When you have the kind of life story that can silence a room you learn very quickly that not just anyone will be open to really knowing you or equipped to care about you. More than one former friend ran for the hills shortly after hearing my truth. It is a strange thing to get used to, being rejected for something that happened to you, not something you did.
You learn to test the boundaries and limitations of nearly every relationship that begins to form. The more you hide a big story, the crazier and more ridiculous you look for making choices such as no longer speaking to your parents. People too often subscribe to imprisoning ideologies that one should never ever end ties with family. We should always accept people for who they are.
But listen to me, when family tells you, "Obviously the therapy you received didn't help and was probably wasted
time and money," you begin to question what people mean when they start throwing the word 'family' around.
"There are two types of people, those who blame
everything in their life on others and those who accept that life is
full of bad things and choose to move forward." Now, ignoring the false dichotomy posed here, as well as the pervasively negative viewpoint that life is all bad so get ready for bad on top of bad on top of bad, this is abusive language.
"Life is bad, nothing about it is good or fair. If you are trying to create a perfect world, it won't happen."
It is quite convenient to minimize the pain and trauma another experiences if to deal with that pain and trauma seems highly inconvenient. Shame becomes relevant here. In those distasteful phrases is a scent of self-judgement for feeling inadequate in the face of a major inconvenience. Such as one of your children seriously harming another one of your children while you devote your life to protecting them both. The shame of parental inadequacy must be a weight far too heavy for any one person to carry alone. The vast ocean of shame must appear never ending. Which helps me understand this statement better,
"I asked the family about what they knew of any abuse and nobody could recall any unusual problems with you and *my abuser*"
and this one,
"You see, it doesn't matter what I do or don't do, you will judge and play the victim in your own way."
and the contradiction here,
"I have never denied that *he* abused you. He abused all of this family in one way or another, even himself."
"Spoken like a true Liberal!"
I do not share these statements for their potential humor or from a place of spite. See, to speak to me directly would be to accept my person-hood. It is much easier to treat an object (in this case I am a 'liberal' object) very poorly than it is to acknowledge you are treating another human being horribly. I do the very same thing in response to the objectification placed on me when I call my parents abusers, neglectors, and more. I am not convinced any of it is justified. It's just the more I acknowledge that a person can so poorly handle the abuse of a precious little girl, I do start to believe that "Life is bad."
What has taken me this far along in my healing process is knowing that no matter where you think you stand in the hierarchy of morality, shame blurs all the lines. We all do shameful things because we feel ashamed, and then we feel further shame for creating more shame when all we wanted was to stop feeling it to begin with.
Maybe in speaking so publicly about my shame it will lose its power to induce unfortunate and objectifying labels. Before I was a sexual abuse victim I was a person. Now I am a survivor..but what I want more than anything is to just be a person again.