Month: August 2012

About Emerging From Broken: The Confusion Created around Forgiveness Issues

This blog post by Darlene Ouimet especially resonates because she speaks of abusers refusing to admit they did anything wrong, refusing to apologize, even calling you crazy for accusing them of abuse.

If I’m telling “false facts,” if I’m accusing an “innocent” person, then why have I been suffering for the past two years from the aftereffects of Tracy’s abuse, both witnessing it and being the victim of it, even going through a period where I must have had Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because of the constant rumination, fear, hypervigilance, and memories playing back constantly?

Why did I cry so many tears both during and after the “friendship” with Richard and Tracy?

Why did somebody on a forum say I sounded spiritually traumatized?

Why did I feel for at least a year like I couldn’t get close to anyone I didn’t already know, for fear they would turn out to be abusers just like Tracy?

Why have I had so many triggers that–just when I think I’ve put an issue to rest–bring it all up again so my mind would have to go through and process it, figure it out, all over again?  (This happened continuously for at least a year.)

And why on earth would I break off a friendship just like that with someone who was sweet and wonderful and innocent of any wrongdoing, especially since I’m so introverted and shy that I can’t just go out and make another friend to replace ones I lose?

You may ask why I didn’t go to therapy.  There were two reasons: 1) My husband’s job sucked so bad that I had no resources for therapy, no health insurance, no money, and

2) I was even afraid of trusting therapists!   Since my friends could only handle so much, blogging (since I had to get my message out somehow) and writing down the whole story, was my only outlet, my therapy.

Now for the blog post by Ouimet:

The Confusion Created around Forgiveness Issues

Some quotes:

Forgiveness is always a huge issue and a hot topic with survivors of any kind of abuse or trauma that was inflicted by another person….

I think that forgiveness is a RESULT of the healing process BUT I had to set the whole issue of forgiveness aside while I did my healing work.

I understand today that forgiveness is not saying “what they did is okay” and I also understand that there is no point in forgiving someone that isn’t sorry other than to set myself free

BUT I was not able to forgive (EVEN for the purpose of setting myself free) when I had not even processed the trauma or abuse events through the grid of truth.

There was a step missing in there; freedom doesn’t come by sweeping the whole issue under the carpet. Freedom and emotional healing comes from facing the truth about what actually happened and validating it.

For each instance where I had been mistreated, devalued, oppressed, suppressed, and not allowed to have a voice or a defense ~ I had to look at the real truth. Who did it? Could I have prevented it? Did I really “ask for it”. Did I bring it on myself or deserve it?  The answer was always no.

I had to place the blame and responsibility for those events and that mistreatment back on the people who were responsible for them in the first place. And I had to validate myself; YES I was abused. Yes I was mistreated and my feelings about it were shut down and invalidated. AND that was wrong.

We are told to forgive people who are not seeking forgiveness. It is confusing that so often these people didn’t “ask” for forgiveness because they denied that they ever did anything wrong in the first place….

The abusers denied everything and I am told to just forgive what they said they didn’t do? It felt to me like even the people telling me to get over it and forgive, were also denying (agreeing) that it ever happened.

And when abusers expect forgiveness when still denying they ever did anything wrong it is even WORSE! This one is a huge part of the fog storm that survivors live in.

Statements like “WHY can’t you just get over it; forgive and forget” mixed in with statements like “you are full of crap ~ that never happened” and “OH you are so dramatic and tell such big lies” is crazy making, manipulating and very confusing.

When I was free of the false beliefs, I was also free to forgive, but what forgiveness “feels” like for me is just that I was able to let go of the hated, anger, bitterness and frustration.

I don’t need to PROVE to them that it isn’t my fault that all this happened or even prove that it did happen. I don’t need them to HEAR me anymore. I hear myself and I have my support system.

I do not need to “tell” the abusers who deny ever having abused me that I forgive them.  I don’t feel much emotion around them anymore. The anger has dissipated.

They don’t rule my life anymore and they don’t define me anymore. They can no longer tell me what to do or how to feel. I am my own person today and another sign of my freedom is that I know they can’t hurt me anymore. I am no longer afraid.

And, of course, there are the many comments below the blog.

It is not motivating or inspiring to try to convince people that they have a misconception about their own lives.  It causes further damage. It adds to the trauma that being mistreated and devalued already caused.

It is not helpful when people or organizations try to encourage people to move forward before the actual truth has been validated.

It is abusive to invalidate the truth by teaching that facing it or talking about it is the same as whining and even the same as lying about it. –Darlene Ouimet, Inspirational Quotes that Cause Harm Saying HOW You Got Screwed Up

 

Wife Vs. Secretary: Musings on Jealousy

I recommend the movie Wife Vs. Secretary  (also here, here and here), which I just watched tonight for the second time since 2008, as an example of how jealousy can ruin a perfectly good relationship.

