Victim Blaming ~ When you are Blamed for the Core of Your PainBy Darlene Ouimet
“You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them” Iyanla Vanzant
I got a little note of “un-appreciation” in the e-mail a few weeks ago. I was told how wonderful Iyanla Vanzant is and that Iyanla ‘gets it’ and that I don’t when it comes to healing. Today one of Iyanla’s quotes came across my desk. This same quote was posted by a reader on the EFB facebook page a few weeks ago and I “liked it” but today I saw it from a different angle; perhaps from the angle of why I got reprimanded for the work that I do by that reader who says that “I don’t get it”.
I think it is a wonderful quote ~ I share this quote myself, but what struck me is that for the most part, people LOVE these kinds of quotes as long as the core of your pain isn’t rooted in the way you were treated and defined by your parents or your family in your childhood ~ because if it is rooted in family dysfunction or child abuse, then oddly enough, the “stain that oozes through and stains your life”, is often presumed to be your own dang fault. If the core of your pain has something to do with your family or having not been protected and validated by your family, the world is not so interested in hearing about it. In those cases the victim survivor is often viewed differently and possibly even blamed for causing the abuse or for bringing it on to themselves! Sometimes children of parental abuse are told they must have done ‘something’ to deserve it even if that abuse was sexual abuse! This is otherwise known as “Victim Blaming”
It’s sad but unfortunately true; people usually don’t respond the same way if the pain we are talking about is being caused by family or if that pain involves talking about injustice that happened to you at the hands of your family. (I suspect that it makes some people uncomfortable for a personal reason more than it is about them not understanding because interestingly enough, people who don’t relate seem very understanding in my experience.)
It is shocking how differently we are received by many if the pain we are talking about has to do with our own mothers and fathers. That’s when we are so often told that talking about the core of our pain is “gossip” and “malice” and that we should not air our dirty laundry in public. That is when we are directed to forgive the abuser or offender without ever having the offence validated in the first place. That is when we are informed to consider that the offender, ‘did the best they could do with what they had to work with”. Or we are told that they didn’t know any better. Or we are instructed to understand the abusive childhood that the abusive or neglectful parents came from themselves and that it was because of the injustice done to them, that they did it to us. (Which validates the abuser but not the victim and in fact is once again, victim blaming.) If your grievance is with your family, and you have been instructed to ‘get over it’ and to ‘leave the past in the past’ or to “forgive and forget”, consider this; NONE of those instructions deals with or heals “the core of your pain that is holding you in your past”
Victim blaming is abusive.
In order to get past this, I had to validate my pain and understand that nobody, not even my family, had the right to disregard or disrespect me. Nobody has the right to objectify me or assign me less value than someone else and that includes the way that my family of origin treats me. Love is only visible by its actions.
The core of my pain that was holding me in the past was stuck in the belief system that developed as a result of the damage done to me and the messages that I believed about myself that were communicated to me about me by the disrespectful and devaluing actions of others. Most of those ‘others’ were related to me by blood or were enabled by people related to me by blood. And most of those ‘actions’ were dismissed by the people related to me by blood.
The key to overcoming those messages has been in finding out what they were and where the roots of them lived and changing them the false messages back to the truth. I had to learn to validate the core of my pain and validate that my pain was understandable, justifiable, real and valid.
It was only then that the pain subsided. It was only then that I realized I was letting go and that letting go was a result of the validation. It was only then that I stopped bleeding. That was how I stitched myself back up and took my life back. That was how I took the action that proved love. That was how I shouted to the world that I was no longer a victim and learned that the blame, the fault, wasn’t mine.
After that, I started to work on my relationship with me. I am learning to love myself in the way that no human beings love could have healed me. This is the action of love that I have learned to take in my own life in order to heal the core of the pain in my life.
Please share your thoughts about Victim Blaming and about how it feels to have your pain invalidated.
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