I find my tone and attitude as I think and write about this whinny and bitter sounding. Wow, is that revealing!  It is not how I want to be, it isn’t healthy. I am ready to move beyond grief and powerlessness and actively create my future.

It has not always been this way. I have struggled to articulate my burden but not been able to do it well. Either it comes out in a great big blast that offends even the greatest of saints in its ferocity or I am struck dumb, unable to put even a few words together.

Here is a journal entry I wrote a year ago:

I was fuming mad during a recent sermon because the pastor dedicated a third of the message to rail against the “victim mentality”. I was angry because I believe that such an emphasis contributes to a culture of silence about abuse, which in my mind is a way bigger problem than the “victim mentality”.
I believe that what he characterizes as a “victim mentality” is in fact a natural stage of the healing process. I also believe that people want others to be instantly, or nearly so, healed and are unaware of the process of healing and that it takes YEARS.  Not only was I angry because of that but I felt that he was characterizing people in a derogatory way. The real crux is that I felt judged and demeaned myself as I am in this very exact stage.
Afterwards, I started to vent to my husband about why I think “complainers” bother this pastor and he visibly started ignoring me. I said “Hey, you’re are ignoring me too!”
So the subject came up again last night because one of my friends favorite topics is entitlement, which she uses in a derogatory and judgmental way.  The topic also drives me nutso, it stirs up all kinds of emotions I don’t fully understand. So I was trying to sort out my big feelings about it and my husband seemed willing to listen (and I really needed to talk) so I started explaining where I thought these deep feelings and responses were coming from.
As I was wrapping up what had devolved to a rant I realized that he had begun reading and what I thought was him participating were just the automatic nods of one who may or may not be listening. When I finished my rant he just kept reading, no response. AARRRGGGG!!!!  I am explaining from the depths of my soul that I need to be heard and my experience validated and he is not listening! #$%^%^!!!!!

Why is it pathological blaming to point out errors that contribute to abusers continuing to abuse? Why is my response to it taken so painfully personally? I really do want to learn to communicate without being so misunderstood and causing so much pain.  It is clearly not the place to vent, but where can I?

Am I reacting because I am guilty of being stuck in a victim mentality? Or is identifying abuse and being angry an important phase of healing that others have little patience for? Or is the victim mentality one of the common pitfalls that people slip into and out of as they learn to navigate a new world?

I feel I am moving beyond the pain and the volatile stages of grief and am ready to share. I am not afraid of being called bitter nor of telling the truth. I am not “choosing”  the band-aid of premature forgiveness. I am ready to move on. Time and process are healing me.


About soffiasoul

Woman, wife, mother of daughters, expat, former fundamentalist, reader and bunny-trailer par excellence. I dream of taking women's studies and becoming a women's health nurse, among other things :-)
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2 Responses to Bitter

  1. Mel says:

    Wandered here from your comment on TG’s Ezzo posts…

    Makes me cringe to hear it said now, but I used to have a teacher in grad school (a Fundy one) that maintained “identifying oneself as a survivor was just as bad as identifying oneself as a victim”–in a “nouthetic” counselling class of course! His principle argument was because both terms leave the counselee focused on the incident that victimized them rather than “moving on with their lives.” *sigh*

    One thing that’s been driven home to me lately is just how long the healing process can take… especially if the victim is told to “move on” or “just forgive & forget” or “drop it before you become BITTER”… etc., etc. (Gotta love the bitter card, right?) *rolls eyes* Hurrying the healing process is like tearing off a scab–premature actions that leave the scars open for more infection. We “get” that from a medical standpoint, why not from an emotional/spiritual one??

    OK, enough babbling from a stranger. 🙂 Don’t know where you are in your journey now but if you’re on FaceBook, there’s a group you might be interested in. It’s called IBF Cult Survivors. It can be highly emotionally charged, but it’s a “safe” place for those needing to heal, even if they just need to lurk for a while. It’s open to the public…

  2. soffiasoul says:

    Thanks for the babble and the empathy 🙂 It is nice to know that there are people who understand. I’ve been on the Gothard/ATI facebook group in the past. Sharing is so helpful to process of healing. Letting the abuse be true in my mind took conscious effort and hearing other peoples stories really helped me crack through the denial.

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