(I’m especially interested in this movie because I was a secretary before becoming a stay-at-home mother.  The wives of my two bosses never showed any sign of worry, even though I was young, slim, etc.  Apparently times have changed.  But imagine if they’d been jealous of me–that would’ve caused a lot of trouble, and potentially jeopardized a job I needed!)

The secretary, Whitey, is attracted to Gable’s character, Van, and if he never noticed his secretary’s charms (since she is, after all, played by Jean Harlow), you’d have to check his pulse.

But their relationship is strictly business, never once becoming improper: Van’s character loves his wife passionately, and his secretary–who has brains, not just beauty–also has good character.

Yet people begin talking.  Though Myrna Loy’s character is initially very modern-thinking, all this talk makes her suspicious–leading to all sorts of trouble which never would’ve happened if only she’d ignored all the talk.

She thinks a hush-hush business deal, is actually an affair between Van and Whitey.  Her jealousy practically drives Van into Whitey’s arms.  Van says, “There’s an old Chinese proverb that says if you want to keep a man honest, never call him a liar.”

Meanwhile, Whitey’s fiancé, played by Jimmy Stewart, is also jealous of Van, which estranges Whitey and her fiancé.

As Jimmy Stewart’s character says at the end of the movie, “Gosh, all the fighting and worrying people do, it always seems to be about one thing: They don’t seem to trust each other.  Well, I’ve found this out: Don’t look for trouble where there isn’t any, because if you don’t find it, you’ll make it.  Just believe in someone.”

I noticed during the dancing scene that nobody looked at the wife funny for dancing with other men, but everybody looked at Van funny for dancing with Whitey.

It also annoys me that Whitey’s fiancé objects to her job, telling her that her having a career she likes (even after marriage) is somehow “unnatural” and works against having a home, marriage, and kids; and pushing her to quit so they can marry.

It’s also sexist to assume that a beautiful secretary was hired because of her looks.

I am very anti-jealousy.  I was raised, and socialized in, very open environments which accepted opposite-sex friendships/working relationships/church relationships as the norm.

In college, if I had objected to my boyfriends having female friends, I would’ve been dropped like a hot rock; they had female friends, I had guy friends, it was accepted whether we knew each other or not.

My friends are usually like this as well, especially my SCA friends, who see open and playful flirting as normal no matter what your marital status.

I also tend to pick up behaviors from the people I spend my time with, so I follow their lead of what is acceptable, start to open up a bit on things I was more reserved on before.  (The exceptions are things I morally object to, such as smoking or drugs or getting drunk–or cheating, which normally I don’t see my friends doing, anyway.)

The only friends of my husband whom I ever objected to, were women he’d slept with before we met.  I didn’t even object to friends of his who didn’t seem to like me for some reason, since it seemed very inappropriate to tell him who his friends should be.

So when I encounter jealous people, I don’t understand them, don’t know what makes a person want to be that way.  Wouldn’t they rather just relax and trust and enjoy life instead of wasting their time and energy being angry, suspicious and vigilant?  Wouldn’t they rather be the person their spouse can’t wait to come home to, rather than making his/her life miserable?

If you’re providing a warm, comfortable, happy relationship for your spouse to come home to, then other women/men should not be a threat.  And if they are a threat, then your spouse is a cad/caddette whom you’re better off without, anyway, so let him/her leave.  I have written about this subject at length here.

 

From Emerging From Broken: Forgive the Abusers? A bit of a Rant

I found this article very helpful for those of us who are frustrated by being told to forgive our abusers/bullies, even when those abusers/bullies (as is usually the case) refuse to admit that they ever did anything wrong.

This is an “in the trenches” style blog post, not one of those 5-step “forgive and forget” articles you often find on the Net and in magazines.  Thus, it is far more helpful for those of us who are trying to deal with/heal from/forgive the abuses of our past:

Forgive the Abusers? A bit of a Rant

Today’s Fun: Highland Games, Weird Friends

What a full day today:

First I bicycled to church (so I get to sleep in tomorrow), a new thing with my brand-new bike after years of no bike.  I got to visit with the people at coffee hour, practice Greek, try to understand Greek, and chat with a new friend, a very spiritual young man who’s become close enough to know my struggles with faith and the loss of a meaningful but abusive friendship.

I spoke to him about it back in February, told him the whole thing.  It’s hard for a shy introvert like me to make that close of a friend.  Facebook chats help a lot.

It’s good to find another spiritual, potentially close friend, to have someone to talk to who’s close enough to actually help.  Just his presence at church is quiet moral support as I go through this tough time.

