Archive for psychological abuse
“In the minds of my parents, they are the victims; I am the abuser.” Christina Enevoldsen
I began writing this blog post a few years ago inspired by the blog post on the Overcoming Sexual Abuse website “Exposing the Incest Family Secrets”. In this article Christina Enevoldsen shares about how her mother’s dismissive treatment of her makes it clear that the message is “you are nothing”. She quotes her mother’s statements about her and the fact that her parents sued her for writing her blog, “Overcoming Sexual Abuse” exposing her father for sexually abusing her and her mother for disregarding it. Christina’s parents sued her for defamation of character and emotional distress. Through their case, they wanted to shut down OSA and silence her voice.
Christina and I have become close personal friends through the passion we share for advocacy work. The fact that her parents sued her had a dramatic effect on me. An anger and frustration came up in me that caused me to lose sleep; I could NOT get my head around how a sexually abusive parent could SUE the child that was sexually abused. Christina’s parents were suing for ‘emotional damages’. In Christina’s article she shares about the way she was convinced that she was ‘nothing’ and how she went on to regard herself as nothing just as they taught her her value.
In her Article, Christina writes about her struggle and breakthrough in dealing with the deeply implanted childhood belief that she really was the bad person that her parents accused her of. She makes a statement in her article that just jumped out at me and hit me ‘differently’ and at a deeper level than usual. She wrote “Abuse is about powering over someone else. I’m not taking away my dad’s power; I’m claiming my own power. I’m exercising MY right to tell MY story of MY life.”
I have known for a long time now that abuse IS about powering over someone else but what struck me differently is the way abusers, manipulators and controllers see this statement; the way that parents with entitlement beliefs UNDERSTAND this statement is what struck me as shocking. Read More→
This week I got an amazing comment on the post “The Grooming Process of Discrediting Children and the Cycle of Abuse” that caused my mouth to drop open. I said to my husband Jim “listen to this!!” and I read the comment out loud to him. As I read it, I looked up and saw his eyes open wider and I knew that he heard exactly what I had heard and that he was having the same reaction to it that I had had. This comment is so typical of the types of verbal abuse that children hear that it could have been from the verbally abusive parents play book. It was almost painful to read it. When I was finished, Jim said “holy shit… I can HEAR it, I have heard it…I have been there.”
I read it over again and I knew that I wanted to share it with a larger audience so I have asked Tim for his permission to share it as a main article. I am thrilled that he has given me his permission along with his blessing! So many adult children of abusive parents don’t realize how common this type of ‘lecture’ is and don’t realize how many others have experienced so much of the same type of tearing down. This verbal battering goes on and on and the reader who has been there or has ever witnessed it can HEAR it in the writing.
I had the urge to highlight certain parts, make other parts bold and do a little editing, however (aside from adding a few periods and questions marks) I decided to let the reader have their own interpretation and reaction to it without my emphasis. I am really looking forward to the comments on this one. ~ Darlene
Here is what Tim wrote;
“Here is the sort of verbal theatre dis-played by my parents showing a mark getting made;
“Don’t do that, it’s horrible, you don’t do that, why did you do that? don’t pretend you don’t know, excuse me, how dare you I won’t let you try to begin telling me you don’t even know what you’ve done, because you do, don’t you, of course you do we’ve all told you about this before, haven’t we, in fact too many times, isn’t that right? How many times do I have to tell you people don’t do that, do they, how many people have you seen, none, that’s right so why do you keep doing it ~ other peoples children wouldn’t they would never do anything like it would they, no, so why do you why do you always do it you’re the only one at school like this they tell me they do, your school unless, that friend of yours…. maybe that’s where you pick it all this up from is it, it is, is it? why do you hang around people like that you know other people have been asking me why you decide to behave like this, you know that right so what are we meant to do say what do we tell them, when you won’t tell us that’s a horrible thing to do there concerned, were all concerned about you and we don’t know what to do if you won’t tell us what the problem is are you going to say something now, well, we’re waiting you know Read More→
Happy New Year! Welcome to a new year Emerging from Broken!
I talk about the belief system and how it is developed and how we are brainwashed into believing that the problem is us in the first place. There are specific abuse tactics that are used to cement this brainwashing which cause the ‘fear of consequences’ for going against the controller in a dysfunctional relationship. One of these tactics is ‘punishment’ or ‘fear of punishment’ and like so many other abuse tactics it is very often issued in a way that is hard for the receiver of that punishment to put a finger on it. Remember that the foundation is laid very carefully to discredit a child in an abusive or dysfunctional family and to make sure the child is always looking at themselves when it comes to where the problem originated or who it originated with. This part of the grooming process is usually rooted in psychological abuse although it is often cemented via other types of abuse.
There are many ways to punish people without physically hitting them or calling them names. There are tactics such as “the silent treatment” “withdrawal of attention” or “withdrawal of interest”, in other words “rejection” and those abuse tactics communicate a message very clearly, even if we are not consciously aware of that message. When we are kids and an adult uses psychologically abusive methods to ‘punish’, most kids understand the consequence of their action (rejection) but don’t always recognize the actual message with any clarity or consciousness. Then, the way that we learn this acceptance of the message without questioning it very deeply (out of fear of the consequences), is carried into adulthood with us, therefore as adults we don’t see the tactics we have already been successfully groomed to accept without question. But the fear of the consequences may be very much still in control of the now adult victim.
