Jul
16

Spiritual Abuse; When the name of God is used to Guilt and Shame

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EFB PVI 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 the ABUSER or PERPATRATOR of the CRIME. And that is as it should be.

Can you imagine Jesus Christ looking down on a little child and telling him or her they need to get over it? Can you picture God advising a child (or an adult child survivor) to ‘forgive and forget’ even before the abuse has been validated, soothed, bandaged and wept over and while the perpetrators are STILL denying that they did something wrong? Do you think that Jesus Christ, God, or whatever type of spiritual power you follow would want these manipulative people and the perpetrators of so much pain and emotional harm walk away without being exposed and if need be charged and convicted?  Who would worship THAT god, the god who would be on the side of the abuser? What kind of higher power would suggest that the abusive person in the relationship should NOT be exposed? What kind of loving god would suggest that abuse should be covered up?

What kind of spiritual guru would advise children to suck it up and take it adding that it is ‘for their own good or brought on by the child’ and then when that child is grown up would advise the now adult child to forget about it or tell the adult child that it happened a long time ago as if that has something to do with why we should keep it a secret. What kind of GOD would want this kind of stuff covered up?

What kind of loving being would not care to put a stop to the abuser by exposing him or her?

What kind of “Creator” or spiritually enlightened entity OR individual would teach that telling, exposing or talking about abuse is a negative thing to do? Why would a healthy loving leader want the abusers to get away with the crimes they have committed thus enabling them to repeat the offence? What kind of spiritual entity would want victims and survivors of painful upbringings, domestic violence, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse to BE QUIET for the sake of protecting the people who did this harm to them in the first place.

What about the saying “They did the best they could.” Would it make sense to you if someone said to you “forgive him for sexually abusing you, after all, he did the best he could.” I don’t think that God or any Spiritual Power of the Universe would agree that this sexual offender was ‘doing the best he or she could.”

It is this kind of thinking and victim blaming that leads survivors of abuse and victims of abuse to come to the conclusion that GOD let the abuse happen.  It is this kind of thinking that keeps victims and survivors STUCK in the low self-esteem that resulted from the damage caused by the devaluing and sometimes dehumanizing treatment that we were subjected to in the first place.

To the people that quote the Bible even the Bible says that we have to follow the law of the land, so why would family or friends of family be exempt from the law?

Think about it; the people who want our silence are people that are afraid of being caught because they KNOW that what they are doing is wrong but their entitlement issues are bigger than their knowledge of right and wrong and they have taught a whole society to believe that talking about this stuff is ‘wrong’.  

Abusive, controlling, entitled people and the people who are afraid of them will say almost anything to get you to shut up. They will label you as angry, hateful and unforgiving if you decide to stand up to them and the ways that they regard you. I want to shout at them and to the ones that defend them ~ “What do you think I am angry about???” Anger is justifiable in this situation! It isn’t hateful to stand up for yourself. I had to really think about these things in order to realize the truth about it all. Being labeled as unforgiving because I spoke up for myself towards people that don’t want forgiveness and don’t even admit that they did something that requires forgiveness is baffling to me and when I saw it through new eyes, it didn’t matter what they said anymore; I don’t buy it anymore. I don’t own that shame or guilt that isn’t mine to carry anymore. I gave it back to them. I don’t believe that I am unforgiving or that my anger is misplaced. I am not hateful, I am not fragile, I am not crazy, guilty or vengeful and I don’t believe any of those titles that were given to me when I was under the spell and fear of abusive, controlling and manipulative people. And I certainly don’t believe that a God of love would EVER defend the abuser over the one abused.  

I believe in what is best. I believe that Love is about what is best for all, and I will never believe that covering up for abusers and perpetrators of abuse is ever best for anyone. Not even for them.

Please share your thoughts on this very controversial subject. Remember that you may choose any name you wish to in the comment form and your identity will always be kept private and although Emerging from Broken has a facebook page, the comments left here are not posted on facebook.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time,                                                      

Darlene Ouimet

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Categories : Family

301 Comments

1

The forgiveness thing is a real issue for me. This is not to say that I wouldn’t forgive someone. There would have to be certain conditions that are met. I would expect that the person would apologize AND truly show remorse. I would expect that he person understands that the offensive behavior would not be repeated. If there are amends to be made, they should be made. Anything less than this does not deserve forgiveness in my book.

I wonder if some people use the word ” forgiveness” for what I would call ” moving on”. Moving on, to me, would be deciding not to let an offensive person continue to impact my life negatively. This usually would be accomplished by limiting or minimizing contact or having boundaries that can’t be crossed. It is not the same as forgiveness. Anyone who continues to act obnoxiously has not met my requirements for forgiveness and will not get it.

I just don’t get it when people tell you to forgive someone for yourself. How does it benefit to forgive an undeserving person? It seems unnatural and forced. I would rather go by my own definition of it.

2

Hi Amber!
The more I see this whole “picture” from the view of truth, the more I see how many people don’t even realize WHAT they are saying. They just say whatever sounds ‘good’ to them. When I look at the motive behind this manner of addressing or directing people, I never see anything that is good for the person they are talking down to, OR to relationship in general. I agree, if someone won’t allow me to have any “say”, why would I keep trying to make the relationship work? It really does take two people to have a relationship.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

3

Darlene, I find a lot of people throw cliches around. Like forgive and forget. Or one of my favorites ( sarcastic) is it takes two to tango. I find people use that one as an excuse to assign blame, even to someone who has done nothing wrong. Looks to me like they use that cliche to dump some or all of the blame that should be theirs. I agree that many people have no idea what they are saying, like ” forgive them for yourself”. Just makes no sense if the other person is not sorry and remorseful and willing to behave differently.

4

Hi Amber
People can take anything out of context to suit their motive. I have also heard “it takes two to tango” used to prove blame against someone else. I have come to love words and phrases in the whole “coming out of the fog” process; I love to see how they are misused and how the original intention of the expression is twisted and I love to expose it!
And I agree, the true meaning (or teaching) of forgiveness makes no sense if the other person is not sorry and in fact denying there is anything “to” forgive..
hugs, Darlene

5

I hate the idea that our souls chose to be abused so that we can grow. I recently unliked a “healing the inner child” page because they kept pushing this notion. The double bind in their presentation of this is if you do not realize the truth in this, then you are just not spiritually mature and advanced like they are.

It seems whether it is conservative old time religion or New Age mumbo jumbo, it is all the same. Cover that gaping, oozing would with a band aid, put a smile on your face and just be like the rest of us who had normal childhoods.

It is, any way you look at it, devaluing, demeaning and demoralizing. Denial is a cesspool, a parasitic breeding ground on both an individual level and on a societal level. It makes life easier for perpetrators, easier for those who like to don rose colored glasses and harder for people who experienced abuse.

More and more in the psychology field I am reading that they are starting to turn away from the idea that forgiveness is a goal of therapy or even a necessary part of the healing process. I think that is encouraging.

It actually feels like a violation of my personal boundaries when someone says I need to forgive, It would be like me saying to them they need to have sex more with their significant other.

6
Carel Patrica Smith
July 16th, 2014 at 12:22 pm

I LIVE IN FEAR AND STILL DO MY EX HAS DONE EVERY THING FROM TAKING AWAY FOOD HEAT AND MADE BE A PRISONER IN MY HOME AND THREATS ON MY LIFE I WILL NEVER HEAR THE WORDS I;M SORRY FROM HIM I;M MOVING ON BUT THE FEAR WILL NEVER LEAVE ME

7

Hi Kaycee
I hate that too. It excuses the people who perpetrated the abuse! And we are talking about people abusing people here! So if abuse makes people ‘stronger’ then what does it make the perp??? (this is really a huge concept!)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

8

Hi Carel
Welcome to EFB ~ I believed that the fear and the pain would never leave me but as I learned how to nurture myself and saw the truth through new eyes, my whole life changed.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

9

This is something that I have struggled with in the past. “honor they father and they mother” I have to love myself enough to not take the verbal torment and anguish any longer.

10

Hi Leisa
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I struggled with that too and something that really helped me was to look at the true meaning of the word “honor”.
I wrote a post about the “honor your mother and father” teaching ~ here is the link http://emergingfrombroken.com/honor-your-mother-and-father-is-drawing-a-boundary-a-sin/
~ It is a very popular post.
hugs, Darlene

11

My mom, sisters and relatives have used bible verses to try and sway me (or manipulate me or guilt trip me). My mom used Jesus against me (how can you stand before Jesus and talk to me like that?)

It’s refreshing to realize now that God wasn’t agreeing with them. He wasn’t on their side just because they used his word.

As for just getting over things or just giving them to God, I have heard that from a relative and it was annoying. It’s not something you can just wave with a magic wand and “poof” it’s all better… You have to go through the process.

12

Hi Breaking out!
Well said! I was SO validated when I realized that God was NOT behind all of this! It is horrific how people use “God” to back them up! About being told to ‘give it to God’ that is another saying that is misused! Letting things go is far easier AFTER it has been validated, and after it has been taken care of! People who are heard, valued and nurtured through the healing process are not the one’s struggling!
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene

13

I am gleefully telling everyone the truth about the abusive adults in my family. This is a family that covered for pedophiles for generations, and there were never any consequences – until now. Bartley Jack Fletcher and Shirley Jean Fletcher are guilty of criminal child abuse and neglect, and that is the absolute truth. Being forced to keep all of a family ‘s shameful secrets my whole life has compromised my life in ways I’mjust beginning to discover, which is why I am speaking out every day. I was also told in childhood that God would punish me if I misbehaved. So many lies about a God they don’t even know or want to. After decades of fighting God and Jesus, I now have evidence of their loving presence in my life – mainly because I should be dead from the effects of my poisonous upbringing, but I am alive and well! There can be no other explanation that satisfies me, other than divine love. Thank you Darlene, for opening our eyes <3

14

AMEN – Thank you!

15

Hi Stitch
Good for you! Thanks so much for sharing your victories with us!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Taz!
🙂

16

I think it bears noting as well, for those who believe. God did not just forgive, there were floods and plagues and infanticide. Ultimately a bloody sacrifice was required in order for God to come to forgiveness.

17

Not been on here for a while as I’ve been doing quite well thanks to your site! Another one I’ve heard is “God chose your parents” – argghh!
I felt sick when I heard that. That is not the kind of God I want to know!

18

Great post, Darlene!
All of my in-laws call themselves Christians but not one of them sees anything wrong with the mass-murder going on in Palestine, land of their Savior, with no thought about what He might have thought about it. They come up with all kinds of excuses about why it is okay.

19

Darlene, I think you are familiar with the same God that I’ve come to know and love. I’ve noticed that even His forgiveness (which is really what counts) depends on the confession of the wrong that has been done.

Hobie

20

When I tried to tell people in my church that my supposed best friend had an affair with my husband (she finally confessed when I found out about his mistress after her, and I had to ask her point blank)most of them DID NOT want to hear it. I was told that I just needed to forget her and move on with my life. When confronted, initially, she feigned repentance but when I tried to tell her how what she did hurt me and what a terrible thing she’d done, she attacked me and blamed me for the two of them having the affair! Because (her words)all I did was complain about how my family and my husband were treating me badly so I guess I deserved for them to have an affair! She soon after then got rid of her husband by telling the church he was a Narc that was physically abusing her. Totally untrue! The church (Church of Christ in TN) swallowed the lie and he was an outcast. Then, in less than a year, she married a professor/preacher high up in the church and was free to do so because she had been “abused.” This was years later when I found this out. I confronted her again about how she had never repented and that I planned to bring her before the elders of the church. Her new husband berated me to say that I should forgive her because she had “changed” and that what I was doing was “un-Christ-like.” Only then did she “apologize” but her story of the affair had changed to it being a short-lived, inconsequential (lie) thing and very far from initial statements. She “apologized” but I believe only to get me to go away. I was told that I should drop it, let God deal with the outcome and not talk about it anymore by other Christians. They would not talk about it/hear me. It would only make ME look bad. Go figure! Same with my ex. He thinks I should have kept his secret of porn and sex addiction from our children because it would “only harm them” in the long run. When our youngest walked in on him in front of his computer and then both of them went into his room and found porn pics of his new wife, what was I to do and say!! I don’t want my children exposed to that lifestyle, yet I’m the bad guy for protecting them by telling them and going No Contact. I don’t get how people in the church believe it’s okay to just sweep sin under the carpet and think it would be okay with God. It’s not! Even if I have to stand alone and take the heat, I still believe God is with me and it’s not His will to let evil run amuck unchecked!!

21

My one regret is keeping quiet. They don’t stop. My nieces were abused. A young girl got kidnapped and abused. If only I had not listened to church on this issue. Children’s aide wanted me to talk and yet I was too scared of them blaming me too. Instead I stayed in a mental institution as the messed up, crazy one. I wish I had talked. Maybe less people would have been abused.

22

Greetings to one and all:i have read the whole blog and comments.i feel like I have stored up so much from a variety of people who continue to want me either silenced or
commited to psychiatric diagnosis” which is to satisfy their attack on my character.Self blame and shame and intense fear can make a person a
little crazy” and Yet Facing the Truth and telling is empowering.
I just feel that the invalidation is a sticky point.
The police said :Yes we deal with historical sexual assaults.then the crown refused to try the case.A male police officer said ,recently, you must have known he wanted sex if he had condoms?I was a teen who knew Nothing about sex and was NOT giving myself away nor was I willing to have something of Beauty stolen from me and Yet this is what he did. Ann Wolbert Burgess says that victims of rape often feel a profound fear of death.
Bingo. And the police from Orillia cannot HEAR just how terrifying it is to be driven down a Dark Road because I got into his car????
I had been manipulated/groomed/intimidated for a few months and I was utterly naive and innocent(my first ‘boyfriend). When I said Take Me Home he didn’t listen at all and acted like he was a ‘crazed” person.The police officer didn’t buy this either!!!!And this was only a few months ago! Do you understand just how hard these officers have worked to Defend him and to disbelieve me???Even my own Mother had said well you wanted to go out with him?
So what?
I had not studied psychology I was in Grade 10. I didn’t know that there were psychopathic personalities and/or narcisstic
now the Christian community only wants me to forgive(for myself?) and to Not seek justice. if I seek Justice and Make a STand for the Impact of being a Victim of Crime then what/the more people do make a stand against evil and stand for Restoration and Truth the better it will be for the next generation.
I pray for the other victims to come forward as I know they are there.
if I give up my Stand Against Evil and my STand for Justice then what about the thousands of others who cannot even TELL yet and have resigned themselves to live in defeat and accept the psychiatrist diagnosis of “disablity” and have given up being HOPEFUL of Restoration.
Yes it was a pastor who has told me off for not completely forgiving and he has gone around gathering support for “his right” to slander and tell me that Christians have No Rights????Do you have a phone number?Too bad we couldn’t connect through a 1-800.
I could go one but I am still recouperating from the insinuation that I am not a true Christian because I just haven’t forgiven and who actually cares just how much LOSS i incurred by his Kidnapping and sexually violating me on a Dark road where I was afraid for my life…if I didn’t do what he demanded.
About 5 years later when I agreed with my new boyfriend to have consentual sex, I blacked out! And this isn’t normal when it is consentual.So it is people like you who are my only support.Thank you,Elizabeth

23

Darlene, thanks for writing this. I’ve had to study religions and the concept of forgiveness hard just so I could feel validated that because I wasn’t “forgiving” I wouldn’t “heal”.
My mother has told me to “just move on Alice. Oh just get over it”
Forgive and forget has been thrown at me as an injunction from others. It has never helped but only served to invalidate me further.

24

Thank you Darlene. Of all the forms of abuse I’ve tried to overcome, this (the spiritual kind) has been a struggle for me. Mainly due to it’s dynamic and lack of a better word, ‘beyond-worldly’ nature. In my experience I think it has been difficult
because there is little room to “argue with
god” because “anyone else’s version is wrong and are followers of the devil trying
to fool you”. This was our conditioning and
instruction in “god”, twisted and warped,
cult-like even, that justified the public humiliation rituals, the beatings, the
sexually inappropriate taunts and shame, the neglect, the burning of demonised clothes, why we were often tapped on the head with her knuckles as she chanted “hello, demon in there – you won’t win with
me”, etc etc. It has taken me a long time to
redefine who and what the idea of “god”
means for me. In my younger years I hated
“god” because if this almighty being
approved and encouraged the awful things
that went on in our “house of horrors” then I
didn’t want anything to do with him/her or
it. But now I have discovered that my “god”
is plain and simple, Love. A true friend within ourselves that glows, a strong
energy that fills you up from the inside
shining light thru the healing scars and
cracks outwards. Unfortunately forced
forgiveness based on spiritual and “holy-er
than thou” teachings of my mother, behind
the scenes (with my younger, more heavily
brainwashed siblings) continues to be used
to try and control my speaking out and that
I must have serious mental issues (she
diagnoses me thru email weekly with
what’s wrong with me) if I cannot forgive
her mistreatment of me/us or “if I can’t
forget the past and forgive I must not have
found god”. “if the others can, so I must
too”. These just show me that she still feels
no remorse for her behaviour, she still
wants to control me, and I’ve accepted
she’s not likely to change, and I no longer
seek validation from her. I also no longer
wish her harm to pay for all the hurtful
things she has done, dealing with that has taken me a long time, I just want to live my life in peace, without her toxic games of
blame and control. Surely that’s not too
much to ask. I just want to be free to be me.

25

Great topic.

Forgiveness for me, comes from acknowledging what injustice is being done. Jesus didn’t just simply forgive the Pharisees, he challenged them until his death, and he was aware they wanted him killed. He wasn’t in denial of what was truly in their hearts. Jesus didn’t go to the cross in blind suffering, he knew everything about the people. He had faith in God not the perpatrators. So it is with me, true forgiveness comes when I am fully aware of the pain and abuse that is happening, when I am able to protect myself with boundaries, and then after this I can look and realistically say, I forgive them Father, because they are stupid idiots and don’t know what the hell they are doing, and the once painful memories lessen and I can see beyond it.

Then and only then, a relationship of reconciliation can happen. And only if I fully get the truth of what happened and the damage that occurred and the other person is genuinely remorseful. I’ve done this with people before and they let me down. I found if i really want to forgive someone and have a relationship with them I need to be packing a lot of truth, boundaries and ways of protecting myself. And be prepared for anything and know they still have not won my trust and nor deserve it.

26

Thank you so much for this article. I am a 70 year old woman who has suffered most of my life because of the abuse. Thank God, I have had a great counselor this past 5 years. What happens to one when they are a child seems never to let them be a normal person. I wish I could have known what I have learned now year ago. I did try to tell someone and they didn’t believe me either. But now I am free from that me.
Thank you

27

I think there is an erroneous assumption that in the absence of forgiveness, the person is stuck in some sort of purgatory wasting away in revenge fantasies and missing out on personal growth and the ability to move on with their lives.

For me it is about acceptance. This is hard, accepting the fact the people who I trusted, who were supposed to love me did not. And they are not going to. They have their stories about me, how I was defective and that is why they treated me the way I was treated,

They are sorry I was hurt, some of them anyways, but they are not willing to go to therapy and look themselves in the mirror. They are not willing to accept they were entrusted with the gift of a healthy, highly sensitive, bright child. They are not sorry for what they did to me. My Mom is a little bit sorry she did not help me more, but to her, clearly I was the problem. She is a master projector.

No, they do not want to hear how they stifled me, shamed me blamed me. My Mom does not want to talk about how she married a crazy man who took away every chance I had at self love. She wants to talk about how I, as a young child, caused my own demise. She does not want to admit that I did not cause her misery, that I did not cause her to be a bad Mother.

My work is to learn how to love myself, to accept that it was not my fault I had defective adults around me. I am not focused on them. I understand, as hard as it is to do, that my work is focused on me now, just me myself an I and all of my parts. I think that really confuses people with narcissistic tendencies, that our healing is about us, it is not about forgiving them.

28

There is a HUGE difference between religion and what goes on between God and the human heart. One worries about who is breaking the rules (and it’s never them). The other is concerned with who is being hurt or helped.

Hobie

29

Since I am on a roll right now I want to say this too, nothing thrills my family more then to watch me self destruct so they can come to my rescue. That completely arouses my Mum, puts the color back into her lily white pallor. That is when she is right! That is when they are all right and when they love me. Forgiveness isn’t even on my radar, I’m just trying to stand on my own two feet and not blow myself up.

30

Kaycee, you said “I think there is an erroneous assumption that in the absence of forgiveness, the person is stuck in some sort of purgatory wasting away in revenge fantasies and missing out on personal growth and the ability to move on with their lives.”

It really struck a chord with me. But paradox was that when I allowed myself to feel the way I really did towards my family (including some pretty hardcore fantasies of revenge and killing – never carried out, in fact I avoided even meeting my mother for fear I would shout her down or hit her or something) I was finally ok. I don’t ascribe a meaning to this personal experience. Only that the way I had been told it *had* to happen didn’t and that I felt guilty about it. And held hostage to some extent. That my “recovering” was denied if I didn’t “forgive”.

31

Alice I agree that having ” forgive and forget” thrown at me is invalidating. It usually means ” Amber you’re the more reasonable person, so just give in to the difficult, abusive person and everything will be okay”. Really? Of course not, because my needs and feelings aren’t being taken into account. And the instigator is not being held accountable.

Kaycee I really dislike the “sorry you were hurt”, “sorry if you feel that way” type of stuff. It is putting the blame back on you and the person is not taking responsibility for what they did. I have found that to be very invalidating.

Lynne, I have been in situations where an injustice was done to me and people wouldn’t believe me. This happened at a job where I was bullied by my boss and she would make up stories or twist the truth to try to compile things to use against me. I know it is really frustrating. I knew these things didn’t happen the way she said, but since she was in the position of power, no one was going to side with me. In the end, the best thing for me was to get out of that job and go somewhere else. After a week at my new job I was walking through the hallway at the school I just started at and felt a feeling of great relief. No more walking on eggshells because someone was going to misinterpret something I did or said. And I was appreciated! Several months after I started my new job I told my new supervisor a little about my old job. She said “Their loss our gain”. That was one cliche I actually liked having used in reference to me! Sometimes the best thing is to get away from a bad situation and crazy people. Your former friend sounds very toxic, as does your ex. And trying to convince people of something when they blindly believe someone else or are in denial of reality is really frustrating. Atleast you know the real truth, just like I did at my job. It’s good to vent on here because many people will understand.

32

Amber, right. What does “Be the bigger person” in an abusive situation even mean? Exactly what you said. And I used to buy it. And to the point I’d STAY MORE in abusive situations because I was telling myself “It’s up to you to change to make things better”. As if by some super power about me I could change an asshole into an angel (there’s the religious angle).

I’m not saying that that’s not something to ever attempt but the assumption is that the other(s)in that situation are somewhat amenable.Maybe just unaware. What about the issue of who has more “power” (in the sense of “the ability to get what you want done”) in any given situation?

33

Alice “be the bigger person” means rollover and play dead. Or never mind what you want, you’re the easy one so give in to the unreasonable obnoxious person whose gonna kick up a big fuss. And oh yeah, I had to be the person to change to make things better too.

34

I agree God is a God of love and truth. Forgiveness is for those who actually confess their sins and repent. Not those who deny their sins. God (Jesus Christ) has a special place for those who cover their sins, it’s called hell , not paradise.

35

The bible is very clear, only the truth will set you free, and he who covers his sin will not prosper.

36

Hi Sam
Yes, that IS a terribly weird thing for people to say!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Elsie
Yes, people can justify anything but that doesn’t mean it is ‘justified’ ~ in other words it doesn’t mean that they are right.
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene

Hi Hobie
Yes, once we cut through the brainwashing that we have to believe everything ‘they’ say, the truth emerges!
hugs, Darlene

37

Hi Lynne
Thanks for sharing.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Maria
It isn’t your fault that this happened. It is the perpetrators fault always. We are taught / groomed to keep silent, and the fear is very real. And it works for them if we can look like the crazy one! None of this is your fault. I am glad you are talking now!
Hugs, Darlene

38

Hi Elizabeth
Welcome to EFB ~ exactly! Everybody is so willing to go down the rabbit trails that lead nowhere! Thank you for sharing and thank you for your courage to stand up to them!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Alice
All this fricken emotional blackmail that goes on. They rule with FEAR and it is so pathetic once we see it. Who gets to decide if we heal or not?? WE DO! all their rules that make no sense and when we ask for them to explain, they can’t. (because their rules make NO sense!)
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

39

Hi Hope,
Welcome to EFB ~ yes, we just want to be free and I can tell you that I have accomplished that.
Glad that you are here, thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene

Hi Cat
YES, great comments! I have always said that for me, forgiveness was a result of healing, not a goal or a destination.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Sharon,
Welcome to EFB!!
I am so glad that you are here! hugs, Darlene

Kaycee,
Yes, there is no end to the lies people will tell when they want something. I love your comments about self-love and nurturing; that is the way to real emotional health!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Hobie
YES there IS a huge difference!! hugs!!

41

“the bigger person”.. ask them to explain that one! (they can’t because when used out of context, it really means “let it go” and sweep it under the carpet. :/

Hi Jeffry,
Thanks for your thoughts,
hugs, Darlene

42

Thanks for the validation Amber. I was also in a job for three years where the same old patterns of keep your mouth shut and just do as your told were a constant. They added in there a lot watching me so they could catch any mistake I made and blew it out of proportion and I think I got positive reinforcement maybe twice in three years for doing a good job. And just like you, I couldn’t take it anymore and left. My next job they were so supportive, kind and didn’t want me to leave but my contract was up. Unfortunately, you can’t go no contact with a job, you have to leave if it’s toxic.

Amber, thanks also for saying it’s okay to vent here. I’m new here and all the time I was writing I was so afraid that I’d be called out for going on “too much” and saying the church name. I really wanted to say my ex best friend’s name but that seems vengeful to me. I really do try to be careful of other people’s feelings and too much to a fault I think. I just wanted to treat them the way I’d want to be treated. It just doesn’t work that way with people these days it seems. And you’re right Amber! People saying, “Be the bigger person” does translate to roll over and play dead and/or be my doormat.

43

Kaycee, you hit the nail on the head when you said, “It is, any way you look at it, devaluing, demeaning and demoralizing. Denial is a cesspool, a parasitic breeding ground on both an individual level and on a societal level. It makes life easier for perpetrators, easier for those who like to don rose colored glasses and harder for people who experienced abuse.”

May I quote what you said here in some social media posts (only the words, not the author, etc.)? Please let me know. Thanks.

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Hi Lynne
As the author/owner of this site I want to echo what Amber said; it is FINE to vent here. This is a place where I encourage honesty, healing and doing all that it takes to get to healing! There have been comments here that are over 2500 words, (my blog posts are usually only 1500-1800 words!) I am fine with people sharing whatever they need to share,
Hugs, Darlene

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While it is true forgiveness seems to take away the responsibility of the abuser(s) that is a “taught through society” message we have learned. Let us not forget what we are called to do. Forgive. We are not taught in church it seems, of why we need to forgive, just that we ought to forgive and pray for them. We are not shown the true reasons WHY this is so important. In Eph it tells we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with …. that is right, principalities…spiritual things. We are not taught that unless we forgive we leave the door wide open for these spiritual things to affect our lives in ways we can not begin to ever fully grasp. When we forgive, we are not letting the abuser(s) free, we are closing the door to the enemy and letting God help us. I speak this from experience.
I was abused as a child by a sibling, the covering up and silencing using God was there all the way, even assination of my character for speaking, and the loss of my entire family. Complete. Mother, Father, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, friends, EVERYONE. I was made out to be crazy, unstable, nasty, horrible, a trouble maker, I have had it all… I had no counsellors, stigma at its worst, labeled as depressed, but not identified to the repeat traumas I endured as a need for diagnosis of C-PTSD. Alone, abandoned, no way of any hope, I turned to the Father because He claims when you mother and father forsake you, I will not forsake you… Broken to the point of either someone help me live or I will die. I could not even cry any more. I found myself emotionless. When God showed me I needed to forgive for my own freedom, I did not understand why. My freedom from the enemy. From his access to my life. We think because we believe in God we are protected… this is true… IF we follow the example of the Son. He came to teach us to forgive, even if it is not deserving, and it is for the reason of setting ourselves free. It was validated when I performed the prayer of forgiving those who hurt me so badly. I asked the Father to take those spirits that have had access and bind them, then asking the Father to replace where they were with the Holy Spirit, and keep me in protection. From this point on? Everything changed. The people who have hurt me? God will deal with, and it is my calling (all of our calling) to pray for them that they come to salvation. Even those who say they are christian, will find this will happen. Freedom. No more everything going wrong. Peace coming into life, direction, help, healing, bit by bit, as it is a process, and finally, I am able to go for therapy to rid my memory of triggers, and teaching my responses to old traumas, new responses. Forgiveness is important, and needs to be taught correctly, at the correct time. Hugs and prayers for healing to all.

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Handy MESSAGE DECODER from perpetrators and family members

“That was 20 years ago” (You’re doing something wrong by bringing that topic up now)

“I don’t want to talk about it”…..then subject change and chitchat (I’m going to ignore your pain – don’t give your pain to me. I insist that you live with my actions and I’ll have my way, there will be no apologies and no empathy, I’m in control)

“Let it go” (I don’t want to hear about it)

“You’re on your own” (I’m leaving you emotionally)

“You’re making too much of this” (You are the problem – you exaggerate)

“You’re delusional, get help” (You’ve got a serious problem. It’s your fault)

“It’s your problem” (No decoding necessary for this one…..It’s your problem!)

“Dad can be a PITA sometimes, so can I” (It’s not that big of a deal. I can relate to him, not you)

“So he’s diddling around, so what? “ (Stop making so much out of nothing)

“Forgive and forget, that’s what I would do….that’s just the kind of person I am” (Shut up. I’m a better person and a more forgiving person than you are)

“You had it as good as anyone your age” (Stop complaining – you are the problem)

“I categorically deny….” (Get the spotlight off of me…now!)

“He’s old and sick” (Now isn’t the time to confront – how about never??)

“I just want everyone to get along” (Forget about truth, let’s just play-pretend happy)

“He always denied it” (Even though he’s admitted it (regarding others), I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to you. I don’t want to face the truth and what that means for me and my life. This is more about my comfort than yours.)

“What’s he gonna do”? (I’m in complete denial)

“What do you expect?!” (You’re still bringing this up? Deal with it already!….and shame on you)

“You’ve excommunicated your father!” (You are wrong).

“You’re having problems with your brother!” (You are wrong).

……and the ever-popular and classic SILENCE to my words of pain and loss (I sooo don’t want to deal with this I’m going to pretend you didn’t say anything/didn’t write me a heartfelt letter)

47

Great list, Light! Interesting that just about every line volleys the blame back to the other side of the court., or is an excuse to ignore the problem.

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marquis (female)
July 16th, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Great blog as always, Darlene!

I agree with Amber (#1). I have seen people use forgiveness for a number of different things so they don’t have to talk about these issues. Like I said in another post on here, when I mentioned forgiveness, this is where my ex-therapist and I got into a heated argument.

Ex-therapist said ‘forgive heals the abuse and makes amends with your parents,’ no, it doesn’t – what amends? They didn’t admit to anything and like Darlene said in one post “what did I do wrong?”

“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.”

Agreed. This is where people turn you away from Him and think like others. I felt when I was a kid that God let me down and allowed me to be born into a family full of idiots!

“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.”

Like I told my idiot ex-therapist, ‘there’s too much entitlement issues out there which is why these people will never say they are wrong.’ For years and what I have seen with churches is how they use forgiveness as a way to dust shit under the ground, wash our hands, and call it a day and the next day giving praises. I have seen priests/pastors do that all the time explaining ‘this is how we forgive,’ no that’s not how you do it.

I always hear people say ‘I went to speak to my priest on the issues at home and he told me to forgive and nevermind my parents because they are parents and will always be right,’ did the priest really hear the church member?! I do agree about what I’ve been fighting/arguing for years is that those who MEANT TO HARM and have ZERO REMORSE don’t deserve forgiveness, why am I asking for forgiveness when you are the one who did me wrong? I have seen in old movies the one who did wrong was the one who ran after the person and sought forgiveness – not the other way around!

A person who DENIES anything that was done wrong to you isn’t worth asking for forgiveness and I was told by people/ex-therapist that ‘you will always be a bitter person and your soul will always be wounded.’ My soul was wounded from the very beginnings of the mistreatment, how did it magically get wounded now? I agree, further re-invalidated and re-abused all over again that is what I have experienced in my life! Very few people validated me while the rest are still burning me at the stake!

I was always told to get over it or forget it. Anything to shut me up telling me I am the wrong one; the one who is making up lies why would I need to do that? People say ‘you stayed at home because they must be great parents,’ that isn’t nowhere near true. I stayed at home ‘because I had no life skills to take care of myself and was bred codependent at a very young age. So, at age 18, how could I know anything about the outside world if I wasn’t TAUGHT anything about it and learn to fend for myself?’ That is something people don’t agree with, that’s fine, but it has been proven people have stayed in abusive situations because that’s all they know or had nowhere else to go.

Letting it go is not easy. It’s not you wake up tomorrow and say good morning, birds and everything is magically gone! I’ve had friends who never wanted to hear my issues then they shouldn’t ask me what’s wrong all the time and they weren’t the ones I could talk to about it easily, maybe 1-2 few/some things but not everything. When I talk to people, I am not here to argue/fight and if they ask me about my parents and tell them the truth; THEY are the ones who are starting a fight with me. If you didn’t want to hear that baggage, don’t ask me! My ex-therapist said ‘how can you be an open book?’ I don’t want to be an open book if you keep, again, burning me at the stake! It’s not your life and if you can’t handle anything honest about what a person has went through in the past, how can you handle it in the present moment? Never got an answer from her or other people!

