Jul
26

Why Should we Love where there is Fear and Abuse?

By

should we love our abusers

 “Everyone was upset at me for not going to my brothers funeral. I refused to be a hypocrite. I was glad he died. That may sound horrible but it was such a relief not to have to live in fear anymore.”

That comment was from a reader on the Emerging from Broken facebook page in the same thread as the comments from my last post “Controlling Parents and Questions Abusers Ask”. This comment really struck me so I asked her permission to use it. What struck me was not the she was glad that he died, but that everyone expected this person to attend a funeral for someone she had deeply feared. Her feelings didn’t matter. All that mattered is that she do as she was expected to do. Do what others wanted her to do. This is also about obligation, and how obligation is used to control and manipulate people into doing what someone else says is the right thing to do. Her family was upset about her choice. They did not seem to care WHY she made that choice. This is one of my “why questions” that I forgot to post in my article about “Psychological, Physical and Sexual abuse WHY questions”.  Why are we supposed to love people that hurt us just because they are family?

This comment reminded me of a time that my mother was extremely upset with me when I announced that I would never agree to see my older brother again. I was in my forties! I got her usual lecture about family being all important and how blood is thicker than water. (What the heck does that mean?)   I asked her what her response would be if I told her that I was working in an office where one of my co-workers put me down constantly in front of the other co-workers. That this co worker spread lies about me to the rest of the office, ridiculed me and humiliated me constantly and never showed me any respect, yet demanded that I comply with his wishes.  I asked her if she thought I should hang out with him after work.  She emphatically replied “NO”. So I asked her what makes family any different.  She didn’t have an answer for that.

It wasn’t very long after that when my mother was the one who was no longer speaking to me. Apparently she didn’t believe her own definition of family being all important. She didn’t love me by her own definition of love. There was no equality. I was supposed to respect her and love her, not the other way around. I no longer accepted the lie that I SHOULD love people who treated me like nothing.

I do not have to love, I am not obligated and there is no should. I am just as valuable as anyone else and me and my feelings deserve respect.  I am not cold hearted and I do not make these decisions because I am heartless, but because I am taking care of myself now. As I began to comprehend the real truth instead of the lies I had accepted for so long and the skewed definition of love, I began to recover from all my many mental health issues.

Darlene Ouimet        

Special News Tomorrow ~ July 27th 2010, I will be a guest on Conversations Live Radio with Cyrus Webb. The interview will begin at 8:00pm EST ~ 5:00 pm Pacific ~ 6:00pm Mountain and 7:00pm central.  I hope you can join us then! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/conversationslive/2010/07/28/life-coach-darlene-ouimet-and-entrepreneur-ray-faulkenberry-on-conversations-live

Categories : Family

26 Comments

1

Hi Darlene

I know this one very painfully well.

As a child it was “don’t speak bad about them, respect your parents, they are your parents and they are upstanding members of the church and pillars of the community”.

As I became an adult the pressure put on me from people in the church to show my abusers love, forget what they did and put things right with them just because they were my parents was almost impossible to live with and caused me so much pain and confusion. [And that in spite of the fact that it was my parents who disowned me when they realised I was no longer prepared to be controlled by them.] Those same people in the church continue to harbour my abusers in the church while I cannot even so much as darken the door with my shadow.

Over the years I’ve had to cope with the “whatever they did they are still your parents and you should just forget it”.

Why is it that when it is family who are the abusers you are supposed to love them and want a relationship with them? Why is it when it is family who are your abusers you are supposed to just forget it? Why is it when it is family who are your abusers you shouldn’t take action against them? Why is it that when it is family who are your abusers you should not seek justice?

And the questions go on and on reverberating around my mind, my emotions, my memories and confusing my attempts to heal and move forward.

It’s all makes it even harder to survive and keep going. Thanks for tackling this issue!!

2

I remember when I was a teen ager, I dated this boy who started slapping me because I wouldn’t have sex with him. Now, mind you, I beat the crap out of him, but one of my brothers got so mad and beat the crap out of this boy too. He took my offense.

