The person I was talking to feels differently and they said that we each have the choice to be impacted by the other persons decisions. We choose to be part of their lives or not, and it is that choice that determines if our actions impact those people or not. This is a belief that many people take when they suggest that an abuse victim should just "leave". What they don't understand is that leaving is way more complex than just "leaving". It was an interesting discussion. I can't say that I fully understand the other persons point of view but I have been thinking about off and on it since our discussion.
One of the problems I have with believing that my choices won't impact anyone that doesn't choose to be in my circle of acquaintances is that this would mean I have no value unless someone else decides that I am a person worth valuing. This is a false belief that many abusers tend to hold over those they abuse constantly. It is not uncommon for a victim of emotional abuse to hear something like "Nobody will love you the way that I do" or one of my ex's favorites "you earn your keep around here". If an abuser decides their victim has value, then for that time they do. However, if the victim dares to stand up to their abuser then they won't have value until the abuser decides to give it back to them. This is one of the many reasons that the cycle of power and control works so well to keep victims close to their abuser.
What if the question of human value was treated the way that many activists in the past have treated people who stand in the way of their personal cause? What if our decision about who is valuable and who isn't allowed us to murder or enslave those we disagree with the way that ISIS does for example? If someone who doesn't fit our list of valuable people then they could be considered 'expendable' humans. In the past some of these people were tar and feathered, flogged, executed and even burned at the stake without so much as a trial to determine their guilt or innocence. Much of the Renaissance reflects the darkness in men's hearts and what happens when individuals determine what specific people groups have no value and what groups do have value. In general it seemed to turn out that those who do what specific individuals wanted had value and the ones who didn't were discarded. This sounds exactly like an abusive relationship to me.
For me, the idea of not having value unless someone decides that I do or even having the power to to determine who does and doesn't have value is a terrifying thing to consider. History has shown us that human hearts are greedy and corruptible, even capable of doing horrible things. I can't imagine there is another way to ensure a positive outcome to letting people live in whatever way they want to, but perhaps more terrifying is the way that politics and the media seem to be encouraging this type of belief system as one that brings peace when history shows the opposite outcome.