When I talk about my issues, it brings me shame and guilt. I still get people pointing fingers at me telling me it’s my problem, go fix my parents, etc. I was told by people this is mean, hateful, spiteful, etc what I am doing to my “poor lovely parents.” What am I doing wrong? Speaking ill about my parents, I am not speaking ill I am speaking the truth! How is that speaking ill? Someone told me it’s “gossip” a church woman said to me and told her it’s not gossip. When MLK spoke about the color issue, was he gossiping? That ended the conversation! Speaking about being treated poorly at a store is gossiping?!?

I strongly believe that Jesus wouldn’t just stand there and tell victims you are in the wrong and even in the Bible it speaks against abuse! My ex-therapist and I had it in about the Bible and abuse; I told her would Jesus say this is acceptable because they are your parents/whoever raised you and just be done with it? She got irate and said think about it, why would He say that? Instead of that woman getting so mad at me she should shift her attention to the very hard questions I was asking her!

I do agree what kind of God is He to say that nonsense to us? I told people if Jesus said this isn’t acceptable, why are you accepting it? Never got an answer. I explained to my ex-therapist that in religions they use mind control and other hateful tactics to punish victims and shaming them and for someone who reads the Bible should know that. No, loving God would tell a victim to get over it, my child, and move on! I told her a real, loving God doesn’t shame as it’s people like you who do and she didn’t like that at all! All she did was side with my parents and apparently didn’t see anything wrong with what they did yet claimed it was abusive and still didn’t argue the facts of their lack of parenting more like justified because they had poor parents. Shit, I said the same shit and got told off how I am the adult cut her off saying they are adults too with choices. They had plenty of time in their youth to make shit right and chose not too; she got pissed again so did a lot of people!

“What about the saying “They did the best they could.” Would it make sense to you if someone said to you “forgive him for sexually abusing you, after all, he did the best he could.” I don’t think that God or any Spiritual Power of the Universe would agree that this sexual offender was ‘doing the best he or she could.””

Oh, the best part! How did an abuser did the best they could/can? People have told me ‘when your older you will understand the pain and suffering your parents did. Even though they are abusers, they still gave you valuable lessons.’ WTF?!?!? A liar doesn’t give valuable lessons for life, I am older and see absolutely nothing that was a blessing for us!

I did use that against my ex-therapist saying “how would you like it if I said your dad sexually abused you because he loves you so much because you’re his little girl! He was abused to and sexually abusing you means he loves you even more and he did the best he could. What kind of freaking logic is that? If that’s the case, then children shouldn’t be scared shitless when they are sexually abused, right?” Ex-therapist proceeded to say that is different because you were not sexually abused and cut her off saying it’s not different because abuse in all areas are all the same! I said this to a lot of people and nobody said a freakin word like I said something that made too much sense with logic!

Like Darlene is saying, this shaming and victimizing is what keeps victims quiet and keeps the abusers in power which this is about power and control – simple! I can’t believe people can’t see that and think that the abusers have rights and people “should understand them,” they could fall off a bridge and wouldn’t matter to me. Ex-therapist said ‘wow, that’s deep hatred,’ said to her ‘if you feel sorry for them, please quit your job because a therapist who claims abuse is wrong shouldn’t be kissing their asses!’ Ohh, she was hot when I said that!

“To the people that quote the Bible even the Bible says that we have to follow the law of the land, so why would family or friends of family be exempt from the law?”

Thank you!!! Been saying that for years and god, people cursed me out! They said “the reason why parents are exempt is because (drum roll) they are THE PARENTS. The ones who gave birth to you, has the say sos, the what nots, and everything they say goes whether a child likes it or not!” That whole statement from what ex-therapist and other people have said really proved my point of them having entitlement issues whether they are parents themselves or not – but that’s what I always hear they are the parents!

Okay, it’s one thing to explain to your kids that they don’t the daughter to go with some idiot guy because he is abusive and the parents have a valid reason with explanations is not an entitlement parent. It’s a parent concern for their daughter, am I right, those who are parents on here? When it comes to parents like ours who have a narc tendency behind it saying ‘I am the parent and can do whatever I want. I can disrespect you in anyway and if you don’t like it, too damn bad! Who gives a shit how you feel and if the guy is a jerk towards you; that’s your damn fault for choosing a fool and at least I have a hubby (if that’s a narc mom speaking). If you were like me and picked a real guy, you wouldn’t be in this mess. I have the rights as a parent, take your things, eat your food, do this and that!”

That’s a martyr with an iron fist and everything in that statement the narc parents say goes! It’s like you can’t argue with that and that’s the differences I was trying to explain to that idiot ex-therapist and other people I’ve spoken to! They say I am too extreme, no I am not and that’s my parents. So, I asked them again “how are they exempt from the law?” I still didn’t get a definitive response! I asked ‘why this pedestal for lousy, breeders who just breed children for the sake of making them maidservants and don’t really care? Why are they getting all the rights anyway?’

My parents still get hugs and kisses from people like they are some king and queen! I am the court jester according to these people and anything I say will ever be truthful for people to turn against parents like mine. I was told “parents don’t bring kids into this world they don’t love,” wtf?!?! Did people fall out of the sky?! So stupid, people bring babies into the world they don’t/care about! Are these people that serious, stupid, dumb, and blind?!? My god, you really wanna talk about not seeing the forest for trees? They are not even in the forest to see any trees! It’s more like the forest has been chopped down and they are just seeing stumps!

My ex-therapist told me I shouldn’t be so angry and said my anger is justifiable. I do agree, everything that I saw as a kid growing up; it really did baffle me about the lack of parenting, nurturing, zero love, zero caring/understanding/support/etc, zero everything. I saw nothing but two people, who got together (married for the wrong reasons), made children, turned a blind eye, absolutely no physical and emotional intimacy between parents and child(ren). I just saw two people, caretakers, “raising children.” Why do people think I always say ‘it’s like growing up in foster care the only difference is the caretakers are the ones who gave us our DNA.’ That’s when people proceed to say, oh they are parents! No, caretakers. They say how come they share the same DNA as you do? that makes them parents! According to who? Science or psychology?

From Amber,

“Alice “be the bigger person” means rollover and play dead. Or never mind what you want, you’re the easy one so give in to the unreasonable obnoxious person whose gonna kick up a big fuss.”

That’s how I feel that saying means and I was the bigger person one time in one argument and it ended up me giving in to that person. I have to say a lot of these sayings/quotes we really need to start questioning them if they make sense and if not, toss them out the door!

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Hi Darlene,

Just when I think EFB can’t get any better it does! LOL! I was very hurt by the religion that begins with a capital “C” which is partly why I became such a strong Pagan—plus the fact being that I have always been a natural medium. I was searching for real truth and healing and my background in the Catholic Church growing up did not help me and only made things worse. After high school when I moved to Arizona, I briefly attended a Baptist Church. I am far too much of a free spirit and independent thinker to belong to their church. Much of my healing came from metaphysical studies and alternative healing like having my astology natal chart done, having the best psychic readings, and sessions of shamanic soul retrieval—see Sandra Ingerman’s book. I also did the EFT tapping—emotional freedom technique.

Anyway, I can recall one of the worst past counseling sessions that I ever had was with a Catholic nun—stupid, yes I know—but I tried most everything in the past. I remember painfully talking about my very serious suicide attempt where I almost died and this nun actually had the gall to tell me, “I did this to myself…” and not one word about the real abusers who pushed me into this. I then automatically yelled back a few choice curse words telling her where she could go! (I had other bad incidents with nuns as a kid!)

When I was in my early twenties, I also briefly attended a Unity Church, similar to Religious Science, with a heavy focus on law of attraction and positive thinking. Once again, I tried counseling with the woman minister of this Unity Church. With their belief system n the law of attraction, if someone cannot fully let go of their past and totally forgive say an abuser, then they cannot fully attract financial prosperity into their life. I have studied the law of attraction and it only works to a certain extent. I could argue that there is far more to attraction than simply pasting on affirmations, visualizing with lots of emotion, and simple clearing techniques. I now practice real magick, and I’m getting into a bit of the Hebrew Kabbalah. I have been a medium in the Spiritualist Church for years, and my religions are Druids/Wicca and some Norse Paganism. Anyway, it breaks my heart when I see people who put such blind faith into the law of attraction. Again, the law of attraction works BUT ONLY TO A CERTAIN EXTANT—YES, THERE ARE LIMITATIONS! But some of these silly, popular books imply that you can get anything without any real world effort. Real Pagans and occultists believe in certain magical laws, such as attracting into your “sphere of availability”. You can attract and add a lot to your life, but you can’t become an entirely different person.

Anyway, I had another bad incident at the Unity Church. So, this woman minister actually used me for her Sunday lesson at the church. She had the nerve to say in a Sunday service that she was counseling a young woman(me) and that I was learning how to forgive. What a brave and noble thing for me to do! NOT! I was shocked and hurt during this counseling session that this snooty woman told me that I would never attract any prosperity into my life if I could not forgive my mom. She was very rough with me saying, “when would I start to forgive?” This incident was years ago and as a matter of fact my prosperity has increased and no, I have NOT totally forgiven my parents and child abuse. I have a BA degree and bought my first house over three years ago. I moved to another city with greater opportunities. What this woman minister did not take into account was my personal drive and ambition and ability to take chances. I have had more minor and major successes in my life through understanding the timing of events by astrology, seeing the best psychics and practicing folk magic—(no, I’m not a Satanist or Left-Hand path practitioner). LOL! Sorry, this if this is heavy but I detest the Christians and the boxes they try to put people in!

Sorry, but a big part of the problem with I will say the Christian ministers (Catholic and Protestant) is they all like to hide behind their snooty titles. They feel like they are the only ones with a direct line to God/dess and that the little people must go through them to reach God. (Of course, they always ask for your money and a lot of your time!) Many of these religious ministers must be Narcs. since they all feel kind of “special”. They remind me of the little man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, a total phony trying to manipulate people.

I remember reading a Sylvia Browne book (noted psychic–her books/teachings are similar to the Spiritualist Church) where she wrote that “honor your mother and father” in the Bible can be interpreted as honor the father god and mother goddess. (In Wicca, we believe in a God and a Goddess as co-creators). I realize that most folks here are Christians and believe in a one male god concept and Christian male god trinity, but NOT everyone follows this. I have had great emotional healing after I graduated from my Catholic high school and took the road not taken! I respect all positive Faiths so if anyone can get something from the Christians, then I honor them. But I have never had any positive healing experiences from them at all.

I also believe that the Catholic Church needs to pay out all their sexually molested victims in an enormous class action law suit.
See: (SNAP—-survivors network for those abused by priests). They could start by selling off the Vatican Museum’s art….I don’t know. I truly believe that the Church will go the way of the dinosaurs in my lifetime. We’ll see…..So nice to let it all out here and religion puts me in such a feisty mood—better than feeling sorry for myself and being depressed!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne

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I don’t buy it anymore. I don’t own that shame or guilt that isn’t mine to carry anymore –

Dear Darlene, I have been saying those very same words all week. You could have written this whole post about my upbringing and the shame that was passed on for me to carry after a family member abused me and another ‘friend’ of the family raped me. All my pleas for my parents to help were fallen on deaf ears and again when i confronted them as an adult they dismissed it as ‘my fault’ because of my ‘behavior??’ Religion was beat into me as a child, it was used to silence me, to scare (i was going to purgatory first for a long time then sent to the fires of hell) I was 8 hearing this and being sexually abused to as insult to injury. Shamed to a mother and baby home after the rape at 18 and basically felt like it really was all my fault, i was awe person, and would look on in awe at other people doing really well for themselves, get married, earn good wages and were happy in life. I would go around in a trance state making very dangerous choices in partners, being unable to make decisions for myself, suffering a constant feeling of fear and stress , laughing off all my pain and saying it was ‘nothing’, i was the family clown and happy go lucky , life and soul of the party kinda girl (dying inside). Religion had a lot to blame in my upbringing but so did the mouths those words came from. My parents would bring us to church every sunday, march us all behind them in our best clothes and put on the act of a christian family when i reality the family were holding secrets about abuse but once the image was upheld nothing else mattered. My voice and my siblings voices were not important. I am also a survivor of clerical abuse and the church has paid for counselling for me which has been a great help but it is also hard because the abuse came from a member of the church. This week i reported to the Police about the 2 familial abusers who i was silenced about for 20 years. I cried and cried because i said i could not carry their secret any longer, i could not take the pain, the overeating to stuff down the emotions, the fear of speaking up turned into the ‘i don’t care anymore i am speaking out because if i don’t it is going to kill me’. Thank you for yet another great post, i always feel better when i read your words Darlene, you bring me great comfort. XXXX

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Marie,
Good for you for filing your complaint. Silence is a disease that feeds on itself. I think when our hurt is ignored or brushed aside, we then ignore our hurt internally. Numbness takes on many behaviors, but oh what freedom when we CHOOSE to not be numb anymore!

I’m so in love with this place right now I can barely stand it.

Blessings to us all!

52

Light, great list! My mom has said pretty much everything on there.
I was sent to church as a kid but my parents weren’t actually strong believers in anything. When I asked her why they sent me to church if they themselves didn’t believe, my mom answered that it was for me to “get an education”. And I really wonder what exactly that was about. Was it about abdicating teaching me moral values? Was she silently admitting that she has none And so couldn’t impart them to me?

So I was contemplating this idea that “Parents give you life” and so you must owe them/be forever grateful/give them a free pass to whatever as a result. And I concluded that no, parents in fact do not give you life. It just happens as a result of their physical coupling (with or without any actual desire for a child).
The only thing they do do is (and sometimes they don’t) the necessary minimum to keep you from not dying due to your helplessness and dependency. Which is basic care and anything less would be criminal neglect (at least in our times and cultures).
So my mother basically considered basic childcare as this huge thing for which I should owe her and be grateful for eternity. For which she expects a free pass to treat me any way that she wants and gets to punish me if I express hurt or any other negatives about her treatment.
And expects to stay in my life even though she denies any mistreatment.
And expects to be able to contact me as if nothing ever happened. She did it again today (another email to block). It can only be her entitlement that’s driving her and to me it just underlines how little respect or love she has for me.
So to resume, a person who did not “give you life” and barely made the grade on basic childcare expects your external gratitude And a free pass to abuse and harrass you when you’ve made it clear you do not wish them in your life? No, no “God of love” would allow that.
I decided long ago that God does not exist – at least in the way it is portrayed as an ever loving parent/authority figure. Other cultures have God as a General or a high civil servant. Others still have many Gods who represent different aspects of life and the forces that make it up. Others still, allow for abstractions and ineffable understanding.
I think until our society changes its stance on children, we get the Gods we get.

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Here’s another classic, one minute they’re teaching God is everywhere all the time, and knows everything. Then they turn around and say , he’s everywhere but with me. All this is happening to me because I’m not seeking God. After 30+ years of listening to their foolishness, i learned. God was always there.He was never lost, nor was He broken. I was the one who was lost, and broken because of their BS.
God is love, and love doesn’t seek to destroy. Love seeks to build and reinforce. It’s selfrighteous abusers , and satan who seek to steal, kill, and destroy.

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These articles are so very helpful. My father was, and continues to be, a very abusive person. In childhood, it was physical, mental, spiritual, verbal, and emotional abuse. In adulthood it is still mental, spiritual, verbal and emotional. Forgiveness is not the issue with me, it is the boundaries that have to be set to no longer allow this man to rent space in my head. He is diabolical, evil, and narcissistic. He does not care about his relationships with his children, and I have finally discovered that. He ruined my mom’s funeral, he broke our hearts too many times. It is time for him to realize the destruction he has caused.

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EGLTJD, yep, feel free,

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Hi, what I am truly grateful for is that there is some hope for humanity left, that there are like minded people who truly are brave and truly loving that they question all that seems to need further analysis. I am so frustrated that as long as the title of God or Jesus is slapped in front of anything it automatically becomes a sin or too prideful for you to question it and see it as wrong or needing change. I misunderstood your title though and I thought you were talking about how some perpetrators use the Fear of God to justify their abuse both during the abuse of the child to condition them and if they are later asked why they did what they did.

My partner was abused by multiple persons and we have eventually moved to a place where we are thriving. Her mother did the same thing your post was bringing to light. Her mother is catholic and when I helped her find the strength to open up to her mother all she did was sink away and hide behind bible verses and say it’s her fault for not listening and all she needs to do now is pray, read the bible and forgive. Needless to say I don’t think I will ever forgive for her mother for her initial reactions because it could have permanently scarred my partner and we may have never reached where we are now. Thankfully her mother is a bit more supportive but only out of fear of losing what little connection they have together.

What people do and say in the name of God or Jesus is truly disgusting and has made me question what hope there is for humanity if we as humans can consciously commit emotional and spiritual genocide and then say “amen”. My partner shared with me the story of a survivor who was abused by her step father who was a pastor. He told his step daughter that what he was doing was okay and that it’s what God wanted so it was natural and it’s okay for him to enjoy. That it was okay for her to feel pleasure because it was how God made us.

It’s similar to how both men and women seem to misunderstand and misuse the “story” of creation in Genesis. I am so tired of it being used to justify the lack of self discipline shown by men in regards to their sexuality and the way they interact with women. I am sure there are also many other instances where someone used religion and God or Jesus as a way to silence and condition children for all forms of abuse.

I thank God for people like you all. It’s you who truly help those who are almost too broken inside to find their way back to life.

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My mother has spiritually abused me my entire life. Always with the “God commands us to forgive and forget! Larae you have always had a problem with that!” I was always thinking I was bad for not just forgiving and letting it go all the while never realizing that an apology had never been given. No remorse shown either. The bible was used to keep me under her control and to show me just how bad I was. I was so afraid of gods punishment and of demons because of her spiritual abuse. At one point I even walked away from God because according to her I wasn’t going to make it in the rapture so what was the point of trying. So much legalism with no grace was the false God she offered. I still get triggered from time to time at church and have to remember it is only her twisting and lies. God pulled me out of the fog and rescued me from her and her abuse. I believe he lead me to this blog, thank you Darlene! I see God as loving and just and my protector now. Such a huge abuse to destroy a child’s relationship with a loving and saving God. It’s been two years since I went no contact with my mother and only through embracing my righteous anger, journaling, and the truth of what really happened have I started to reach a point where I have forgiven but not forgotten. Thank you Darlene!

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marquis (female)
July 17th, 2014 at 10:15 am

A couple Saturdays ago, my mom was questioning Shabbat and not sure why. She said don’t they teach you forgiveness and help others? Yea, they do. My mom hasn’t read her Bible in how long? Doesn’t really care and uses Scripture to suit her narc needs. She said we should be giving and I looked at her coming from someone who never gave anything to her kids only when it felt right for her. She said giving money to a stranger even if they are lying is good for us and looked at her saying the person lied; giving is not about helping someone who is gonna lie anyway.

She told me I needed to go to church and learn about tithing told her don’t need to go to a church! Hmm, what the hell was that about a couple Saturdays ago? She said every time you come home from Shabbat, you are always pissed off/mad. Huh?!? May be I am agitated because when I walk in the door, there’s crap by the door where I could trip on or can’t seem to set my stuff then you ask me to do this and that when I just got in the door!

59

This is a subject that has caused me so much grief. I get told that because I don’t truly believe in the bible, that my faith isn’t good enough, well I know that it is. I try to be as non abusive as I can, not always easy for me but thankfully something I have worked on and gotten better at. I am caring and compassionate, I try hard not to be judgemental and believe we all can learn from what happens to us .
Recently I had an incident with my minister as he asked me to buy him some cannabis and smoke it with him. Well once I had tried to figure out a way of being able to oblige without risk to me, my rational head kicked in and I reported him. This set of a whole load of knock on effects which triggered me so badly at a meeting to make the complaint I was curled up in a ball rocking and my husband witnessed it. This lead to a massive fall out with my closest friend which came about because her and my husband cornered me after the meeting wanting to know more details about my childhood. I blurted out stuff which they didn’t like, I got told I was dead to my friend and later that evening a call to say she was suicidal. Wasn’t in the mood to forgive what she had said and done so I didn’t go around but husband did. My second mistake as she came on to him and they had sex. So now not only I am reeling from the church business, closest supports had stabbed me in the back.
Now I could have reacted the way I had always done, without thought or care for those around me but this time it was different. I have been in dynamic therapy for the last 2 years and I had spoken about what was going on with her before I lost even more in my life than I already was doing at the time. So I managed not to beat the living day lights out my friend as that would have hurt my child and hers too much, I could have shouted from the very roof top about how the minister had behaved yet I kept within the complaint process. This was nearly a year ago now and have had to do a lot of thinking about forgiveness and whether people deserve it or what people had to do to be granted it. I looked into it within the bible, looking at those posts about forgiveness on Facebook and I read Joyce Meyers beauty for ashes. I came to realise that I didn’t have to be so angry at things I could change, I admitted what role I played in each situation and that self reflection over time has sank in. The bible says that to be forgiven the abuser should repent in deeds not words. They should show that they have learnt lessons and will alter to become less abusive in future. Now that makes perfect sense to me, I should forgive them when they change. What if they not changed what should I do then? Well I decided that as long as I have grown and have learnt something, my karma and faith well be fine. As too my abusers, I cannot influence them and as such not worth the energy I wasted being angry.
Feels good to be able to actually say that. I am calmer than I have ever been since I looked into why I should have to forgive the minister when he still thinks of himself as the victim in the mess he started by asking me to buy him illegal drugs, smoke them and keep it secret.

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Hi Nolee
Welcome to EFB ~ Thank you for sharing your victory and hope.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Light!
Thanks for sharing this! This are great. One of my favorite responses is “so what?? what is the point you are making with that statement?” hehe
Hugs!! Darlene

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Hi Marquis,
You may have had the most abusive and misinformed unhelpful therapist in the world. 🙁
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Yvonne!
I respect everyone’s spiritual choice, so this isn’t about any particular group. I don’t think that the problem is any one religion or denomination or whatever ~ I think the problem is people. I have met wonderful healthy people who believe in all different things, because the definition of love is what matters the most. (p.s. I have also met some really abusive advocates for abuse recovery!!! Be careful out there everyone!)
Thanks for sharing!

62

Hi Marie
YAY ~ I don’t buy it anymore either and that is such a freedom statement! I am so filled with gratitude when people express finding comfort in my work here! Thanks so much!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Tessie
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Yes, exactly. One day I realized that it was time to stop putting up with it. It was time for me to think about me. I spent years trying to improve my self esteem, all the while trying to unconditionally love mean people. I thought that unconditional meant that I would accept unacceptable treatment… I had the whole thing so mixed up. I finally realized that it ISN’T love to put up with that treatment! not for me and not for them.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Danny
Welcome to EFB ~ I can see how you misunderstood the title! I am glad you came to read it anyway!
I find it so revealing how people can preach a things that they themselves don’t follow in any way at all. So much was cleared up for me when I noticed the controllers in relationship didn’t follow their own rules for relationship!
Thanks for sharing,
Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Larae
My view and understanding of God is also 100% different now. I respect all terms too ~ such as creator, source, higher power, etc. When I left the church I told the pastor that I was unable to BE a Christian in the church, and I know today that the problem was the people with all their false messages and twisted teachings. I prefer to think of myself as a ‘follower of Christ’s teachings” because it doesn’t have all that triggering baggage with it!
Thanks for sharing.
hugs, Darlene

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“I admitted what role I played in each situation”. I can understand this being a valid suggestion in some circumstances but it is most certainly not a valid one when it comes to childhood abuse or any others in which the abuser has power over the abused. Dr Phil and that ilk would say that the victim just has to “stop being a victim”. It’s the “two to tango” argument all over again And it should be exposed for what it is. Victim-blaming.

65

Hi Carol
Yes, repenting means NOT committing the offence anymore! It is an action word. (just like love is an action word and respect is an action word) It’s so specific and yet so many people skip all that part of the teaching.
hugs, Darlene

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Alice – that is a very good point! “Stop being a victim” is easy to say if you never were one. There is a “how-to” that is missing there and it totally ignores the fact that we were taught to be victims in the first place.

Darlene is the first person I’ve heard of that actually gets it that we need to identify the lies we were fed from the beginning, tear them down, and learn the truth so that we can replace those lies and get back to who we were meant to be, the very unique and good people we were born to be. She also sees the reality that NONE of that can be done in a moment or a weekend. It takes time – a lot longer than anyone would like it to take. But it makes the difference.

Hobie

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Alice, As a child I had no power over what happened to me and I had to learn that. My family role was guilt bearer and peacemaker, skivvy and verbal punch bag, my mother always told me that I had abused her because of how I acted as a small child. There are many role we play in a situation, and it only by looking at who has the power and control to figure out whether the child could truly have made that person do anything that they didn’t want to do,. Bye bye the lies that I made them do it , it was my fault, I asked for it. It made me see that there was no way I could influence the people who hurt me in the way they said I did. Therefore the blame and shame must belong to them.

68

Light, I’m back at your list again and wow. It really is a lot of the things she said. I’m going to pick them out and comment about what each one “did” to me. I mean the way I understood what she said.

“You’re making too much of this” (You are the problem – you exaggerate).

– So this one was just an example of the overall way she dealt with any of my emotional reactions to anything. I came out of childhood feeling that ANY emotion I had was wrong (and yes, I could be “too happy” as well). And anything from her POV was good to lessen the credibility of what I was saying about the reality of the way she treated me but it could also be about mistreatment from others she was more invested in a relationship with. So “exaggeration” was a way of invalidating and “changing my reality”. I read somewhere else that it’s called “reality-shifting”. And is abusive.

“You’re delusional, get help” (You’ve got a serious problem. It’s your fault)

– I never got this one. Kind of surprisingly. When I was 16 I was very depressed and asked her to get me to a psychologist or a therapist and she refused. She said “You’re not depressed”. I fought her on it and in the end she “allowed” me to go consult the family GP. He understood to some extent what I was going through and encouraged me to stick it out until I could leave (the following year). He gave me “relaxation tapes” that were basic guided meditations/hypnosis that I listened to every evening before bed, or at moments when I was very stressed out. It was helpful but he didn’t actually say that what I was going through was abusive. Not one “therapist” I saw over the following decades did.

“It’s your problem” (No decoding necessary for this one…..It’s your problem!)

– ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

“Dad can be a PITA sometimes, so can I” (It’s not that big of a deal. I can relate to him, not you)

– There was never any admission of her being less than “a great mother” or “doing my best”

“So he’s diddling around, so what? “ (Stop making so much out of nothing)

– Not applicable

“Forgive and forget, that’s what I would do….that’s just the kind of person I am” (Shut up. I’m a better person and a more forgiving person than you are)

– She told me to do that but not that she had ever done it.

“You had it as good as anyone your age” (Stop complaining – you are the problem)

– Yep. So often.

“I categorically deny….” (Get the spotlight off of me…now!)

– She didn’t put the word “deny” on her denial. It was about my “choice” to see things that way (that I “chose” to see myself as having been abused) or that other conditions in the family made her behavior towards me inevitable, or out of her control (yet me, I had this crazy supernatural capacity to “choose my thoughts” – can you see why I HATE the “new age”?)

“He’s old and sick” (Now isn’t the time to confront – how about never??)

-This is what she’s betting on.

“I just want everyone to get along” (Forget about truth, let’s just play-pretend happy)

– So often. And this made her come out as the “bigger person” as well. Because WHO THE FUCK DOESN’T WANT JUST EVERYONE TO GET ALONG? Only a crazy, negative person, that’s who.

“He always denied it” (Even though he’s admitted it (regarding others), I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to you. I don’t want to face the truth and what that means for me and my life. This is more about my comfort than yours.)

– Or “He’s sorry” (in the context of the person never actually having apologized to you personally). My brother shoved me out of a (slowly) moving car. My mother apologized for him. Many months later I got an sms from him with “hey sorry” on it with an excuse and I was supposed to accept it. Then my mother was angry at me because I didn’t see the apology as much of one.

“What do you expect?!” (You’re still bringing this up? Deal with it already!….and shame on you)

– Yes.

“You’ve excommunicated your father!” (You are wrong).

– Didn’t get this one.

“You’re having problems with your brother!” (You are wrong).

– yes.

……and the ever-popular and classic SILENCE to my words of pain and loss (I sooo don’t want to deal with this I’m going to pretend you didn’t say anything/didn’t write me a heartfelt letter)

– Or the classic “I’ll just contact you again even though you expressly told/asked me not to” And I’ll do it with no reference to the previous state of the relationship or address any of the grievances you’ve brought towards me and if you do I will accuse you of being “hurtful” and a bad daughter because “All I want to do is keep in touch because you are my daughter”.

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Carol, I came out of childhood with the belief that I was a ticking emotional time bomb that could hurt anyone who crossed me. That I could manipulate and “charm my way anywhere”. That I was “cold” and “unaffectionate as a child”. That somehow I was “too intellectual to be understood” (sometimes said as “brilliance” which didn’t do me any favors either, I was a good to average student by school standards but I’m not some intellectual powerhouse and I suck at deep debate).

If we’re to stick to the religious aspect, I learned to be afraid of myself and my feelings. My relationship with reality (I mean the actual stuff that words are not made of) was fucked over by my mother on a regular basis. I was nevertheless a “golden-ish” child compared to my brother. Who was determined by the family to have “developmental difficulties”. Ah well, neglect will do that. I stopped being “golden” when I became depressed and couldn’t take it anymore.

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thetruthisouthere
July 17th, 2014 at 4:48 pm

It interesting that I was ready another blog post on this site the other day about this very same subject….and it’s always a topic that creates alot of conversation. I was talking to my therapist about God just yesterday. Clearly people these people who are using God as a way to tell you that you should forgive, have never read the Bible. If David (who had issues of his own, what with being an adulterer and murderer), can write the cursing Psalms (one of which I’ve included below) and, as a God’s chosen leader, get away with it, I’m okay with not forgiving.
I think that somewhere along the line people lost sight of two things…one is that when the Bible is talking about forgiveness, it’s usually about God forgiving the sins of man, and the other is the even God requires that you confess and acknowledge your sins before they are forgiven. The part about confession and repentance always seems to be left out in discussions about forgiveness.
I think, for me, that forgiveness is an individual subject. On a most basic level, we live with it every day. After all, we live with people who upset us or offend us daily as a natural, healthy part of everyday life. Most people spout on about forgiveness because they can’t deal with the emotions that are raised by discussions of abuse, or sadness, or other kind of emotion, really. They can’t deal with the anger, or guilt, or shame. That’s not to excuse their behaviour, but, for me, when people start saying that you need to forgive, it’s time to stop talking to them. Because, as I said, forgiveness is a personal issue, and if someone wants to be angry, or wants to go no contact, or wants to forgive, that’s their choice. It’s not up to other people to determine how we should feel. As long as we aren’t hurting another human being or ourselves, we have a right to feel how we feel. And if a person wants to spend the rest of their life not forgiving, it’s their right.
From my own experience, and from reading the responses to this post, forgiveness is a dangerous route to go down. It gives false hope that eventually the abuser will do something to atone for the abuse, and that even if they do (which is highly unlikely to ever happen), atoning for the abuse will do anything to mitigate the pain and suffering, which it won’t. It’s not up to the abused to soothe and comfort the abusers, and that is really at the core of what forgiveness is all about. The abuser being able to say, yes I did really horrible things to you, I now need you to comfort me and make me feel better about it. I think, and I hope, that at some point forgiveness becomes a non-issue, because it’s a distraction for those who need to heal, and it’s an ‘get out of jail free card’ for not only those who abused, but those who failed to do anything to stop the abuse.
Finally, it’s always interesting to me read what people have to say about others not admitting that what they did was wrong. I’m not usually someone who tries to persuade people over to a way of thinking, but I really feel strongly that a lot of people don’t quite realise that the people who did something wrong don’t think that they did something wrong because they don’t see what they did as wrong. They think that it’s okay to emotionally and physically abuse people because they don’t see it as abuse. They don’t think like us. They may never think like us. And trying to get them to understand something that is so counter to their way of being would be like getting one of us to think it’s okay to hit your child. It’s probably never going to happen. And that’s okay, cause we know our truth.

The Psalms: 110
The LORD Gives Dominion to the King
A Psalm of David.
1. Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;
2 for the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.
4 For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.
5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
6 Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.
7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.
8 Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Acts 1.20
9 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
10 Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.
11 Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labor.
12 Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.
13 Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
15 Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
16 Because that he remembered not to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.
17 As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing,
so let it be far from him.
18 As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment,so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.
19 Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.
20 Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the LORD, and of them that speak evil against my soul.
21 But do thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.
22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust.
24 My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness.
25 I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shook their heads.
26 Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:
27 that they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.
28 Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed;
but let thy servant rejoice.
29 Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame; and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle.
30 I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.
31 For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.

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Darlene, I just saw firsthand what you’re talking about. Just recently, some victims were loudly pointing out the errors of some teaching on a blogpost, the kind of teaching that has been used by perpetrators of abuse to oppress their wives.

And what do you think was the response of the author and his supporters? Yeah, you’re right – call the victims angry, unloving, not gentle, abusive, belligerent, hostile, not thinking calmly, ungodly, opposed to scriptures, etc. Never once did they actually engage in the topic or address the concerns.

Oh, there was the patronizing, “we condemn abuse and pray for the abused to be free from their abusers” but they couldn’t hide their refusal to adjust the article or apologize for the damage done by that sort of teaching.

Now I’m not saying that it’s the Bible that is the problem. As far as I can see, Jesus favored the oppressed, the vulnerable, the poor, the children, the women, etc. He roundly, loudly and angrily condemned the actions of the entitled, blind, superior religious leaders of the day.

If not for His intervention in my life, I would not have been able to come through. My house should have burnt down, but inexplicably didn’t. I should have been unemployed, but strangely, every time my finances were interfered with by abusers, something would crop up. I did my best, but when abusers are in your life, determined to bring you down, your best isn’t always good enough. Thank God for His protection, just when I needed (in the courts, at home, at work, etc). I avoid Christian circles, but I stay close to God.

