Thoughtful woman looking out window

The most painful response I have received after telling someone about my decision to cut contact with my parents was: ‘You can’t, you will break their soul‘. Why, after half a lifetime of pain and damage does the world still expect me to prioritize my abusers’ pain over my own?

Why is the world telling me that I matter less than my abuser?

Why are people telling me that, if I just adjust my behavior around my abuser, they will change? Don’t you think I have believed those things long enough? Don’t you think I tried that a million times already?

Stop Making This About My Abuser!
I Made This Choice For ME!

Seriously, I did not choose to cut contact with my parents for some perverted sense of punishment or revenge. I did it because I needed to protect myself from their toxicity and sabotage. I did it because I don’t want myself, or the people I truly love to suffer from my trauma, by allowing myself to continue  to be traumatized. In fact, I made a choice that my parents failed to make. Rather than breaking the cycle, they chose to pay their trauma forward. And yes, that is a choice too.

What Kicked Off This Rant?

Well, I was playing over at Facebook, and came across  this update here:

Food for thought ~ have you ever noticed how often we are encouraged to understand the feelings of the abuser? Why is that? It never helped me to understand the thought patterns of the abuser. Trying to understand them increased my frustrations and validated my already low self-esteem.
~ Darlene Ouimet (emergingfrombroken.com)

It made me realize how often victims are asked to empathize with their abuser, which is complete and utter $#!+ (sorry, but it is!). I pride myself in not understanding the twisted thought patterns that led and allowed my mother to treat her kids the way she did.  I think my lack of ability to wrap my head around her thoughts speaks not only in favor of my sanity, but of my humanity.

Trying to see things from my mother’s point of view, meant looking for the evidence of her image of me. It meant looking for the lazy, fat, dirty and egocentric behaviors that she projected on me. It meant in fact reaffirming her false image of me. It meant – once again – taking the responsibility and blame for the abuse.

No! I am not doing that again!

Where Understanding Your Abuser IS Important

Okay, there are important reasons to understand some of your abuser. Not to empathize, but certainly to better understand your own situation. Perhaps the trick is not to try to understand their triggers and drivers, but to understand the behaviors. Having some understanding of NPD (or whatever other underlying issue of your abuser) will give you valuable insight in the dynamic they create.

It helps you understand their behavior in the context of their gain, and more importantly will help you learn how those actions have affected you.

It is knowing the tool, to understand the tool markings.
we love to read your comments below
Monkey

Monkey

Having gained experience while working for a variety of European non-profits, I am proud to now work with SwanWaters. My connection with the website is not only professional. I am glad to tap into my personal experiences to help those who are living in toxic relationships whether with parents, partners or in their professional life. We need to make the world more aware of the devastating effects of emotional abuse and help more people on their way to heal and thrive.
Monkey

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The most painful response I have received after telling someone about my decision to cut contact with my parents was: 'You can't, you will break their soul'. Why, after half a lifetime of pain and damage does the world still expect me to prioritize my abusers pain over my own?

5 comments:

  1. Anne

    June 9, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I don’t know too much about parental abuse, but I am familiar with spousal abuse. When I made the decision to leave, I left for me…and my three children ( yes, I took them with me). People looked at me like I was crazy, asked me “Why, yall have been married 21years?” I didn’t bother to answer that question, because I had already answered it for myself. I left to break the cycle…I hoped I had left soon enough to teach my son and daughters that love was not suppose to hurt and that one just cannot go through life hurting people with words, looks, and bodily injury. Today, 15 years after I walked away from my previous life, I am better. And you are exactly right, this is all about ME!

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Aubrey Cole
      Aubrey Cole

      June 10, 2015 at 12:05 am

      Anne, it took me 25 years and 4 tries. When I finally got out, my girls were 7 and 11 and I had no full time job. Like you, I did it for me and for my girls and never, ever looked back! Congratulations!

      Reply
  2. Profile photo of Monkey
    Monkey

    June 9, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Good on you Anne! I know these processes are similar for parental and spousal abuse. I am so proud of you for making the choice for you, and your children. And good on you for committing to 15 years of hard work at healing yourself and showing your kids there are far better ways to live you life: YOU ROCK!

    Fly Free,
    Monkey

    Reply
  3. Keira

    July 17, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Thank you SO much for this post!!! … I too have had to go no contact with my abusers … which resulted in nearly everyone I’ve grown up with turning against me for ‘hurting the family’ … out of everyone (aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grandparents, siblings (and their in laws)) I only have 2 people who still are in contact with me.

    Your words really resonated with me, when you said ” I did not choose to cut my family out of my life for some perverted sense of punishment or revenge. I did it because I needed to protect myself from their toxicity and sabotage. I did it because I don’t want myself, or the people I truly love to suffer from my trauma, by allowing myself to continue to be traumatized. In fact, I made a choice that my parents failed to make. Rather than breaking the cycle, they chose to pay their trauma forward. And yes, that is a choice too.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Perhaps it is our strength in standing up to abuse that exposes THEM for not having done so when they should have. Perhaps it brings to their attention that, although once abused, they have now chosen the path of the abuser – and that truth is too painful for them to accept …. I don’t say this as a means of sympathizing with them … but more of a pat on the back for all who don’t just roll over and continue the cycle of abuse. Round of applause to all who stand up to the abuse and all the ensuing drama – whatever it takes to be safe, and to protect our family! <3 (ps, Darlene's blog was what got me started in realizing I had a choice to stand up and heal. I got so excited when I saw you quote her!)

    Reply
    • Profile photo of Monkey
      Monkey

      July 20, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Hello Keira,

      I am so glad you found this post useful. I think too often victims are asked to sympathise with abusers who have never given them the slightest consideration. Like you I have no contact with anyone linked to my family. Some just went quiet, some turned into flying monkeys. I don’t miss the drama and constant strategising to keep myself protected though.

      For us to stand up against the abuse, and chose healing over perpetuating is a very strong statement. I think maybe the enablers (that extended family of ours) may feel the shame you describe more than the abusers themselves. Toxic people are often beyond that kind of self-reflection… Something to ponder…

      xMonkey

      PS. Darlene makes a lot of sense :) I am glad you have found healing and support in her writing!

      Reply

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