Archive for abuse
I get really angry when I think about the degree of spiritual abuse that is ‘out there’ and how victims are preached LIES about right and wrong and how the name of GOD is used to back up those lies. It upsets me that the name of God is used to guilt and shame abuse victims and survivors into staying silent. This is such a common tactic that controlling people use, it makes me sick.
Take the forgiveness directive for example and how people insist that blind 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 without ever considering that forgiveness in most of the cases WE are referring to, is towards perpetrators and offenders who DENY that they have ever done anything wrong. Here in Emerging from Broken we are not talking about people who are sincerely sorry for what they have done and are asking for forgiveness and making the effort to stop causing harm. We are talking about people who either say that they didn’t do it, OR they stand behind their entitlement for doing it and they don’t want forgiveness NOR are they willing to repent or stop doing the abusive things that are doing. In this way, by being taught that forgiveness for those types of perpetrators is a solution, victims of child abuse (and even ongoing abuse, disrespect and devaluing treatment on into adulthood) are further invalidated and re-abused.
Often times, when victims of abuse perpetrated by a family member or close friend try to talk about what happened to them, they are told to “get over it” or “forgive and forget” and a whole host of other little sayings designed to make the victim feel bad about talking. And not just to feel bad about ‘talking’ about it, the victim ends up feeling bad about what happened to them as if it was something he or she did wrong to attract it in the first place and even believing that their ‘feelings’ about it are unfounded.
Talking about what happened to me is not “negative.” Talking about it doesn’t bring shame on the survivor of the abuse, the Church or on the name of Jesus Christ. It brings shame on Read More→
This week I’m excited to welcome back to Emerging from Broken, guest writer and fellow blogger Pam Witzemann as she tackles the difficult subject of ‘forgiveness.’ In this in-depth two part article, Pam takes a look at some of the difficulties surrounding forgiveness, experienced by survivors of child abuse. Pam is a regular participant in almost all the discussions here in EFB and has her own blog; “Boomer Back-beat ~ Talking bout our generation”. As always I am looking forward to the conversation~ please contribute your thoughts and insights! ~ Darlene Ouimet
The Process of Forgiving Child Abusers by Pam Witzemann
Part I: Defining Forgiveness; for Victims of Childhood Abuse
It isn’t easy to forgive an abuser especially a child abuser. Victims of childhood abuse need to have a right concept of forgiveness because it is so often, twisted into a weapon of abuse. This causes confusion on the part of the victim and denies them access to the freedom from the past that true forgiveness can bring.
Parents who abused their children are likely to demand their adult child forgive them for the past but may never acknowledge any wrong doing or accept any responsibility for their actions. The truth is that they aren’t interested in being forgiven. People who want forgiveness are filled with remorse and though it may hurt to verbally admit to what they’ve done, they will do so because being forgiven by the person they have hurt is important to them.
What many abusers want instead of forgiveness is for the abused person to forget what was done to them, over-look it, and not hold them responsible for it. They also need their victims to remain silent and when that silence is threatened, they demand forgiveness and declare that any relational problems are due to the victim’s unwillingness to forgive. These lies cause confusion and abusive people know that causing confusion in others, works in their favor. There is nothing that confuses a childhood abuse survivor more than the forgiveness ploy.
All survivors desperately, want to be free from their past and in our culture, we are taught that forgiveness abolishes sins. This is true but as with all truth, abusers twist the truth into a self-serving lie. Therefore, it is important for child abuse survivors to arm themselves with a true understanding of what abuse is, what it is not, and to know with certainty, what they, as the victims, are Read More→
Forgiveness is always a huge issue and a hot topic with survivors of any kind of abuse or trauma that was inflicted by another person. A lot of people preach and teach that forgiveness is the ONLY way to personal freedom and recovery. I think that is a wrong. I think being told that is like being re-abused. I think that forgiveness is a RESULT of the healing process BUT I had to set the whole issue of forgiveness aside while I did my healing work.