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Alice, it was interesting to read your list and how you added your experiences. I think you said a while back that your parents weren’t particularly religious but did require you to go to church. That was my experience as well. We have some things in common. I am sorry for your painful experience…it sounds very hard.

Darlene, I’m glad you liked my list! I actually had some fun writing it, even though it’s painful too. Perhaps this means I’m finally detaching a bit……

One reply someone once said (to another) that I filed away for future use: “How is that relevant?” haha…I’m sure someday I’ll say that.

Thank you yet again for another thought provoking and valuable post. What you provide is almost like oxygen. Emotional oxygen!

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marquis (female)
July 17th, 2014 at 8:27 pm

“I should have been unemployed, but strangely, every time my finances were interfered with by abusers, something would crop up.”

My finances were always interfered with my parents, something goes wrong and could never get shit done!

74

Marie, I so admire that you filed a formal complaint against your abusers. That takes courage.

Looking back I wish I had the wherewithal to seek help in my childhood. That’s the irony of being abused…it knocks a child down, relies upon secrets, and that makes it even harder for the abused child to reach out for help. If I had had a strong foundation of critical thinking, knowing how to find resources, belief in myself, etc (i.e. healthy beginnings)…I could have figured out what to do. But I was so lost, so alone – and stayed that way for a long time. Knowing what I know now I would have gone to the school counselor…and if it were this day and age they would have to report, then maybe I would have ended up in a healthy foster home or with relatives and the whole charade would have blown open.

As it turned out, I have pushed against the charade my whole life. There was no 3rd party of authority after school ended and I became an adult. My father was a covert abuser and was sneaky about it…there is only one example I can think of in my adulthood when I could have called the police, but I didn’t.

75

This is a response that I received in reaction to my speaking my truth regarding egregious betrayal at the hands of my ex-husband and ex-“best friend.” It is typical and sad because, once again, it says that forgiving my abusers is what’s “best” for me. I do trust God to take care of the final outcome of the offenses. And, I would also like to be heard and validated when I tell my truth about the abuse that I did not ask for:

“You are told by “them” to forgive because the adulterer wants to move past it, as do all the folks who witness it. Most of us are not Scripturally sound enough to have the presence of mind to fight the emotional attacks of the evil one. Then … After all the wreckage, you need to forgive so you, the victim can heal. Forgiveness puts the burden of judgement squarely on Our Lord s shoulders. Forgiveness says, Lord I trust You to guide me on this journey. Forgiveness focuses on you, the victim and taking care of you. Forgiveness does not absolve or reduce the debt incurred by their error. Forgiveness absolves you of the burden of collecting.”

What would you think/feel after somebody told you this!

Lynne

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marquis (female)
July 17th, 2014 at 9:18 pm

I agree. Been told to forgive it has clouded my judgment too many times and I believe God should deal with it because for me, it’s way too much to even be bothered by it when you had to deal/grow up with such severe stress of your life – why bother worrying about forgiveness?

77

Lynne, my personal requirements for forgiveness are that the person who wronged me is sincerely sorry ( not just “sorry” because I found out, or saying they are sorry because they look bad or because someone else expects them to apologize). The person would need to be remorseful, meaning they truly understand what they did AND feel bad about doing it. They should be willing to make amends and show that they understand that the behavior cannot be repeated. A person just looking for a get out of jail free card, meaning the focus is solely on him/ herself and not at all on me has not earned my forgiveness.Under those conditions I stated above, I could forgive. I think you need to decide what your own personal definition/ requirements are for forgiveness are, Lynne, and go from there. From MY concept of forgiveness, and in reading the first line of your quote which focuses on all the OTHER people who want to move past it, I’m already shaking my head. The first line, which should be the most important, focuses on the abusers’ wants. Also, just HOW do you heal by forgiving these people? It sounds like ” forgive and forget” cliches. I usually discard cliches because of how they are misused.
Lynne, you have the choice to decide, using YOUR beliefs about forgiveness, what you want to do about that response you got.

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Amber “my personal requirements for forgiveness are that the person who wronged me is sincerely sorry ( not just “sorry” because I found out, or saying they are sorry because they look bad or because someone else expects them to apologize). The person would need to be remorseful, meaning they truly understand what they did AND feel bad about doing it. They should be willing to make amends and show that they understand that the behavior cannot be repeated”

Having read a few serious books and articles on forgiveness, the above is in fact the correct version of it. Not the new age BS version which is more of a personal letting go or moving on, as far as I can understand it anyway.

In fact it is of itself spiritually abusive to suggest to a victim of abuse that they should forgive or forgo healing if the above conditions are not met.

The process of forgiveness with admission of wrongs by the perpetrator, steps made to offer restitution and proven changed behavior (e.g. The perp has the opportunity to abuse again and does not) is intended to restore the balance of power between the victim and their abuser. And let’s be honest, how many abusers actually prefer to keep the power differential just the way it is? I’m as a result also wary of the “collective” approach to forgiveness in churches where the pastor leads a very brief incantation of “forgiveness” which I suspect probably doesn’t even strike the surface but allows church goers to feel legitimate about forgiveness and say they have done so when nothing of the process has in fact taken place. Or worse, that in the rush to forgive, we lie to both ourselves and our abusers And in fact do not forgive.

I haven’t forgiven my mother or some others in the family simply because they have not recognized what they did. And I feel that I don’t need to. Of course there will be a huge thing about it if I don’t forgive her before she dies but that is about the appearance of things for others and I am way past caring about other people who don’t give a rats arse about me. What matters is the truth. I feel more peace towards her than I used to. I have never sought revenge. I even kept away for fear I would.

79

I see the example of Jesus on the cross, asking the “FATHER, forgive them” for where the attitude comes. It’s His, not my job to do the forgiving, to take it from me, and dish out their ultimate punishment. When doing all I’m obligated to by the law of the land (yes, we are told to follow) then I can release it in every way. Agreed ~ what God would carelessly tell a child to just get over it? I hear Him say, let Me take it, carry this burden, it’s not yours anymore. To walk in lightness and freedom, as He stands in the gap, for those I need forgiveness from as well ~ He’s paid what I owe, and what I am rightfully owed. His words are to cast all my cares on Him. I think that’s the release intended in forgiveness ~ it’s more about me, for me, than what’s done for the perp (trust they’ll get what’s deserved), so I can let that eternal pain go.

80

I am overwhelmed at reading this. It all rings so true..
My father had a violent, rageful temper and beat me all of my life.
Then I married an angry, controlling man that verbally and emotionally abused me for many years. I am exhausted and I feel broken. If I hear ‘get over it’,.. ‘move on’,.. ‘he did the best he knew how’ ONE MORE TIME….

81

If I’m guilty there is no forgiveness, but if they did it, I’m going to burn in hell if I even mention it.or better yet, I must be totally crazy to think they could do such a thing. Or , I go to church every Sunday, and you never go .so who the hell are you to tell me what I deserve… With my narcissistic religious family, I’ve heard it all at some point.

82

Shelby,
your response makes more sense to me:

“Agreed ~ what God would carelessly tell a child to just get over it? I hear Him say, let Me take it, carry this burden, it’s not yours anymore. To walk in lightness and freedom, as He stands in the gap, for those I need forgiveness from as well ~ He’s paid what I owe, and what I am rightfully owed. His words are to cast all my cares on Him. I think that’s the release intended in forgiveness ~ it’s more about me, for me, than what’s done for the perp (trust they’ll get what’s deserved), so I can let that eternal pain go.”

It made me cry to read this because I so often forget that God is my REAL father and truly cares for me and wants to help me by taking the burden of the pain of betrayal on His shoulders. He is the father I never really had and what you wrote reminded me of this in my anger and pain. Unlike the people who say “I” have to forgive, I can give it to God for my own sake and let Him forgive (or not)while I make my way to forgiveness if and when I’M ready. I don’t think God expects instant forgiveness of us so much as if we, maybe, persist in our own journey to forgiveness and not give up altogether. I don’t know, just thinking out loud as I grope my way through all of this. I WANT to forgive but when I have absolutely nothing to go on from my abusers in order to do so it becomes an exercise of more pain and futility. That’s why I’ve gone No Contact with some family members. And what of the truly unrepentant, evil abusers who won’t stop? I think we have the right according to the Bible to cut them off and have nothing to do with them. My ex is that person. When he could no longer get to me because I went No Contact (unless needed-still have kids) he started emotionally abusing our children along with his family and his new wife. This is the kind of person who doesn’t get my forgiveness. The ones who blatantly persist in making my and my children’s lives hell.

83

Hi Shelby
Welcome to EFB ~ I like your example. Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Lily
Welcome to EFB ~ There is a ton of sharing in this site about everything you mention in your comment. You have found the right place to share,
hugs, Darlene

84

Hi Krissy
Thank you for sharing this. I too have felt the presence of God in my life. (and I don’t blame “god” for all that happened to me, I blame man.)
Thank you for sharing, hugs, Darlene

Hi “thetruthisouthere”
Welcome to EFB ~ Yes, people lost site of the truth because it didn’t serve their motives and purpose which was to have control over other people. The bottom line has always been, even with people who like the message in the bible, that they have to give up their power in favor of equal value for all people.. and they refuse to do that.
Thank you for sharing.
hugs, Darlene

85

I dont go to church anymore which makes me sad because there are definitely aspects of it that I love. The main reason is because of the way people in positions of leadership deal with other people. I also have issues with people who “wanna be” leaders. It felt like a social climbing club…those who are in positions of leadership somehow suddenly feel that they are more spiritual than those who arent. Like it proves somehow that they are more spiritual and stronger…. and everyone else is to be treated as though they are weaker. I personally think that attitude and the damaging behaviors are insecurity and immaturity manifesting under a cloak of “the Lord”and it trickles into the congregation and to men and women and even children who dont know any better. I have seen people desperately trying to find peace and tolerance, and healing and truth only to find they are being manipulated to shut up and conform. It disgusts me when I see others “Lording” it over good people. If you cant go to church to find the Lord and healing and friendliness, then the church isnt a church anymore in my opinion. I think a church is the people that gather in a building , not a building that has to present a perfect, quiet face to society. I think many many leaders and ministers may be very intelligent in most ways, but lack healing and maturity in their own lives and they have no clue how to actually lead a person to a place of healing or to help them….so I guess I dont choose to be putting myself in a situation where I join and someone starts judging me or trying to push me into serving etc. anymore, but they have no real interest in ME. It is a touchy subject to me when God is being used and abused by people who have their own agendas and use Him to propel them forward at the expense of others. Obviously that isnt everyone doing this and many ministers ARE wonderful and have the heart of God to help others, but my experiences have not led me to believe that many are that way today. I feel fortunate to not believe that God is 100% behind everything a human being does in church so I am okay, but it breaks my heart for those who trust in everyone and everything about a church and have been terribly abused or wounded by it. I didnt have religious parents in any way shape or form and I am glad they werent since that would have been another horrible abusive situation to heal from if they had been using the Lord to manipulate me! I dont care to call myself “christian” anymore …I am spiritual and I believe in Jesus and the Bible.

86

Years ago I had a conversation with my dad on the subject of the LGBT community and the idea of loving the sinner and not the sin and it was obvious that he understood how maddening that kind of “love” would be to experience. I suspect he’d felt something similar, as he was the son of a preacher but ended up rejecting church, something I’m sure didn’t garner much pride/happiness from his parents. It’s the general feeling I have with my family. In this sense, though I’m not religious, it’d be like God loves me “anyways.” But God would love me more if… This feels the same as being completely absent of God. What’s love if there’s no recognition? In my family, most everyone operates this way to some degree with someone. Maybe you have your say but then whoever you’re addressing disagrees with you, so then what you’re supposed to do is hold your truth to yourself, detached, and move on with life, have a relationship with them about other things, etc (if it’s possible—that’s the ideal)… My mom would say that her mother had “good qualities,” although I can’t remember a single time where she actually spoke of these good qualities, maybe a thing or two now and then but nothing sticks out in my memory. She said to me that she’d come to understand a long time ago that her mother was a narcissist but she loved her anyways (like maybe in the spaces in between, I don’t know…) It’s weird when you have a group of people and everyone is operating in this “love the sinner, not the sin” mentality but who the “sinner” is and what the “sin” is changes from person to person and even though in a covert way you’re encouraged to adopt this behaviour, it can’t be said exactly, except through triangulation. I don’t know how anybody can hold onto their mind in this scenario, how they can hold themselves in alignment with truth and what’s right and good. It’s too muddy, which is probably why I was accused of black-and-white thinking when I disagreed with it. I need to live in a world where what happened to me was wrong and bad, not just “something that happened” because my parents are unenlightened about whatever, haven’t dealt with their own issues or any other explanation, the worst of which of course implicates me and however I failed to have them be the kind of parents who wouldn’t have a daughter who ended up behaving the way I have…. but…. they love me anyways…

87

Alaina, I would like to think it’s possible to live in that world where it is both wrong and where the cause is our parents’ shortcomings. I don’t mean “wrong” as a matter of opinion, but what is wrong from the reality of what a child actually needs.

The thing to rid oneself of is the blame (self-inflicted or otherwise, and in so many cases it is also otherwise) and the idea that if we had only been a different, “better” child then these things would not have happened. It couldn’t have worked that way because those the evaluation of what was “good” depended on them, not us, despite whatever they said.

The other day I recalled yet again my mother telling me I was selfish. And I wanted to shout back (35 years too late) “Yes, because I’m a fucking child you idiot! You’re supposed to take care of me and meet my needs, not the other way around!” But in fact that was indeed what happened. I was brought into the world to meet her needs, to satisfy her longing for normality, to be a source of unconditional love for her, to meet the needs her own mother was unable to meet. Of course that can never work but the unconscious parent to be doesn’t understand that a child can’t be a mother and can’t be a better version of themselves either.

And if you think of it, the only black and white thinking at work here is that of the unconscious parent who does not imagine for a moment that their child is a person with their own feelings and thoughts.

88

Thank you Darlene, this page has helped me so much. After only a few weeks, I’m finding my voice in this area.

It’s really cool. So affirming that I am not alone or need to be in pain my whole life.

PS. I used to live in Edmonton but now I live in Los Angeles.

xo

89

I totally agree, Alice, and I could say the exact same thing to my mom as you did in your third paragraph.

I know what you’re saying about ridding ourselves of the blame. I guess I just wish that it had been possible to fix their problems (or instigate them to fix their own), even if that wasn’t my responsibility, because that would have made things a heck of a lot more pleasant (for all) than living through all this stuff and being at odds and feeling accused.

You made me laugh, though. I’m going to hang onto that one the next time i have my parents’ words in my head about the things I should have done as a child to have prevented my own breakdown so many years later. The things about which I was supposed to just know otherwise, regardless of the messages they were sending, either in words or actions. I was a fucking child, you idiots. I learned how to be, to the best of my ability, what they wanted me to be and it broke me. I wasn’t born self-destructive. Everything was an attempt to adapt to their dysfunction.

90

Wow! I never imagined there were so many out there who have suffered as much (or more) than me! My mother consistantly repeated that I was the most evil person on earth. My childhood was one of constant abuse,physical,mental, sexual and emotional. I married at the age of 16 to escape but I never have. When I built up enough courage to tell a few people that I thought I finally could trust, no one believed me, and no one but 1 relative believes today. I am now 66 years old and thought I could never be free,but you have given me something I lost long ago: HOPE. Thank you so much for bringing this to light and giving me a place to feel safe in exposing my very private pain. God and I have been talking this over for some time but no one else. I now have hope for recovery, knowing I am not alone.It is extremely hard to carryall this by myself.Again thank you for accepting and believing me!

91

Today i subscribed to a free newsletter on a blog dealing with the topic of abuse.The author asked me for more details,so i described my situation.In response,i got a very cold official mail in which the ;healer; informed me she’ll be back in autumn.To me,that sounded like:’Let me put my therapy clothes on.Until then,your pain can wait.’Don’t get me wrong.She has a right to a summer holiday and i respect that.But she could have added ONE more line to comfort me,from heart to heart,not from therapist to client.What can i say? I guess humanity (or lack of it) can be found in details and small gestures.

As for the topic of this post,god said:forgive MISTAKES, not abuse.If god forgave everyone,hell would no longer exist.On the other hand,if god did not forgive at all,there would be no heaven.I believe in god,but i can’t force myself to forgive if i don’t feel it.My only consolation is this:for a life of pain,god will give me an eternity in heaven.As for my abusers,their punishment is awaiting.On judgement day,they won’t have a place to hide.They won’t be able to tell god:’No,we never did that.You’re imagining things.’ like they do with me.No gaslighting for GOD.

“And the truth shall set you free.” (the bible)

92

This article articulates the subtle dynamics of domestic violence at family level and elsewhere .

Keep up the good analysis which commences the process of healing. Healing is a journey just like life.

Your article is helping the survivors of trauma to make that First STEP .

93

Alaina, so here is what I understand of the unconsciouness of it. “guess I just wish that it had been possible to fix their problems (or instigate them to fix their own), even if that wasn’t my responsibility, because that would have made things a heck of a lot more pleasant (for all) than living through all this stuff and being at odds and feeling accused.”

It’s that the parent doesn’t have any notion at all that they are having kids to meet their own needs and so those needs are just not going to register as something that anything can be done about by the parent. And those needs can’t be met by the child either. It’s not possible.

A more “switched on” parent would wake up to this to some extent but as far as I can tell, it’s very hard to wake up if managing your pain depends on your keeping it out of mind and lying to yourself about your motivation for having kids.

I used to wonder if “The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children” was about this process of unconscious transmission of pain via abuse. But you know, any text can be taken out of context. As the abusers know so well.

94

Light’s comments resonate with me. thank you!

95

I have a narc mother. My dad is an enabler and he said to me when I was 15 “anyone can have kids”. I was affected by that comment and to this day I wonder what he meant.

96

Just a little therapeutic thought from a very funny book I am reading. For those of us who have no idea who are real selves are or what we really want, start with the activities in which you hat yourself the least, this is the first step towards finding the true you.

This struck a chord with me because even in therapy, when I am trying to come up with a good picture of a happy picture to work with in identifying my real self, I cannot. There is not a single picture that I have that my mind has not attached negatives too. This has come out of an incredible sense of self loathing from being the rivaled against child in my family.

So the idea of finding my way throw the activities where I hate myself the least is actually something I can use, where as find a time when you were blissfully happy and everything was great just doesn’t work for me.

And more on topic for this thread, it just seems so biologically abnormal to destroy the soul of your own child. One thing I have been doing is every self loathing thought that comes up, I am turning it around and giving it back to my caretakers in my mind and telling them it is their stuff and not mine. For instance, I am not ungrateful, you were given a healthy bright child and you squandered that gift, you are ungrateful.

I am so anxious to get better I can’t stand it lol!!!!!!

97

Darlene I loved this post!! Spiritual manipulation & abuse bother me deeply. I appreciate your boldness so very much. I am working toward that. I have made progress. The real progress came when the light of God’s love exposed the things hidden in darkness, validated & comforted me. At the end of my book “Emerging With Wings” I say “I feel like I have gotten wings although I am still learning how to use them. And that’s ok because forever starts today…”. You ask what kind of God would do….my answer is – not the God I know now! You ask if we could see Jesus treating people in all those negative ways. Sadly, that was how I used to see Him (harsh & demanding) – because of spiritual abuse planting lies in my soul. But no longer. I believe Jesus is God & MY God is Love!

98

Danielle Bernock ~ditto on that! Religious people make God sound scarier than the devil which they serve. The God i know suffered and died for his children. Not the other way around.

99

Amber, Alice, Lisa, and Darlene….I’m glad you liked my list! And Alice, it was interesting reading about how those comments related to your experience.

100
Kathleen Sullivan
July 20th, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Thank you for this post. Forgiveness, to me, is a process, not a command…I also see it as a two-sided process involving honest and genuine cooperation from the former (not current) abuser plus real and meaningful amends of some kind, as well as the victim letting go of the right to vengeance AFTER the confession and amends have been made…which could certainly include the abuser turning his/herself over to the authorities when appropriate or required by law. Since that is usually less likely to happen than a meteor landing in my back yard, I instead choose to try to understand WHY. For my own healing, not the abuser’s healing, since I don’t owe him or her anything. Including one-sided, undeserved forgiveness. I choose instead to do what I can to learn about the abuser’s own childhood history, to try to figure out why he or she became so unempathetic and cruel. And then I make a conscious decision every day not to follow in their footsteps. I choose especially not to do unto others – including them – what they already did unto me. And further, I make a conscious decision to do my best to value fellow humans – as well as my own self – the way we all deserve to be valued. While also being more strong about not taking crap from others anymore, because I know now that I absolutely deserve better than to be disrespected or abused.

101

Hi Linda R,
Welcome to EFB ~ yes there are millions! I am so glad that you found hope here! That is my ultimate goal; to inspire hope for healing. I am so glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Winny
Welcome to EFB ~ Thanks for your encouragement!
hugs, Darlene

102

Light, yes, that list had “mom” stamped all over it. It’s hard to find anything in there aside her own motivations. To not be wrong, to avoid conflict, to not look bad or stupid, to (and this might sound strange) placate difficult emotions.

And I can only assume that she wanted to do most of those things because she was taught to. Or she learned how to in order to deal with a difficult or abusive mother or family. Which is not to excuse her in any way. And especially since I actually took the time to ask her about her childhood (which was “wonderful” according to her).

So there’s a bit of a dilemma. If mom really did have a “wonderful” childhood then her treatment of me must be intentional, intentionally cruel. And that’s the unbearable thing of it for me. It’s easier to believe she was unconscious of it all and that she was only passing on her learned mistreatment. Why that is, is again about self-blame. You know, only the most awful child could have given cause to such a pathological woman. But that comes with a certain amount of control.

The real terror is realizing that cruelty like that exists in the world and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

103

Darlene,

Wow! There are so many comments on this I hope I can something that hasn’t already been said, or at least simplify it:

Forgiveness is not about the person you are forgiving. It is about letting yourself let go of the event, emotionally. This means that we still hold the person accountable for their actions. We do what we can to first protect ourselves, and second to help the other person not make that choice again by showing them how difficult life can be when they make these decisions. But ultimately it’s so we can emotionally let go of the situation. It’s a choice. It’s a process. It will rear its ugly head 20 years later and we must again choose to forgive. We must ask ourselves if we did everything we could have done, if we did it the best we could have done, if there is anything more we can do that will help the situation, do it, and then enjoy the sun rise. Because the sun will rise tomorrow, there is no stopping it, so we must find our peace and rise with it.

“Forgive them 7 times 77 times” or whatever the quote is, means that the person will continue. Your first duty is to protect yourself and your children and get to safety. Then seek forgiveness. The offender never need to know that you forgive them and in many situations it is best if they don’t. But you need to forgive them. And you need to find love for them. Because lack of love is what started this whole cycle, and hatred will not heal it. But love them from a distance. Send them prayers of love. And let it go.

This is how I have dealt with my abusive soon-to-be-ex-husband. And I hope and pray every day that I can find the strength to continue to love him for our son, and that one day he finds self-love and peace.

104

Katharine,

Long before many of us can try to forgive we need to stop hearing about how we HAVE TO FORGIVE! The word itself has been misused and overused so badly and so often it is painful to hear and even read!

There comes a time to recognize what it really means to forgive and I’d expect most victims who learn their own value and validate the abuse that they’ve lived with will find their own way to accepting what can’t be changed and letting go of anger that doesn’t serve a purpose anymore.

But when my family uses the word forgiveness it means that I have to accept their definition of me as crazy and stupid and forget that they have treated me like dirt for most of my life. It means pretend that nothing bad really happened and don’t expect me to believe I did anything wrong or behave any different in the future.

No matter what anybody else MEANS when they talk about forgiveness, my BODY reacts to the way I’m used to hearing it and it hurts and it frustrates me and I want to explodes sometimes. Because I’ve been trying and trying and trying to forgive without ever taking care of the wounds that have been tender and infected and festering for decades, that too many people don’t see. And the people who see want to ignore, or blame on me.

PLEASE let my feelings matter before I’m pushed into “forgiveness”. Please acknowledge the hatred and contempt that the perpetrators have held for me. Please recognize how many lies I’ve been manipulated into believing. Please let me talk about how bad it really was! Let ME mean as much to God as the people who molested me and raped me and shoved me aside and told me to shut up and stop crying. PLEASE! Give me a chance to begin to become whole before you try to demand from me something only God can truly give anyway.

105

Hobie
Thanks for sharing your feelings about this. It is exactly what you have written that motivated me to start this entire website ~ because healing began for me when I began to validate myself (which started with one person hearing me and he validated me first). I felt like a failure because although I ‘said’ that I had forgiven, I could not even begin to understand how to get over my depressions etc. which I kept hearing was because of something I was doing wrong.

Katherine, I know you are new here, but I think you will find that this is a very different website and it is popular because it is different. People need to be heard and validated instead of instructed and directed. Forgiveness for me was a ‘result’ of healing and it wasn’t a goal or a must. Forgiveness for me means that certain abusive people no longer rule my life. I am free without making it about ‘them’ by thinking about the definition of forgiveness according to man.
Thanks so much for sharing. I totally hear your voice here!

I do not think that your intention was to offend anyone with your post, but the people here have come here because most of their lives they have been told that they are ‘doing it wrong’ and that if they did it differently, they would find happiness etc. and here we look at things through a different grid. And it works. 🙂
I hope you will see some of that as you read on.
Hugs, Darlene

106

Hobie and Darlene, thank you for the above. I felt that I wanted to respond to Katherine about the slippage of meaning in forgiveness earlier today but I was angry and my post (which I never sent) made a lot of very negative assumptions about her motivations. In retrospect, I do think we are talking about the same thing (finding a sense of peace with what was done to us) but it has become confused with the New Age BS and contemporary therapy that will hold survivors of abuse hostage ‘until they forgive”.

If we use the scriptural meaning, then that forgiveness does require admission of wrongdoing and some form of restitution and repentance on the part of the abuser.

107

Hobie, you spoke my heart!

Kathrine I get what you are saying that forgiveness is about us, if our feelings toward the other person become a hindrance to our own well being. I suppose there will come a day when fantasizing about torturing my abusers in my basement will no longer be a powerful force towards my healing.

For now my therapist is thrilled that I have found my anger, I stuffed it, medicated it, drowned it and have allowed it to eat my insides out for too long. It is a therapeutic victory to be able to experience it for the first time in my life. Forgiveness isn’t even on my radar and I am in the healthiest place I have ever been in in my entire life.

I will not be asking myself if I did everything I could in my relationships with my abusers anymore, that was the old me, willing to grovel, being grateful for crumbs, doing everything. I owe them nothing, nothing. I have no responsibility to heal those relationships anymore or to do everything I can. I can’t do that anymore.

I have sacrificed myself. I’ve been hiding in a closet while everyone around me grew up and created lives for themselves. So I sit with an old friend telling me about her career, her family and I nod and smile. Then she asks what I have been up to? Yeah, it is like this, I just try not to self destruct and if I get out of bed it’s a really good day.

Of this much I am certain, my work revolves around finding love for myself. The idea that I have to love my abusers is just silly,meaningless, fluffy stuff that people say.

The real work is accepting that the people who were supposed to love us did not and are not going to no matter what we do. The real work is learning we are lovable despite them and forgiving ourselves for all the years we lost because we lived inside their lie. Everything else is irrelevant.

108

Kaycee is so exactly right on.

109
marquis (female)
July 22nd, 2014 at 9:11 pm

I agree with Katherine.

110

So do i.Katherine is right.Although i can’t forgive,she has the right to her choice.She does not instruct,nor direct anyone,and I HAVE read her post several times.’Forgiveness is not about the person you are forgiving’.Very well put.You do it for yourself,not for the abuser.Forgiveness does not mean forgetting what the abuser did.People’s feelings can’t be corrected nor submitted to a certain grid.

111

In the new testament an Alexander the coppersmith is mentioned. In those few sentences I don’t read anything of forgiveness, quite the opposite.

So on the one hand you have Christ on the verge of dying on the cross saying: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

And in the Alexander case you have Paul basically saying: God, give him (Alexander) what for.

112

I summarized my own thoughts on what forgiveness means to me in message 77 above. It involves the other person being truly sorry, remorseful, willing to make amends, and not to repeat the offensive behavior. A lot of abusers are not going to do this, so in those cases my goal is to move on with limited or no contact with the offending person. Those are my personal views on forgiveness.

As far as the ” grid of understanding” goes, as mentioned by Darlene in message 105 andLaura in 110; to me the grid is not like a strainer that you put feelings through and and some hings stay in it while others come out. My perspective on the grid that I gained from over a year on here reading is that I had a certain way of thinking when I first came here. If someone didn’t like me I would automatically ask myself what I did wrong. I was raised by my parents having a certain place in life, which, no surprise, was not a very high place. I accepted it without question. I was a people pleaser so if someone reacted negatively to me I acted like a puppy dog ready to obey and do whatever I could to please them and change their minds. Didn’t work, unfortunately. I thought I deserved the bad treatment I got. I was taught all these things as a child and never thought to question them. It was what it was. Reading DRlenes articles I got Ned perspectives on things. I’ve learned I have rights that were taken from me long ago. I learned that m feelings count and deserve yo be expressed. I am not inferior as my parents taught me I was. I don’t have to except the place they put me in as a child. It is all these new ideas that form my own personal new grid of understanding and how I look at my life and the world around me. I think the grid can vary from person to person, but there are some very basic ideas behind it like having equal value, having the right to express yourself, sorting through ideas we’ ve accepted all our lives and determining if they are true, or infact lies that we were taught to believe. And looking at peoples’ motives for behaving as they do. There’s lots more to it, but this is a scaled down version of the grid I developed over that past 14 months or so. And it is helping me see myself in a new and much better way.

113

That should have read ” Reading Darlene’s articles, I got new perspectives on things”

114

Hi Amber,
Abusers will never be sorry because their mind/brain is ill and dysfunctional,but forgiveness is for myself and it does not imply confrontation or the presence of the abuser.Forgiveness does not mean disrespecting yourself or submitting to the terror of being abused again.What forgiveness is for me personally is letting the hurt go and moving on.What the abuser did is still horrible and forgiveness does not erase that.

115

I think it is really interesting to read what is out there on forgiveness. Clearly as mental health professionals have examined the idea more closely, they are moving away from it as a point of therapy or as a necessary component to healing.

I think many in the mental health field have correctly identified it as a religious stance that stems from a few specific belief systems. Different religions handle the idea differently and not all claim it is a necessity.

It is a fascinating topic and I understand how people who adhere to certain religious beliefs would feel protective of the idea and how people who perhaps have different beliefs would feel preached at hearing that it is the one way path to healing.

Beliefs aside, if forgiveness is your goal, then more power to you! But scientifically we know that it is not the one way path to healing and like Darlene says, more often it happens without much effort after the real healing work is done.

Ultimately saying that a victim of child abuse is not healed because they have not forgiven or because they have not found love for their abusers is victim blaming and shaming. It takes the person out of the safe circle needed to feel every one of those repressed feelings which is the tried and true method for healing according to about every expert out there on the subject.

I do think we all have to tailor our healing to what works for us though. For me the forgiveness idea is a trap, a detour and a means to avoid doing the hard work of getting down the nitty gritty stuff I have spent a lifetime avoiding.

Still, I am very gradually seeing a shift where the focus on wanting them to know how they made me feel, wanting to rub their noses in what they did to me is fading. I am more and more zooming in on myself and my energy is redirecting itself toward my own healing.

I suppose it depends on how you define forgiveness. If as everyone claims, forgiveness is about setting yourself free, not about the perpetrators then I believe it can happen as a natural result of healing. If it doesn’t I am okay with that too and I understand now that I can heal without making forgiveness a condition of my full restoration.

116

Laura,
I am not disagreeing with Katherine’s choice or about what she is saying. Here is the part that I am referring to when I say “instructing or directing”;
Katherine wrote:
“Your first duty is to protect yourself and your children and get to safety. Then seek forgiveness. The offender never need to know that you forgive them and in many situations it is best if they don’t. But you need to forgive them. And you need to find love for them. Because lack of love is what started this whole cycle, and hatred will not heal it. But love them from a distance. Send them prayers of love. And let it go.”

Statements like this (being told “you need to forgive them” and “you need to find love for them”) cause a lot of reaction and when someone shares simply what worked for them, instead of things worded as a “must” it is easier for the receiver of that message to feel that they have a choice about it.
I meant no offence to Katherine at all, nor was I telling her that her opinion was wrong.
Hugs, Darlene

117

What I have been trying to explain about forgiveness is that it is a TRIGGER for me and a lot of other people. That is because it does NOT mean the same thing to all people.

I have had someone else’s opinion of what forgiveness is supposed to be SHOVED DOWN MY THROAT so often and so hard that I get really angry when I feel that I’m being assessed on my willingness or ability to forgive ON THEIR TERMS.

I’ve been told that forgiving my abusers would free me from the pain and if I had pain, it was because I didn’t forgive. I KNOW that is not the only thing that has to happen for me to heal. I HATE being judged that way.

I lost my youngest brother in a gun accident decades ago – he was only 12. It took me NO TIME AT ALL to decide that I would rather have taken my brother’s place and died than to live with the knowledge I had killed him. Forgiving the boy that held the gun was easy. BUT there was still a lot of PAIN involved in mourning the loss of my brother. Decades have passed and sometimes it still hurts and that’s common and real.

Whatever it is that releases me from the pain of what my abusers have done to me, I wish someone would give it a new word so that I can separate that process from the definition of forgiveness that I’ve been abused with. This battle is getting old.

Hobie

118

Darlene – thank you for what you pointed out – the phrasing “you need to” IS the triggering part of her post.