My priest has also known for the past two years about my struggles, the various things that have come up, since I’ve been going to him for advice, prayer and counsel over this ever since July 2010.

They were my support system since long before the ex-friends (Richard and Tracy) found my blog.  So I’m not all alone there, even though Jeff goes to a different church.  There’s nothing the ex-friends can do to me with my support system in place. 

They have threatened to sue me if I tell members of the church about what they’ve done, but I told my priest and this friend long before they made that threat, and I’ve also told them about the threat and the blog stalking and intimidation they’ve done since.

It is my human right to confide in whomever I choose about my problems, so such a lawsuit would violate my free speech, would be frivolous, and would be thrown out of court.

Such threats are often used by bullies/abusers to keep their victims quiet and fearful.

That woman, Tracy, even pressed up against my back in the communion line and started breathing loudly–literally breathing down my neck and snarling!

It is a huge relief to connect and re-connect with normal, nice people who do not abuse their friends, who just have the usual human foibles.  The more I see them, the better I feel, the farther along I get on the healing process.

Then I went to another friend’s annual Highland Games/caber toss thing.  Stoneput, spear throwing and another tossing thing were added, and the usual caber tossing (big pole like a utility pole, in various weights/sizes).  Extra points if you wear a kilt.

The usual/annual jokes about men tossing their wood and what’s under that kilt.  (The rules stated that you cannot go commando because it’s unsanitary and could subject the people behind you to an unwelcome view as you toss your caber.)

And the usual fun was had by all.‎…Oh, and Jeff got a plaque (homemade by my friend, T., a gifted craftsman) for coming in 1st place in mini caber.

I tend to have unique friends.  I’m not used to the rougher types T. hangs out with, but my friends are usually geeks of some kind, computer geeks, British comedy fans, Dr. Who fans, roleplaying geeks, reenactment geeks (SCA, Renaissance Faire).  I even married one.

That’s also why my friends tend to be guys, though sometimes girls are this way as well. 

T. is one of these unique friends, met years ago through other geeky friends I met on a local BBS (back before the Internet made BBS’s into a bunch of crickets chirping, around 2000).  He also has Scottish ancestry, and even claims to go back to King Nebucchadnezzar.  I believe he goes back to King MacAlpine as well, which makes us cousins in a way, because so do I.

Though I couldn’t help wondering–after discovering that not only does my dad’s line go back to royalty, so does my mother’s–if some of the records coming down have been fudged.

Why is it that everybody I know, who has records stretching back that far, goes back to royalty?  Or is it just that if you can trace your records back that far, you must be from royalty, because the records of common peons would not be so carefully kept?

[Update: I recently read some Internet article which demonstrated that, based on math and probability, EVERYONE goes back to some kind of royalty.]

T. also comes from a unique family: Today he told the story of his stepfather, I believe it was, who likes to go into the pharmacy, let a nasty one go in one aisle, then go to another aisle and watch in the security mirror to see people’s reactions.

Once he did this while T.’s mother was bent down looking at a bottle.  An old lady came along, said, “Well, I never!” and started hitting her with her purse.  The response: “Maybe you should, and then you’ll be in a better mood.”

Another of my unique friends, M., seems to know other people I know as well: the youth pastor I used to work with 12 years ago, and a new convert at my church who almost went to live with him.

He is the kind of person who started out with a completely normal, ordinary name, hated it, and legally changed it to a name from myth (which if I named to you, would identify him, so I won’t give the name).  He also wore a beautiful kilt to T’s first Highland Games, in October 2010.

We used to play Dungeons and Dragons with him, his sister, his sister’s boyfriend (now husband, who was the first one I befriended on that BBS), T., and a teenager who also hung around in our little group on the BBS and in person, back around 2000.

The teenager was obsessed with Star Wars, wore a Jedi cloak to my birthday party in 1999, and to this day, despite being a mature adult, insists on being called the name of a certain Star Wars character.

In maybe 2001 or so, there was a rift in this group when everyone except me turned against one of the members.  I felt like, because I did not want to cut him out as well, I was also jettisoned, because after that, there were no more invites, no more showing up for our invites.

But in the summer of 2010, having reconnected with all these people through Facebook, and finding the rift repaired because the outed member had greatly matured, Jeff and I invited them to a party.

M. had a sunburn, claimed that grass was good for sunburn, then went out and rubbed his back on our little closed-in lawn.  While doing so, he lost his iPod, but didn’t realize it.  That night, it rained.

The next morning, we found his iPod on the lawn, and returned it to him.  I don’t know if it still worked.

I’m told by T. that M.’s wife was a very serious person in high school, the last person he would’ve expected to marry M.  Yet they were together for many years before getting married, so she must’ve had both eyes open.  Funny how things turn out, isn’t it?

 

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