For example, the time my father-in-law took my 2 year old son out of the farm yard without telling me he was taking him. I freaked, thinking my baby crawled under the fence and was lost in one of the many fields or had been mauled by a cow or had been cornered by a coyote. We have literally miles of land. I jumped in my car to go get my husband and there was my father in law, with my husband in one of our hayfields with our 2 year old son. Without thinking (normally I would never have stood up to him) I told him to never take our child out of the yard again without letting me know. He got angry with me! He was so angry that he spat out that he would never take him again.
There was something about the way he said it though that gave me an erie feeling as though I was the one that had done something wrong. I agonized over that whole thing, justifying to myself that I was right, that I HAD to know where my son was, that I could not actually be expected to just “wonder” where he might be at any given time. But I was really scared too because I had dared to Read More→
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to YOU………
A lot of my emotional healing grew out of realizing the truth about some of the concepts that I had been taught wrong. The people who were in a position of power in my life taught me a lot of false definitions of words like love, respect, relationship, trust, forgiveness and a few others. Growing up from so young with the false definitions I had been taught caused me to automatically accept them as the truth.
Yesterday on my previous post “how to recognize when your best interest are not being considered” when referring to her mother a commenter wrote “I am sure she thinks she deserves to be respected…” and it got me thinking about how much learning the truth about definitions of certain key words and concepts helped me in my process of overcoming depression, trauma and low self-esteem.
When I refer to a person in a position of power I am not just referring to our teachers, the police, or judges or government. I am also referring to “our elders” and our families. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all in a positions of power in my life. My in-laws were in a position of power in my marriage and in our lives. All these people were in that power position because they were “the adults” and I was a child. In my childhood that meant that they were right and I was wrong. In my adulthood, this belief didn’t change because they never let it. In both cases (as a child and as an adult) this is called a dysfunctional relationship because the elders decide and communicate that not everyone in the relationship has equal value.
It was a huge part of my survival mode to go along with these false teachings and when I became an adult I still believed the false truth that Read More→
Abuse is a word that carries a whole lot of baggage. When most people think about “abusers” they think of wife beaters and people that take express anger violently against others, rapists, pedophiles – well you get the picture. But those are only the extreme definitions of what defines an abuser.
When I didn’t know what abuse was, I didn’t know. When I didn’t know that there were abusers in my life I didn’t know who those abusers were. That might sound logical but there are pretty deep roots associated with this denial and with not recognizing abuse AND abusers.
I am writing this “mini snapshot of truth” today because of a profound comment that I got on my blog post “How Children Become the Black Sheep of the family” this morning from Michelle. (comment #55)
Michelle said “I kept trying to be validated for many years. (I should have realized you can’t get validation from an abuser, but I hadn’t yet recognized her as an abuser at that point”)
This comment brought me back to the first time I realized that there were “abusers” in my life. There were people who abused their power and authority over other people and they were in MY life too. I remember the first time that I actually realized that my mother was abusive. I had been at a seminar about the misuse of power and control in relationships and I was exhausted from all the information that I was trying to comprehend. On the second day of the seminar I suddenly realized that my father in law was a huge bully. He used bursts of anger to control and manipulate everyone into doing whatever it was he wanted. He used the fear of what he would DO if people didn’t do what he wanted against everyone. Understanding that he was an abuser was suddenly so clear to me that I felt like I couldn’t breathe while simultaneously having this major revelation and understanding which felt like a relief. It was kind of like a “OH NOW I GET IT” moment. About an hour later I realized that Read More→
Eventually, at some point in my childhood, I accepted the fact that I was not heard and not going to be heard. I did not consciously accept it, but it was an effective part of the grooming process and I came to understand that it was “just the way it was”. I think perhaps I believed that when I was “older” or when I was an adult, I would have “my chance” to be a part of the world and finally have a voice.
When I grew up however, nothing changed. I had been taught compliance and subservience and I didn’t step out of that role just because I became an adult.
I wasn’t heard so I stopped expecting to be heard. I was not “allowed” the impact that I saw other people had. I had to listen to what everyone else wanted, but I was not given that same consideration. My opinions rarely had any impact. I sought out friends who were similar to me in their own victim mentality and found fellowship with them but I continued to have bosses, parents, boyfriends who communicated that they were more important than I was. Once again with those types of people in my life, I stopped trying to be heard. I accepted that I was not going to be heard and that my voice didn’t really matter. Not having a voice and not being heard had become Read More→
My mother is a victim. In fact, she is the exact same type of victim that I was. She was a victim of her parent’s abuse and dysfunction and she learned to survive in that dysfunctional family system exactly as it was taught to her. She accepted it because she had no other choice and no other example. The cycle of abuse was “normal” for her. When she grew up, it was as though she couldn’t wait to have someone to pick on because she believed that’s how life works. It was “her turn”. Not her turn to ‘abuse’ or overpower someone, but her turn to be loved in the only definition of love that she knew; the false and dysfunctional one that she had been taught.
It was her turn to be right; her turn to have impact and her turn to be heard.
Abusers believe in the system and very often victims believe in the system too. The sick dysfunctional family system seems to have “worked for their parents” so why wouldn’t it work for them? It was the best that my (dysfunctional) mother had to hope for, but only because she didn’t believe there might be something better. She accepted the reality of the cycle of abuse, psychological abuse and dysfunctional family as “normal” and functional exactly as it was presented to her and the cycle of generational abuse continued.
She communicated to me that it was my job to restore her life and her self esteem; her mother had delivered the same message to her. I wanted to “save her” because I believed that if I could prove that I “loved her” then she would love me. This cycle of generational abuse stopped with me when I no longer accepted the role of victim but I also had to stand up to the myth that Read More→