Sep
08

Forgiveness and Child Abuse ~ When Suggesting Forgiveness is Abusive

By

forgivenessWhen I was about 17 years old and had escaped the difficulties associated with living under the same roof as my mother, I became friends with a neighbour lady whom I eventually sought mentorship from. (Or perhaps I was actually just looking for someone who would love me and mother me.) She was a nice lady with a couple of children and she seemed to be interested in me. When I grew comfortable enough to tell her about a problem that I had with one of my mothers boyfriends, she told me to pray for him. PRAY FOR HIM! She told me that I needed to forgive him.

I got assaulted and HE got prayer.  I didn’t realize at the time how much she discounted ME by telling me to pray for him. I didn’t notice that she wasn’t interested in what happened to me, or in the difficulty that I was STILL having dealing with what had happened to me but that she skipped right to concern for HIM. I didn’t even realize that the message that I was getting from her was concern for him. I was used to being discounted in that way so it was normal and familiar to me then. Today I see her directive for me to pray for him and forgive him as abusive.

Forgiveness and child abuse is a difficult combination.

I didn’t respond in any way to her suggestion at first. In my minds eye I see myself “thinking” about this suggestion; considering the best way to “go about it”. As always the compliant victim, I stayed quiet. I even agreed to let her HELP me pray for him.

I remember her praying “with” me or “for me” or maybe she prayed “over me” I can’t remember for sure which method she used. She asked God to heal my heart and to show me the way to forgiveness.

I got assaulted and he got forgiveness?

She told me that I needed to forgive my mother for not protecting me and not believing me. She didn’t even listen to the whole story before she was telling me that I had to forgive them. It was invalidating.

There was no comfort for me. There was no understanding for me. There was no permission for me to be afraid or to be in pain. There was no permission for me to talk about what happened or how I felt about it. I was invalidated once again. The abusers, even when I exposed them, were the ones who deserved the attention.

My mother didn’t love me enough to choose ME over HIM but she got prayer and I had to find a way to forgive. I was ‘encouraged’ to try and ‘understand them’.  I had to try to understand the abusers.

I didn’t know how to forgive so as I was directed I prayed for God to show me a way; I prayed that he change MY heart. I prayed that he show me how to love them with HIS love. I was devastated by the events of my childhood and I was trying to find a way to forgive the people who did this damage without even having had the damage VALIDATED. I had never been heard, I had never been protected. The damage was invalidated as I was invalidated.

I did all the things I was told to do but I never quite found the real answer. I still lived in fear. I still felt dirty, disgusting, unlovable and unworthy.

Whenever I tried to re-visit the difficulties of the traumas I had suffered in life, I was advised to pray for the people who caused them and I was instructed to find a way to forgive. I was told that forgiveness was for “me”. That forgiveness would set me free from the pain. But in reality I was not allowed to HAVE the pain. I was not even supposed to talk about it. I was apparently supposed to jump straight to forgiveness.  I was told that forgiveness was the only way to peace and happiness. I felt so much shame that “forgiveness” wasn’t working for me! I felt like I was the only failure in the world because I could not seem to get over the abuse in my past and I didn’t know how to forgive.

Being directed to “pray for them” and being told that “forgiveness is the only way to peace” seems really messed up to me now. There was a crime committed against me and I was told to pray for this person and all others who assisted him in getting away with it and find it in my heart to forgive them. Even the way that sounds in writing seems to indicate that since I was the one that had a problem. I had to forgive. And the message that I got was that I was the one that had done something wrong. And since that message was the same one that I had received all my life, it slipped into my belief system quite easily and comfortably.

If a seventeen year old girl (or boy) came to me today and told me that her mother’s boyfriend or anyone else sexually assaulted her, I would advise her to call the police and report him or I would ask her if she wanted me to call the police or go to the police station with her and report him. That response might scare her, but it would also validate her worth and the fact that a crime had been committed against her. If she didn’t want to report him I would support her through it and make sure that she knew that none of it was her fault.  I would not advise anyone to pray for the perpetrator or perpetrators of the crime. That would be discounting to the victim of that crime. I would not advocate for the abuser. I would not put the abuser ahead of the victim in this way. That would be invalidating and devaluing.

Suggesting that the victim of a child sexual abuse crime (or any other abuse crime whether legally liable or not) consider forgiveness or the salvation of the perpetrator of that crime even before the damage has been validated and even before the victim has permission to feel all the pain and anger is mean. It discounts and devalues the person who was abused. It puts the emphasis in the wrong place. It causes the victim to be stuck in shame and pain. Stuck. 

This is the way that I was always treated in the old dysfunctional relationship system. I could not heal from damage that had never been validated. It wasn’t even that I was always told to forgive. I had also been told that I ‘misunderstood’ his intentions. I was told that I must have done something to cause this to happen. I was told that HE would never hurt me. But he DID hurt me. Why was it always about HIM?

Telling people to forgive as a priority and as the only path to healing also serves as a way to keep the cycle of abuse active instead of breaking the cycle of abuse. No wonder the victims are the ones hiding and crying in the dark, too afraid to admit that they are still broken from the events of years ago and the abusers are out there using their real names and puffing out their chests, continuing to bully lots of other people. In this messed up system, the abusers get prayer, understanding and forgiveness and the victim suffers in (forced) silence!

Victims of child abuse (or any type of abuse) need to be heard before they are instructed to move on or find a way to forgive the perpetrator of the damage caused to them. People need to be validated and assured that what happened to them was WRONG and that they didn’t deserve it. They need to be told that it was not their fault and that the perpetrator of that abuse is the guilty party and that person is the one who is accountable.

Until I finally saw the truth about my childhood and the trauma that I suffered, I was stuck in the prison of living as an invalid person.  It was in finally being heard and being validated in my pain and my right to be angry at the injustice done to me that set me free to live.

All things healthy grew from this initial validation.  I was able to heal from the pain, hurt, anger and resentment when I finally gave myself permission to justify having those feelings in the first place.  It was only then that I was able to let go and eventually put it behind me.

Please share your thoughts on the subject of forgiveness and prayer for the perpetrator of child abuse or (any other abuse) verses validating the victim of that abuse and encouraging/validating emotions, fears and the anger they have at the injustice that has been done and don’t forget to put yourself and the pain your have experienced into this thought process.  

Welcome to Emerging from Broken where Exposing Truth is the beginning of truly living;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken bookThe Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

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“Adult victims of Child Abuse still need to be heard” 

Categories : Depression

128 Comments

1

Hi Darlene, Jesus does teach that we should pray for our enemies but how can one know who their enemies are if the actions of the enemy and the damage those actions caused are never even acknowledged? How can a victim of a crime forgive when the crime is never named? I hate this kind of spiritual ignorance that comes from people mindlessly accepting religious teachings and never digging into the Bible to find out if what they are being taught is true or not. I guess it makes some people feel superior to pretend they are able to forgive being raped. Really, though, I think they believe it is the victim’s fault because they’ve latched onto a superstition that tells them that only those who are displeasing to God have something like that happen to them. I know if it happened to them, they’d change their tune.

It took me decades to dig out from under the attitude that women only get raped when they ‘ask for it’. As a teenager, I was expected to fend off grown men and if I wasn’t sucessful, it would be my fault. That’s what came to pass and I carried it as my fault for so long. I was blinded by the guilt and shame heaped on me. I know I would never have thought it was a little girls fault if I would have heard my story from someone else. When I tried talking to my sister about it, I got what you got, I was told I needed to forgive him and that he was just a young man confused by the sexual revolution. I still get so angry when I think about this. The rapes themselves didn’t make me feel as degraded as the way my mom and sister responded to them. My dad and brother refused to even engage me on the subject.

One thing our society does that p—s me off to no end is arresting underage prostitues, putting them in jail, seldom involving the pimp and then protecting the identites of the men who pay to abuse them! When I think of the number of children being traffiked world-wide and the number of adults that have to be willing to sexually abuse children for this to be the third most lucrative underground industry, I want to explode! You’re right, the victims are punished and the abusers go free. Then to twist the teachings of Jesus and the Bible and emotionally and spiritually hurt the victim again, is giving the knife an extra twist, just for the heck of it.

It makes me mad this happened to you and me and it makes me furious that it is happening to millions of children still and to such a degree that I can’t even fully comprehend.

Pam

2

Darlene,
After reading this Post, many memories are flashing to mind, along with feelings & thoughts. In my FOO, there is no doubt, that I have been conditioned to over-validate/please others, at the expense of my own feelings & needs. No one validated my pain as a child, so I did not learn how to do that for myself. I cried to express my sadness & anger and my father reacted with anger and called me a “cry baby”,”crying wolf” & “weak”. Feelings are real & they are not right or wrong/good or bad, which is emotionally healthy.
I was told by a counselor in my past, to just let “bygones be bygones” & “give my FOO the benefit of the doubt”…Now I know why those statements bothered me, because my damage was not validated. The focus was on me to change…AHA moment!….I needed to be heard & validated for my sadness, anger, shame, quilt & etc….When I started to get the validation from others, it was the turning point in recovery, because my pain was understandable & justified from the abuse. Healing the Self is what the focus needs to be on, not the abuser’s soul or feelings!…They need to do their own emotional work & soul searching. Disordered & abusive people are not capable of real change…they may change their tactics & act sweet, however, they lack the empathy & awareness. I believe my mom & dad have not worked through their emotional pain from their pasts. I remember as a young adult my mom telling me, that she had “forgiven” her abusive father, on his death bed. I believe that was driven by her quilt & shame. Maybe she wanted to let go of her anger towards him, yet she has continued to suffer from quilt & shame in her life and continued the cycle of abuse with me. That is not Forgiveness in my definition. To me forgiveness comes from a place of healing. Once you are healed & free from the emotional pain, then forgiveness can be a choice. Overlooking the pain does not mean forgiveness or going half way in letting go of anger. To forgive is to go all the way in your heart & mind that is genuine.
Sonia

3

Darlene,
This is such a powerful post. I have struggled recently with my mother and her counselor, if you remember. My mother’s counselor really likes to beat me with the forgiveness stick. Even in her presence, when I was actually paying her last year, the one hour time period would be filled with lectures of how I need to forgive, and to do it for ME. What I really needed was nothing of the sort. I clung to my bible verse that it’s truth that sets us free. I clung to your story and all I’ve learned here. And, most importantly, I clung to the idea that I needed to at least hear ME, before I could ever begin to touch on forgiving HER. More than ever, I am convinced that forgiveness is a product/result of hearing our own pain, consoling ourselves, and allowing forgiveness the chance to the settle into our hearts.

I have never been successful in finding a timeline on forgiveness in the bible. I don’t think we’re ordered to do it today. I think that’s what God wants for our hearts ultimately, but, when I think of him as truly being my father, I feel like he hurts with me. I imagine myself falling down and scratching up my knee or something. The immediate bleeding and pain from that. I then imagine my Father (in heaven) saying, “GET UP. You’re not hurt. Brush it off and move on already. Ignore that you’re bleeding, and pretend it’s not there.” I just can’t fathom that. In the same way, I can’t fathom God saying, “Mimi, I know you’re hurting. I know people have done you wrong. But, get over it already. Move on. I command you to forgive immediately. Pretend your heart’s not bleeding so you can find a way to forgive.”

That’s not the God I’ve learned about. It’s not the God I pray to. It’s not the God who has saved me in so many ways.

Darlene, I wish you could reach the world with this message. It is so powerful and life changing. So many Christians do it, and teach it backwards. To sacrifice their own hearts in order to feed the hearts of abusers. Seriously, is that what they believe God wants us to do? Live in misery on earth so we can offer up goodness, and even our souls to evildoers? The bible even warns to turn from evildoers, false prophets, etc. Why do they overlook that, and pick out other parts and highlight them? Love your neighbor as yourself? What about running from him if he’s a rapist? Lay down and be raped?

I could get on a rant here. Perhaps I have a little already. It’s a hot subject for me because it seems like everywhere I turn, people want to force feed forgiveness. It’s that feeling of being stifled. When my mom’s counselor would literally spend an hour lecturing about forgiveness, and not even TRY to hear me, I became frustrated over this subject. Part of it was, she was older than me, and has a degree, and felt she knew the bible better than me. All those things may be true. BUT, I am convicted in my heart by the almighty, and by His written word. Nothing will move that. She was just naive enough to buy into everything that was ever taught her. She didn’t have the courage to think outside the box.

And, then there’s my go to verse, Jeremiah 6:14, you can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there. Why aren’t leaders hyperfocused on this one I wonder? Or, even the truth shall set you free?

Okay, maybe a bit of a rant. I love this post Darlene. It is so valuable to me to have it written out in this way. Thank you!!

Pam,
I know you follow human trafficking and stay up on the statistics, etc. It is sickening what you shared. It is so sickening that there are men who feed into it. Don’t THEY have an moral conviction about what they’re doing to little baby girls? (I do think 14, even 15, 16 years old is still a baby girl). UGH, that’s so disgusting. Pathetic pieces of S**T!! And, I bet some of them DO have daughters that age that they go home to. God, help our world!! Love your passion for this Pam!

Sonia,
I’m just grumpy enough right now to really think your father was a YOU KNOW WHAT for calling you a crybaby, or weak. I feel like I know your sweet tenderness somewhat, and that statement is crushing to a little girl. I’m really sorry you heard that from him. I value your sweetness very much!! To hell with what he said!! It makes me angry! Adults walking around willy nilly saying crushing things to kids. Things that truly crush their spirits.

Okay, rant complete!!

Love to you all, (isn’t it funny ~ rant for a while, then send love?) Probably bipolar tendencies…. but, I’m an overcomer!!

Mimi

4

Mimi, Wonderful rant on forced forgiveness and not something that could come from a defective mind, at all. As my husband says, “They tell me I’m biplar but I’ve never been to either pole!” You’re fine, Mimi and what you said is spot on. I especially, like the term, “forgiveness stick”. I have lots of thick scars from having that stick used on me. People who use that stick don’g want real forgiveness, they want us to overlook the evil things they do. They side with abusers because they are abusers. They identify themselves with the agressor. People pander to the powerful and despise the weak, no matter what the powerful one did to obtain that power. They are terrified of being perceived as weak. They are cowards.

The things that happened to me as a teenager were horrible but some of the things I’ve been learning about recently, keep me up at night.These kids aren’t all teenagers either. Most of them are probably used up and murdered before they get to be teenagers. Governments know all about it and turn a blind eye because powerful people in the government and those who give them the money that buys their power, enjoy sexually abusing children. Jerry Sandusky isn’t unusual. I wish he were. Pedophilia isn’t an illness. It is evil incarnate. For centuries, men have paid to abuse teenage girls and very young women and it is winked at. Abuse is abuse whether you pay money to commit it or not. In Juarez, the big thing before the huge drug war going on there now, was to kidnap women so men could rape and murder them. I know there has always been evil in the world but we are at a tipping point. It’s as if the world has gone sexually insane. In the western world we went from repressing sexuality to boundariless sexuality and under each system, women and children suffer for it. It is no wonder that Jesus and Mary Magdelene is such and important example. She and Jesus carried the sins that belong to others. Of course, Jesus had no sin and Mary did. The Bible doesn’t talk about sexual abuse or child abuse directly but what we live through is what Jesus also, suffered, having the sins of others lathered on you and being punished for those sins. That is why Jesus and Mary Magdelene’s relationship is so important. That is why it is anti-christ to tell a sexual abuse survivor that they must forgive(when they mean over-look the evil done to them) their abusers and do it now! People who are being victimized in global sex industry are the ones Jesus came for but too many professed Christians are pandering to power and would never dream of ‘lowering’ themselves to try to help and love prostitues. Even when those prostitutes are children.

Forgiveness is a part of healing from abuse but there is so much more to healing than that. If a person is severely beaten or shot, people understand that their bodies have to heal from the damage done to them, as well as at some point, forgive their assailant. They don’t see our wounds and really, they don’t want to know what those wounds are or how they were inflicted. Ignorance is cruel but willful ignorance is evil beyond cruelty. It was more difficult for me to find forgiveness for my families willful ignorance than it was to find forgiveness for the men who raped and exploited me. My familiy might as well of put me out on the streets themselves. All who turn a blind eye and a hard heart to what’s happening to children, by the millions,take part in their abuse and exploitation too. Children are people, not sex toys or merchandise.

I so want victims to start shouting from the roof tops about what they’ve suffered. I so want us to quit hiding just so people don’t have to think about something that makes them uncomfortable. I so want to rise up and spit in Goliath’s eye and bring him to his day of reckoning!

There’s my rant. I’m not bipolar, I’m hypothyroid and no body had better mess with me!lol!

Love,
Pam

5

This is a very good point. But it is turned the other way in my family. They “forgive” me for my defectiveness. How twisted is that?
My family never told me to forgive and forget. I’ve never gotten that message. They are so closed minded and invalidating that they refuse to acknowledge that there was ever even disfunction. To them, nothing bad ever happened to me. I am just emotionally and intellectually defective, some sort of genetic defect I inherited from my father’s side. It is totally my fault that I have not risen above and conquered this “inherited defect”. They humor me and in their goodness of heart
“put up with me”. I am given constant put downs concerning my unacceptable thoughts, behaviors, and really my life. If I serve them, I still live in the invalidation, but am deemed useful. My Forgiveness isn’t an issue to them, as to them there is nothing to forgive. Whenever I tried to discuss family abuse with my brother he says he doesn’t want to hear about it. Door closed. They all pretend its in the past and the only problem that exists is me. Classic scapegoat. I never had a name for it. Any conversations were viewed thru this glass of my emotional defectiveness.
I loved the bipolar joke..never been to either pole..hahaha!! Love it.
I am very much better NC with them. No sadness or guilt. Just happier. They are bad for my health.
Being NC has taken away much of my stress. Thanks to everyone for all your thoughtful comments and to Darlene for leading me out of darkness.
Karen

6

Great Post! I agree with forgiveness. With that said, I think it’s only a partial step in the entire process of healing, and the final step. Much like the entire process of the grieving cycle we all have to go through when someone near and dear to us dies, I believe “forgiveness” is at the end of our healing cycle. In my humble opinion, if we rush to forgive and miss the other important steps of the process, like dealing with the anger, the hurt, the betrayal, etc we are in danger of forever only feeling/seeing our own pain and loosing the ability of feeling/seeing empathy for others, thus becoming or continuing the narcissistic cycle. And if we can deal with all of our emotions first, saving forgiveness for last we will free ourselves from toxic emotions that can cause us harm physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. forgiveness in the end is for us, not the abuser.

