Yes. Thank you so very much for this, Crystal. You make fantastic points, all throughout. I’ve wondered too why so many people throw around the word “narcissist” without seeming to realize it’s a formal diagnosis they aren’t qualified to make. You're right about shame and denial causing people to avoid terms like “abuse” and “abusive”… but I’d like to add another reason I suspect:
While mental health problems meet with a lot of stigma, we also tend to think of sufferers as “victims." By contrast, survivors/victims of OTHER people’s hurtful behaviors can face a lot of pushback in society anytime they make accusations. To the tune of responses like:
“Are you SURE this was abuse? But maybe they didn’t MEAN it that way… I don’t know, you must've been somehow responsible for how they treated you... you must’ve done something that triggered that kind of response from them... or maybe you just weren't communicating well enough. I mean, it takes two to tango, it had to be a two-way street. It’s really a bit much to accuse somebody, so it’s not fair to call them an abuser…”
But it’s time to change that. And that’s part of the reason why your piece makes me so happy! Thank you thank you thank you!!!