“Well, you can knock me down,
Step in my face,
Slander my name
All over the place.
Do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh,
Honey, lay off of my shoes
Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes…”
– Elvis Presley, Blue Suede Shoes
Discouragement from those significant in our lives often accompanies abuse. Sadly, we may adopt the negative opinion others have of us based on their own shortcomings.
But bad advice is simply misdirection – not an infallible predictor of our future. The important thing is that it not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- The author of a beloved 19th Century girls’ novel worked as a maid, seamstress, companion, and teacher. Thankfully, Louisa May Alcott found her true calling, and left us the classic Little Women.
Taught to Fear
- Lucille Ball said that all acting school taught her was to be frightened. Ball, of course, became one of the most popular comediennes in America, starring in such sitcoms as I Love Lucy. She was nominated for thirteen Emmy Awards, winning four (along with a Lifetime Achievement Award).
Abuse victims are taught to fear. Change is viewed as negative, and the new as dangerous.
This attitude passed on to us – if we remain bound by it – makes progress impossible, and success unattainable. Genuine opportunities are missed, since their negative consequences always appear to outweigh any benefit.
Meanwhile, real risk is not accurately assessed. Danger is not perceived, so we rush headlong into its arms – sometimes in the very effort to escape our past . When harm follows (frequently in the form of further abuse), we question our judgment and become ever more fearful.
Trained not to trust our abilities, we cannot conceive of overcoming the obstacles in our path. Yet, it must be added, a remarkable number of us do overcome them. Ironically, our pain is sometimes the impetus for change.
Without guidance, support, or even much confidence, we ignore the odds against us, and persevere regardless. Continue reading