Conflicted (Daniel / Milla)

by Milla –– she=he

I’m low on energy. Low on motivation. Low on love. Yesterday I had a short and upsetting talk with a man. This person kept asking me about my relations and when I last ‘got laid’. It reminded me of the trap I’m stuck in and can’t get out of. In the minds and hearts of many I’m first and foremost valued as fuckable flesh. I cried last night.

Today I woke up to yet another empty day in my pampered existence as an unemployed with government benefits, something that Daniel holds against me, and has said, that my unawareness of my privileges has been the reason for breaking off contact with me. That and fits of rage. Angry words. Possibly drunkenness as well. Daniel has also made pretty clear hints that I’ve gone over her borders sexually – the person that was told this, told me that I had raped Daniel.

I want to understand all that. I want to understand how our realities differ so much. I want to understand why I have so much pain in relation to this. I tried for 2-3 years to talk with Daniel about my experiences with her. There’s been a promise to talk about EMC with me. We started, and it was frustrating and not really clear or connecting. I’m so longing to be understood, and i also want to understand. Daniel stopped the talk for three months without saying anything about continuing it. Today I got an sms:


[12:36:18] Hei! Have not talked in a long time. How are u doing? Still feel like talking to me? Daniel

[13:21:25] I’m unbalanced, and guessing it will be difficult for me to remain at peace interacting with you. I still want to understand what happened. What is your motivation for having a talk with me? Why now, after 3 months of silence?

[13:24:42] You are a human being and deserve dignity. Im done with my busy period so i wanted to pick up where we left off. Im in Tampere

[14:34:10] I didn’t understand your reply. Would you be okay coming to Helsinki for a face to face talk, recorded on video?

[13:36:36] Is audio ok?

[13:38:10] I would prefer video. Why only audio?

[13:49:13] I dont think i can behave naturally i have to prepare even for activist propaganda vids

[14:03:25] I’m checking i understand you correctly: you are ok coming to helsinki for a face to face talk, and have the audio of that conversation recorded?

[14:09:19] Yes

[14:10:01] When?


I plummeted into conflicting desires. Pain and helplessness. Wanting to rage, express my anger and hurt freely. I turned to alcohol and ice-cream instead. Really just wanting to disappear and never feel anything again, bawling my eyes out, and at the same time laughing internally at the storm in my half-full-half-empty glass.  Experiencing despair: Will my life always be like this? No people around me that I would feel comfortable to turn to for support?

Struggling with myself: Why work on something I don’t believe in? I don’t really believe I will exist in a context of people around me who love me and that I love back. And yet I don’t want to stop – I want to get better at relations. I want to understand why intimate relations don’t work out for me. Speaking with Daniel can help me understand myself better, and if I understand myself better I might be able to open up more easily to other people, not fearing so much to ask for comforting and care instead of silently shakily awaiting for signs of tenderness coming my way. It hurts when Daniel says “You are a human being and deserve dignity” cause dignity is not what I experience when I have no control over when Daniel chooses to engage in conversation or not. I take what I can get, when I can get it. Daniel is the one in charge of when to stop and start. I would like to have something we could both agree on, but I haven’t managed to make myself heard in that.

The talk I had yesterday with this man was a reminder of how easily I can get triggered, and how I really need to find ways to find that inner peace, and as well the strength to stop talking with people, seeing where my limits are, understanding that I don’t have the cool to create understanding. I’m waiting for this realization to sink in in relation to Daniel. To stop trying. I’m so longing for support in this, and I don’t know how to ask for it, or where to turn for safer and more sensitive ways of exploring and sharing. I notice that just a few words can turn me inside out and hurting all over.

Feeling overwhelmed and the loneliness grows so big. I’m hoping to reach some conclusion of whether or not I want to have this conversation. I loved and I love, it was twisted and weird, and it’s painful and vulnerable, and if I can let go of the hurt in being lonely, I might find some strength and nurturing from within. I’m too depressed to deal with this, but I can’t really turn down the opportunity, cause if I do that I might as well give up on living. If i really think that I will never learn to connect with anyone, there’s really nothing there for me. A life of wasteful empty time. Mad games. Never-ending depression.

