Oriana Fallaci was the first person I heard say you cannot negotiate with terrorists, and as we know, the question there is who is a terrorist.
But it is a fact you cannot negotiate with abusers. If you remember this, you can safely extricate yourself from an abusive situation — if you have somewhere else to go, of course.
You can require things of abusers. You can even work with them. But you cannot expect good faith negotiation or collaborative communication of any kind.
It is important to remember that when your attempts to make your position known to an abuser are met with hostility or ridicule, it is not poor communication on your part.
It is also important to remember that if you have abusive people around you it is not necessarily due to some failing on your part — you could be living in an abusive culture.
Finally, it is important to remember that abusers have allies. They may be very nice to your friends, feed the poor, be good at their jobs, and volunteer all over town. They may constantly do favors for other people.
This is part of their cover, their game. So when someone tells you, “but ze did do a nice thing for someone,” it does not mean that ze is not abusing you.
My birthday has now morphed into Christmas Eve, as it tends to do each year. But where I was born the evening is younger. That gives me the time to confer, once again, this knowledge upon myself.
I tend to lament the fact that these kinds of relationships, with Reeducation being the main one, have limited my life to some degree.
Yet from the point of view of Olodumare whom we celebrate tomorrow and every Friday, becoming free at last is the great project and adventure of my life.