Tag Archives: shaming
Victim shaming is a big problem in society these days. It happens when someone says something that makes a victim feel shame for whatever abuse was perpetrated against them or makes the victim feel to blame for what happened.
Some statements are especially common, & those will be addressed in this post.
“I know someone who had that happen to them, but it was way worse.” Trauma isn’t a contest. Trauma hurts, period, & there is no reason to compare one person’s traumatic experience to another’s. This sort of statement does nothing good. It only minimizes & invalidates the victim’s pain.
“Your abuser has had a rough life! You should help him/her.” A history of being abused or through trauma is NOT an excuse to abuse other people. Yes, people who have been abused & traumatized don’t always act like functional people. However, the vast majority also aren’t abusive. I think this is because they know how badly it hurts to be abused, & they won’t want to inflict that kind of pain on others.
“You know what the problem is? You weren’t nice enough. You didn’t kill him/her with kindness.” Killing someone with kindness can help in some situations. It can help a person see that their behavior is wrong. They feel convicted & change. When dealing with a narcissist or other personality disordered individual though? Being overly kind is seen as a green light to abuse & take advantage of a victim more & more.
“I don’t know why you two just couldn’t get along.” This phrase puts the blame for the abuse on both people in the relationship, which makes a victim feel at least partly responsible for the abuser’s behavior. This is totally unfair! The only person responsible for the abuser’s behavior is the abuser, period, end of story!
“Stop being a victim!” While this may sound empowering at first, it’s also a way to stop a victim from discussing their experience & try to get the victim to get over their experience. There is absolutely no shame in being the victim of abuse. None! There is also no shame in the fact it takes time to heal from abuse. In many cases, it takes a lifetime. That doesn’t make a person weak or a failure!
“You need to forgive/let this go. You’ve been holding onto this for too long!” I am a huge proponent of forgiveness. Holding onto anger isn’t good for your physical or mental health. That being said, you can’t let go of all anger just because someone tells you to! Doing so is a process. I firmly believe in forgiving immediately in the sense you don’t expect your abuser to try to make it up to you for what they have done. In that sense, it’s easy to forgive because you know an abuser can’t truly make everything ok for what they have done. Letting go of your anger, however, isn’t so easy. That takes a lot of time & actually feeling the anger as a way to get it out of you. There is no time limit on that.
“That happened in the past.. why are you still holding onto this?” This statement is beyond foolish. When something extreme happens to a person, either good or bad, they can’t just “shake it off”! Not to mention, when a person is traumatized, there is an excellent chance of that person developing PTSD or C-PTSD if the trauma is ongoing. A hallmark of both disorders is not being able to let go of trauma, because it returns often as intrusive thoughts, flashbacks & nightmares.
When people say statements like these to you (& they will at some point), please remember, these statements are not about you. They are about someone who truly has no concept of surviving abuse & trauma in a healthy way. That person may have been through abuse too, but lacks the strength to face their pain. If they can make others not face theirs as well, it makes them feel more normal.
Many people also like to pretend that there is no ugliness in the world. If they can stop you from discussing your traumatic experiences, they can resume thinking that the world is a happy place at all times.
Rarely when people are insensitive & invalidating is the behavior about the person on the receiving end of their comments, but instead is about the person saying such things. If you can remember that, it will help you not to be devastated by their cruel comments.
Good morning, Dear Readers!
I thought I’d share some things with you today…
I am gaining a new appreciation & respect for dreams as of late. All of my dreams seem to have some valuable message in them these days. I seldom understand them immediately, so I look up various symbols on my favorite dream interpretation site, http://www.dreammoods.com, jot notes down, ask God what it all means & wait for His answer. It comes fairly quickly & is always eye opening. God truly speaks to us via our dreams! You would be wise to start paying attention to yours as well.
I also learned something valuable Sunday while at my parents’ house. In typical narcissistic mother fashion, my mother tried to shame me for liking a couple of things she doesn’t like. Obviously, something is wrong with me because I’m different than her yanno! lol As she was making absolutely certain I knew this, a joke I absolutely love popped into my mind…
These 2 proper Southern belles were sitting on a veranda, drinking mint juleps & talking. The one said to the other,
“You see this diamond necklace? My husband gave that to me when we got married.”
The second said, “Well ain’t that nice?”
“You see this pearl bracelet? My husband gave that to me when our son was born.”
“Well ain’t that nice?”
“You see that Jaguar in the driveway? My husband gave that to me for our anniversary last week.”
“Well, ain’t that nice?”
“Speaking of anniversaries, you & your husband had one recently. What did he get you?”
“He paid for me to go to charm school.”
“Charm school? What on earth did you learn there?”
“I learned how to say well ain’t that nice instead of who gives a ****?”
As my mother was finishing up her shaming me because I said I kind of like mincemeat pie & she doesn’t, I simply said, “Well, ain’t that nice?” My mother is from PA- a northern woman through & through- so she just looked at me funny when I said that, & changed the subject immediately. My father, however, is from VA, & thoroughly Southern. He knew what that meant even though I’ve never told him that joke, so he snickered a bit. I realized saying that joke’s punchline worked very well for me. I was able to tell my mother her opinion means nothing to me in a respectful way, & she stopped that shaming thing that irritates me so badly. I’m thinking “well, ain’t that nice” is going to be said a LOT in my near future. You may want to try this one with your narcissistic mother too. 😉
Speaking of my parents, I’ve had several people ask me lately why I’m helping my parents out. Considering how poorly my mother has treated me as I’ve been helping her plus my own health issues, why even try? I thought I would answer this question here. I guess it’s because I’m my parents’ only child. They don’t have any other family they can rely on besides me. Yes, they can hire help (which I’m working on getting that going- I can do some, but more help would be very nice), but I want to at least try to help out. This has been a learning experience for me, too. I’ve come to realize I was thinking more like their child instead of their daughter, & am changing that. I’ve gotten stronger with setting/enforcing boundaries. I’m learning new ways to cope with nastiness & gaslighting (such as the “well ain’t that nice” comment). I’m also getting better at self-care out of sheer necessity. I’ve found local resources that may prove to be valuable to them as well, so while they are not in dire need of a lot of help at the moment, if, God forbid, that happens, we will know where to turn. So, as difficult as things are, at least I’m getting some good from it while providing them with the help they need.