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Centerpointe Research

Abuse

Forgive, Forget, Let Go…

rp_Anxiety.gifForgive, forget, let go….   Taking things another step further….   If you feel that you have to forgive someone in order to let go, you might really never let go.  Could it be possible that there is nothing to forgive and the very act of forgiveness is standing in the way of getting on with your life?

I had a very nasty? teacher once.  He would rap your knuckles with a ruler if you did something that he thought deserved it.  Altogether it was a very frustrating experience and I cried many tears over our encounters.  I had just started grade school and he was a music director who got stuck teaching elementary school kids along with his other duties  as organist and choir director.  He was very temperamental as sometimes musicians and other artists are.  Teaching was probably very frustrating for him and it probably kept him from spending all his time doing what he really desired to do.  He made my life  miserable and my cousin who was also in the same class room said that he picked on me when he could have left me alone.  I admit I was a challenging child, a quick learner with a lot of creative ideas.  It was difficult to keep me busy and I questioned his authority frequently.

For a long time I could not see this situation from his point of view.  I had a very unhappy time while he was my teacher (He wasn’t the only teacher that I had that I had trouble with in elementary school.)  The point was that in my school we had almost all male teachers and I don’t think any of them thought that teaching elementary school children was their life’s work like it was for women at that time.  I had one good year i elementary school, the year I had a woman teacher.

Altogether it was an unfortunate experience and it did not help my self-esteem.  My parents were also very frustrated with me being called to the office so often and their having had to come to school to talk about my behavior with my teacher or the principal.

Altogether it was a very frustrating experience for everyone.  Now who should be forgiven, the teacher, my parents, myself?  Sometimes saying that something has to be forgiven suggests malice aforethought.  Weren’t we all doing the best we thought we could.  I no longer see myself as a “bad” disobedient child, misunderstood maybe, but not bad.  Did I have a “bad” teacher or did he do the best he could in the circumstances?

Was this teacher taking his anger out on the children in the class by expecting too much of them.  Was he angry because he was being forced to teach when he would rather have been only in charge of  music?  My parents at that time like many parents in that era worried more about what other people would think and felt that children should be taught to respect their elders no matter what they were like.rp_8619481133_df8a85fccf_m.jpg

Now that I can see more of the picture should I continue the anger and frustration by thinking that I have to forgive my elders for what they did to me when I was a child or should I let go with the understanding that they were only people that didn’t know better.  To me forgiveness can require a lot of time and energy and it has the flavor of  something that I must do for my own and others’  good.  Letting go does not suggest that what they and what I did were right but that there was a lot of misunderstanding and confusion involved.  Also to some extend, I was more concerned about what happened to my brother and cousin when they were in this teacher’s class with me.  It is always more frightening to see somebody else get hurt when you are not them and don’t know how badly they might be suffering when you already know how painful it has been for you in the situation.

Hatred, anger when attached to letting go makes it a greater burden than it has to be.  What might remain a burden for the “offender” to deal with no longer becomes one for you.  The biggest satisfaction an offender might have is not doing the dastardly deed but the fact that the victims have to deal and live with the consequences forever.  When it comes to this, the victim has to let go as the offender no longer has them in his or her grasp.  I realized a couple of years that after my divorce many years ago, that I was still cogitating over how my ex had treated me towards the end of our marriage and how unhappy I was. and that he may have gone on merrily without me and started his life over forgetting I ever existed.

If you come from the northern  part of this country, you may know about mosquitoes and how badly their bites itch and how you can create even bigger sores and create more irritation by scratching them,  People who get them often feel they are helpless and can’t leave them alone.  Often the next step is that you stop going outside in mosquito season and wound up being cooped up inside in the house during the hottest part of  summer without air conditioning.  Wouldn’t it been wonderful if you could have avoided that?  You can avoid something similar by letting go of old past hurts.

Don’t regurgitate, don’t do what cows do and chew your cud again and again.  Yes, learn from your past experiences but don’t let them monopolize the present or scar the future.  Sometimes you don’t have to forgive you just need to let go and take what the future brings an opportunity to do something different and new.

rp_Cult_and_Ritual_Abuse.jpgCAUTION;  A HISTORY OF SEVERE PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL ABUSE AND SOMETIMES EVEN SEVERE MENTAL ABUSE REQUIRES PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT AND SHOULD NOT BE HANDLED ON ONE’S OWN.  Abuse can also happen when you are an adult.  Also do not let the abuser dictate how you handle the abuse.

 

 

Don’t Hit Him, Hit Me

Don’t hit him; hit me.  The bystander problem.  When you are little you may not realize that you are not big enough to take somebody on or that society thinks it is an inappropriate for someone in your role in society to do this.  Those words are a childhood memory.  Why would I remember them if they were something I did not say and something I did not experience.

In school, I once attacked someone who was attacking my brother (who is two years older).  I didn’t stop to think if this was appropriate.  I just went to his defense.

Living with someone with a bad temper is both contagious and dangerous and promotes inappropriate ways of solving problems.  What will a child as a bystander do?  Defend her siblings, defend her mother or father whom she sees as helpless?  A child thinks he rp_6690197133_ebab8b0bfd_m.jpgcan do anything he thinks of as children have good imaginations and are not so bound by reality as older people are.

