I had this idea, well a belief actually, that my parents didn’t actually know that they were doing anything wrong with the way that they emotionally abused me. My father was extremely neglectful. He wasn’t interested in me or in my life. My mother constantly criticized me and humiliated me and stated in so many ways that I or my thoughts were not valid. I made excuses for them as a way to cope with it. Emotional and psychological abuse is a tough thing to set straight in the belief system because for one thing, it isn’t legally liable, but I had to put the blame for emotional abuse where it belonged, the same as I did for physical and sexual abuse which WAS legally liable. All abuse has its origin in psychological abuse first.
At the very base of the lie, is the lie that abusers don’t really know what they are doing. In order to survive, we create this “lie” to comfort ourselves; assuring ourselves that our abusers don’t realize that they are doing damage. (like they don’t know any better) We can convince ourselves as adults that our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and close family friends, (or ANYONE for that matter) don’t remember what they did. (as though they were in some trance while they were doing it) We question our memories. We doubt ourselves. We doubt that what we remember happened at all or that at least it didn’t happen the WAY we remember. But where do those doubts come from in the first place? Do they come from the fact that we were invalidated before we had those doubts? Even if we were invalidated about something other than the abuse itself? I think so)
So here is what I was thinking; If they didn’t know that they were doing something wrong, then why OR how do we get so good at not telling? Why did I have this “feeling” which was really knowledge, that it would be disloyal and even dangerous to tell?
If serial killers didn’t know what they were doing, if they were really “out of their minds” and didn’t really know right from wrong the way that I was sure my abusers were, then why did they go to such great lengths to cover up the crime? Why wear gloves? Why dispose of the body and the weapon? If they don’t know right from wrong, then there would be no secrecy.
And why teach children to keep the secret? Why blame the children? Why do abusers go to such lengths to brainwash children into believing that without them they will die? Why convince the child that there is nothing wrong with what is going on? That it is for their own good, or that it is deserved punishment, also for their own betterment. Why convince children that they are to blame, and then tell them ~ convince them (in so many ways, not always with words) not to tell?
Have you seen an adult beat a kid black, blue and bloody in public? Not often I bet. Do adults molest or rape children right out in public, at the shopping mall for instance? If they don’t know it is wrong, then why don’t they do it in public? Why the big cover up?
I was in my forties when I told my mother that she could no longer “remind me” that it was my fault that her boyfriend came into my room when I was barely 14 years old. If my mother didn’t know it was wrong to accuse me of deliberately attracting him into my bedroom, then why didn’t she accuse me of that publically?
And why didn’t I tell her a long time ago to stop throwing that LIE in my face? ( answer: because of the power she had over me and because I believed that if she rejected me I would die)
One lie is built on a second lie and the layers go on and on ~ they become thick; the truth becomes cloudy, murky, masked ~ harder and harder to find, harder to remember, harder to acknowledge. It was vital for me to start looking at the lies, and realize~ acknowledge TO MYSELF~ that they were LIES.
Please share your thoughts, feelings, and your truth.
Busting through the fog, one layer at a time;
P.S. Note: If your family decides to believe you (about abuse) then they have to make some choices. They have to make some new decisions and even take some action. If they don’t want to make those choices, then the choice they make is NOT to believe you. That is about them, not about you. Being believed does not change anything about the truth of what happened. Never forget that.
When people didn’t believe me, I doubted myself even more. Sticking to my guns and standing firm on my boundary is the only way that I can prove that I BELIEVE ME. ~ Darlene Ouimet
Related posts ~ Unfriending my Abuser by Patty Hite