So many who grew up in happy homes tell those of us who didn’t that we can’t blame our abusive parents forever. We have to take responsibility for ourselves one of these days!
While this sounds good, I have an issue with it.
Parents are responsible for raising their children. Some do a wonderful job, putting a great deal of time & effort into making sure their children grow up happy, healthy & loved. Other parents aren’t so good. They tear down their child rather than build her up. They expect their child to take care of them, rather than taking care of her as God intended. They are so self-absorbed that they have no time or energy to devote to their child. Some may not even meet the child’s basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter. Others may use their child to meet their needs, & take their anger out on the child or sexually abuse her. When parents behave in such ways, that child will grow up scarred, either physically or emotionally or both.
Abused children grow up with problems. Some have lifelong injuries because of the physical or sexual abuse they survived at the hand of their parents. Some have addictions due to their desire to escape the pain inside caused by their upbringing. And often, many have PTSD or C-PTSD.
How can you not blame your abusive parent as long as you have such problems because of that abusive parent, especially when those problems interfere with your daily life even years later?!
I firmly believe that the abusive parent deserves 100% of the blame for the problems that he or she caused. No one can do anything to deserve being abused! Abusing is the responsibility of the abuser, never the victim.
That being said, the victim does have some responsibility.
It is the victim’s responsibility to heal as best she can from the abuse she endured. It is up to the victim to seek help, to research or do whatever she needs to heal. While some problems may be lifelong such as PTSD or C-PTSD, she certainly can learn ways to manage her symptoms.
It is also the victim’s responsibility to be sure that she doesn’t repeat the familiar patterns of abuse. Sometimes those who were abused as children become abusers. I don’t understand how this works exactly, but it is a pretty common phenomenon. It is up to the victim not to allow this to happen!
It is up to the victim to learn & grow as a person, rather than stay the stifled person she was raised to be. It is her responsibility to become the person God wants her to be, even when it clashes with what her abusive parents wanted her to become.
It is also the victim’s responsibility to forgive her abuser. Mark 11:25 says, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (ESV) I know it is hard to forgive others, especially when they deliberately hurt you. I know they don’t deserve your forgiveness. However, I also know that you deserve better than to carry around bitterness & anger inside of you! Don’t get me wrong- I don’t mean you need to forgive & forget. That only sets you up for further abuse. I am saying that you can, in time & with God’s help, release the anger you feel inside. You will be so much happier for it! Your health will benefit too, as repressed anger can create a myriad of physical & emotional health problems such as high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, heart problems, kidney problems & more.
Lastly, I believe it is also the victim’s responsibility to educate others & help to raise awareness. For example, many people have heard the term narcissistic abuse, but do they really know what it means? Probably not, so why not start a blog on the topic? Write about your experiences or what you are learning as you heal. If you wish, do so using a false name. Writing the truth using your real name can be a scary prospect since you wonder if the abuser will learn about your writing. I know- it honestly makes me very anxious sometimes that my parents will learn what I write about (as it is, they don’t have a computer, but they do have flying monkey relatives who do). If you don’t feel confident in writing a blog, then what about checking into laws on the kind of abuse you endured? Do you see where the laws need changing? Then look into changing those laws! Start petitions or create a website on the topic. There are plenty of ways you can make your painful experiences count for something!