7

Darlene,
I found you post very timely. I have been learning forgiveness and what exactly it means. I have always thought that it meant condoning! That false idea has prevented me from forgiving my perpetrators for over 50 years. Now that my struggles resulting from being a victim of sexual, physical, emotional abuse and neglect have begun to be validated I am beginning to realize that it is for me. During my life it has been as though my abusers have been sitting on me not allowing me to stand and move forward or they’re riding my back when I am finally able to stand and walk all the while telling me I’m stupid, unworthy, good for nothing, a baby, will never amount to anything and I could go on. I am slowly realizing that forgiveness is not for them but for me to be able to shake off those who abused me and walk free, seeing my worth in this world. I’m not completely there. I journeyed to my sacred place where I met one of my abusers. He is currently dead but he was standing right in front of me. With great struggle I told him I forgive him. He said back to me that he didn’t need my forgiveness because he didn’t do anything wrong. That was a littl devastating for me but it shows my strength to be able to attempt to shake him off my back!

And my journey continues. It’s been over 40 years since the sexual abuse stopped but it’s effects I have carried with me. It’s time to forgive and leave them behind!

Thank you for your beautiful posts. They are always filled with inspiration!
Stanley

8

Hi Pam
HE was ‘just a young man confused….’ See, that is my point! We are asked to understand people who caused extreme damage as the path to forgiveness! And the same thing happened to me, I was BLAMED for what an adult did to me. It took me years to dig out from under those teachings and messages too.
Thanks for sharing, it is because abusers are so skilled at blame shifting etc that this cycle is so ongoing. Exposing this abusive and very often illegal system and empowering survivors of abuse to take their lives and voices back is the only way to make any dent in this whole thing!
Hugs, Darlene

Sonia
You bring up many great points and examples of the totally horrible things people tell us to do! “let bygones be bygones?????????” OMG that ticks me off so much and “Give them the benefit of the doubt”!!!! ?????? What the hell does that even mean!!!!! There IS no doubt, it happened to you.
Thank you for sharing. Your comments are clear. It was when I was finally heard and validated that I had my first breakthrough and turning point too.
Hugs, Darlene

9

Hi Mimi
YES. I had a dream last night that I was doing a public speaking event and I was asking people why they believe people just because they have a degree! My fav bible study teacher had two degrees in biblical languages. But he USED them to abuse people with the bible. I accepted his authority because I lived in a system that worships degrees. But he didn’t use his power to empower; he used it to disempower and get what he wanted from other people. And these people teach other people to teach these false messages FOR them. I didn’t know that most of what I had been taught was twisted! The bible speaks WAY more against people who are controlling and setting themselves up higher than others but no one promotes those verses and guess why?? Equality scares the hell out of people. If they can get victims to shut up and just “forgive” then they can all get away with way more so the power over system WORKS for them. I don’t believe in a God who would protect abusers. (and I have studied enough to know that the bible does not tell anyone to do that) I found that at the root of everything was the false messages that I had been taught as truth my entire life and when I dug down and exposed those, everything changed.
Thanks for your ‘rant’. I love it! It is good to get angry about this stuff. It is RIGHT to be angry about it. People are being destroyed by this kind of thing! What kind of ‘loving God’ would ever want that???
Hugs, Darlene

10

Karen
OH YES! I have heard and suffered from this side of it too! I too have been “forgiven” for my defectiveness. UGGG
And most often abusers will have that attitude that they didn’t do anything wrong in the first place, to which I always reply, “then why did you teach me to hide it? and why wasn’t it done in public?” And why am I told to forgive something that someone NEVER DID???? (interesting little truth leak there!)
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Barbara,
This is what I always say ‘forgiveness is a result of the process’. But I don’t put much emphasis on it because it isn’t the goal. Freedom and wholeness is the goal. Forgiveness isn’t something that I ‘did’ it is just something that happened when I saw the truth and faced the pain. And what it means to me is that I don’t feel the anger and resentment that used to rule my life anymore. I am free. They are stuck in the prison that they created, but I am free.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

11

Hi Stanley
Welcome to EFB
I understand what you are saying and I want to clarify that forgiveness is not what set me free. (re your statement “It’s time to forgive and leave them behind”) Believing myself in spite of no one else believing me is what set me free. Learning to love myself and invalidate all the lies that I used to believe about me; overturning all the messages that were communicated to me about “my part in any of this” is what set me free. Getting angry at the injustice of what happened to me is what set me free. Forgiveness was a result, not something that I sought to do or set out to do. This was so important to me in my process of healing.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

12

Karen, I’ve gotten that side of it too. Anything, but take responsibility for what they’ve done wrong…

Pam

13

I have always blamed my 2 sisters for not letting me tell our Mom about dad sexually abusing us. I clearly remember when I was 5 years old and I wanted to tell. They said I would ruin everyones life. Childhood was ruined because I had to hold this secret deep inside. I have always felt so dirty and unworthy of love. I blocked it out of my mind but I grew up angry. My Mom told me she never knew what happened but I was such a sweet little girl and at age 10 I became angry at the world. I push away people when they get too close. My Dad made me believe that he was the devil. He put down God every day and I never knew who God was. With it all being blocked from my mind I let my daughter spend a weekend at my parents. My dad molested her and she broke the silence. It brought back memories of my abuse and my daughter blames me for it happening to her. She can’t understand how I forgot it happened and thinks I set her up for it to happen. I had her when I was only 16 years old. She has kept my grand daughter from me. She has blocked me from her life. She invites all of my family to holidays but won’t invite me. She posts pictures of all my family being together. She Finally asked me to be her friend on FB after my dad died. She won’t ever comment or like anything I put on face book. I am not allowed to post any pictures of her or her daughter. She deletes any comments i write so I don ‘t comment on her posts anymore. She hates her brother because he loves me and lets me see his daughter when ever I want. She won’t claim that he is her half brother. I don’t regret having my kids before I was 20 because I wasn’t able to have anymore. She thinks I am unstable, yet I lead a very healthy life. I didn;t understand why every man I dated was abusive. I felt like I deserved it. I was nearly beat to death before I finally got away. I had my son with a very abusive man. He made my son watch as he beat me. My son had not seen him in 10 years and then he just showed up thinking he could take over. He thretened to kill my son in front of me. When he died 2 years ago a big relief came over me. I finally felt safer. My dad just died last year and I saw him at the hospital as a very weak man and he couldn’t speak. I don’t think he ever realized what he caused. I sat by his bed for 5 hours and the chaplain came in and I told him what my dad did. He prayed for me. I feel more at peace now, but still struggle every day and nobody knows the hurt I feel inside. I Don’t see my family much these days. Mothers day is very painful. The last 5 years we have spent Christmas away from my family. Nobody invites us so we go to the casino. I met a man who I married 17 years ago. His family loves me! He doesn’t understand why i can’t just get over it. I left my marriage twice and found I was better off with my hubby. The last time I left I made him find a counselor and she is the best one I have seen. I have seen her for 7 years now and it is easy to talk to her. He needed help with his anger issues. Selling all our pigs was the best thing we did. He would get so mad when I was helping him. His dad always yelled at him when he was a kid helping with the pigs. He doesn’t realize how much like his dad he became. His mom died 12 years ago and I loved my Mother in law. She was such a sweet lady and got a brain tumor. My son and I made it to the hospital to see her and that was the last time she woke up. She was happy to see us and then she passed 3 hours later. Without her our holidays changed too. I used to be jelous because my hubby was so close to his Mom. I have never been close to my Mom.I didn’t understand why I started running away when I was 13. When I was found my Dad took off his belt and left welts on me. That night I packed all my important belongings and my boyfriend picked them up when I snuck them out the back door. I met Lee when I was 10 and I gave my heart to him. He never knew about the abuse I went through. We were childhood sweethearts. We got caught in California and sent home on separate buses. I got off at the next stop in tulare California and he stopped at Denver and waited for a week for me. I hitch hiked all across the USA. I was in a serious car accident in Biloxi Mississippi and had no ID on me. It took 3 days for them to figure out who I was. My Grandpa and Mom drove from Nebraska to Mississippi to get me. Going back to the house where all the abuse took place was hard. I got so angry and was mean to my younger brothers. Lee and I dated off and on until I was 27. We used to talk about how strange it would be to say the year 2000 and he didn’t get that chance. 1998 his body was found near a bridge with a big hole in his head, The hospital dropped the blood vials and broke them so no testing was done to see what really happened. Why wouldn’t the people he was with report him as missing for 3 days? It has haunted me for years. I carry his picture in my wallet still.
I didn’t know what dissociation was until I was 30. I realize that this is what my Mom always did. She had 6 kids so she was too tired to have any one on one time with me. I don’t think she ever listened to me and to this day when I speak to her she doesn’t hear me. She always said i caused the most pain in her life. My family blamed me for giving her gray hair early.
I am really close to my youngest grand daughter and That bond is so special to me. She loves me unconditionally! She has brightened my life up so much. I never knew I could love someone so much. I have felt so down these past few days so really needed to say all this. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.

14

Thank you Darlene! Your comments have made perfect sense. I feel this is why I failed at forgiving. I tried to comment in as condensed version as I could. I wrote what I was learning about forgiveness but didn’t really state where I am today! I still have a lot of rage (can’t think of another word to describe), sadness, lack of self-worth. I can’t look in the mirror and say “I Love You” because I don’t. I am filled with shame and guilt as if it were my fault. I am getting great help for this and have come a long way, but we are now working on the rage, shame and guilt. I have been estranged from my family for 30 years because I wouldn’t drop the topic. There is not a single person in my family who even cares to understand my suffering. And to top it off, my abuser committed suicide 2 years after he was exposed ( I was then 25) and denied me the option of confronting him. The rest of the family ended supporting him and getting him “help”. After all he suffered because he got caught! (sarcasm in case it wasn’t obvious). I have done many things, prepared and planned for suicide but always stopped because I couldn’t hurt those who do love me no matter how much pain I’m in. I have gone to both a deserted beach and deep into a forest and ended up screaming at the top of my lungs.
I’m sorry if I gave the impression that forgiveness is what is needed and not that forgiveness is part of the healing process! I thought I was ready to forgive but the message that he didn’t need forgiveness because he didn’t do anything wrong put the guilt and shame back on my shoulders. But now I know what forgiveness is and will get there when I’m ready!
I have been reading your posts for a while now but this is the first time I had the courage to voice my thoughts and experience here. Thank you tor the inspiration!
Stanley

15

I do honestly believe that forgiveness is completely for me. I don’t even need to tell the person I forgive them. I’ve done it before and realized they didn’t even know they did anything wrong. So I realized, the only place these wrongs still existed was inside me, in my mind, in my heart, and in my memories. That is when I began to heal. i can never forget, I will not do that to myself. I will not deny what I have been through. But I can begin to be ok with it, because through forgiveness, I have been able to let go. No, in a way it is not forgiveness, it is just not allowing it to have any power over me anymore. I guess for me forgiveness was just the process of not allowing the abuse to have a hold on me anymore. It can become a chapter, read, re-read, analyzed, understood, and then I can close the book. Yes, they are our abusers, but until I can close that book, I will always be open to the abuse. I want to write my own story now. When I fall back into anger, I let someone else write it for me. But you are right, nobody can tell you to forgive. It is just another lie, another false you that you are being forced to perpetuate to ease the pain of others.

16

I am glad to hear this about forgiveness. I think that abusers sometimes twist forgiveness like everything else. I still think we need to forgive in the sense that we need let go of the hate that can be consuming. We have every right to be disgusted at the evil things that they do and to have nothing to do with the people that would hurt us. We have every right to report them to the police so that they have consequences for their actions and hopefully STOP! We have every right to be heard.

I still think forgiving people is powerful for victims if used correctly. But the sort of invalidation that your ‘mentor’ tried to make you partake in is NOT what forgiveness means. God never wanted children (or any other people) to be hurt or abused, and forgiveness is meant to be empowering, not to be a continuation of the abuse.

Why must people use God’s name to hurt others? It makes me so angry inside.

Darlene, are you still angry? I was angry. Now I am just sad. I miss my husband, even though he mistreated me terribly and made me fear for my life. Would anger help? I’m not sure I have the energy. I can’t hate him anymore, though. I have to forgive him because it hurts me too much to hate someone that I also love, if that makes sense.

My dad is just a nightmare, now. Do I have to go back and think about him in broad daylight? Does that really help? He was really sick in the head and eventually committed suicide (thank goodness, because he kept getting worse, and I don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t). My worst nightmare is that he really didn’t die and that he just went a way for a while and is coming back.

My mom wondered why I always hung around kids with MEAN parents. Mom wasn’t mean, just depressed. My friends are the people that understood. Unfortunately, my friends and I were all just a little dysfunctional ourselves. I’m distant and don’t always care. Some of them were maipulative, others used a bit too much alcohol, even in middle school. We were an interesting bunch. I’ve got to get over that. I hope they do too. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are here as well. This is a great site.

17

Darlene,

I fully agree with Pam and Mimi on this. It is unimaginable that u were told to forgive in this way. I hate it when people use God in this way. You know what I think? I think it comes from Christians wanting to fix the problem but not really knowing how. They are so focused on how they are going to tell u to fix it that they dont bother to hear u. If u happen to be someone that didnt speak up it just gives them more fuel. Darlene, I am so very sorry this was done to you only to have a Christian add insult to injury. However, I like Pam and Mimi believe that is NOT at all the heart of the father. He came to bind up our wounds and the brokenhearted. How can u forgive when the wrong hasnt been named? How can forgiveness shine from a divinely healed wound when the healing has not begun? We cannot do divine things in and of ourselves. Thats God. God loves u truly and deeply. He still does, and always will. You are His precious daughter that He loves to hear from and talk to–and to use a reference from childhood–loves to bounce on His knee and call her His princess. Thats what u are to Him. That was so comforting to me to know that because my Dad was not emotionally there for me either. Never knew or understood the concept of “daddy’s girl”. I was always told I was too fat and not as good as my friends who were “daddys girls”. Anyway, I wanted to share this because I found peace with alot of things in my life just knowing I was loved and favored by God. U r too, my dear….What u suffered was unthinkably wrong. Others came along and mafe it worse. The real testimony here is how truly strong u are as a person. Understanding the pain and advocating to others! Believe me, u have been such an encouragement to me and many countless others on this subject. No doubt your painful experiences were worth something. So many others are being helped by what u have learned and by what has been rwvealed to u. Much love, Darlene, and hugs!

Sharla 🙂

18

I’ve heard countless people say things like that, about forgiving “for yourself.” Personally, I don’t forgive my abusive family, and I do that for myself, because it’s the best thing for me. Of course the people who have attempted to harass me in the past about ‘forgiving’ intended for me to not merely excuse my criminally abusive family but maintain demeaning and empty relationships that will only benefit the people who intentionally set out to destroy my life. How many people recommend that you cut away from abusive family relationships ‘for yourself’? Very few, unfortunately, because that would be genuinely doing something to benefit you, as opposed to your abusers.

People giving moralistic advice designed to silence others about their stories, their genuine feelings and desire to hold their abusers accountable are not coming from a place of healing themselves. I have a real distaste for the word ‘forgiveness’ and the baggage surrounding it. Perhaps one day I will simply not care about these people anymore. In that case, indifference would be a better word, however I really don’t care if that ultimately happens or not. But I won’t be indifferent to the many billions of other abusive parents in the world and the harm they do to children, I’ll keep a constructive anger at this injustice with me and I won’t stop speaking the truth.

19

Stanley
Oh my gosh, your family got help for HIM?? That is hugely invalidating to you! This is the kind of thing that I am talking about; that adds damage on top of damage. I am really glad you are here Stanly and admire you for sharing. I didn’t intend to “correct” you, I was just clarifying. I am glad that you are clarifying too! I really hope that you will share often.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Cindy,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Thank you for sharing your story here! I am glad that you feel better now that you have shared.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Danielle
I am glad that you have found healing. Healing for me has been the most amazing thing; I could never even have imagined the freedom, wholeness and love that I have in my life today both for myself and others. Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Mary Ann ~ Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I love your first paragraph! yes we have a right, every right. To answer your question about if I am still angry, I love what Caden said. I feel that way too.
~I don’t see lack of forgiveness being related to hate.
The process for me has been about looking at the truth about what happened and the lies that I was told for the purpose of setting me free to live. I have children and I have been able to model a life of courage and victory over the way that I was so exhausted and depressed / dissociated for so much of thier young lives.
Please feel free to share often!
Hugs, Darlene

Sharla
I get this feeling that you are judgeing my relationship with God. I was told all my life all kinds of stuff about how God loved me but since I never had any frame of reference for that word other than through the grid of abuse, I didn’t understand what anyone was saying, so it isn’t a great starting place to tell people about the kind of relationship that god wants to have. I had to set all that stuff aside too when I went through the healing process. I had to learn what love really was, the true definition of love, before I could comprehend any kind of devine love.
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Caden
I LOVE your comments. I am going to re-post them because I love them so much. I think that what I feel is very closely related to “indifference” to most of my abusers although I think that living in the truth and standing up to abusers by not being around them is a part of love because it communicates to them that I will not stand for their disrespect etc. Walking away communicates that THEY are wrong and I know it. 🙂 YAY for constructive anger! I love it!
Hugs, Darlene

Caden said; “I’ve heard countless people say things like that, about forgiving “for yourself.” Personally, I don’t forgive my abusive family, and I do that for myself, because it’s the best thing for me. Of course the people who have attempted to harass me in the past about ‘forgiving’ intended for me to not merely excuse my criminally abusive family but maintain demeaning and empty relationships that will only benefit the people who intentionally set out to destroy my life. How many people recommend that you cut away from abusive family relationships ‘for yourself’? Very few, unfortunately, because that would be genuinely doing something to benefit you, as opposed to your abusers.