I have been trying to express my experience, explain what hurts and why. I didn’t mean to cause a problem.

119
Kathleen Sullivan
July 23rd, 2014 at 8:51 am

Kaycee and all, thank you for your lovely posts. I think the subject of forgiveness is an especially painful one for most survivors, especially if those who abused us also knew, or know, how to cut and paste passages from the Bible to shame, silence, confuse, and/or control us.

My dad wasn’t even a genuine Christian but he pretty much knew the Bible by memory. He also was very aware that – in our Christian community which was pretty much guided by scriptures, it was one of his most powerful tools of control. Because he knew that what he worked to me would soon be reinforced not only from the pulpit, but also by well-being Christians. He would also quote certain scriptures to me while abusing me – usually out of context, of course – and since I couldn’t exactly tell him to hold that thought while I looked for a concordance or study reference, I took his words as gospel truths.

Now I don’t have to take anyone’s words as truths anymore. Even if a hundred people around me, or a thousand or million, all say that God requires us to love or forgive or do good to those who have harmed us, I now reserve the right to think for my own self. To research and question what I have been told. To research the linear and cultural context of that scripture or saying or traditional belief. And then gradually – maybe over a lifetime or more – come to my own conclusions and beliefs about that issue or traditional practice.

I am certain that this a basic human right – the freedom to think and believe for ones own self, as one chooses to believe.

By allowing myself the RIGHT to question what abusers – and sometimes society – have taught me from childhood, I am finally, blessedly free to become my own person. It can be a scary place at times because then I fear that society’s version (or really, my abusers’ version) of God will now shun or reject or punish me for daring to question such traditional beliefs.

And sometimes I wonder if I have strayed too far from the fold. But I have to question first, before I can truly, comfortably accept what DOES resonate, all the way through my heart and brain and bones. One that is then solid. Once I sense that kind of solid, I usually discover that its one more universal truth that is already accepted not only by many Christians, but by people from nearly every faith that isn’t spiritually dark.

BTW, I just want to mention that the word love has many meanings – some survivors equate it directly with sex – so I also try to find other words to communicate that concept too.

120

Hi Hobie,
I thought that might help! 🙂

Kathleen
Good comments; about the freedom to think stuff ~ I think that is the root of so much of what we are talking about in this site. When people are brainwashed the way most of us have been, especially with all the mixed messages we receive (because so often the message is different on different days depending on the mood of the controlling manipulating person) we don’t learn HOW to think for ourselves. What we have learned is that ‘thinking for ourselves’ is dangerous and best avoided! So yes, we have to learn HOW to think for ourselves and give ourselves permission to have our own choices and opinions and that is a huge part of this healing process!
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene

121

Hobie I think you should be very proud of yourself for being able to say “ouch” out loud. I don’t believe you caused a problem. I’m singing Myley’s “I came in like a Wrecking Ball” in my head right now because I know exactly why you are apologizing (at least I think I do).

We have to apologize when we are the truth tellers and the truth isn’t pretty like talking about forgiveness and sunrises and love. And why can’t we just shut up and let someone else take it on for once? Darn it, do we want to be the troublemakers here and blow that too…..?

Maybe I am way off base but I just find myself in these kind of situations over and over with such conflicted feelings about whether to say something or not and find it fascinating how different people find their way around these kind of situations. I am particularly intrigued by Alice who wrote a response but didn’t have to share it (How cool that is!), yet very grateful someone said wait a minute, that doesn’t feel good, and someone needed to say it. I know there is a lesson here, at least for me but I just can’t put my finger on it.

122

Hobie, I am so proud of you for speaking out about your feelings!! I know it can be a hard thing to do, and I just want you to know I admire your courage.

Believe me, I understand how frustrating it can be when people are telling you what you “should” be doing and how you should be doing it. And I wholeheartedly believe that we each have our own definition of forgiveness and should be free to take whatever path will mean healing for us. Your message made me think about how my whole life I was brainwashed into buying into other peoples ideas of what I should be doing. I should be following THEIR ideas, but they maintained their freedom to do their lives on their own terms. I am not going to let anyone else shove THEIR agendas down my throat anymore. Hobie, I think you helped to give me a spark of rebellion today! 🙂
Stay strong and I am sending you hugs and healing thoughts. Amber

123

Hi Everyone!
I just found out yesterday that the sign up for the free download “guide to getting unstuck” booklet has not been working properly for weeks now! It has been fixed, so if you didn’t get your copy, please get one. (See the form on the Upper Right Side bar here)

This will also add you to the my email list and you will be notified when I have important news such as when the E-Book “The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” will be available.. and it is in the process of being formatted and should be available by the end of next week!

Hugs, Darlene

124

Hobie, I didn’t see it as causing a problem either. You seemed to me to be standing up for yourself.

Kaycee, I didn’t send the first reply I wrote because it was extremely angry and I feel that I don’t do my capacity for argument justice when I get that way. I was also making assumptions about the poster’s intention and I hate when people did that to me so I didn’t send it. I still feel the same way but I don’t think it worth exposing in detail.

What I did end up writing was a bit garbled at the end because it was mistakenly an argument about meaning when the real argument was being told you should do this or that or forgo healing. Hobie nailed it nicely

125

Thanks Alice, I am trying to develop that filter and improve my judgement on when to speak up, when to shut my mouth and when I need to wait and think things through better.

I’m so impulsive and find myself often coming out half incoherent and reactionary sometimes. But I don’t want to be the person who never says anything either.

I was the protector in my home, in my childhood, the truth teller the scapegoat, the sacrificial lamb. I am working really hard on getting in touch with that authentic part of me that doesn’t feel responsible for for making everything right while at the same time keeping my ability to use my voice.

It helps to hear how other people think things through and make good decisions for themselves and those around them. I not very skilled at making good choices in this area yet.

126

Kaycee, let me say I’m not that organized about it. And we could talk more about truth maybe. Someone told me once “you don’t miss a beat” and I can’t remember who it was but it wasn’t good news.

127

I understand Alice, but I admire your discretion and I admire Hobie’s honesty and I admire how you backed her up and I admire those who speak out as well as those who understand they don’t have to. I know I sound schizophrenic.

I always just feel out of control, like I am too much. I get the not missing a beat, the negatives and positives of that. There is some talent and strength in all of this, of that I am sure.

I am sure as well that I experience too much hyper awareness, that so much of what I do that seems so profoundly huge but is really very small and sometimes potentially harmful and completely unnecessary. It is part of my narcissistic legacy.

It is hard for me, there is no self to remember, there was never a real me before her, my Mom. I have nothing to compare to or return to so I rely on other people who have a better balance then I do, people who are able to respond in a more healthy way then I do.

Thank you for sharing, it means more than you can possibly imagine. I keep hoping there is someone real buried beneath all of my stuff. I am scared of imitating, I a scared of everything, but sometimes I think I see real reflection of myself in others and it helps.

128

I have always suspected that my toxic and abusive narcissistic mother was a victim of this. Spiritual abuse. Her mother was dragging them from one religious denomination to another … some of them cultish. She grew up with a lot of do’s and don’ts … not only did she rebel, she also dove into the occult.

I feel bad if she has in fact endured this … but, it in no way translates to being okay for her to be abusive and hateful toward me. The reason I suspect this is because I know a bit about the ‘religion’ hopping thing and my grandmother was convinced that a religion that teaches you have to earn your way to God was the right one – or one of the right ones. (Bible teaches that no one can earn salvation.) The last ‘church’ my grandmother was in was actually a cult. The reason I think my mother as endured this kind of abuse under her mother is because when I became a (born again) Christian – the abuse got exponentially worse. It was awful even though I would be loving toward my mother and tried to love her into loving me – all it did was drive her away more. She was always abusive, but when I became a Christian it became much worse. Abuse – when not dealt with gets passed down in some form or another. It really sucks.

129

Hi kaycee!
It was the same for me! I never knew the original me and didn’t think I would ever find me because of that but I did! One day I just knew that I had rejected enough of their false definition of me that I began to emerge and I had the most amazing feeling! Like coming home for the first time! It can happen for you too!
Hugs Darlene

130

Oh my gosh, thanks Darlene! So much of what I am reading is about remembering your original self and that just seems like an impossible task, like there is nothing to remember, like I never was. I keep holding onto the hope that there is a real me that was born and somehow survived and can still be found.

I think I see her sometimes but I was never allowed to trust anything and I don’t know how to do that yet, how to recognize myself or how not to shoot her down if she starts to come out or how to direct her if I can refrain from killing her. I feel like I am in pieces, like my own organs don’t know what they are supposed to do and are rejecting themselves. I feel like I have an autoimmune personality disorder even though there is no such thing.

131

I agree that abusers should be exposed and charged and punished for their crimes. But what punishment is there for those abusers who choose a variety of non physical ways in which to abuse their victims? The damage from emotional abuse is long lasting but invisible to the outsider and there is no punishment from the law. I’d much rather be subject to broken bones that my abuser can be punished for, than to suffer the emotional, financial, and spiritual abuse I have suffered. I have been accused of being mentally ill and been threatened with his intention to take the kids, the house, everything. As well as the withholding love and attention, the silent treatment, and being treated as no more than a maid and care provider. How can I forgive when he said he would change but has no real empathy towards me and our children and the suffering he has caused?

132

Thank you..i believe in forgiveness n i believe i need to scream,cry,rage against what was done to me.age 12 i thought i was dying so i wanted to leave this earth n go to God clean so i confessmy step-father,biological granfather n father had been molesting/raping me since my memories began.Consequently i was taken to our family pastor told to forgive my abusers(step-father)to his face n repent of the sin of rebellion,had them lay hands on me n to exercise the demons of anger n rebellion.i believed n still have moments of shame n guilt that my saying something(cause i was not believed much,n told i should be quiet)was wrong n i brought it on somehow.i agree we need never swallow those things n be quiet.Thank you again u have made such a difference in my journey.

133

It’s so hard to remember our original self when it was squished at such a young age. I do remember myself a a very early age because I have memories from the house I lived in up until age four. My happiest moments there were doing things with my brother who was just a year older than me. We used to like to explore stuff, play outside, ride our bikes around the neighborhood, play tag games. Then the rules for girls kicked in. I was not allowed to do this or that with the reason being ” cause you’re a girl” no other explanation, and it never made sense to me. The inequality grew as I was given many more chores than my brothers, and my wishes and feelings were considered unimportant. But the boys’ needs and wants mattered. My mother would give my brothers dinner first and told me girls have to wait. No wonder I started hating being a girl. I’m getting off track here but what I’m trying to say is that I do remember some of my original adventurous, fun loving self before the real molding by my parents kcked in and my spirit got squished. And there are times when I feel it, like wandering around when I was on vacation, it felt so authentic that I knew this was the original me. I was doing exactly what I wanted and I felt harmonious inside. I feel it at other times too like when I’m near water. Sitting on a quiet beach or b a stream, it just feels so right that I know Im with the real me at those times. I’m hoping to be able to get more than just glimpses of the real me some day. The problem is that the little girl that got squished still feels afraid most of the time to come out. The strap was waiting when I was little, so were the mean words and put downs. So the fear still remains. If I be myself I get punished. If I could get past this that original girl would come out.

134

How do you stop the cycle? I mean if its abuse and a smear campaign within the family? What do I do ? Its been ongoing for over 10 years from both of my sister’s and one of my sisters husband and now her daughter has joined and its everything to posting hurtful and hateful thongs on Facebook to alienating me from the family… My sisters husband even wrote to my half sister and try to turn her against me… Its a lot to write but I’m just emotionally drained I have kids to take care of and they have even used child protective services to harass me…. I’ve since moved across the US to the east coast but its still on going they won’t stop… They monitor who talks to me on Facebook and what they say they’ve told my mother if she leaves to come live with me they’ll make sure her SSI stops they even told her I’d steal her money…. What do I do?

135

This is a very sad and rarely addressed issue. I encountered this a number of times throughout my life, and to say it pushed me away from God would be a gross understatement. I resented any ideas of any god based on spiritual abuse.
“God forgave me, why can’t you?” My mother would ask.
“I’m not God.” I would respond, and follow it with thinking to myself, “And I never wanna meet the guy, if that’s what he does.” Then I read the Bible, (as they made me do when I visited her), and saw how very easy it could be to even use passages to warrant/justify abuse to begin with. My stepfather always said, “By the rod…”, and to be obedient.
Later, as an adult, while in a relationship with an abusive fiance’, he convinced me he just needed to go get saved, and that would calm his “temper”. I gritted my teeth in such angst that i cannot find the right words to even describe that emotion. He beat me later that day… and when I asked him to pray, he responded with, “Oh, I’m not the one who needs their prayers answered right now, honey.” He tried to kill me less than a month later.
*sigh*
It sends so many mixed messages. All of which you addressed here. I can’t say i’m comfortable with the Bible as people wrote it. (Prophets or not.) But I have a good relationship going with my understanding of what God is, and I have to say, there is much more love to be found in that relationship than I ever felt with either of my parents; or the majority of the family for that matter.
I am ACTIVE in practicing what I believe in, and feel no words are necessary in that now. I am comforted in the glory of knowing that LOVE and KINDNESS endure, not control, manipulation and degradation… no matter the religion,

136

Kaycee, Amber and Darlene, at first I was appalled to realise that so much of what I took to be me wasn’t. It was imitation of one parent or the other or ways I’d use to cope with whatever was being thrown at me (in emotional terms). And some of those things still have sway but I am learning to question them. Many times I find out through my questioning that my reaction or thought is not actually me at all.
It happened again this week and I realized I was imitating my father’s anxiety about something.

So where am I? I am the one doing the questioning, saying to myself “not like this, not that reaction, this is it, this is the thing I want”.

For a while I felt as if there was in fact no “me” there either and it was terrifying. But as time goes on I am assured that in fact I am here and have done so well to get through this.

If there’s to be faith in any sense it’s in this one.

137

Hi Darlene, This is so true and I believe, it is exactly, the reason why Jesus spent so much time confronting religious leaders. Religion has always been an avenue for abusive, power seeking individuals to control and use others. It was these very people who had Jesus crucified. Jesus taught that we should judge such people by how they live and not by what they say. Abusers use religious phrases as a cloak to cover their evil deeds and they will never say anything that would bring their abuses into the light. There is nothing spiritual about them. They live according to their basest desires. To them, Jesus is just another “weak” scapegoat. The phrase I’ve heard most from people in my life who use the Christian religion for their own means is, “It’s under the blood!” which reveals their true intent of looking for a place to hide their sins against others. There is no desire in them to actually, change their behavior, which is what a relationship with God is all about. They’ve found phrases that confuse people and deflect from the real issue. I guess they are “doing their best”, their very “best” to hide their past abuses and continue abusing.

Love,
Pam

138

Irene (post 134) ~

What I eventually had to do was go strict no contact. It wasn’t easy omitting my NPD mother from my life 14 years ago and 4 years ago is when I finally saw my family of origin’s true colours. I finally confronted them about my mother’s abuse and they didn’t believe me. They all told me, “We don’t want to hear about it and we don’t want to talk about it.” Anyway … the only way the craziness and smearing ended for me was to go strict no contact – which happened four years ago. On facebook, every family member is blocked so that absolutely no information gets back to them. For many this may seem extreme … but I suffered some pretty extreme psychological/mental and verbal abuse, being manipulated using guilt, being smeared and no one ever defended me against my mother. No more drama.

Omitting them wasn’t easy either. Hardest decisions of my life – but it had to be done, I was nothing but an empty shell. I didn’t know who I was. I was bawling – and I mean bawling – almost all day every day. I felt so diminished and empty – a complete and utter mess. When this happened is when I found, by some miracle, Darlene’s site here … her work helped save this soul-shredded soul. I got myself into therapy where I was able to sort out my feelings and beliefs about family. One thing she validated for me was that it is me who is in control – not them. I am the one who controls who is in and who is out. And if they are toxic – they have no place in my life.

Looking back, omitting all of them (& blocking them all from facebook) turned out to be the greatest blessing and decision of my life, my husband’s life and the lives of our children (who are all teens now). I was raised to believe confrontation was wrong – and to keep the peace no matter the cost. Biggest lie ever. Failure to confront is not peace – but hell. I confronted them. It was ugly. But like an abscessed boil – it had to be lanced and drained. I had to get the ‘infection’ out of my life if I was ever going to heal and pass on an abusive-free legacy to my children. <3

139
BruisedNotBleeding
July 24th, 2014 at 11:59 am

There is no defense against a person who claims the Holy Spirit told them to do something that goes completely against the teachings of Jesus. That is self righteousness and prideful.. I agree with Pam’s comment and it’s a fact, religious people have a more stringent set of rules much harsher judgements for how others should live. Anyone can claim to be a Christian. Even Hitler did. So I’m less impressed by a persons words than I am with their character and is it “godly.” True Christians live like, love like and are humble (not weak) like Christ. Jesus confronted the Pharisees for what they were, hypocrites. He was very clear on what would happen to anyone who wrongfully hurt a child. Too much damage has been done to Christians and others by people claiming to be Christians. I don’t care how many times a week you are in church or how big your bible is if there is no other evidence in your life that you are a Follower of Christ. Hypocrites are still here, still thinking they are righteous. Ignoring and denying the pain and suffering they have inflicted on others. They completely deny the condition of their own hardened heart and abusive behaviour as though the god they use to defend their horrible
actions will turn a blind eye and allow them to escape a just God.

140

Hi Linda
Welcome to EFB ~ I am not so concerned anymore with the punishment that they get as I am with my own freedom from all of it! Emotional abuse can be the hardest abuse to overcome, and I find that is due to the ways that I had been somehow conditioned to search for “proof” that I was right about the abusive treatment in the first place. I too was accused of being mentally ill, and one day I just decided that they were wrong. I decided that I didn’t have to forgive. I decided to heal and I did.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Robin
Welcome to EFB ~ How horrible that you went through all that and then were instructed to forgive and even accused of having demons! This site is about taking our rights and our lives back from all of that!
Glad you are here
hugs, Darlene

141

Hey Darlene,
This is a biggie for me!
I have had ‘forgiveness’ forced down my throat ever since I began to try to speak out. I just begin to get my story out of my mouth, telling some of the peripheral details, and not even getting into the grimmer details of the abuse, and the person that I am talking to starts telling me that it is my obligation to ‘forgive’ my abuser(s). It is a demand from them and my responsibility to comply with. Most of these people have not been my spiritual leaders, though there have been a few of those, but most of these folks are just family, friends, and acquaintances.
This demand that they attempted to impose on me would make me try harder to get them to understand, which never seemed to work either. I would find myself telling them more of the details then I wanted to expose about myself and the abuse, to try to get them to understand how hurtful and damaging it was to me. I would become desperate in my effort to acquire their understanding, which I would not get. I would feel like they were not on my side, but had somehow joined the side of the abusers against me. In demanding that I forgive, they became one with the abusers.
Their response to me would cause me to feel like I was worthless and that I was not worthy of being treated good or compassionately; that no matter how heinous the abuse was, I was compelled to forgive the unrepentant abusers. I would feel more alone in my despair and more abandoned in my heartache. I would retreat into my world of aloneness and loneliness in order to protect myself from more pain. It was so destructive to me and shut me down. It would take me months or years before I would open up again to another person.
Due to other people demanding for me to forgive my abusers, l have been locked away in my pain and suffering. It is only now, after a life time of suffering, that I am able to stand firm in my truth and speak out against the abuse that was done to me.

142

Hi Irene
There is so much info on here about how I did all of this. I hope you will keep reading. For me, I had to decide when enough was enough. I would not engage with my family anymore when they refused to respect or even listen to my feelings and my boundaries.
Rise made some great points in her comment back to you.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

143

Hi Shay,
Welcome to EFB ~ Your post reminded me of my youngest daughter when she was about 9 years old ~ she came to me crying and saying that she was afraid of Jesus. Turns out a teacher had repeatedly told her that ‘she’ represented Jesus and this teacher was a mean bitch. My daughter was eventually able to articulate that if Jesus was like her teacher, she wanted nothing to do with him. It was heart breaking to realize the damage this horrible example this teacher was to my little girl. (and that damage has not been completely healed even to this day, and my daughter is almost 18).
I love what you say about Love and Kindness ~ that is what I found assisted my healing the very most… and sometimes it only came from me to me.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

144

Hi Beth
Yes, what a great example of exactly how it goes! (I often refer to that as ’round and round’ ~ That never ending cycle of abuse and the misuse of power and control!) Taking my life back had so much to do with realizing that they were plain WRONG! I had spent so much time questioning ME instead of questioning them and the lies they were feeding me.
Thanks for sharing your truth and your victory!
hugs, Darlene

145

At post 142 … Thank you, Darlene. 🙂

146

Hello Darlene thank you so much !

Hi Risè

Thank you so much for sharing with me… Its mind blowing to know I’m not the only one! I was feeling defeated and second guessing myself… I have done the no contact with them I have them blocked on Facebook but my family is so big that they search from others pages and apy what I’m doing and who is commenting and what they’re saying… They even started this cycle with their own adopted daughter (who is my biological niece just my brothers kid) I have cut ties with basically a majority of my family… I have alit of reading to do but I thank you all for sharing with me the know how to do better ! I really needed this !! I found the page by accident too ! Well I guess god put it in my path for a reason! Thank you ladies again !

147
BruisedNotBleeding
July 24th, 2014 at 4:41 pm

When my daughters were little, I went to a church that wanted to put paddles in the Sunday School Class. They wanted me to sign a permission form to allow the teacher to spank my children if they misbehaved in class. I was stunned at first , then refused. I couldn’t believe it. The pastor wasn’t happy with my refusal and I wasn’t happy being accused of being rebellious. because I was abused. You’re damn right. . Even if I wasn’t abused I would never give anyone permission to punish my children? I was gone after that.

148

Irene –

When I first found this site, I too was overwhelmed and relieved to find out that I too wasn’t the only one. On facebook I generally keep to posting so that just ‘friends’ see my stuff. If I do post for ‘friends of friends’ to see – its usually things inconsequential to my personal life with my own little family. I am not even facebook friends with any of my husband’s family members either because they live in the same communities as my family of origin and you never know who knows who. Seems to be working. <3 … I am sure you'll find Emerging From Broken as much a blessing to your healing as it was to mine. {hugs}

149

Bruised …

Oh. my. gosh!!! You’re kidding??? Yeah, I’d have left too. Yikes!

150

On social media. I’ve been reluctant to do anything on Facebook due to not wishing my family to be involved in my life. Even before I went full NC.
My mother and another family member found me on Linkedin and tried to communicate with me through that. I really felt affected by it. It’s like “You’ve already messed with me on so many levels, there’s no way you’re getting mixed up in my making a living.” But the result is that I don’t post on Linkedin because I know they are there and don’t want to tempt them.
I know it’s not “my fault” if they do do something terrible to me on Linkedin but to me it’s not worth the risk. My contacts are protected too.
I have also refused to change emails or phone numbers because they’re how I do business but have had to block my mother on both because she refused my request for space. She recently changed her email and sent me a message to “let me know” so I have blocked that too. None of the contacts I’ve had from her address any of the issues I’ve brought up and until that happens, I’m not responding. I’m not holding my breath either.

151
BruisedNotBleeding
July 25th, 2014 at 9:57 am

Alice_ I feel the same way. I have had to shut down everything. I am so tired and the only time I feel this beat up is when I engage with my family. I do love them but I finally realized many of them do not like or love me and it’s been obvious to those close to me that they are bent on hurting me. That is not an easy pill to swallow, I feel I’ve tried so hard to mend broken relationships including the ones that shut me out. I am not perfect and I make mistakes. I’ve come to realize I’ve been using way too much of my energy feeling sad or angry over things I have no control over. I was abused growing up and married an abusive alcoholic. My children and I lived a nightmare. I did leave almost 25 years ago. Recently, some family members are denying that I was abused by him. Why? It’s difficult to get a divorce on grounds of “Abuse”. I did just that. Another family member stays in touch with him and admires him. I don’t get it. How could they be so cruel? I don’t understand how my family can be so lacking in empathy towards me but embraces the abuser.

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Bruised, I am so sorry to hear of what you have been through. The “why” of it is a good question. I don’t think I can answer it except to imagine they must live in another framework where a person in your position in the family is not considered to the same extent as the abusers.

If we try to get validation out of people in that framework whose own position or identity depends on them not understanding or validating us it won’t happen. If in their framework, standing up for yourself is punishable then you will be, no matter who you are on the inside.
I guess to some extent this idea helped me to take my mother’s abuse less personally. She can’t see me past the framework of what she believes a child is supposed to be or supposed to do. And where did she get that from?
It’s so hard to extricate yourself from a framework that works for everyone else because you end up basically alone for a while. But you aren’t, as this site attests.

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BruisednotBleeding,
YIKES! (about the sudnay school class story!) HOLY SMOKES I would have been outta there too!
hugs Darlene

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marquis (female)
July 25th, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Yea, I felt my ex-therapist along with other people I’ve encountered as abusive.

“It’s so hard to extricate yourself from a framework that works for everyone else because you end up basically alone for a while. But you aren’t, as this site attests.”

True.

“Taking my life back had so much to do with realizing that they were plain WRONG!”

I knew my parents are flat out wrong, can’t say taking my life back yet. It’s funny how my mom claims she “took her life back,” how did she “take her life back” since she’s still being abused anyway? She always tell me ‘I took my life back and it feels great.’ How do you heal in such a toxic environment, then? It’s like how does she “do it all” and still be abused at the same time? My mom said she isn’t being abused, wow, talk about straight denial!

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Kaycee
My “me” was also taken, suppressed and reinvented by my mother.
She molded me into her compliant little servant.
This caused so much damage to me and because I never understood until this website, I was 58
before I truly understood the lifelong effects of it.

I have been angry all my life and never knew why. I have been told I am an angry person.
My response to triggering (invalidation mostly ) is anger first. But always directed against myself. Self harming to cope and deny all that was done to me as a child.
The anger is never expressed to anyone else.
She taught me to never express as it would upset my raging violent father.
Then told that I am a bad person because of this failure to be perfect, my anger and the self harm. Like it came from within with no cause.
I so believed this that I never looked for a cause. I bought completely the lie that it WAS me. That I was just that way.
I don’t know that I will ever forgive her for that. Mostly because I am pretty sure it was deliberate. The more I remember, the more the puzzle fits. It took some pretty strong hatred against a child to destroy all self esteem and then methodically sabotage education, career,
even my marriage to serve her own purpose. I just want to get to the point I don’t have any thoughts of her or my brother (her flying monkey) anymore. Ive been NC for more than two years.
Its so great to be able to express these things.

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WoW Amber.. “If I be myself I get punished” ..I so understand that.
My mother was reprimanding me age 58 not to talk too much in the elevator of her building.
I was always punished or put down for being or expressing myself. That’s why I began to think I was wrong and bad. Over and over, almost every day has that effect.
By the way, I was speechless in that elevator. I knew if I spoke up and said something back, I would have gotten the “you’re acting up again” look. Conditioned to obey.

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marquis (female)
July 25th, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I was always told by people I am an angry person daily! That made me even more angrier! People will never understand what it feels like to be self-serviant to your OWN parents yet they tell me ‘they are trying to teach you responsibilities,’ teaching someone to be responsible is one thing but to make someone their complete slave is something else!

I always tell people ‘remember, how Cinderella’s step mom and sisters treated her? She is a grown adult, they made her into their slave when she is suppose to be part of the family! I bet if her father was still alive, he would have put an end to his marriage.’ I also reminded people about how Snow White and Rapunzel were mistreated, they always had this dumbass answer ‘at least something good came out of it, they got a prince on a white horse!’ Why did they have to wait to be rescued? I feel more like Cinderella except I don’t have step siblings, but my parents as evil and sadistic like the step mother!

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Marquis..I could not even defend myself or speak up at all without the slap down. As a child it made me shy and very insecure, later as a teenager it made me rebellious. I wanted a voice and a choice of my own. As an adult it made me angry.
I am angry at myself that I did not see it til 1994 when it was so extreme it caused panic attacks and I broke contact for 9 years. Cinderella indeed. My younger brother was the perfect, adorable golden child. Still is as far as she is concerned.

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marquis (female)
July 25th, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Karen R,

All that yelling and stuff made me shy/insecure. There was yelling, but I was always an outgoing person it was until we left CA to go to AZ in 96 is when it got worse! I still have a hard time speaking with confidence and looking at people in the eye when speaking. It seems social skills were lost/destroyed, but been working at it communicating daily and I still seem to back off. It’s like my inner child is pulling me away from people because of uncertainly and trust related issues.

I thought of something: any time I tried to defend myself, it was either get out or call the cops on me (especially if I am swearing). What can the cops do? Tell one of the parties to leave and cool off (already happened in 2011) not like I threatened then they have something to say about that.

“As a child it made me shy and very insecure, later as a teenager it made me rebellious. I wanted a voice and a choice of my own. As an adult it made me angry.”

Agreed. How can you be an adult and not allowed to have anything in your life? That’s what I always ask people and never get an answer. Not being allowed to have a voice (at any age) is not free will like my ex-therapist put it because we are grown, we have choices and free will. When you’re still in an abusive household, doesn’t matter how grown you are, you don’t have any choices. My mom doesn’t seem to have any choices, she is beyond codependent and has zero life skills – how can you expect her to live on her own at age 67?

My brother is the golden child but isn’t like my parents – well, to me, sounds a bit like dad that’s about it. Wait until my mom finds out, he don’t want her living with him and his wife in CO. Then, she is really gonna disown him then blame my sister for putting him up to this lol.

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Hi Alice,
I’ve been thinking about the question of consciousness and using children as a means to meet their own needs. My impression is that having children to meet those unmet needs was central but completely normalized. They wouldn’t articulate that that’s what it was (that my job was to meet their needs) and yet I was outright being told what I needed to be doing to make my mom happier, or being told that I was required to tell her before anyone else everything that was of any importance in my life (or trivial like a haircut or dentist appt. for that matter), or how upset they were that I was wanting to move cities (my brother telling me “look, you’re making her (our mom) cry”), or being asked why I hadn’t instead moved in with them to “work on our relationship” after I’d had a breakdown and was struggling to find my own feet (which would have also meant quitting my job, giving up an apartment, etc. to accommodate what they thought would make our relationship better.) To them, it’s like their dream went wrong, and they just don’t get that it’s not the dream that went wrong; it’s the dream that IS wrong that they don’t want to let go of. As you said, that’s how they’re managing their pain. The conditions of their fantasy, which they consider to be what ideal parent-child relationships are all about, is quite literally the abuse.

I think of everything that should have woke them up, including their own observations and awarenesses. My mom always telling me to smile, asking me why I won’t talk to her, her knowing that I’d been a chatterbox once upon a time, my great grandma saying she was worried about me, a complete stranger asking what’s wrong with me, a guidance counsellor calling about me having written a novel heavily laden with suicide, her (nervous?) laughing about the reason why I still wore my hair in a ponytail all the time being because of how she had treated me when young (making me wear it like that, getting mad and telling me I looked ugly with it down—i.e. she understood at least one long term effect of hers, without actually talking to me in a way that might show that she cared), the fact that they knew that I always said I was fine even if I wasn’t (my dad making a joke about that fact when I tried to persuade them that everything was fine, but then still letting that go, like I was giving them permission just because I was scared to death of them knowing something was wrong), her knowledge that she’d taken her anger out on me for no reason when I was a kid, but never thought to have an actual conversation with me, to apologize, to investigate into this stuff.. or how about the first time I really considered suicide. We were on a ferry at night. I went out on deck and stood at the railing, staring down at the waves. When I went back to where my parents were sitting, my mom said to me that I was gone so long they thought maybe I’d jumped. I said nothing. I was so sad. And yet when I first brought things up, my mom said to me that she understood that I felt I had an unhappy childhood (meaning that she didn’t think so). Later she finally accepted that I’d been unhappy but she claims to this day that she knew nothing and gives this kind of message that if only she had known, if only I had talked to her, she would have done everything in her power to fix things. But she did know! She should used to always ask me if I was okay. So what if I always said I was fine? My mom was doing all this reading and looking into the past and the cycle of abuse and yet she was still holding onto this idea of her great parenting and our supposedly great relationship because we never had any fights, etc., while sweeping all the warning signs under the carpet. And even after I had a breakdown and started talking about things, everything continued and was worse, really, because I started resisting what they wanted from me. This is willful ignorance. My experience not just with my parents but with others is that even if they start to see it, if they get a hint of the repercussions and the risks of recognizing the truth, they retreat back into the fog and go back to putting it on the victim. Their reasons are inherently selfish. Though it comes from their wounded-ness, sickness, it doesn’t change that it’s bad. It’s both, as you said.

The only way they could have full understanding/consciousness of what’s going on would be through empathy. I think we see the absolute purity of evil if they were able to fully know what they were doing and still do it (otherwise we think they’re not really evil; they just don’t know), but the nature of evil, as such, requires the incapacity of empathy. It requires not knowing or un-knowing. You would be literally incapable of committing evil if you were fully understanding of things via empathy (which is the only true way of understanding, as oppose to just intellectual theory). Even if you had a moment of empathy, you’d still have to cut that off and replace it with whatever skewed belief system in order to do whatever you’re doing. Evil isn’t contingent on whether or not people understand; it’s the opposite; it’s the refusal to know. Evil is the refusal to see and respect and care for the shared (but separate) humanity in the other. If you truly felt for the other as you’d feel for yourself and understood, then you couldn’t act against the person because it would be understood and more importantly FELT as self-annihilating as much as other-annihilating and we’re hardwired for survival, not the self-destruction that results from the corruption of souls/psyches when we were made to believe that abuse was good/love.

