I am a survivor. I have experienced abuse. Some people have accused me of not knowing what I’m talking about, that I’m “just an advocate” without real experiences of abuse. I don’t talk a lot about my own abuse stories. I have shared some experiences during the history of this blog. But I’m a survivor and no longer have a victim mentality.
Now it is my desire to critique systems, ideas, and behaviors that violate human beings. I want to help people set themselves free, not just from oppressive situations, but from their own emotional prisons that these oppressive situations have caused.
This is some of the stuff we do at The Lasting Supper, and I warmly invite you to join us. Although we’re not perfect, and although some people are silent for their own reasons, almost everyone who joins expresses their gratitude at how wonderful a place it is.
Abusers count on the people they bully and abuse to feel and behave in certain ways. Many abusers wouldn’t abuse if they knew what they did would be publicized. The threat of exposure can be a deterrent. Many abusers understand this and depend upon secrecy and silence to perpetuate their abusive behaviors. If abused people show any signs of breaking this abuse code, then abusers will enforce and impose it in increasingly audacious ways.
Even as I wrote the first paragraph about my abuse, I felt a little embarrassed. It just goes to show that there is still the stigmatization of abuse that tends to push me towards being quiet about it.
So I want to share with you how abused people feel and how abusers count on this to conceal their abuse.
- Shocked: The abused people I know are usually very trusting of people and the systems they commit themselves to. They can’t believe another person or organization would do this to them.
- Angry: They are not only angry at the abuser. They’re angry at themselves because many believe they got themselves into this situation. This unexpressed rage burns a hole into their lives.
- Disappointed: People are usually abused by those closest to them. In other words, they are abused by the people and groups that promised love but failed in some horrific and destructive way.
- Depressed: Because of the intensity of a million emotions and confounding confusions, an emotional overload and crash often ensues, plummeting them into a deep and unresolved sadness.
- Self-loathing: Many abused people end up hating themselves and consider themselves dirty and used goods. They hate that they got into this and they hate that they are now marred forever.
- Frustrated: Abused people are usually very frustrated with those who are supposed to care, support, protect, and vindicate them. They are bewildered that their abuser gets away with it.
- Guilty: To feel hateful feelings toward the one who abused them is a sign of disrespect. To challenge them is to challenge the leader or organization that so many others admire and respect.
- Deserving: Many abused people feel that they must have somehow deserved what they got. This is especially true in a religious context so that they may feel God has punished them.
- Silenced: Abused people quickly discover that their stories are best kept secret, and suddenly run into all kinds of barriers and obstacles to sharing their experiences. There are no safe places to talk.
- Peaceful: Some finally come to a place of peace. Abusers can even take advantage of this because they hope the abused doesn’t feel the need to talk about their abuse anymore.
This has been my experience. This is the experience of so many abused people. This is how they feel.
Is there something you can add? I and my friends are listening.