When I started talking about seeing our dad having sex with our sister, they have done everything from ignore me, make me feel guilty for not respecting my dad (he’s a good provider) to telling me that if I am claiming to be a Christian, then I should forgive and move on.

None of my brothers, took up the offense of my sister. How can you do that? No matter who it is, how can you excuse your dad for having sex with your sister? I am still battling this with them, because she is gone now, but I will not forget nor allow them to.

3

Fi and Darlene ~ I could so relate to you both … I got that line too “blood is always thicker than water.” I have never understood what on earth that is supposed to mean. Family is who has a mutual love for you as you do for them – they could be relatives or even friends!

And I got that too about my mom. “You should make that right, she’s your mom?” Yeah?? Who said? Even God’s Word says to get along with folks as best I can if possible (paraphrasing of course) Jesus also said he came to divide – mothers against daughters, etc. etc. It happens. She is the one who offended me – it is up to her to fix it. I remember my sister saying to me, “What about honor your father and your mother?” I told her I did that and look where it got me. Then I said to her, “You can tell mom, what about the verse telling parents not to exasperate their children?” She backed off.

I was always expected to put up with my mother’s crap because she’s my mother. I told my one sister once, if I won’t put up with crap like this from a friend, why would I put up with it from my mother?? My mother, whenever I tried to stand up to her would say to me how important family was – that your family will be the only ones who are there for you when things get bad!! Really?? Is that right?? Where was my mother when I needed her?? Nowhere, that’s where. And the abuse continued … and got worse until I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s been ten years now since she’s been in my life.

My church family is my family – my eternal family – they have been pillars for me in ways my family couldn’t be. Christ binds us. So if its blood that binds families – then its Christ’s blood that binds together the family of God!

Great post, Darlene!

4

Fi,
Wow.. Yes, all those questions. Your comments are profound! And your statement in brackets “and that in spite of the fact that it was my parents who disowned me when THEY realized I was no longer prepared to be controlled by them” That is the killer one for me. This happened to me with my Mother, and to my husband by both of his parents. It was both a relief and a huge shock… they left us? I kept telling my husband that I was such a good victim, I was SO compliant I just could not understand why the heck my mother walked away from me! But it was because if she could not control me then what was the point? If she had to participate in the relationship with respect and mutuality, forget it. I don’t miss any of that. Those were the murky depths I was submerged in before, always feeling that I couldn’t breath.
Thanks for your comments and welcome to this blog!
Hugs, Darlene

5

it’s such a crock, the manipulation….the justifications, the hypocrisy. I experienced this as well. I broke all ties in 2003. When I finally told my uncle, everything was turned on ME. I had to begin again, with my husband and make a new garden to grow my family tree in…Good love should never hurt..

6

Obligations never equal heart. What I mean is if it is not from our heart then we are not being honest and people who expect us to do things out of “Obligations” no matter what is wrong. I am to, tired of the obligations that folks put on me at times, its not so bad now like it use to be but it is because I have had to speak up and some may get mad with me but oh well.

I would rather do something from my heart and be honest and sincere than live a life of a lie even if it means others getting upset at me.

This is a very good point Darlene that you brought out in this blog!

And family is the people that you can feel comfortable going to and that there is a mutual respect and love no matter if they are blood relations or not.

7

Hi everyone…..love the read here! I can sooo relate to everyone. I washed my hands of family abusers years ago….and recently, in the last few years they’ve sort of come full circle, at least a couple have made amends….my step mom for one…and we’ve sat and visited about the past as she tries to explain to me where she came from, I sort of get it. Been there done that sort of thing. And we have a really good relationship today. My dad….well, he’s living with cancer right now, and he didn’t do anything physical, he is one of those who was guilty by not paying attention to what was right in front of his nose. I know deep down he will die clueless. He’s never really LIVED since my real mom passed when I was a young girl. He died right along with her in a sense, and I’ve honestly let it go with him…most of the time:)

My husband is working though the “evil mom” crap right now. 41 years old and just beginning to do the work with a counselor….writting letters that will never be read to the “beast”….and so on. And he’s just beginning to see that many of his real issues come from his childhood and no one believing him. He was one of 6 children that was beaten, she singled him out…years later all of this inner conflict and low self esteem and the entire package spun him right into several addictions. One he got help with in his early twenties, the other, well, he’s just beginning to get a handle on it. He said he had NO idea all of the stuff from his past with his mother was at the core. And I believe him. So sad…he never worked thru it because his mom couldn’t have done all of that stuff, she was too nice and is head of the Catholic Daughters Society….blah, blah, blah….she makes me ill when I have to be in a room with her, and my daughter will NEVER spend time alone with her, no matter how good of a show the woman puts on.