So I observe how easily i cling to despair, and how unstable my mind is, how emotions and needs overwhelm me, and hope that the work I do on myself today, in accepting whatever is, and appreciating the small changes i’ve managed to make, will eventually lead to more ease in my life and in my way of relating with others.


23 Responses

  1. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    1.3 Dominating time and space
    It is based on the idea that time and space are male possessions which women have less right to; therefore their domination is given by nature.
    It does not even occur to the man that the use of space and the division of time consuming joint tasks could be subject to discussion.
    Examples of dominating space in the home environment include: the man scatters his clothes in the whole apartment, he takes a siesta in the armchair in the living room, which makes it impossible for anyone else to use the common space, monopolises television, or sits with his legs spread wide at the table and so takes up all the space under the table. (Guillaumin, 1992)
    Examples of dominating time include: the man creates time for his own leisure or pastime at the expense of the woman’s time and by overburdening her (he devotes the weekend to his own hobby or stays out after work), he is reluctant to spend time on others, or portrays certain activities as useless without any grounds and so keeps away from housework. Countless sociological surveys attest that this form of everyday male chauvinism is effective as men have more free time on average than women (and they have it at the expense of women). (Álvaro, 1996)

  2. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    1.7 Sudden seizing or releasing of control
    More or less surprising manoeuvres through which the man annuls or disregards the woman’s decisions, without prior discussion.
    They are based on the belief that the man has an exclusive right to decide. Its most typical example is the monopolising of the remote control or the right to change the channel and then the release of the control over this as soon as he is no longer interested in the given programme.
    This is where shortcutting of decisions belongs. This special manoeuvre consists in the man taking decisions without asking the woman in situations where she has a role or that are difficult to leave. An example is the invitation of important persons (bosses or relatives) in the last minute.

  3. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    1.8 Forced pardoning
    It is part of the process which is termed “the cycle of violence” in abusive relationships. [Why Does She Stay? (Miért marad? Feleség- és gyermekbántalmazás a családban. Hogyan segíthetünk? (NANE Egyesület, Budapest. Második, b vített és átdolgozott kiadás, 2006.), page 34.] The main characteristics of the cycle are independent of whether the violence is physical or “only” verbal. At the time of the accumulation of tension, the man’s hurtful actions become more common and severe and when they reach their (usually explosive) climax, the third phase, the “honeymoon” ensues.
    The man shows repentance, behaves in a kind and affable manner and makes promises that this will never happen again. This phase is important in itself to break the woman’s psychic opposition. During the transition from this phase into the next cycle, the man “pardons himself” and forces his one-sided decision about it on the woman. Here he uses force to achieve the same goal as the tactic of “let’s clear the slate” does with manipulation.

  4. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    2.2 Fake help
    These manoeuvres are usually relied on when the woman wants to have more out-of-the-home activities.
    The man ensures her of his support in words but that never manifests in actual cooperative actions. Thus, the man avoids any face-to-face conflict, while the woman will not have more time as he continues not to take his share of the housework. For example, the couple may agree that on the days of her driving lessons he will do the shopping, but he always forgets to buy something important.

  5. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    2.3 Passive resistance and distance
    The man uses these manoeuvres to suppress the woman’s growing autonomy. His aim is to weaken the woman so that she would have less energy for increasing her power over her own life.
    The following sentence is an excellent example: “I hope you know what you’re doing” (that is: with the housework, when the woman wants to have a job that gives her an income).
    This category includes the lack of support and cooperation, alienation, “attack from under cover” (the man does not take the initiative, he waits and then criticises: “I would have done better…”), distancing, threatening with leaving, or practically leaving the relationship (the man leaves into his work or for a relationship with a “more understanding” woman).

  6. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    2.4 “Come what may”
    The man does not take any steps hoping that the woman will get tired of initiating change.

