There’s a difference between wanting to be heard and exploitation. When you want to be heard, you recognize the energies that are being exchanged and the consent on the part of the listener to invite that energy into their space. When and if there isn’t that recognition, you venture into the territory of exploitation with the potential to do harm.Does any of this sound familiar to some of you?
As a Black woman, the propensity for others to recognize my humanity is underwhelming. As I do not exude femininity—as it has been characterized throughout history both past and present—people do not see me as a sentient human being, and thus, it is easy use me and throw me away. As of late, in conjunction to wanting to exploit me sexually, people (both men and women) have wanted to exploit me emotionally.
A man I thought I could trust took me for a ride. He promised reciprocity, and in a way I had expected it as I had stuck with him as he “sorted himself out.” He pined about lost love, the one that got away, his past vices and his ghosts, his depression, and suicidal thoughts. I had no problem. I was there. I was searching high and low for myself, I thought he understood, and he did… until it was my turn to talk. He shut me down and carved me out of conversations I laid the foundations for. He gave me nothing, and when I needed him the most, he left. He had gotten better, and didn’t need me anymore.
That’s when I started to set boundaries. I set boundaries for me and the people around me. The more boundaries I set, the easier it became to see the signs.... (Source)