Freaks…evil freaks who don’t give one thought to what they are doing to their children AND their childrens spouses and then their children if nothing is done about it. Stolen lives…and to this day his mother has never owned up or apologized. Then again she’s never been held accountable! That day might be yet to come….at least sometimes I’d like to tell her that I KNOW!!!

Anyway, thanks everyone for the input, I gain so much!

8

wow..this hit home. My brother was my abuser also. My family says I should just forget and forgive….excuse me.
I am not in fear of him anymore…just don’t want anything to do with him anymore.

9

I keep getting something similar from people at my church and other Christians. They keep telling me to forgive this person. I tried it, but it didn’t do me any good and there’s no reason it would do him any good cos he couldn’t care less. I’m sure he’d rather I didn’t have any sort of positive feelings towards him at all. I’m not prepared to make my suffering worse by squashing down my anger and sense of injustice. I want to fight back against his bullying ways and sue him, which was what my lawyer suggested. No one would help me in standing up to him in any way, even though he is a Christian and some of them know him personally a little. They just wanted me to let it go, but this person has been in my life too long for that, since I was 16. It’s not just something I can forget about. And he has made life very difficult for me now. I want him to formally withdraw his false accusations about me and just a small amount of financial compensation for me not being able to work because of it. I’m not doing it primarily for money, just to reinstate myself and clear my name. I don’t mind forgiving later on, but to be honest, it’s better if I don’t feel positive towards him as that would make it much more difficult to let go.

10

Hi Paulette, ya isn’t that the truth? What the heck does “blood is thicker than water” mean?? My mohter told me that family would always be family.. I didn’t understand what that meant either. Looking back it is kind of funny how my mother tried to communicate to me how important that family is becasue I realize that she herself didn’t even believe it. Her mother was a nightmare. Never had a good thing to say to anyone or about anyone and my mothers life was pretty bad too. She wasn’t protected or heard either. I don’t think that my mother ever really faced her own stuff. So many of us try to block out the past instead of deal with it because we just don’t know where to start or how to go about it.
Thanks for your comments, Hugs, Darlene

Sarah,
It is really crazy. Time after time we hear these stories of the victims getting blamed, getting reprimanded, getting shunned for telling! Getting judged for not forgetting! Getting preached at and manipulated and shamed. It is CRAZY… but at least here we can be honest. When my therpapist validated that I had been mistreated, finally somone listened to me, and helped me to see why what happened to me was wrong, that day was a real turning point in my life.
Thanks for being here!
Darlene

11

gosh this brings back memories of my dad with a kithchen knife to his fathers stomach saying touch her n i will kill you. i have no memoreis of the abuse but all the pointers for repressed stuff are there, i think i can never be free from this one incase my dad did follow thro on his threat, yet he was as threatening to me and my 2 brothers. my mother got pregnant with my n was forced to marry my fathr, or take the abortion her mother had arranged for me. control starts early in my family. it was my fault she with him si he could abuse her and then it my fault i was so demanding as a infant n toddler. then we had health issues that she had to deal with more for her to have to hang ovr us, gosh it goes on. yet breaking the chains has taken me years. i wana be loved i wana be allowed to be the person i want not what they wanted, n for them to trat me like they expect me to treat them, with respect. the stress of all this is gettign a lil overwhelming as i am feeling the pain not hiding fromit n i remember y i hid now

12

Patty,
I will never understand this till the day that I die.. except that is how much control that dysfunctional parents have over their kids (and adult kids). I was terrified to stand up to my mother. I thought I might die if I did. I had no idea why I felt that way, but I figured it out in therapy and that is what gave me the guts that I have today. The misuse of power has crazy effects on people. With our parents I operated from the fear
s and belief system that I had when I was a child. I thought I would not be able to survive in the world if my parents rejected me. Of coarse as a child that was true. This is a really big topic.
Thanks for your comments and for fighting the good fight!
Love Darlene

