Over on Theo Fleury’s website, there is a guest post today by Bob Spensley about having compassion for offenders, whether they be criminals, political oppresors, kidnappers or sexual predator.
Granted, this is not the most popular way to approach those who commit these acts, but I think Bob makes one good point, whether you agree with the rest of his theory or not.
If you are not moving towards compassion, the opposite and some would say more naturally reactive direction would be to feel hatred. What does hatred serve? If, like physical pain felt by nerve endings, it is part of a defense mechanism to let your brain/heart know to change your current situation- then good. Anger would then be useful to keep you safer, and it is good to listen to it. If you’re already in a safe-enough place and the trauma is not in danger of being repeated, however, then the hatred/anger will only serve to make yourself ill.
Reminder- It is not always the trauma event itself that makes you the most hurt. It’s often how people (including yourself) respond to the abuse that contributes to your difficulty (or relative ease) with your personal healing.
In a nutshell, how does feeling compassion for your offender help you to feel better? Once you see it’s the other’s issues and pain, it encourages the thought that the abuse was not your fault and you instantly have more energy to forgive and love yourself. And that’s really the goal in healing. The bonus is that if your intention for them to feel less pain comes to be, they’d be less likely to hurt another. Continue reading
I caught a mention of a TED talk relating to shame and even though the speaker, Brene Brown, wasn’t specifically talking about survivors, I think there’s a lot of information that applies to survivors.
Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.
As a survivor, that certainly rings true for me. Survivors hang on to a lot of shame about what happened to us, and that shame colors every aspect of life to some degree or other. For me, healing is about reaching the point where I’m not ashamed of what happened, because it wasn’t my fault. There’s real power in not hiding the secrets any more.
You can go and check out this talk over on the TED website.
Lately, something on this site has been keeping me a little busier than normal. There seems to be some reason that Google has stopped directing people to the home page, and listing this site in it’s search results even when you search for the URL: childabusesurvivor.net.
I won’t bore you with the details, I’ve already written about them elsewhere.
I would, however, like to point out that this means fewer people who might be searching for information about abuse survivors, are likely to stumble upon this site, at least for the time being. Given this fact, I want to encourage all of my readers to share. If there’s something you see in a post on this site that you think others would benefit from seeing, share it. If you came here because someone shred the site with you, and you just know a friend who would be interested, share it with them. Don’t be shy, share!
There are sharing buttons on every post, for all of your favorite social networks, or to simply email to your friends. I’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you to share with other survivors or those who are interested in helping them overcome child abuse.
Share away, and thanks for reading!
On a recent Saturday afternoon, my wife and I went for a country drive to one of the cute small towns in our area of the country. We stopped in a little coffee shop, and were greeted warmly by the elderly mother of the shop’s owner.
Unfortunately, this woman, while very sweet, may be dealing with some form of dementia, and really did not understand boundaries at all. After greeting us both and engaging us in conversation, she proceeded to rub my wife’s back, reaching around her to hold her in place while doing so. It was uncomfortable for everyone.
It only lasted a minute, by it could tell immediately that my wife was, in a minor way, traumatized by it. She was jumpy, and not from the coffee. She couldn’t get out of there fast enough, and the next day at church, she flinched when a person she actually knows quite well just touched her arm.
So what does this have to do with child abuse survivors?
But, I saw a couple of articles recently that reminded me of my own struggles with depression, and that the best friends, the one’s who can really help and make a difference in the lives of a loved one with depression are not the ones who coddle them and tell them it’s ok. It’s the ones who remind us of our responsibility to take care of ourselves, that have the most impact.
First, the quotes:
5. Encourage them to focus on self-care.
Depressed people often stop taking care of themselves. Showering, getting haircuts, going to the doctor or dentist, it’s all just too hard, and they don’t deserve to be well taken care of anyway in their minds. This can snowball quickly into greater feelings of worthlessness since “Now I’m such a mess, no one could ever love me”. Help your loved one by being proactive. Tell them “I’m going to do the dishes, why don’t you go enjoy a bubble bath?” can give them the permission they won’t give themselves to do something normal, healthy and self-loving.
Joe Navarro, in his Spycatcher blog, asks an important question about all the Woody Allen talk. Can we really separate someone’s art, or talent, from their character. Certainly, it seems like we go to great pains to do that, but should we?
Consider this section of Joe’s article:
The second concern that has not been talked about in the articles noted above is this. Is the accused or alleged perpetrator flawed of character? In other words, is this a person who has demonstrated a willingness to bend rules, push boundaries, break laws, do immoral or unethical acts?
When we allow someone to bend rules, and break boundaries because, as one person quoted in the article says, “it’s essential to separate the art from the artist not only for philosophical reasons but also for practical ones.” She further added, “…if we delved into the private lives of every single artist…we’d find plenty not to like… It’s possible we’d never see a movie, look at a work of art, or read a book again.” all we are really doing is sending the message that it’s ok for the “talented” to do whatever they want. They’re special, and they produce art, or athletic achievement that somehow makes up for whatever they may be doing to innocent children.
I don’t buy it. Continue reading
Since I have written before about Evangelicals and the seeming belief that no treatment is needed for mental health issues, I thought I should share this article that a friend of mine on Facebook posted.
I can honestly say, these same things should be taken to heart by everyone, not just Christians.