And the other thing is that when I spelled everything out, it’s hard to believe that my mom couldn’t recognize what I was saying both in terms of our relationship and the parallel of what she went through with her own mom (being held hostage to her mom’s depression, etc.) Or the fact that I’d lived with a fear of her getting into a purposeful car accident when I since learned that she had thought about doing that. She knows. She doesn’t want it to be true, but in her unwillingness to acknowledge what she swept under the carpet and what she put on me, however “unconsciously,” she continues and amplifies the very same evil. And what else can I call it but evil, when it nearly cost me my life, and in many ways did cost me my life? It’s not “the worst” evil. It’s unfortunately one of those evils that people commit all too often, turning a blind eye, etc. The frequency of it or the explanation as to why people do it doesn’t change its nature. I’m not going to buy the “shit happens” philosophy my aunt was selling or that this is life. Yes, unfortunately, it is all too often life. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re willing to make it okay, in whatever way, there’s no hope. I’m not going to make it okay.

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I love this page. Glad someone pointed me in the right direction. Also glad it does not have religious connotations like some US pages. Not that I mind people praying etc. But this forgivness thing,where its supposed to free and transform you is hard to take. A Christian counsellor said forgiveness is the key. I read somewhere that people who tried to do this,not only did they not receive healing but were crippled with more guilt cos they weren’t succeeding. You can’t forgive someone who has no remorse and continues to abuse. You have to just separate from them. I realise that I had 35 years of abuse cos adulthood matters too. When he died I refused to accept my mothers denial and that’s when her true nasty personality came through. Although she repeats like a parrot I had the best possible adoption she then says to excuse emotional abuse “well at least you weren’t caned on the leg like me’. My life has been destroyed by it. I wasn’t strong enough to take emotional abuse so who us she to decide that its a better form of abuse. I shouldn’t have had any. My adoptive parents should have been screened. I find it difficult to deal with the fact I’m full of guilt and spent my life not allowing myself any enjoyment,while she has no guilt and spends her life going on holiday. Once telling me well what am I supposed to do about emotional abuse. I wouldn’t see my boys seriously harmed and attempting suicide cos of a partner. I’d tell them to leave. But my mother thinks marriage( and her men she carried on with) are the important things in life. Probably from church marriage vows. This denial leaves me with such low self esteem and exacerbates the guilt. I now realise it stopped me moving onto adulthood and kept me as a scared submissive child. I suppose that’s what she likes as she has the power.

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Hi Alaina, what a wonderful post (again! You have this extreme gift for writing:))

I agree with everything you said and I wanted to comment on what I see as the lynchpin: “If you truly felt for the other as you’d feel for yourself and understood” It’s the lynchpin because these people do not feel for themselves.

It seems like that’s all they do but they have pushed it all away so as NOT to feel. To the point they can’t even feel that they don’t feel. And anything that points them towards their feelings (like a helpless child, or their own daughter or son telling them how badly s/he has been affected) will be denied.

I remember telling my own mother that I was depressed and asking her to take me to consult but she initially denied it saying “You’re not depressed Alice”. It took much arguing and an enquiry from a worried teacher about the kind of “creative writing” I was doing to tilt her into letting me go to the GP. (And note how it took an “authority” to convince her, not me).

“She knows. She doesn’t want it to be true” And there’s the constant problem. We lie to ourselves.

If you look at the experience of coming to terms with your own experience as a child who has been used for someone else’s needs (a definition of abuse), look at the level of pain and emotional difficulty (I should say “hell”) that’s in that process.

I understand people not wanting to go there. I wouldn’t have gone had it not blown up in my face and forced me to. But when they don’t know that that’s where they don’t want to go that’s when they take others down with them. Whether in romantic relationships or by having kids in turn.

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Darlene,
Again this article came at the most perfect moment I needed it. Your experiences and thoughts are so healing for me, I can’t thank you enough. Just when I start thinking about something that I think no one understands, you speak to it in a way that validates me and gives me the strength to keep on the right track.

With this subject, letting go is surely a process, and we take two steps forward and one back sometimes. What I have recently learned is that after having let go of what others have done to me, I am now letting go of what I have allowed myself to do, and that has been the most healing of all. Just reading this article and not wanting the world to understand but seeing it for what it helps me feel about myself is the best of all.

I hope you know that there are so many of us here that continue to need your wisdom and learning, so please keep it up!

Thank you thank you,
Karen

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Karen, I am so happy for you!!!! Although it is a long process to heal, every step forward is wonderfully healing! I was harder on myself than anyone because I was always told it was all my fault, but I know the truth now and I am free! It is such a feeling as I have never felt before! I have a long way to go ,but right now feels so good to me. I have control over my life, and my feelings about myself for the first time, and I love me! I thank God for sending me to these wonderful people at this site and all my sisters in abuse for giving me my life back. May God bless you as you continue on your journey
and never forget you are never alone because wh have been there and we care for you. <3

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Hi Karen,
Welcome to EFB! ~ Yes, that is very often exactly how it works! I can relate to the two steps forward one step back thing as well!
Glad you are here and thank you for your encouragement to my and what I am doing here!
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Alice,
I know what you mean. I do think my parents probably do feel a lot of pain. About what is the problem and whose pain/perspective they’re feeling at what times during what scenarios. They spread the pain out to diffuse it. I wonder if that’s not what they believe being a family is for—taking hits for each other.

I know what you mean, too, about the hell of coming to terms with the pain of childhood. On the other hand, I feel the bigger hell has been what that has meant in terms of my present scenario. If there was some sort of guarantee that when you delved into that pain, you knew that those who participated in, inflicted or created or continued the conditions of the pain you experienced would be there for you, caring about you, helping you to get through, making the changes that need to be done, it would be a lot easier (not necessary but certainly helpful, not harmful). If you knew the past truth (of how they used you, discounted you) wasn’t still true, wouldn’t it be a heck of a lot easier to face the pain? A lot of the hell seems to be understanding and feeling how solid the truth was and still is and the implication of standing firm, finding out to what degree they’re willing to use me/put things on me in order to avoid things—the pain of losing all the family, etc. It begs the question what will ever be enough. It also suggests a loop that it exists (with one) because of the fear of it existing (with another). Idealistically speaking, if we all risked it, it would all work out and the hell wouldn’t be so hellish. I know that you don’t know that before you’ve gone into it but it’s certainly maddening when you realize the truth.

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Hi Moria
I felt SO guilty because I tried so hard to do the things that so many said were ‘the absolute answer” two of which were “gratitude” and “forgiveness” and I felt like a huge failure when I was still struggling so much! It was very hard for me to accept that my mother chose her men over me but the truth is that she did, over and over again ~ and the truth set me free ~ but the truth that set me free is that what she did is not a reflection on me. What she chose to do does not mean that I wasn’t worthy or that it was my fault that she chose those men over me. That has been the key understanding for me. My self esteem recovery has had everything to do with understanding that.
Hugs, Darlene

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Kathleen Sullivan
July 26th, 2014 at 1:23 pm

What I’m going to share here is based in my own spiritual beliefs. And what I’ve learned from my own religious and psychology studies to find peace concerning most of my former abusers’ ongoing lies and coverups.

It was really heartbreaking and awakening for me to realize that every one of my much older abusers were actually stuck in earlier stages of neurological development. They were all either very intelligent intellectually or street smart. Or both. But they would have miserably failed emotional IQ tests for sure. Zero ability or desire to emotionally put themselves in a victim’s shoes…unless they would get something out of it for their own selves (like Munchausens by proxy…seeking attention from others for lovingly rescuing me from the medical consequences of their own unacknowledged abuse.)

Studying Axis II Cluster B personality disorders, starting with sociopathic (early infancy), then borderline, then narcissistic then dependent personality disorder and so on, was extremely helpful for me.

The more I learned about those personality disorders and traits and why and how they develop in the minds and bodies of young children (who inevitably experience serious neglect if not outright abuse), the more I was able to figure out whiChat disorder diagnosis (sometimes more than one) fit each abuse. And if iI got information about his/her childhood history at that same early stage of development where the “students” began, then I started to understand and gradually accept that he/she was still truly stuck and unable to grow and move forward.

Even more ironic, I was able to recognize that they were playing out those same neglect and abuse experiences on me and other children who were about the same age they had been way back when.

And each time I did this kind of heavy duty (for sure) research on one of them, I also inevitably looked at my own similar personality traits. Since they were my main role models and had locked my own development down too, I had my own so-called demons from the past to confront. Which is something that good therapy can be a big help with.

Over time, I was able to separate my insides more and more from the identities, emotions, actions and belief systems – very warped ones – that the abusers had brainwashed me to believe for many years. It was a lot of extremely hard work, and I don’t think it ever really ends. But each time another abuser passes away, I feel even more free to follow my own path in life.

Sometimes I still get angry that so many potential years and regular life opportunities were either blocked or taken from me because none of the abusers wanted me to grow and develop beyond where theirs had stopped.

I guess my decision to keep growing and learning new things about life, outside their control, was threatening somehow to them. And that is the biggest source of sadness in me about them, because they each still had lovely potential.

Now, several of them are nearing the end of life. And yet each one – while having zero contact with the others – is now working harder than ever to convince everyone that he/she has always been a model caregiver, citizen, spouse, church member, etc.

And yet, everything I’ve been learning about healthy spirituality teaches the opposite. Same with most recovery programs. Real cleansing, healing and recovery can be extremely painful and humbling work. But I’d certainly do that work and get myself more clean and honest NOW than to try to hide my pile of still-hidden sins under the proverbial rug and expect that my higher power won’t notice it the giant lump of crud that still needs to be examined and addressed.

I do believe that God is a God of love. But I don’t think that means that they are going to get away from feeling the pain of the consequences of their harmful and wrong behaviors when they move on to the next life. Even if they do skate justice here. Theres nothing more painful than loving justice IMO, because there are no defences or excuses left that will work.

That is why I choose not to follow their path now, even though it seems easier than being transparent where it counts the most. I would rather open up to facing things now and also not waste or abuse the years that remain. I’d rather feel the pain and experience the cleansing now, and be able to open my heart and love more, than to hide that love and waste this precious gift of life.

I hope this makes sense.

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Kathleen Sullivan
July 26th, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Darned autocorrect. I meant “abusers”, not “students”.

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Some of us end up with borderline,dependent PD’s from abuse but desperately try not to be like our parents although there will be fragments there we don’t notice but try hardest to try and be the best we can.

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Kathleen Sullivan
July 26th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Moira, I agree. And its still going to be hard work to heal. Especially with PD challenges added to the mix. At least better help and supports are available today for us than were available for past generations. (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a good resource BTW, if one can find and afford to pay for a trained therapist.)

My hope for our newer generations is that as we all continue to heal and grow from our own abuse histories, And share resources and information that’s helpful, we can then help newer generations to stay safer and heal more effectively and more quickly than we can.. That can be one significant blessing that can come out of our experiences with such seriously crappy older, abusive and dysfunctional generational patterns. ‘Nuff said on my end about them.

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I am not ashamed for anyone to know my name. I was abused an many ways by my first husband. I was not perfect…I made mistakes too. But I NEVER lied or cheated!! I am PROUD TO SAY THAT!! I told my family what happened to me when we were going through our divorce. They believed me then. But after talking to his second wife…they didn’t believe me but said forgive and forget. Doesn’t make sense does it? My sister was my best friend. She still doesn’t see the TRUTH. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY FAMILY….AS ALWAYS…BUT IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!! I’M not perfect but I KNOW I NEVER DESERVED THIS!!!!

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Hi Alaina, I’m with you in your last post. When you said “What will ever be enough” I was reminded of my own unending question of “When will this end? When will this stop?” meaning all the leftovers of my life with them that keep carrying on into my life with other people who are not them. And my life with myself when I am not with them and have not been for so many years. I don’t know that it stops with a before and after clearly demarcated. Rather it wanes and reduces. To see how far I have come after 18-24 months rather than measure myself against an ideal that may not happen in my lifetime. But I have to say “what honor for my parents” in how far I have come. And without irony in saying it.

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I agree with Moira.
I think it’s telling that they are able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes if it benefits them somehow (or at least if it doesn’t conflict with what they want). For me, there are enough stories of people who overcome their abusive childhoods, that to say that they are truly unable to grow is, if not false, at least unknowable by anyone outside themselves and god. No doubt that sicknesses, emotional problems, stunted emotional development, etc. are a part of all this but I think looking at power structures might be more telling. I.e. what they can get away with, what they benefit from—in other words, motivation. I think all of us are here after reaching a place of severe powerlessness. Abuse is an attempt to relieve the pain, etc. Denial, victim-blaming, scapegoating, these aren’t symptoms. They are attempts to hold onto their positions of power, their image, etc., to keep their coping mechanisms up and running to relieve and deal with their undercurrent problems/sicknesses. So somewhere in that mess, there’s choice, even if at first it’s just one small choice, just one “yes” that will lead to the next… I don’t know that my mom has suffered from any personality disorder. She doesn’t want to deal with this. She wants me to deal with her the way she deals with her mom, going through the motions, I suppose. She suffers from depression, chronic back pain. She’s fatigued. I’m sure for her she’s worked hard to get where she is in her life. She has a lot of pain. I don’t think she would voluntarily opt for the shattering of her crafted identity, if she can hold onto it. She has a family that will stand by her. She can believe that everyone’s making their own choices and maybe that absolves her conscience but when my father tore me down as a bad daughter, bad sister, bad aunt, my mom let that be, when underneath it all, she must have recognized the truth of my words. She knows that she isn’t sadistic, that it wasn’t her actual intention to hurt me, and she would like that to be enough. Yes, she’s doing to me exactly what was done to her, wanting me to swallow down ideas that implicate me because of my gender and personality for example. This stuff only comes out in defence, of course. If we all just swallow our tongues about these things, everything is “fine.” They scapegoat me and wish me well, to come to peace with my past, etc. They wipe their hands clean because it wasn’t their “intention.” My mom said she could empathize with my experiences because she, too, had been suicidal a lot in her life. She can relate to my pain and would probably like to merge, to soothe each other’s pain, without recognizing the origins. She cannot put herself in my shoes to see herself as separate, as an antagonist beyond just my young childhood. I know there’s a sickness there, but I know also that there’s a choice, that she could do otherwise. As long as we’re alive, other ways of being are open to us, even the options we don’t know yet. I offered her a hand. It came with responsibility. It came with the ugliness of reality. It came with pain. But it also came with love, compassion, empathy, understanding. But she shot me down, as did others, one after the other. It wasn’t the sickness itself that made that choice. It was she, them, and, I believe, it was about power. It was about not wanting to be submerged in the sickness and having to work their way through when they already have this system that works (sort of) to keep them floating. Their okay with the sacrifice. They can say it’s “my choice” and I suppose it is—my choice to recognize the truth as true. Theirs, to deny, to swallow what they know….

Hi Alice,
just read your comments while in the middle of another rambling.
I know what you’re saying here. On the other hand, if I’m still going through all this same stuff in 20 years, I’ll probably kill myself. That’s probably how my mom felt, so decided to convince herself that she had put an end to the dysfunction years ago (those were her exact words only a year or two after I’d had a breakdown and was struggling, etc.) and doesn’t want to tolerate any evidence to say otherwise. You’re right about honour to our parents. I felt bad for my mom when I had a breakdown for what I was doing to her, like it was just such a betrayal, a crime to be sad. I still have that sense of a crime to be sad. Try to keep looking on the bright side. A lesser person—wrong to be sad, lonely, pessimistic. Wonder sometimes who or what or why I’m trying to heal for. At one point my dad was questioning whatever amount of happiness I claimed to have. That was last year. I’d found enjoyment at my job, had fun with my coworkers and had moments of peace in between the hell of this whole process. Also reaching the truth that what happened wasn’t my fault, seeing that I’d been drowned, dragged under by them, and knowing that I didn’t have to allow that to continue had brought some verve to me—before the reaction to this truth came back and settle in with me. It’s a year now since then. There’s the level of wanting to heal to prove them wrong. It’s phoney healing. I recognize my family in that. A superior person thing. Having insight, being above it all, but if I’m honest with myself, even though I’m not suicidal, I wish I knew what I was living for and could answer the question why not kill myself with an answer that feels totally genuine and not about proving myself. I definitely wanted a before and after… I do have sincere moments of hope, optimism, happiness, peace but I lack something sustaining, something like roots, meaning. Yes, I can see myself capable of compassion, reaching out to others, etc., but that doesn’t answer the question of meaning and why live. There’s no meaning in being abused. You can’t say I was abused in order to help others who have been abused—it’s absurd. I could just argue euthanasia. I want to be able to articulate why I would argue for people to go through the hell of this process, and have a very solid answer that feels real, true. Right now my answer would be I don’t know what death is and that I was given a life (not by my parents but by Life; they were conduits of biology) and I don’t want to make a decision like that, not knowing anything about the future. I don’t want a power so permanent, when I don’t know if hope is just a balloon that carries you away but, well, is empty inside, which on my down days is how I feel. I’ve been told love is the meaning of life, which follows the idea that God is love, and what integrates and holds us and the experience of it is what we live for… so it makes sense why I can’t answer the question properly, if that is why we live, because my experience of love seems to end with a knife in my back or the fear or expectation of it inevitably coming… It’s hard to believe then that the larger, capital-L Love is different than the kind I’ve experienced, which wasn’t love at all. It’s hard to trust life. Anyway, I’m sorry I’m being incredibly dark and don’t mean to bring anyone down or give the impression that I’m on some ledge. I want to live or I want to want to live. But I need to be able to answer these questions. Why not suicide is not a question I want to just run away from because of fear or because you’re not “supposed to” ask that question. My mom was suicidal when she was pregnant with me, said having kids, being a mom is what she lived for, then continued the cycle of abuse which led me toward depression and suicide ideation. My uncle, whom I loved and made me feel like I was someone important, killed himself when i was a kid, and his death was the reason why I decided that God didn’t exist and life was meaningless and all I was for was to buffer my mom’s pain and accept in return whatever good times life was good enough to “let me have”… oh good lord… I seem to be having a tough night…. For now I suppose I have things like the sun feels good, summertime is nice. I made a friend at my last job who plays the mandolin and I play piano and we’re going to play some sonatas together. There’s this delicious mango juice I like to drink and cups of tea. These are the things I can fully trust the goodness of—music and food and sunlight. Water. I know I’m a writer and so I wish I could say that I trust the goodness of words, language, but I’m not there yet. I feel like it could go either way. For now the former stuff is what I live for, amongst a few more things probably that I’m not thinking of right now. It doesn’t balance out the pain. RIght now it’s the hope that there will be more to tip the scales in the future. But yes always the hesitation to believe, the fear of the knife in the back.

175

Hi Alaina,

I don’t mind dark writing either. One can’t write only about good things because by hiding them the dark things have play in us and others. Any parent who only wants a “good child” should bear this in mind.

“As long as we’re alive, other ways of being are open to us, even the options we don’t know yet.”

And this would also be my answer to “Why not kill myself?” And my other one is “to not give them the satisfaction of knowing they took me over that edge”. It’s a “screw you” at it’s finest. A way to show them that I can feel everything and live whereas they fled from the smallest discomfort.

So what is power then if you only use it to avoid life?

176

Hello Alaina, I am responding to your post 174. I have been trying to communicate with my Mother and most of my letters she ignores. Occasionally she just answers “I loved you, I always loved you.” Once though she answered “You are misreading my intentions,”

The common theme in all of her responses is they are completely about her. Not once has she addressed my feelings or what I am saying to her. She refuses to acknowledge me as a real person with real feelings. In fact, the only thing she has acknowledged is what she considers my mistake of misreading her intentions.

She is nothing but exasperated that I would assert my boundaries, it is simply proof to her that there is something wrong with me, that I am a troublemaker and everything she ever taught me about myself is true. I remember just getting sick was an affront to her.

So then thinking about that darkness. That lack of meaning we can feel, endlessly exhausting. This work so hard, the payout seems often too small in light of the pain. Then the regrets, the stuff that has been lost that we can never get back. All too often it feel like a hamster wheel.

I’m getting some glimpses though, I have been exploring this dark feeling for many years and although I was looking under the assumption it was part of the flaw my family said I was born with, I did learn a great deal about depression, anxiety ect. This dark feeling is different in many ways from garden variety major, chronic depression.

For me, I am starting to understand, and only in very small glimpses that it is as if someone cursed me. That I have been under a spell. My thoughts travel a very specific path. It was a very necessary path in my childhood but now it no longer serves me and just plays over and over like a broken record. The hamster wheel.

For me the problem is that I don’t understand what meaning is. For me meaning is still a construct about how successful I am, what I look like, what I accomplish, it is an image a false God, courtesy of my narcissistic family. Part of meaning for me is still showing them that I can be everything they said I couldn’t be but needed to be to have value. It is such a muddled mess that I think often when real meaning is looking me right in the face I don’t recognize it.

There is this work of connecting to our deeper selves but it is fraught with dread and doom. I have never been allowed to have anything that is mine. I am so used to having the rug ripped out from under me. My favorite phrase hung on a poster on my bedroom wall from my preteen years onward, “Blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed,”

The biggest thing I wasn’t allowed was myself. When she emerged in childhood she was pulled into the public square, stripped, exposed, humiliated and dissected. They placed their sins on me, my scapegoat mantel and sent me to wander off alone. There was nothing more dangerous then letting them see me. That was when I was at my most vulnerable and when they would go for the kill.

Is it any wonder that when we start to reconnect to our authentic selves we are filled with dread? And for people who were never allowed to explore and develop a sense of what was real and meaningful, all we are left with when it comes to meaning are these crumbling structures our families once locked us in. They posted guards all around to make sure we never escaped.

I feel like those dogs in the learned helplessness study, they got shocked when they tried to leave so they stopped moving, stopped trying to get out. Even once the electricity was turned off, they stayed. How dark and depressing is that?

I just maybe think sometimes I have been existing in an alternate reality and I have certain ideas about what meaning and happiness are but in the real world they are something completely different and much more attainable then we know.

177

Thanks for this Darlene. I still very much struggle with these messages from the church, and sometimes think people don’t realize the implications of their words to survivors. I am not speaking of the ones who dismiss abuse and try to cover it up, but the ones who are ignorant of what it’s like to know abuse and how we often see ourselves. I follow Jesus, but I’m realizing it’s more from fear and “behaving” than a response to his love. I’m not even sure I believe God loves me because my shame has warped my self image. However, he continues to pursue me, remind me of his love and his words, that I am not dirty in his eyes. The man who abused me is not dirty in his eyes either, but bears the responsibility and guilt for what he did to me. My hope is to know beyond any doubt or shame that I am loved without conditions, without performance, without following rules or expectations. I’m not there yet.

179

Thank you Darlene for posting about Spiritual Abuse. My best friend is D.I.D. and this is a huge issue for her. Many of the things you speak about, I have told my friend over the years. Very slowly, she is now trying to come around to understand what you and I have both said. I pray she continues in her journey of self realization, self love, self forgiveness and strengthening her belief in a loving God. Bless you for sharing your journey, your truths and your love.

180

Hi Cierra
That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing this with me!
hugs, Darlene

181

Hi Healing
Welcome to EFB~ I totally relate to what you are saying. I had the same problem and today it is resolved! Also, your hope to know that you are loved without conditions was my hope too and I am about 90% – 95% and some days 100% of the way there in my relationship with God.
Glad you are here,
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

182

Hi Trisha
Welcome to EFB ~ no you don’t deserve that. I hope you will find healing and comfort here.
hugs, Darlene

183

I was sexually abused by an uncle. I told my parents and all I remember them doing was telling me to stay away from him. An aunt (not the one married to the uncle) thought she would be helpful. She told me I was getting to old to hug and kiss “uncles”, that I was becoming a young lady (I was 11) and I should leave men alone. It took me years to get over the guilt brought on by that experience. I imagined I had been complacent, forgetting how I had tried to get away. He eventually (several years later) went to prison for molesting another little girl. I wish I had spoken up but I didn’t and I wonder how many he got his big hands on. He came out of prison a broken man and a few years later ended up in a nursing home. I went to see him before he died. He had had a stroke and no longer walked or spoke but his mind was still alert and I saw recognition on his face when I walked into the room but then a cloudy resignation came over it. I told him that I forgave him but not for him, for me. I wanted to be rid of those negative feelings. They were making me sick. There was no look of relief or kindness, only sullenness. I’m glad I forgave him because in doing so I was able to put to rest.

184

Hi Darbi
Welcome to EFB ~ Thank you for sharing with us.
When you said that he eventually went to prison for molesting another little girl, you added that you wished you had spoken up but you didn’t… and you add that you wonder how many other little girls he got his hands on.
I want to point out that you DID speak up and you were not heard. You told your parents. You told an aunt. You told but the adults in your life did not stop the abuser.
Thanks for sharing,
Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

185

for years i have struggled with the decision of whether or not to expose the sexual abuser for his actions (35 years ago). It has cause a huge drift between myself, my mother and my brother. My step-father molested my sister and I, then when he remarried again also molested his step-daughter in that marriage. My brother refuses to believe that his father would do something like that, and my mother stayed with him (the abuser) for 2 years after she found out about the abuse.SO I have a lot of anger at them (mother and brother). I also feel the need to let others know what he did in case he decides to repeat his actions. what do I do?!

186

Hi. My name is Cat, and I’m a Momaholic.

I’ve been Low Contact with mom (who lives 800 miles away) for over a year due to the strength I’ve gained from EFB, and the realization that my best chance for regaining my real self was to stop playing into her games. We had settled into what I felt was a relatively comfortable state of superficial and infrequent phone calls, chaperoned by peace-maker stepdad on the line. Not pleasant, but ok, and I still had that need to try to be nice because she is 89 yrs old.
Armed with shared insights from EFB friends, I’ve been ‘maintaining.’

Until I LAPSED on Saturday. Yes I gave in to weakness. The weakness of kindness. And the weakness of ego thinking I was strong enough to reach out with a small act of kindness. …… After several weeks without giving a call, I was in a good enough mood, nothing goin’ on, I thought, “I’ll give mom a call just to say hi – maybe it will make her feel better – no agenda, no tension, just ‘how’s the weather,’ etc.” Short and sweet. Well it was short all right. She’s quite different when stepdad isn’t in the room. After the opening “I just called to say hi..” she launched into an announcement that my brother-in-law had been in the hospital, and when I said I didn’t know about it, it triggered a sore subject and she literally started screaming at me. I calmly (really!) said quietly, “are you going to start yelling at me now?” Amazingly, she said YES and continued on and on – but I don’t know what she said because I just hit the END button. And then crumbled. After all this time, when she KNOWS how ‘delicate’ our interaction has to be…I was shocked she didn’t think twice about going right back where we left off 16 months ago.

All these months of one-day-at-a-time schooling myself, two steps forward – one step back, actually feeling fairly comfortable with the situation as it had to be, and there I was, back to March 2013 when I made that commitment to myself and discovered EFB.

I gave in to some need to do the right thing, be nice, she’s old, etc etc. Not that a brief phone call would be a forgiveness thing or forgetting the disrespect and mental cruelty, but just a moment of “kindness.” To make ME feel good thinking I’m making her feel good. But it only rattled her cage. The sleeping dragon or whatever. I feel so defeated, and it does remind me of what AA members go through. But it’s not drug or alcohol addiction. It’s MOM addiction.

I DO know in my head that it’s not my fault, I can’t change her, I can’t make her treat me the way I want to be treated, that chasing after her approval and love never got me anywhere except to be her scapegoat…. yeah I know all that. But I can’t go NO contact. Just can’t, because she would orchestrate it so my other family members, however distant, would be gone too.
So on Saturday I grieved (again) and Sunday I was angry at the world, and on Monday I unhappily started the process of Acceptance again. But I’m mad at myself for rocking the boat by choosing to make that simple little phone call. I forgot that you can’t pet a rattlesnake and not get bitten.

187

Catalina, I’ve done the same thing and even since being NC, I’ve thought to myself “I feel better, I can handle it” but I know that it’s very probable that nothing will have changed. I tried more than a few times “Maybe this time I’ll be able to talk with her about the past and how it affected me” but it blew up in my face. I’m NC with the entire family. Some of them as a consequence of their own mistreatment of me (wonder who gave them the ok?) and others because they never really were in contact with me other than through the others. And they haven’t reached out to me since either.
Some people might say “Well it’s up to you to reach out to them” and I don’t know what to say. I think it is better that I don’t re-open everything again. I don’t think anything will have changed.

188

Hi Lorna
Only you can decide what action to take but I think you will find much insight in these posts and comments throughout the entire site.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Catalina
I went back and was filled with hope, it was just another lesson or re-enforcement to the truth that I had been learning. It is so hard to believe or comprehend that some parents would rather ‘be right’ than change the way they treat me. It’s as though if they hear me, or actually do something that indicates that they are hearing me, that would ‘prove’ that they were wrong in the first place. And so many of us, believing that maybe we can have that mom who loves us, who misses us, and maybe just maybe I shouldn’t have drawn the boundary…. go back. Just to see. Just out of hope! Just in case maybe just maybe they missed us…
My heart goes out to you but don’t think of it as a mistake… think of it as your human desire to be loved by your own mother. And that is okay. I still find myself wondering if my mother thinks of me, or misses me ~ but then I remember that she has a choice about her actions as do I.
hugs, Darlene

189

Catalina … I feel for you … and so true … its like trying to reach out to hug a porcupine. I cannot tell you how many times I wanted and did reach out – to be kind to my NPD mother. And it didn’t matter what I did, she always stuck me in the heart … again and again. Its always a process … and mine was long and arduous … in the end, as hard as it was, I had to go strict no contact with not only my NPD mother, but her enablers as well which was not only immediate family, but extended family and family friends even. Yes, the smearing and lying went deep. That was four years ago when I went strict no contact – its really hard being and feeling so utterly rejected, but in my case – the decision was the best decision not only for myself, but for my husband and our children as well. And I am far more blessed and far more happier than I ever thought I’d be.

For me … my being nice and kind wasn’t enough to love her into loving me or accepting me. She smeared me, ruining my reputation with others. For me – it got to the point of having to go no contact or die inside. The point is, its really hard letting go. There are times I truly miss some of them … until I remember how much they rejected me and never stood up for me. I have no guilt or regret about the decisions I’ve made.

These hiccups are never mistakes … they are validations telling us that they will never change and have no intention to ever change. They are indeed ‘learning experiences.’ <3

190

Rise!

I think you hit the nail on the head and singled out the biggest most important truth that we tend to miss!

“my being nice and kind wasn’t enough to love her into loving me or accepting me”

We CAN’T love people into loving us. I’m not sure it can work with anyone at all, but abusers in particular have a faulty “intake valve” that doesn’t allow our love IN!

It’s definitely a big religious sort of concept to love people out of their pain, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it work in real life. Not at the point that hurting people turn into people who hurt other people without notice.

Beauty & the Beast doesn’t happen in the real world.

Hobie

191

Hi Darlene, Thanks for this one too!! This was the case for me last fall when I was working with a business coach. She (possibly with good intentions) was upset when I wanted to stop working with her so that I could focus on healing the “abuse” issues from childhood that were surfacing at the time. I could sense that I wanted much deeper healing than what she could provide (she was hired as a coach to help me start my own coaching practice). So… in line with my programing I repented and “realized” that I was victimizing myself and went straight back into stuffing my problems and moving forward with her program. (There was a financial commitment to completing her program that I had signed several months beforehand). It has taken another year (almost) for me to surface those “abuse” issues again and have an opportunity to face them straight on. It is almost comical to me, in a way, that the coach almost became another abuser. It was another relationship where the needs of someone else (and their story) was given more weight (in my mind) than my own.

I appreciated what she taught me about the value of seeing myself as empowered… and not “victimizing” myself. However what is not present in her teaching… is the importance of facing real traumas and abuse in a proactive and healthy way so that the cycle stops. This is what I am committed to doing now. I wont claim to be a victim who is always being taken advantage of and who is perpetually limited by a past abuse. But I WILL sit with, recognize, heal, and seek therapy for the wounds that are still causing pain and problems in my current reality. I can see now that the pain that I experience on a daily basis finds relief as I open up and share what happened… with people who are supportive and respectful and kind. Each time I open up honestly (to supportive people) and even do journal work with myself… healing occurs and the pressure that has been submerged beneath the surface is released.

So…I have found a support group for sexual abuse in my area and have made a commitment to start attending. I plan to go to my first meeting in two days from today. 🙂

Thanks again for this amazing site for healing. Even just sharing my thoughts on this forum feels therapeutic. Thanks again!!!

Naomi

192

Hobie …

So true … ‘Beauty and the Beast’ certainly is not true in the real world. Yes, the biggest light bulb moment for me in omitting her from my life was that there was nothing I could ever say or do that would ever make her love me or accept me. When the love isn’t there – why bother with trying to make a relationship out of nothing? Over the years she painted me enough as a ‘crazy person’ for other family members to also pull away. No one stood up for me or came to my defence which is very classic in the narcissistic family.

I called my family of origin on me being the liar. I told them that IF they think I’m the one that is lying then I don’t see much point of having relationships with any of you. I haven’t heard from them in 4 years. Some people (who don’t understand narcissism/NPD) think its harsh – but is it?! I mean, if you really think about it – how can a person honestly have a healthy relationship with someone who thinks you’re lying about an abusive mother??

It hurt like h*ll when I broke the necessary ties … I was a complete mess … but now am happier than I have ever been. Toxic relationships are not worth pursuing no matter how much you love them.

193
marquis (female)
July 30th, 2014 at 8:17 pm

I agree with Rise. I always told people that for years, how can you have healthy relationships with those who are toxic, compulsive liars, paints the picture the way they want to see it, etc? With my parents, everybody is lying and don’t see how 3 people (myself and 2 siblings) are lying lol.

