It can be very hard for me to deal with all of the abuse that I’ve gone through throughout my life. When I think of all of the abusive relationships and situations that I’ve been in, it is hard not to blame myself because they seem to just keep happening to me. I remember that people in AA would say things to me like “you’re the common denominator”. And as much as I try to work through and deprogram from AA, this particular phrase seems to haunt me and hold me into a pattern of self-blame in regards to the abuse that I’ve been through.
This is especially true in terms of the abuse that the cats went through at the hands of my ex-boyfriends, other ritual abusers and human traffickers that I met in AA. I sometimes blame myself for what happened to the cats and feel like I should have been smarter and more discerning of the people around me, especially members of AA. But in AA I was conditioned to believe that everyone there was safe, and that it was preferable to date men in the program. Also, my childhood abuse conditioned me not to listen to my own intuition, which made me vulnerable to abusers. So while I realize that this whole situation was not my fault, and that I was likely baited into it from the very start, I still have self blame and guilt and shame regarding the situation.
Sometimes I am also hard on myself regarding the issues that I had/have with David’s family. How did I end up in another abusive system so easily? And why did it take 7 months for me to see that his family members were scapegoating me and abusing me? It’s easy to blame myself for this situation but I realize that it is not my fault. I was vulnerable due to previous abuse and just wasn’t able to see the red flags of the situation, just like what happened in AA.
So instead of beating myself up for ending up in another situation where I am the scapegoat and am abused, I give myself props for the fact that it only took me seven months to realize that his family was abusing and scapegoating me and to realize how severe the abuse was/is. This is in stark contrast to every other abusive situation that I’ve been in. It usually takes me years to figure out that I am in an abusive situation, and sometimes I don’t even figure it out until years after the abusive situation occurs. And, if I do realize that I am in an abusive situation quickly, I don’t tend to process it or understand it quickly like I did with David’s family. Even if I knew that a situation was abusive, I didn’t realize or accept the severity of the abuse even if I knew I was in an abusive situation, regardless of if it was emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, or other, up until I met David’s family in 2014/2015. Plus, I would usually stay in abusive situations and just deal with them rather than try to resolve them, leave the situation right away, or process them with anyone. And these tendencies of mine got worse over time, especially when I joined AA.This all leaves me wondering: what changed? How did I end up understanding what was going on with David’s family so quickly?
The answer is that I was overwhelmed and tired of being mistreated and must have been ready to face what was going on in my life and my past as well. Over the next few years I began to just kind of notice the abuse by other people too, including members of AA and my family. It became clear over time that people both in my life and just in general were not who I thought that they were in terms of how they treated myself and others. Still, it took me 30 some years to realize that certain family members had and were still being extremely abusive towards me.
This has led me to believe that there really are bad people in this world. I know that some people prefer to look at abuse as good people doing bad things, or just as people doing bad things. I remember that when I went to Al-Anon and ACA, for example, that we were encouraged to not judge the person but the behavior. However, I feel that by not admitting that there are people in this world who are damaged, toxic, don’t have a conscience, and that are just bad people is a way to escape the reality of life itself.
I believe too that people may not want to admit that there are bad people in this world because in doing so one may feel the need to look within themselves. I know that when I first started to really realize that I had been abused and was still being abused that I was terrified that I myself could be abusive too. The truth is that once we admit that there are abusive, bad, or evil people in this world, it opens up the fact that we ourselves could be this too. This is especially true in my opinion if a person realizes that their family member(s) is not a very good person or is highly abusive. At least for me, when I found this out, as I said I started to wonder if I, too, could be like my family members. After a lot of soul searching I have realized that I am not anything like them and am definitely not an abusive or bad person.
I also do not believe that anyone is capable of things like murder or abuse. I feel like there are those of us who just aren’t capable of doing these types of things, even though we might tell ourselves that we are. The truth is that people are all unique and can be very different from one another, and what is true for one person may not be true for the next.
Processing all of this has led me to become stronger in myself, too, which has resulted in predators tending to stay away from me. As I’ve become more self aware and stronger within myself many of the predators and abusive people in my life have begun to back off. A big part of this is because I am not as vulnerable due to working through big chunks of my abuse, and also in accepting the reality that there are predators in this world. I believe that this shows not only by my behavior but likely I do not have a vulnerable vibe as much as I used to. And I tend to stand up for myself now to abusive people and am able to explain to others what a certain abusive person is doing to me or other people in a very effective way (if they care to talk to me about it). Thus I can get people to understand that a person is being abusive when they may not have been able to see it before. Because of this, predators have begun to stay away from me, especially narcissists, as they are very sensitive to what other people think of them.
Overall I see myself making a lot of progress these days. I attribute this to quite a few things. Mostly, though, I think that I was just tired of being abused and also tired of the symptoms that came with it.
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