People giving moralistic advice designed to silence others about their stories, their genuine feelings and desire to hold their abusers accountable are not coming from a place of healing themselves. I have a real distaste for the word ‘forgiveness’ and the baggage surrounding it. Perhaps one day I will simply not care about these people anymore. In that case, indifference would be a better word, however I really don’t care if that ultimately happens or not. But I won’t be indifferent to the many billions of other abusive parents in the world and the harm they do to children, I’ll keep a constructive anger at this injustice with me and I won’t stop speaking the truth.

23

Darlene, from the bottom of my heart I only wanted to encourage you and thank u for what u were doing here on this site. I really want to contribute here but both times I did it seemed like I said the “wrong” thing. You know more about this subject of healing than I do which is why I came to this site in the first place. I respect you and felt like I wanted to encourage you too. Reading ur posts, I know more of ur problems than u do mine…I love the Lord and He has helped me in many ways. I wanted to share. You dont have to like what I say , but it is my experience. I did not realize that God was not really welcome here. Im sorry u u felt judged. Not everyone who loves God wants to cause more insult to injury. Certainly, that was not my intent.
Sharla

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Hi Stanley..
Boy I understand that feeling of rage. NC definately has given me the space to put things in context. No
one in my family would ever acknowledge my hurt and suffering either. But like you I am working on it and reading EFB is very helpful. I just feel like it was so unfair and a waste of so many years that could have been so much happier and productive. Its that loss I am angry about. My father caused most of my disfunction with his abuse and he is dead so no real closure other than he can’t do it anymore. And, even facing him he would have not listened but screamed at me, called me names and made me very upset so in a way the confrontation would not have been as good as discovering my own value. Thank you for your comments.

25

Sharla
I am not sure why you think I am saying that you are saying something wrong. I went back and read my other comment to you as well and I don’t know why you felt that I was responding in a way that would indicate that your were wrong there. In this comment I felt that you were trying to assure me of God’s love as though I don’t know about it. That you were telling me about it as though I was missing something. If I misunderstood then I apologise. I find that type of talk often drives people farther away instead of closer to healing and healing is all I care about for everyone. I always keep all the readership in mind when I comment. I think also that your comment that my “painful experiences were worth something” and comments like that always make me wince. Its like saying the abuse I suffered makes me special or that it serves a purpose now as though it was meant to be or something. It’s just a way of wording that gets me.

About God….God is welcome here. God is why I am here. I don’t believe that everyone who loves God is trying to cause more injury at all.
I hope that I have clarified my comment to you. I do not want to offend or to make anyone feel unwelcome.
Hugs, Darlene

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Mimi,
Thanks so much for your support & anger for me. Yes, FOO lacks empathy & I’ve suffered for being the empathetic one. The indirect & direct messages I received was that I was defective & weak. I’m not crushed by that, as I once was. I know my worth & I like being a Kind person. Thanks for saying, “I value your sweetness very much!”…It’s sad but I don’t remember hearing that growing up. I’m validating myself, where my FOO did not. They valued my talents & brains, but when it came down to my feelings, they couldn’t tolerate it. They had no control of their own feelings, so I was scapegoated. Anyway, It’s been over a Month with no direct contact!….I’m sticking to that, until I’m stronger & can write that letter to my parents. It will be well thought out & knowing them it will not be acknowledged or effective in changing them, however, it will release my pain in a constructive way. I want to let go of my fear & anger so I can continue to heal.
Sonia

27

@ Caden … where’s the “Like to the 100th Power” button … very well said!!!

Re: “How many people recommend that you cut away from abusive family relationships ‘for yourself’? Very few, unfortunately, because that would be genuinely doing something to benefit you, as opposed to your abusers.”

I have done the “cut off / away from abusive family member” and will be condemned by other family members for the rest of my life … oh well, that is their stuff, I have my soul intact.

Re: “I have a real distaste for the word ‘forgiveness’ and the baggage surrounding it. Perhaps one day I will simply not care about these people anymore. In that case, indifference would be a better word, however I really don’t care if that ultimately happens or not. But I won’t be indifferent to the many billions of other abusive parents in the world and the harm they do to children, I’ll keep a constructive anger at this injustice with me and I won’t stop speaking the truth”

I like your way of saying your truth … it resonates with me!

Thank you all for words of wisdom!

Truthspeaker Ruth 🙂

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Pam,
That’s so funny what your husband said. I haven’t been to either pole either, LOL!! I feel ashamed that I didn’t include boys in that comment I made. I know, it involves innocent boys too. It’s so sickening. It’s so scary to think that people sell their souls to get a little gratification. I think to myself, get that crap under control!!! People walk away from heroin addictions, alcohol, etc. At the worst, maybe it’s an addiction, but the blatant disregard for human life is a particularly disturbing aspect of that addiction. Pam, have you ever seen the movie, “Taken”, with Liam Neeson (sp)? We have watched that movie several times. It’s telling of the very thing you describe. So disgusting.

And, thank you for validating my thoughts and helping me feel sane! 🙂
Thanks to you too Darlene!!

Not too long ago, I was in the company of a strong Christian family, helping care for their ailing grandfather/father. A conversation arose about a recent shooting where 3 victims were involved. The strongest of the Christian women, immediately said, “we have to pray for that shooter”. I about fell out of my chair. I said, “AND, we have to pray for those victims and their families!!” She said, “yes, that too.” I was dismayed by that whole conversation. I thought, what the heck? What about all the pain he caused others? Shouldn’t that be first on the prayer list? I suppose there’s a chance she’s right, but, I’m not going there! People had lost their loved ones. What causes people to have more empathy for the shooter, than the victims? I felt at the time that she was the poster child for follow the leader, afraid to have her own thoughts on the subject. I understand that the shooter obviously has issues. I understand that he/she needs prayer as well. I also understand he/she could have taken his own life, if he wanted to murder someone. The baffling thing to me is they kill people, then themselves. Can they just find the courage somewhere in their heartless souls to leave everyone else out of it? Can’t get my brain around that one!

Sonia,
You’re welcome. It saddens me when people can’t see the sensitivity of others. My family also failed to see that I was a sensitive and empathetic child. I remember events where I really hurt for others in my family. My sister with a broken arm, my dad when he wrecked his truck, my grandfather when he had all his teeth pulled, my mom when my dad yelled at her. I LOVED my people. I hurt for them. I remember when my sister’s arm was in a cast, and my mother laughed because I offered to tie her shoes for her. Mother made it out like I was a stupid little slave. I was 5 years old. And, I remember her repeating the story several times to others, in my presence. I think if I saw that kind of sibling love, I would say, “aw, now that is a sweet gesture.” Not my mother. I think she laughed and made fun because she had some distorted envy for not thinking of doing it herself. That’s the only excuse I can muster anyway.

I’m sorry your family didn’t honor your sweetness. I think it’s fantastic!!

Love to everyone,
Mimi

29

Karen,
I heard that forgiveness BS too. My mother wrote me a note while I was away at a three day retreat for women. Families and friends are all asked to write supportive letters to the event goer, and then there is time set aside during the event, for everyone to read their support letters. My mom’s letter said, “I think it’s time we put everything you did to me in the past and let it go now.” Hahaha! What a slap in the face at the end of an awesome event.

I had met my husband by that time. I was in my early 30s. I can look back on that and realize that the truth of the matter was, my mother was at least genius enough to realize I might have an ally in my husband. Someone who could potentially see through her crap and put up a fight against it in my honor. She couldn’t really pretend anymore that she was the only person who would ever love me. She twisted it around and pointed out she was ready to forget what I did to her. What she was REALLY saying was, “I better back off my game, there’s a new player, and he might play rough”.

It’s no wonder I’ve had times of rage!!

Peace and Love,
Mimi

30

Wow what a hurtful letter! My mother has never written to me ever. She would never put her thoughts in writing where they could be used against her. She is very sly. That way she has deniability of “I never said that”. My mother tried to turn my husband against me. Literally told him to put me out of the house when we were having a fight. She is envious of everyone else’s possessions and happiness. She was happy my brother’s marriage broke up because she now has her golden child back under her control. So I’m kind of off the hook with NC because if I’m not her obedient slave she has no use for me. She went from victum to abuser when she adopted the abuser’s tactics.

31

“Victims of child abuse (or any type of abuse) need to be heard before they are instructed to move on or find a way to forgive the perpetrator of the damage caused to them.”

Yes! When I teach on forgiveness, from a Christian point of view, I teach a seven step model. The “forgiveness” part, what I call “canceling the debt,” is step five! That’s after identifying the sin done against us, identifying our own emotions,and feeling our emotions.

Validating that we have been sinned against is a crucial step one. Once we understand that we didn’t deserve that evil and we find a safe person to have our feelings with, then, and only then, will cancelling the debt be helpful.

Christians often bypass that step. I call it “Christian denial.” We don’t want to walk into the emotional abyss, either ourselves or with someone else. We try to short-circuit the process. But that short-circuiting only sparks more anger and pain.

When I saw clients as a psychotherapist, I often spent months, sometimes years, with someone validating their experiences and their feelings.

Yes, I believe in cancelling other’s debts, because Jesus cancelled mine. But it’s the endpoint of a process.

Three choices when confronted with sin against us:

l. This is false: I forgive but I don’t feel It’s false because you haven’t really forgiven if you haven’t felt the pain.

2. This is stuck: I feel but I don’t forgive–I have the right to hold this anger, to nurture this pain..

3. This is true spiritual and emotional growth: I feel and I forgive–I do have the right to my feelings; I do not have the right to vengeance–that right is God’s.

Darlene, you do such a good job of articulating the nuances of healing. Thanks for your work. Karen

32

Mimi
That letter from your mom IS a slap in the face. My mother loved to remind me of what I ‘put her through’ as well but like Karen’s mom she never put it in writing! What your mom wrote is very tactical. And those kinds of things kept me in the “spin” of self blame and confusion for YEARS.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

33

I’ve had therapists almost take a pleasure in telling me I need to forgive in order to heal. Another way I’ve had them discount the pain suffered in childhood is to talk about how much mothers love their children. “Your mother loved you more than anything.” It’s not automatic that a mother will respect her child and treat him with love and support.

34

David,
I too have been given this very unhelpful information! It is just so NOT up to someone else to tell me what I need to do. I needed to HEAL. The rest of the stuff fell into place as a result of healing.
Thank you for bringing up the point about being told that “mothers love their children” as though that is an automatic response from a mother. This webiste gets most of it’s traffic from people searching info on why their mothers didn’t love them. That is quite telling! Hundreds and hundreds of people a day find me through that search more that through any other search terms. These people are seeking validation that they are not wrong in feeling that they have been treated wrongly by their own parents and that they are not alone. This is a huge global problem (EFB is read in 132 countries) and something that needs to be talked about truthfully is healing is going to happen for vicitms of parent abuse or neglect.
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

35

Mimi, I have seen that movie but some of the things I’ve been reading lately, make that movie seem very mild. I think people who prey on children sexually, do so because they have ultimate control over the children they destroy. Often, they are people in powerful positions. Jerry Sandusky is not all that unusual and I doubt that he acted all alone. They usually, exist in rings rather than in isolation. Like packs of wolves. They are predators, in every sense of the word. They have no compasion or empathy. I don’t know why but they can’t. Everytime they objectify a child, they dehumanize themselves further. There was an arrest of an older man is southern NM, about two weeks ago, who is a retired teacher. He was arrested as part of a global child pornography/pedophile ring. In his computer they found conversations he had with other men fantasizing together about a world in which children were butchered and served at banquets. A retired teacher. Who knows what that man has done in living out his sick fantasies.

In one post you describe your mother making fun of you for being a ‘slave’ and then in the next you describe how she wants to forget everything you’ve done to her. What a queen in her own thinking! They have no empathy. Love and tree invoke the same emotional response in them. They are just words to use to get what they want. I don’t know exactly how they get to this point but when they get to this point, they’ve given themselves over to evil. I think that was the hardest thing for me to grapple with. There are people in the world who are evil. I believe they were hurt as children and choose to cope with it in by becoming like their abuser. Every time they objectify someone and hurt and use them, they lose a little bit more of themselves until, there is nothing human left in them. They are to be pitied but their’s nothing anyone can do for them and it isn’t safe to be envolved with them.

When my family told me I needed to forgive my rapists, there was no emotion in it at all and abosolutely, no concern for me or him. It was just a cold, calculated tactic devised for the purpose of putting me back in the place they created for me. That ‘place’ is where I’m most useful to them. In their mind, there’s no other reason for me to exist.

Pam

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Mimi,

Your mothers’ letter was a typical blameshifting technique. It’s you, all you and will always be your fault. (Being sarcastic.) That same thing has been going on with my FOO for years. At least since I was in highschool, but probably my whole life. My problem now is that I am angry and bitter at this point. After finding out “The Truth” of how I have been played by my mother all of these years, I am stuck in anger. I hope it doesn’t last forever, this phase. I would always hear backtalk of negative things she would say about me and my family, but I never wanted to believe it. I wanted to think I had a mother that loved me, that felt safer to live in a lie that she maybe loved me. That was safer, even if it wasn’t true. I remember once when she was in the hospital after a routine surgery, she was so nice to me and even held my hand. I was so happy and truly thought she loved me that day. Then I realized that she was actually on painkillers at the time and wasn’t herself. As soon as she recovered from the surgery all the negativity towards me returned. About forgiveness I am being told to forgive also. No one is asking for my forgiveness for the backtalk and reporting back to mother that they have done to me all my life. All of my sibs are in allegiance to her, and since she dislikes me, they believe everything she says. I am not that bad, have many friends and am a very empathetic and giving person. Christianity is also a very hard thing for me to accept, my mother is a christian and goes to bible studies constantly, yet has judged me my entire life. I went to a christian healing service once for dizzy spells, I wasn’t cured afterwards, so my mother told me that I didn’t pray hard enough. That statement turned me off of religion for many years. I thought that the whole concept of going to church is learning not to judge others. I’m not ready to forgive just yet, but maybe in time. Good luck in this process all…Peace

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This might be the best blog post i have ever read on abuse/forgiveness…i wish i had read it 20 years ago when i first sought help…i too got the same message over and over and over (and from so called Christians including “christian therapists” – i think some people get into becoming therapists so they can tell other people what to do. I think its a form of control to some extent..I finally found a therapist i trust who understands me and listens to me and validates me..i have been validated so little in my life that to hear her compliment me i want to record it and play it over and over again…i have found it almost impossible to find validation. I havent found it in church or from friends nor very much from my wife..she has her own issues that she has not worked through..even people who i know that have also been abused are very rare to validate me..they just want to tell me their story and not listen to mine…all i have ever heard in church has been about my sin and my need to forgive..i think it has done more damage than anything..i could go on and on..i have almost given up hope in finding healthy people to interact with. America is obsessed with sex, violence, alcohol and fantasy..and i dont see it getting any better..i am working every day to try and get better but its tough. I have 40 years of crap to work through and can only afford one hour a week of therapy and i am trying to work close to full time. My trauma makes me vomit sometimes during the night and it happened last night and i was completely exhausted when my alarm went off this morning so i went back to sleep and didnt get up till almost noon. Then i cried for about a half hour (i cry every day)…between working and trying to get better i am exhausted almost every day. But i persevere…thanks for this forum Darlene..I am lost without it !

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You are so brave. I still get very upset and ANGRY when i hear “forgive them”. No wonder i will NEVER step inside a church again!!

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Dave, I wish you weren’t so all alone in this. Churches do a lousy job of reaching out to abuse victims. Sometimes, teachings seem to only apply to ‘normal’ family situations and they miss because there are so few families that fit that definition and people aren’t getting the spiritual support they need. People end up hiding their problems and pretending to be ‘normal’ when their lives and relationships are a shambles. The clergy in the churches I’ve been in also, seem to view themselves in competition with psychologists and psychiatrists.(I’ve gotten the same vibe in reverse from those professionals). People need both in order to heal properly, from abuse. Honestly, I’ve never found much help from people, professional, religious, or otherwise until, I came here. It is because there is truth here. Everything I’ve gotten from others was either a spiritual bandaid, in the form of one-size fits all, spiritual applications of the Bible or psychological exercises and techniques and pills to treat the symptoms of my abuse trauma (without even getting deep enough for me to understand I had been abused). You’re right, no one wants to hear. Besides my husband and one old friend, no one has ever heard me. This is my place to be heard. That has made a huge difference in my life. It has empowered me enough that some of the people in my life are beginning to hear. I want the world to hear the things victims express here. Abusers thrive in our culture because the results of their actions are kept secret. More than anything, I hate those dark secrets. I’m so happy not to be keeping secrets anymore.

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Dave, I wish you weren’t so all alone in this. Churches do a lousy job of reaching out to abuse victims. Sometimes, teachings seem to only apply to ‘normal’ family situations and they miss because there are so few families that fit that definition and people aren’t getting the spiritual support they need. People end up hiding their problems and pretending to be ‘normal’ when their lives and relationships are a shambles. The clergy in the churches I’ve been in also, seem to view themselves in competition with psychologists and psychiatrists.(I’ve gotten the same vibe in reverse from those professionals). People need both in order to heal properly, from abuse. Honestly, I’ve never found much help from people, professional, religious, or otherwise until, I came here. It is because there is truth here. Everything I’ve gotten from others was either a spiritual bandaid, in the form of one-size fits all, spiritual applications of the Bible or psychological exercises and techniques and pills to treat the symptoms of my abuse trauma (without even getting deep enough for me to understand I had been abused). You’re right, no one wants to hear. Besides my husband and one old friend, no one has ever heard me. This is my place to be heard. That has made a huge difference in my life. It has empowered me enough that some of the people in my life are beginning to hear. I want the world to hear the things victims express here. Abusers thrive in our culture because the results of their actions are kept secret. More than anything, I hate those dark secrets. I’m so happy not to be keeping secrets anymore.

