I thought I would give this abuse stuff a bit of a break. But there is a story I came upon on another blog. I read it and was so touched by it. I should have put the site on my blog roll or bookmarked it or something so I could go back and read it again. It just sort of keeps coming back to me again and again. It gave me a bit more of an insight into why possibly some suffers of abuse don’t seek help or at least take it when offered. I don’t know just my thoughts.
A part of it was about misdirected negative feelings. It spoke of long term abuse suffers being so beaten down, so defeated, they had no energy left to fight or really try any more. It goes back to the trained helplessness and hopelessness. I wish I had copied it to post it here, it states so much better the conditions of these situations than I can.
It spoke of women but I know it would equally apply to men. People who after 30 or 40 years of abuse are just left feeling empty and defeated. No energy to face anymore challenges, barely enough energy to just get through the day. They are so beaten down they are vulnerable to any and all that should wish to use or take advantage of them. They may have escaped from the abusive partner only to have that role taken over by other family members. Here I am talking brothers, sisters and even children to parents. There is no end of people willing to take advantage is given the opportunity, friend, neighbors, coworkers that list would be endless. Wittingly or unwittingly many seem to sense when someone is vulnerable and can be taken advantage of. I am sure this taking advantage of, using, controlling or abusing starts off with something small. But, it almost seems like human nature, if you get away with something small the tendency is continue pushing the envelope just to see how far you can take it. I am sure so often it is even at a subconscious level. The situation gradually evolves, expands and grows until it reaches the point total control is established over the other. I am sure even at that point many do not even realize what they are doing. Things have evolved and changed so slowly that it is not even realized that we have taken control of or are dominating the life of another. We don’t even realize or appreciate what is being done. It reaches the point where it becomes an expectation. “She will do what I want or I will be very mad and will make her life so miserable she will eventually cave in and I will get my way, as it should have been.”
Our abuse victim is pushed even further down. I have read our own children can be the worst at doing this. Our abuse victim just gives up. Her self esteem and self confidence so beat and taken away, she has no confidence in her own decisions. It is just easier to let anyone, even my kids decide what I should be doing, their decisions are likely better than mine anyway, and I just don’t have the energy to fight them, so be it.
I was surprised to read of a quite a number of women actually seeing and recognizing a loving, healthy hand being extended to help them. Of them feeling it was the right thing, the healthy thing to do but of them refusing the offered hand. Possibly maybe because of lack of trust in her own ability to make the right decision but mostly because of the objections of her own family. I am not sure if their objections were based on their own fear of change, I certainly hope not to just exert their control, this I just can’t believe.
I read of women giving up on what they knew would be a real chance of happiness in a healthy relationship because it was to much bother. Their families were comfortable the way things were and didn’t want change and fought it. In each case she just gave in not having the energy to fight for anything, not even her own health, happiness and well being.
I read of the stories of 3 women that had managed to find a new love. A love with a good loving and respectful man. In each case family pressure was so great, it became so stressful each ended the relationship. One guy ran for the hills never to be seem again. The other 2 had to much love to just give up that easily, they persisted in trying to wooing the lady they loved. Neither realized what they were really up against. Each attempted contact caused such an uproar in the home, more and more stress for the lady. So much stress she began to dread the thought of him calling, knowing the stress and tension in the home that it would cause. In each woman apparently the feelings of love remained in tact, but she began to resent the man for calling or trying to contact her because of the family stress it would cause her.
This is what I call the misdirected negative feelings. Here we had 3 women that had loving hands extended to them. Three woman that had a chance at a healthy happy life but gave it up. Not only that but their negative feelings were directed at the loving man, the health support and not at those holding her back, controlling her life. I don’t get it!!!!!!!!
I have often encourage people to shed negative draining relationships from your life and surround yourself with healthy, supportive and nurturing relationships. I just ask before you shed a relationship, please be sure you are sure where the negativity is coming from and be sure you shed the correct relationship. In the case if the relationship that needs to be shedded is with family, remember that doesn’t necessarily have to mean ending or cutting the ties, just the relationship as it is. End it as it is and reform it into a new and healthy one.
Oh, Bill…….if I could only tell you the times I slapped away that helping hand….over and over and over again.
I bought into the lies.
I bought into the value of ‘family’ over all things. (no matter how dysfunctional/abusive they were)
I bought into the ‘don’t talk, don’t feel, don’t trust’ rules imposed within the family structure….
I bought it all.
Their lies…..my lies……
It’s hard to trust truth when you’ve been conditioned by those around you and by a whole society/culture.
It’s hard to believe there’s greatness in you when you’re convinced that you’re unloveable and unworthy–even to (and especially to) G-d.
Misdirected negative feelings abound when you’re trying to protect all that you know and all that you’ve experienced. You really do believe ‘that’s all there is, folks….’…..
You search for evidence that you’re ‘right’…..and you find it cuz you’re good at keeping track of what validates what you believe/have experienced and toss out whatever goes against those very things.
It’s hard to come out from under all that oppressive ‘stuff’ to claim your own life back…..if you ever were able TO establish a life outside of the dysfunctional ‘ick’……
One of the best thing wisepersoninmylife gave to me was that very first lesson–“There’s more than one way to look at things, kid…..”
That and his “Stay open to the possibility of having a different experience…..”
Tough to do when all that you are and all that you believe yourself capable of BEING is all that you’ve experienced to date.
It cheats you of the hope of HAVING a different experience.
I set boundaries with a family that, once upon a time, meant the world to me….cuz they were ‘suppose to’….cuz that’s what made me a ‘good person, good daughter, good sibling’.
I have one family member who will speak with me today….and I’m biologically one of six kids.
There are days that I’m sad for that fact. There are other days that I know it’s perfectly ‘okay’ that things are as they are, today.
I’m reminded of the story of the fella who fell over the cliff, grabbed onto a branch and refused to let go–despite being hollered at to do just that……by G-d who promised it’d all be ‘okay’ if he did.
Hard to trust……
Necessary, at least for me.
But really, really, REALLY hard to trust.
BTW—I will say the Big Guy did one HECK of a job catchin’ me and making the arrangements for me to HAVE that different experience……
He done GOOD!
Mel, it as Jo says in the next comment, we luv ya. You have endures so much. I thank you so much for sharing as you do, you are an inspiration to many. I am very proud of you for the strength, the courage and determination it took to get you to where you are today. The world is a better place because of your journey and then willingness to share. You are a blessing. I thank you so much.
I am so happy for you that when you had to strength to let go of “the branch” keeping you hanging over the cliff. The Good Lord caught you and placed you in the wonderful place you are now. You deserve the love, joy and peace you are now experiencing.
Mel, you rock.
Hey Mel – we love ya !!!!!!
((((((((((hugs to you))))))))))
Jo, I am right there with you.