Getting Past Past Abuse
This Hub is for M and others I have encountered
The experience of childhood abuse is a very painful one. Many things go through the mind of a victim who is still in the phase of 'victim consciousness'. One of the saddest facts of being a victim of abuse is in the way the victim's behaviour of fighting anyone and everyone, continues to repel others leaving them with confirmation of their worthlessness.
Yet, this is the last thing the victim needs - constantly reinforced low self-esteem and the need to constantly (over) compensate to build themselves back up.
I stopped loving my father a long time ago. What remained was the slavery to a pattern. - Anais Nin
Constantly fighting others in order to build oneself back up is a form of slavery.
Another is to display outrageous and inappropriate behaviour. The victim uses this behaviour to overcome feelings of worthlessness and to cope with their past. It has often been said this can be a driving force for achievement especially in entertainment where celebrity status can alleviate one's feelings of low worth.
This can also provide feelings of power over the abuser as a kind of "payback" for all the putdowns the person has experienced which made the victim feel so inadequate.
But for many victims of abuse who don't achieve any such status and who don't lift themselves above their experience for a long time, a cycle of behaviour which constantly reaffirms the reality he or she is actually trying to escape constantly reaffirms itself in their attitude towards others - especially anyone resembling the cursed abuser!
How does this happen?
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are - Anais Nin
Victims of abuse can be fanatical about their version of reality or totally unaware it is a malformed version of reality and feel constantly under attack. This in turn, provokes the need to challenge others or defend oneself, which is to say the victim can misread inert situations as threatening as their struggle or fighting against it becomes their identity.
For example, a normal debate or disagreement with their opinion can feel like an affront to the victim of abuse.
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject - Winston Churchill
Reading their life as a series of repetitions of their original primal (first) abuse situation, the victim of abuse essentially lives in a habit of mind of FEAR and LOATHING rather than a state of LOVE. Another way to understand this is to see the victim as like a person with a tooth ache and unable to deal with anything else but their pain. Consumed by their ache the victim cannot talk about anything else or anyone else.
A victim of abuse may also turn to an addiction to help them cope as this can bring short-term relief from their feelings of PAIN or FEAR. However, addiction can mean that the victim's all-consuming need to use in turn makes them abusive towards others.
Back when I drank, ego and fear were the two horsemen of my own personal apocalypse.” -Jane Velez-Mitchell
In a state of fear, the relationships become antagonistic and fraught with the ever-present threat of persecution from others - especially those resembling their original abuser. In fact, sometimes if the victim does not see the reality they so strongly believe in, he or she might in fact, try to provoke it, in order to see it or confirm it's truth.
Others who react to their provocation, now become like the original perpetrator of abuse and just as bad.This can make a victim of abuse very tiring to be around as it is quite demanding to constantly be misinterpreted for others who are in a relationship with the victim.
A person dealing with a victim of abuse might break ties with the person, completely disappearing. He or she just might find it too fatiguing trying to cope with the constant misinterpretations of their opinions and intentions.
If you are close to a victim of abuse - try to reconnect the person to what he or she LOVES, so that this way of relating can GROW in them and become a habit that overrides their defensiveness, But if you do, you might find you are tested to the limit!
When the mind is in a state of love, relationships are enjoyable, light-hearted and create a space for wonderful discoveries. If the victim of abuse can return to this state of love as often as possible, they will be on the way to self-healing and overcoming their reactions of defensive behaviour.
Responses: Fight or Flight
So far, the discussion has centered on a fight response where the victim of abuse "fights back" against the injustices of the world and figures that come into their life that resemble the original perpetrator of their abuse. As already noted, that "world" is a reality of their own making or, more specifically, made by their earlier (childhood) experiences.
Sadly, the reality a victim of abuse has accepted, is a the world which is basically a hurtful place to be.
But some victims of abuse do not fight; rather, they retreat from their painful reality and wear rosy colored glasses to view their world.This does not mean their feelings of low self-worth are any the less. The victim who makes this his or her habitual response may live in a fantasy world and may have an inability to set appropriate limits on the behaviour of others towards them.
Put differently, this means the victim accepts behaviour towards them from others which in most circumstances would be considered inappropriate, manipulative or an invasion of basic rights. The victim of abuse, does not "read" these situations as abusive but may, in fact, feel they are quite "normal".
Looking Behind the Abuse: Your Abuser Was Probably Abused
"Abuse is almost entirely about control. It is often a primitive and immature reaction to life circumstances in which the abuser (usually in his childhood) was rendered helpless. It is about re-exerting one's identity, re-establishing predictability, mastering the environment - human and physical." http://www.abusefacts.com/abuse/types.php
The more one judges, the less one loves - Balzac
By steering away from FEAR and living in LOVE, it is possible to rise above the habits of mind that keep us in a pattern of feeling abused. At that point, it is even possible to see your abuser with compassion - as hard as that may sound. Your abuser's behaviour was not acceptable but depending how far you have come, taking the compassionate path and living in a state of LOVE without FEAR, you might one day see, that this person who abused you was a victim once too. In this way, you are less likely to continue the pattern of abuser and victim you know so well.
As a survivor rather than a victim, the stage of characters that make up your mind and the thoughts that speak your reality, will finally be changed. Having compassion, will help break the slavery that came from a life lived in the limited pattern made of abuser and victim.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. - Dalai Lama
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