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Hi Sarah Louise
Welcome to emerging from broken.
Hugs, Darlene

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Melody
Looking back there were necessary stages in my healing. Anger was one of them. I had a hard time getting there because I had learned to resist anger at all costs. Some people have a hard time leaving it, but for me it was a stage. Validating that stage is very important. There is such a thing as justifiable anger.
Being told that you didn’t pray hard enough is another tactic. Something I had to tell myself a million times is that people lie. People say things that are plain wrong and those things defined me for years. Those things also determined my choices about other things. Those were all the things that I looked at and had to undo in the healing process. When you said “I thought the whole concept of going to church is learning not to judge” ~ that was foundational for me. That is truth. I realized that I the people defining me, and picking on me, were not living according to their own rules, they didn’t love by the definition of love they insisted on me following. Realizing things like that really helped me to take my life back and see others for who they really were. It wasn’t me.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Dave
I think that a lot of people get into a lot of jobs so that they can have and feel some power over others, yes. It is great to hear that you are working with someone now that you are feeling progress and success with. Yay for persistence. That is what got me through.
Hugs, Darlene

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Recently many here have expressed how they felt when contacted by their abusive parent after a NC or low contact. I have found it hard to understand the feelings of conflict and hurt. I thought, why let them bug you like that, just brush them off. Well I understand now. (Sorry) I got a short note from my mother this week. I wrote to her 5 months ago expressing that I did not want contact. I feel guilty and conflicted although I feel comfortable keeping my distance. The letter started with her news, in other words, everyone that has died.
It moved on to her physical problems. Then, how she loves me so much as her first born and misses our conversations and if she has hurt me to forgive her. What?? I can understand a letter a couple of weeks after NC, but why after 5 months is all that love for me bubbling to the surface?
I think its a hook to drag me back in. Her choice in the last 9 years since I resumed contact has been to have me serve her so she will not to be a burden to my brother (her words). I have been belittled, constantly put down, and put right back in my place in my family as the (too emotional) useful doormat.
If should complain or speak up, I get the “she’s in one of her moods again”. That has always been the OK to treat me like dirt until I conform.

I wrote back and told her I now understand the truth of my childhood and my place in the family and that treatment is no longer acceptable. I was polite but firm. I just will not be pulled back into the fold. But it did rile me up to have to deal with her. Knowing what caused my emotional issues has been so liberating. I’m not
there yet but getting better. I’m putting me first now and will say so when she sets my brother on me with the shame and blame trick.

Her physical situation is deteriorating and I would say within 6 months she will need a nursing home situation. My guess is she will need someone to come up, pack up her apartment and do
all the work necessary to get her moved. (I have a truck and trailer) She has never spontaneously offered her love and affection before so I am very suspicious. Thanks for listening. Karen

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Karen, I’m curious. Did she name anything she’d done to be forgiven for? I’ve gotten the vague “sorry you feel that way” and a “you need to forgive me” but never have they confessed to doing anything to cause me pain. They never verbally, make the connection to my pain and damage to their actions.

Pam

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Karen
Just the “if” she has hurt you is interesting to me. She communicates innocence in that statement. I have heard this kind of this so often sometimes I wonder if there is a universal script they follow. They ask for ‘forgiveness’ without ever defining what they may have done to need forgiven. I had to start watching for those phrases that got me in the spin and pick them apart through the grid of truth. My mother said all kinds of things that didn’t actually clarify or admit anything.
Thanks for sharing Karen.
Hugs, Darlene

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Pam and Darlene her words were:
“I am not perfect and hope I am adult enough to admit it – I’m sorry if I have hurt you in any way.”
I’m flabbergasted! Twice, in Jan and April, I politely tried to address my family issues. I was completely ignored. Now that I have pulled away, all of a sudden I am “loved”. I don’t believe it.
Pam I clearly defined on typed paper the exact issues that hurt me. The ones that I needed addressed. That way there would be no misunderstanding what I said or meant. She could then read it over and comment on
what she thought. No comment at all after the Jan and for 5 months on the april letter.
Karen

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Karen, I did the same thing with my family and they ignored what I said and refused to engage me on it. When I pressed my mother in person, I did get a couple of vague ‘apologies’ simular to the one you received. My mother said she thought I forgave her for drinking (which now she tells me that she wasn’t as druk as I thought. I guess she was just crazy and mean. Believe me, she was drunk almost, every day of my childhood.) I told her that I did but drinking was what she did to herself. The things she did and said and failed to do while drunk and sober, were the things she did to me. That was the end of it. They will never admit to wrong doing and they will never acknowledge that I was raped for a year, they knew it was happening, and did nothing to save me from what was happening and I didn’t understand. It makes me sick that I was so emotionally, and psychologically beat down that I accepted being raped by a man nearly twice my age, as love. The second man twisted my mind and heart so severely, that he exploited me by selling me to other men and I was still so much of a child that I didn’t understand what he was doing to me. I also, excepted that as love and did whatever he asked to prove my love to him. I had no value for myself and it was the reflection of the lack of value my parents had for me.They still don’t value me for any reason but how I might gratify their needs. If having me in their life means acknowledging wrong doing, they will never do it but they will use every trick in the book to bring me back in service to them. I’m sure they miss that and even mourn that loss but they don’t miss me because they’ve never acknowledged me as a full fledged human being with a purpose of my own. I can’t afford to allow them to blur the line I drew in the sand. It has to remain, simple and clearly drawn. Like you, I won’t be sucked back in to a family who has no respect for me and never has. They threw me away once and I fell for their trickery as a young adult and slid back into that old familiar relationship because I never fully, undertood what was wrong between us. Now I do and the second time they threw me away will be the last.

Pam

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Darlene – you wrote this: “Until I finally saw the truth about my childhood and the trauma that I suffered, I was stuck in the prison of living as an invalid person. It was in finally being heard and being validated in my pain and my right to be angry at the injustice done to me that set me free to live.

All things healthy grew from this initial validation”

What was it that validated you ? Or whom ? How was it that you were heard and you were validated that it made such a difference in you seeing the truth ?

Dave

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Karen – i learned the hard way that being polite and being nice with abusers doesnt work..I tried that for years and got completely ignored too. They dont care about us…all they care about is themselves and getting their needs met through you or me or anyone that will bow down to them. They walk all over nice and polite people like us..when you are nice they recognize it and they figure out how to take advantage of you to get what they want. thats what my mother did. she used every trick in the book to use and abuse me and get me to be her slave..she used me as a substitute mate because my father ignored her. He got tired of hearing her bitch and complain all the time so she found a way to twist me into becoming her slave and it worked…i didnt know it was not normal. I didnt know that rolling her out of bed and massaging her back when i was ten years old was not normal. I didnt know that cleaning the house and cooking and buying her cigarettes and learning to cook as a young teenager was not normal..my mother was a selfish, narcissistic bitch who made everyone around her miserable because she was so miserable herself. Unfortunately i was stuck in her prison for 21 years before i escaped…the scars and wounds are deep. the healing is very slow and painful. I persevere. It took me a long time to realize that i had a choice as to whether i allowed my parents to be in my life or not. Unfortunately there was so much damage done while they were in my life that i dont know that i will ever heal from it all. the abuse was daily and it was very destructive.

I am sorry to hear what you have been through..its disheartening to hear so many stories of parents using and abusing their children. Its the biggest issue in our society that no one wants to take on except Darlene and a few others…no one in any position of power or authority wants to tackle this issue yet..but i believe a day is coming when it will start coming out. Someone will rise up and be our voice..someone will make it to a major position of influence and will stand up for those that have been abused and victimized. I am proud of you for standing up for yourself…keep standing !

Dave

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Karen Ranes, and all,
My mom’s most common advice when I was young was to never write to someone you’re in a disagreement with. Always do it verbally. That way, it can’t be used against you. I don’t know why it never clicked for 43 years, that it was part of her scam. The letter she wrote when I was at the women’s retreat wasn’t “offensive” though… in her eyes. She had nothing to lose in writing that, or even in me broadcasting it, (although I only told my sister) because it’s the story she believes. She would never have written it, had she thought there was anything offensive about it. She also knew me well enough to know I wouldn’t say a word. She had trained me that way. It was one of her final insults about raising me. Her way of threatening me, keeping me in my place, while subtly insulting me at the same time. She also knows that she has worked her butt off all my life to make sure other people buy into her view. She’s so disgustingly self assured that I’m sure she thought even if I did show it to anyone, they would gladly agree with her. She knows all the seeds she planted are in full bloom.

Having said all that, my mother is very sneaky too Karen. And, that letter your mom wrote you could have come straight from my mother’s mouth. Her apologies (which I can count on maybe 3 fingers) have usually been laced with insults, and other subtlties that the general audience would never pick up on. My mother wrote in a note to me in the last year, “I’ve made mistakes and I will make many more before I leave this world. I am human.” That is a classic load of crap!! She never has addressed the lies I began holding her accountable right about one year ago. It got ugly with her husband and her counselor. I just stuck my ground. I didn’t curse anyone out, I didn’t let anger show in any way (in my opinion) because that has always been her go to phrase about me. That I’m so angry and impossible to talk to. I was direct and emotionless. It got worse than I expecte it to. She went further than I thought she would. Now, because of the sort of the paralysis I feel when I hear from her, I have blocked her, her husband, and her counselor. I don’t even know if they email. That way I’m not tempted to read something and defend myself, or get into turmoil about it.

I don’t know when or if I’ll speak to her again. She knows what the conditions are. I’ve spelled it out more than once. She has chosen to walk away from a relationship with me because of those conditions. But, not before causing a nice big drama. Sucking people in, and putting them up to defend her. Now, I think they’re idiots too. I think, “well, you poor suckers”. She put them up to do her dirty work when she ran out of excuses and rabbit trails, as Darlene says.

I’m sorry your mom has caused an upset. I hate to try to say what another person’s motives are, but your mom’s sound exactly like mine. Maybe she waited 5 months and decided you weren’t giving in this time. I wish you luck and I hope this first contact isn’t indicative of what’s to come (the way it was for me). My mom didn’t give up easily. And, she was stirring crap in the sidelines the entire time.

I’m so happy that her emails don’t touch my computer. I hope it doesn’t have to come to that for you.

Peace to you,
Mimi

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Melody,
My mom does all the church stuff too. My stepdad is the antichrist personified, and he told me a few weeks back that he wanted to meet with me and my pastor to discuss the command to “honor our mother”. I wanted to laugh out loud. I also wanted to ask him if we can discuss his thievery and lies while we’re there. He wanted to see my pastor, because he doesn’t have one. My mother goes to church alone. I suspect it’s so she can model her impressive wardrobe, LOL!

It’s incredibly tough to find trustworthy clergy. The whole forgiveness approach is just weird. My mother is a classic example of someone who goes to church to maintain the “image” of fearing God, doing good, etc. I’ve met sooooo many people doing the same thing she is. It’s disgusting. There’s a little comment that has become popular ~ I’ve heard a few people say it. Being in church doesn’t make you any more of a Christian than being in a garage makes you a car. So true.

Neil Anderson is a one of the very few Christian authors (and he’s a healing program writer) who embraces things from the more sensible approach to forgiveness. He doesn’t advocate brushing things under the rug, and he encourages the whole processing of injuries. He writes great stuff.

Peace and Hope,
Mimi

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Thank you all for your kind, insightful comments. I am sorry you were all devalued in the way I was.
They truly damage you as a child and then hold it over your head all your life as your fault. Thank you for sharing your personal stories and pain. That it is still emotionally painful after 40 years is a testament to
how incredibly damaging the lack of value in our family system was. Dave, I too was my mother’s confidant
and lied for her and took care of my brother and the house while she was running around with her boyfriend. My Dad was an angry violent man. What would he have done to me if he caught me in the lie?
Pam. At age 13 my father approached me sexually. I told my mother and somehow she stopped him. I can
not imagine what his sexual abuse would have done to me on top of my already fragile self. I can say I probably would have killed myself. As it was, my teens were self destructive. I was an emotional time bomb. I wanted love and affection and would do anything anyone wanted to get it. I tried to
force people to love me. I did not know any other way. I was confounded when it didn’t work.

You both, in fact all of us, must be strong to have survived all of this. But it takes a toll. I do not think I will ever be completely normal, although working thru it has been a positive move to STOP any more damage. I act normal around others (in other words I tone myself down as I’m a bit of a bouncing ball) but it is a fake normal to me because I do not feel like who I am would
be acceptable. So my twisted thinking and need for approval is still there. Not sure if trying to be “acceptable” is normal. Thanks again!! Karen

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My mother does not have a computer. I would not answer her calls so the only contact we would have is snail mail. I expect her to use my brother (or his son) as a tool to bring me back into the fold. I’m on to that. So she
can’t reach me unless I allow it. There are no other family members and we live 1300 miles apart. She
can not influence my husband either so we will see what she does. Karen

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Karen – i feel exactly the same way. I cant be my true self around others because they cant handle it…if i mention even one thing about my past they get uncomfortable and quickly change the subject or even just leave…people that have not worked through their stuff cant handle the least little bit of being uncomfortable..they either run or they try and fix me like i am a broken car part.

I think its perfectly “normal” to act like you do around others..if i shared my true self i would never see anybody. Its a delicate balancing act. I cant just stay at home all the time and never see anyone. I work alone at home so i have to have some interaction with people…i pick and choose when and where that is and i basically dont bring up anything about what i am going through or dealing with. even people that have worked on some of their stuff cant handle listening to me or dont want to hear about what i have been through and the fact that i cry every day from the pain of abuse. I think acceptance is very hard to come by…at least i have found that people are much more quick to criticize, judge and condemn than they are to accept…I have been guilty of it myself but i recognize it and am trying to change and be more loving and accepting of others. I dont know how we have come to a place in society where so many people are angry, bitter, resentful and hateful…it seems to be like a plague to me. I see and hear it everywhere…all i can do is work on my stuff and try and get better. Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you have put up very good boundaries with your mother. I hope that continues to work well for you.

Dave

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All,
It seems like we all had the same mother, it amazes me! Back to the counseling subject, my Nmom wanted me to go to counseling to work things out a couple of years ago. I refused because I knew she would play the super sweet grandma type of saint person. She’s too sneaky to have her true personality come out in front of a counselor. By the time she brought it up I was way too untrusting of her to take her up on the offer. And as Mimi’s mother, mine dresses very well also. Money impresses her. During our last fight in my own kitchen her statement to me in the argument was “You wouldn’t even have this house if it weren’t for us helping you out with your first house.” I had completely forgotten that they helped us with part of the down payment on our first house. Apparently we need to pay them back. And you wonder why I never take anything from them? Because there are strings attached. The last conversation I had with her it didn’t go well, her apology for lying to me was, “If I apologize to you for what I did, then you have to apologize for everything you did in highschool.” At the end of that conversation she said “If talking to me bothers you so much you should stop speaking to me then.” So she wants me to stop speaking to her so she can blame me yet again to the family and it will be my fault again. She can then get pity because I am so mean! My head goes in circles everytime I speak to the woman. I do not have any plans to call or contact her, it’s just over. My sibs can take care of and enjoy the sweet, little old lady. I do not have the same perception of her that they do.
Dave, I too was the slave person in the home while the Golden Child sat around. I remember having to vacuum the entire house upstairs and down every day after school in Jr. High. I don’t even vacuum every singleday in my own home. It sounds silly, but it’s a symptom of the system that was in place back then.
Karen, her lack of computer skills can be a blessing for you! The problem is, she can still go after you via your siblings who probably can use a computer. At this point I would be completely skeptical of any of my sibs phone calls or emails. I will actually say, so what is it you want? If you didn’t care to talk to me before World War 3 broke out with mother and me, then why do you want to talk to me now? My Ndad while growing up always called me paranoid. Yes, I am, but I was created by them to be this way. I wish I could go back to being a trusting person again… Thanks for this site again Darlene. This is one of the few places I feel safe. Peace!

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Hi Dave
I finally heard my own story. There was someone who heard me but that was only a part of it. The bigger part of it was the *I* finally listened to me and stopped invalidating the child abuse that I had been trying to minimize and just dismiss as not so bad. I finally said (to myself) “HEY, that happened to me and it was really awful. It was really wrong. It was horrible and caused a lot of damage and I was NOT protected. I deserved to be protected and safe etc. I didn’t deserve that neglect etc.” THEN I was able to see the messages that the trauma taught me about myself. Those messages needed to be exposed (to myself) and set back to the truth but that recovery process didn’t begin until I really validated what had happened to me in the first place as having been WRONG and not my fault etc.
Hugs, Darlene

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Pam and Karen
My mothers fav line is “I’m sorry but….” and most of the time she isn’t even sorry, she doesn’t say anything at all. She would do anything NOT to admit anything she may have done wrong. What Pam is saying is really how it went for me too. She really only valued me for what I could do for her. Who I could be for her. Like my father who only ever told stories about me that were a reflection on him and never about me, she only cared about how I made her look and that was different in different situations. In bars picking up men with her was not the same as in front of her friends who might have thought taking your teenager to bars was a sick thing to do. The bottom line was in her motive and not inspired from love at all. They didn’t SEE me. I was not a valid individual person with rights etc.
This is a great (and important) conversation.
Hugs, Darlene

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Karen,
Being approached by your father sexually is no less sexual abuse then being touched by him sexually. It is awesome that your mother stopped him! (not that that makes up for the other ways that she abused you, just that it is great that she stopped him)

All ~I had to look at all these things separately so that the good didn’t cancel the bad as it did in the old system of relationship. I would use the good things to excuse the bad things when one has nothing to do with the other. Abusers try to excuse themselves this way and that is where we learn it. They say things like “well I am not perfect and I am adult enough to admit it” which infers that you are asking for perfection and that YOU are not adult enough to admit your wrongs. That is a rabbit trail. It was really important for me to stick to one thing at a time in order to see how messed up it all was.
Hugs, Darlene

Mimi,
About the image thing ~ yes. That is what I was talking about in my last comments to Pam and Karen. (I had not read your comments yet at that time)

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Melody and all
Yes, again the image thing and about the money stuff. And we live in a world where all that matters. People are impressed by authority, degrees, cars and all sorts of stuff that have nothing to do with the type of person they are. And we have been taught to view the world this way. I had to undo all that and learn to see people through a different grid; a more truthful grid. Actions speak louder than degrees, money, and yes even words. Learning to see things through a truth grid played a big part in setting me free from the prison the world had me in.
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene and all,

I’m so happy for this site where we can share and be heard. Interestingly, I am realizing that this is only part of the picture. Darlene, I have bookmarked an earlier post which I go back and read a lot, the one called EMOTIONAL HEALING DOES NOT DEPEND ON… from 8 Dec 2011. You so clearly point out that even if we are heard by others, the real work of healing comes from within ourselves and only I can do it for myself. It does depend on ME. This is what I remind myself of, often on a daily basis, because I too get so angry sometimes that I have to fix what they broke. But you point out that EVEN IF they were truly able to acknowledge that they broke me, that I would STILL have to fix myself.

