Friday, January 25, 2008

What If It just Doesn't Seem That Bad to Me?

In a comment on Another Group of Questions - Part 2 Elizabeth writes
I always feel a little silly about my own problems with dealing with the past, because haven't experienced the kinds of abuses you and others have. I've experienced some things, some treatment that intellectually I don't think is okay, but I definitely do have a hard time feeling justified in having difficulties with it.

This is a typical response from a victim. It is classic old family rules. Believing in those rules and all they imply is what keeps victims stuck.

The details of one's abuse are not important what is important is the feelings. We all, no matter what the specifics were of our abuses, have the same feelings over them.

Keep in mind just because someone might not understand those feelings, doesn't mean that your feelings are not valid. They are your feelings, you are entitled to them. No one can tell you that your feelings are wrong. And the same is true of you, telling yourself that you are not entitled to those feelings is destructive. It reinforces those old negative messages and beats down your self esteem.

Victim behavior is not dictated by how severe the abuse was, only by the fact it happened. If anything, I have come to learn some victims including satanism and RA survivors will usually use "how can this be true," while the others are busy with, "mine's not as bad as that." Either way is a manipulation to discount their pain and believe they are just making a big deal out of nothing. These are negative messages based in the family of origin.

The most difficult abuses to deal with I have seen have to do with psychological incest. The victims of those scenarios have no physical pain to attach their pain to and find themselves trapped by mind games they can't even begin to comprehend as abuse. They easily take on that mantle of "I'm making a big deal out of nothing." They just cannot believe the wounds to their psyche matter at all.

Again we are back to discounting feelings. There are probably a million ways to do so but the purpose of all those excuses is the same, to keep the victim down and their mouth shut! The family of origin had to function under these rules to protect the offender and keep the family intact, regardless of the cost.

Spending time discounting one's victimization is a waste of time. It is just another destructive behavior preventing the victim from getting free. The time would be better spent challenging those old messages and finally beginning to care for that wounded inner child.

The rest of Elizabeth's comment reads:
I wonder if it's not really an issue of comparing my own childhood experiences with others so much as the kind of not knowing what's okay /not okay that you're talking about here--the way kids assume what happens to them is ordinary (no reference point and all). Your post got me thinking some more about this,

She is so very right about this point. Her frame of reference for what is ordinary has been based on her family of origin. It is that perspective that keeps her stuck in the web that makes up victim behavior. Dismantling that web by tearing down those old perceptions one by one is the way to heal from abuse.

So again we come back to the same place. The issues are all based on perceptions we learned from our family of origin. The only way to get free from this trap is to challenge those perceptions and replace them with new healthy ones.

11 comments:

Karma said...

I really agree with a lot of what you say....sometimes the hardest thing in healing is accepting the struggle.

anneredlips said...

thanks for commenting on my blog....beautiful pix too...

Flowering Jasmine said...

You are a very sensitive and insightful person. That is why i appreciate your comments on my blog very much.
Thank you x

Kahless said...

I am not sure what you mean with the term "psychological incest." Is it psychological abuse within the family.

Otherwise I can see what you mean. But it still remains an important issue for many i think the concept of ordinary / what is not ordinary. On top of that there is blanks in memory. The simple fact is that the behaviour MAY have been ordinary. And the person just doesnt know without a frame of reference.

My old therapist (who incidentally I still feel pissed with!) said to me that a dripping tap will cause as much damage to a rock over time as a hammer would with one hard blow.

Rising Rainbow said...

anneredlips, thanks for visiting. Hope we see you again.

flowering jasmine, I hope things go well for you.

kahless, I will do a blog on psycholotical incest. I don't think I could even begin to explain it in a comment, maybe not even a blog. Bad stuff.

miquiecrew said...

thank you for your insight. it does bring things into perspective a bit better than trying to do this on my own.
i like reading your posts and makes me think about things too ...

Kahless said...

I googled the term and only came up with one small entry which used the two words together.

I think I would like to read a post on the issue. Thanks.

Enola said...

I was triggered in a marriage counseling session recently because my husband's T (a male) seemed shocked when I explained something from my childhood. My T (a female) said it was good for me to see someone (and a male on top of that) be shocked. Because what happened was shocking. I however, didn't know what normal was and wouldn't know to be shocked.

A missing finger may not be as severe as a severed arm, but it is still a horrible tragedy and hurts like hell. Just like abuse - it's all bad, it's all evil.

eeabee {elizabeth} said...

Thanks so much for this thoughtful response and your discussion of these psychological dynamics--it's very helpful. A post on psychological incest would be great too.

I'm adding two links to this post if that's okay.

Thanks again!

PrayerMom said...

You said a mouthful there. I'm currently looking for a good way to get unstuck and get on with it, although I don't know that there's one that works as fast as I'd like.

You've left me a lot to read here, and on your other blog. There's no day so dark that a good Arab can't make me smile.!

MultiMe said...

I JUST wrote a blog about this very thing. An excerpt: "So my husband yelled at me, hit me, choked me, tried to run over me with a car. Is that all? Poor whiny me. In the grand scheme of things, it just wasn't all that bad. Sometimes I want to apologize to other multis for even sharing multiplicity with them."

I didn't go through any of the horrific terrible abuses I read about from other multiples. But yet, here we all are. I appreciate the affirmation in your post.