I came across this post on Twitter, and I would like to share it here.
This is very true, many abusers are actually protected by being well-established in society. Simply, people around them can’t believe that “this good person” could do something bad.
I experienced this approach personally several times. I can’t specify the details, but it happened and not once.
I would like to tell those who have the authority to deal with abusers, this: please, when someone approaches you and tells you about something bad happening to them, listen. Opening up about abuse and especially pointing fingers at the specific person, in addition, respectable in society, takes a lot of courage. Trust me. If you simply say, “that can’t be true,” or “well, you are the only one saying this, nobody else complains,” you will just help the abusers to cover their actions. If you say “you know that this is a serious accusation, you can bear consequences if this is not true,” I may surprise you: yes, the person who approaches you knows it very well. And, I will repeat, it takes a lot of courage to come and say it. No normal person wakes up in the morning and says: “what would I do today? Oh, I know, I can accuse somebody of abusing me.” No, it doesn’t work like that. Those rare cases of false accusations are not an excuse to ignore the victim or to threaten with some “consequences.”
So, to conclude: if you have resources to help, please do it. If you don’t have, you can refer the person who is confiding to you to someone who can. But, please, don’t ignore, or downplay what you were being said.
Child abuse survivors often need to struggle with a dilemma of how to handle issues from their childhood. One side of the story is how things “should” be; another one is how they are. Many child abuse survivors have deeply embedded in their minds that they must look perfect, that their family must look perfect. This lie they needed to perform can become by time so deep in their minds they start to believe in it. Even when they are adults and far away from all those bad things, they may find it difficult to face them. True, it is easier to live when we try to suppress the truth and pretend that things were not so bad. But sooner or later, the suppressed trauma can burst out.
I came across an excellent short movie, dealing exactly with such conflict. I share it here.
One of the most important anchors for people with mental illness is that we can be sure we can rely on professional help. Generally, we can be sure that if our illness strikes again, we should be able to see the therapist or the psychiatrist. We should feel that they would show interest and try to help us.
However, I would like to share my experience from 4 years ago. In one of my previous posts, I told my story, when I almost lost my life. I’m suffering from depression and anxiety for many years, and that autumn 2017, I was going through pretty tough times. I experienced a series of disappointments and betrayals from people I thought I could trust. I don’t want to go into details; I just want to say my mental state was terrible. I was like walking in darkness. I attempted to end everything and I ended up in a hospital in ICU, four days in a coma. What I want to share here is the approach of hospital staff. And I would like to ask you to give me your opinion about this. You can share it in the comments below this post or just message me.
The human mind is an amazing thing. Every day, it processes many and many impulses, most of which we are not even aware of. We can remember things, learn new things. Either consciously or unconsciously, our mind gives them some attributes: positive or negative. While our mind is “glad” to remember and reminisce of those positive things, it’s different from something our mind “sees” as negative. What such negative things could be? Well, it can be anything that brings psychological damage to us. It can be bad memories, some bad experience, or a trauma coming from some long-term suffering or traumatic experience. When our mind encounters something like that, it naturally tries to do something with it. The experts have done a lot of research on this, and it’s good to know some strategies our mind uses to cope with trauma. Why is it good to know that? These strategies can be either healthy or unhealthy. When we know how to recognize them, we can intentionally focus on those positive ones. So what are some of the coping strategies?
In my previous post, I wrote about how important it is to speak up when it comes to such a sensitive topic as child abuse certainly is. However, doing so takes a lot of courage. For me, it was not easy to let somebody know my secret side. There were times I wanted to forget all about my childhood. Back in 2002, I moved to another country and thought I can start a whole new life. I’m not the type of easily adjustable person, I want to have some security in life, and as a 19-year-old, I was scared of such a significant change. But I had to do it. I don’t know if it can be called some self-preservation instinct, but it was something stronger than all my fears of the unknown. To make it short, I moved away, graduated, and found a job. I slowly learned how to communicate with other people. I found my purpose in life and almost everything seemed just fine. Almost… There were times as holidays when I was visiting my family when some memories came back. My visits became rarer; three times a year, two times, once, once in two years… I soon learned I must keep a distance from those memories. Fast forward, in 2012 I got married. My wife knows about my past, and back then in 2012, she was the only one who knew something about it. I’ve suffered clinical depression for years already and my closest friend knew about it but that was all. I rarely spoke about my childhood and was trying not to think about it, but to look forward to the future. I was taking my medicine regularly, and aside from some minor relapses I was doing well. I thought everything was fine. But in 2013, one incident changed everything…
In 2015, after my first book was published, my immediate surrounding was shocked. Why? Because my book was dealing with child abuse topics. The book told the story of a child who was severely abused by her guardians. The character was fictional, but I took some details from true cases that happened. The character was built on my own childhood feelings and experiences (I will come to that later). I received shocked reactions, like “you should not write about such topic”, “you should write about happy things”, “I hope you didn’t write about sexual abuse” (I didn’t, by the way). I have to say, I felt miserable, like if I commit a crime. It hurt because that book was meant to be the tool for my relief from the things I kept inside me for so long. I wanted to tell the story, to help myself, and maybe to help somebody else who experience something similar. Based on this experience, I’ve often asked myself the question: is it proper to speak about child abuse? After 6 years, I can say: yes, it is!