Description: This video is about one important early, early form of abuse – pressuring. It explains why pressuring is negative in relationships. It also tells why – being a victim is abusive. That is, the giving in, to pressuring is actually encouraging a destructive behavior. Thus it is equally abusive. The giving in to pressuring is the covert, subtle, sneaky half of the same early warning sign: pressuring.
Transcript: [Intro] SeeThePink.com [Applause]
I’m going to tell you a bit of the beginning of the story of Sarah and Tyler. But first, how their relationship played out: is that they were married for more than 10 years. Tyler was a minister; Sarah, a minister’s wife. They had a child. And Tyler was very physically violent to Sarah, before she finally divorced him.
So, What happened in the very beginning of their relationship, if anything, that might have portended the physical violence to come?
Let’s go way, way back to when they first met. Sarah moved away from home for the first time, to attend college from her home in Georgia, all the way up North. She’s a Freshman at college. And she was there on a full academic scholarship. The type of scholarship she had, she was probably in the top 10% of intellect in this country. And so, she was a bit worried, would she – frankly, would she be able to meet someone who matched her on her level of intellect, as well as her faith – because she was deeply religious. So, when she met Tyler she was really impressed to find out, not only was he a graduate student, but his major was Ministry. So they were really impressed with each other.
This is early on in their dating. It’s late at night. Tyler is in his house, in his bed. Sarah is in her dorm room, about to get in bed, and they’re talking on the phone.
And Sarah says to me, the researcher, what was going on in her at the time: I remember wanting to hang up, but, not wanting to be the one who hung up. So I said to him, “Uh, Tyler, well, I guess I should get off the phone now. I ought to be getting ready for, for bed.”
Tyler: “Ah, Sarah, come on now. Just, stay on the phone with me, a little longer [Yawns, and stretches out.] Aaaaaah, hummm, I’m in bed. I’m about to go to sleep. I know—hey, you get ready and get in bed too, and let’s fall asleep together on the phone”.
Sarah says to Researcher: He actually wanted us to fall asleep on the phone talking, which reeeeallllly upset my roommate in case someone else wanted to call!
Looking back, I’m like, “That was just, weird. [Audience laughs.] But it was, I guess, it was so much, What do you call it? Togetherness! That he didn’t even want to get off the phone. I agreed to it. I wouldn’t do that now.”
So, Sarah said that when she and Tyler talked on phone, often she wanted the conversation to end, but he didn’t. So she pushed down her own sense of discomfort. She was even willing to accept dagger eyes, the dagger eyes, coming from her roommate, in order to avoid even risking, that her ending the phone call would cause Tyler any discomfort.
What you just saw here, was an example of pressuring, and the giving into pressuring, a subtle case of how it happens in the very beginning of a relationship.
Imagine a circle. I think of pressuring as the more, is the overt half of this early warning sign of violence. And the giving in to pressuring is like the subtle, covert, sneaky half, of this same early warning sign.
Pressuring is continuing to try to get your way, when someone has said “No” or when they’ve said they want to do something else, such as get off the phone. And pressuring is actually disrespecting a person. Because, when you respect someone, you believe they’re important. And pressuring is saying, “I, am not, caring, if you’re, uncomfortable with this. I want, to get, what, I, want!” So ask yourself, Would you pressure someone, whom you really value, respect, admire?
Now the giving into pressuring, Sarah said that her giving in to Tyler’s pressuring, wasn’t just about his pressuring her, or as they often say, “The perpetrator isolates the victim.” Or, “He made her, give him, her time.” She said it wasn’t like that at all. That she eagerly, wanted to spend her time with him. She chose to put herself under stress so that she could be with him until the very last minute.
Now, it’s difficult for many folks, including me sometimes, to wrap our minds around this idea that the tolerating of abusive behavior is just as destructive, as abusive, as the perpetrating, the overt half of that behavior. Here’s what I say to myself that helps me to keep this in mind and remember it.
Every time a person tolerates abuse, the “abuser” – dislikes himself a little bit more inside. Because he just got away with what he knows, deep down inside, is a destructive behavior. So he dislikes himself a little bit more.
What do people do when they dislike themselves a little bit more? Audience member: They are more violent. Exactly! They are more likely to repeat the behavior, and to escalate it. So Sarah has just hurt him, by tolerating his pressuring.
Because, when we really care for someone, we don’t tolerate destructive behavior from them. We hold them to a high standard of behavior. If Sarah, uh, this is what Sarah could have said to him, when he was pressuring her. She could have said something like, “Tyler, I know, you’re, a better man, than this. Please, keep, this behavior, out of (flirty voice) your repertoire of behaviors for getting what you want.”
And if he had continued that behavior, if he didn’t believe he was better than that, she would have walked away from the relationship. Because she knows that over time, he would lose respect for her, for tolerating his destructive behavior, and more for himself. And that their relationship would then spiral downward.
I have brought it into our consciousness more, that pressuring is abuse! It’s an early, early, abuse in an early, early, early form. It’s destructive to our relationships. And I think that we know that deep down inside, but many times, we don’t want to admit it to ourselves, or acknowledge it.
The giving-in to pressuring – they call it “enabling,” but it’s actually much more than that. It is – giving in, is actually encouraging the destructive behavior.
May we, stick to our guns, my prayer for us is that we stick to our guns when somebody is pressuring us! Because to do so, there’s a higher, higher reason for it, than simply ourselves – than simply Sarah’s, um, you know self-care of saying, “I want to get off the phone now, because I need to do my nightly chores, and get ready for bed”. And that higher reason is – truly caring about the other – about him.
[Applause] [Outro] SeeThePink.com