Sunny, and Tiggy
that forgive and forget thing takes the cake! What does that even MEAN?? That statement was not intended to be used as a weapon the way that it is used. It makes me cringe every time I hear it. NO one tells us HOW to forget. (I didn’t forget until I had some decent healing which began when I was heard by someone in the first place.. Being ingored and told to be quiet and forget about it never helped me at all.
Thanks to both of you for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

13

Debbie,
Many of us have no idea what is at the core of our problems. Most people get help for current issues, and never talk about the past at all, just about the current problem. I think I would have stayed with the current problem too, if my therpaist had not insisted on doing a history. Other therapists had done history, but this was different. I am so glad for him that he is getting decent help and seeing the roots. The roots need to be exposed before they can be dug out. (and BURNED)
Hugs Debbie, it is always special to hear from you my friend.
Love Darlene

Carol, I think that many people don’t face the past becasue of the fear of the pain. The pain won’t kill you. For me the pain was a beginning of living in truth and freedom. I think of the pain as the breaking of the walls that enclosed my heart, and my soul. The real me was hidden behind those walls. The truth set me free, but it was painful getting to it. It is painful but hang in there, you are not alone.
Hugs, Darlene

14

Sarah Elise – I love what you said about growing your own family tree and how “good love should never hurt.” So true!

Tiggy ~ I have so been where you are and Steve Wickham wrote an awesome article about forgiveness and acceptance. AWESOME – I know you will appreciate it because what gets taught to us in the church is not forgiveness by the biblical definition. I loved what Steve said because he arrived at the exact same conclusion I did when I did my own study. It’s amazing what ‘feel good’ crap gets taught in the churches. I am a believer too and you should see the looks my husband and I get when we explain what forgiveness really is. Forgiveness isn’t real unless your OFFENDER comes to you and asks for forgiveness – THEN that is when we are to forgive them. Steve Wickham is on facebook. Up until I did my own study on the subject, I struggled huge Tiggy – HUGE. I didn’t want to ‘forgive’ – how can I forgive someone when my offender, whose been made known of their offense, will not ask me for forgiveness. I cannot extend if it is not asked for. So, I have accepted instead that my offender chooses not to ask me for forgiveness and in turn I have finally come to a place where I feel no ill will against her and I am no longer wanting revenge.

Yeah, “forgive and forget” what a crock. To me this is something an abuser says = they want you to forgive them and then they want you to forget about it so you won’t hold their offenses against them.

And Carol … what Darlene said!! it’s worth it sweetie … get to the core of it and deal with it no matter how painful because like Darlene said, at the end there is freedom and wholeness – and in the process you get to discover who you are and then work at not being afraid to be her. You’re worth it – never forget that!

Darlene – I hope you don’t mind me commenting – I feel so connected to these women even though the abuse I suffered was emotional and verbal without the physical and sexual, although I had often felt physically assaulted the way I was abused – I love that you have this site where we can connect and not feel alone. You are a huge blessing. Thank you!

15

The word “should” should be banished from the English language! 🙂

I intensely dislike anything obligatory these days. Too many years of people pleasing have made me hate obligations. Obviously there are some I can’t avoid but many that I can and do.

I’m sorry to hear that your mother didn’t follow her own creed…blood is thicker than water??? Really? That does not explain the way abusive family members treat us, does it? There is no way to debate an illogical person. All we can do is what’s right for us. Anyone who doesn’t like that does not have our best interests at heart anyway.

Great post Darlene!

16

Great post Darlene!

In the past….I used to think “taking care of myself” meant “fighting” to be treated with the respect I deserved. I struggled for years trying to make them “understand” and support me the way I thought I deserved to be supported. Problem was – doing this was just part of that power and control dance as I tried to “make” them treat me better with my often ranting explanations of how they “should” do or say things differently in order for my emotional needs to be met. This drove me “crazy” as I struggled with seeing my world through the eyes of those who told me how “wrong” I was and fighting to prove myself otherwise.