Sometimes it is more painful to be a bystander in these situations than to be the victim who knows how much it hurts.  Something going wrong in the family with other members can leave a child feeling helpless.  What would hurt worse?  Being paddled yourself or watching another family member that you love and who you are close to being beaten?

Sometimes people don’t know the damage they do when they get their anger out on anyone or anything that they can get to while not fearing retaliation.  What would you rather do lose your own life and save the life of another or lose the lives of others and be there to suffer the loss.  Most parents say that they would like to die before their children do.

 

Things You Are Not To Talk About

not.talkThings you are not to talk about keep you in a prison of silence.  There are things you don’t share with others.  It can be a burden to carry these things alone and to whose advantage is this?  Probably it was to the advantage of the person who taught you not to talk about these things.  Yes, they probably told you that they were telling you this for your own good.   If fact, they may have implied that they and only they can tolerate you and even they don’t want to hear certain things from you.  These are things  which you will not talk about if you want to be loved and accepted by them.

When it comes to abuse, it is the things you are taught not to talk about that keep you, if you are the abuse victim, from stopping the abuse.  Abusers often use this ploy to get you (the one who is being abused)  to believe that others will reject or punish you if you talk about the abuse and that the abusers can cause harm to you or your family if you talk about the abuse.  There is no way to know if this will happen or not if you don’t tell somebody.

Take a moment and make a list of things that you are not to talk about.  It will tell you a lot about you and the people who influenced your life.  Low self-esteem is fostered by the idea that you really are a failure and/or a bad person and if someone else found this out, they would reject you.  This is one of the most important aspects of therapy being able to tell another person anything without losing their support.

embarassingquestionsI am not talking to you about this in order to make you a compulsive truth teller.  I believe that you have a right to choose what information that you will share with others.  There are people out there that will ask you some very embarrassing questions and for information about you that you don’t need to share with them; but who are you protecting and why?  Are there people in your life that you can and should share this information with?  Is it causing you more stress to keep this information to yourself than it would to be to finally get it off your chest?

 

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Abuse, the Controlling of Others

Abuse

Abuse (Photo credit: Ex-InTransit)

Three people in chains, probably somewhere in ...
Three people in chains, probably somewhere in East-Africa. The total number of slaves in early twentieth-century Ethiopia is estimated at between 2 and 4 million in a total population of about 11 million. “#v=onepage&q=&f=false Women and Slavery: Africa, the Indian Ocean world, and the medieval north Atlantic”. Gwyn Campbell, Suzanne Miers, Joseph Calder Miller (2007). Ohio University Press. p.219. ISBN 082141724X (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To me, the slavery of the mind, body, and soul of others is the core belief of abuse.  If I control you, I control all parts of you. Nothing that’s yours can escape me.  The abuser is a dictator, a slave owner, a sovereign ruler.  Perhaps even a god.

In spouse abuse, It’s usually the husband who controls, not only what the wife does or says, but also whom she associates with, her family and friends.  In order to do this, the abuser isolates the victim and controls what assets the victim has access to if any.  Usually the abuser is not satisfied with just controlling these things, but also the abuser wants to control the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of the victim.

Associated with the abuse is also a sense of low or zero self-worth on the part of the victim.  The victim also has no rights and the victim depends on the abuser to meet his or her basic needs.  Even what the needs are is often dictated by the abuser.  If there are children involved (and there usually is), their ownership reverts to the abuser not the victim.

Thus it is difficult for the victim to get away from the abuser since the victim has little or no resources and often does not feel that he or she is strong enough to survive on their own.

 

 

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Have Your Boundaries Been Crossed?

Cover of "Boundaries (Fireside/Parkside R...

Cover via Amazon

Men, have you ever been kidding a woman you had thought that you had known well and had what amounted to having your face slapped?  Did she get very quiet, refuse to help you anymore, or{ taking it to the extreme) call the  manager or the police?  Did you feel initially that your behavior was appropriate  and not in bad taste?  Women, have you wound up in a situation you didn’t intend to get into and (in an extreme cases of misunderstanding) been “” date raped“”?  Crossing someone else’s sexual boundaries unintentionally or unknowingly letting your own sexual boundaries  be crossed, can be signs that you learned inappropriate sexual boundaries and/or you had your sexual boundaries inappropriately crossed  as a child  leading to problems identifying sexual limits in  others and in establishing them for yourself.

Some sexual abuse is only partially remembered by the victims and some do not remember it at all.  Worse yet, victims  may not categorize some behaviors that they experienced as abusive especially when they do not know that sexual boundaries have been crossed.   Either parent can cross these boundaries with a child of either sex.  It has been said that sometimes it is physical abuse as a child that is easier to deal with because it leaves visible marks and sexual abuse as a child (as well as emotional abuse which will be a later topic of this blog) that  is harder to deal with because it usually does not leave marks.  Just saying, ”’No,”” is easier said than done.  Abusers count on child victims to not believe that they can not safely do that.

Thus you may have had your sexual boundaries crossed as a child and not known it.

 

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