  7. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    2.5 “If you had said in a different way…”
    The man refuses the woman’s demands by saying they were not expressed “properly” (that is according to the man and the social expectations towards the woman).

  8. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    2.6 Avoiding criticism and discussion
    The man tries to avoid having to acknowledge his power situation, tries to quench the woman’s criticism and wants to ward of the change which is not according to his wishes.
    He enforces this on the relationship by denying that the woman’s suggestions are justified and also excludes the possibility of arriving at a solution by negotiations.
    These manoeuvres are usually accompanied by accusatory and guilt-tripping statements finding fault with how the woman “has changed.”
    ♂ I’m fine with how things are, unlike you.
    ♂ Why should I change just because you are changing?
    ♂ That’s your problem!
    ♂ What are you complaining about, wasn’t I like this when you got to know me?
    ♂ If you hadn’t changed, everything would be all right.
    It is also in this category when the man attributes the woman’s ideas, criticism or objection to the “bad influence” she has been subject to (female friends, mother and father in law, feminists, psychologist).
    Through this he also states that the woman has no independent ideas: if she is not realising the man’s ideas she must be realising someone else’s…

  9. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    2.7 Making promises and collecting good points
    In face of the woman’s persevering request for change in the relationship, the man makes promises that he will change.
    In reality, he only makes temporary concessions, and expects them to work as a “magic wand.” They are not the real questioning of the male role or about real change but a tactical withdrawal. The temporary nature of changes becomes evident when even the already achieved results disappear and the man returns to the original state as soon as the woman stops voicing her requests, expressing her anger and accepts the man’s request for “another chance.”
    This is where buying presents, promises of the type “I’ll be a good father/husband,” alluring or attentive behaviour and the “acknowledgement” of faults belong. The intensity of the manoeuvres greatly increases as soon as the woman threatens with leaving the relationship.

  10. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    2.8 Martyrdom
    The man makes himself appear as an innocent victim of the way the woman has changed and “gone crazy,” and tries to break the woman’s will by accusations concerning that.
    If he does decide for a change of some sort, he experiences each step as a huge sacrifice. He expects applause for the smallest change and when that does not happen, he gets angry. All this happens so that nothing can be expected from him. The man evaluates his actions for a change based on his own efforts and not on whether he has really effectively decreased his power practices objected to by the woman.
    The manipulative sentence most often heard at this time is: “Nothing is good enough for you!”

  11. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    2.9 Gaining time
    This manoeuvre takes place usually when the man realises that the woman will not let herself be manipulated and expects real changes from him.
    The man formally accepts that this request is justified but puts off starting to change until something forces him to do so (usually that the woman has enough and gives him an ultimatum on divorce). It is obviously a power tactic in as much as it forces the woman to continue to endure the unfair relationship and to subject herself to the man’s time schedule and wishes. Meanwhile the man continues to control the decision over when he is willing to change (or acknowledge that he he is not even considering to change or cannot change).
    The man has many ways of delaying the decision or even the discussion about the change. He often refuses even to ask for external therapeutic help, or even when he accepts that in principle he keeps putting off taking it.
    ♂ I need time.
    ♂ We’ll talk about it.
    ♂ We’ll see.
    ♂ I’ll consider it.
    The effectiveness of the time-gaining manoeuvre lies in exhausting the woman, unless she is clearly aware of her aims and can represent those firmly.

  12. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    3.1 Creating the lack of intimacy
    It is often heard that men have difficulty in creating intimacy. This is true, however it is equally true that avoidance of intimacy is a power tool men use day after day. We collected the manoeuvres of distancing under the term “creating the lack of intimacy.”
    The man will prevent the relationship from becoming deeper to avoid the danger of losing his power and being defenceless to the woman, who is usually more comfortable in intimate relationships (Weingarten, 1991).
    Through keeping the distance, the man controls the rules of conversation. He acts on the belief that he “the crown of creation” has unlimited right to increase the distance without any prior discussion and he is the only one to call himself to account about his actions (without allowing the same rights to the woman).
    This is how the man makes the woman conform to his wishes regarding the level of intimacy, the amount of housework to be done, the extent of being available and the topics to be shared. The man’s wish that he primarily wants to deal with himself is realised, and the woman’s request that the relationship should be mutual fails. The main message of the manoeuvres is that for the man, he himself is the important thing, the relationship and the bond are secondary.