And you’re right about the double bind I found myself in that because of the abuse I had come to believe that I was not capable of succeeding at anything, let alone healing myself.

One thing that shifted within me as I came to understand the truth that it does depend on me is that I am no longer looking outside myself for saviors. I can appreciate the wisdom of people like Darlene, but I find myself reluctant to label even her as my lifeline or savior, and I think this is a sign of gaining mental health!

Blessings,
Sophia

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Darlene..when I go over the event about my father now as an adult I can not imagine what he was thinking.
Until I knew about Narcissism I just couldn’t understand why. Now I see I was an object not a person Looking back there were many signs that I never put together.. I was just a powerless thing to
be used because my mother by that time had a powerful lawyer she could go to if he stepped out of line.
So he turned to me. From 14 to 18 I was a target to be destroyed. She never again stepped between us.
It is SO helpful to face the truth to finally understand what happened to me.
I’ve been isolating a lot too Dave. I just don’t want to be buddies with anyone til I’m ready to. I don’t want to have to make the effort to cope when right now, I can’t. So I am using the time to become educated about all this so I can deal with stuff.

Oh next week I go to Chattanougga for a scooter rally Hill on Wheels…been preparing for 2 months. It
will be the first time I’ve seen my old friends in over a year. Last time I didn’t cope too well when my scooter broke down. I get high expectations and when things go wrong I freak out. I’m setting
my bar a bit higher this time and challenging myself to ride that same scooter again. Shes a Vespa 200cc
manual shifter. We have over 28,000 miles together. This is the topic I am forbidden to speak of in my family even though it is my favorite thing to do. Go figure.. Karen

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Sophia,
I agree! That is a sign of gaining mental health. We have to fight for our recovery and it is huge to give ourselves credit for that.
Great points!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen
Wow your rally sounds exciting! I have never been on a scooter but it sounds like fun!
Your father was only thinking about himself. That is a very hard thing for a grown up child to realize. (that our own parents objectified us, abused us or neglected us) It is also a huge key in recovery to realize it. It is part of the building a new foundation based on truth.
Hugs, Darlene

64

I had a similar thing happen to me. I was told to pray about my sin of pride when I told my pastor I felt other people were better than me. Of course that was only the surface of the problem with people. Preachers preach and send people out to counsel that have not been exposed to or experienced the devastation that child abuse causes. We must recognize this problem if we are going to survive with the closest thing to normal we can muster.

65

Hi “hurt1” and welcome to emerging from broken
And people who have lived with the devastation of child abuse have been taught to cover it up and accept it as “normal” which causes a huge problem also. I am glad that we are being pro active. Every little bit helps.
Hugs, Darlene

66

Karen, I couldn’t understand my parents until I learned about narcissism either. When I first started reading about it, I litterly got sick to my stomach because everything fit so perfectly. I had to work through it slowly but understanding the structure of my family and the personalities within that family, was key for me to begin to see the truth.

Pam

67

I’ve been away traveling for several days, and am just getting to read all of these comments.

Darlene, thanks so much! I agree, walking away shows we know our self worth, whether they want to believe it or not.

Ruth, thank you!

My mother also wrote to me once: “If I have hurt you, I’m sorry, but it was unintentional.” Which is so laughably pathetic given the manipulative and overt ways in which she targeted, insulted, made me feel inadequate, hit, and sexually abused me without even trying to hide the fact that she knew what she was doing and enjoyed doing it. She’s a monster, there is no “if” about it, and I decided when I came of age that I wasn’t going to repress what I did at that point remember (which wasn’t everything), or sweep her crimes under the rug.

I also cringe when I see people speaking platitudes about how great, nurturing, and loving *all* mothers are. Looking at the real world, I don’t see that that is the case.

68

All – I have learned from a good friend who i have known for a long time to “go by what people do not by what they say” – people will say anything but actions speak much louder than words. Words are often shallow and meaningless…people who talk a lot just like to hear themselves speak because they think they are important. People who listen a lot and who are willing to hear you are much more valuable to me even tho they are hard to find. Seems like everyone has a cause or agenda these days and often its to make themselves look good. Pretty pathetic. They will get what is coming to them one day. I am learning to ask myself “what does this person want from me and why do they want it. what’s their motive”…its helping me make wiser decisions and to learn to trust only those who prove themselves trustworthy and not trust blindly like i did for so long. Its a long and hard learning process when you didnt learn this stuff as a young person..better late than never 🙂

Dave

69

WOW!! I had the same garbage thrown at me my whole life. I didn’t realize how many others had it put on them. I grew up feeling guilty that I felt bad all the time and had no right to any of the pain I was COnstatnly feeling. I was always told “the past is the past and just let it go”. There was no one on this planet that wanted to be rid of it more than me. I was never validated about anything and ended up always feeling like I made ” more of it” than what it was. I have been ina nd out of therapy for 26 years and sober and clean. I spent almost 2 years in heavy duty PTSD for all the violence I witnessed as a child. All I know is my violent crazy father is dead and my borderline, narcisisct, alcoholic, rageaholic Mom is still alive.
I have been given one life and have done amazing things with it and am very, very fortunate to be in the place I am in. I don’t know how to forgive people that have branded horror show memories into my mind that will never go away. I try and try all the time. I will never get over the isuues, I just get to go through them and try not to be bitter. Thanks for the info, from all of you. I don’t feel so alone in my fealings.

70

What words do I have to describe the life I have led so far.I was told growing up that I was a backwards child. Every thing I did was brushed aside as she is just to small and shy. She hasn’t got a clue as to what is happening to her. She is fearful and extremely shy. And as for her bed wetting she is just plain lazy to wake herself up to go to the bathroom. I can remember being diapered with dirty old towels which then I was thrown into rubber pants. This happened to me on many occasions.One day it was my older sister who diapered me in front of her friend I was treated as if I was a dog laying there. The humiliation I felt all those years can’t begin to explain the person I have become at the hands of my abusers. All the painful memories were carefully and meticulously hidden from myself by me. I just recently came across the description of Body memories or Somatic memories. How dreadful were my days when I had no idea what I was going through. To be raped as a child and it all brushed under the rug and then sent to school to try and fit in and never succeeding because every teacher and every student considered me an easy target for ridicule.When the main abusers in my life either died or moved away my mind and body decided to unload the cart. The scary thing was my body decided to unload first and it wasn’t until my memories caught up that it all started to make sense. I know I have no power over people and what happens to them but let me say this God has saw fit to let me in on what has happened to my abusers. The first abuser died a horrible death from lung cancer I was there the day he died. The second abuser has gone through diabetes,open heart surgery,broken bones,cancer. Now she is in a nursing home all alone. The third abuser was run over by a car,fell off a roof and broke his backand he to has had open heart surgery.The fourth abuser has had stints put in her,h

71

hit the submit button by accident to continue the fourth abuser had stints put in her heart,numerous operations,her son has cancer,her husband died from cancer.the fifth abuser has a daughter that is a drug addict.the sixth abuser had a son that was murdered in a drug related dispute.the deniers in all of this have had to deal with deaths in their families,divorce,financial difficulties and scores of other hardships. I am not sharing these things to be mean or to feel superior to them.That was never my intention. In fact as of this moment I feel sorry for all of them.I never once tried to get even with them and this is the first time I have ever shared my story with any one besides my therapist.I don’t feel good about what has happened to them but maybe this is God’s way of showing me that when you repeatedly hurt someone causing them to suffer it will come back on you eventually. I’m not perfect but I have been through a very unimaginable life.It took me a long time to get to where I am and I still have a long way to go.At this point it doesn’t matter if I forgive them it’s whether I forgive myself. You can’t make someone change,the only change that can come is the one within ourselves. Thank you Darlene in sharing your life with others.

72

Hi Lanseyblue
Welcome to emerging from broken!
I thought that I woud never get over this stuff, to really not have it in the back of my mind, but I did. There is hope for that for everyone! I am glad you are here and you are certainly not alone! Validating the pain is a huge part of that healing.
Hugs, Darlene

73

Hi Everyone
There is an old post that has picked up speed again because of a mother who found this website and is struggling to heal her broken relationship with her daughter. This mother is admitting to being one of the abusive parents we are talking about and is asking for ideas from us on how she can best proceed with her daughter who has decided to give her mom another chance. What would you want to be able to tell your mother or what would you want people to tell YOUR mother if she asked you this question? If you are willing to post a comment to this woman, (Teresa) she writes in comments numbers 186,189 and 190. in the article “more on mother daughter relationship dysfunction” ~ here is the link http://emergingfrombroken.com/more-on-mother-daughter-dysfunctional-relationship/
Hugs, Darlene

74

Hi,

My former boyfriend told me I must forgive to my father to be free !! and I had to do it immediately !

Pff, what a great advice …

75

A new step in my spiritual journey… This latest blog on forgiveness was a trigger for me. I went to talk to the priest today (since returning to church after 45 years) about my NM. I went prepared, armed with Luke 17:3 and Emerging from Broken printouts on forgiveness because I was afraid he would just dismiss me with “just forgive” BS. But he didn’t do that. He understood my need to be NC. He agreed that some people are just evil. He appreciated that I have found spirituality through my struggles. He told me that the church was about relationship and community and would support me. He advised me to pray for help to forgive people who have hurt me, to pray for peace in my heart and to pray for peace for NM. He said I will know I have forgiven when I have no concern about my NM and when I have peace… Almost there… I feel hugely validated by this experience, very supported and comforted.

But I would never have been able to reach this point without getting angry first. Thank you for this blog, Darlene.

76

PS: NM above = narcissistic mother

77

PPS: NC = no contact

78

Jane – interesting timing that you post about what happened to your abusers. My mother, who was the worst abuser, has been in a nursing home for several years. I have not had any contact with her since my father died in 2005 because of several lies she told about me shortly before his death. Out of the blue i got a phone call the other day from her guardian to let me know that my mother had been hospitalized over the weekend and had been in a lot of pain. Its the first time i have heard from the guardian in about six years…i honestly wish my mother no ill will. she has suffered a lot as she was abused as child also and just continued the cycle. I thought i would never hear anything about my mother again and out of the blue my phone rang and it was her guardian calling with an “update” – six years is a long time between updates. The guardian herself has some issues that i dont need to get into but i have been wondering maybe if my mother had died and i just had not heard so i at least got an answer…i think God is allowing her to live so she can find him before its too late…

Dave

79

Hi Michelle
That is awesome! There are great people in the world who know what they are doing when it comes to healing and helping others to heal. What he said about knowing you have forgiven by the peace you feel; that is what I mean when I say that forgiveness was a result of the healing work that I did. That peace was the result of facing the damage and the truth about that damage, feeling the appropriate feelings about it and for myself. Thank you for sharing this story.
That is very cool!
Hugs, Darlene

80

Hi everyone,

I have a problem. My neighbour wakes me up each morning at 7 screaming after her kids ! It lasts about one hour where she screams, yells at them ! I am tired of that, it’s really stressful.
Because of her, I wake up in stress.

It’s horrible because her children must be very unhappy having such a “mother”.

That situaiton is hard because I feel nobody can help me and I am too discouraged to report her and do something to stand up because she scares me ! In the past I confronted her but it was a nightmare, she is just evil and I hate her. The communication with her is impossible, she thinks she is totally right to scream at them and I have to accept it, she won’t make an effort for me !

Hugs, thanks for listening.

81

Forgiveness is necessary for healing, but it can take a long time. First you have to tell the story, feel the anger, and make the choice. Forgiveness can not ever be forced. It can only come from a person’s desire to forgive. When the time is right, it can be the best thing that ever happened, so freeing.

82

Allison
Why do you think forgiveness is necessary for healing? I find this concept interesting.
Also, for me forgiveness was a result of doing the work and not a desire at all.
Hugs, Darlene

83

Hi Darlene

I can so relate and I so hate when people tell me I need to pray for someone who hurt me and I feel that lady was in a way judging you .. by telling you to pray.. or how you should pray or for whom you should pray..

I feel sermons are not what wounded people need.. that is just like salting the wound. .like telling you you are not doing enough yet.. that GOd wants you to say something some formula to receive healing.

I am like I am because I did all that stuff.. I tried the suggested ways.. it made me more a victim..it made me feel like I was unholy for feeling hurt or bad .. that I should do some kindness for my abuser. that I should be ashamed that I am not handling things so well

I may choose to ask God for help but whether I want to keep the abuser before my mind in prayer is another story..that is not a sin to choose not to pray for the person. it simply means i want to get them completely out of mind and heart and space

Sometimes religious people like to tell people what to do but if you look into their lives they have a whole list of people they are not talking to or praying for..

I rather take a tissue from a caring non-believer than a sermon from a conceited believer.

I am just trying to find my own way back to what I believe regarding faith..but don’t need someone telling me what I should do…when I talk to God.. .

84

Hi Joy
Your comments are excellent. I too tried all the suggested ways with little lasting results. (sometimes I felt like it was working but it never lasted, it was like a baidaid when I needed surgery)
I love ALL your comments. Great points!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

85

Hey Darlene..

Its good to find my way back.. when I get a slowing of schedule ..your blog is always a great place to be 🙂

Hugs

Joy

86

Hi Everyone
Another “mother daughter post” from the past has attracted a commenter that seems to be defending herself as a mother and pointing to her daughter. A woman who is calling herself “mom” hopes that her daughter will realize the ‘sacrifices’ that she made… she talks about “her love” vs “her daughters definition of love”.. In case anyone is interested in commenting here is the link: http://emergingfrombroken.com/mother-daughter-relationship-false-definition-of-love/
The new conversation begins on comment #118 and continues…
Hugs, Darlene

87

Dave-thank you for responding to my comment.It is good to know I am not alone. God has removed my abusers from my life. I don’t think that is a bad thing since when they were in my life they seemed to wreak havoc on it. I was too weak to fight back and God some how knew that because He is a defender of the weak. I believe when we go through bad things in our lives it is not in vain,it is so that we can some day rise above it all to help others that will some day need our help in over coming similar tragedies. Jane

88

I really appreciate what you said Jane.
I have seen a similar pattern in my life too. Those that have hurt me have gone on to have a difficult time. Having put some distance between myself and those people I was able to see it. I don’t know if it was a direct result of the harm they did to me, but I realized that I don’t have to be caught in a battle anymore. If a person continues in life to cause chaos, then eventually their world will fall apart. I may have just been in the path of a tornado, and I was probably not the only one. Recently, pretty much all my tornadoes came back to seriously wipe me out. This time, I was older, had come to peace in my life, was living my life on my own terms. I think this time it was much more vindictive, because it seemed so purposefully meant to keep me from happiness. Purposefully meant to keep me from making my own decisions, having my own direction in life. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman, but the whole world seemed to agree with them. Basically that this life I have made for myself, I didn’t deserve, I just needed to find a man (an abusive man) to tell me what to do, how to live and who to be. And if I didn’t find a man, they were there to do if for me. I got extremely ill, I don’t know if it was a result of all the negative intentions of those around me, but this time I fell…for about six years I was stuck in it, I’m only now beginning to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally. Perhaps I had convinced myself that they didn’t know what they were doing before, I gave them too many allowances for making mistakes. But to realize the real intention was to cause serious harm, well it shattered me. Maybe, this happened for a reason, because I honestly didn’t believe before that they did anything on purpose. Maybe I needed to know, that it was done out of total hatred, otherwise I was still vulnerable. Knowledge is power. I am beginning to see that there is real sickness there, real hatred. I wanted to be innocent before, stay innocent despite it all. But I’m starting to see it is better to know what you are up against.

89

Oh, I just have to say, I did find a man. A sensitive, beautiful, loving man. One who didn’t dominate me. But in my own illness, and not being able to fight back, I almost lost him. I almost gave it all up, because I couldn’t handle the attacks anymore. I even told him, I needed him to go away just so the pain would stop. Just so I could be what everyone wanted me to be and then they would stop. I’m so glad he didn’t go.

90

Another meaningful and heart touching post, thank you Darlene.

The only way I could move on to where I am today, putting my emotionally abusive mother behind me was when my feelings were validated. I was never going to get that from my mother so I had to find it in myself with the help of a counsellor.

When a professional not only believed me, but could tell me what she was like from his past professional experiences it was the final piece in my jigsaw to healing.

At fifty years old I knew my mothers manipulative, abusive behaviour was wrong but I couldn’t see a way out. She used usually fictional illness and threats of what would happen to her if I didn’t conform to her demands.

