How abusive does abuse have to be to be proper abuse ?

Its a stupid title,
and  yes I can see the hole in the logic, and yet its very much how a lot of abused people think.

Its an odd thing to ask yourself,
'Was I abused?'

You kind of think that someone would know..quite clearly really, if they were abused or not. It was a real surprise to me to find that’s not the case.
I have been abused several times in my life and yet would not willingly have identified myself as an abused person.

Why ?

Well, clearly I'm functioning..so It wasn’t proper abuse.
and 
"Well I'm you know over it..except for those dark times when I cry silently in the middle of the night...but still, over it..sure - lots of people don’t sleep - drink themselves into a stupor,  have an internal voice in their head that endlessly puts them down, suffer from depression and...you know - normal - functional.."

Yes I know ! - Why would I think that all "proper" abused people aren’t functioning?

I now know some people wear their problems more visibly than others, and most use whatever strategies or combination of strategies they can to get by.

I hid.

So I know most about that one. It worked for me.  Not in a - 2hrs wedged behind the wardrobe kind of way - I hid in my head - it was much more convenient, after all you never know when you wont be able to lay your hands on a wardrobe. Whereas your head is usually conveniently handy ( unless you are even more tragic than I am)
Its obvious really, If everything you do, or say, every decision you make is criticised or used against you - then you learn to not share. Living this oddly filtered life.

I have the image of a snake blinking quite clearly in my head - two sets of eyelids close, first the vertical one - then the horizontal lids, a double blink.  It stuck with me because thinking and speaking was exactly like that.

"Don’t say what you actually think, what you think will be unacceptable, filter and adapt it into something more acceptable"

Because nothing I ever said or did or was, was wholly acceptable to my parents and I had internalized this message so deeply that it of course led to me, quite reasonably, thinking that there really must be something fundamentally wrong with me. That if the first things I though were the wrong thing to say - then unintentionally I must think in a way that was wrong - unacceptable - and that I needed to hide myself from everybody in-case they found out I was a "wrong" person.
So think - then think again. - a double blink.
For a parent to so fundamentally criticise a child that they construct a whole new person to hide behind... is that abuse...I'm going to go with YES! on that one.

Why else would I not think of myself as abused - what I hear you cry ! there’s more - didn’t we just make this point ? cant we move on to something more..exciting - or at least with better grammar.
Well not quite yet - because there is another even more tragic layer of thinking goes on here..
The hope that the abusers didn’t mean it - That if it wasn't intentional nastiness that would change it surely ?
Doesn’t it have to  be consciously intentional to be abuse ?

to which the answer it turns out is "FUCK NO!"

and maybe google stockholm syndrome..

and what about quantity, does it have to be lots of abuse to be abuse ?

again - no

I cant remember where I heard this one first but I like the shit sandwich analogy here.

If you are asked to eat a shit sandwich - it doesn't matter if its a small amount of shit - or a farmyard full..it is still a shit sandwich

If you cant work out that’s an analogy - please don’t offer to cook for me.

And what about intentional nastiness ?- well, I think if you take something small and vulnerable - like - say - a child - and you don’t meet their emotional needs - they will turn to virtually anyone who shows them affection.
This is like preparing a child for contact with the outside world in the same way you might write "Prey" on a baby rabbit and then pop it nice and safely down a fox hole.

The rabbit is not going to have quite the same odds of avoiding some of the less nurturing members of the animal kingdom as the ones tucked up at home in a nice warm hutch.

or that’s how it seemed to me.