  13. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    3.1.1 Silence
    It has been a well-known male behaviour since ancient times that men do not like to talk, at least not about their inner, emotional worlds. Measured on a historical scale, this has become problematic only lately with the questioning of male authority and the growth of the value of discussion and closeness that has always been put forward by women. Irrespective of what internal motivation makes a man short of words (men are often silent because they do not want to show that they feel helpless, or because they do not know what to reply to a request posed by the woman), silence is a power manoeuvre that enforces the man’s own interests: he who is silent forces silence on his partner.
    To be silent is more than not being able to speak: the man does not feel obliged to speak or to provide explanation or to provide his partner with information (while he demands that she should be an open book for him). Only someone who has power can afford this. Thus silence forces the lack of
    discussion on the relationship and forces the woman to fill in the gap in communication herself.
    The woman has to find out what the man feels and thinks, and her attention has to be centred on him if she does not want to miss the rare moments when the man is accessible. The man often perceives this effort of the woman’s as persecution and denies that its reason lies in his behaviour. (Travis, 1992)
    The various forms of the manoeuvre are: the man is reserved, will not answer, answers in monosyllables, does not ask, does not listen to the other, speaks for speaking’s sake. (Durrant and White, 1990; Wieck, 1995)
    This manoeuvre sometimes draws a mystic aura around the man, which many women find very attractive. Many men justify the lack of discussion with the statement “I cannot express myself.” In reality, this is a good example of when silence is a covert manoeuvre and active distancing: it effaces his wish of not having to say what he thinks (for instance: “why should I change when I am okay the way I am”), or his wish to continue to control the situation, or of not having to acknowledge that he has no reasons against the changes the woman is requesting and he himself understands that the woman’s views are justified, or that he has no idea how he could win the game.
    It is important to distinguish between the silence that serves as a means of male power and the meditative silence that goes with being together with a lover, and thirdly the angry silence or silence based on fear and coercion, whose reason usually lies in the fact that the person has no right to speak, is forced to be silent or chooses not to speak to avoid retaliation.
    This latter kind of silence is characteristic of oppressed groups, among others women.

  14. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    3.1.2 Staying away and manipulative bad mood
    It is carrying further the above manoeuvre. The man usually employs it when the woman expects closeness, answer or commitment from him. The man creates distance at these times through which he forces the lack of closeness on her.
    Staying away can be literal, as in one of the reaches of the house or in an activity, or can be intellectual, when the man stays away immersed in his thoughts. If this manoeuvre does not prove to be enough, the man limits the woman’s request for information or closeness with tantrums. The defensive sentences said at these times make it possible that the subject is again not whether the woman’s requests are justified but the man’s feeling that his territory has been invaded and he has been accused: “Leave me alone!” “Can’t you see I’m busy!” “Don’t bring your problems up again!” “Don’t be pushy!” “Nothing is enough for you!” “Don’t push me around!” “I do it as I like.” “I’ve been working all day, I want some peace!” and finally, as a climax, the categorical: “I’ve had enough of you!”
    The sequence of silence-staying away-angry sentences-even more staying away is a complex and very common manifestation of everyday male chauvinism.