I was held in her power by nothing but fear, fear of the harm that might come to a woman who had willingly and knowingly emotionally abused me all my life. But without being believed/validated in my own mind I couldn’t get past that fear.

Thanks to the help of a professional and my many friends who have continually told me my mothers abuse was not my fault I am now on the other side of the fence, free, happy, calm and peaceful living a life rather than living a dread.

91

Hi Jordon
I can relate to what you are sharing. No matter how many clients I work with I am still surprised by the depths that fear works and is used to control kids well beyond childhood. And the lies that we believe never having had a choice but to believe them; we just don’t know anything else until we are told something else. The lies have to be exposed! Thanks for sharing this!

Everyone ~ there is a new conversation going on in the post “The Fear of Good-bye if you don’t Comply” if anyone is interested. This was a very popular post and now has over 430 comments in the discussion ~ http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-fear-of-good-bye-if-you-dont-comply/

I have been taking some personal time this week but please feel free to comment on this or any other post conversations.
Hugs Darlene

92

Mimi as responding to Karen#51
About the mother and her sneaky ways not ever writing a note on paper, so as not to have proof of her behind the scenes abusive ways. If she writes a note it is to be sickening sweet and suck me back in because she knows she has crossed a line with me. This whole post is what I just recently went through. On the phone or in person (alone with me)she throws the barbs, put downs and the most anger towards me. I wouldn’t back down and when she was in a corner about her lies, her true horns came out. When my husband is nearby, she is so sweet. I’ve asked him about this since he knows all the behind the scenes that she does, he said that he knew from our first days dating that she was fake. I’ve been recently called a coward because I cannot forgive someone, I think a true coward is an abuser that hides behind the scenes so sneakily causing pain to another. (Especially since it is your own child.) If you have to be sneaky then these mothers must know what they are doing is wrong! So forgiveness for doing the same things over and over is just not in the future right now.

And then the various ways of apologies that really aren’t. I just got the same thing, adding I’m sorry, but…. Anything with a but after it is not a sincere apology. I also agree wholeheartedly because my Nmom very rarely apologized, I can count on one hand how many times she has apologized, and it has always been with a ton of anger added in.

Also “the sucking people in and getting them to defend her.” Wow, this one also hits home with me. I would love to be a fly on the wall in her home to hear her conversation as she puts me down to numerous people on the phone. (Mostly my rather large family on both sides.) She is well respected, her and my Ndad on both sides of the family. I keep finding people saying things like “Well, you’ve been trouble for 30 years now haven’t you, haha.” When people say these things it hurts your heart to the core to know that one persons’ hatred of you can resonate so far into the family.

Thanks for your posts they are so helpful. And thanks to Darlene for this safe place to be. Peace.

93

Hi Everyone!
I have published a new post. Today I decided to publish an abusive comment in the body of a new article. I get comments like this once in a while and today I decided to use one of them as an example of how and why people try to make us shut up about the past. Here is the link to “People who try to silence victims interfere with emotional healing”
http://emergingfrombroken.com/people-who-try-to-silence-victims-interfere-with-emotional-healing/
Looking forward to the conversation!
Hugs, Darlene

94

I just don’t know what to do. After walking away from so many people in my life, now I have to walk away from the last member of my family I talk to. My father told me yesterday, that he and his wife, and his wife’s late mother, all felt so sorry for me that I didn’t have any family. I always wondered why they treated me like such an outsider, they were the only people who could have stepped up and made me feel like I have a family. Now I learn that they just felt sorry for me. It felt like he was talking down to me. Like he never took responsibility for being my family. His wife would scream at me when I came to visit, like a jealous wife, like spending time with him was taking from her. I never asked for anything, I did everything in my life on my own. Eventually I had to stop visiting. And you know what? I did forgive my dad. He stole a lot of money from me for drugs or for his wife, I don’t know. He took it from me and told me the day before I graduated from high school. It was money I was going to use for college, I worked the last two years and saved it because he told me he would be unable to help. But I forgave him. Now he’s older and falling apart emotionally, and I just refuse to be there for him. Because I had no one, absolutely no one. Christmases were spent with me getting screamed at if I didn’t act grateful enough for the hand me down gifts. While they bought only the best, the most expensive, I got their used garbage. Because they had a hard time throwing anything away, even their own garbage was to precious to part with, so they gave it to me.

I just have to walk away…For someone to use me and abuse me, then say they feel sorry FOR me? Not he IS sorry, but sorry for me…I can’t allow someone who hurt me to look down at me like a pity case for the things they did to me. Never again.

95

Hi Danielle
I am sorry that you have been hurt this way again. Something I found helpful was to realize that the ways of being treated that you are sharing are not love. They do not communicate that your ‘family’ regards you with equal value or even any value. The things that they have said and done are so hurtful and mean.
I had to figure out why I thought I had to accept this kind of treatment. Even after I walked away, it was a huge part of my healing process to take a look at the roots of why I never stood up for myself and why I kept going back. In realizing the false messages about me that were at the roots of those questions, I was able to overcome the feelings of obligation and lonliness that I was so tied into.
Hugs, Darlene

96

Joy,
#83 ~ I love everything you wrote there. Especially this, “it made me feel like I was unholy for feeling hurt or bad .. that I should do some kindness for my abuser. that I should be ashamed that I am not handling things so well

I may choose to ask God for help but whether I want to keep the abuser before my mind in prayer is another story..that is not a sin to choose not to pray for the person. it simply means i want to get them completely out of mind and heart and space”

This is so well put. I have struggled to pray for my mother and her husband. Then the guilt on top of that. You articulated it so well… I need them out of my mind and heart so I can wade through the muck that resides there. I really appreciate this post Joy.

Melody,
What you wrote, “I wouldn’t back down and when she was in a corner about her lies, her true horns came out.”…. this is exactly what I’m going through right now. I have held mother accountable for some lies which she refuses to acknowledge. She actually did apologize for some other offenses. It was really BS. But, she never addressed the lies. It’s been going on almost a year now. Back and forth about the lies. Finally, after her apology for the other offenses didn’t satisfy me, she dragged her husband and counselor in on it. They both sent me blaming emails. Her husband told me not to reach her anymore, that I’m dealing with HIM now. I thought, well, no problem there. It’s not me who’s been trying to reach her anyway. It’s HER. She kept asking what’s wrong, despite me spelling it out numerous times. I kept saying the same thing. When she realized I wasn’t giving up, she retreated to the fetal position and summoned her front line.

I have been on vacation and while I was gone, I got an email from her stating she has a new email address. I have blocked all her other email addys, as well as her husband and counselor. Her new email went directly to the blocked status as well. Somehow, it makes me feel empowered to do that. A small step toward taking my power back and not allowing the BS in my life.

I’m a little puzzled by the email “notice” though. Her husband told me not to contact her anymore, that I am to go through HIM now. And, here she is putting her new email addy out for my use. It’s not me who keeps the drama going. I have been fine with no contact. I’ve only addressed her when she addressed me first. I want to be abusive and call them both idiots. Something I need to work on!!

Melody, my husband has said the same thing. That he was on to her, but never let me know because she’s my mother. Surprising what other people see. One time when I was in surgery, my mother and husband were in the waiting room. My mother took the opportunity to tell him how she’d saved me when I had horrible panic attacks in my 20s. He never told me about that until about 6 months ago, after I’d discovered so much crap about her. She was planting seeds, like she’s always done.

Love to everyone,
Mimi

97

Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing this website. I am going to get help for this difficult time in my life that seems to be spiraling into every relationship i have. But I want to thank you for providing a place that I can speak and be heard, and even seeing the words that I have written, to validate my feelings. I realize I’ve been bouncing back and forth for many years, between forgiveness and betrayal. And I have to break this cycle I’m in. Sometimes people will keep hurting if you forgive them. I have desperately been running away from holding bitterness in my heart, and I thought that forgiveness was the only way. But standing up for myself is something I need to learn, because I see now, it’s my only option.

98

Danielle,
I feel for you. It’s a lonely place. It gets better; it has for me anyway. I think I needed to feel that loneliness really. It did serve a purpose. It allowed me to see things as they really are. To develop my own thoughts and opinions about people and events. I certainly needed space from all of my family to figure things out. I didn’t know I needed it at the time. I so horribly missed my sisters. I sobbed a lot. In retrospect though, I needed it. I needed to be less dependent on them, and moreso on myself. I had to learn to trust myself and my own judgment, rather than running things by them first. I found out it was okay to have my own feelings and opinions on things, whether they agree or not. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to work hard on self reliance, and trusting myself. It’s no easy feat. Truly, EFB has been a saving place for me. There is hope Danielle. Healing from loneliness and the pain it brings is a real concept. It does get better.

Love and Hope,
Mimi

99

Thank you Mimi,
I do believe it will get better for me. I have been in a better place before and I know I can achieve it again. But I also see the ‘act’ in how I felt before too. Acting for myself, and acting for them. I acted in a way to keep them from knowing I was hurt, because there would be such a backlash of ‘spoiled child’ slurs thrown at me. And also to preserve something of my own, to not think that they broke me. This time I know I’m broken. I’m also very sick, so all this ‘stuff’ that I get from those around me is even more painful and damaging. The emotions that come with it can be a killer. I just need to spend some time alone, and concentrate on my healing, emotional and physical.

100

Yes, it’s wrong. And validation is good but some want a lifetime of holding on to validation and anger so they can justify hurting others and that’s where I draw the line between the reasoning. I have tried to help witth validation for friends only to find myself being verbally abused by the victim of abuse causing me to question who the actual abuser really was. If every time I attempt to mention the possibility of forgiveness and the victim holds vengeance for me just mentioning it, it leads me to believe maybe they don’t just want validation, they want to get vengeance even on those who don’t deserve it due to holding on to their anger too long. This is why I believe God says vengeance is his. Don’t hold onto it. We aren’t capable of dealing with it appropriately. If I don’t sound validating because I mention forgiveness I don’t believe I should now be put in a category by someone of deserving their wrath. If their anger is this high they do need more help but I question how much validation they should have. To take matters in their own hands isn’t wise when that much anger has built up. A person doesn’t need to allow abuse to forgive. But they also don’t need to blow up at the mention of the word forgive. Sure they can sayI’m not ready or willing but some I speak of do much more such as saying they hate me now too or I should suffer for mentioning forgiveness. That much anger needs resolved by some type of forgiveness.

101

“Sincerely”
Please read the comments I left you on the other post that you commented on earlier.
Although I think I understand what you are saying, I think you missing the point of these posts. Why do you have to mention forgiveness as a solution in the first place? that is what people find so invalidating and triggering. That is what we are talking about.
Darlene

Here is my comment on the other post:
“Sincerely”
I realize you are new on this site, but did you even read this post before you commented? From the beginning I said “First, a note about blame: In my view, blame is about placing the responsibility for the trauma where it belongs. In my recovery, blame was necessary and part of the natural progression on the journey to wholeness. I am not suggesting that we need to stay in the emotional part of blame forever, just that it is an important stepping stone in this process of emerging from broken”

You have discounted that with your comments.

And then I wrote “Forgiveness; What I am suggesting is that we are taught to skip a step in the whole forgiveness arena. We are told to forgive before we are even validated that we have something to forgive.”

And again your comments do exactly what I am talking about in this post. I think you missed the point. In this site we are talking about healing from the damage. It is no comfort to me to think that the abuser might pay for what they did in this life or in any other life. The damage needs to be validated before forgiveness is suggested.
Forgiveness is a result of the healing process.
Darlene

102

Hi Sincerely,
You wrote, “they want to get vengeance even on those who don’t deserve it due to holding on to their anger too long.”

I would like to ask, in your opinion, how long is too long, and who sets that standard?

I can say I’ve struggled with anger at times in my life and sometimes it was nearly uncontrollable. I have had misdirected anger, at people or situations that didn’t really deserve that reaction, or at least to a lesser degree.

My point is, that underlying anger just lingered there quiet and resting, until someone hurt me. Then, I would be infuriated. Through the processing of all that was done/said to me growing up, I have FINALLY realized that the anger deep inside had a source and a reason. It’s very frustrating to go through life not knowing why you’re angrier than other people. AND. to have it used against you by abusive people.

I don’t want anger to be my legacy. I am ashamed of it most the time, and I still struggle to know what healthy anger looks like. I can tell you this for sure, if I hadn’t ever dug in and processed what I went through at a young age, I wouldn’t have EVER let go of that anger. I feel as though it is finally (at age 44) starting to dissipate, and I’ve been working on TRUE healing for approx 18 months.

What I wish to convey is that people who are angry (in the way I was) I believe, have deep injuries that have never been addressed, resolved, acknowledged, or validated in any way. I wish for you to understand that when I came here, I had no one else. My family was crumbling before my eyes. My marriage was in danger. I trusted no one.

If you are a person who can skate through life having been damaged for years as a child and adult, then withstand the crumbling of your FOO, and an affair at the hands of your husband, and never get angry, Kudos to you. Having said that, you’re on the wrong blog if this is the case.

Best Regards,
Mimi

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Hi Mimi.thanks for validating my thouhgts;) being raised so “religiously” I have had to really go way back and undo all I had learned before I can begin to realize that it’s not right that I had to keep silent or that i was scared into silence or made to feel guilty by siblings and relatives for finally coming out about what happened…I actually got brave enough to defend myself on the phone against my mom and then by email and then my message so .. I feel like this year i have come a long way .. though I Have so much further to go.

Hugs and love,.

Joy

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Wow. You are speaking right from the heart. Thank you so much. As a Christian, I struggle with this because I am being told by other Christians that if I continue to speak about the abuse it means I have not forgiven. Since when does forgiveness equal silence. I don’t think that identifying the abuser and demanding justice on earth precludes you from working on forgiveness. I can do both, can’t I?? According to many people, being vocal about the abuse means I am not ‘walking’ in forgiveness. However I often think that the people who want you to be silenced may be the very ones doing the abusing. Wouldn’t it be convenient for them if we all kept quiet? That is where their power lies. That is how they kept us in that condition for so long. There are others though who believe a true Christian only projects that they are happy and positive all the time. I was even told that as a Christian I am held to a higher moral standard and if I openly discuss my struggle with forgiveness then I have dropped the ball as a Christian. I simply don’t understand where we went astray in Christian culture that some Christians actually think they are supposed to be held to a higher moral standard. To be “good” or “better” than all of society. Last I checked the whole point of Jesus was being none of us are able to be ‘super moral’ or “super good’. We are human and we struggle. I’m not trying to be better than anyone us and I’m also not trying to judge. I am working on forgiveness and I will continue to b/c I do believe it is important for healing. Yet it does not have anything to do with my rights as a victim to no longer be silenced. Jesus Himself is clear on who condemned Him. He said “Father forgive them” but He never was silent as to who was condemning Him either.

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Hi Holly
Very good points! Forgiveness has nothing to do with silence and you are so right that silence is always demanded by the abusers OR by the ones justifying the silence they too live in, patting themselves on the back because they are such good people for suffering in silence?? It’s crazy! And the abuse can go on from one generation to the next in that system which is exactly what the abuser wants. It is so convenient (to the abuser) if the abuse is never exposed ~ but it is wrong. There is far too little about the actually message in the bible that is NOT preached because it gives people too much equality and most of the world lives in the pecking order system believing that the one with the most power wins and that love is when someone submits to you. ugg.
Glad you are here, love your comments, thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

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Holly, I feel you are right on target. As a Christian I too was been told countless times to forgive my abusers and then be silent and get on with my life. I can’t do that as long as the huge amount of pain persists. I have no doubt that some day I will forgive them as well as the rest of my family for abandoning me. I hope and pray that God understands this and will continue to hold me in his loving arms! You are not alone! ~Stanley

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Holly,
I think it was your other post you mentioned you felt you were sent her by God. I feel the same. I feel in my heart of hearts, God gave me this website because he knew I was close to death. I was very desperate and I begged him for something…. ANYthing. Within 24 hours, this site was before my eyes. I hadn’t even searched. It was a link on a friends FB page (if I remember correctly, it could have been a link to a link). Anyhow, the point is, I’ve never seen it on FB since. It was that one time, and I’ve been writing and reading here since that time about 18 months ago. I love reading people’s testimonies and the TRUTH about Jesus re: silence and forgiveness, etc.

Stanley,
I agree. I can’t do it either as long as I’m living a lacklustre life doused in pain. For 43 years, that didn’t work. Why would I (or anyone else) think it will work now? Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results? Congrats to all of us here who have decided to escape insanity, and find a new way!!

Peace to everyone,
Mimi

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I just admitted recently that I have not really forgiven my mother, my father and my older sister (who was my guardian at that time- she’s 10 years older) for not protecting me from an uncle who attempted to assault me. Thank God I escaped! The forgiveness thing I agree completely. How can any one tell me to forgive someone who just attempted to assaulted me? WTF was that? Did they say that because it was an easy, safe thing to say? Where they even thinking how I felt? I was so mad, so disgusted, so betrayed. Anyway, that was some 20 years ago but when I talk about it now, I feels like it just happened. So I am angry. I have not fully understood why my mother chose not to protect me. Maybe she did not know how. I don’t know. But I felt she betrayed me as her child, and she condoned the event, and I was silenced by her lack of action to correct it, to defend me, and by saying, I should learn to forgive. I know I should intellectually, but I can’t. What that uncle was wrong, and its not acceptable, ever. Up to now, I stand by this, I will not let anyone do that to any of my kids, nieces, nephews – I will fight for them if I learned of any sort of similar thing happening to them. Thank Goodness, so far there are no other “monsters” in the family.

Anyway, I can’t say I have forgiven my uncle for attempting to assault me 20 years ago. I am indifferent. I have no feelings for him at all. Zero. No good, nor bad. Which i think sometimes is probably even worse than “hating” him? Not sure about this. However, I do believe what goes around comes around. Life has a way of getting back at people who had been monsters. That’s all I can say. That’s why its always good to be good, respectful and decent, period.

