I'm thinking about abuse this morning, after a conversation with a friend who ended a long-term relationship with their abuser. The abuser was impressive and most believed them because of their intelligence, polish and how they put on the humble act so well.
In my friend's case, the abuse was emotional, psychological, spiritual and financial. Which makes it worse because no one gets/believes it and the scars last longer. My friend is unable even to explain to their own children what happened because all custodial agreements come with a non denigration clause.
Typically, there is much gaslighting, with the abuser telling people that they were the ones abused. Classic covert narcissist; it’s astonishing how good they are at lying.
I regret to say that there is more than one of these deceptive, manipulative types in my own family, so I am intimate with psychological abuse and gaslighting. What's more, I recently covered the trial of cult leader Keith Raniere, of NXIVM, and listened to victims and professionals directly about how dangerous and damaging these sick types can be.
Then, in turn, I tried to apply what I learned to a psychologically disturbed individual in my inner circle who was trying to take me to court for something unspeakable--that they most likely did. Dark stuff...
From my own experience, I'm sorry to say that it takes decades to get abuse and trauma out of one's system and return to a semblance of wholesomeness and health.
As my friend noted, even dark people can make beautiful things. These damaged individuals are not without their charm, talents, brilliance, even. At a distance, we can even come to pity them, since they might come from an abusive family, and were not able to break the vicious cycle.
But first, we must take care of our wounded selves and do the hard work of moving forward, forgetting and, hopefully forgiving, once we've grasped the full extent of the damage done. I read somewhere that the Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder resulting from an abusive childhood is worse on our system than a soldier returning from war... Imagine.
Remember, even dark people can make beautiful things. That's the confusing part... It takes time to process profound trauma. I'm nearly 48 years old and still dealing with major issues because of a traumatic childhood and the rest of my family's silence/ enabling support.
It takes time and work and the help of friends and faith to fully heal and return to a semblance of health and wholesomeness. We cannot get through this, alone, without succumbing to depression or worse, self-abuse and destructive behavior (because we've internalized the sickness of our abuser).
Laughter, and as much light-heartedness that we can summon under the circumstances, help. Also, we should continue to remind ourselves that there's something horribly wrong with our abusers (not us) and that we cannot internalize or trust the lies they told us about what's wrong with us: how we're bad, ungrateful, incapable, etc... All this is projection and twisted mind control, that is part of the abuser's devious gift.
Give yourself time, seek professional if need be. It might take decade or more to exorcise deep-seated demons, and you cannot do it alone. As a reader, I can say that books have helped me.
These two, especially, have given me perspective and tools to escape the clutches of my abusers/enablers and learn how to deal with them in a smarter, healthier way:
Check them out if you need perspective and, meantime, keep a safe distance from abusers. Do not seek to please them or consider their warped points of view any longer!
Thank you, for listening to my (coded) confession and, if you're going through this, I wish you recovery of your self-esteem, joy, and trust to love yourself and others, fully.
Vulnerability and confidence, unfortunately, are two valuable things our abusers steal from us that we must try to recover, in order not to repeat the pattern and end up with similar types in our lives.
We might begin by asking ourselves--if the abuser is not a parent--why did we allow this to occur and why did we remain in an abusive relationship for as long as we did?
Typically, abusers prey on a combination of insecurity and a caregiver type, whom they seduce with their allure or charisma. Knowledge is power and the more we know, the more likely we are to learn from these bitter lessons how to lead better lives.🙏