Tuesday, June 10, 2014

More Emotional Confusion (Part 2 of 2)

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

It's not easy for most of us to turn against someone we love and whom we thought loved us. Too often the abuser was someone within our family or our circle of relationships.

How is it possible to forget that relative or religious leader? Such people will continue to be part of our lives. Even if we avoid the perpetrator, others will speak of him. If the abuse isn't known, they'll likely speak well of him and wonder why we don't like that person. "He was always so nice to you," someone will say. "He really loved and admired you," another might say. We don't know how to respond and mistakenly feel it's too late to say anything.

Our perpetrator is rarely some stranger who assaults us. Most of the time it's a person for whom we retain good memories. The old man who assaulted me had always treated me warmly and kindly. He lured me into his room by giving me snacks. (And only in retrospect could I use the word lured.)

One of my friends told of his confused feelings. "What did I have to gain if I told on my stepfather?" By telling about the sexual assault, he not only felt he would lose his stepfather but the whole family. "And so I never did."

By speaking up, too often the victims get punished. They're not believed, or they feel they're blamed for "ruining" the family.

We're the victims of the abuse, 
and sometimes we're also victims of the ruined family.


Anonymous said...

I've been blamed for ruining the family. The chaos became toxic. After years of enduring the shame, I cut all ties. It felt like death. Only then could my healing work begin. Now in the midst of the work, loneliness consumes me, and I ask myself, "Why did I fight so hard to break free only to be alone and empty?" Please tell me this loneliness is not all there will ever be. I need hope and a promise. I'm so tired.

Cec Murphey said...

I'm sorry for your continued pain. However, I'm not surprised at your emotional reaction.
I think of change as involving three steps.
1. We detach from the old--which can be extremely painful.
2. We live in what I call empty spaces--you can't go back and you haven't moved forward (or so it seems).
3. You grab on to the new way and it takes time adjust.

You sound like you're caught in step 2--the empty space--and I've been there many times in my own issues. You can't go back and you don't know what's ahead.

You're at such a vulnerable place because going back (apologizing, recanting, being hooked back into the old system) seems easier than living with your current feelings.
Please don't turn back. Please write to me personally or to the blog. Most of us know some of the pain you're experiencing.