Activity 3, Self help: Sharing the myths & recognizing the oppression.

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C.

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Reminder: In order to honor our group process we ask that only current members post and respond here please.  Thank you.

Note:  Your recovery is unique to you.  These topics and activities are suggestions.  Please feel free to do and respond to those that work for you at this time.

Self-Help   

3.   Sharing your story in ASCA meetings can work to expose myths about child abuse and can bring you much-needed validation for eventually seeing things the way they really were.  ASCA meetings are particularly effective in challenging these myths because most of the participants share the oppression born of this misplaced sense of responsibility.

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Kizzie

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The biggest myth I've battled is that I am responsible for my NDPM's happiness (or conversely her unhappiness). The need to please her and the guilt when I cross her is so entrenched I have had to take an archaeological dig approach to excavating it - slowly unearthing the bones of the creature, brushing the dirt away and examining each piece in detail. And lo and behold it's shaping up like a big old predatory T-Rex. Surprise? Not.   

I realize in unearthing these bones just how much of my life's energy has been spent keeping NDPM happy so she would not get angry and reject or damn me, that I lost track of who I am along the way. It is only in the last two years that I am beginning to find those parts or perhaps let them rise to the surface would be a better way of describing it.

In any event, as I uncover the bones I do not put them together, instead they go in a box so the skeleton does not loom over me like it has throughout my life. Some day I will burn the box and be done with guilt and the oppression, manipulation and control it allowed my NPDM to have over me. 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2015, 04:22:43 PM by Kizzie »

I'm not sure what's meant by "myths about child abuse". So I'm not sure if this counts, but - one thing I've struggled with is this set of ideas:

>>Focussing on my recovery is selfish. Only physical injuries are real. "Psychological stuff" is negligible, and it's easily fixed: you ignore it and focus on your work, on living a normal life, and then you're fine. Ruminating on your problems is what creates them in the first place. It's egocentric and impractical and self-indulgent. It's like an eccentric, dysfunctional hobby. Because we're fine. Our life was tough, but we're tough too. It's toughened us up. It's made us stronger. When faced with real problems, we pull through. Rah rah rah.<<

...so I don't know if you can tell, but my family strongly believes that denial fixes everything. Does that count as a myth about child abuse? Probably the part where everyone pretends that there's no problem other than the problem you created by claiming that there's a problem.

And it also touches on that other myth, "children are so resilient, children are so tough, you can throw anything at children and the really strong ones will adapt". And if you don't adapt, you end up feeling weak, like you've failed.

Man, I can't believe how long it took me to see through that b*llshit.

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VeryFoggy

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The myth was that my behavior was the cause of the torture, and that if I had been a better behaved child then they would not have had to act like that. 

The myth was that I drove them to it. That I forced them to beat me, mock me, and to treat me with contempt.

The myth was that my 5 year old body would drive grown men wild with lust and that I was to be ashamed of my body, and to cover it at all times, and to be very afraid of men.

The myth was that I belonged to him and that I was his possession to be treated in any way he pleased. 

The myth was that this was called “loving me.”

The truth is that my father is a Malignant Narcissist who was insanely jealous of the love his parents gave me that he had never
received, and that I became his target, the easy target for his insane jealousy and rage. 

The truth is the more uniqueness, independence and individuality I showed, the more he tried to control me and force me and break me to become simply an extension of himself. 

The truth is he had a map in his head, that no one else could read or decipher of who and what I was supposed be and become. And when his plans went awry his anger and rage knew no bounds.

The truth is I never belonged to him, I was simply on loan from God, a gift that was given to him to love, and to care for that he chose to squander and try to destroy.

The truth is you reap what you sow and he is now reaping what he sowed. All four of his children want nothing to do with him.

The truth is he did almost destroy me.  But not quite. In fact not only did I survive, I was also extremely successful in my career, raised two beautiful children who adore me, have 5 grandchildren who love me, own my own beautiful home, and am comfortably retired with everything material my heart could desire. And I did it, all by myself.

And the truth is that even though I recently found out he gave me the gift of CPTSD, I know that I will overcome and triumph, if for no other reason than so he can hear through the grapevine, just how happy I am, and how healthy, and how much love I have in my life.

And the truth is despite his best efforts to break me into pieces, he did not succeed. That despite his best efforts he failed, and I AM going to be happy, and I am already deeply loved. And that is called loving.

The truth is I love myself.

