I've recently spent a lot of effort trying to find, recover, reconnect, embrace, strengthen and grow my inner child, my actual identity, what I'm comfortable being. Now I figure that I feel abused when I perceive an assault against my identity.

I'm ok having had to study a shallow moralistic piece of literature at school. Having been expected to like it and embrace it, that feels like abuse.

I'm ok being told I made a mistake. Being humiliated for it, feels like abuse.

I'm ok being suggested how to avoid making a mistake. But being expected to promptly follow the advice and change my life accordingly, that feels like abuse.

Someone offers help in cleaning my house? Fine. Someone barges in, takes over my personal space and reshapes it as they see fit? That feels like abuse.

If I'm sad, a hug's great. If the hug comes with a surprise grope at my bottom, that feels like abuse. I would not be bothered about the sexual assault, but about the denial of my current state of mind. The denial of feelings. Forget who you are, how you feel, and just be my sexual object. When it begins to deny my identity, then it starts feeling like abuse.

Being taught that "when you love a person, you must..." feels like abuse.

Being expected to have sex and like it at another person's whim, regardless of my real feelings, feels like abuse.

Being expected to like to have sex, or not like to have sex, regardless of my real feelings, feels like abuse.

The concept of "marital duty" feels like abuse. Two people who are expected to demand and provide sex, just because they are married, regardless of what they actually feel or need.

The concept of "training your boyfriend" sounds to me like nonconsensual manipulation. Like Abuse.

A lot of dating advice? Abuse. Abuse. Abuse.

A relationship based on me faking my identity, in order to keep another person close to me who wouldn't be otherwise, sounds to me like a relationship based on mutual abuse.

Why do we even have the concept of love potions in our culture, in our fairy tales?

"For your own good", abuse. Luckily, there are alternatives.

Being called "nice boobies" when you want to be called "Elizabeth", feels to me like abuse.

Being called "geek" when you want to be called "Enrico", feels to me like abuse.

Being called a stereotype when I want to be recognised as an individual, feels like abuse. When I grow up in an environment where that is the accepted way of addressing people, and so I learn to do the same, then I feel abused and I'm taught to abuse.

I think I had some pretty abusive role models when I grew up.

Being asked to do something I don't want to? Fine. Telling me off because I do not like it? Abuse.

Despising me because I like something another person doesn't? Abuse.

Despising me because I don't like something another person likes? Abuse.

As a kid I quickly had to learn to figure out what a person liked or disliked, and pretend accordingly. To this day, I still have a problem answering the simple question "what would you like to do today?"

It feels like abuse when my identity is denied. When I cannot make mistakes. When I cannot be vulnerable. When I have to be happy. When I have to be sad. When I have to care. When I must not care. When it doesn't matter how I feel, who I am, but I just have to feel something, like something, be something.

For my own good. Because someone else knows better. Because "that's the thing you do". Because.

When I was a kid, I felt very uncomfortable when going to a carnival or to a theme park, because I felt an expectation to enjoy it, regardles of what I was really feeling. An effort was made to make me happy so I had to. It was a place where I was not free to have my own mood. Abuse.

The doctor would touch, knock, hit, tell me to do this or that, but would never ask me how I was feeling. He would tell me how I was feeling, and he must have been right. Abuse.

There was lots of abuse against my identity in my growing up. I had to learn to blend in to protect myself. I had to learn to please. I had to pretend I liked it all. I got good at pretending.

In order to be accepted as a person I needed to pretend to be someone else. And the person that ended up being accepted was not me.

In "A Wizard from Earthsea", Ged turns into a falcon to run away, but stays a falcon for too long, and forgets how to be a person again. The wizard Ogion turns him back by recognising him, accepting him, and speaking only one word: Ged's name.

I feel abused when I'm taken away from my identity, my feelings, my needs. I could even do that to myself, out of frustration, out of despair, out of habit.

I have started to recognise the moments when I'm not feeling abused, the people who accept me for what I am, there and then, who allow me to exist without judging me. I have started to accept all other moments as likely abuse attempts, and emotionally deal with them accordingly.

I have started to become conscious of when I'm abusing myself (this has been an interesting read), and stop, and ask myself why.