It took me awhile to learn to separate myself from these “change back messages”. I knew I was on the right track when my controlling and abusive siblings (parents are both dead) would say to me after I’d refused to be bullied and put some distance between us “I just want things to go back to the way they were”.

Darlene you said “As I began to comprehend the real truth instead of the lies I had accepted for so long and the skewed definition of love, I began to recover from all my many mental health issues.”

Yes. The only thing that was crazy in my life were the people who were telling me that I was crazy in order for them to validate themselves at my expense. To maintain my own integrity or wholeness I stay away from my “family”.

17

Darlene,

You hit the nail on the head. I too have a mother who believes I should love and respect her…she was a “good” mother…she knows she has made mistakes yet she can’t take responsibility for one of them. I wish she could read your blog. Maybe she would actually learn something…if she could just get past the denial….it is sad. I used to think that she just chose men over her kids but in reality she chose anyone over us. We could never ever be right. She was always on their side. It hurts that my family is so broken….but I choose to see the truth and I choose to have a family of my own without the abuse and hurt. In the end I choose me. Thanks for that post.

18

Patty,

Your post really woke me up….that is so heavy….I admire your character for standing up to your family for your sister. They can’t handle it, denial is what keeps them alive maybe. It is so sad…but when people can’t handle the truth it’s all denial from there….you are strong…they unfortunately are not with you on your quest for truth….I can only imagine your heartbreak….hugs to you…

19

Paulette,
I don’t mind at all and you bring up an interesting point; You feel connected to these women although your abuse was not sexual or physical but emotional and verbal. This was one of the reasons that I started this blog and why I do the work I do! I realized when I was speaking in seminars that people related to me no matter what they had been dealing with, no matter what diagnosis they had recieved and no matter what (if any) type of abuse they had in thier present or past. I realized that this was because of the belief system that had developed. ~ Darlene

Hi Susan, it is always great to have a visit from you!
You bring up a very interesting point about the others wanting you to “change back”. Isn’t that a “truth leak”. I hear that all the time.. “lets go back to “normal” and normal to them is that they get to kick you around and you take it! They never see it that way though. There is an added problem with siblings too. Very often the parent is abusive in order to feel like they are still the king of the mountain, and if one adult child stands up to the parents, subconsciously the other adult children know that they are going to get picked on worse! Especially if the one that stands up is the one that gets most of the devaluing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Cyndi!
OH yes, and the thing about “illogical” is that they find these ways to convince us from a young age that WE are the illogical ones. That is what has to change.. we have to realize that we are not the crazy ones!
Thanks for stopping by!! Hugs, Darlene

Jenny,
I totally hear you. I wish that my mother could read my blog too, and for all I know, maybe she does. My father found it so maybe my entire family reads it. LOL I would love for my mother to realize what happened to her. She could be free from all the pain that she lives in too. But meanwhile, I had to make the decision that letting her treat me like that was not the answer for either of us. My mom chose men over kids too, but as you said she chose almost everyone over me. It is okay though because not having a relationship with her is not nearly the horror that I thought it would be. I don’t have to put up with all that anymore. My next post will highlight one of the reasons that I finally drew the line.
Hugs and thanks so much for your comments!
Darlene

20

This was one of the hardest things we had to do. When our mother died we didn’t go back for the funeral, it was a lie to go and pretend there was remorse. She was our first abuser there was never real remorse on her part either. But we did have to have a relationship while she was alive, she became the perfect grandmother to our son which meant we had to tolerate her in our lives after keeping her out for a decade.

But it’s our brother who we’ve really put out of our life. He was abusive and continues to be. He never took responsibility for what he did to us and drops a nasty on us every chance he gets, so we decided no more. With him tho no one pushes for us to have a relationship.

Life is to short to continue to be abused by anyone, for sure not family!

The biggest thing we’ve been learning was how to love, who to love and why. Love gets so corrupted by abuse and the aftermath of that abuse. It can take a really long time to realize we can love and that we deserve to be loved.

Ravin

21

The hardest thing for me has been that the so called church family rejected me just as much as my biological family.