The truth is that I am capable of loving and I learned how to sow, and I am reaping my rewards, my richly deserved rewards.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2015, 03:45:36 AM by VeryFoggy »

That was beautiful, VeryFoggy.  :applause:   :hug:

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Annegirl

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Wow SC and Very Foggy so deep. So much truth in you finding the myths. So much freedom when you find the truths.
 :hug:  :hug:
I am trying to see the myths, I remember my mother saying i drove her to beating me.
That I was so strong she had to beat it out of me.
she beat me down so much that where my personality was one of courage and out going, lover of people. I became someone who didn't speak for years, didn't even open my mouth so that people would ask her about me, does she talk at home? (my mother would answer oh she has a very big mouth on her at home) friends would ask my siblings why doesn't she talk. And oh how i wanted to talk I tried but no sound would come out and my mind would always be blank mostly when i wasn't at home but also at home it was just a muddle. I thought everyone would think i was an idiot because thats what my family led me to believe.
so truth is I do have things to say that benefit people, and Im learning that with my new family, my dear children and friends
« Last Edit: April 08, 2015, 08:28:37 AM by Annegirl »

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C.

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Response to what’s been discussed so far:

I’m learning so much reading through everything here. 

Cat, I hope it’s ok I say this but I was so HAPPY to see you MAD.  I haven’t seen that from you before.  Maybe you have expressed your anger and I just missed it.  I don’t know.  But it felt good to see your anger…You have every reason to be mad. 

I think that touched a chord for me b/c I struggle w/anger.  It’s hard for me to find.  I also think I will need to pass through that valley of mad on my journey to healing.  My anger was repressed so it came out at myself, my teachers, politics, my ex, my kids, etc.  In reality it should have been directed towards you for ignoring my emotional needs.  As an adult someone who lacks empathy causes most people to bristle with irritation.  But you (parents) deprived me of my alarm system.  The ability to notice when people are emotionally dangerous in order to protect myself.  Not only did you not protect me, you robbed me of that human right to recognize danger.  So again, Cat, and everyone else, we have a right to be mad. 

VF - I love what you say about being a gift from God.  Powerful.

Kizzie - What a terrific metaphor.  Dinosaur bones to be unearthed and put away.  I'm even thinking about taking apart that "monster" piece by piece...

Anne girl - I am so happy to hear that you're discovering those true aspects of yourself, courage, outgoing and lover of people.  What wonderful qualities.  How cruel to silence you.  Have you "talked" to that little girl and let her know she has every right to use her voice?...she has important things to say and you're listening to her now...it's never too late right?...
   
Myths:

If you really love someone it’s close to hate too, so you’ll feel very mad and be very mean to each other sometimes.  That’s the flip side of love.  That’s life.  It’s ok because half of the time you’ll be kind and feeling loving with each other.  So it makes up for the bad times.

Love is enough.

Mad is bad.

If you love someone you will listen to them FOREVER and no matter what they have to say.

Being the same is good and important.  Friends and family must have the same values, ideals and interests in order to get along.

There is right and there is wrong.  You must always be right in order to be ok.  We determine what is right, so listen and do it.  It’s your choice but you’ll only find love and happiness if you do/are what we know is right.

You must prove everything you think, say or feel to be right.

Learn quickly when you must not discuss a topic and obey.   Alcohol, suicide, mental illness, drugs, addiction, and abuse are all taboo topics.  They do not happen in our family.  They are BAD.  If you bring them up you will make other people feel uncomfortable.

Never make anyone feel uncomfortable.  If you do, it’s your fault.  Don’t do it again.

You make me feel upset (my mom)

You make me mad (dad)

My parent's unpleasant emotions (mad, sad), when related to me, were my "fault."  They'd be all p.c., using psychology in that twisted way people can do "I feel so upset because you ______."  And it's ok for me to tell you this and you need to change because I read it in a book...

Thanks, C.  :hug:  I wasn't ever angry in my teens. In my early twenties, I was finally for the first time angry after someone had annoyed me. It felt incredibly freeing. It was just healthy, easily controlled anger, and I didn't even express it, but simply just feeling the emotion was blissfully empowering.

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There is right and there is wrong.  You must always be right in order to be ok.  We determine what is right, so listen and do it.  It’s your choice but you’ll only find love and happiness if you do/are what we know is right.

You must prove everything you think, say or feel to be right.

Oh my words, I know that mindset. Good grief, yes. It's like living in a dictatorship - you have to be ready at all times to defend your own actions and to prove that "yes, comrade, I uphold the values of our glorious leadership!". That might be why I love Russian jokes so much - so many are about subverting that kind of mind-control. But isn't it weird? - to look at one's family and to look at what one knows about cults and dictatorships... then to look back at one's family... and back to the cults... and back to one's family...

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C.

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Wow, I'd never thought about the Russian cultural reality too...my parents are a combination of old-school born-again Christian "raised" (hence the judgement, right/wrong, black/white thinking), now atheist, and extremely "liberal" politically...a touch of Communism w/an environmental perspective that values animals/nature over humans (the other extreme)...so a "liberal"/Communist dictatorship fits perfectly! :yes:

Anger is a still a bit strange for me.  I need to recognize it when it's "small" and respond.  I think in the past I ignored until I exploded...or was simply in a constant state of resentment (w/my NPD ex).  I remember feeling so mad at my father and mother as a teen and young adult but it was over things like cleaning house, religion, or politics, or ????  In my family being politically conservative and/or religious was "rebellion."  Honestly, I don't remember why I was mad.  I just remember being mad and having the raised voice/anger/unkind words simply reflected back to me like a mirror from my dad and my mom at different times.