My ex-therapist felt it would be “Awful” to “disown” my parents. I looked at her thinking ‘god this woman kisses a lot of ass yuck!’ It’s not her damn decision or family, told her to stfu! People say it’s harsh and asked them ‘why is it so terrible for the victim to disown the family but never terrible for the toxic relatives to disown their own children/relatives?’ Never got an answer. I did have someone tell me one that that it is selfish the usual crap not really anything different: selfish, terrible child, you will be damned in hell, God will punish you, honor/love thy parents anyway, children should know their place, parents are always right (lmao really?!) etc really NOTHING new under the sun!

Can’t wait to leave once I get enough money! I made my mind long ago what I was gonna do once I leave and people don’t like it – that’s fine not their family!

194

Thank you Alice and Darlene for your responses to my “momaholic” comments. I’m reading them over and over because they really help.

And Hobie, your description of a “faulty intake valve” gave me a laugh!
HA!

195

Love this article Darlene! I’ve come to realize that I used denial to protect myself from further harm when I was a child and how it tried to destroy me as an adult. Liftig the veils of denial has been my greatest gift to myself.

I see how clearly now how victims become abusers if they fail to lift the veils of denial. I see how denial keeps the dysfunctional systems fueled. Truth is what dismantles all the lies that have built their coccoon around me. It’s not an easy undertaking but it sure is worth it. I’m incredibly grateful that more people are opening up about what they experienced. It makes a clearer path for everyone else. I pray for the day that we all become more enlightened on this subject and learn to love ourselves more.

Thank you for sharing Darlene, always grateful to receive your insights.

196

I got a little sidetracked this week and I see that I am behind on the comments; I have been getting my e-book all ready! AND it is available now! See the book button on the top right side bar here in the website! That is where you can get your copy and it can be downloaded to read on computer, iPad, kindle and kobo or any other e-format!
hugs! Darlene
p.s. this is an E BOOK only ~ it is not a hard copy.
Please follow the instruction that come up for registration etc. ~

197
BruisedNotBleeding
July 31st, 2014 at 6:41 pm

My Abuser had me in the place of having no money, no car and I was scared to death , I would reach out to my Christian friends and they would tell me I had no rights, I gave up my rights when I became a Christian. Those words were devastating to me, I was in despair and felt absolutely hopeless allready. I didn’t have support from my family and having my church family be so ignorant to me was more then I could handle. What it did do for me was teach me to really look at who Jesus really was and how he treated women. So I became less dependant on those groups and took every opportunity to get smarter and healthier. I became stronger little by little but I got out and created a new life.

198

I have no desire, or need, to forgive my abusers. That kind of thinking held me back for too long. I received no sympathy and I feel no need to give it those that denied it to me.
What a revelation to learn that I don’t have to forgive to heal! I tried, but something about that just didn’t feel right to me.

199

Hi Alice and Kaycee,
Thanks for writing me earlier and sorry for taking several days to get back to you. I’m doing loads better today. Kaycee, I could really identify with your crumbling structures imagery. Just before I read your comments, I was imagining myself being in this empty lot with broken down remnants of torture chambers, standing there and imagining myself building again, imagining I’m building myself a castle, but somewhere a long the line, I realize that I’m building another prison, and have to break it all down again. Then again I start imagining myself building a castle, but again and again, ad infinitum, I’m building prisons. But in reality (in my imagining), I’m not actually building anything; I’m just standing there in the empty lot thinking that’s what’s going to happen… because I’ve certainly done it a few times.

Yes, it is like those learned helplessness dogs, but I know that it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. A good, loving trainer could help those dogs. And we have ourselves and those, like Darlene and each of us, who help us learn.

I understood what you meant, Alice, about the power in the situation and the “screw you” but for me there’s no sustaining power or happiness in living in response or retaliation to them. For one, because no matter what, they’ll always have an answer, so “screw yous” even in my own mind don’t work. The other part of that is in my own history, wanting to kill myself wasn’t allowed. Having lived in the aftermath of a suicide, I knew and felt deeply the incredible pain it caused the family. In that way, suicide, in my world, has been something inflicted on other people. I lived in the mindset of you can never do that to people. I carried a lot of guilt when the suicide scare happened when I was a teen and my mom told me about all the family members she called to see if they knew anything…. all these people’s worries I had to assuage. To live in my family meant I had to live in a reality that was killing me and made me want to die but I could never be allowed to kill myself, not ever, and just to think about it, want it, was horribly selfish. It wasn’t right.

What I actually did in order to go through these feelings was validate the complete legitimacy of wanting to die. Excruciating pain inspires the feeling of wanting to die and the thought of going through that for—what?—the rest of my life without progress is horrendous. I gave myself permission to die if I wanted to. This may not sound like good “parenting/reparenting skills” but it was what I needed. Someone who said to me that they don’t want me to die, they hope I stick around and share more experiences with them, they love me, but they understand totally, and if I really want to do it, they’ll take me to a bridge, buy me some pills, whatever I want. This sort of broke my heart. This was the kind of love I needed. It may be completely amoral, but I needed this. I don’t have anyone really close to me. My family forfeited whatever claim they could imagine they had on my life when they refused to take responsibility for their actions and inactions. I’m free and owe no one my life, so I gave myself permission to die and found that, no, I most definitely don’t want to. I have experienced what’s good in life and I am in no way ready to go yet.

Going to this place opened some truths up for me in what I believe about life. Kaycee, when you said that you thought that meaning was probably much more attainable than we know and how you think often real meaning is staring you right in the face and we just can’t recognize it, I think that is so true. I thought about a tree and if it was given consciousness/self-consciousness what would its meaning and purpose be. Well, to be a tree, to experience what it is to be a tree in itself and relation to the world around it, etc. I landed at the doorsteps of these broken people who were supposed to take care of me, to help me to go forward into life, to experience life, etc., while my brain was still developing. Attachments and bonding happen. For whatever reason, they are a part of being human and they are necessary (and when they’re good, they are certainly a big part of what we’re living for). They’re in fact more often “stronger” through bad experiences because the sense of threat to yourself produces more need for love, help and sense of safety, so this screws with you when you land at the doorsteps of these broken people who don’t know how to manage life. I know others think that there’s reason for everything, but I think it’s random. Random in the same way that it was random that I was born in the country I was born in, instead of somewhere around the world. Just as arbitrary. Of course, if we are lucky, we’re born to wonderful parents who truly love us and see us and help us, who become solid parts of who we are, without limiting us to being solely who they are, creating for us the foundations from which we spring our lives.

I realized that there are good experiences and bad, and that we always to some extent hold onto our essential helplessness. It’s not as bad as when we were kids. We do have more power, more options (or we can have them). Then, we had very little. Our coping mechanisms grew in a world where there simply weren’t better options for us. Still, we remain subject to our circumstances, to some extent. I hate getting stuck between the positive view of life and the negative view of life; one person arguing there’s more good than bad, the other, that there’s more bad than good. I’m not sure it’s really quantifiable, and what it’s really doing is projecting personal, subjective experience onto a universal truth. And now it seems to me completely stupid, completely beside the point. The point is there’s good stuff and there’s bad stuff. Some of the bad stuff is avoidable; some of it isn’t. You can go find the good stuff. You can cultivate it. Sometimes it finds you (just like the bad does, too). Why spend any more time in the bad than you have to? If your family refuses to treat you with love, dignity, respect, why should you spend any more time there? They can figure their shit out themselves. I did what I could to change things, to open up a possibility there for them and us as a family and they didn’t take it. What else could I do with a problem I didn’t even cause? All I can do is put the burden down and walk on. There’s nothing I miss about my relationship to any of my family because with everyone, there was some kind of cage. I miss some aspects of them but not as a part of their relationship to me. I have no desire to go back and be the me that I was with them, and unless they change, that me is the only me that’s available in relationship with them. So I have no option. I feel that I’ve learned what I needed to learn, that I know the truth of what happened, and I don’t believe in the lies they live in, nor want to be a part of any of that.

Something that was valuable in letting myself go there with the suicidal thinking was I realized how often with this reparenting thing, I’ve been imposing an idea of what this parental voice should sound like and I think I’ve had a nagging feeling like the progress I’ve made so far might be phoney because of this. I was definitely sucked into that depression voice, that hopeless, dreary, self-sabotaging, “it will always be this way” voice, and while it was most definitely familiar, I woke up this morning feeling “more myself.” That’s when I knew my dad was wrong when he tried to suggest that the happiness I had found wasn’t real. The fact that when I felt better, I felt more like “myself,” that says a lot… But I also drew from this the fact that the reparenting thing doesn’t have to be either a paternal or maternal voice. It can be a friend. It doesn’t have to sound a certain way, like some generic voice of “healthy living,” something copy and pasted from an Oprah magazine or something… It just has to care about you, love you, where and how and when you need it. It’s funny because in this subtle way while this reparenting voice I was using in theory was everything it was supposed to be, it wasn’t always suited to me. In order to try to take it in and believe in it, I was trying to fold myself to it, and so I was doing what I’ve always done, trying to make myself other to suit someone else.

I gather that meaning comes from finding whatever feels meaningful to you for whatever reason and dedicating yourself to it, and from walking away from the stuff that sucks that feeling out of you, that takes you down and makes you want to die. There’s good reason that stuff makes you want to die—because it’s killing you. I can’t help it if other people don’t want to come with me or if they feel that I’m supposed to stay in that world. They are wrong and they have no right to try to keep me in a world that just wants to kill me (without ever fully going through with it or letting me go through with it, which has got to be the definition of hell).

What I know is I can do this. I was worried about going on with life, if I’d be able to handle even a normal dosage of loss, which life will inevitably offer up. And what I’ve come to is that no matter what, on a day-to-day basis, I’ll be able to assess my options and do the best I can. If I lose my mind like I did when I had my breakdown, if I don’t manage to save myself and I die, if I kill myself, losing a hold of myself and everything I’ve learned, it will be a tragedy. Not some horrible thing I did to other people, but a tragedy, and if I could separate myself at that moment, all I’d say is rest in peace, because when you choose to live, you choose not only to make the best choices you can, you also choose to be subject to any number of possible and potential tragedies life might offer up, of which only so much is controllable. We are all still children of this earth and not gods. Our power always was and always will be limited. I’m just going to do the best I can to live a life that feels right to me, that is enjoyable and meaningful to me, and do my best to deal with the hard stuff as it comes.

Anyway, if you got to the end of this, thank you for reading! I’m glad to be feeling more myself again. I hope we will all just keep growing and connecting to ourselves and what’s good and important. It’s hard when you weren’t ever allowed that, when your parents were the gatekeepers to your own souls and how much if at all you were allowed to connect and be and live as the person you were/are was wrongly decided by them and their actions. I hope only that we all just keep trucking along because we are worth it.

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Hi Patty
Welcome to EFB ~ that thinking held me back for too long as well!
Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

201

Hi Alaina
That is the decision that I made too; (do the best that I can to live a life that feels right to me, and in my words, I try to live in the true definition of love and that means love for all and the definition of “best” always helps me with that when it comes to other people)
hugs, Darlene

202

Hi Alaina!

I did read all the way to the end and it was very well expressed. Yes I am living in so many ways out of a reaction to the way I was mistreated. Yes it is this way and I do not feel that I should be doing it any other way. Exactly as you suggest in your post. I suppose I made my life out to be “overreactive” with little place for reflection or a healthy connection to myself (whatever that is) but in practice it’s not exactly that either.

So you are right all the way through!

203

Hi Alice!
Thanks for listening to me again!! I can really “talk” a lot!
It’s funny. I was definitely taught growing up to kind of disdain rebelliousness, like it was a sign of immaturity and since I received most of the little self-esteem I had from whatever amount of intelligence I had and being “wise for my years” and “an adult from the age of three,” according to my mom (though she also believed I had a hard time steering myself through life in the most basic ways, about which she was mostly right in the learned helplessness way; I was and am still rather socially crippled)… I then never rebelled and had pride in not being that kind of person! When I think of all the ways we are manipulated, if I imagined the manipulators had actually crafted out their whole plan straight from the beginning, the deviousness of it all is mind-blowing. But while no doubt everything is about getting what they want, I do know that most of the stuff isn’t even really conscious. Not that it changes anything but just that it’s crazy how some of this stuff works—the pride I got from not rebelling against their mistreatment because they taught me that made me better than other people. The idea being that rebelling was this purely reactionary thing. The fact that what you might be reacting against was wrong is somehow incidental! What you were to do is hold the knowledge of the wrongness in your heart, but not rebel because rebelling is reactionary, and I suppose wait till the person gets a clue to the wrongness… meaning somehow the right thing to do is to go along with the wrong thing until the point the other person understands (because of course you’re supposed to be understanding of why they don’t understand). It’s appalling when I think how this was the sort of thing my great aunt was putting forward, in letting things go with my brother who just didn’t understand. She had said that she would talk to him for me if she felt that he was open to listen but she felt he wasn’t open to it, so she never tried. (At the time I felt like I couldn’t even tell my brother she had said that because I felt that would be disloyal to my friendship to her!) She pretty much said that maybe someday something bad will happen in his family and then he’ll start looking closer. That is appalling to me. I have a two year old nephew… so what? you don’t even try to speak up when you know better, even when you know the kind of damage dysfunction does? You “hope” that maybe a crisis will happen and that will spur on a search for answers? meanwhile staying quiet about what you know… That is crazy!! I’m glad that I’ve rebelled and reacted against their way of life because it was the right thing to do. I’m glad you have too. The more of us the better. The more we understand the why of it, the better too.

Hi Darlene!
Thanks for your words! I’ve been reading your book! It’s nice to have it all organized like that! I hope I can build a good life for myself. Sometimes I see so much ahead of me and there’s a jumbled up mess of fear, procrastination, overwhelm, uncertainty, desire, fantasy (that bleeds into procrastination and disappointment, confusion), etc. Some of this has to do with the novel I’m wanting to write. Sometimes I think I’m nuts. Sometimes I get the voices of people who have wondered why the heck I write the kinds of stuff I do—people who don’t like the dark and more or less think I’m wasting my talent. To be fair these are a minority of the people who have ever read my stuff, but sometimes I question myself. I know the oldest daughter in the story pulls herself through, so there’s that thread (though I haven’t plotted out exactly how she does this), but it’s going into the mind of her mother, who, for whatever reason, I’ve decided is going to carry the core of my own story, that holds me back. Part of me asks why on earth are you casting yourself into a character who kills two of her children and herself? And my honest answer is because that’s the story and I’m either going to sit here on my couch not writing it but never letting myself off the hook or I’m going to push through and write it. But I do sometimes think I’m nuts.

204

Hi Alaina!

Yes, this is part of the “be the bigger or the better person” fallacy that gets doled out to people in order to prevent them from doing anything about it. Along with “suck it up” and “just get over it” which to me mean “Do not go seeking reparation or even just acknowledgement of this.”

It is unconscious but strange that it is an appeal to a higher consciousness on the part of the injured party.

I also prided myself on being more thoughtful and contemplative than others. Slow to anger (although this is wrong, I just stuffed it). “Easygoing” which means I just went along with whatever, never having my own needs. I mean to the point where people will recall events with others and I will have to remind them that I was also there! I’ve started doing that. “I was there and I helped xyz” Or “I was there and I saw this part differently”. I now correct people if they misquote me on something. I still have a little trouble with the latter as I feel as if I will get into trouble or as if I have been too harsh or demanding.

Anyway, I wanted to add yes that I was punished for my rebellion. And yes, I rebelled against all that was wrong in our family and that did not sit well with anyone. So of course it’s easier to lump all of the issues onto me (this is the scapegoat) rather than taking a closer look at them.
Prior to that, I had been somewhat “golden” too, as the family had also lumped their ideals of success onto me as well.

Why choose consciousness if unconsciousness is easier?

On darker reading, I read an excellent dark novel by and about a woman who had been through horrific abuse by her family and then gone on to live a somewhat self-destructive life. The ending was ultimately happy, she made it through.

Were many of us here on EFB to write factually about our lives, I suspect it would be very dark in places. But personally, I’m not going to gloss over things just to avoid other people’s discomfort. They can avoid it all by themselves well enough, as my mother has proved to me time and again when I state facts and question why she did certain things. I asked her why she would lock a crying toddler outside in the rain and the dark and have the child banging the door and screaming to be let back in. And she told me “It was just what you did at the time”. Or another time I asked the same question that such “techniques” came in fact from my father’s family (recognized by my father and mother as abusive!)

The facts are that my mother punished me on a level consistent with whatever mood she was in (this I also recognized in Darlene’s book). And so I had to become an expert in understanding what her moods were in order to find some way of avoiding whatever she doled out. I would monitor her breathing and gestures as she drove or did dishes so I could detect whether she was angry or not. It got so I could practically tell it from a room away, or from upstairs where my room became my refuge as well as where I was sent after punishment or where I was dragged from half asleep to be punished by slapping after some discussion with my father and grandmother had convinced her that it was necessary.

So I became an expert in listening to these discussions from the top of the stairs in order to gauge the likelihood of punishment, and what I would say in my defense. A direct consequence of that practice was that I could easily hear conversations and worry that people were talking about me. It’s a distortion I know but for so long it wasn’t. I was talked about and not with.

205

Alice,

I understand exactly what you’re saying when you say your mother punished you on a level based on whatever mood she was in. Th pat answer of “Well that’s just what was done during that time” is no answer at all, and just an excuse so they don’t have to own up to their unstable and abusive behavior.

I’ve found that, since I’ve stopped making excuses for those that abused me, I’ve stopped making excuses for myself to continue believing falsely….about everything. Staying hyper-alert to the moods of my mother and anyone else who I perceived to have some power over me was exhausting, but like you, I felt it had to be done. It was a matter of survival at that stage.

I find now that I make up things to stay hyper-alert about, because fear/anxiety has become habitual with me 🙁

206

Callynt and Alice, Yes! I too got punished according to whatever mood my mother was in. In fact when I would come in from school, many times my greeting was “don’t ask me for anything because whatever it is the answer is NO!” Imagine being in a situation where you really needed something as a small child and you would fear asking for it because your mother was in a bad mood and was gonna deny you getting it. This was one of many reasons I shut myself down as a child. And spankings too would become more severe depending on her mood. No self control at all, and her kids, especially me, the only daughter became the whipping boy for her moods.

Callynt, I agree that it is time to stop making excuses for abusive people, including those behaving abusively in the here and now. I don’t care what their problems are. Don’t take those problems out on me. I’m tired of attracting people who are looking for someone who seems insecure who they can take advantage of and direct their nastiness at. I don’t deserve their crappy treatment and I won’t accept it. I understand what you mean about being hyper alert. When we are constantly exposed to nasty and abusive people our radar is always up. Many times I have gotten anxious over things that never ended up happening because I was being hyper alert in order to prepare for all possibilities.

207

Callynt, it feels so good to have someone say that that answer was rubbish. It’s a small thing but to know that not everyone goes around justifying this parental behavior is already huge for me. As a child and well into adulthood I was surrounded by people who claimed that she had done her best. She herself would say “Well, nobody’s perfect” as if what we were talking about was unavoidable or worse, that an actual loving mother was unattainable. I think that was worse, to imagine the world filled with people like her. Happily over time I have met better parents and better mothers but to hear her it was as if this was was as good as it gets.
And she would appeal to the worse mothers “At least I didn’t beat you”. Well no mother, technically slapping me in the face is not beating, you’ve got me there. Funny she didn’t compare herself with the good ones.

Amber, yes I recall some “Don’t even ask” moments with her. I didn’t give up asking entirely but I did avoid needing anything. And to me, to need something from someone else is the scariest feeling.

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Alice, it WAS scary to need things from my mother because she was so volatile. The sad thing is that as kids we were completely dependent on our parents and had every right to have those needs met by them, yet many of us were treated as if we were a nuisance for having needs, and many of us didn’t have them met.

If my mother “did the best she could” I would greatly fear ever seeing what less than her best was like.

209

Amber, I keep thinking how much worse your mother was. And so many other accounts here too. I sometimes go round and round with that. As if emotional abuse and “ordinary” neglect weren’t really that big of a deal. But if they weren’t, why am I still here, going over painful episodes and realizing how this thing or that thing hurt me and paved the way for me to be over sensitive, easily hurt? I keep thinking things are better and then I’ll hit something in the present that sets off some awful feelings but that takes hours if not days to figure out why it has affected me.

210

I’ve been lurking, learning. I have an off topic rant. Have you ever noticed in literature and the movies the favored child is always the good one and the less favored child is always inherently bad, jealous and destructive? Th villain?

And completely unrelated to that I get the feeling that I am supposed to be ashamed of speaking my truth in my family. I can’t explain it, it is weird but the people who failed me so horribly want me to be ashamed about it. Does that make any sense? It is this weird revelation I had this week.

Sorry to barge in, I have been reading all of the comments diligently, just been exhausted as my family has been down with some sort of virus and I’ve been too wiped to add anything of value. Just spent a lot of time on the couch watching movies and noticed this.

211

Alice, I don’t think we should get caught up in who had it worse scenarios, because we are all here because we got hurt in some way, shape or form. I think emotional abuse is particularly hard because there is an invisible component to it. No bruises, scars or any other markings on the outside. Instead they are on the inside and many people won’t recognize that which they can’t see. I have loads of those painful episodes that I go over and many of them I just have difficulty getting answers to why they happened. I would suspect that I am easily hurt and very sensitive because many little girl hurts have not yet been resolved. I find that the things that are most painful in adulthood echo hurts from childhood. For example, if I was left out of a gathering of woman I know now, it takes me right back to the fourth grade playground where I experienced a lot of pain when a group of girls, including my best friend formed a club and would not let me join. I was hurt being left out but even more so by my friend who didn’t advocate for me. At that time I had very few friends so it was excruciating to be left out. Now, even though I have a lot of friends and get included in many activities, I can go right back to that girlhood hurt if I am not included in a gathering. That tells me that the hurt has not yet been resolved, because not being included now has a lot less impact on my life than it did during my nearly friendless childhood.
I also know how it feels to think I’ve made a lot of progress, and then feel hurt about something in the present and feel like I went backwards. But then I remind myself of all the I sight Ive gained and that I can see the truth more easily now, and I can even comfort myself sometimes now by hearing myself and talking to that hurt little girl. So I know I have made progress even though I still hit some brick walls. I’m trying yo look at the emotional setbacks as part of the process ; that maybe thers just more stuff that has to be let out. And it’s gonna hurt sometimes and feel like Im hoping backwards but it’s actually a necessary step to go forward. Hope the way I explained it makes sense! 🙂

212

Alice, spellcheck messed up my message, but I think the ideas remained intact.

Kaycee, I think they want you to be ashamed to talk so that you don’t talk! Only people who have something to hide would shame someone out of talking. I never thought about the unfavored child in literature, but if they are displaying those characteristics, there is a reason for it. Let’s start by looking at the parents.

213

You know, as I work through my issues so to speak, it seems that my biggest problem is acknowledging my emotions. When I was a child, with so much emotional turmoil and abuse with my mother, I learned to stuff my emotions. This is what made me overly sensitive, because I kept looking for people and situations where I wouldn’t get hurt. It’s unrealistic. If our emotional development was nurtured properly, I doubt if many of us would be here today.

I guess I said all of that to say, I am glad I found this blog and these discussion boards. I also thank you all for helping me to validate my feelings.

214

I’ve seen the phrase “overly sensitive” in several recent posts as if sensitivity is a bad thing. I THINK Darlene has a quote on this site somewhere that says something like: The world needs more sensitive people! Being sensitive is a good thing, in fact it is SPLENDID!

I like thinking that way!

Hobie

215

I think ” overly sensitive” is used a lot in the context of being easily hurt. But being sensitive in the sense of being a kind and caring person is indeed Splendid! I just have to be careful in who I share my kindness with, as there are many people who would just use it for their own benefit.
Of course there are reasons why we are easily hurt. As I described in my earlier post, things that trigger unexpressed childhood wounds, particularly rejection are what still causes the deepest hurts for me today.

216

I think being highly sensitive is like being gifted. It is an ability to understand others and feel things deeply. It is also the ability to see through the sickness in our family often at a very young age. Everything I have read says that it is the most sensitive child that is most frequently scapegoated. It is one of the ways abusers take our gifts our strengths and use it against us.

Interesting now that I am looking deeply at my family in therapy and really understanding how sick it is, I am learning that I experienced the symptoms of the sickness of my family more deeply than the others. They used this to point a finger at me and say I was the one who was sick, that I was the cause of the illness and dysfunction. I believed them.

217

Amber, yes I think I understood what you meant. I have been struggling with how to speak with people I am angry at for having behaved towards me in a less than respectful manner when these same people are people I want or need something from.

Because I was taught that anger itself was bad and not to be expressed at all, I didn’t learn how
to deal with these situations. I mean I often mistake not being able to express fury towards people with not being able to say anything at all. Which makes me feel even more helpless and dependent and angry at the people in the situation! A proper parent would have helped me understand what I was feeling and my options for responding to whatever the cause was. A parent who invalidates the whole emotion does not help a child learn how to express them and this handicaps that child for the future. I’m trying to do the “good parent” bit for myself and like you say it’s some steps forward and some back.

I’m definitely hair-trigger sensitive to atmospheres and other people’s non-verbal expression. It can be tiring tbh.

218

Alice I deal with a lot of the same issues. I learned to stuff my anger as a young child. Anger was a feeling that other people were allowed to have but I had no right to. So I held it in and never learned healthy ways to express it. I dreaded when people did things that were unfair to me because I did not know how to deal with it. And so I held it in. When other kids bullied me I had no answer. I just froze and said nothing. This carried into adulthood and at work many times I ended up in bad situations because I couldn’t express myself. And I STILL felt that I didn’t have the right to. Yet another false belief I carried for a lifetime. If people took credit for my work I was unable to speak up. If my boss gave me an unfair evaluation with actual lies in it, I couldn’t speak up. Even very recently when a woman who watches my daughter used shame tactics on me I couldn’t speak up in real time. Fortunately later on I was able to partially solve the issue.
On a few occasions my anger did come out. It was like a caulderin bubbling over. I probably appeared overly upset and got very insulting on these rare occasions. When anger festers It comes out in a blown out of proportion way.
I’ve gotten a little better over the years, especially this year reading EFB, but I still fear confrontational situations. I fear I am going to be on the losing end each and every time.

219

Hi Alice! (I’m responding to #204… and others.)

I related to everything you wrote in the paragraph that starts about priding yourself. I’ve been told so many times that I’d make a good spy when people become aware that they didn’t notice me there all along!

Your mom’s response about shutting you out in the rain in the dark as a toddler is awful… and weird. I can’t imagine—“it’s what you did at the time????” Really? And even if the sort of parenting advice going around was that nuts, a good mom would care and be sorry if so many years later it still carried pain for you. It wouldn’t be about her making excuses but about hearing your pain and realizing and owning that it was a mistake.

Reading this stuff about sensitivity—Kaycee, I totally agree with what you wrote. I feel like being sensitive is kind of like being a bomb-sniffing dog.

I find it interesting (and painful and maddening) when people use your sensitivity to put the blame/fault back on you. Sometimes it goes along with the idea that you’re misinterpreting things, so first you misinterpreted reality and then you’re really sensitive to the misinterpretation and that’s what caused you all the pain. Or maybe they’re not denying facts, just pushing them aside and focussing on your sensitivity. Interesting because if it isn’t a misinterpretation, you are just feeling the truth deeply and they’re kind of incidentally admitting that it happened (just that it shouldn’t matter and that it’s your fault if you feel it matters). But even if it happened to actually be a mistake, have you ever had that happen with someone who is caring? Even if the whole thing was a misunderstanding, those people will feel for you, they’ll likely say they’re so sorry. You’ll feel that they actually care and they will feel more for you if they know and can feel that you’re a sensitive person. You’ll feel relieved. The other person will explain what they were thinking but it won’t be an excuse. It’ll be so you can both honestly understand each other and the situation. You’ll feel an equilibrium. You will have been heard and so will the other person. It’s a totally different feeling than apologies that are laced with blame. A person who cares for you who has hurt you will feel more sorry if they know you are sensitive because they’ll know the hurt hurt you more. I think in a world where it’s all about power and control, such an idea doesn’t translate as a process toward equilibrium. You’re either the one controlling or the one being controlled, and certainly a person can be controlled by a victim. I gather they just want to stay on top and in control of things. I think they’re operating from a different mindset, a different world. If someone cares about me and respects me and I feel it, my sensitivity is not likely to be much of a problem to them. I usually can decipher what are my own triggers, or otherwise I’ll try to talk about it. Problems don’t become clout over another person. It’s not easy, though, especially in trying to gauge trust, either how much trust you have in the other person or how much trust in yourself when you haven’t had much and how much is invested in the situation, how much need or want is there. It’s hard. But what I find maddening is that I’d like to explain to people that this is about making things work, integration, fairness, finding a better way; it’s not exactly, necessarily personal and it’s not an attempt to be in control and make the other person inferior. It’s for the sake of peace and equality, etc. And I want to explain that this will work better for you, too, in the long run—trust me. But, no such luck with some.

220

I just saw your comment about Anger Alice it’s weird because I am currently working on a blog post about this very thing. I posted a quote in FB about 2 weeks ago about anger and it triggered some of the readers in a big way like ANGER is never okay.
I think that we are taught not to feel at all; our feelings make others uncomfortable, our feelings make us too much of an individual and that would threaten the way that they believe we ‘belong’ to them. So they shut them down for us until we shut them down ourselves. I am thrilled that I can take mine back now and feel.
Sometimes it irks me that I have to learn all my “options” for responding now as a grown woman. But I guess that is better than never learning them!
I am going to keep working on the blog post about this… maybe I can get it posted soon!
hugs, Darlene

Kaycee and all about the “highly sensitive” people subject.
Sometimes I want to scream when I think about the way that I was called “too sensitive” I want to scream ~ HOW do you think I got that way??????? (and abusers will use whatever works, that is why each child in the family is treated differently ~ the same tactics don’t work on everyone)
hugs, Darlene

221

Kaycee (#216) …

Your comment reminded me of how when I was being tagged in my family as the ‘unstable’ one – I knew my family was always trying to figure out ways to ‘fix’ me – my sister approached me once saying, “Mom and I were talking … blah-blah-blah …” and she handed me a book with a title having to do with highly sensitive people. I cannot tell you how much it took me to hold in my anger. My abusive mother trying to make it look like she’s not to blame by making it look like there was something wrong with me – that somehow I was/am too sensitive to handle her abuse. It’s sick.

I might be overly sensitive – empathetic – always have been … which is why I was likely prayed upon. How easy it is for an abuser to seek out those who are soft-hearted. It’s like she viewed my ‘soft-heartedness’ as a defect instead of a gift.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be free of the madness and being constantly scapegoated!

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Darlene ~ Your response to Kaycee (#220) … my feelings exactly! 🙂

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When we were young, it was my brother who was considered to be the sensitive one. Now, my brother’s take on my life is all about the “impact” certain events had on me, misinterpretations, but no way was there actual abuse in our home, according to him. I.e. I was just “too sensitive.” I know he’s the product of the system and all, but I’d like to scream at him sometimes. I’d like him to think about if he had been born an only child, or if he’d been born the girl. I’d like him to consider the possibility that his freedom stood on the back of my enslavement.

Even though my fear of my mom killing herself was actually based on something real, not my imagination, I was just supposed to not be sensitive to that, not care… even though I got a talking to about how I wasn’t caring enough if I didn’t do certain things…?

On the other side, I also know that my brother had talked to my mom about feeling like she favoured me over him, and I understand where that came from, too.

A big part of what controlled me was being a “good person.” A lot of the torture I’ve gone through since speaking up after my breakdown has been about doing the right thing, and even once realizing I wasn’t wrong, but the system was wrong, turning round and round trying to think about what’s the right thing, the best thing, inside of the wrong thing. Even if they were doing the much bigger wrong thing, I really didn’t even want to do the smallest of wrong things, in a way thinking that moral standards were much higher for me because I was making conscious decisions (or if not, I ought to have been), where their mistakes were being passed off as blindnesses, unintentional, unconscious, so they were to be given leeway, etc. And even putting that aside, always my sense of morality, regardless of whatever anybody else does—following what it would be if they were behaving as they should. I don’t think I fully understood that it doesn’t work that way until I worked at my last job that was a bit screwball dysfunctional. I was trying to be my idea of what a good worker was, thinking that made me a good person, being quite obsessed with the idea of being a good person, after taking the fall as the scapegoat with my family, but after I quit I wondered how my being a good worker made me a good person when the workplace was kind of making everyone sick, so I was just contributing to keeping the place running, making everyone sick. That’s when I noticed the obvious, and how dumb I kind of was, that of course morals need to act in response to reality.

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Darlene and everyone, I have been practically obsessed with anger for a very long time. It was definitely the most forbidden of the emotions when I was a child but like Amber said, other people were allowed to have it and I could even “make” them angry but if I was/am angry it’s because I’m oversensitive or I’ve misperceived something or it’s because “underneath” the “real” emotion is grief or sadness or something else. Why? I think that Darlene you have hit the nail on the head. To me anger is about the boundaries of oneself (real and perceived) and a parent who does not wish the former to exist will not take kindly to a child who asserts themselves as a separate being/ as a different person from the one the parent wants.

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Hi Alice and everyone,
I totally agree with what’s being said about anger. I think it’s exactly that.
With sadness, it felt like my mom wanted to share it with me, to crawl inside it, so we could merge in our sadnesses. Even if my pain was coming from her actions, as long as I wasn’t standing my ground and requiring her acknowledgement, if we could just slush around in mutual I’m sorries and I love yous and I never wanted things to be this way, that would soothe her.