As soon as they realise how wounded and damaged, totally relationally impaired and untrusting I was and yet I purported to be a Christian and to love Jesus – fingers started to point and the ‘should’ words began to be spoken and it was turned on me that it was my fault I was so screwed up. They couldn’t get how you could be a Christian and be in such a mess. But instead of coming alongside and helping, it was forgive, forget, move on, it happened so long ago, stop harping on about it.

But how can I forgive when my abusers deny anything ever happened and blame it on me for being a bad person? How can I ever forget 20 years of abuse and torture? How could I move on with none to help and walk alongside me? It may have happened a long time ago, but I live with it every minute I’m awake and then in my nightmares when I do sleep.

The wonderful thing is that God has now brought some wonderful professional experienced amazing women into my life who are giving me hope and walking alongside me. I know I will heal now, although I know it will be a long journey. But my heart was broken twice over, once by my birth family and second by the church family.

Thankfully I do now have a very small handful of Christian friends who see the real me underneath that so desperately wants to heal and who are supporting me in my journey. It’s wonderful that we can support each other here and hear each other’s pain and encourage each other.

22

I just read the article again and I have a question to throw out to everyone. What if its not a funeral, but your brother’s wedding and my abuser, my mother, will be there? She seems completely oblivious to how she treated me (oh, what a surprise!) – she thinks its about how she raised me. I told her many a time that its about how she TREATED me. She gave the ‘impression’ from her letter that she assumes by my coming to this wedding that we can just be together as a family and all will be okay, thus sweeping everything under the carpet again.

I thought I had the strength to go to the wedding – but after some correspondence with my mother – no way. I can’t go. I have siblings that don’t understand and I have sometimes heard the “Get over it” statement.

My question is not should I go to the wedding or not, but rather, should I disclose to my father (no longer married to my mother) and siblings the abuse I endured from my mother. I am sure they’ve heard bits and pieces, but I get the feeling that they pretty much cling to whatever she tells them which has put division between me and my siblings.

So my question is, do Iay out the garbage for them to make their own judgments or at least understand why I have disallowed my mother in my life???

23

Hi Ravin,
So great to hear that you are learning to love! What a lovely blessing that is and good for you that you decided “no more”. You will like my post tomorrow
Hugs, Darlene

Fi,
I wonder about that question so often.. how can they? There are some posts here about spiritual abuse if you use the search too. I think it is the same old illness. They don’t know how to love either. I am so glad that you are getting help and have some good mentors now! Recovery is so very possible and you deserve it! We all do.
Hugs, Darlene

24

Paulette,
You may not like my answer, but no one can tell you what to do, only you can decide. And it is empowering to make these decisions too. When other people advise us sometimes we question if it was our decision or if we were influenced. As a professonal coach who worked in mental health support, I learned not to give any directives.. and I found that it works best for everone that way!
Hugs! Darlene

25

You know Darlene. I’ve got an experience to tell you about adoption and how it feels to not be part of the family. If blood is thicker than water, then adopted children won’t feel as loved as natural born children. Of course this notion is completely wrong. Adopted children are just as much a part of the spiritual DNA of the parents as the natural born children. Why? Well because both children are being raised in the same manner so they should be picking up the same input from the parents. Isn’t the spiritual DNA more important that the physical one. I think that it is and I would never treat an adopted child any different than any other of my children. I’ve talked to my wife about adopting more children but she is not there yet. Hopefully one day we will be both on the same page in order to make this dream of mine happen. Love, Manuel

26

Hi Manuel,
I wish that everyone felt this way. I wish all parents loved thier kids even! I know people who treat thier adopted kids way different than their biological children. How does that child grow up to feel? I have also seen families where one child has been treated worse or less accepted than another one. This is not my story, but I have seen it. I told the story on this blog of how my son thought that he was the most picked on becasue of expectations, but my daughers felt that they were neglected and not as important because they were not expected to achieve the same results as our son. All of them were right. Abuse and devlauing treatment comes in MANY forms.
Thanks so much for your comments Manuel. You have such a kind heart.
Hugs, Darlene

Leave a Comment