  15. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    3.1.3 Rationing out of acknowledgement and availability
    The man is mean in rationing out acknowledgement of the woman’s person, needs, values and rights, and does not appreciate how much the woman contributes to the psychic and physical wellbeing of the man and the whole family.
    This treatment is supplemented by the fact that he does not equally support and take care of the woman (while he leaves the role of care to the woman). Many women recognise this form of everyday male chauvinism (it is sometimes called “disregarding”) as the relationship is not the only arena where they suffer from it.
    Often, it causes a lack of love (which increases dependence for women who are prone to it). Another effect is that what the man does is overvalued (the less often something happens the larger its value…). (Bernard and Schaifer, 1990)
    A typical sentence accompanying the manoeuvre: “You know I love you anyway (or appreciate what you do), why should I say so?”
    “Attack from under cover” pertains here: the man will not start performing a joint task on his own, he waits and then criticises: “I would have done it better…”

  16. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    3.2.2 Misleading and lying
    The man alters reality through keeping certain information secret, or by distorting or omitting them, so that he can continue to enjoy certain advantages (basically the power of decision and the use of his own freedom at the expense of the other) he would lose if he were honest.
    As he deprives the woman of equal access to information, he has more elements to play with through which he can increase his own power and freedom.
    The forms of misleading that occur most often are not keeping promises and varnish.
    Outstanding, among lies, are the ones that concern the use of money or the time spent on various activities, the ones by which the man does not acknowledge mistakes he very well knows he made, or when he offers something (primarily understanding and cooperation) he has no intention to fulfil, or, as happens often, when he stubbornly denies obvious things (usually mistakes, being inattentive or being wrong).

  17. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    3.2.3 Fake negotiations
    False communication in reality: the man appears to be inclined to discussion so that the couple can find a solution to a problem through negotiation so to speak, but in reality he is reluctant to give up his position, he only “makes concessions” at best. He makes himself appear flexible by sitting down to talk but in reality, the solution is not subject to negotiation. [That is why the application of mediation and couples therapy is to be evaluated from case to case in cases where intimate partner abuse occurs even in the “mild” forms described here. For more on this see: Annex 2: Recommendations for helpers on page 83. {Milla’s note: I have no clue what page 83 means! Sorry! }] “All right, I’ll go and fetch some beer but at least make some chips to go with it.”
    The manoeuvre is often accompanied by the stopping of the conversation, which is made to appear as the woman’s fault as she was not using so called “proper language” (see: “If you had said it in a different way…”).

  18. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    3.2.4 Ceremonial presence
    The man is there when the shopping is done but he is looking around while she is filling up the trolley. Although the father is there at the children’s doctor but has no idea what vaccination and illnesses the child has had. He participates at the birthday party but takes no part in the work.
    Another form of ceremonial presence is when the man’s presence is formal and scarce.

  19. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    3.3 Undermining the woman’s authority
    The man’s communications demonstrate the idea that he considers the woman’s person, wishes, thoughts and values to be of a lower order. All this coincides with the value judgements of traditional culture that debase women. These demonstrations deeply harm the woman’s self-esteem, especially for women who have a strong need for external approval.

  20. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel:

    3.5.6 “It is the woman who wears the hat”
    The man diverts responsibility from himself by emphasising circumstances that do not affect the real power situation or division of labour criticised by the woman.

  21. posting the emc i find in this particular situation with daniel: Avoidance of the mutuality of care
    The man does not take care of the woman in an efficient way when she is in need of that. This way, he denies her right to care that is he enforces the belief deeply rooted in the traditional male role that only the man is entitled to be taken care of. Although this manoeuvre repeats day after day, it becomes most recognisable when the woman falls ill, she has to deal with her parents’ family or her work has overburdened her. At these times, men often deny that the woman is in need of help at all, undervalue the woman’s symptoms or degree of tiredness, what is more, they criticise the woman for the way and how unprofessionally she does what she does. All of this makes the woman feel alone and overburdened, which undermines her life energy even more.

  22. when i say ‘this particular situation with daniel’, then i mean initiating a talk on emc, and most recently how the talk went in april and the period of silence up until now. so, i’m talking of a 4 month period (or so. i’m really bad with time). if you read this daniel, and have any comments or questions, i would love to hear them.

  23. […] really tired emotionally and mentally. The messaging with Daniel continued […]

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