"Abuse doesn't feel like abuse" [TW]

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Alter-eg0

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"Abuse doesn't feel like abuse" [TW]
« on: January 27, 2021, 03:32:36 PM »
A while ago, I was watching an Oprah episode about sexual abuse, and she said something that really klicked for me.

I've been sexually abused by my next door neighbour multiple times as a child. Yet, i've never really felt that this "traumatized" me, not in the way that people seem to think it should anyway.
Others always expected me be sensitive about the subject, have trouble with intimacy, have nightmares or whatever, the works. But I don't.
And that always made me feel weird, gross, etc. Because what will people think, if I don't react that heavily to something that is obviously awful? Will they think that I wanted it, liked it, that I'm just as bad, that I asked for it,  i'm gross, whatever.

And then I heard Oprah say something along the lines of: "Abuse doesn't always feel like abuse. That's why it's abuse."
She also explained in an interview that I found online:
"I have said for years that if the abuser is any good, you won't know it's happened,"  "If the abuser is any good, he or she is going to make you feel like you're part of it."

Of course, for some people and in some situations, it's really obvious and terrifying. The thing is that many people think, that's always how it goes.

For me personally, it was really validating to hear that i'm not the only one who experienced it this way. I've always had a pretty mellow perception of it. Wrong place, wrong time, young bloke who did something stupid, it wasn't right but it's in the past and I don't really dwell on it or think about it. It doesn't seem to influence my daily life (not in an obvious way at least, not in the percieved as conventional "crying in a fetal position" kind of way).

Same goes for the emotional abuse by my narc father. I didn't even realize that it was abuse, until I was 33. All that time, I thought that I must be crazy. And I didn't feel much, although in retrospect I was just numb.

Anyone else recognise this?

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rainydiary

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Re: "Abuse doesn't feel like abuse" [TW]
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2021, 12:06:11 AM »
Alter-eg0 - I appreciate you sharing this as it resonates with me too.  I didnít recognize the multiple forms of abuse and neglect as such until my mid 30s.  I too find the ideas shared by Oprah helpful.  Abuse was built into the fabric of my life and it primed me for being abused in adult relationships for a bit too.  I always knew something was off but I didnít have the vocabulary to understand and describe my experience. 

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CactusFlower

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Re: "Abuse doesn't feel like abuse" [TW]
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2021, 05:00:31 PM »
This resonates with me too. I felt like "Oh, other people have experienced so much worse, I'm fine". Or that I was blowing things out of proportion that were "normal". It's kind of liberating as well as depressing (if that makes sense) to realize that no, I was abused and I can say it now. I didn't know Oprah said those things, but wow do they really make sense.
Sage