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Hi Sofie
Ya, the way most of the world regards forgiveness is crazy and makes no sense. People will tell you to forgive things they don’t even believe happened in the first place! It is so important for the damage to be validated and there is no “should” about this topic! I didn’t learn to forgive. forgiveness was part of the result of helaing. Forgivenss for me meant that pain was gone and I no longer lived in the way that the abuse or the abusers defined me. This is such a huge subject!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene, I see the 17 year old child inside you and my heart aches for her and everything you carry with you to this day. You deserved love and understanding and protection.

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Hi Barb,
Thank you!
There is freedom on the other side of broken! That 17 year old is healed and free today.
Hugs, Darlene

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You cannot forgive someone who does not feel that he or she has done anything wrong or has not asked for forgiveness. In these cases the best you can do is forgive yourself for moving on and away.

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Hi Darlean
Welcome to EFB ~
hugs, Darlene

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Such an awesome read as always! This is how MHPs should speak not the usual bs ‘but try to understand him.’

“I got assaulted and he got forgiveness?
She told me that I needed to forgive my mother for not protecting me and not believing me. She didn’t even listen to the whole story before she was telling me that I had to forgive them. It was invalidating.”

I agree it is invalidating to one’s feelings. I told this to my therapist ‘why should my parents get forgiveness while I am stuck, robbed of a childhood I never had, then they are gonna still terrorize others, yet our self esteems are suppose to continue to suffer? I have seen with forgiveness that the abusers still continue to do what they want to do.’

She said they are gonna do what they want to do, but it is to release yourself. I have told people my story and they just pick and choose what they wanna hear by telling you ‘understand your parents, try to be a good daughter and may be they will come around.’ What kind of nonsense is that?!? We already know that abusers were once abused some time in their lives, what else is their to understand about them? Very few of them will change and the majority of them don’t give a damn to change!

Invalidating one’s feelings – people can’t understand why there are still other people out there who won’t come out because they keep hearing other groups of people being denied their feelings. It’s like you already feel like crap already by keeping it in and once you open your mouth to invalidation, you still feel like crap even more! Damn if you do and damn if you don’t! All my therapist did was say ‘oh I am a mother and understand parents’ feelings.’ I told her ‘no, you don’t. You do not speak for all parents – you damn sure don’t speak for mine.’

I’ve been told to forgive my mother for not protecting us and for not being a better mom to us. I said you must be kidding! My therapist said she stills lives in the past and I said no duh yet you’re the one kissing their asses! She said ‘your mother (dad too) did the best they could.’ I said really? let me help you with that: mom “I never wanted you guys in the first place. You were just born to keep your father around and I hate women – they are nothing but whores especially daughters. Having my first born daughter to my old high school boyfriend was another way for him to get him to love me. I refuse to work with white people and take those women’s programs that are to help women get into the workforce. I am not paying for the mistress’ bills! I never loved my children, you are just assets for our tax refunds every year and basically our little maidservants.”
My mom worked sporadically in the 70s and 80s as a nurses aid; few months here and a few months there then she found out my dad was cheating claiming it started in 1972 before my brother was born and way before I was born. She isn’t gonna pay the mistress’ bills – was my mom forced to give my dad her paycheck? That we will never know. She gets very quiet when you ask her.

She starts arguments and couldn’t understand why dad gave her a black eye twice, cops came in Ny, but she never pressed charges. He put his hands on her again in CA, she called the cops and pressed charges and still married in the same household!!! She said money is due to her and made it clear how money meant more to her than her own children, his affairs and dad and mistress frauding the gov was more important to argue with him on than trying to help her own children.

My parents say it isn’t their job to teach their kids about life or whatever, we were suppose to figure that out as children and my mom always uses race to back up her claims “only white people hang onto their kids by trying to be a parent to them.” WTF?!?!? My mom is extremely lazy and has zero work ethics yet claims she has a lot to show for…spreading her legs to make babies? How is that an accomplishment?

My dad strongly believes women should submit to their husbands, be their maidservant or sex servant, women have no place in the world (why do you have daughters?), women are taking away the man’s jobs out there. His mother was an alcoholic before she died and my sister said how she treated her and first born half sister like shit yet treated my brother like gold! My dad only wanted children for again tax reasons but he wanted 25+ more so he can be like the rich Arab men and the FLDS Mormons with a bunch of wives. He screws people over big time, has death threats from NY, thinks he can take on people (talks big but is fat, can’t breathe, can’t run at all, so out of shape, etc), thinks he can use his fists when you disagree as he pleases, extremely lazy like mom sits at home wants you to pick something up when it is right in front of him and as always, my mom does nothing just makes you do it then says when he isn’t around how women are not servants but she sure makes a great slave!!

My dad has worked, people tried to help him and he screwed them over. He has terrorized and threaten his employers/coworkers, almost gotten fired multiple times (they finally retired him in 07), gotten at it with his coworkers, threaten to sue the company for racism (plus shit he started on his own), has stolen from his employers and the Navy Reserve way before cameras were around, never home and still isn’t, tells women he is single with no children, pays for sex, sleeps with hoes, is married to the mistress illegally (married her in Mexico), married to another illegally in the 70s in Canada while married to my mother and divorce that other woman within 6 weeks, runs his mouth couldn’t keep a house that is why they were always moving, has absolutely no feelings for anybody told my mom several years about the gas cans how he didn’t care what happened to us (sounds like a lovely father right?), etc.

My parents always had to “contemplate” our needs meaning they play these stupid negotiation games whether or not we need help with xyz. For example, if I am seriously sick or injured, they would sit there discuss it or make me care for my own sickness/wounds saying you don’t need a doctor just faking it. Yep, we were always faking it! They would let us lay there and die or if we were disabled or on SSI; they would spend the money on themselves or wouldn’t pay for the funeral. Both sides of the families are hateful, spiteful, liars, nasty, women on both sides married losers, there’s no real love in the family at all, too many lies on both sides, too many secrets, etc.

Told therapist ‘do I need to say more? What part in their entire statements does that sound like real, loving parents who wanted children?’ She just sat there in silence yet this woman is a mom herself! I told her ‘is this how you advise clients? Forgive them anyway because they are your parents, are you really listening to what I am saying? That sounds like two people who are bought and paid for by the devil!’ We were not wanted as children, what part do you and others have an issue with? Is this interfering with your “white picket fence attitude” that this does not happen everyday? Children have been used as slaves, go read a real history book!! It’s a parents’ jobs to raise, teach, and protect their children. If they don’t wanna do it, then take the kids away and give them to someone who will do it! otherwise, you will always have this problem of these children growing up either lost, living destructive lives, etc – somebody needs to intervene.’

This is the forgiveness I should be doing huh? I told therapist ‘I am still bitter because of the lack of parents we had, no childhood, no type of family fun or a real family, it’s filled of hatred, constant fighting/arguing, etc what child (or adult) should have to go through that kind of drama all of their lives? That is mentally and physically exhausting!’ I guess you can say that is why I can’t let go and still live at home too. I’d say I could let go right now if I was able to do the things I couldn’t do with friends in the past.

“There was no comfort for me. There was no understanding for me. There was no permission for me to be afraid or to be in pain. There was no permission for me to talk about what happened or how I felt about it. I was invalidated once again. The abusers, even when I exposed them, were the ones who deserved the attention.
My mother didn’t love me enough to choose ME over HIM but she got prayer and I had to find a way to forgive. I was ‘encouraged’ to try and ‘understand them’. I had to try to understand the abusers.”

Agreed. I told people my mom chose to have dead beats to father her children her old boyfriend from high school whose been long dead and my dad the fool she married. I was told not to feel or talk about my parents like speaking ill about them. What??! How am I speaking ill about them? I’m speaking about the truth about them, does the children are seen but not heard still apply today but quietly? I told people and therapist the same thing my mom didn’t love us enough but she chose a loser and that spoke volumes. Being married according to her is an accomplishment, so being verbally abused for life and being hit in the eye twice is something to look forward too!?

It’s funny when my mom says “never let a guy hit you, you leave the marriage/relationship.” Really?!? I told therapist and other people ‘she says these wonderful things, why? It makes her feel good? She isn’t following her own advice and never has saying ‘it wasn’t meant for the suggestion(s) to be followed.’ What?!? Then don’t open your damn mouth!! I always tell people if Jesus was a hypocrite and contradicted himself, would he be the Messiah? Would He have followers? I told my therapist ‘look around, victims are still being put in the dark while everybody is bowing down at the abusers.’ She didn’t like that comment at all, oh well, she decided to cut me off and tell me how I am looking at it negatively like always. I said I would love for you to say that at the survivors of abuse workshop, you wouldn’t get very far from the women I promise you that!

“I did all the things I was told to do but I never quite found the real answer. I still lived in fear. I still felt dirty, disgusting, unlovable and unworthy.”

Agreed. I tried to look at it from what I was told about their parents and I have seen the mistreatment happened to them that they are inflicting on us but it is our fault! I still live in fear and I believe I have found my own answers: these people are not worthy of forgiveness as forgiveness should be done on their end too. It’s like you’re begging your man or woman to be with you when they clearly stated they don’t wanna be with you. Same with forgiveness, they feel they did nothing wrong, we’re liars, blah blah and made it clear they are not gonna admit to something “they didn’t do.”

My therapist said they won’t change. I said I know that! I’ve had people tell me lies about do this or that for them and they will change, it meant absolutely nothing. Nothing we did meant anything to them and we stopped trying and we stopped caring – which I was told was the wrong approach and told therapist it isn’t your life!

“I was advised to pray for the people who caused them and I was instructed to find a way to forgive. I was told that forgiveness was for “me”. That forgiveness would set me free from the pain. But in reality I was not allowed to HAVE the pain. I was not even supposed to talk about it. I was apparently supposed to jump straight to forgiveness. I was told that forgiveness was the only way to peace and happiness. I felt so much shame that “forgiveness” wasn’t working for me! I felt like I was the only failure in the world because I could not seem to get over the abuse in my past and I didn’t know how to forgive.”

It’s true if you weren’t allowed to have pain, how can you forgive easily? This society tells us to never feel/experience pain that it is all in your head anyway. They tried to feed us with “artificial happiness” like a Leave it to beaver life style! When I try to forgive, I get so many knots in my stomach like it is telling me ‘don’t do it, not worth their time.’ Yea, there is a lot of shame and told therapist we got a lot of shame in this world and in this country how we are made to feel shameful for little things that is pertaining to our needs only and not someone else’s – we got way too many mix messages.

It’s like people tell me ‘sad story, please forgive them.’ Skipping everything else like they didn’t wanna hear it. i always tell people ‘my story is dark, why do you want to hear it? Then, when they hear my story and the stuff I say about my parents, they don’t want anything to do with me because you don’t speak that way about your parents blah blah!.’

“Suggesting that the victim of a child sexual abuse crime (or any other abuse crime whether legally liable or not) consider forgiveness or the salvation of the perpetrator of that crime even before the damage has been validated and even before the victim has permission to feel all the pain and anger is mean. It discounts and devalues the person who was abused. It puts the emphasis in the wrong place. It causes the victim to be stuck in shame and pain. Stuck.”

I agree which is why you see a lot of abused victims are still stuck like me. I was told countless of ridiculous crap from people and it is like which is which? My parents are the king and queen of denial, being hypocritical, and contradicting themselves as I couldn’t tell what is true about life/people/work and what wasn’t true. People want to be heard not to have their stories devalued and discounted.

“Being directed to “pray for them” and being told that “forgiveness is the only way to peace” seems really messed up to me now. There was a crime committed against me and I was told to pray for this person and all others who assisted him in getting away with it and find it in my heart to forgive them. Even the way that sounds in writing seems to indicate that since I was the one that had a problem. I had to forgive. And the message that I got was that I was the one that had done something wrong. And since that message was the same one that I had received all my life, it slipped into my belief system quite easily and comfortably.”

I agree seems messed up to me as well. I agree about a crime being committed against you yet you’re suppose to have peace already?! Not sure what kind of sense that makes when people say that. They tell me that all the time that I should be living in peace right now at almost 28 years old and yea I should be, but still ain’t there yet! Long ago, I met a guy who hated his father because he abused him and his mom. He did one time hate her for not leaving him and still wished she left him, but he had more hatred towards him. He told me how he is successful, left home at an early age, worked, and put forth his energy towards his own life and work. He told me how he never forgave his father and wants nothing to do with him, but he wasn’t a hateful person. Therapist said you are an angry bitter person if you don’t forgive, but this guy wasn’t like that. He didn’t dwell in the past (like me) and he lived his life just fine. She said he was in denial, no he wasn’t in denial. How would my therapist know? She didn’t have this conversation with him long ago like I did. The guy told me what he worked hard for and that doesn’t sound like an angry person to me!!

“I would not advise anyone to pray for the perpetrator or perpetrators of the crime. That would be discounting to the victim of that crime. I would not advocate for the abuser. I would not put the abuser ahead of the victim in this way. That would be invalidating and devaluing.”

Agreed. Again, people want to be heard not discounted. I was told by people to “pretend what my parents are doing isn’t really happening,” now that is really pushing the shit under the rug!! I told people who died and made these abusers God? Could you imagine if they were some deity running the world? Omg, talk about chaos!

“I could not heal from damage that had never been validated. It wasn’t even that I was always told to forgive. I had also been told that I ‘misunderstood’ his intentions. I was told that I must have done something to cause this to happen. I was told that HE would never hurt me. But he DID hurt me. Why was it always about HIM?”

I was told by people that ‘I didn’t understand what was going on when I was a kid and didn’t understand adult issues back then.’ Yes, we understood quite well we were no longer children but mini adults! Like hell, we didn’t know what was going on we saw the destructive abuse right there in front of us and my mom told me ‘deal with it, people will always fight in front of you. So what if children sees their parents fight like this?’ She said that like it is normal to do! I knew perfectly well that was going on between 5-10 years old in CA and even when we moved to AZ in 96 I knew too.

I was also told ‘but your parents would never do that. Parents don’t do that to their kids.’ Really? They DID DO THAT TO US, the keywords are “they did,” did is an action word. Actions will always speak louder than words; I don’t know how love triumphs abuse yet you are still being abused and get told ‘see, your parents love you.’ You said why is always about HIM? I agree, I always ask ‘why is it ALWAYS about THEM (my parents)? I always got told I did something wrong for my parents to mistreat us like they way they do. WTF?!? Who asks someone to “please abuse me, I don’t care!” Nobody on this planet asked to be abuse by anyone and abusers don’t need a reason to abuse you, they make excuses as to why they do it. I can’t believe the people who say I did something to my parents are parents themselves!! That is the scary part but I have had other people who are/were childless that said that crap yet told me they had loving parents. People from loving homes know the difference between real and fake!

“Telling people to forgive as a priority and as the only path to healing also serves as a way to keep the cycle of abuse active instead of breaking the cycle of abuse. No wonder the victims are the ones hiding and crying in the dark, too afraid to admit that they are still broken from the events of years ago and the abusers are out there using their real names and puffing out their chests, continuing to bully lots of other people. In this messed up system, the abusers get prayer, understanding and forgiveness and the victim suffers in (forced) silence!
Victims of child abuse (or any type of abuse) need to be heard before they are instructed to move on or find a way to forgive the perpetrator of the damage caused to them. People need to be validated and assured that what happened to them was WRONG and that they didn’t deserve it. They need to be told that it was not their fault and that the perpetrator of that abuse is the guilty party and that person is the one who is accountable.
Until I finally saw the truth about my childhood and the trauma that I suffered, I was stuck in the prison of living as an invalid person. It was in finally being heard and being validated in my pain and my right to be angry at the injustice done to me that set me free to live.”

I agree, it just keeps the abuse going and going. As long as these abusers stay in denial, as long as people keep kissing their asses and cotton to them, etc abuse will never end. I told my therapist ‘these abusers are pulling the strings and you don’t even see it. My parents are not even here but they are pulling strings and you will believe everything they tell you.’ Now, I understand why people refuse to go to therapy or just quit – way too much invalidating, discounting, and dismissing people’s feelings/stories. Hell, people wonder why I don’t speak about my parents. My therapist said you’re gonna dictate to what people can and can’t ask you?? I said ‘who wants stones to be thrown at them? I say the truth about my parents yet nobody wants to be my friend. Who wants to hear a dark story? I tell them my parents’ don’t exist – you’d be surprised at the stuff I have told people.’

” this messed up system, the abusers get prayer, understanding and forgiveness and the victim suffers in (forced) silence!”

Thank you for saying that and yea, been saying this all of my life. My therapist totally disagrees with this, I am not too surprised she suffered abuse in her life when she said to me ‘if you ask me about my baggage – watch out!’ Look at these appearances in court on these crimes, like a murderer gets off the hook and the families/friends suffering in silence wondering how could they let him go! People felt sorry for the murderer yet they said ‘the victims need to be quiet, people die so what that’s life (that sounds like my mom right there).’

“Victims of child abuse (or any type of abuse) need to be heard before they are instructed to move on or find a way to forgive the perpetrator of the damage caused to them. People need to be validated and assured that what happened to them was WRONG and that they didn’t deserve it. They need to be told that it was not their fault and that the perpetrator of that abuse is the guilty party and that person is the one who is accountable.”

Agreed. Nobody is at fault for the abuse they endured. Abusers should be held accountable not ‘oh they are your parents, uncles/aunts, grandparents, etc’ – family or not they still need to be held accountable! My therapist said they are not gonna be held accountable, I remember how higher authorities told me that’s how parents are aka the cops told me that! I told her people wouldn’t be so angry, hateful, bitter, spiteful, etc if they were all heard, validated, loved, supported, etc. I said to her they should be held responsible for screwing up our lives.

“You cannot forgive someone who does not feel that he or she has done anything wrong or has not asked for forgiveness.”

Agreed yet therapist would disagree with that. It does make sense, these people will always be in straight denial.