Because only when I set that issue aside was I able to look at the whole picture from a new angle. I was able to look at it through the grid of the truth instead of through what was being dictated to me and all the false teachings around the forgiveness directives.
As someone who has personally recovered from childhood sexual abuse and dissociated identity disorder as well as multiple chronic depressions, forgiveness was not the key to recovery for me. I understand today that forgiveness is not saying “what they did is okay” and I also understand that there is no point in forgiving someone that Read More→
“When a child has been in a dysfunctional family system, that child grows up with some dysfunctional thinking. It can’t be helped. The dysfunctional ways of thinking in my family system got passed on to me. Dysfunction and mistreatment, psychological abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse all contributed to the survival methods that I had to adopt in order to stay alive”. ~Darlene Ouimet
I have this “to do” list. I tell myself that I am going to get “this much done” each day. I have it all mapped out. But I don’t stick to the plan. I get distracted, I want to chat on the phone, I want to read a book, I want to spend more time on facebook talking to all my peeps and updating the Emerging from Broken facebook page. I want to catch up on Twitter. I tell myself that all these activities are part of the greater goals that I have to spread this message. But the truth is that I am not Read More→
I am excited and pleased to have my wonderful friend and fellow truth seeker, Carla Logan, guest posting today on Emerging from Broken. There have been some really deep posts this past couple of weeks and Carla shares a summary of her feelings and discoveries using the imagery of “living off the crumbs” and emotional starvation. Carla and I look forward to the discussion and responses in the comments section. ~ Darlene
No More Crumbs by Carla Logan
When we grow up in an abusive home, we learn all kinds of things that are not true. We learn that we don’t deserve love. We learn that we don’t deserve respect. We learn that we don’t deserve kindness. We learn that we don’t deserve affection or even attention. We learn that we don’t deserve to be treated as a human person, an equal. Some of us learn that we don’t deserve to be treated even as well as a family pet who sits on the floor at the dinner table waiting for the scraps of food to be tossed its way. We learn that what we do deserve is nothing more than to be satisfied with the crumbs we are allowed, the ones that fall from that table. The table that we should be sitting at as equals. Warmly and lovingly welcomed. And yet we are not.
And the tragedy doesn’t end there, Read More→
I needed someone to validate my existence. I wanted someone who could tell me that I was worth the air that I breathed. But because I didn’t believe that I had value, I didn’t believe anyone who attempted to tell me that I did. If I met someone who liked me, I wondered what they wanted from me. I wondered if they were sincere; I was sure that they must have a hidden motive. If a waiter in a restaurant treated me like my business didn’t matter I was hurt and my mind would start spinning about why he was treating me that way. I would examine every single sentence that we exchanged, looking inward for something that I must have done to cause this attitude in him. By the same token if a waiter was really nice and attentive to me, I wondered if he was only doing it for the tip.
If friends invited me over, it wasn’t long before I questioned if it was because they wanted my company, or because they wanted me bring cooking or baking. Did they need an extra girl? Did they want to play a joke on me? I was always second guessing everyone and everything because of my history with abuse, but I also second guessed everyone, because I was always second guessing me. That was the way that my mind operated because that was the way my mind was trained to operate. If my mother told me that I looked nice, I wondered what she wanted; subconsciously I braced myself for what was coming next…. continued Read More→
Something is happening here on Emerging from Broken. There is a depth of sharing and honesty that I didn’t expect. There is a community growing that I only hoped for. There is a profound expression of struggle and healing, all working towards the overall good and towards emotional recovery.
This post is the follow up to my last post ~ “Tomorrow I will Start to Face the Pain” . If you have not read it, I really recommend that you take the time to read it and the 50 some amazing comments that it has generated so far. There is something special there.
Some of those comments made my heart ache with pain and I wanted to touch each heart and convince each one that there is hope for emotional healing. It is possible. It is doable. This is curable! I feel your pain because I remember that pain myself.
