I see this all the time, in the media, on social media, within society, within Church people, even in my own Christian counselling.
This happens all the time, everywhere.
People/society/Christianity – all programmed to ‘not think the worst’ about an abuser, ‘look for the good’, assume the victim is lying/exaggerating and minimize what you haven’t personally endured.
I’ve been ‘invalidated’ (not intentionally) in counselling, because it is Christian based, and they can be the worst for avoiding the worst possible reality about someone’ bad’.
When the victim, is being very honest, as most are, all this does is completely invalidate what that victim has endured and re-traumatises that victim over and over.
How is a victim of severe abuse, prolonged abuse meant to process everything deeply and fully, when the focus is to be concerned about how the ‘abuser’ feels, and by others assuming the abuser ‘didn’t know they were causing so much harm, didn’t mean it’ etc ???
I’ve had my ‘needed’ and ‘deserved’ emotions of anger towards the horrific abuse I have endured – completely invalidated by comments like ‘oh they were probably abused too’ and ‘the abusers are in such pain too’.
I have an ongoing huge difference of opinion with my doctor, who I do respect – who makes it very clear she does not believe in ‘labelling’ as this is ‘not okay for the abuser’. ‘Abuser’ – that’s a label I am apparently not meant to say. ‘Narcissist’ is another one, when in fact someone highly narcissistic, will act in every way out of a place of selfishness and ego – so every action, every thought, will be narcissistic. And abusers, rarely stop, and often abuse again, until they are stopped. So – that is what they are. People who are abusers. People who are narcissists. People who are sociopaths. People who are paedophiles.
The reason given to me for this shame inducing ‘we must not label’, which bothered me greatly at the time it was said, and still does, was ‘these labels can destroy people’. I’ve also had it said to me that these abusers are ‘in so much pain themselves to do what they do’.
Did these ‘people’ care that they were destroying their victims lives? Of course not, in 99% of cases. None of my abusers cared – because they have no empathy, no remorse, no conscience. And they had a choice.
Some of my abusers ‘enjoyed’ what they did. There may be reasons they abused, but they weren’t actually ‘feeling’ pain when they did it. When they made those choices to hurt me so badly. They weren’t feeling pain at all.
I’ve wanted to die many, many times because the pain has been so horrific.
So why is there a push for unhealed victims who did NOT have a choice, and have been deeply harmed, with long term, often life long severe issues, that are painful and can in fact cause suicide – to have to feel this ‘compassion’ for abusers?
I need to focus on finding and having compassion for ME. Not them, while I am healing. Self compassion is something I know so many abuse victims don’t have, so ‘that’ is the focus needed.
These types of comments from others, are very damaging. They are only going to cause more shame, more enforced guilt, cause the victim to shut down, not trust and not want to share.
I know and do actually understand why people would think this way. But to a severe abuse victim, they need to know the people they need to trust, aren’t minimizing the harm caused to them as the victims, and that actually there may be reasons why the abusers did what they did, but they still made a ‘choice’.
I am ‘allowed’ to be very angry about that.
Now, I am someone who is capable of compassion and can put my own emotions aside, and see things from an abusers life/emotions etc. But, not everyone can do this.
So, this enforced ‘we must feel sorry for the abusers’ and having people minimizing the harm to us, is going to really fucking hurt, after having had other people minimizing, denying, ignoring etc the abuse, which has happened to many of us.
Victims, need someone on their side. Not pushing forgiveness and compassion for abusers, onto non healed victims, who are having nightmares about horrendous abuse and other horrific symptoms , caused by the actions of these ‘abusers’.
I am not promoting hatred, or retribution, or vigilante groups etc.
But, please…..let me be angry. Safely. Appropriately. Let me vent it. Let me label, or whatever else I need to do, to process the pain.
Because if you don’t, all I do is internalise this as self hatred, or depression. Please don’t do this to me, or others. You may feel compassion for abusers, but you weren’t the one horrifically abused, and in pain, who wants to die at times – I am.
Allow me to have my rightful emotions of how horrific this was for ‘me’.
Don’t enforce anymore guilt or shame onto me. I’ve had that all my life.
And I speak for many victims of abuse, when I say this.
I see clearly how society, Christianity, is all about minimizing abuse, always veers towards non belief about what the victims says, trivialising abuse, protecting perpetrators of abuse and all this does is re-victimise and re-traumatise the victim, over and over.
And that hurts.
Really, really hurts.
And we’ve been hurt so much already.
And Christians, please don’t hurt victims more, in your attempts to be model/prove you are a ‘good Christian’, by showing compassion for the abuser, and flaunting that in the faces of unhealed abuse victims, minimizing the horrific harm it caused us, re-victimising them repeatedly.
Please have empathy, and some sensitivity towards the victims needs, not just your egocentric ‘must be a good Christian’ needs.
~ Lilly Hope Lucario
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