write as I experienced it. This blog, like many others is not an academic study but a story unfolding. 
      As far as blame and support without many bloggers taking any responsibility…personal responsibility varies. I think of personal blogs as public diaries. People write what they will. They serve as springboards of thought and discussion for me. Sometimes I join in a public discussion. More often than not, I just take in ideas for analysis and germination for whatever they are worth. If I feel strongly about something I may post on their blog or it may turn into an article on mine.
      I would be interested in reading your blog. Please feel free to post it here as a resource.  I will be more mindful as I write. I appreciate and respect your self honesty and decision to make better choices for yourself and in your relationship. Good luck on your healing journey.

  • guest says:

    Once again, your words are right on. When reading your reference to, “every dysfunctional relationship I have gravitated towards throughout most of my adult life”, I felt as if you were talking about me. It is this trend in my own life that led me to your blog. It is painful to reflect on this and frightening to think that the next relationship could lead to more chaos, more pain, How do you develop a healthy balance between trust and self-protection?

    • DemianYumei says:

      @guest Still working on it, dear guest 🙂
      Consider this: If you are in a state of mind where you can reflect on your tendency to gravitate toward dysfunctional relationships, then you are in a place where you can make different choices. Not that they may necessarily be easy, but as you grow in your healing you will experience an inner change. What used to attract me became more and more repulsive to me over time. That’s a good thing.

      As far as trust goes…it needs to be earned…from others and from yourself. Give yourself time to heal and grow and let you show yourself you can make kind and loving decisions that honor you — first in little things, then a bit larger and then even larger.
      I think finding a balance is a lifelong endeavor — for everyone. Why should it be any different for those of us who have had less than stellar relationships? 
      Easy to be horrified when we begin to see the depth of our dysfunction or bad choices, but I think it’s good to just stop a moment, and let it sink in that we couldn’t really see it if we were still in the depth of it…so we’re making progress!
      It will be better. Wishing you gentle and tender moments in your healing.

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