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Support/revictimisation and historical abuse.

(1 Post)
Offred Tue 14-Jul-15 23:21:48

Something I am reflecting on at the moment is how in my family (and generally in society atm) there seems to be a view that saying how you feel or that you have experienced things is not adequate. That you have to 'prove' it in order to be taken seriously. Also how to cope with that whole thing without feeling re victimised.

I've done a lot of work in the last 7 years on processing my earlier life and experiences. There have been sad things happen to another family member too which I really feel sad about. Just seems it doesn't work both ways (not that my sadness is because I think it will) but it feels like I defend them often when nasty things are said behind their back and have great sympathy and understanding, partly because similar things have happened to me but they are often defensive and angry and feel as though me talking about my experiences is in some way devaluing theirs.

Other family member had an awful time. Was sexually abused at school, physically and emotionally abused at home, is gay and was abused at home and school about that. He has studied dream subjects and has since moved abroad, set up a business which he loves (has ups and downs but he is comfortable) and has had a very happy time since he left the UK. He's also done a huge amount of work on processing trauma and resolving his feelings about it. He talks openly about his experiences.

My parents are homophobic and can be quite nasty about him behind his back, saying things like he is a drama queen and that being abused turned him gay.

I was also abused at home for virtually identical reasons to him and in virtually identical ways (I'm bisexual and they accused me of this regularly, I have never and will never tell them because they are especially disgusted by bisexuality), I was also sexually abused at school though by another pupil not by a teacher, however I was also made homeless in my teens when he was not.

I spent much of my late teens being abused and raped by men and living in a bedsit (in the heroin addiction part of town) with two other people where I paid my rent by having sex with the building manager or living with various abusive boyfriends.

I've been physically and sexually abused, raped 4 times, ended up with two children to my abusive partner (1 from rape), he continued his abuse of me after we split including using legal processes for 3 years (he was supported to do this by my parents) which were eventually deemed to have been vexatious.

I stupidly ended up marrying an emotionally abusive man and had unexpected twins and am now trying hard to get away from that. I do all kinds of valuable voluntary work and am doing a law degree at OU.

I have not shared any of the stuff I have been through with any of my family (they know I have DC obviously and they know I am having difficulty with xh but think I am to blame) mainly because they are not supportive and are actually very judges and controlling, as I have seen with the other family member.

Other family member has obviously lived abroad my whole life and so does not know anything about my childhood/experiences first hand. I do know however that one of the awful things my parents do is say horrible things about me to other people.

Last night we were talking as my dad had emailed him and it got into my relationship with them. I said I felt very ambivalently towards them because of how I felt about my experiences as a child.

He became very disgruntled and spent a while criticising me feeling this way and explaining how he had forgiven his mother and father even though his life experiences had been so much worse. He said I would feel differently when I grew up (I'm 31) and I was responsible for my own life and happiness and could not blame other people if I was unhappy.

I have not spoken to him about the things that I have experienced because I prefer to keep it private from family members. This kind of lecturing is what happens with my mum all the time and I feel like it is designed with her to provoke me into defending myself so that she can involve herself.

I have never asked or expected him to tell me all the details of what happened to him at school or at home so I could approve his feelings about his experiences, I've always just been sympathetic. It felt as though my options were to suck it up and take the lecture or to expose myself and 'prove' my feelings were valid. It makes me feel like utter shit. I don't want to be forced to 'prove' I've had a shit time, it's taken me long enough to accept that what happened was shit and not just what I deserved for being inherently bad (what my parents used to say).

Why do people do this kind of thing? I know that other people having suffered does not mean I didn't, I know that plenty of people have been through much worse than me and that doesn't make my experiences fine. How do I stop taking this stuff so much to heart? Should I? Are there better ways to handle it than just going quiet and feeling punched in the stomach then brooding for days?

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