I spend a long time believing that pity was love. I refused to leave my abusers for years.
I loved the people who did me wrong, because I empathised with their pain. I stayed silent about my own emotions, partly to avoid drama, partly because I knew how pointless my anger was in these situations. I understood that I was stuck in a household that did not take my needs into account, and I became a bystander in my own life.
This blog post by You Have Something To Say titled ‘Why No Contact is Essential if You Love Your Abuser’ contrasts my recent post ‘Fight Your Instincts- Love Your Abusers!’
Last year, I confronted my childhood abusers about my trauma. I told them I loved them, and that I forgave them wholeheartedly (not that they asked for it). However, I cannot forgive them for the behaviour I know they will inflict on me every time I agree to met them.
That is not fair on my body and my mind.
I could not save them. I realised how selfish this wish was, and how I was stuck in denial: I was trying to change them after all! This would ultimately result in manipulation and withdrawing the truth on my part in order to feel safe. That is not love.
I was going against my own advice: I was setting myself on fire to keep others warm.
Due to unprocessed trauma, I was obsessed with people-pleasing; when everyone else thought I was useful, I could too. By sacrificing my own well-being and happiness, I could keep on playing the martyr just as I did in childhood.
I was moving in familiar circles, even if they were harming me, because I felt safe (but I wasn’t!).
In ‘Why Does He Do That?’, a free book about male domestic abuse, it is said that it takes victimes around 7 times of trying before they actually leave their abusers.
I found that I had to play around with boundaries, because I did not know anymore what a healthy relationship looked like. I didn’t know whether I could survive while being seen as ‘evil’ by my abusers for limiting contact. Turns out, I could.
If you’re not quite ready to cut off contact with your abusers, either because you’re not emotionally ready or not independent in your housing or finance situation, I found the grey rock technique really useful.
Narcissist thrive by getting attention and criticising others; by becoming as uninteresting and ‘grey’ as possible, they will eventually become uninterested in you. This article has 7 helpful pointers to the technique.
Do you struggle cutting abusive people out of your life? Let me know what’s holding you back!