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:
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