Archive for November 2nd, 2010

On my blog entry entitled Child Abuse Survivor Beats Up His Abuser, a reader posted the following comment:

“Our abusers definitely destroyed our innocence, but only we have the power to let them destroy our lives”. I think that may be true in some cases, but not in all. Not everyone is born with the same capacities, tolerance and physical/biological and psychological make up. For some people, it does destroy their lives, and I believe that they have no control over it. If they did, why would they choose to have their lives ruined? I do see what you are saying, but I also see that they “choice” is simply not there for some people. ~ Mia

I respectfully disagree with Mia because to say that some abusers have the power to completely destroy some people’s lives is to give away our power. I am not referring to child abuse victims who become psychotic afterward – that is outside of the scope of this discussion. My focus is on those of us who managed to survive the abuse as sane people, although we might feel completely insane at times thanks to post-traumatic stress disorder—PTSD symptoms.

I am not in any way minimizing the profound aftereffects of being abused. If you have read my story, you know how profoundly being abused as a child has affected my life – suicidal urges, self-injury, eating disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, depression, etc. Nevertheless, my abusers did not have the power to “destroy my life.” I can choose to believe that they have this power and live my life as if they do, but that is ultimately a choice I am making that I can “unchoose” as I awaken to the truths of my life and shed my abusers’ lies.

Mia asks why child abuse survivors would choose to have their lives ruined. My answer is that they believe that their abusers have this power. If you believe it, then you will act is if it were true even though it is not. Take the story of the four-minute mile. Nobody believed it was possible for a person to run a mile in under four minutes, so everyone accepted that this was a reality, even though it was not. Then, one day somebody did it, and then other athletes did it as well. Once athletes believed that running a mile in under four minutes was possible, others succeeded in doing it, too.

If you believe that your abuser has the power to ruin your life, then you are not going to believe it is possible to live in any way other than broken. It will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because your abuser’s actions when you were a kid seem to continue to control your life in adulthood, you are going to become more and more bitter toward your abuser, which only perpetuates the internal “attachment” you have to your abuser. I used to think about my mother/abuser multiple times a day as I nursed my bitterness. I only found freedom from this when I recognized that the only person I was hurting was myself – she was going about her life without any sort of “punishment” from all of the energy I was putting into hating her. When I chose to stop nursing the bitterness, her life did not change a bit, but I found enormous freedom.

I truly believe that every (sane) child abuse survivor can make the choice to find value in his or her life and heal. What healing looks like to going to vary from person to person, as is the pace and direction of that healing. However, I do not believe that any child abuser has the power to completely destroy his victim’s life. A child abuser is not a “god” or superhuman person who has the power to completely destroy another person’s life once the victim is out from under his control. We, as the victims, are the ones who continue allowing the abuser to wield that kind of power over our lives once the abuser is physically out of our lives. The great news about this is that we have the power to “unchoose” this and reclaim our lives!

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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