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Expecting the victim to forgive is a subtle form of ‘blaming the victim’. It add insult to injury and is very cruel. That’s why I don’t buy the Christian platitude about forgiveness being the beginning of the healing process. Total nonsense! Closure is the beginning and closure comes from seeing the assailant being brought to justice – NOT forgiven.

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I remember feeling the most anger that I have ever felt, when I was repeatedly told by professionals and others that I needed to forgive or pray for the perpetrator for my own sake. This just did not make sense to me and I wrestled with this for a long time. Anger is healthy especially to those of us who were denied the ability to show any feelings, let alone anger. However, at some point the anger may become self sabotaging and no longer serves you well. If you let it overtake the other possible good things in your life, the abuser is still dominating and taking your life away. What finally gave me peace for myself was that I had to reinterpret their misguided advice of forgiving the perpetrator and instead I choose to see it as a letting go or releasing of the anger or constant thoughts that still tied me so intensively to this horrible situation. After much work on this I was finally to work on understanding and letting go of the pain itself so that there was room for better things in my life. When I was able to do it for me, not the perpetrator it finally made sense. In a new found respect for myself,I realize that I had no responsibility whatsoever to forgive someone for what is truly unforgivable; knowing that this ability lies only in the hands of God. It is completely misguided, if not perverted for these individuals/professionals to insist otherwise–continuing the vicious circle practiced in our society where the victim is often put in a situation to be re-victimized.

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What a powerful article. Forgiveness seems like saying its okay but its not okay. I feel guilty feeling anger and outrage… I deserve to feel all that I feel. I just wanted to say thank you for this piece.

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Hi Tom
Welcome to Emerging fro Broken. I am so glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

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I have published a new post related to this one!
[…] forgiveness is what God would want us to do; even on the EFB facebook page people post daily that forgiveness is the solution to healing from child abuse and that jumping straight to forgiveness is for the victim’s freedom […]

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Darlene…I resonate with so much you say, as our experiences have been similar. I have been able to find forgiveness, but only through recognizing that these people are not conscious, aware or awake, and by standing in my own integrity. This is why the word integrity is in my book over 50 times. It’s interesting that you re-posted this blog because as synchronicity would have it, I just found this verse.

Revelation 21:7-8 ESV / 6 helpful votes
The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

I hope someday our paths cross. We are often accused of being negative, when the truth is we are actually quite positive as we are doing our best to change things for not only ourselves, but for everyone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U842mKjL8yY

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I really feel that forgiveness is a concept that was introduced to victims by their oppressors in order to retain control over them and keep them submissive. For years, I thought something was wrong withe because I could not “get over” my abuse. Now I realize that demanding that a victim dismiss her justified feelings of anger or even hate toward the perpetrator in the spirit of forgiveness is another way to keep the victim down but most importantly, quiet. Forgiveness is enslavement.

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When I was younger, my step-father physically and sexually abused me. I was removed from the home by CPS at age 12. My brother and sister were not abused, physically or sexually…but there were emotional abuses. My step-father is their real father. My brother and sister both are adult narcissists. You would not think it meeting them…You would not think it since they have such a wiide circle of friends…A few months ago, my sister betrayed me. My brother also helped her. It’s not easy to come out of broken and it’s easy to say forgive or don’t forgive. I feel like I’ve literally died inside. A counselor said, “You allow how others make you feel.” I was like is this dude seriously blaming me?? So I never went back. Two months have gone by since this ordeal (story in poem) and it’s really hard. I make enough to pay rent/utils and we go to food banks for staples. No one really get’s how broken, angry, betrayed, depressed, etc.. because most people just see broken as weakness. And if you’re broken, people don’t know how to respond so they avoid you. Someone told me, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” That was NOT what I needed or wanted to hear. So I just stared at them with a glazed over look and no expression until they left.
I found writing seems to be the only thing that helps. So I wrote this:

Manipulation of the Situation no Contribution to the Solution

The Fa§ade

Manipulation of the Situation no Contribution to the Solution

I am who I am and I’m not afraid to let show.

I don’t pretend or try to impress

and I ain’t competing with all my friends.

She lied and stole and sold her soul.

For what? Opportunity – ain’t that the shit.

Obvious it was her ultimate goal.

She twisted the truth and distorted the lies.

I can’t keep up with her slithering eyes.

I don’t care who assumes to know

the bits n pieces of her half-truths.

Her tainted game

spiked with sweet vermouth.

This is the story and I tell it true

You can believe it or not, that’s up to you.

She waited for the moment to push me ova the edge –

Yeah, it hurt me but hurt my kid more instead.

My mother’s instinct was to react and attack

but for my son’s sake

I’m gonna stop and just never look back.

People said they weren’t surprised

by her actions to end me – out for my demise.

It’s ok cause I gave it all back

left you all holding that vile sack.

I sent it on to its rightful owners

Now take your trophy for best award winning actors.

You all own it now – keep it – no strings attached.

It fits you all, what a perfect match.

Bought a house together

Her goal to use, how wonderfully clever.

We R gone and we R done.

Family – to me, there ain’t none.

Never, never, never again

two strikes, three strikes – I can’t believe I called you all kin?

You all spew projectile vile

Out of your mouths it’s nothing but bile.

My family once considered – no longer exists

not even an ounce or moment of reminiscence.

So don’t push us any more

with your stupid tricks and slanderous lies.

I may not have your collegiate crew

I got my own waiting patiently in the queue.

They say have compassion and try to walk in another’s shoes

but that ain’t how you all think

you just simply accuse.

Yet you all claim good Christian people are you,

high on your sanctimonious podium picking only your select few.

Pastor D.A. said, That ain’t no way to be –

We suppose to love and care

but people are blind, don’t you see.

I stare in wonder then I say to him,

I feel empty – Show me a God (TECH N9NE)

He sighs n says people, everywhere, are all flawed.

I’m seriously immune – this family all whacked

you’re all alike

an unfortunate but true historical fact.

Cut from the same loin cloth of your father

I seriously have no idea why I ever bothered.

You all relish in the misery of others

seriously sad for brothers, sisters, fathers n mothers.

Reasons unbeknownst to all of you,

My Doc wanted to explain so sis knew.

But her ego stepped in – impart betray

so she could get to what she wanted

she yelled, I don’t care – DON’T STAND IN MY WAY.

My out of control scene of action –

It was partly to blame on a prescription drug reaction. (Chantix)

See I know the truth how she treats her friends

1 better than the other

this 1 or that 1 instead.

We fought we argued and I said that ain’t right

but she stood stone cold out of spite.

For why, I said, do you call them friends

book smart she is but still, she didn’t comprehend.

She let them sit and wonder why…

Oh I see, it’s that same ole lie.

She never even called her friend

a week, a month, a year went by.

Beard the lion in his den.

The truth would be nice, every now and then.

Manipulation of the Situation no Contribution to the Solution.

That ain’t no way to live

to gamble on who’s the winning $$ bid.

Pastor D.A. said, That ain’t no way to be

we suppose to love and care

but people are blind, don’t you see.

You all judge me cause I sin differently than you.

Discard me like someone you never knew.

You all call me the bad one for speaking truth

But reality is – you’re all the playas like Babe Ruth.

Yeah I’m crazy even more today

I’d rather be crazy than a hypocrite any ole way.

Lifetime of crazy from regrets of trusting –

I’m mad at myself for that – it’s all pretty disgusting.

You all are the wolf in sheep’s clothing

I was blinded by the blood but now cleansed by the water

And day after day, age it is bitterly encroaching.

Sis’s Bro says Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John is the way to a better life

but he dogs and curses his “loving” school teacher wife.

He’s preaches the gospel with his forked tongue –

And passes it around one by one–

and you all continue to smoke his poisonous dung.

I ain’t perfect but I ain’t fake.

I’d rather be this Monster you all helped create.

I know the things that I’ve done wrong

I even begged for sis’s forgiveness

steadily, all day and all night long.

I told her we had no where to go

She pulled rank on OUR house

And didn’t care what we would endure.

Threw us out with no where to go

Over asking her to respect us –

It all turned into a spiraling black hole.

Gave us only four days to move

My son stressed out, asked for more time

She denied his request for just 2 more days

And treated him like he was a disgrace.

She called the police and LIED to them

She hoped they would come and pre-condemn.

Spiteful action after spiteful action sis and her bro took

Over my words of not liking her married boyfriend

Still living with his wife and step-child in a nook.

The boyfriend he ain’t no better,

He should be wearing an A from the scarlet letter.

When I asked him he couldn’t remember where he had met his wife,

I bet that would cut her deep, sharp like a knife.

He still came around when we were moving,

Arrogant demeanor, that’s all that was proving.

Marriage is a covenant between couple and God –

And he claims to be Christian, that’s definitely a fraud.

His daughter asked him while he’s still living with his wife,

“Daddy, are you going to your girlfriend’s house?”

Now she thinks it’s ok to have a boyfriend and a spouse.

Claims he only stayed the year after his wife was caught cheating

To give them insurance from his job

but that’s nothing more than lying and stealing.

I wonder if God is proud of the man he’s become

the cause of so much negative destruction that has succumbed.

A sin is still a sin –

Justification, excuses, and enabling

Doesn’t make it a righteous win.

False Christians you all are,

but God has given us a suit of armor.

He protects us daily –

Aren’t we all suppose to live through him with some kind of honor?

Yeah, you all laugh n poke n tell your cruel jokes,

But we got what we need and at least we do it on our own.

I really would have left all this all alone

had sis not continued to torment and taunt us

after she forced us to leave OUR home.

However, that’s the part

that she n her bro

failed to confess as they both became so obsessed –

Hell bent on destroying us –

Yet you all still claim to be Christian blessed.

Yes I have it, I got the proof –

but it won’t raise your Holy roof.

Bro goes on to antagonize the drama of his baby’s Momma.

Intentionally sets her up just to hear her holler.

I bet he doesn’t tell his wife about the pain he causes

She would never go along or be a subordinate clause.

You all are a source of undue stress but say you love Christ

Which is it? Your blood and actions –

they are all as cold as ice.

Lies to cover your trails of deceit

then mad at me cause I ain’t down on that street.

I ain’t the only one you all torment and taunt

But true word —

it will come back on you, guaranteed to haunt.

The narcissist good at hiding the poisonous arsenic of their true identity –

you all sit around and all quietly whisper your many cruel obscenities.

God’s promise to seek his own revenge

for the broken, the wronged, and persecuted – he will avenge.

You all broke us down with what you did

You’re all true narcissists no conscious no remorse

not even for my kid.

Picked opportunity over loyalty

That’s sis’s true character and her twisted identity.

She discarded my multiple requests to keep her sex and drinking quiet,

My son and his gf in the house, but she didn’t care

Her response – a disrepectful “Oh well” as she just flipped her hair –

My response – I’d had enough, I caused a drug induced RIOT.

My son said, “It doesn’t feel like our house anymore”

As she and her boyfriend have taken it over.

My son’s feelings didn’t faze her in the least

She continued her improprieties

Didn’t care of its affects –

We became a pawn of the beast.

If it had been your house and this occurred

You wouldn’t have put up with it either

and that’s true word.

But because it’s me and the hate you all hold

the shear enjoyment of hate you all have is disturbingly bold.

You all still claim you walk in Christ,

but seriously how could you,

including all the others you all negatively entice.

NO more of the lies and twisted games

They are both exactly like their father’s sick twisted fame.

Years ago I should have stayed gone

Not let you use us like some chess pawn.

I may be crazy, or sick, or demented

But I have never lied

nor I have never treated you all like you’ve treated us

With such hate, no grace, and such constant family divide.

Final to the word is to leave us alone –

No more taunts and no more words.

I’m Packin9 and Trailing6

I ain’t playing games

or want any part of your constant drama and conflicts.

Just turn around and go the opposite way

Or you’ll be standing in front of your Judgment Day.

Like I said, I have the absolute proof

for both of them so self absorbed and aloof.

I don’t care if you believe me or not.

I’ve washed my hands,

and left you all holding your own vile pot.

Manipulation of the Situation no Contribution to the Solution.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

Which you all only apply to those you all feel worthy or best.

1 Corinthians 13: two

“To love one another or you have nothing..” does that not apply to you?

Hey, Pastor D.A.

I ain’t blind no more, you see

It’s all clear now

how false Christians and people can really be.

I see why people give up

Alone in the dark, crucified by hate and lies and hidden deceit.

123

So typical. It is easier to tell you what to do…like pray for the offender….than to actually DO anything….like turn the offender into the authorities…or confront the abuser…or smite the giant with a stone (david and goliath in case you don’t know what I am talking about). There is a time for prayer and a time for action, and both are often effective!! Everyone talks a good game but when things MUST be done FEW will actually DO ANYTHING! And those are the ones who will tell you to pray. Prayer fixes everything! Well even the people of ISRAEL know better than that. PRAYER ONLY WORKS WITH ACTION! Its prayer…NOT MAGIC!!!

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Joy,

“but when things MUST be done FEW will actually DO ANYTHING! And those are the ones who will tell you to pray. Prayer fixes everything! Well even the people of ISRAEL know better than that. PRAYER ONLY WORKS WITH ACTION! Its prayer…NOT MAGIC!!!”

Thank you my boyfriend would love that comment! I was always told if you pray, poof it is here! Remember, the Bible is full of actions of what people did right, wrong, or indifferent which is why they sayings go everything is about action, we must not think but act, etc all comes from Scripture. Sounds good to the ears, but like you said when it comes down to actually doing it, nobody wants to do anything. I have said this to my ex-therapist a lot who is a Christian herself. She disregarded a lot of things I said about my parents and always used the “they are your parents” bullshit against me.

I told her go back and read Scripture then come back to talk to me as long as you still have dogmas, we can’t have a meaningful, adult like conversation about life/people because you’re so self-absorbed on what Society says. Oooh, she was mad as a bull when I got through with her!

It’s funny, my mom grew up Christian and supposedly “prays” yet “God didn’t bother to answer her prayers because she is still stuck in this useless, miserable, phony, cheating marriage.” She has been waiting for years to people or God to use a wand to make everything go away – that’s how she taught me which is actually a codependent behavior. My mom has been saying for years she is gonna move, move, move to an apartment on HER OWN! When is that gonna happen? She said in 2016 on my dad’s bday in March – always March cuz it’s their bdays! People said why not leave now? She said she still can’t because she needs him to help her move, wow, great teaching for your daughter depending on a jackass to do it!

She still spends her money uselessly like she has done ever since I can remember. My mom has never rented on her own, neither have I been got my education from boyfriend’s mom and reading apartment blogs. She is still in la la land about how she is gonna move and one time my mom said I don’t need to show action in what I am doing and said yea you do because if you expect to be an example there has to be ACTION!

125

Hi Mimi and Pam, I just read your discussion from early on in this comment stream. I giggled and my face is glowing at your statement at the end of your post, Pam. I want to give you both hugs!!! I love that you are talking about the reality that so many people protect and defend perpetrators because they are too scared to stand up to power. How is it that this type of behavior can go on for so long? Honestly Darlene’s site and the words of my boyfriend made me unscramble my brain and start protecting myself and others rather than perpetrators. I was taught~ from a young age~ that I was evil and sinful and that having sexual sensations was also probably evil. It was easy to start believing that what my dad taught me was truth and what I experienced and felt was wrong. That sort of thinking lead me to constantly protect and defend those who are abusers~ even to the point that I considered working with serial killers~ at one point~ because I wanted to show them that they were worthy of love at their core. It scares me now to realize how sick and twisted I was to consider the wants and needs of abusers before my own needs and those of others who were abused and hurting. Speaking out about abuse that happened in my life has been the single most supportive and successful healing that I have ever experienced. All of a sudden I have loads of compassion for others who are hurting. Those feelings of anger now go towards those who deserve that anger~ the abusers~ not to me or to others who have been victimized.

I want to shout from the roof-tops with you Pam. One step at a time I am becoming more brave. Sending hugs your way. Love you, Naomi

126

I suffered child abuse at the hands of my parents. And I suffered years of being told to forgive my abusers. It was always very hurtful to hear. I kept the details to myself though, swallowed the pain and anger and sadness to protect others for no good reason, which ironically included my abusers. I’ve carried all of it for everyone for decades. With family members especially, it’s become immensely painful that they don’t even care enough to ask what happened. They’d rather live in denial than comfort a fellow human who is suffering. Forgiveness is not the first step towards recovery. It truly is validation.

I’ve always felt in my heart that forgiving abusers has got to be the most inane solution possible. Abusers don’t deserve forgiveness. If anyone deserves forgiveness, it’s the target of the abuse. I deserve forgiveness, for thinking I deserved the abuse, for continuing to think so little of myself even once the abuse was behind me, for repeating self-destructive relationship patterns well after the abuse ended, for internalizing shame around my inability to forgive my abusers, for always internalizing everything as my fault, for being too afraid to have an open heart ever. There is no other option but to forgive oneself.

It’s hard to stand up for yourself when the world around you is submerged in denial. People are desperately clinging to an idea of their life that never existed, could never have existed in their family. They make the choice to worship that false front over the suffering of a fellow human, child even. When you’re in an abusive situation facing that denial, sometimes all it takes is one voice of another person, to serve as a touchstone that says, ‘Yes! I see you and your truth. You are good and I believe in you.’ This article is that voice for me, even at this late date of 47 years of age. Its bittersweet.

I’ve sought help and haven’t found it or couldn’t make it manifest in my life. There are patterns of behavior instilled in me that I battle every day to eliminate. I’ve done therapy. Medications. Books. Groups. So much effort and yet, the abuse still stole my life. I’ve forgiven my abusers by acknowledging their inabilities, limitations and flaws. But I also don’t want them in my life. I’d love to have people in my life who don’t insist on denial, but would rather face reality and truth. But as I discovered with forgiveness, and as this article relates about forgiveness, its always first about turning inwards. The healing always starts with me.

Thank you so much sharing your wisdom.

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Hi Kate, thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your story. I’ll look forward to maybe getting to know you a little better through this site.

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Thanks Naomi. Me too. 🙂

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