I had an experience in therapy once talking about anger and she asked me where I kept my anger in my body. I said my hands. She noticed my hands were clutched in fists. She said that most people’s anger was kept in their stomachs (or somewhere in their core, I can’t remember) and how it had probably travelled up and through my arms to my hands, how I was so full of an unexpressed anger. (I’ve had experiences of wanting to hurt people—very physical, always with my hands; I would never want to, say, kick someone.) She wanted to work on me releasing my anger bit by bit and asked me to release my fists. It was so hard. The resistance I felt, the mental power it took to actually loosen them was crazy, and I started crying at the same time, just like sudden, unexpected downpour…. But, Alice, I know what you mean about not trusting/liking that idea of underneath the anger, the real emotion is grief… because that was the idea—I was to release the grief that was underneath the anger, but there have been times when i think of this event, I don’t know if I really had this sudden outpour of tears because I was releasing the grief under the anger. I suspect that I had the outpouring because I was being asked to let go of my anger and there’s so much despair in not being allowed to be angry. How do you fight for your right to your life, to be alive and free, if you can’t be angry? Not that the therapist didn’t validate my anger and understand, she was very caring, just that I’m not entirely sure what the tears and the difficulty in releasing my fists was all about and if it was “time” for that. I do know that when I was confronting my mom and other family members, my emails were emotional and had anger in them (but not mean angry, just expressing and explaining, though of course to them they were “accusations”), and I was crying a lot, all the way through, but I was also stating my anger. This seems to me more like a fair release of the emotion (both of stating the anger and the boundaries of my personhood and of letting out the pain of having had those boundaries violated). I wish that had been the whole lot of my anger out of my system! Anyway, I think it’s important to move from depression to anger. I think it’s crucial.

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Yes! That is so true Darlene, I have no doubt my Mother’s husband tailored my abuse and perfected his technique by learning the best ways to hurt me. I think my Mother was just a master projector and I was doomed to have her shadows projected on me simply because of where she was in her life when I was born.

It’s funny I am finding there are layers of healing to work through. I think I have an epiphany, but than I realize that even that is based on a false belief and I have to keep peeling away at everything I was taught to believe about myself.

I am still working with this idea of rewiring the brain and I know that is something I must do. My thought processes revolve around having everything I loved taken from me and around knowing that putting myself out there at all resulted in horrible shamings, humiliations and public exposures. My thought processes revolve around learned survival responses even though those threats are no longer my world.

I don’t know if I was born highly sensitive or if I learned how to be aware of every subtle cue in order to protect myself. I used to know who was coming towards me in our house simply by listening to their footsteps. I knew when my step father was going to be a monster by the sound of the gravel as he came up the driveway and closed the car door. I knew every nuance of my Mother’s facial expressions, her body language and could even gauge her disapproval by the way she breathed.

Rise’, your experience is so similar to mine. I often feel like a circus freak the way my family discusses (always did) what is wrong with me, I am realizing now that is a favorite pastime of covert narcissist who like to portray themselves as saintly martyrs dedicated to saving their designated scapegoats. It is just mind blowing to realize that there was nothing horribly inherently wrong with me, that it was them.

I know I always felt things very deeply and I know I still do and I have to protect myself now from being overwhelmed by watching too much negative news or reading and watching books and movies that are dark and depressing. Still, I don’t ever want to be that person who puts on rose colored glasses and ignores the suffering of others. My Mother was so good at that.

Can’t wait for the post on anger…..Oh boy, so interesting to here accounts of holding it in the hands and the stomach, mine I feel I hold in my head and wen I let myself feel it I feel like my head will explode!

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Alaina, I think you’re onto something because if you remove my anger, it won’t be that there’s grief “underneath” it but that grief will literally be all I have left. If I can’t fight for my life I will have no choice but to abandon myself and that is why I’m crying. I’m saying this because I have tried for frickin years to “let go” of the anger, to try to contact The Grief that is supposedly underneath. And I have so far not succeeded in this. And it’s weird because I have also felt grief. Even “The Grief” of not having a loving (in terms of behavior, I can imagine my mother felt something she called “loving”) family.

To the contrary, the further I go into my anger, the more I see a person struggling to be a person on her own terms and crying out of sheer exhausted frustration when this is not recognized by those around her.
My suspicion is that anger is natural at the boundary point of oneself and others. Why it would be advantageous to quash its appearance absolutely and not just help regulate its expression? …well, the latter assumes equality perhaps? Not hierarchy? don’t know, I’m contemplating it.

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Also in regard to anger, I hate it when people throw it up in your face, like something is wrong with you if you feel anger. Like if you are angry you need to get help, you need to work on that or you have healing to do.

I hate the way we label real emotions as good and bad. I have a friend who is in the midst of a terrible divorce and she keeps saying they never got angry or spoke a harsh word to each other. How can anyone be married for decades an never get angry at the other person? That just doesn’t seem real to me.

I mean, what if we determined love was bad and something we had to work through and overcome? Anger is one of the stages of grief, but I don’t know that it can’t stand alone outside of grief as well. I’m just not sure I’m ready to put anger in the negative column or regulate it to simply being a mask.

It is a newly uncovered emotion for me and thus far I have found it to be a powerful healing force. I even call it up now when I start to feel weak and it strengthens my resolve and grounds me when I start to question my new interpretations of my childhood and my life. When I am about to get run over, I pull it out of the depths and it it helps me say “No more.” I think anger might just be a keeper.

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I’ve been told that without forgiveness that there is no peace. I disagree. I have tried to forgive and when I’m not honest with myself and forgive them for whatever I did at least according to them my heart breaks and I know I am giving myself the short end of the stick. We always went to church, my parents would always say the family who prays together stays together. What a bunch of crap. My whole childhood was a lie, and now an adult I deal with daily spins from my parents. If they did something wrong and I call them on it, they spin it towards me and tell me while pointing to their head, that I am crazy and need help. And I should forgive this? Not a chance. The games they play regarding me and how we related to each other makes me so mad. I never asked God for this, and I don’t think in a million years he’d be mad if I choose not to forgive them. Even my siblings and I are not close to each other, there are five of us and I think that my parents plan to keep us at arms length from one another worked.

I get really angry that they refuse to take any blame for the dysfunction in our lives. As they put it, they’ve done nothing wrong. It’s better to look good to the world as the perfect family, then to actually admit there are problems and try to fix them and possibly bring the family together.

I’ve been called difficult from a very young age and became a huge people pleaser to compensate for what I thought was a short coming on my part because I didn’t think people would actually like me for who I am, how could they if my parents didn’t. I really do believe they are in a state of denial and demand respect no matter what they’ve done, and I’ve been told that to receive respect from they I first have to give it to them. Manipulation at it’s finest. So, I feel relieved that I don’t have to forgive and I can choose to let myself heal first, and possibly feel again.

They have no idea the crap they feed me hurt me to my core. Will I ever really be ok, I don’t know, I can only hope.

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Alice,
I think they’d want to squash anger if what you were angry about was something they didn’t want to hear or deal with. Why help a child learn how to express anger properly if they don’t want you to be angry about whatever? Even if you were taught non-verbal ways to regulate your anger, it would be exposing a reaction to something you aren’t supposed to react to because you’re not supposed to have the boundaries that say no or fight against abuse. It’s not supposed to be identified as bad, i.e. something to be angry at. I imagine sadness could be somewhat like that (and part of why people get told not to cry) but sadness isn’t assertive where anger is going to be either aggressive or assertive. In other words it’s associated with power. But that’s also why some people react really badly to anger because of course it’s associated with the abuse they experienced…. Even just hearing people argue outside my window a couple years ago had me curled up in a ball wanting to cut myself. I have had a really hard time with other people’s anger. Not always but sometimes. Anyway, I’ve heard about justifiable anger but this is the first time with you and Darlene that I’ve heard it being attached to ideas of individuality vs. possession. That definitely clicks for me. It really makes sense.

Irony is with my mom, when I was a teen, I remember her telling me a story a couple times of how my brother had strangled me when I was a kid (a toddler, I think—I have no recollection). She’d told him that it’s okay to be angry but it’s how you deal with it that counts… but there was of course a disconnect between my mom’s philosophies and her own behaviour. My brother was always identified as being like her and I was like my dad. I feel that she was a better mom to him possibly and not just that he is in denial about certain things. I have a sense that she felt she could trust him more, that no matter what, he’d always come back to her because they were similar (or so was her thinking; sometimes I think what she didn’t like in me was not my dad’s characteristics, but her own—she said that I’d been this headstrong little kid, but my dad is not the headstrong one; she is).

I do feel like you need to be able to put words to your anger and those words need to have meaning and for your life to stand in accordance with that meaning. It should definitely not be about getting rid of the anger and then falling back into a situation that’s going to give rise to more anger ad nauseam.

Kaycee, I get the head exploding thing, too, but that’s when I’m thinking about what’s making me so angry. I think that’s probably better than when it’s in my hands because that usually happens when I’m not aware that I’m angry…. I also get incredible pressure in my arms when I’m in an emotional spin that I wonder if it’s the anger (which sets off horrible imagery of wanting to open my skin and veins–sorry for the graphic nature). I know some people grind their teeth from anger. Sometimes I clench my teeth and wake up with a sore jaw.

(Sometimes I write stuff like this and I really wonder how it is I can go through these emotions like this and then somehow end up in a positive mood the next day or even in the span of one day, I can go down really dark, then come back up. It’s no wonder I can’t handle a lot going on in my life.)

Anyway, speaking of physical stuff—I wonder if anyone has experienced this. Often, especially when I was younger, when I couldn’t speak (because of nerves) and I was trying to say something and my brain was going over and over trying to get me to just spit out the words, if I’d actually manage it, right after I said whatever (even just a super short sentence), I would go deaf for maybe 30 seconds.

Anyway, I really like your concluding statements, Kaycee. I agree. Also about the dark and depressing—I can’t take much of it either anymore. It isn’t a judgment. I know the value and have respect for anyone who wishes to bring light to the dark. I write dark and depressing but even that, it can’t be too much at once. There are just points when you can’t take it in, which is not the same as denying its existence or denying the importance of recognizing its existence. I remember trying to force myself to read Shake Hands with the Devil, the book about the Rwandan genocide, only a couple months after my breakdown because I felt that I was being very self-absorbed by having a breakdown and needed to be aware of other things going on in the world. There was also a Tsunami somewhere in Asia at that time—and same thing about needing to watch the news and care about those people. I got in about 3 pages of the book and felt that it would kill me to read anymore, not because I was so absorbed in my own problems, I couldn’t feel for anyone but myself, but because I could not bare to read and take in and feel the pain of it all. Sometimes you’re just filled to the brim. And I don’t think the intended audience are victims trying to heal. I think there are other works out there meant for us.

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Alaina, “Why help a child learn how to express anger properly if they don’t want you to be angry about whatever? Even if you were taught non-verbal ways to regulate your anger, it would be exposing a reaction to something you aren’t supposed to react to because you’re not supposed to have the boundaries that say no or fight against abuse.”

And there it is! My mother went steps further in denying that any abuse or mistreatment was present and that my anger was not about what anyone had actually done but about my erroneous perceptions that I had “chosen”. I call this “murdering reality” and it seems to be something that many people do to a greater or lesser degree.
Anger can definitely feel unpleasant but I’m unsure whether that’s because I associate it with punishment or whether something else is going on.

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Hi Kate,
Your post was not removed, it was held in moderation. This happens for new comments or sometimes if certain words are used, if the blog itself is glitchy.
Having said that, I did not publish the comments about how I removed your post, since I saw them after this first one, and I had already published this first one. 🙂
Your opinions and views are welcome here!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Alaina
I was just reading your comments about your ‘book writing fears’ and what might be in your way.

I had to go through the healing process for a second time when it came to starting up my coaching practice and guess what.. it took me almost 3 years to finally publish this first book! I started book 2 before I finished book one! I had a whole false belief system when it came to my worth about biz stuff.

It’s a whole other process of re-defining our worth!
hugs, Darlene

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Speaking of what I was just saying to Alian,
MY book is done! I just wrote a post to introduce it! I have kept the price low, but the early feed-back says I am undercharging and one lady said she is going to hand her therapist a 10.00 bill and ask her to buy it so that she can help her properly! 🙂
You can see the new post here: The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing
I am praying that I get can generate enough financial support through the book sales to finally be able to cover what I have put into this!
Thanks Everyone!!
Hugs, Darlene
http://emergingfrombroken.com/introducing-the-beginning-of-hope-for-emotional-healing/

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Alice,
I think that’s it exactly. It isn’t just that you aren’t supposed to say no and fight the abuse; it’s also that you’re supposed to believe that it isn’t happening at all, and obviously if you’re angry, you’re saying there’s something to be angry about. My parents wanted me to swallow the idea if “they only knew” and how I needed to speak up and of course they would absolutely not own the fact that they trained me to always say I was “fine.” They wanted me to believe that it was my choice to give up myself for them or that it was a regrettable unintended outcome of some mistakes they had made when they were operating under the dysfunctional inheritance of their own childhood learned behaviour. On the one hand both those statements have a “sort of truth” to them; on the other hand, there are gaping truths missing from that perspective. One, that my self was broken and stolen and I was under the false belief that if I just acted the right way, I’d be given it back; instead of the truth that they were never going to give it back because it wasn’t a mistake that they broke it, stole it. Certainly I’ll accept that they were operating under dysfunction, not consciously aware that what they were doing and wanting to accomplish was in fact that, but that was their motivation, unconscious as it may have been.

I was thinking a lot about all this last night (didn’t sleep much). My first memory is of a relative coming into my room where I was playing, snapping a photo, and running away. I started screaming—I was so mad. I didn’t want to be disturbed and everyone knew I hated having my picture taken. I was four. I think of this memory as an adult and it makes me chuckle, but I can totally tap into that memory and put myself in my child shoes and I know and feel exactly why I was mad. I don’t know the words that were in my head exactly but I know the gist of my thinking was why should I stop screaming just because time has passed (because of the moment of stopping to catch my breath, there was a thought that maybe I should stop). I never knew why this memory stuck so clearly in my head (because it seems kind of silly) but I think it might be because the ideas in it carried relevance throughout my life and became imbued with meaning. I felt invaded too much of my life. Adults could come in and do whatever they want. And the question of why stop screaming is important. On adult terms, if the situation hasn’t been rectified or acknowledged, why should the anger just go away? The grown-up answers are well it’s the past, it’s over now, it’s exhausting, it’ll eat you alive if you let it, just let it go, your life’s not over, you don’t have to be defined by this one moment (or many moments), you can move on, etc. To whatever degree any of those answers are valid, or not, my feeling is the question is just as valid. If something hasn’t been acknowledged, maybe the scream should go on—not that you stay inside the scream, so to speak, but whatever stance the scream was about, whatever boundary had been crossed that it was sounding the alarm and protecting, that’s worth keeping.

It’s funny. I had the original idea for my book about 8 years ago and I’ve had it tentatively titled “Rage” for the past few years, and it feels right that that’s the name but I also have this shame attached to it and recently deleted the title from the work, just leaving without anything. Now that I think about it, I was doing the same old, same old—my job in the family to be the proof that the dysfunction ended. A state of rage is not a higher level, mature, spiritually enlightened place to be, and I had the feeling that even if my book is about rage, the end point has to be about getting out of that and into a higher understanding, etc., so the title should reflect the health and wholeness and wellness I will achieve, and not focus on the anger part. (I didn’t actually think about it this much, though). Likewise, I feel this need to say even though the story is dark, the end will be okay, the one character will make it through. But it also grates me this feeling like I have to say that. I think I’ve had two competing desires in terms of what I want to say. To victims, I want to offer love, understanding, encouraging. I want to be able to say “you’re going to be okay.” I want to, of course, also say that to myself. Like writing this story with the aim of the one character reaching a healthy place is the aim, the wish, but in having to write it, it becomes the pressure, the need to prove, and the destination of superiority over past and current lack of fulfillment and capacity. But on the other hand, I have this other desire that I want to write as that scream, perhaps to my parents but also to society, and while maybe the words will fall on deaf ears, maybe the words need to be said all the same—I want to say to the abusers and those who enable and are a part of the system, that you will never know if your victims are going to be okay because you chose to abandon them. So there’s this conflict of who am I writing for, and it helped me clear things up a bit. I’m writing on behalf and in honour of victims but not necessarily to them. I’d asked myself before what the point was of my novel and I knew the central theme is “how we kill our children.” There are a lot of survivor and abuse stories where the individual overcomes their past, and I think that sometimes there’s this horrible, totally unintended outcome that placates society, that says this is just how life is and it’s for the individual to fight through and don’t worry, look at what this person overcame and how horrible it was, and then everyone pretends what’s going on right in front of their eyes isn’t, and they don’t have to do anything. On the other side, there are generational, historical epic stories that often portray families, but they also have a just how it is, understanding where people come from perspective.

My mom would come into my room wanting to borrow a book to give my grandma because she liked reading but my mom would always ask if I didn’t have anything happier, that my books were so dark and depressing. My grandma suffered from depression so I understand where my mom was coming from but in general my mom wanted the happy ending stuff, and it made me mad. I always wanted to yell at her “but there’s a point!” Some people don’t write to make you feel better; they write to show you what’s happening and hopefully, if they are successful, to make you start thinking about things, so as to spur on change, which is positive, not negative….

Anyhow, then I thought about if I’m writing a book that exposes how we kill our children, if that’s what it’s about, if I put the happy ending on it, I’ve completely subverted my purpose (in saying, but don’t worry about it, the individual will survive). But I don’t want to be the fatalist who just says, this is how it is, nothing you can do about it, either. So I realized that I have to end the book on the point of choices being made, where it’s open-ended as to where it’s going. Maybe hope that the one character will get through, but no guarantees, because that’s how I feel about my family and society and what people should understand about the choices that they make that leaves the child abandoned to get through this stuff by themselves, with no guarantees as to whether they will.

On the other side, I used to really like writing for children, but I came to a point where I felt like I was being phoney, that they were lies. Now I’m wondering if I do eventually manage to do both—if I separate my messages—if that will work for me to feel right in my purpose. All I want to give the child (or the hurt child in the grown up) is love and tell them how wonderful they are. And I want the grown-ups to know what the heck they are doing (not without compassion, by the way, but not dampening the truth, either.)

Anyway, I’ve written a lot again.

Darlene!
I read your comments in the middle of writing this. That’s awesome! I love that the one woman is going to do that! It is definitely a process to get myself to write. And the writing process and my personal healing process do overlap and are a part of each other in some ways but they are also distinct and I have to watch myself…. I hope ultimately that I can achieve what I want and that my work will mean something to somebody… Anyway your book is great! I hope lots of people download it!!! It’s cool to have it all together like that.

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Hi Kate
I agree, forgiveness isn’t what gave me peace either. How I found peace was when I looked at the truth about the whole picture and realized what actually happened to me and what it did to me, how it shut me down, and how I was (at the time) STILL shutting me down. Peace came when I said “enough” and found a way to take my life back! That is what this site is about! We are all taking our lives back and becoming the people that we were meant to be; becoming free and whole unique individuals with minds of our own and hopes, likes, dreams, of our own!

My book is ready everyone! I wrote a new blog post about it today!
http://emergingfrombroken.com/introducing-the-beginning-of-hope-for-emotional-healing/
Looking forward to the feedback!! (so far the feedback is amazing!)
hugs, Darlene

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Alaina, here is the book I am referring to. http://www.amazon.com/Chronology-Water-Memoir-Lidia-Yuknavitch/dp/0979018838/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407276514&sr=1-1&keywords=the+chronology+of+water The Amazon blurb overdoes it on the sex thing and the motherhood thing, at least from my reading of it. But it obviously shows this idea that “The protagonist has to make it” and I suspect that came from the publisher.

Thankfully now though, self-publishing is possible. Which is what Darlene has done (I think, anyway). And reading through her book, I have to say it’s worth more than 10$!!!

When I was a very depressed I read

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Thanks, Alice! I was thinking about self-publishing the other day. Long way off still but there’s something attractive about self-publishing for sure. I think there’s probably more market influence in non-fiction than fiction in general, though. I can understand a publisher not knowing what to do with a memoir that says, “look, I was abused and now my life is miserable,” unless there was something that really made it stand out in some way for some reason. Anyway, I think what I’m wanting to do is more about showing how things work (the system). I’m shifting from three different characters’ points of view, so I just think I have to remember what I’m doing—that it’s more about piecing together and exposing a truth than anything else.
Thanks for the link! And I agree Darlene’s book—worth more than $10.

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Kaycee ~ (per #226) … Yes, its like being woken up from being brainwashed. The truth really does set us free. 🙂

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Hi Alice
Thanks for saying my book is worth more than 10.00! I believe it is as well but I wanted to make it affordable for everyone!
hugs!

Alaina,
I hope lots of people download it too! It’s a scary thing to produce a book and then have it out there waiting and hoping that I at least break even! I have to remember that the number of books that I sell doesn’t prove my value!
… (oh by the way ~ my father bought one!…. don’t even know what to say about that… )
hugs!
Darlene

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Wow… have I ever lived though this. Great article.

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Hi Susa,
Thanks! It is absolutely stunning how many people have lived this! This post generated viral sharing and hundreds of emails poured in! It is devastating how many people have been manipulated by being told that “god” would be ashamed of them, or God will punish you..
Something that I realized in my healing journey is that the only example of God that I had was the adults in my life… and guess what.. they were ABUSIVE! My parents WERE god to me. I was a kid after all.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Also, we heard these statements a lot: “You are going to go to hell”, and also “Honor thy father and mother”.

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Yes Susa,
Yes, something that helped me was to realize that just because THEY said I was going to hell didn’t mean that I was. 🙂
and I had to take a look at the word “honor” and what it really means. There is nowhere in the Bible teaching that says parents are exempt from following the teachings of love in the bible. Children are people and have the right to be loved and valued. The brainwashing around this whole thing makes me cringe! The false teachings around “honor” are horrific!
hugs, Darlene

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I just wanted to post a word of thanks for everyone who shared their insights and experiences. Thank you Darlene. Bless all of you.

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My Mom and I haven’t spoken much over the past few months, unless she wants to see my son. I have tried to talk to her, sent a couple of notes but she simply ignores me. I cannot pretend everything is fine anymore. I can’t ignore that I have been landed in the role of family scapegoat and that it is or ever was okay. I’m not okay with just not discussing it and just pretending it is not there. She says she loves me, but my worst fears were confirmed by her silence when I attempted to clear the air. I have never been worth the effort to her and I have to admit, deep inside I have always known this.

I remember during some particularly rough times in my life, my Mom acted as if she had spent her life being a great spiritual seeker and she would give me some of the tapes of her New Age thinkers and tell me just to listen to them.

One point that is really coming up for me now is a particular mindset she went into that no matter what, your soul is safe. I am sure this comes out of her own super religious background where the fires of Hell were always right around the corner. This struck a chord with me at the time because I never, ever have felt safe, not as a child, not as an adult.

One of the reasons is my Mom was very weird about me getting sick. I was not a sickly child, but my Mom so over reacted to my illnesses, not in a concerned nurturing kind of way, but an accusing, threatening
kind of way. Like “If you cough one more time I’m taking you to the hospital!!!!” It was not just the words, it was the tone, the inflection and the look on her face.

I was four, I had pneumonia, yet I tried my hardest to stifle the cough that was inevitable. I wasn’t nurtured at the hospital either, my Mom had her boyfriend meet her there. I felt embarrassed and exposed, I didn’t know him and I had to get a shot in my buttocks in front of him, it was awful.

Throughout my childhood I was accused of faking being sick and maybe I did once or twice, what kid doesn’t? But it was nothing out of the ordinary. My Mom once took my temperature and thought I was faking and when she read the thermometer she said, “If your temperature is really this high we need to call an ambulance.” I remember begging her to call, I thought I was going to die. She just laughed, took my temperature again, then put me to bed.

Fast forward to today. I am a healthy and strong person. I eat healthy, I exercise regularly. Yet my Mom reacts bizarrely every time I get ill. So yesterday she called and she could hear I was sick. I caught a virus that my son had, it was pretty bad for him, we ended up in Urgent Care.

As usual my Mom in her dramatic voice “Your’e sick? Nobody else caught it.” I wonder, does she want there to be something awful wrong with me? Does she want me to be in fragile health on the verge of death, which is how she made me feel growing up? I’m really one of the healthiest people in my family, I have no major health issues. Not to mention a bunch of people, even my son’s camp teacher caught this bug.I just don’t get it.

It is bizarre and weird and a little creepy now that I look at it. After she terrorized me with this stuff as a kid and had me going to bed often certain I wouldn’t wake up in the morning, she wants me to meditate on my soul being safe and she wants to pat herself on the back for being the enlightened spiritual person who offered me this gift. Ugh, Ugh Ugh!!!!!

It makes me kind of sick to think about it, how many times she tells me I sound like my dead Aunt who died prematurely of a horrible disease. She presents it as concern, but it is harmful and there is something dark inside of her that causes her to do this. Her belief that there must be something wrong with me is one I have carried with me for as long as I can remember. It is part of my dread, my impending sense of doom that I am dismantling one piece at a time.

Oh and then to top off this short, little chat with my Mother, I was telling her about my son’s camp teacher and the college degree she has and my Mom enthusiastically pipes in “You need to get a degree in that!” I have a college degree, two of them. I’m pushing 50 and right now, I am being a Mother. I told my Mother I am fine as I am and I don’t need to do anything. Of course, then she says “Well I just meant you are good at that and it would be a good degree for you.” And she says it in that way that means I am just misinterpreting her and there is something wrong with me for taking it the wrong way.

Gee, thanks Mom. Again.

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Kaycee ~ I am so sorry. This triggered memories of my own mother. She didn’t take illnesses seriously either – not with me. But with her favourite she sure did! I remember one time (when living in the tropics when I was little) I had contracted a stomach infection. It was awful. I felt ‘okay’ if I was lying down, but as soon as I sat up the room would start spinning and the nausea would start. I was also very weak. I remember being so thirsty – I called for her, if she could get me a drink. No response. I lowered myself from the bed trying not to be upright. I started slithering to the kitchen to get a ginger ale – and there she was at the dining table just watching me – with that wicked grin of her face. She always took joy in my suffering. Always. I slithered to the fridge and slithered back. The woman had no empathy for me ever. It is an awful thing to grow up not feeling and being loved and cared for.

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I am on my own extended journey toward wholeness. Your site was referenced on a Facebook post.
I also had to wrestle with forgiveness and the “forgive and forget” advice coming from many sources. Luke 17:1-4 is almost never referenced by Christian authors. I believe it is a core passage. In the first verse, “…offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come.”
Verse 2: “It is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” What happened to many of us as children was evil.
Verse 3: “…If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”
Real healing began for me after the Lord brought me to the point where I could release my need for vengence to Him and wait for His ultiimate justice.
I could offer forgiveness. However, forgiveness is a transaction. Without the rebuke and the repentance, the transaction can not be completed and there is no possibility of any kind of reconciliation and restoration of the relationship.
God, in His love, offers us forgiveness, but it cost Him the life of His Son. It is also conditional on our repentance.

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Hi Nate
Welcome to E.F.B. and thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene and everyone,

I was referred here from another blog after asking for resources on Narc siblings and parents. And I am so grateful to have found this place with immense support, validation and community-building.

I’m 36, living in Australia with my wonderful hubby and 2 gorgeous boys. I hit a major road block in 2010 when I was diagnosed with major depression. I wasn’t communicating, getting out of bed only for a toilet break or for a smoke. My older son had started school and my hubby had to look after the younger one. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2012. I underwent CBT for 12 sessions, but got told that I wasn’t going to get better unless I went No Contact with my mum and my sister. I had already gone NC with my sister but it was difficult to go NC with my mum.

2 years after my PTSD diagnosis, I finally sent my father a heartfelt e-mail which was agonizing to write. This was prompted by my father telling me that my mother was gonna stay with us for 6 months! I had to stand up for myself and my family and told him that she was not welcome here.

Dad has a Psychology background and he told me that he understood just how much my mother and my sister have hurt me. That made me feel validated. But it was very short-lived because it was soon followed by “Can you forgive them for my sake?” or something equivalent. He said that he didn’t think he had long left and wanted the whole family – Dad, Mum, my disabled brother, my sister and her (then) family – she is divorced now – and my family to go on a trip together. I reminded him of all the drama my sister created when we last had a trip like that. Dad finally understood where I was coming from, but he still tells me to forgive and forget, to move on – for my sake.

I’ve heard that from so many people. It makes me want to scream “If I knew how to, don’t you think I would??? Or do you think I actually LIKE being in this black hole where just getting out of bed is a struggle??” Sometimes the hubby says that too, and I do yell at him that I wish there was a switch that I could flick! I feel bad almost immediately, and it makes me wonder what he’s done wrong in his life to deserve a wife like me. I also beat myself up constantly because I feel that I’m not being the best mother I can be to my boys. I know I love them. They know I love them and I know that they love me.

While on the subject of God, something really strange happened three nights ago. For a few weeks now, I have asked my hubby to hide my medication and knives from me, as I do when I have an idea or plan to “check out”. My kids are not aware of this, obviously. Three nights ago, my little one came running into our room in the middle of the night, sobbing so hard he could barely talk. After calming him down a little, he told us that he had dreamt that I had died. To say that I was shocked was an understatement. As I cuddled him close till he settled and was ready to go back into his own bed, all I could think about was that it was a divine intervention. Whenever the thought of checking out pops into my head now, that image of cuddling my son close as he sobbed serves as a reminder that I am still wanted and needed by the family that I have created.

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Hi FireandIce
Welcome to EFB ~ I totally HEAR you on this! What does that even mean “for my sake”?? What about YOUR sake? That is what I wanted to scream when I came out of the ‘fog’ of all this ~ I wanted to scream “what about me??” when is someone going to consider me? Well this site is about how I came to consider me and all the ways that I recovered through seeing the truth about the damage caused to me.
Glad you are here!
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

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I just published a new blog post that was partly inspired by a discussion on about boundary issues, and partly inspired by the amount of emails I get asking me if I feel guilty about going no contact with my parents.
I am looking forward to the feedback ~ Here is the post: Going No Contact with Family of Origin and Guilt
hugs, Darlene

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UGH, Forgiveness in my family has ALWAYS equated to “it wasn’t that bad, get over it” or “You’re crazy that never happened(though witnesses verify incidents)” and “I accepted Jesus so ALL of my sins are forgiven (and I don’t have to admit anything to ANYONE-EVEN GOD AS HE SEES EVERYTHING)

I have suffered for most of my life and was mis-diagnosed as manic depressive when I really had PTSD. I am really grateful that I have found an amazing therapist that specializes in processing the memories (EMDR/April Steele) and in less than a year I am light years from where I’ve been

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My ex husband used to use the bible to control me.I put up with it for 23 years.I sometimes still feel the Lord is angry with me for leaving my ex.He preached the bible to me day and night 24/7. My husband preached obedience.I was supposed to be obedient to him.

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Hi Lilly
Welcome to EFB ~ when I came out of the fog about all of this I realized how much lies are preached as truth for the purpose of controlling other people. Sounds like that is what your ex was all about. And I totally get what you are saying about still wondering if the Lord is angry with you but I keep reminding myself of what the true teaching is. (vs. the one that I was taught)
Hugs, Darlene

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Lilly ~ I am so sorry … and I don’t think the Lord is ever angry when you leave an abusive person. … Sounds to me like he didn’t want a wife, but a servant. I’m so sorry – you certainly deserved more than that.

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Lilly,

I understand. Sometimes, not only do I believe that God is mad at me, I believe that at any moment, He will abandon me and forget about me. I didn’t always consciously believe this, but I believe lies were at the root of my perfectionism and rigid thinking. When you face the actual lie, to me that’s more intimidating, because you realize it is a bad root with many branches.

What helps me sometimes, is to visualize myself as a little baby. It reminds me that God created me on purpose, and that I don’t have to earn His love or be afraid that I will do something that will cause Him to abandon me.

Sadly enough, as an adult woman, I sometimes fear this type of love will cause me to become callous. It’s amazing how our thinking and beliefs can become distorted.