~The pain of realizing that any kind of abuse including emotional abuse is rejection. I worked so hard all of my life to be this great person full of acceptance and rejection was my biggest fear, only to wake up one day and realize how rejected that I was all along. But that was not MY failure.
~The pain of realizing that my life was built on lies. But they were not MY lies.
~The pain of realizing that all of my efforts to avoid being alone, left me alone anyway, but then realizing that the journey is lonely because we have to go through it as individuals. All my life I tried to do life how someone else taught me to do it, but in reality, I had to find my way because there is only one of me. They took that from me for way too long.
~Realizing that I had been defined by someone else and then suddenly realizing that if I was not who I thought I was, then who was I? And being scared to death to find out who I might be. Which comes from the same fear of rejection and round and round it goes.
~I was so stuck in realizing that after the abuse I felt like no one ever loved me again ~ thinking the answer would be in finding someone to love me again, but in truth, I didn’t love me either. I didn’t know how. The abuse defined me. I wanted someone else to fix it just like someone else broke it. But I had to do it for me. I had to decide that I would love me. I had to find out how. I had to redefine me and in that new beginning, I was able to take my life back.
~Realizing that I never believed that MY abuse was really valid and therefore I was invalidated; first by them and then by me. But that was not my choice. That was what I learned to do. I wasn’t given a choice. But I have one now. I have one today.
~Realizing and finally acknowledging that I was filled with guilt and shame and not knowing exactly what the heck to DO with it. But it wasn’t MY guilt and shame and realizing that was what got me to the next step in the process of letting it go.
~And the frozenness that goes along with all of it and seems to return with each new stage. That feeling of being immobilized; the fear of forward motion; all of that with its own history, each one of us with a slightly different story that the frozen is grounded in and has its roots in and everything even remotely related to any of the following things.
~ I told but was ignored
~ I didn’t tell because I was too scared of the consequences
~ I told and I suffered the consequences
~ I didn’t know there was anything to tell
AND the threads of steel wrapped around each one of these things, each memory, each event, each invalidation and ALL the conclusions that we came to ~ all of which need to be looked at, examined, cut and then healed such as:
~The belief that I am the one that wasted my life. That somehow I should have been able to get over all of this by myself; that somehow I am a failure because of what happened TO me. That somehow the abuse done to me has suddenly become my fault, and I lived my life as though it was my failure ~ that my whole life was my screw up. But HOW was I supposed to move forward with no guidance? HOW was I supposed to “get over it”?
~No one validated me so that I knew how to validate myself
~No one ever helped me move forward.
~No one encouraged me to be who I am but everyone “told me” who I was and that was a lie too. No one knew me. No one SAW ME.
~And I carried the failure that was not mine to carry. I lived the identity that they assigned me.
Running from me but not realizing that it is in the running back to me that I find my true self. Running from the truth because I believed the lies.
Running until I finally realized that the running was killing me. Realizing just one truth was enough to set me on the right path. And then running again because the fear of the unknown was just too scary to actually stop running to face it.
Round and Round it goes… like a whirlwind that I was trapped in. I had to somehow find a way to step out of it for mere moments at a time. Picture being inside of a small tornado that is spinning you around so fast that everything is a blur. Now picture stepping back just enough that you can SEE the spin in front of you, but you are not in it, just for one minute. That is how it began for me. And I began by just looking at one thing at a time for those moments when I could step back from the spin. As time went on, I learned to love myself and fill the void in me for myself. This was not quick OR easy but it was possible and it is possible.
And we do have a choice.
And we can overcome.
And we can take our lives back.
And we can leave the pain behind.
And we can live fully in real happiness and freedom.
………..And I know because I didn’t think I could do it either, but here I am.
More little snapshots of truth;
Related posts: “Tomorrow I will Start to Face the Pain”
and most of the other posts on this blog.. 😎
Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you and you would like to find out “HOW” I broke out of the oppression I lived in, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from people that have bought my book. Get yours here for 9.97 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing