I Blamed Myself For My Abuse Since I Didn’t Tell

May 24th, 2012 | By | Category: All Posts, Steps Toward Healing

by Christina Enevoldsen

When my daughter was nineteen and her father and I were in the middle of a divorce, she shared the horrible truth about what her dad had been doing to her for most of her life. As I tried to wrap my head around the fact that I had been completely blind all those years, a few words slipped from my mouth, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

I know now how painful those words can be. They communicate that all would have been well if only she would have come to me. That question might have also meant, “If that’s really true, then why are you only telling me now?” But I never doubted the truth and I didn’t blame her. My reaction came from feeling like a fool for being deceived by my husband all those years.

Bethany didn’t want to feel responsible for the breakup of her family, so she held onto the secret until I left her father for other reasons. It was apparent to me that my daughter’s silence stemmed from an effort to survive the best she could, but I didn’t see things that clearly when it came to my own abuse.

For a long time after I started talking about my abuse, I felt guilty for not speaking up sooner. It didn’t seem as though it could have been so hard to tell someone that my dad was hurting me. I thought I must have either been a very stupid or weak child or that I must not have wanted the abuse to stop.

I didn’t believe I really had a right to complain about my abuse since I hadn’t complained about it while it was going on. If I hated it so much, why didn’t I say something then?

As an adult, I wanted to scream at my child-self, “JUST TELL!!!” I was blaming the little girl I had been for all my pain. I thought if she would have just pushed a little harder, she could have saved us both.

As an adult, I wanted to scream at my child-self, “JUST TELL!!!” I was blaming the little girl I had been for all my pain. I thought if she would have just pushed a little harder, she could have saved us both.

There was one time I remember specifically that I had a chance to disclose my abuse. I was ten years old and a psychologist from the school district pulled me out of class after observing students for a few days. I knew she had singled me out because there was something wrong with me. I already felt like I had some kind of sign on me that told everyone that I was bad and disgusting.

The woman asked me why I seemed sad and I struggled for an answer. I didn’t relate my sadness to what my dad was doing to me. I didn’t even consider that those things weren’t normal. I tried to come up with the “right” answer, so I told her I didn’t have any friends. That wasn’t really true, but I did feel very alone.

The woman seemed disappointed and annoyed with me. I didn’t know what she wanted or expected, but I wasn’t doing something right. She worked with me and taught me social skills for a few months and then I was on my own again.

I felt like the whole world was against me, so reaching out for help didn’t seem like a possibility. I felt like I deserved bad things. I didn’t have hope for my life being any less painful so I focused on not making it any more painful.

Even though I judged myself for not figuring out how I could be saved, I can see now that I was very smart in some ways. During those years of incest and other abuses, I adapted by developing my intuition. I learned to read people very well so I could prepare myself for what was coming. I could anticipate what they would do and sometimes avoid more harm. Without knowing how I knew, I knew certain people weren’t safe.

Looking back, nothing about that psychologist told me that I could trust her. She seemed to view me as a project rather than a person. I had the feeling she was more interested in her own success than in truly helping me. I couldn’t trust this stranger, but why couldn’t I trust my mom? Why didn’t I tell her?

When I was in my early forties, I stood before a group of people and named my father as my abuser. It felt good to let go of the secret, but when I went to bed that night, I felt horrible guilt for “betraying” my dad. I heard a little girl’s voice tell me that I was going to get in trouble. I knew that was a voice from the past and assured myself that I hadn’t done anything wrong, but deep down, I believed I deserved to be punished for telling.

I didn’t know what the “punishment” might be until I got a letter from my mom. For years, she’d accepted that I’d been sexually abused, but when I uncovered my father as my primary abuser, she accused me of lying:

I am writing to inform you that your malicious slander of your father has not gone unnoticed. You have built an entire world out of your fantasy. In dreaming up your sexual abuse you have maligned your father’s character and deeply hurt his heart and mine. Your lies shall surely catch up with you.

I want you to know that if you have any plans of writing a book, we will sue you and anyone who has anything to do with it. Your defamation of your father’s character will stop. You will not enjoy one penny from any book published about this gross lie.

And I should let you know that we filed some of your inflammatory statements about your father and me, along with your threat against me, with the Mesa Police Dept.

And I will always be your mother whether you recognize me or not as such.
Your mother-
Mary S******

The violence of her words devastated me. The denial of my sexual abuse felt like a denial of my life and existence. She insisted that I remember that she’s my mother. Those words stung. I realized that I didn’t have a mother—not just now that I’d told my secret, but that I’d never had a mom who loved and supported me.

I felt invisible to her my whole life. I’d constantly tried to be good enough, to work hard enough, to live according to her rules. I was too busy trying to earn my mother’s love to notice that there was no love to earn. She hadn’t suddenly changed into a mean person. She hadn’t recently turned her back on me. She was treating me the way she always had.

That showed me another perspective. The closest thing to love I had as a little girl was from my dad. Even if I had to trade my body for a little attention and affection, my dad was the only source of anything that resembled love. Even though I didn’t like what he was doing to me, I felt more security from him than I did from my mom. Telling wasn’t an option when I was being abused since the punishment for breaking my silence was that I would be completely abandoned by both of my parents.

Examining the past has shown me the truth about myself and about my abuse. I know in my head and in my heart that I’m not to blame for what happened to me or for the abuse continuing. I’m content knowing that I listened to my intuition and even if I couldn’t stop the abuse, I was successful in surviving it.

Blaming myself was another method to survive. It was an attempt to take control of a situation where I had no control. Instead of admitting that I was a helpless child, I envisioned myself having power. I tried to change the past through self-blame, but as long as I did that, I remained a victim to the past. When I finally acknowledged that I didn’t have power or choices when I was a child, I was released from guilt and blame so I could be empowered now. I can’t change the past, but I’m very capable of healing from it.

Now that you’ve heard my experience and thoughts about this, I’d love to hear yours. Please comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to the comments so you can continue to partake in the discussion.

Related Posts:
How Do I Disclose My Abuse?
Why I Talk About My Childhood Abuse Over and Over
Peace and Protection From Abuse
Why Do I Need to Tell?
Dead Silence: Killing My Voice
Standing Up For Myself: Reclaiming My Self-Worth

Christina Enevoldsen

I’m Christina Enevoldsen and I’m the cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse and the author of The Rescued Soul: The Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal. My passion is exploring new ways to express my empowered new life. I’ve recently discovered the joy of waterslides, the delightful scented lotion from Bath & Body Works, “Dark Kiss” and hosting princess tea parties for my granddaughters. My husband and I live in Scottsdale, Arizona and share three children and six grandchildren.

[read Christina’s story here]

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  1. Christina–
    Thank you for your insights and for your clear and open style. Your writings and those of your colleagues are encouraging me to attach words to my insights as they come. It turns vague sensations into something solid that can be looked at, handled, owned, and shared.
    Thanks to you all!

  2. Sharon,
    I’m so glad our site is so encouraging to you. Thanks for such kind words!

  3. Thank you for putting into words what could be my story. It feels like you were writing about my mother and me and not your story! Thank you!

  4. Hi Its Clare
    I like what you put I felt the same why didnt I say any thing when it first happened its because your Scared if something would happen if you did or the person would come looking for you. Well I have gone Two steps back ward The Flat I was hoping for doesnt look as if Its going to Happen Know they want to put me in a residential place in hemel where my Abuser lived round there but I think he has moved but Ive been to my Doctors and he Agreed its deffantly the wrong place for me to move to so not doing at all good argggggggggg.
    From Clare Manley

  5. Although I did believe in some ways the abuse I suffered was my fault, because in some ways (which he told me or led me to believe), I asked for it or wanted it, or was part of my “education” or growing up so to speak and I didn’t tell before it was discovered in another way or even after it cocntinued…I struggled then and still struggle now with the guilt of how many other kids has he, or is he, abusing that I could have prevented… That’s the one for me that I have trouble still getting beyond. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations provides a shield for both him and me, to make it seem pointless for me to try and do anything now. I still, and probably always will, struggle with this perceived failure on my part…

  6. Tarynne,
    I’m sorry you went through the same thing with your mother. I hope you’re finding healing.

  7. Clare,
    Thanks for sharing your feelings. I hope your living situation is resolved soon and that you end up someplace you feel safe.

  8. Thanks for sharing all you do here Christina, this post brings up a lot for me. As a young child when the abuse was happening, I coped by telling myself each day, when my parents were about to come home from work (my sexual/physical/emotional abuser was my older brother) that today I would tell, and I took great comfort from this illusion, though I never actually told because the cold reality of my parents would have killed those faint glimmers of hope. They would come home and find he had broken down my bedroom door to get at me, but they didn’t even ask me what happened. I guess being a boy, there is another level to ‘why didn’t you tell,’ which came from my older sister, who around the time I was being abused in multiple ways, said ‘why don’t you just punch him in the face?” I was expected to have a ‘tough’ or violent will inside me that could ward off my older, stronger, manipulative brother, so to them it was of course my fault for not being able to deal with it on my own.

    Around 12 years old when this happened, I also spent a lot of time in the guidance office on account of my obvious anxiety. One day, a counselor pulled me into a half-lit office and sped through an ‘abuse questionnaire’ that she was obviously very uncomfortable with herself and was only doing out of some legal obligation. She stared down at the paper and asked blunt questions like ‘is anyone physically abusing you, has anyone ever touched your genitals…” etc. Naturally I wasn’t going to open up in that situation, I just wanted it to be over with. But for a time I did blame myself for not telling someone, or I cherished fantasies that I could have made it better, but that wasn’t the case. There were a lot of adults with their blinders on who had the real power over the situation back then, not me.

  9. Caden,
    Your parents seeing that your door had been broken down but not asking questions is another example of a clear message that it’s not safe to tell–that they really didn’t want to know or that they already knew. I’m sorry you were betrayed that way, Caden. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story. It is to bad your mother cannot see the light and truth but sounds to me like she just cannot face the truth or bring herself to believe a father could do those horrible things. It is every mothers worste nightmare. I hope she comes to terms with this. ((Hugs)) You are a strong woman and an inspiration. : )

  11. Thanks Christina, you’re right, not even bothering to ask me shows they were totally uninterested in protecting me, my feelings, my rights… They would just silently put the door back on, until the day came when they just threw it in the basement, and then I had no door on my bedroom anymore. Which made it much easier for him.

  12. Caden,
    In incest families, it’s not only the sexual abuser who is sick. The system requires that the whole family participate in secrets and lies–to others and to themselves.

  13. Thank you for sharing your letter from your mom. I too just received a 5 page letter of accusatory statements and a threat to be disowned. It wasn’t about the sexual abuse but about the incident in which their dog bit my son on the face. It has been 8 years later and I still have never had a genuine apology and every time we visit (once a year) she tries to force the dog on us. We insist she keep the dog locked away because they refuse to put him in a kennel when we visit. She acts like we are putting her out and when I insist on the boundary when it is breached she gives me the silent treatment and becomes very hostile. She once brought him out to greet us when we arrived then she gets pissed when I tell her I don’t appreciate that and I don’t want the dog around. It’s a longer story but when I asked for an acknowledgment she minimized it saying “It was only a warning bite” and children should be taught to respect dogs, implying it was my fault for not teaching him (he was 1 at the time). Anyway, she went on to talk about what a terrible Christian I am and other shaming words about my lack of character in her eyes. Now that I am insisting that we stay only for shorter visits and stay at a hotel she is furious but says she will put the dog away. Her tone suggests that we are inconveniencing her. It’s difficult to conceptualize her unwillingness to protect my son (and now daughter) from a dog who has already attacked a child. Now I may get disowned from my inheritance because I choose to protect my son.

  14. Gretchen,
    I can really relate to how upside down that kind of treatment is. My mom saw herself and my dad as the victims. There are many other letters that my mom sent me a few years before this when I was making an attempt to work things out with her. She used all kinds of manipulative methods to try to get me back under control: a bribe/threat (with stuff about their will, she told me her job (at a church) was in jeopardy, she told me I was dishonoring her to accuse her of lying and she tried to guilt me into forgetting about it by saying she didn’t keep account of the things I had done wrong. Sheesh! A year later, when my daughter and I reported my ex-husband for sexual abuse, my mom made it all about her and my dad. They were SO inconvenienced by “having” to help my ex’s new wife with her business affairs now that her child molester husband was in jail and it was ALL our fault. We had destroyed the family. It wasn’t the sexual abusers who had destroyed the family–it was the victims who dared to complain about it. Such sick thinking!

  15. Christina,

    Although my story is different, it has its similiarities.

    About a year ago, I was dumped after three years out of the blue. I was devastated. I thought it was “forever.” Just a couple weeks after being dumped, I was sexually assaulted by a homeless man on the side of the street near my school campus. Its like the man knew, and could see, how fragile I was and he jumped at his opportunity. so much shame followed that event…little did I know, things were only going to get much, much hrder. That year in august 2011, one day my mom woke up and decided she was going to leave my father after a 22 year marriage. You can guess..the blame was placed on me (i still dont know why). Then, not but a month later, I was forced to a hotel by a stranger where I was raped for 5 hours. With this distance between my parents, I feel like I have no one to confide in. and part of me feels like this is happening to me as a punishment for what ive done wrong along the way. And as if I thought that was all I could bare, my coworker was recently fired for sexually assaulting me. Im afraid of what may happen next.

    I found your story, and as much as I wish these things never happened, I find comfort in relating to you. Youre opening yourself up with the hopes it will help others, as you have helped me, and that is deeply admirable. As I do not know you, I feel like I owe you so much. Be proud in knowing that there are strangers out there who are struggling to get by, but after reading your story, it keeps them pushing for that much longer. Again, thank you.

  16. For years I wanted to believe that my mother was perfect. It was hard for me to finally admit that she failed to protect me all those times I was abused by so many different men. When I spoke up about one, I was called a liar and that I was just trying to get attention. When I was 11 I was told to go get on birth control and get free condoms at the county health department. Never did I hear that I was special enough that I should wait to have sex. I didn’t hear that my body was sacred, and to not be tricked into giving it away freely for men’s pleasure, that I was supposed to say no. So may times growing up I felt like I had the worst luck in the world, why was this happening to me? Counselors always said, “You have to want to change, you have to stop acting out, you have to be a better kid” They never asked me what I went through and all the different abuses I endured.
    Failure to Protect is the offense that my mother is gulity of and I have a right to be angry about that. It doesn’t mean I don’t love her, it just means I had to right to be protected from abuse and I was not. I feel like a traitor, but sometimes I resent my mom so much for not being strong or sane enough to keep me safe. Every day of my childhood I thought about suicde and wondered why I was born into this life. I am glad she was sterilized after me so no more of her children could suffer what me and my sibling went through.

  17. Nicole,
    What horrible things to experience! The feelings of isolation, blame and shame are common to all kinds of abuse, violation and betrayal. I’m glad you found comfort here and I hope you feel welcome enough to participate as much as you like. You’re not alone.

  18. Eryn,
    That sounds so much like my experience. I cried out for help from my parents as a teen and they turned away. That reinforced my feelings of abandonment and that all I was good for was sex.

    I agree that you have a right to feel angry about that. Working through my anger has been one of the foundations of my healing. I awakened to the truth that I deserved to be treated much better, which was the beginning of validating myself.


  19. Its very hard to keep my strength. These men, my family, and now even I have played a role in stripping me of my self worth. Christina, I am not so sure how to not feel alone when i wake up every morning hating myself because thats what ive been taught to do.

  20. Hi Christina

    Thanks for sharing your story, so very brave and inspiring. I am healing from sexual abuse that happened to me when I was 6. I’m now 27 and some days find it difficult to cope. Thank God I have the strength to get me through on some days.

    I’m now reading a book “You Can Heal Your Life” By Louise Hay Its helped me alot. Some days I feel like there’s a hole in my chest and I feel pain. I’m doing the best I can do to build a better future for my Daughter and I. Starting with Learning to Love myself and Changing the way I think using Positive Affirmations. It will never change the past but it gives me back my Life and the Love I deserve to have for Myself and those around me.

    Thankyou once again.

  21. I DID TELL and I’ve been punished ever since. Ostracized, blacklisted, slandered, accused, hate mail, you name it. “Telling” doesn’t always work. Sometimes it makes it worse. But I am glad I told and I keep telling and I will never shut up.

  22. My mother and my sisters have been the worst. Instead of the support you would expect or at least hope for, they are bitterest enemies and there is nothing I can do about. What kind of female support and friendship can I expect, from people who willilngly went along with it, participated in it, or turned a blind eye to it? They would rather torture me than face the truth about their own family history and who we were really born of. it takes two to tango. Father abuses, mother denies. Children messed up for life.

  23. Caden, when I locked my door against my father, he took the doorknob off. When I pushed furniture against the door, he took the door off the hinges and left it leaning against the wall. It “needed to be repaired” for the next two years.

    And I thought I was the only one.

    People loved to say to me “Why didn’t you lock the door?” “Well, I would have never let him in!” and other nonsense like that. What the h*** do they know? How dare they pass judgment?

    With no door and no lock there’s nothing you can do. Some families are a prison sentence and I am glad that we all escaped and survived. However we did it, we SURVIVED.

    Dear God please show us The Way. Gracias, amen.

  24. Catherine,
    I agree that telling as a child or as an adult doesn’t always result in support. That’s exactly the point I was trying to make. Like you, I was ostracized by my family for exposing the secret, but I’m glad I told. I may not have gotten the support from my family, but telling is one of the ways I support myself and I’ll never shut up either.

  25. Nicole,
    I can relate to those feelings of self-hatred. I felt that same way. It was a long process for me to love myself, but I do now and it feels so freeing. Keep healing because it does get better.

  26. Pauline,
    Yay for finding resources that inspire and encourage you! I’m glad you’re doing well. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Hi Christina,
    Excellent article! Self blame was one of my (many) survival tools and coping methods too. If I blamed me then I might be able to muster up some hope for change and some chance of love from the very one’s that harmed me because I believed that if I tried harder, and if I “changed” they would love me and stop hurting me. If I blamed them, even as a child I knew there was “no hope” because they were the one’s harming me so they were not likely to change.
    I told about a few things and was totally ignored. In some cases it made things much worse so there was more than one reason not to tell, but getting to the roots of all this stuff, as you have done and shown here in this article is where the answers are and where the solution is found.
    Hugs, Darlene

  28. dear innocent – how i would love to be able to go back in time and hug that scared, hurt little girl you were. i wish i could wash away the pain of the memories and those who belittled your horrid experience. please love yourself above all this and know you deserved none of it. thank you for sharing your pain with the world. although i cannot rationalize such abuse, which i too have endured, i do know we don’t do ourselves or others any favors by remaining silent. to share, regardless of how painful, is to help another innocent know s/he isn’t alone which, in turn, helps begin the healing process.
    from tori amos’s song, “winter”; “when you gonna make up your mind? when you gonna love you as much as i do”. also, please look up the song “just wait” by blues traveler from the four cd.

  29. Christina, you put it perfectly when you said:

    “telling is one of the ways I support myself and I’ll never shut up either.”

    Yes! I never thought of it that way, but I DO “support My Self” by telling My Story and Telling the Truth. I ignored my self and walled that little girl up behind bricks and mortar and ignored her pleas, yelling screaming and pounding to be let out until it almost killed me. Now she’s safe and sound WITH ME. Right where she belongs.

    Safe and Sound and I will never shut her up or myself either.

    Thank you so much for this forum. It’s hard to participate sometimes, but to find like-minded people who have survived and are “fighting the good fight” for all children and all souls everywhere; well, it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

    Dear God please show us The Way.

    “The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”

  30. The letter from your mother was chilling… and reminded me so much of the threatening email I got from my brother several years ago. This after he’d spent the better part of a year cyberstalking and harassing me when I confronted him and my parents over the abuse (my parents knew and did nothing to help me, in fact my mother labeled it “normal experimentation” and tried to convince me “all families fool around”), and after I told the rest of the family (who never responded and, from what I heard, sided with them, so they’re no different than any other abusive family structure). He told me in his email he was going to contact a lawyer to “seek remedy” and accused *me* of being the one harassing him, told me that my letter was a “poison pen” and essentially called me a liar, among other things.

    I turned the tables on him at the advice of two attorneys and called the police on him. They said they couldn’t pursue charges as he lived in another state, but they were willing to call him and tell him to stop contacting me. I don’t know what they told him, but they must have scared him good, because the most he was able to muster was “I’ll stop bothering her if she stops harassing me.” Outside of when he notified me – politely – that our grandfather died two years ago, I haven’t heard hide nor hair since.

    Very good article Christina… and to heck with your egg donor. Keep speaking your truth!

  31. From a mothers perspective, this is my worst nightmare. When out in public I have my kids is sight at all times and if any body comes near them I would attack. I also do not let my son sleep by himself for fear someone would break in and steel him from his room. My motherly protective instinct is comparative to a lioness. I just do not understand physical and sexual abuse of children at all or how a mother who’s instincts should tell her what is going on but if they new and did nothing????? I hate it but you guys all sound so strong and brave…..please don’t feel bad for what these sick twisted people did to you. They were supposed to love you and protect you with all they have in them. This is their sickness not yours ever!! I wish there was something more that I could do to help children and adults get through this. I love you guys and god loves you!! All will be okay.

  32. Wow. And here I thought I was the only one hated and threatened by my own “family” after I TOLD. Well, I’ll be. So I find myself in excellent company. This helps heal the hurt, even though the hurt shouldn’t have been there to begin with. Well, I’ll be. Thank you all for telling your truths. Really does help.

  33. Darlene,
    Exactly! As long as I blamed myself for the abuse, I had some hope of controlling it. Self-blame for not telling gave me that same false hope. But to really heal, I had to face the truth. The truth is that I was powerless and there wasn’t anything I could have done to stop the abuse or to find help. Those who think it’s so easy to “just tell” don’t understand the scope of the problem. Thanks for sharing!

  34. PS,
    That’s wonderful that you stood up to you brother and that he’s left you alone! I’m so glad to hear that. Thanks for sharing.

  35. Christina wrote: ” Those who think it’s so easy to “just tell” don’t understand the scope of the problem. Thanks for sharing!”

    Exactly, and it’s sharing like this that makes all the difference in the world. Until I read what happened to Christina in the letter her mother wrote, I thought I was the “only one” hated / feared by my own mother. The lengths these people will go to in order to protect the criminal wrong-doers in their own families are unbelievable. But they can’t live with the truth, but we do. And that is what makes us strong and why we will survive. No matter what. And I will never shut up!

    LOL and BIG SMILE! Thank you so much for this website. Yours in faith and hope, Catherine Todd

  36. Catherine Todd, it’s despicable that anyone would blame you for not ‘locking the door’; most family homes are not designed to be foolproof safeguards against invading relatives; unless healthy emotional boundaries are set, inanimate ones will be useless.

    Christina, thank you so much, you are right about the entire incest family being sick. I’ve thought a lot about what you said, and came to an amazing revelation about it today:

  37. Caden,
    It’s so amazing to me how these things can be so hidden to us and then how they resurface. What horrible things to happen to you! I’m so glad you’re remembering and healing. Thank you for sharing your revelation with us and for sharing your journey.

  38. Thanks for your support Christina, it’s so great to not be carrying this buried event inside me anymore!

  39. Caden, thank you for your comment about people blaming me for “not locking the door.” The irony was that when I DID, my father took the door off the hinges! Told my mother it “needed repair” and it stayed, leaning up against the hallway wall, for the entire next year (until I finally legally escaped in 1966). I was essentially an “emancipated slave” as back then women and children had no legal protections and practically no rights at all.

    It reminds me of how I was blamed for being raped later on by the dishwasher where I worked! And mind you, it was my “friends” who blamed me, along with the police and every else. This was in 1969.

    I am so glad that FINALLY this whole “victim blaming” thing is coming to an end; children ARE protected, and we have such wonderful support groups and websites like this one. Thank you Christina!

  40. Caden and Christina, the notion that “entire families are sick” has really struck home. This explains SO MUCH about the cult I grew up in! I read the first article from the link here, and now I’ll read the second. Thank you again! CT

    From Caden:
    Christina, thank you so much, you are right about the entire incest family being sick. I’ve thought a lot about what you said, and came to an amazing revelation about it today:

  41. I came across this site while googling for other people who have been threatened by their abusers for publicly sharing their story. My story does not involve sexual abuse, but rather bullying and verbal abuse by people I considered “friends.” What they did traumatized me spiritually and emotionally, so much so that I felt the only way to heal was to write and publish my story. Well, they found it, as I document in my blog, and even though I told the truth and withheld actual names, they sent me an e-mail threatening me with legal action. I posted their message on my blog; not only did they threaten legal action, but they also accused *me* of threatening *them,* of being crazy, of “false facts,” and then threatened to start coming to my church all the time (it’s a tiny church–you can’t hide) on purpose because it so disturbs me to see them. They’ve always hated my church and go to a different one, but because I stood up to them, they’ve decided to come all the time. Then they made good on the threat at least once, and one of them actually pressed up behind me in the communion line, so close I could hear her breathing–and it almost seemed like threatening breathing, if you know what I mean. Then they went up to the priest afterwards, probably to tell him how I was “persecuting” them and “lying” about them. Oh, and they also threatened to sue me for defamation if I told the priest about the guy’s criminal conviction or any of this–because they read in one of my blogs that if they began coming to my church regularly, I’d have to consult the priest about maybe putting a contract together that protects the victim while giving the offender a chance to find salvation.

    It’s inspiring and helpful to me to see that others are telling their stories of various kinds of abuse, and that my experience is not unique. I shared my story because I’ve read so many other stories like this, and they’ve helped me realize that I’m not the one to blame for another person’s dysfunctions. But now I’m living a nightmare because these people are stalking me online and threatening to make my life hell because I told on them. I blocked them from my blog, but they signed up for an RSS feed using their cell phones before I knew they were using cells to access my blog. If I shut off the RSS feed, my blog won’t get indexed by search engines, and traffic will plummet, effectively destroying my blog–meaning they will have won. That blog is my baby: It’s not just about abuse stories, but book reviews, travelogues, and advertising a couple of books I self-published. It finally began taking off several months ago, and people are reading and typing it into search engines on purpose to find it. I’m a writer; being read is what I live for.

    A friend of theirs friended me on Facebook and then promptly unfriended me; I think she was there to spy on my wall. They made fake accounts–one on Blogger to follow my blog, the other on Facebook because I had blocked their real accounts, and used the Facebook one to send me that nasty, accusing, threatening e-mail. I know it was them because they used the fake names I had used in my blog for them. I told the police what they were doing, and have been documenting their online stalking. If they make any more threats, or cause any trouble at church, I can press charges.

    Do I wish I’d never shared my story? No, I don’t. Even though they saw it, it was the truth, and it gave me the chance to finally stand up to them and confront them with what they had done. At first I thought I’d have to remove it to keep them from suing me. But as a few weeks have passed, I’ve gotten bolder and put most of my posts back up again, though modified in some places to protect myself.

    I noted the similarity between my story and what Christina’s mother wrote to her. I also note that she accused Christina of some kind of “threat.” What happened after this? Did the police get involved? How did you get the courage to keep telling and keep the story online, Christina?

  42. Wow, Kay!
    That’s great that you’re not backing down! Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s not easy to stand up to bullies of any kind. Yours seem to be very persistent, though you seem even more so. Good for you!

    My parent’s threat actually emboldened me to speak up more. The reasons for that is a little long to include as a comment, but I’m working on it as a separate blog post. I’ll post the link here as soon as I get it up. Thanks for your question! It’s really good to consider all the ways their threat helped me.

  43. Thanks. 🙂 BTW–Is that a picture of you at the top of the blog? From the details you give, you must be middle-aged, but the person in that pic is so young-looking. 🙂

  44. Kay,
    Yes, I’m in my mid forties and that picture is of me, though I’ve gained some weight since that was taken and my face looks a little fuller. I hated my oily skin in my younger years, but it’s holding up pretty well now! lol.

  45. Dear Kay, what a great and inspiring, courageous story you have told! Gives me the courage and heart to continue sharing my story, too. What I did with my abusers (including my sisters, who came after me “tooth and nail) is that I turned the tables on THEM.

    I told them I was going to take them to court for libel, slander and defamation. That shut them up! The last thing they want is to be exposed. They cannot function in the light of day. And one sister is married to a pastor, or all things. Can you imagine? I wrote to the directors of their church and sent things they had sent to me, and that really put a crimp in their style. Plus I said I was going to sue the church as well.

    In the end I didn’t, but I got what I wanted… at least a small part of it, which was to be left alone in peace, and the knowledge that their “higher ups” had been notified. And that’s enough for me right now, as long as I can tell my story publicly and not feel like I have to hide in the shadows of fear any more.

    These people are criminals or are harboring criminals, and they know it. They engage in cult-like behavior, because they ARE a “cult.” A cult of abusers. I have learned one thing from all of this, and that is that God will protect me. I don’t go to church because they are “church members” and devils at the same time, so I don’t feel safe in any church. But I pray all the time and I know I have guardian angels that have looked out for me all my life, and that is surely how I have survived. These demons can only prey on our fears. They can’t live in the light of day.

    Defamation, libel, slander and damage to one’s reputation counts in our legal system, even when it is FAMILY MEMBERS doing it!

    Good luck and keep us posted. Turn the tables on THEM!

  46. Christina wrote:

    “My parent’s threat actually emboldened me to speak up more. The reasons for that is a little long to include as a comment, but I’m working on it as a separate blog post. I’ll post the link here as soon as I get it up. Thanks for your question! It’s really good to consider all the ways their threat helped me.

    Yes. Same happened for me. I will look forward to reading how your parents threat helped you. Never thought of it that way, but it’s the same thing that forced me to come forward publicly. And it worked. They have left me alone ever since. DO GOOD. DO THE RIGHT THING. That is what protects us now, and in the end!

  47. Nicole, I understand your story all too well. Keep reading, keep sharing, and keep coming here. You are here – thankfully – among friends! And NEVER GIVE UP!

    We are here to support you, and yes, even love you. Sight unseen! One of your many friends Catherine

  48. I blame myself because when i was sexually abused i felt pleasure from that peaDOPHILE TOUCHING ME. IT MAKES ME WISH I HAD NEVER BEEN BORN. FUCK GOD. I KNOW HE’S REAL & I HATE HIM.

  49. Christina,
    What a wonderful insightful and inspiring story. I too had the opportunity to tell my mother when I was about 10. When I couldn’t find the word right away the reaction was one of dismissal. She said something like if you don’t know what you want to say then come back when you do. I have better things to do right now. That was the end of trying to tell anyone. I had a teacher in 4th grade. I have always thought that she knew something was wrong and she seemed to pay special attention to me, at least that’s what I would like to keep thinking. That there was someone out there who cared about me. I could never tell her because by then I was blaming myself and I did not want to be less in her eyes. She remembered me for almost 50 years until she passed away in her 90’s. She always asked me how I was and would give me a big hug.

    So there was no one to tell until the truth came out without my doing anything when we found out he had been doing it to many other children. My special connection (that sounds perverse now) with him was gone. I thought he loved me and I was willing to put up with the sexual abuse just so I had that love which I didn’t get from anyone else. I also “knew” that everyone around me knew what was going on and I was so ashamed because I blamed myself.

    Now in the healing process being the most difficult thing I have ever done, I know that I am on the right track and will someday see the truth and love myself.

  50. Stanley,
    I completely understand your feelings about not wanting to risk your teacher thinking less of you. When love and caring are in such short supply, the risk of jeopardizing that is too much. I had a person like that in my childhood too and it was wonderful to feel seen.

    Part of my process of feeling more and more freedom to tell had been because I learned to love myself, so love has never been in short supply and I could risk losing it from others. I’m glad you’re finding that for yourself!

  51. jbenton,
    Feeling the shame and blame for being aroused or even having an orgasm during the abuse is such a common feeling, so you’re not alone. The truth is that our bodies were designed to respond that way and it doesn’t have anything to do with it being our fault, our choice or because we’re bad. We have a blog posted about that if you’re interested in reading it: http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2011/11/27/the-secret-about-my-abuse-i-was-too-ashamed-to-tell/

  52. Christina,
    I would like to compliment you on your openness about your mistaken utterance when your daughter first told you about her abuse. You are clear about how difficult such a statement is for any daughter, and you yourself had to endure a similar, though much more rigorous rejection.
    I think you made more than up for this mistake by digging into abuse and overcoming these destructive patterns that you had to grow up in. Your example goes to show that one is prone to repetition and continuation without examination of the past´s suffering, and that it is worth the effort, although not doing wrong to your children is not the only motivation to examine one´s past.
    Thank you for your work.

  53. My mom would say that and then when I’d tell her something the NEXT time, she’d tell me it didn’t happen, or “quit telling stories to get attention,” or say “It’s normal for kids to play doctor.” When he was 12?
    So it doesn’t matter if they ask me that anyway, b/c I know when I tell them the next thing, they’ll call me a liar.

    And believe they’re “better than” me b/c THEY always “honor” their father and mother on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.
    I don’t know why I feel so terrible that I can’t honor people who lived and died as abusers, without ever feeling even a TWINGE of guilt for it, but I felt that way three days ago.

  54. Reading your story and all the comments made on this page has brought me to tears. While it certainly helps to know that I’m not alone, it also brings home the breadth of how disgustingly common and overlooked this issue is.

    I always knew that it wasn’t my fault that my step-father sexually abused me for 12+ years. But it was only within the last year that I really came to grips with the idea that my mother wasn’t blameless. Once I was able to admit that she hadn’t protected me, it then became clear that she had never really loved me to begin with. And all those years where I imagined that one day she and I might find our way back to a loving relationship were just fantasy. Much like Christine, I had to vie for my mother’s love. Only for me, that meant never being negative or sad. Perhaps that was her way of making sure that she never had to confront this dirty secret.

    I generally have more good days than I have bad. I have a lot to be thankful for in my current life. But sometimes it is terribly hard to know that no one loved me when I was growing up. I was in a great deal of emotional and mental pain, yet there was absolutely no one I felt I could turn to. At 42, it has been 17 years since I divulged to another person that I was sexually abused. And it has only been within the last few years that I’ve realized just how far reaching these scars go. Though sometimes I wish I could, I won’t give up.

    Thank you Christne and all the other posters for sharing. I pray we can all find peace and happiness despite the past.

  55. Heidi,
    Welcome to OSA–I’m glad you found us. I can relate to never being allowed to be negative or sad. That’s the way it was in my family too. Learning that had some dangerous effects in my life. That’s one of the things I’ve written about: http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2010/08/08/the-dangers-of-gratitude-and-a-positive-attitude/

    Thanks for sharing!

  56. Heidi, thank you for sharing your own heart-warming and difficult story. Practically moved me to tears, but also filled me with HOPE. With the end of silence and lies, the truth will set us free. It’s been 20 years for me working on this and talking about it out loud, and finally starting to come to terms with the fact that my mother did not love me in the least, and realizing she was simply not capable of love. What Borderline / Narcissist is?

    And for families who protect their abusers… well, enough said about that as there’s been some excellent links about this that have helped me immensely. Particularly just knowing that I’m not alone, and I’m not the only one ostracized from “family” for speaking out. And I will keep on doing so and i will never shut up! Feels so good and the tears and rage are finally coming to an end.

    Dear God please show us The Way.

    “The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”

  57. Chrstina-

    I was feeling a little bummed a few minutes ago so I visited this website again, for encouragement. I saw your post to me (i think it was to me) and it brought a smile to my face. Its funny how such few words can have such a large impact. I dont know what the future holds, come what may, but I do know that I have you to thank for pushing me a little further.

    Thank you for making my day. And I dont say that lightly! I truly mean it-everyone posting, reading, and learning from your stories are better people because youve chosen to devote your life to positively impacting others.

  58. I was sexually abused for several years by my brother on and off. While I never truely blamed myself for what he did and I told my parents what he was doing everytime he did, it has still left lasting damage and while I do not hate my brother for what he did to me, I find myself increasingly wary of men. I wind up in relationships with men who force things on me, making my fears worse and worse.
    I love my current boyfriend and while I crave platonic physical interaction, whenever he tries to move past platonic levels (as should be expected in a romantic relationship), I become scared and disgusted by him. I don’t want to be that way, and he respects my resistance but I hate fearing him. I just think of all the men who have used me like a toy whenever anything gets sexual and I find myself repulsed. It’s… maddening.

  59. Kay,
    Here’s the link to the blog I was telling you about concerning how those threats actually helped me confront some things so I was empowered to speak more boldly:

  60. Allie,
    Dealing with my sexuality has been so very challenging. One of the nicest things I ever did for myself was to tell my body it never had to have sex again if it didn’t want to. That was so powerful and was very instrumental in dealing with my fears and desires. After some time, I resumed having sex, but it was completely different. It’s an area I’m still working on, but I’ve found a new freedom. I hope you find freedom too.

  61. Nicole, I’m so glad that touched you and encouraged you and that you feel hope!

  62. I would like to say how open people are on here. I always feel like when the subject of abuse is mentioned I get shut up, lets not mention that, get over it. This does not help and just makes me feel angry for being told I cannot discuss this. Like I am a problem talking about the past like it is putting on the people if I talk about it. Thing is I lived and dealt with it myself as a child. I had nobody to say anything to then. I just think that now I am not bothered if it bothers the family because if they had been there when they needed to be I would not have to therapise myself by talking about it now I am an adult. Yet it is ok for them to gossip about it, but do not want to hear the words out of my mouth. I had nobody there when I was abused in a home when I was 6 years old. I had nobody when I was abused at 10 by my aunties husband although I was called a liar yet apparently when I re mentioned the abuse as an adult I apparently did not tell anybody, Which I know is untrue but there you go. I had to shut up and get on with it. Like you do.

  63. Hi Tracy,
    Welcome to OSA. Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you found someplace where you can talk about your abuse openly. There’s a lot of understanding and support here.

    I completely agree about how frustrating the contradicting behavior of family members can be. On one hand, THEY are allowed to talk about it (behind your back), but you aren’t allowed to talk about it. Yet it happened to YOU! That doesn’t make any sense at all. None of the “rules” of the dysfunctional family make any sense. The only purpose they serve is to keep all the family members in the same defeating and suffocating roles.

    The same is true of the telling. What does it matter if even if you didn’t tell as a child? Does that mean you lost your chance? Is there a statute of limitations on how much time you have to talk about it? Do the effects magically disappear after a certain period of time? But even insisting that you didn’t tell when you know that you did is really just saying that they don’t listen anyway. All of it is so invalidating.

    I hope you continue to share your experience and feelings here.


    I didn’t post your entire comment. I only posted the part that was related to your own experience–not to your daughter’s abuse. The reason for that is that I felt that the survivors here reading that would feel invalidated since it echoed many of the things we’ve heard from our own parents. I understand your questions and how frustrating it can be when something so awful happens to your child. My daughter was abused by her father also and there’s been a LOT of agonizing things to face with that. The more I faced my own pain and all the ways I was betrayed by my parents and as I learned to re-parent myself, the better I was able to understand my daughter and know how to help her.

  64. Thank you Tracy, Christina. You both took the words right out of my mouth, and I DID TELL. I have been punished ever since. Still am, and I am 62 years old! And just like you both said, it’s fine for them to gossip about it behind my back and make up the most unbelievable stories about ME, but no one ever wants to hear my side, my experience, or look at the facts from medical, school, teacher or legal records of what was going on when I was growing up.

    Thank God the laws have changed and these charges are investigated now, and people are being held responsible. Look at the Jerry Sandusky trial! Now, if we could get family members prosecuted for “aiding and abetting” these pedophiles and have “whistleblower” protections for those of us who DO come forward, the law might be even more powerful than it is.

    I am looking into this and hope I can find a way to change the law and our culture so everyone will realize that we all are responsible for the safety, upbringing and care of our young people, and all people on this earth.

    Thank you so much for this blog. It’s been helping to keep me alive. Yours, Catherine Todd

  65. Tracy wrote:

    ” I always feel like when the subject of abuse is mentioned I get shut up, lets not mention that, get over it. This does not help and just makes me feel angry for being told I cannot discuss this. Like I am a problem talking about the past like it is putting on the people if I talk about it.”

    That’s it in a nutshell. And that’s what my entire family of ten people has done to me, too. You are in good company.

    “Thing is I lived and dealt with it myself as a child.”

    Yes, and that is the loneliest place in the world to be. A part of me is STILL there, even after all these years. Dear God please help us to heal.

    “The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”

    Dear God, please show us The Way.

  66. Christina. Thanks for not putting the whole post. I realised I got a bit carried away typing and my browser crashed when I tried to edit. I understand what you meant by not putting the other part. Thank you.

    Has anybody else had the relative approach you who wants to `be there`, when it suits them yet when they heard it they say `oh not that old chestnut` when you are really need them to be there and you initiate the conversation about your experience and feelings? Its like, oh great somebody wants to be there, then oh sorry am I boring you today. Even though they ask how are you. Why ask if they do not want to know?
    It is like the people who give to the homeless at Christmas time, then complain about them being in the parks in the summer.
    I deal with this now by always listening to the person in particular when they need me the most. I do not know why but nowadays when they give me the brush off it does not even phaze me.

  67. Catherine Todd, yes part of me is still there. I still get night mares even at 42. Not so often now but it takes me right back. Also when I see my aunty, I stopped going to my mothers when she is there now so problem solved there.

  68. Tracy, while I’m definitely not an expert I’ve certainly encountered situations similar to that. Mostly with friends. And my belief is that while they do want to be there for you, they simply don’t know how to wrap their head around the things you are trying to convey. For people who have never experienced the types of traumatic experiences we have, they don’t seem to have any way to relate. These concepts are so foreign to them that our recounting makes them feel helpless to aid us, even though I imagine that all we really need them to do is listen.

    I could be way off on this. But this has been my experience so far. Just thought I’d share it.

  69. My Christian sister married to a pastor of a Methodist flock encouraged me to re-establish contact after 25 years of my staying away, and then accused me of being a “heavy drug user with memory loss” when I have worked my entire life since I left home at age 16, worked my way through highschool, helped start the first day care center at my college as a single working mother going to school, became one of the first femaie contractors in the state of North Carolina, became licensed in real estate, landscape design and contracting and a licensed computer programmer. Taught computer classes and wrote programs for the City progams and schools here in NC where I live and at the local community college. Raised my child with no help from any family members at all. But, according to her, I am a “heavy drug user with memory loss and everyone has known about me for years!”

    This is what I got after 25 years of staying away. That $#%^&*IOPO()U* – saying prayers in church and “forgiving me” and giving Bible Classes to children!

    Then, today, one of my oldest friend sees my notice about this wonderful website on my Facebook page and writes to me that I should be quiet. And I quote:

    “Let it go–you’re only hurting yourself–I love you.”

    I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW MAD THIS MADE ME, even coming from an old friend that I know does care. But I don’t tell her things because she is from the “old school” and I am constantly judged and I won’t be anymore.


    And now I’ve got another woman jumping in telling me I shouldn’t be saying they should “burn.” I told her on my own FB page that she is welcome to write her own story and feel about her own abusers anyway she wants, but that I don’t need to “forgive” or be told how to react to active abusers and enablers who should be in jail. In a million years I didn’t expect my so-called “friends” on Facebook to start lecturing me and giving me advice! I am 62 years old! Here’s part of what I wrote in the exchange:

    “Everyone has the right to get ANGRY at some point at INJUSTICE that was done to them. Would you tell the Black Americans to shut up as to what the KKK did to them? Would you lecture them about “forgiveness?” I wouldn’t. I would let them feel whatever feelings they have, and let them work it out.

    We American females have been so well-trained to keep silent and “forgive” and all that other nonsense that the problems remain, and the perps keep getting away with it. Sometimes a little “burn” is good for you, and it won’t kill you. If you have been abused and your perpetrator and his enablers are still alive and still doing it and you want to keep silent, fine. But I won’t. And that’s my position on it.

    Anger moves people to ACTION. Do you think Martin Luther King didn’t feel anger at times? What do you think the marches for women’s minority rights were all about? They weren’t all flowers and sweetness and light. Anger has a proper place in our existence, and used properly it can be a driving force for good.”

    * * * * *

    Those perps only get away with it because we have been beaten down into submission. I will NEVER shut up! The LOUDER THE BETTER!”

    Now I will post something EVERY SINGLE DAY and if these people keep “giving me their helpful advice” guess what? There’s a “de-friend” button! Maybe they will learn one day to leave us alone and let us heal in peace. In Latin American cultures and France where I’ve lived before, it wasn’t like this. It’s only for white American females that we get this kind of nonsense. African-Americans in the United States don’t react this way, either! Stepford Wives we are raised to be!

  70. Tracy, you wrote in #67: “Also when I see my aunty, I stopped going to my mothers when she is there now so problem solved there.”

    Yes. That’s it I believe. No more PTSD and no more “triggers” once we go “no contact.” I tried for the last couple of years and it’s been pure hell. Nothing has changed but it’s only gotten worse. I thought that by trying to stand up for myself to this bunch and get the facts stated, they would have to stop trying to destroy me, but no. Nothing is going to change their mind. It’s like living in the Deep South 50 years ago and they are the KKK and they are going to hate whatever and whomever they want to, and “hang ’em high” because God forbid they don’t have a scapegoat and they might have to look into the mirror!

    So I will tell my own story out loud and proud, of all that I have accomplished in spite of – or perhaps because of – all that I have lived through.

    “A lie left unchallenged becomes the truth.”

    True enough when I kept silent all these years. I told some or even many close friends, but I rarely made a “public appearance” out loud in all this time, hoping I think that if I shut up my mother would finally “love me” because she sure hated me when I wrote to her at age 38. Well, that didn’t work eiher and my sisters made sure their children heard the same terrible stories about me, and now that I see that this happens over and over to so many who speak out and “tell” I can tell you it “WASN’T MY FAULT” and I “DIDN’T DO IT TO MYSELF” AND I DO DESERVE COURTESY, FACTS AND RESPECT. That’s all I’m asking for and I am going to get it because I am going to get it myself.

    This is the beginning and the end of my story. Now all I have to do is fill in the blanks. And their actions and mine will do that for me. I just have to get it down in black and white. So now we begin.

    Dear God please show me The Way.

    Thanks to everyone here. We will all “keep up the good work!”

  71. My smart friend just wrote this, too:

    “When somebody leaves the dysfunctional group, everyone turns on them.”

    My response:

    Ahhhh, thank you. That’s true! My mother made sure of that… it’s like the “disconnect” in Scientology. If you leave Scientology you receive letters from everyone disconnecting from you and you become “fair game” for any Scientologist. I belonged for a year when I was 18 and I tell you, when I left it was actually pretty scary!

    That’s exactly what all these family members have been doing to me, and attempting to “draw me back in” to see if I have “changed my ways” or am I still going to “tell.”

    “Wow. That’s it. In another nutshell! I was laying here thinking I was losing my mind and not knowing what to do about it. But now I can begin to see it for what it is. I’ll spend some time looking this up and I bet I find a lot of information. I know I had to give it one last try, but I have and now I hope I can lay all these ghosts to rest. And get some peace. No contact really does work! And in this day and age it’s so easy to block someone, trash emails unopened, and defriend someone on FB. LOL! And I was smart enough not to accept any of their “friendship” requests. At least I was smart enough about that!”

    My mother always accused me of “brainwashing” my sisters and brothers about the abuse that she always swore “never happened” when they went to her years later and asked why she allowed it to happen and why she didn’t protect them. I had been gone from home and had no contact with any of them, but she accused ME of “brainwashing them” and she said “There you go again, you’ve been talking to Katie!” (My nickname at the time). I was stunned when I was then accused by those same sisters of “brainwashing them” in a letter when I hadn’t talked to them in years.

    It was as if they were coerced into writing those letters by some threat, I don’t know what. I’ve been their torture totem all of my life and I am so tired of it. I think family members who “tell” should have the same legal protections under the “whistleblower act” as many whistleblowers used to be involuntarily committed to mental institutions when they reported government financial corruption. This was just ten or twenty years ago!

    We are being bullied by our family members and ganged up on, and this has to stop. The perpetrators and their enablers all need to be held responsible for their actions. The victims need to shine a long, hard bright light on them so they know we mean business!

    I will never shut up!

  72. Finally, last post of the evening, I promise! But I think I finally found an answer as to why I am so hated and feared. I did a search for: When somebody leaves the dysfunctional group, everyone turns on them, and this is what turned up. SHAME. Shame of the dysfunctional group, not just shame for me. THEIR SHAME. I never thought of this before. Not in a million years.

    Christine, can you do a whole post about shame and not just the shame that we feel, but the shame that the mother and family feels and blames on the child who “tells?”

    Finally I understand why I was and still am so hated and feared. Because I wouldn’t and won’t shut up, and the more truth and facts I presented, the worse it became for them. No place to run to, no place to hide. They’ve been hiding under their rocks all these years, while I dug myself out and am standing in the Light.

    No wonder they wanted me GONE GONE GONE. And were “checking up on me” to see if I had changed my tune. Of course not. Just like the bluebird sings, so do I. Caught in a trap or flying free, I haven’t changed a bit at all. None one of us has. So now I can let go and finally go free. I will tell my story and to heck with the rest.

    Here’s an excerpt from this excellent article:


    Outcasts, Scapegoats, and Black Sheep of the Dysfunctional Family

    Toxic and dysfunctional families project their shame and sense of inferiority onto a designated other.

    Woe to the scapegoat, the whipping boy, the outcast of the toxic and dysfunctional family. This person is made to carry the hidden blame and shame of relatives who refuse to acknowledge their problems.

    Dysfunctional families are steeped in shame, and cannot look at their issues. They have poor insight into their own behaviors and problems, and will do anything to appear normal or exceptional, despite the fact that in reality, they are terribly crippled by their fears, addictions, mental disorders, abuse, neglect and insecurities.
    … (more)

  73. @Catherine Todd: Really? It’s just white American women who get this? Now you’ve got me intrigued. Because yeah, I get this stuff too, and it gets on my nerves. It makes me feel like, already I’ve been judged and accused and abused by my verbal abusers, and now I’m getting judged by my own friends for being angry about it. What do they do in other cultures–just let you vent? None of this “let it go” crap that you get even a few days after the abuse happened?

  74. Nyssa, you wrote:

    “None of this “let it go” crap that you get even a few days after the abuse happened?”

    Hah – you hit the nail on the head there! I had the same thing happen to me when I was raped, IMMEDIATELY after the rape happened! That after blaming it on me and telling me “I must have wanted it.” God Save Us All.

    When my mother-in-law died just a few years ago, and I was so sad and grieving, three days later I was told that “there was medication for that” – three days after the fact! I wasn’t even allowed three days to grieve. I asked him how long did he think a person should be allowed to grieve, or perhaps he didn’t think people should be grieving at all. My so-called white “friends” wouldn’t allow me to stay quiet and still, but kept insisting I “join the party” and drink and smoke with them. I had to lock my door and not answer it to get them to leave me alone. I finally went to my Latino friends who CRIED WITH ME. Even men are allowed and expected to cry in Latin America. White society in America is so rigid and false. It’s sickening, really, and explains why we are constantly at war. What else happens when emotions are suppressed the way they are?

    Our society, white middle class educated pill-pushing pill-popping pay a professional for everything has been raised to never show emotion of any kind except “How are You? Just Fine!”

    We have been raised to be a culture of Stepford Wives and I for one am sick of it! Glad to see you are, too!

    * * * * *

    You also wrote: ” “What do they do in other cultures–just let you vent? ”

    Hahahahaha – No, they don’t just “let you* vent.”

    They go over, find him and BEAT HIS ASS!

    People learn a lot quicker in other cultures instead of here with the b.s. of “help the poor abusers because they have mental problems or come from dysfunctional childhoods” and all that c$%^&*. If that were the criteria for “becoming bad” then I should have turned out to be a serial killer!

    So that’s the answer from me. I tell you, living in other countries (France and Guatemala, Central America) and around other cultures (educated middle class professional white culture, rough Black American “hood:” culture, American Indian, Hippie and California culture) has really opened my eyes. What a difference from just the one we might be raised in. Until I did this, I really didn’t understand a thing. Now I am barely catching on. And I tell the ones you are describing that they are welcome to “forgive the abuser if they wish,” but I believe in justice and preventing abuse from happening again. They can just go to hell as “aiders and abetters and enablers” in my mind.

    That’s why I LOVE Law & Order, Special Victims Unit. Olivia doesn’t take any crap off anyone! And they always say, almost every single show, “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.” Amen! I needed that!

    *note: “let you” explains what happens to us in our culture)

  75. Reading this brought me to tears because I’m blaming myself….

  76. Nicole, no need to blame yourself. Not one tiny bit. Christina and reading what everyone else here posts will help you see that. I won’t post more because I think I always “post too much,” but I wanted you to know that you are being heard. And here on this blog, it is “all good.” Love to you, Catherine, and everyone here.

    “The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.” Dear God please show us The Way.

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