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bee

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Myths from my mother.
My mother said that a rebelling teen is proof of bad parenting. It shows that the child does not have enough fear of their parents. She said her children not rebelling proves that she was a good parent. Really she said this to me! The more unbelievable thing is that I was so in denial at the time that I agreed with her.
She said I don't beat you, you have nothing to complain about.
She constantly complained about how society blames everything on the mother, and how misplaced that blame was.
She also warned me to never trust a T, as they will put lies into my head.(yeah she's thorough and thinks ahead)

I got the message from tv that child abuse is an angry man hitting a child, or a stepmom hitting a child. Not a mother ranting at her own child.

Another myth, people who go to church are not child abusers.

Bleah

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Annegirl

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Re: Activity 3, Self help: Sharing the myths & recognizing the oppression.
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2015, 08:24:51 PM »
Wow Bee,
your mother was so "thorough" I so get the part of you agreeing with her but seeing how brainwashed you were later. Control is what messes kids up. Do e try to control other friends, acquaintances? Which countries are the ones most messed up? the ones with the most controlling governments rules etc.

And totally right about the church thing. I haven't been there for years now couldn't stand thhe control and manipulation and physical abuse i saw all in the name of raising your child to fear God and obey parents. G-d is love, unconditional love and until we start showing our spouses and children unconditional love we are not raising our children right.
One of my daughters was actually slapped in children's church for reaching out for a cookie too soon. I don't go to church anymore.

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C.

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Re: Activity 3, Self help: Sharing the myths & recognizing the oppression.
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2015, 09:59:49 PM »
I really like what was said here about misplaced blame on the mother.  As a female and mother that has been one of my barriers.  I, like most people now, believe in equality so focusing on mom still sometimes feels like just one more misogynistic action.  I don't believe this more than I do believe it, if that makes sense.  But the idea creeps up for me at times...

And I don't believe in that angry, mean "God" either.    However one worships, prays, communes or chooses not to do so the G-d I know is exactly what you describe...only positive and good, acceptance and support. 

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Kizzie

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Re: Activity 3, Self help: Sharing the myths & recognizing the oppression.
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2015, 08:36:25 PM »
I just realized reading this thread how much I focus on my NPDM and don't talk much about my alcoholic F.  Hmmmm, might be an idea to give this some more thought as to why this might be the case. Of the two, she was the one I was most afraid of.

I am really triggered by anyone who preaches. You can tell I am the daughter of an NPDM and B who typically suck all the air out of the room lol. While  religion is not high on my list, I do find (surprisingly) that I am becoming a bit more on the spiritual side these days. And this I think is related to being more mindful and noticing the world and people around me more.  When I think back is when I see how very dissociated I have been for so much of my life and how cut off I was from my life and my self.


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C.

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Re: Activity 3, Self help: Sharing the myths & recognizing the oppression.
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2015, 10:08:23 PM »
Interesting point Kizzie.  I am going to follow this topics extension of the topic b/c it feels like we're touching on some important solution-based ideas around these myths and the oppression.  I know that my spiritual path has been greatly impacted by my recent experience.  I now see NPD and PD traits in those in my Faith community too where I did not before see it.  So I've had to create huge boundaries w/people w/whom I used to think I needed to associate.  Honestly, I've categorized them in to the NPD/ignore reality.  They only exist for me a few minutes per year when I'm in their presence.  I initiate no conversations.  I am not unkind, it's just a zero energy thing.  And I have found and am able to seek out healthier individuals within my Faith group.  And part of my belief system is that the world is incredibly "sick" right now, we all need healing.  NOT like an end of the world kind of thing.  More of a compassionate understanding that many of us have suffered, as has been evidenced in so so many ways not limited to the huge numbers of people who've joined OOTS in such a short time or those on the OOTF forum, again staggering numbers really.  And that belief includes an optimism that the human heart also has great capacity, to heal itself and to learn to heal others.  I've found that on this forum and let me say, it is not easy to find.  Perhaps that is the bounty you've mentioned Kizzie about the increased capacity for empathy and support of those w/C-PTSD for others.  It's like Mary mentioned too, that in a bizarre way our "illness" can help to heal ourselves and to heal others in a world epidemic... so on some level I too have gratitude for the experience and the person that it has made me become...

Also, I think "spiritual" abuse is one of the most heinous acts...it robs one of the peace that can come from exploring that path b/c someone imposed a barrier of shame/guilt/anger, then connect it with, in my belief, NOT-god (cause that one doesn't exist except in human minds)...and so many people need to disassociate to survive which I think like you mention also pulls us farther away from that inner-love, higher "being" love...whatever anyone chooses to call it...the "G-d" I know and understand has immense amounts of compassion for those who've been abused in that way...