258

Darlene first I want to thank you for helping me heal.I was spiritual abused by my ex narc.He was out of prison for 6 months when we met.I was divorced from another narc and was only 23 years old and had two little girls.I was in nursing school and a friend told me she had been met this young man that was the president of a Christian singles group at a local church..she said that she thought I would like him and ask me if she could give him my phone number.She didn’t know that he had been in prison.So he called me..we talked for a hour.He had a voice that could have read the Bible on tape or CDs ..we decided to met later in the week.He was nice enough and after our date I decided I didn’t want to see him again because he just didn’t seem my type.A little about me..I was raised in a Christian family and I had a fairly normal childhood.I had good morals and had always told my family that I would love to be a nurse and marry a minister.Well back to him..I will call his Mike ..Mike called me some after the first date and we talked on the phone but I continued to date others and enjoyed going out with my friend on Saturday nights to dance clubs.Then after a few weeks he began to send me hand made cards saying that he was praying for my soul and that he was praying for me ..then a few weeks later he sent me flowers.He call freg.and I kept the conversations short.He ask me out but I would say no.My parents were having a party at our church for Christmas and I told him he could come.He did and he charmed my family.Afterwards he ask me to go with him to meet his parents.They were a bit weird, but his sister seemed normal so I relaxed a little.His step dad was the weirdest and one of his eyes floated.His mom had made various candies and they were all made into balls..she kept asking me if I wanted some balls..and I said yes she put two side by side on a plate and laughed oddly.The house smelled of Lysol, I could taste it.Any way on the way back to my house he told me that he had been in prison for breaking and entering and served ten years.He told me he stole and gave the things he stole away to the poor.He told me that he had been converted while in prison and described the whole event..he said that he had been put in solitary confident and after several weeks he decided to take his own life.While tying sheets together to hang him self he said that God spoke to his heart and he saw a light coming towards him..he said that he accepted God that night,and a week later was baptized in shackles.I cried and his story touched my heart..I’m sure he could see this as I show my emotions in my face.He was attending college and working full time but was on parole.I for some reason felt for him.Then a week later I saw a personal add in our local newspaper.It read that a young Christian man was looking for a Christian lady for friendship and maybe more.I answered it..it was a week before New Years.I for some crazy reason I put in that letter things that were personal things like my hopes and dreams..my relationship with God..so I planned to go to a New Years party to dance the New Year in..he called me several days before and asked me to go to church with him that night to pray the New Year in..I decided to go to to the church until 11:00 then drive to the dance.We met that night and he was acting odd and kept looking up to the sky and saying things like ” God is watching us ” and other similar things..after the church event he took me to my car ..I ask him why he was acting strange..he leaned over and told me he had a post office box and that I had answered his add..I was feeling like I had been tricked even thought I knew I couldn’t have been.After this event he told me that he knew that God wanted us together and that it was the will of God.Soon we were seeing each other more and he came over to my house and bought a calendar and wanted to plan a whole year of dates.He told me that he had been sexually abused by his step dad from age three to age 15 ..he said his mom had walked in his bedroom many nights and saw it and did nothing ..he soon made me a tape with the book of Proverbs on it and told me he felt that he had been called into the ministry and wanted to go to seminary..you know I was so happy..any way I’ll get to the point..he would take me to a church in town before our dates and pray for our relationship and that God would prepare me to be a ministers wife.He told me to listen to the tapes of Proverbs every day and I did.He went to church with me each Sunday.Things moved fast,in two months he gave me a pre engagement ring.as time went on he would tell me that he prayed each night that He would make me into a loving mate.And also that I was blessed to have him in my life and that most men wouldn’t want a lady with two children.Time went on and he started to semenary.He asked me to marry him a few months later.He began to preach in the church I grew up in and I started to love him.After we married and came home to our little home we had bought the hell began..micromanaging me and taking over ordering my little girls around.He was overbearing and mean.I couldn’t talk to him about my feelings and he had fits if he didn’t get his way.He was in school and had a church.I believed in marriage and wanted so much to make it work.He told me what scriptures to read each day..I thought that his behavior was due to many changes that had occurred over the last several months.He wanted a baby so I thought maybe this would help him.So in a year I got pregnant.i was invested now for certain.Looking back I recall feeling upset when he looked at porn and he would leave every Saturday evening to drive 75 miles to a big town to get ” material for his sermom” coming home late ..if I questioned him he would get very defended and shot at me..so I stopped saying any thing..our baby was born and it got worse..we were together 30 years..he used God to control me.Affairs and walking on eggshells ..in the end I was used up and so broken ..I got free and have been for 19 months..I believe he has been untrue from the start..I also believe he is a narcissist.Divorsed now and trying to put my life together~ thank you for letting me tell my story.

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Hi Gloria
Welcome to EFB ~ I am glad you are here,
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

260

Hi Everyone ~ I published a new post today!
If you have ever felt like your family doesn’t (or didn’t) see you, read this: “What about Me? When your Family Disregards you”.
See you there!
hugs, Darlene

261

Dear Darlene,

thank you for sharing that with us. I was emotionally and sexually abused by a Pastor who used his authority to abuse me for 7 years. Not to mention he was a child molestor. I was 14 when he started and now am 22 and he moved on to another bait and is marrying her next month. He moves very quickly and says is settling down finally. Whatever it is, I am free to be out of his clutches. he’s been manipulating everyone including the entire church to believe i was a “Poor girl who had a crush on him” and no one believes me.

I know now, How people are deceived and manipulated and how these evil people lay their claws on so tightly on innocent people and hide behind the name of God. They twist scriptures and use God to get away with things, They are hypocrites and my Narc was a real Deceiver.

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Hi Soul Sister
Welcome to EFB ~ Yes they are real deceivers!
I am so sorry this happened to you. He deserves to be in prison.
thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

263

Reading this brings back memories of experiences I had as a child. Whenever I spoke out, I was told I was lying, mistaken, imagining things, causing trouble, being a baby and so on. I learned how to keep quiet and pretend nothing was wrong, how to bury my feelings, how to convince myself that everything was my fault “because…”

I was told that God was letting these things happen to me because I was being punished for being a sinner.

I am now an adult but I still have the same mindset that everything that happened was my fault, though I’m not sure how. Likewise anything similar that happens now I blame myself for. I don’t talk to people about things that upset me, so I don’t give them a reason to call me a liar or tell me I’m twisting things.

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Hi Amy
I totally relate to what you are saying ~ In my first ebook (see the upper right side bar in this site) I go into a lot of detail about how I came to believe all those false messages about me and how I dumped them too.
Glad you are here, thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

265

In case anyone is interested in a little bit of history I was asked to write an article for the Online Therapy Institutes Magazine “TILT” which stands for Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology about using Technology to get my message out as a helping professional. The article came out this week and I have re-posted it on the home page HERE! Read the back story of EFB from ‘A’ to today. Check it out! http://emergingfrombroken.com/my-article-has-been-published-in-tilt-magazine/
hugs, Darlene

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Naming the sin of abuse and neglect, naming and feeling our feelings is a crucial part of the forgiving process. And forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. That requires a genuine repentance, something most abusers never offer.

Here’s a a talk on emotionally real Chrisian forgiveness that I gave recently:
http://lccci.org/sermons/what-about-forgiveness/

I am a retired psychotherapist and survivor of sexual abuse.

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Karen Rabbitt … I so agree. Some Christian teaching out there always leaves out repentance. But from the studying I did, I came to the same conclusion as you. For us to have the attitude of ‘forgive and forget’ without repentance, apology and restoration – can be insanely damaging especially when abusers use the ‘forgive and forget’ to their advantage – they enforce it on their victims while they keep abusing because they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.

268

I agree with Rise! My ex-therapist told me that I ill always be bitter with hatred if I don’t forgive mad because I wouldn’t do it her way. There’s no such thing as forgiveness without repentance is what I told her and other people. There’s no I forgive you then you go screw someone else then that proves you were never truly sorry in the first place is what I told her and other people which clearly went over their heads.

269

As I lay out in my talk, I say we can forgive…ie let go of our right to the anger…for our own sake. I believe we’re not made to be angry as a long-term condition. Anger turns to resentment which hardens into bitterness, which damages us and doesn’t hurt them. God, however, is right now, and long-term, mad as hell at what we’ve endured. I believe in His justice.

But to forgive does not mean to reconcile! It means not to kill them or waste our time plotting ways to get back. It means going on with the life we were meant to have..of faith, hope, and love.

I believe God gives us anger to show us where we need to set boundaries. We need to set boundaries with unrepentant abusers for the safety of ourselves and our children. My daughter, for example, never sat on her grandfather’s lap and almost never saw him. No one has the right to use us.

Also, my memoir, Trading Fathers, is available free, here,
In PDF: http://karenrabbitt.typepad.com/files/2013-trading-fathers.pdf.
I lay out, in detail, my ten year process of forgiveness.

Darlene has it absolutely right, that we must grasp those lies that we believe about ourselves, life, and God in order to find peace and personality integration.

270

Hi Karen ~
I like what you wrote here when you said “But to forgive does not mean to reconcile! It means not to kill them or waste our time plotting ways to get back. It means going on with the life we were meant to have..of faith, hope, and love.” ~ this is how I understand forgiveness as well and for me that was the result of doing the work and going through the process of healing. I had to let go of the idea of forgiveness as a ‘goal’. I wouldn’t say that I ‘let go of my right to anger’ in fact I had to embrace and validate my anger when I was in about year 3 of the process in order to get past it.
Thank you for offering your book!
hugs, Darlene

271

Darlene,
I agree, we only give up our right to anger after we have our anger. Many survivors take years to get angry.

I know I did. I understood depression but I didn’t think I had any right to anger for a long time.

We have every right to be angry. It just doesn’t serve us long term. We might disagree about that. Though I don’t think you are now an angry person.

Anger keeps us tied to the person we are angry with. We can set boundaries without anger. Anger, though, shows us where they need to be set.

I hope my book and talk can be helpful to some of the group. I’m happy to offer it. 🙂

272

Karen,
I agree that anger doesn’t serve us long term, I just wanted to clarify that I could not let it go until I validated it. I was tied to the people who I had resentments for until I validated that I had a right to have the resentment. As long as I was skipping that step I suffered with the ‘guilt’ that I was a failure because I seemed stuck. I have had a few clients that admitted they had a rage problem and the rage disappeared when they validated the root of where it came from in the first place. These things always come from somewhere. This is the reason that I am cautious about posting the end results without clarifying the path to achieving them. When people told me that I needed to forgive or let go of my anger ‘for my own sake’ I spent all my time trying to grasp it and ‘do it’ but it actually shut me down from going forward. I needed to be told that I had a right to feel before I let the feelings go. (and I didn’t actually let them go, they just went as a result of the process of validating what happened to me in the first place)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

273

Darlene,
Yes.

I know many Christians misuse and misunderstand the forgiveness issue.

We cannot skip having our feelings and go straight to canceling the debt.

Blessings to you and your work. You do terrific work for thousands of people.
Karen

274

Thanks Karen! It is great to have had this clarifying discussion!
It is tragic how many people will actually heap more damage on top of the damage with their directives. I have a passion for exposing them because of my own history. I am passionate about healing because after seeking diligently seeking healing for over 20 years the path to it was not something I had EVER been told. I think that is why I am so picky about ‘words’. It is great to know that you and I are on the same page.
Hugs, Darlene

275

Karen & Darlene,

Thank you for engaging in your discussion about anger and forgiveness. It appears to me that by stating your differences, you found yourselves more alike than you first thought. I love it when that happens.

I appreciate Darlene’s allowance for anger in the recovery process, without a specific time limit. I’ve learned to recognize the feeling of anger as a very useful tool. It tells me where the boundaries need to be and how strong I need to make them. It’s been in accepting my anger instead of trying to fight it and deny it that it has become constructive. Put to good use, it tends to fade on its own.

I feel that there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding that actually leads to the rage that turns to violence because the cultural taboo seems aimed at feeling anger at all. This is especially true in Christian culture.

I believe a lot of the healing that I’ve experienced so far is because I allowed myself to feel the anger without judgement and restriction. It helped me to recognize myself as valuable and human. It helped me determine what kind of behavior I don’t need to tolerate. I helped me see myself as someone who is worth my own compassion, kindness, protection, and forgiveness.

We need better words to make a distinction between the valid feeling of anger, and the words and actions that unjustly tear others down.

When we have significant discussions we need to settle on mutually understood definitions of the words we use for there to be any hope at all that we will ever understand each other’s hearts.

276

Hi Hobie
Well said! ~ hugs,! Darlene

277

Karen ~ #269

I so agree. A common Christian teaching is that we forgive as in ‘let go’ – but this kind of forgiveness is not scriptural. Secondly – when we don’t get true forgiveness (with repentance and apology), the next best thing is to let go … and neither true forgiveness or the letting go means there can be reconciliation.

My mother never repented or asked for forgiveness (an apology) … the only thing I could do was ‘let go’ and that took a long, long time for me to do that. And its so true, whether true forgiveness happened or we let go … does not mean now that there has to be reconciliation – it just means that you no longer hold their abuse of you over their heads – its called mercy. But because one is merciful it does not mean the abuser can be in your life.

278

“I know many Christians misuse and misunderstand the forgiveness issue.

We cannot skip having our feelings and go straight to canceling the debt.”

Agreed. My ex-therapist definitely had a misconception about it so did other people. Like I have said a lot, I feel that “forgiving” someone who has hurt, betray, etc you so deeply in the wound that it feels like I gotta cancel my feelings and the debt has been paid off. I have said something like this for years and refuse to agree about the concept of forgiveness. There’s no my feelings are left on the pasture and we can burn the contract now!

Oh boy, I had so many enraged people when I said that as it “made me look like the bad guy.” The whole ‘they are your parents/grandparents/sisters/brothers/etc’ keeps you in that “shame-blaming contract” which makes a person stay stuck forever. Like I always said, therapy in these MHP’s offices aren’t helping because they use the same bullshit that the abusers use and not realizing it’s damaging the client even more yet blames the client for not having a backbone.

“I feel that there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding that actually leads to the rage that turns to violence because the cultural taboo seems aimed at feeling anger at all. This is especially true in Christian culture.”

Very interesting never thought of it that way with the Christian culture. I always saw a lot of anger in that community and yea this “societal culture” fuels on being angry all the time and any time someone wants to be happy you get all these kinds of labels then you gotta hide your feelings.

“I so agree. A common Christian teaching is that we forgive as in ‘let go’ – but this kind of forgiveness is not scriptural. Secondly – when we don’t get true forgiveness (with repentance and apology), the next best thing is to let go … and neither true forgiveness or the letting go means there can be reconciliation.

My mother never repented or asked for forgiveness (an apology) … the only thing I could do was ‘let go’ and that took a long, long time for me to do that. And its so true, whether true forgiveness happened or we let go … does not mean now that there has to be reconciliation – it just means that you no longer hold their abuse of you over their heads – its called mercy. But because one is merciful it does not mean the abuser can be in your life.”

Agreed! I saw some Scripture verses that spoke about forgiveness and saw nothing that it says forgive, forget, and let go. People got it all wrong and told my ex-therapist to go back and reread Luke because she missed the entire chapter and made her own little fantasies about forgiveness.

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Marquis ~ Isn’t amazing how it takes those of us who have been victims of abuse to teach what true forgiveness is?! … Jesus never forgave us with a ‘let it go’ mentality – no. He demanded something – repentance and sorrow for our sin. Why should we expect less of another human being? <3

280

Rise,

Exactly. It seems people would rather expect less, move on, and not make someone accountable like I told people and ex-therapist then why do we teach children to be accountable for anything? The rules of life teachings today is so backwards and full of hypocrisy it isn’t even funny. It’s funny, when you make someone accountable you are considered the meanest and hateful person on the planet then you get the ‘how dare you’ approach by people….

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marquis – I hear ya!!! I feel the same … in the world of Christians – we are SUPPOSED to hold each other accountable. In Luke 17:3 it says that if a brother trespasses against us, to REBUKE him – and IF he repents, forgive him. There are a lot of false teachings out there that wounds and oppresses people – be they Christian or not. It’s awful.

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Hi Rise,

I agree and religion which is man’s word does oppress people to keep them thinking in a stupid manner and believe anything someone else says instead of questioning and testing things out there yourself.

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I honestly believe that in the quest for healing from childhood trauma, forgiveness is a red herring. I was very happy to read in several new books that the field of psychotherapy is starting to teach that forgiveness should not be a focus of healing from childhood wounding and should not be a part of patient therapy.

What many people are eluding to here as forgiveness is, in the current literature, not presented as forgiveness, but rather acceptance.

I harbor a great deal of resentment toward my family of origin, mostly because of current interactions and their refusal to allow me to even acknowledge I ever was a child much less an abused one.

The more I am able to focus just on loving myself, the less it has anything to do with them and I feel some of that bitterness subside.

I am thinking, and I am not certain because I am not there yet, but I believe that “letting go” comes through not actively trying to make myself let go but by doing this work of healing within myself.

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My family does everything written in this article. When confronted about all their abuse they turned everyone against me. The part that baffles me most is I am the youngest of three. We have all discussed our abusive alcoholic parents and the dysfunction. Never once would my parents ever discuss their behavior and neglect. It was always my problem that I had to talk about it. I was always told to get over it. I can’t until they listen and acknowledge it hurts and they still treat me like I am less than them or my siblings. The only way I can live with it is to never eee them again. As soon as we interact they try to put me back into my little role. They don’t know me as a person and they don’t care too because their feelings, wants and needs are more important than mine. I never want to see them again.

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Hi Everyone ~ I just published a new post. I got a ‘dear Darlene’ letter and I answered it publically. A hurt mother wants me to write in a more balanced way and is upset that I represent the hurt child. You can read it here. “When a Mother says she is the Victim of her Adult Children”
Looking forward to the conversation on this one! ~ Darlene

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marquis – #282

Totally agree … man-made religion with all their do’s and don’ts does more harm than good – putting folk in terrible bondage.

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scapegoatdaughter ~

I’ve experienced all those things too – tried to talk about the abuse and got ostracized, rejected. I have been severe no contact now for 4 years. (Smearing still goes on though – good thing most of it doesn’t get back to me though.) I too was the scapegoat, so I know exactly what they’ve done to you. There is no emotional pain that tops this kind. From my own personal experience – ‘no contact’ has been the greatest blessing – and its enabled me to heal faster had they still been in my life. {hugs}

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Thank you for your response Rise. I agree no contact is best .

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Dear Darlene,

Thank you for your post about this spiritual abuse. I had a terrible and horrible experience in this matter. When a group of people using excercises of spirituality in a spinned way, instead of for helping its followers to know GOD and be a better self, they use the group to control the values and ways of thinking of the followers. The excercise was more likely a brainwashing through psycotheraphy, to accept what they were doing and wanted their new initiates to follow and act accordingly, were the undeny-able truths, so they can have absolute control of their followers. Forgiveness was one of the deadly weapons, beside our own submissive attitudes created by the circles of hell of deindividuation treatments. I have been experiencing isolation and abuses by a network of gossips, that created a profile/an image of me that always has preceeded me, where ever I will go to start a new life. I have been pushed to get into the image and I have been saying NO. and critically questioned them, exactly the way you wrote in the article, that, is true, that our GOD is ok with sufferings, that were pushed by our peers to us to experience? After I left them in the middle of my initiation, there seem no way out for me to start my life again…

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So what do you answer to the “turn the other cheek”? I know maybe I shouldn’t bother, as the people who use it to justify an abuser are not worth talking to, but I would love to have a clever answer to that! Darlene I have been reading and reading the posts. I am getting stronger. I am also better at helping my kids when they are angry about something as I try to make them talk about how they feel but also how I feel if they yell. Before I only tried to make sure they were happy comforting them. However if they get angry there is a reason that needs to be validated! Thanks Darlene.

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Hi Maria
As far as I understand it, ‘turn the other cheek’ is about not hitting back. It means “don’t be like them” or “don’t lower yourself”. It doesn’t mean that we are supposed to take the crap people dish out and just sit there.
That is how I understand it anyway. 🙂
hugs, Darlene

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Thanks Darlene, that is how I understand it too! But I seem to be at a loss for words sometimes especially when the argument that is used against me is, at least in my opinion, totally wrong. I then don’t even know where to start.

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Hey Darlene,

As a result of all of the constant abuse from some members within the family, I have refrained from going to church altogether. I could no longer stomach the “lessons” that were being taught composed of “bad things happen to people in order to be tested” or the golden tagline of all time that has only recently started to get into my nerves “Everything happens for a reason.” Furthermore I also stopped accepting Jesus’ blood or rather the churches’ representations of blood (eg: shots of grape juice or wine every service) for this one reason: “Inevitability” Inevitability in the sense that I would eventually stand up to the abuse, family related or not (which translates to committing a sin). I wouldn’t want to taint that blood with anything I would do to protect myself. Thought that was crazy? I have recently developed a mantra of which I would utter from time to time being: “I believe that Jesus died for us, but he only died once.” “I am not going to constantly kill him every year by accepting his blood and claim that my sins have been washed because I know that there will always be that one bridge in the form of “Inevitability” that would just render his sacrifices to once again be in vain.” I no longer want to be that nail in the cross that’s constantly latching onto him for comfort and solace when in truth my latching onto him, along with my constant need and desire to fight for what I believe is right would just make the pain all the more less bearable. In short I have accepted that I am a sinner and I am not going to use that blood to wash it off. (But then I was like to myself, Carlos you do realise that what you’re choosing to do is also going to hurt him right).

It’s really a challenge but I to would like to believe that both God and Jesus would never want to see us get hurt, but I just also happen to be majorly pissed off at the same time because it had me questioning: “Where were you throughout the turmoil that each and every one of us have gone through?” Yeah it’s been a major hurdle to confront. I believe God but at the same time I feel obligated to protect myself from him. Strangely enough, in one of those moments where I was alone in my room, I talked to him and I was like: “50% of my trust I’m committing to you” the other half mine okay?” I also said additional things like: “Please see to it that a portion of my trust is worth giving” (In what I would like to call as my “Victim of the abusers” dictionary, these words translated to: “Here’s my trust, and I really hope you could use it to shield me from any more pain. Or if you couldn’t grant that at least see to it that I can face the pain without having to feel guilty about whatever action I intend to take.) These words don’t just apply to the family but to other people I come across in life in general. When I found out that I got job offers I was like to God: “Please tell me I am not walking myself into a trap.” (Translation: “This better not be another war zone.”)

The intention behind this particular post is not to offend, but rather just to give an insight on my relationship status with both God and Jesus. It’s a very strange one, but I’d rather this setup than the kind of relationship in which I have accept other people’s reasoning that God and Jesus did all of this for my greater good, when clearly that’s just adding insult to all of the injuries that have already been inflicted or have yet to be inflicted.

Kind regards,

Carlos

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Hi Darlene
I’m late with my post but here it is.I too was raised in a “christian home” and was emotianally abused and demonised, the bible was severely twisted causing extream emotional damage, there was some physical abuse aswell but that’s not so bad, its the emotianal wounds that hurt most, and the hardest thing is to try to reconsile with God after many years of war with him. This is not an easy post for me to make but I will tell my story as to how I made that simple coment on MATT 5:22 king james version (kjv).When I became a christian approx 15 years ago I started with normal main stream christianity but found that the same type of spiritual bullying from my past just began again and seemed to continue at almost every church I went, for example, as Darlene says about scriptures they twist to put you on a guilt trip etc.My early years of christianity was spent in the normal accepted modern bible versions and the general main line denominations, but I studied many bible translations because I loved them all,I also took an interest in studying diferent denominational theologies. But something was wrong in the church, the broken were getting more neglected and damaged than getting healed.Well to cut it short after many years of working with diferent translations etc, approx 1 year ago the kjv became my favorite bible to study and I started learning from those terribly aggressiv kjv er’s and while I was learning from them about the diferences between their translation and others this was one scripture that I learned about.As far as I am concerned the kjv fully backs Darlene’s stance on the matter of anger etc and she is right,sending their victums on a guilt trip is just wicked.Now Darlenes argument from what I can gather, is called “righteous anger” in the intellectual christian community.Now for those of you who are in this type of spiritual abuse I want all of you to be patient with me because for those of you who believe in the bible I want you all to see this.I will send you to a web site that condems the idea of righteous anger as unbiblical and you the abused are going to hell,well at first it comes across as a nice place for help and healing, and you will see for yourself exactely what I think Darlene is talking about.This man also accuses the kjv of coming from false manuscripts,but this is not true.Do a google search for; CHAPTER III-THE ACTION OF ANGER’ http://www.focusonthescriptures.org.and read his scathing attacks on the kjv and the idea that any kind of anger could possibly have a constructive role in the church,after you have read his article then type in the search bar ‘Matthew 5:22-scion of zion’ http://www.scionofzion.com and see how a kjv er answeres the question concerning the matter of righteous anger and its purpose, and decide for your self.Just a word of warning kjv er’s and modern bible people actually dont get along very well and if you don’t know that yet, you will soon find out, it was not hard for me to explore both sides with a neutral stance because i am used to studying various denominations unbioustly anyway but it may be a bit hard for some of you who cling to certain theologies but I urge you to just act as a neutral judge on the matter and you will see wich of the two knows the bible better,I am not telling anyone what to do, I’m simply giving my experience and learning from those old fasioned kjv people has given me a spiritual strenght I never had before and this is not the only type of abuse the kjv has saved me from,I no longer believe the same things we are taught in our main stream churches and since then several attacks have been attempted on me by the so called christians who have enjoyed bullying me but they have failed because I am armed like I have never been before and for a very long time now they have left me alone.And just to think I was in churches that for the most part but not all,have taught me to laugh at the kjv calling it out dated etc,and here I am 15 years later actually reading it and enjoying it,and with the help I have gotten from them I will never tease them again, they can condem the churches I was indoctrinated in(and they certainly do)but thats fine because they are probably right anyway and why would I bother defending a system that brought me to ruin.There is a verse in the bible that says something a bout seek out the old ways and walk in them Jer 6:16. So for those of you who like to read your bibles I encourage you to get a good old kjv and give it a try if you havent already, the old english is hard at first but you get used to it,and when you are faced with difficult questions concerning life and spirituality dont just go to the usual preachers and teachers that you have always gone to but see what kind of answers you get from some of these kjv people, they have some good sites on the internet, but it must be the hard core guys because they are usually the best.So remember the kjv says God dos not hate you for your anger,sure we must forgive and we must overcome anger but that is what Christ came to do,to heal the broken hearted and riteous anger as the kjv er’s believe is meant to bring the one who has wronged the other to accountability so that restitution can be made and the church can continue in harmony but most of mainstream christianity has branded righteous anger as evil and this protects the one in the wrong and keeps the victum in a state where they are without defence.And this is not a function of the church.Some of you already know that true hardcore kjv er’s are very feirce defenders of there bible version, of all the types of christians I have studied they are the most dedicated and that is maby what scares people away from them but put your fears and any prejudice aside and go to the two web sites I told you about, the first one that condems righteous anger and then the kjv site that tells you what righteous anger is really about and what it is for, and see for your self.So I apologise to anyone who I may have offended I understand denominational topics can be a sensitive subject for some but I just want you to know that sometimes you learn in places and from people you never thought you would.The kjv bible 100% backs Daleen and thats just the plain truth.
lots of love and God bless you all
List of bible translations I have studied over approx 15 years in order:Good News Bible: life Application study Bible:Niv Bible: New King James (rejected by hard core kjv er’s): Amplified Bible: and King James Bible (original 1611 edition the only one accepted by true kjv er’s.
List of denominations I have studied in order: Charismatic: Word Of Faith: Penticostalism: Methodist: Seveth Day Adventist: Baptist (just in general, there are a few splits in the baptist church): Jehovas Witness: Cathololic (predominantly Roman)
List of other religeous studies in order: Right wing satanism: Free Masonery: Left wing satanism: Kabal: Judaism (only the diferences between the torah jews and the talmud jews): Islam (only the very basics): New age and astrology (only the basics): Lucifarianism (indepth and ongoing as this is a very deep and disturbing religion and has a lot to do with what is going on in the churches and in the world).

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Hi Shane,
thanks for your work and for this post. I studied greek and hebrew word origins for 8 years in order to dig into biblical truths. I think that has aided me greatly with the way I write today!
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene,this article and comments have really helped me, thank you.My mum also used God as a weapon and I will describe it in more detail in another post; it’s 20 past 1 in the morning and i am wrecked! Thank you again and love to all here, I hope to be able to join in and make helpful contributions as so many of ye have done.Night night!

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I Will Not Be Abused
July 20th, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Excellent post. It is not our place to forgive those who abused us. As Lyle Lovett says in one of his songs, “God forgives. I don’t!” It is our place to be righteous and to expose the abuse that the abusers deny again and again. In this way, we open the door for others who have suffered from abuse (as you opened the door for us in your post) to say “Yes! I have been abused! And yes! It was wrong!”

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This post and the whole blog i have read so far has been ringing thunderous bells for me.I have been getting in a real muddle over the concept of forgiveness, but Darlene and most of the posters on here have validated what i have been leaning towards; if God can’t or wont forgive us if we are not sincerely repentant,how can we be expected to? How can we be expected to be bigger or better people than Holy God Himself??? Isnt that a form of sin, almost like idolatory or blasphemy,telling people they have to be more virtuous than God Himself??? Also,as someone has posted already, Jesus said, IF the wrong-doer REPENTS, THEN we have to forgive! He didn’t say we could take revenge or give them back abuse for abuse BUT He didn’t say we HAVE to forgive unrepentant people over and over and let them carry on abusing us either! “IF he repents…”, and I think the “if” is the crux of the issue here.I also read on a Christian website for abuse survivors, I think it’s called Luke Ministries and it’s very good, that ” you can’t forgive a crime in progress!” This really struck me because it really emphasises that before one can begin to feel genuine forgiveness, the abuse has to have STOPPED!pREFERRABLY BECAUSE THE ABUSER HAS GENUINELY REPENTED AND chosen OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL TO STOP ABUSING US. Failing that,( which they do usually fail to do, dont they?) we have to be the ones who stop it, either by setting very firm boundaries or going no contact and blanking the abuser completely.I have developed my own perception of the concept of forgiveness which i dont present as fact,merely my take on it; TRUE forgiveness, the type that lasts and is profound,is a two way process; it is almost an agreement between two parties- the offender and the victim.It requires true repentance and a commitment to stop the offending on the part of the offender PLUS a sincere intent to make reparation. When this is the case, God requires the victim to sincerely forgive and let go of any anger. Depending on the offence,it may be that the victim should just pick up the relationship afresh with the offender and never bring it up again, as we do when our kids are bold and then are sorry- loving mums dont bring up everything their kid has ever done everytime they misbehave, we dont rub their noses in it and all anger is gone because the love is so strong and unconditional and never went away.HOWEVER, if the offence is severe, if it may be too much to require the victim to trust the offender enough to have them back in their lives again,or if trust has to be rebuilt by the offender,it’s a slower process and I believe God understands this and i also beleive that He in no way would expect us to have someone back in our lives who did something heinous such as raped us or murdered our child, to pick some extreme exampels for instance. I think then all that can be expected of the victim is to be able to wish to work through the justifiable anger and pain and not seek revenge or harbour hatred. In the end i think that God would understand that the best the victim could do for the repentant offender is to pray for them and wish them no harm. In the case of the UNREPENTANT offender, it’s is utterly unjust and potentially damaging to demand the victim forgives- the most that can happen in this case is, that after a considerable time of NOT being abused,because the victim has stopped the abuse by setting boundaries or going no contact, that they eventually can remember the abuse without feeling that tsunami of emotion, pain and rage and fear,overwhelm them, and even get to feel a smigeon of pity for the offender because, by refusing to truly repent, they are putting their immortal souls in the gravest danger- then the victim might be able to pray for their souls but at the same time,be clear that the offender is a danger to them and must be SWERVED,probably for life. These are not linear processes though, as other posters have discussed, i go back and forth- sometimes i get to the stage i can pity and pray for my abusers but still ocasionally,like this past Monday, the rage and pain hits me like a tidal wave. Thats how i came upon this blog and i thank God for it!! The final bit of the conundrum of forgiveness i have developed my own take on, is the difference between actual, GENUINE forgiveness and what i have dubbed as ” giving someone a PASS”! What i mean by this is best explained by what i have realised i did all my life- people would treat me shabbily,like i was the last person who mattered ( Darlene that was SO relevent to me, thank you!) and talk to me or about me like i was either the devils daughter or a great eejit,with no sense or feeling, who couldnt wipe her own arse, she was that daft, and certainly didnt need to ever be treated with respect! Either that or i would be mugged off repeatedly but strung along,OR even completely ignored but then expected to drop everything and be immeadiatley available when wanted- what i used to do in these situations was struggle to articulate my feelings and either get it all turned back on me so I was the baddie,or i would swallow and keep quiet, feeling hurt and angry but not allowed to say so for fear of aforementioned. THEN when the offender decide to bother with me again OR start being ” nice” i would be SO keen to be FORGIVING i would even convince myself they were actually SORRY and go along with, what i have only in recent years realised, is a GAME- the game being that the offender is the only one of us with any value and get to do or say whatever they want and the victim, ME, has to swallow it and put up and shut up and be oh so VERY grateful when the offender condescends to bother with me be “nice” or again. Their rule is i am expected to just play along with the lie that the offender hasnt done anything even REMOTELY wrong to me and all’s rosy in the garden!!! I would convince myself they they DID like/love me REALLY, and to let bygones be bygones- i was that desperate to not only be liked/loved but to BELONG and be accepted. I have now learnt that this is NOT forgiveness- it was just me, because of my conditioning and habituation to shabby,sublty abusive treament and acceptance of the message drummed into me since babyhood that i was of significantly LESS value that anyone else, going along with the offenders disingenous,manipulative game of keeping me in my place.True forgiveness is a TWO- way process , a MUTUAL thing and it requires the offender to reach out first and to be prepared to eat humble-pie, to take responsibility and to be blunt, take the BLAME. When they dont do this and just expect you to pick up as if they never did anything wrong, if one goes along with this,one is just giving them ” a PASS”!! A pass to keep treating us like dirt and never to be held responsible or face any negative consequences and of course, this suits abusers very well.Its all gain for them and all loose for us.I have learnt to tell the difference as well, by the fact that they always repeat the offence and i ALWAYS feel just as bad as i did the other times PlUS it brings back all the accumulated hurt,pain, shame and rage and sorrow that the other offences incurred in me, because i hadnt healed and sure. how could i have, when i hadnt distanced myself long enough and looked after myself to allow healing, the offender NEVER expressed a drop of remorse OR i hadnt even realised i was being consistantly treated as “less than” for quite some time! Well,i know it NOW and,like my screen name says,i will NEVER AGAIN allow anyone to treat me that way.No remorse- no forgiveness! I will NEVER again give anyone ” a pass” TO TREAT ME BADLY IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM! Anyway,that’s my take on it and i still struggle with guilt,doubt and self blame but i’m getting stronger and clearer;i beleive this community will be really healing for me as it has riveted me from the moment i discovered it! I would love to know what ye all think of what ive said and really look forward to communicating with all of ye! Thanks again!

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Hi “Neveragain” and “I will not be abused”
Welcome to EFB !
Thanks for sharing and I am so glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Speaking of spiritual abuse, here’s a great one for you! One Sunday, several years ago, the church pastor decided to climb up on his soap box and proceeded to inform us: “Depression is simply something you choose to have. It’s just your way of getting everybody else to feel sorry for you!” In his view, you’re damned if you have depression, you’re damned if you speak about it, you’re damned if you seek help for it! I guess subjects such as this are simply supposed to be swept under the rug and ignored. Well, needless to say, this is precisely why I no longer attend church. I may not be able to recognize an angel when I see one, but I assure you, I can most certainly recognize a vulture!!!

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Hi Micheal,
Welcome to EFB!! Glad you are here and thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

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