When someone has been abused as a child they have already gone through enough, without having to prolong the pain of what happened. However, there are certain things that can add to this pain and one of these things is when one finds that the people around them don’t believe them or it could relate to someone who one is close to and trusts.
Their need to be heard and validated for what they have gone though doesn’t take place. Instead, one is made to believe that they are lying, exaggerating what happened and remembering things that didn’t take place, amongst other things.
They then don’t receive what they need to receive and can be made to feel as though they are the problem. The person or people who were abusive can end up looking innocent and although one was abused, they can feel as though they are in the wrong.
One response to this is that one can end up doubting themselves and wondering if they are making it all up. They might wonder if the people around them are right and that they are out of touch with that actually took place.
But no matter what the people around them say, one is not going to be able to change what happened. It won’t matter what other people believe or even if one begins to doubt themselves, as the truth of what happened is within them.
Through being abused, there is the chance that one still feels vulnerable and this can make it even harder for one to stand their ground. They could be in a position where they are still dependent on the people around them and this can be due to their age, financial situation or because of other reasons.
And if they haven’t had the chance to open up to anyone about what took place and to get the assistance they need, they could be carrying a lot of trauma. It could then be a challenge for one to speak their truth and let other people know what really happened.
Because of what happened to them, there is a strong chance that their sense of safety has been compromised. This could mean that one’s ability to feel safe in their body and that they deserve to exist has been affected.
Therefore, they might find that they have the tendency to go along with what other people say regardless of how true it is. So based on the abuse that they experienced, pleasing others might be what feels comfortable and expressing their truth might feel uncomfortable.
To open up about what happened is not always easy and it is going to be a lot harder when the eternal support is not there. This could cause one to feel trapped and that there is no way out.
When the people that one is closest or the people who they expect to support them end up turning their backs, it can be hard to understand and accept. This is why therapists, healers and support groups can be so important. Books that go into abuse are also important and can supply the validation that one needs.
What’s Going On?
So when one opens up about what has happened or what might still be happening, and comes up against a wall of resistance it might come as surprise. The other person could disagree with them, ignore them or they could end up walking away. In some cases, it could lead to more abuse and one then ends up being re-traumatized.
However, while this can cause one to feel even worse, that they deserved to be abused or that there is no hope, it is not about them. One is likely to be in position where they need to be reassured and are therefore vulnerable, but how other people respond is not personal.
The Other Person
So when one tells someone they were abused, it could be someone the other person knows or it could be someone they don’t know and this can play a part in how they respond. If it is someone the other person knows, they might resist what one says as a way to protect the image or idea that they have of the other person.
If they were to embrace what they are being told it could create inner conflict or what is classed as cognitive dissonance. Here, the other person would be forced to question how they see the other person and this could be too painful for them.
They would have to let go off how they saw the other person and this would be experienced as a loss. The person is still alive, but how they view them is not longer accurate. So if they maintain the idea they have of the other person, they won’t have to experience pain.
Another reason why one won’t be believed is because of what it might trigger in the other person if they were to accept what is being said. And this can relate to someone who knows the abuser and to someone who doesn’t.
Abuse is often the rule as opposed to the exception in today world and this means there is the chance that the other person was also abused. However, while one is aware of what took place and is looking for support, the other person may have disconnected from what took place.
And as they are out of touch with what happened, they are not going to want to place their attention on anything that would remind them of it. If they were to do that, it might cause all the pain that they have repressed to come to the surface.
Living A Lie
This person is then an example of how one would be if they disconnected from what happened and gave of the impression that everything was fine. It is not always easy to embrace how one feels; especially when it relates to the people who brought one up. Disconnecting from what happened might have been the only option they had.
Human beings are designed to avoid pain and although this is a vital part of our survival, it can also lead to problems. One reason why child abuse is passed from one generation to another is because the original pain is not dealt with and ends up being acted out.
If ones pain was dealt with after they were abused and wasn’t pushed out of their awareness, it is highly unlikely that they would abuse another person. So if one has been or is still is being abused, it will be vital for them to seek the right support.
And this can be through a therapist, healer, support group, trusted fiend and/or a book. What matters is that one reaches out and doesn’t allow their current circumstances to stop them.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.