This post was written together with Marie Williams whose remarks are in italics. Marie blogs at Come Fly with Me, https://mariewilliams53.wordpress.com.
Sometimes it can seem that the world is against us. Wherever we turn, doors are shut to us. We can never catch a break; are never cut any slack; keep running into walls. We cannot find any support.
Sound familiar? Rejection rules the lives of abuse victims…or does it?
Certainly, rejection played a major role in our childhood. Let’s, however, turn that experience on its ear. Let’s instead ask ourselves the unthinkable, whether abuse victims are trained to seek out rejection.
Cruelty v. Kindness
“A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself” (Prov. 11: 17).
Treated cruelly in the past, abuse victims may tolerate cruelty from others, presuming it to be the norm or believing we deserve no better.
That is what we have experienced for much of our lives. In childhood, we don’t know any different. We cannot reason objectively because we do not have the mindset and the maturity to differentiate between good behaviour and bad behaviour from an abuser. We willingly accept the crumbs we are given because for us that is better than nothing at all.
But an older person may, also, settle for abusive behaviour. Once your will is broken, you lose your sense of self. Instead, you are continually looking for validation from your abuser. Abuse and rejection can be mistaken for approval by someone whose view has become skewed.
Victims long for kindness, but may mistake it for weakness.
Though searching for love and approval, abuse victims don’t really know what those look like. Being treated badly is what they have been conditioned to expect. Kindness to them is something they are not worthy of. Having for their formative years experienced abuse, that is what “feels right” to them.
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…” (Eccl. 3: 1).
We miss the deadline for school applications; fail to supply the required documentation for scholarships. And are rejected.
We hand class papers in late, losing points despite having agonized over content. We take make-up exams, having missed the scheduled test date; and drop out, rather than risk receiving less than an outstanding grade .
We ask favors from acquaintances and strangers; recommendations from people we barely know. And are ignored or rebuffed.
We show up late for our driver’s test, then are upset at the DMV policy not to reschedule for another 30 days. Yet, we choose not to pursue litigation to enforce our rights, when legal representation is available and cost free .
I was the other way. Too eager to please. Too early for everything, and panicked if a few minutes late or even on time!
Chaotic Home Life
“Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind…” (Prov. 11: 29).
Often, these issues can stem from a chaotic home life. As children, we had far greater concerns than the due date of a paper. Perhaps a parent was chronically intoxicated, an “uncle” a little too interested in our development. Perhaps there was no food in the house, and another beating just a few hours away. Continue reading