As a continuation of my other posts…this would be the third in my “series” of abuse posts…it is about trying to heal. I say trying, but I am not totally sure it is possible to heal completely from abuse. Those scars will always be with you in one form or another, ready to show themselves at the most inopportune times. Therefore, I say “trying” because that is all a survivor can do.
Number the first…the first step in solving a problem is realizing there IS a problem. It is NOT ok to be beaten or belittled for ANY reason. Period. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t get dinner on the table soon enough, if you weren’t there to answer the phone, if you didn’t make enough money, if you weren’t able to help…it is NOT ok.
IT IS ABUSE.
Stop making excuses for the abuser. It doesn’t matter who they are…parents, spouses, friends…stop making excuses for them and taking the responsibility for them. It doesn’t matter how good of a family member you are, how good of a wife/husband you are, how good of a friend you are…it will NEVER be good enough to stop the abuse. Every time you make an excuse, you are enabling them and letting them know it is ok to treat you that way.
I realize this is difficult especially with parents. We are raised to trust and respect our parents and do as they say. But, NEWSFLASH…parents aren’t always right just because they are parents. Parents always use the idea of, “it is for your own good” to justify their behavior. Abuse is never for your own good…it is for THEIR good so they can feel more powerful than they truly feel…so they can feel more in control because at some point in their life they weren’t in control of anything.
When you can stop saying, “if I had only been a better…” then you can start on the road to healing.
Number the Second…In the last post Roop has commented and said, “omg! after reading this, my own story seems trivial. thanks for being so brave and sharing.” One thing that I had come to realize is NEVER trivialize your experience. it doesn’t matter if someone else’s experience was “worse” than yours…what you went through was still significant if it hurt you. That is a game that abusers like to play, “you could have it worse, I could do X…”.
When my ex husband pulled that line on me I decided to leave him. We were watching “What’s Love Got To Do With It: The Tina Turner Story” and at one point in the movie Ike was (of course) beating Tina. Ex looked over at me at that point and said, “See, it could be worse, I could beat you like that.” I had just snapped…I knew I could have it worse than I did…but it doesn’t change the fact that the little things he used to tell me to belittle and hurt me still were killing my soul. The emotional/mental abuse still hurts.
Chances are it *could* be worse. But that doesn’t change the fact that you were abused, they abused you, that what happened to you hurt and potentially skewed your way of acting and thinking. In turn that effects others around you…your spouse, your children, your friends.
As I said, we are programmed by our abusers to think this way…however in order to become a survivor rather than a victim we really need to break out of that mind set and realize that it doesn’t matter that it could have been worse, it was still wrong. It is just as wrong to steal $10 as it is $10,000. It is just as wrong to mentally break someone down by saying, “I wish you were skinnier like you used to be” as it is to say, “You are a worthless no good whore and you should die!”.
Number the Third…change your mindset. This is, of course, easier said than done. It takes time, but you have to try to realize that all the things they said or the horrible things they made you feel (worthless, stupid, etc.) aren’t true. They said and made you feel that to keep you down where they can control you…they never said those things because they were true.
The only way I know to change how you think about yourself is to force yourself to think differently. Every time you find yourself thinking of yourself of how they programmed you, stop…realize it is just something they brainwashed you into thinking…then reaffirm yourself by saying the opposite. “I am ugly and worthless” becomes “I am NOT ugly and worthless…I am a beautiful person who deserves love and affection!” If someone does you wrong and your thought is, “it is my fault…”…then think, “It is not my fault s/he is acting like an ass…I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Number the fourth…realize that sometimes you have to cut ties or at least limit contact if the abusive behavior persists. That doesn’t mean this is right for everyone. However, sometimes it is healthier to be alone and start over making new friends and having them be your family than staying tied to an emotionally corrupt family or family member. If you are married and your abuser is your spouse…seek help to get out of the marriage. If you are an adult and your abusers are/were family…do NOT feel bad cutting the ties and having nothing to do with them or at least limit your exposure to them. Don’t let anyone bully you into staying in a relationship that is toxic.
My dad, bless him, is always telling me “well, she is your mother” in regards to my mom. I haven’t really spoken to her in a year…and I have no desire to do so. She refuses to admit she has a problem and therefore refuses to get help. Because of this she will always emotionally blackmail me (now that I am an adult) and try to undermine my self worth and esteem. I can’t allow that for myself or my children. She is my mom, she didn’t have to give birth to me…but that doesn’t give her the right to abuse me either.
Number the fifth…seek counseling/talk about your experiences. If you can’t afford a therapist, seek out a support group online or in real life. Surround yourself with people that truly care about you and your well being. Start a blog or online journal…you can even make it private if you aren’t comfortable with others looking at your blog. I choose to keep mine public, but somewhat anonymous…no one in my family knows this blog so I can speak freely about my experiences. Nothing helps more than knowing you are not alone in your experiences. Sometimes just getting it out onto paper or screen helps in letting some of it go.
And lastly…always remember that you are a beautiful and wonderful person, no matter what you were made to feel or were told. You are not a failure, you are not worthless and useless. You are somebody, not nobody.
If those people can’t see that, then that is their issue, not yours.
In my Abuse “Series”