Explanations and Defenses
Date: 7/25/2011 8:48:47 AM ( 29 mon ) ... viewed 627 times
When I made the decision to leave the abusive environment and began "talking" to family and friends about what actually happened in our household, their disbelief was complete. Recounting specific events of threatened suicide, beatings, rape, financial ruin, emotional torture, etc., were met with little-to-no understanding or sympathy, and the majority of responses were that I had slipped a proverbial cog, and was utterly insane. The former abuser's facade was so convincing that people honestly believed that we were the "perfect couple," basically because we laughed and joked all of the time, in public.
Attempting to relay specific events of abuse to another party, whether they are family or otherwise, can result in responses that were never anticipated. In my case, my own mother refused to accept the facts as I presented them and chose to support my former abuser, financially and emotionally. I was called a "bad mother" for wanting to leave the abusive environment, and discussion with regard to my level of sanity was had with anyone that would listen. The former abuser was very adept at manipulations, and he was very, very convincing of many, many unTruths.
"The Rant," as I prefer to call it, is the former victim's need to defend and explain their actions to separate themselves from their abusers and leave the environment, permanently. Regardless of how long a human being has been exposed to abuse, they are invariably conditioned to explain their choices and decisions, and then to defend themselves from a barrage of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse for having the affrontery to do anything without the express permission and approval of their abuser. Because of this conditioning, the victim-turned-Survivor is placed in a position where, quite honestly, they feel that they need to continue explaining and defending themselves, even to people whom they might otherwise enjoy encouragement and support from, unconditionally.
Avoid "The Rant" when you've made the decision to leave. There is only one entity that demands an explanation and/or defense, and that would be the Legal System. If we have spiritual roots, we know that an explanation and defense to whatever spiritual entity that we entertain is not necessary. Why, then, would we give one second of personal defense to other human beings who have not walked the same path of abuse and violence? The reason is, as I've mentioned, that we were conditioned to do so. Additionally, people who are not mature in their own healing processes find another human being's issues to be a source of control and will project their own shortcomings and failures onto someone who is finally speaking Truthfully simply because they can't (or, won't) step out of the darkness of denial, themselves. It's much easier to inflict control when someone is vulnerable, and the first year after the "big decision" to leave is when Survivors are at their most vulnerable.
"The children need both of their parents. Can't you both go to counseling and work this out?" is a question that my mother, and other people, asked me. I did not have to answer that question, and I should have taken those opportunities to walk away and continue working it out with my counselor, but I bit at the bait and would quickly dissolve into "The Rant." "The Rant" would quickly dissolve into an full-on defense and desperate attempt to explain what the former abuser actually did, and I honestly did appear to be as crazy as a shithouse rat! And, I was manipulated by people during my most vulnerable times because I had been conditioned to respond to accusations in just that manner.
You don't owe anyone an explanation - EVER - especially, the children. The children should never, ever, EVER be involved in the adult issues - they already know about the abuse because they've lived in it, themselves. What the children need are strict boundaries (we aren't going to discuss these issues) and strong emotional support through counseling and positive activities. We are allowed to tell other adults that we aren't going to discuss the reasons for our decisions, and we don't have to respond or react to demands for an explanation. What's the worst that could happen if we refuse to explain ourselves? If someone is willing to discard us for being told to mind their own business, then we don't need them in our lives, to begin with! This is precisely how we were lulled into the world of domestic violence and abuse in the first place! By "telling all," we give people information that they can use (and, abuse) to suit their own needs. A strong source of support and encouragement will never require an explanation from us.
So....tell the counselor what happened. Tell the attorney what happened. Keep all disclosures Truthful, honest, and objective, even if doing so makes us look like lunatics, as well. Other than that, nobody else needs to be involved until we've healed our proverbial backbones, straightened out our boundaries, and grown strong enough to call a spade what it is without fear of rejection.
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