Why Survivors of Abuse Shouldn’t Blame Themselves: Part 2


Although I usually call myself an abuse survivor, because I truly have survived a lot, I understand I was also victimized by the abusive people I’ve faced in my life. I know it is not my fault, and I support other abuse survivors when I can, because it isn’t their fault that they’ve faced abuse, either. We can be proactive in learning how to protect ourselves, but we can’t always control everything that happens to us.

A lot of times, people assume that victims of abuse want to stay “stuck in victim consciousness”. While there are some people who truly do have a victim mind-set and don’t move beyond that, most survivors of abuse are multi-faceted just like any other person. We are more than just our trauma. And many abuse survivors are being honest when they talk about how they were abused, and how they really didn’t have control over that.

I see myself as a survivor and as a woman who can give a lot to this world, and I see each day as an opportunity to grow, learn, and evolve. I know other abuse survivors have helped many people by sharing their stories, and making sure they don’t repeat the abusive cycle. That is a choice I make myself; I don’t want to pass on the abuse to the next generation, so I work on healing the trauma of my past.

I know there have been times when I’ve been victimized by abusers in my life, but I also know I am much more than that. I don’t cling to “victim consciousness”; I’m just being honest about what I experienced in my life, and I am being honest about how the abuse was not my fault. And I don’t just do this for me; I do this for other abuse survivors and victims, who are on the path to healing and overcoming the trauma of the past.

Anyway, I hope abuse survivors and victims know they don’t need to blame themselves for the abuse they experienced. Self-blame is something we can learn to leave behind as we heal.

And remember, it is not abusive to tell your story, have anger about the abuse you experienced, or even go no contact with your abuser. It is natural to feel angry or upset when you have been abused, and you don’t deserve any of the harmful things you experienced in life.

Healing is not linear, so sometimes flashbacks or trauma memories may come back even as you heal. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck in “victim consciousness”; that’s just your mind’s natural reaction to enduring a very traumatic event. As you heal, these flashbacks won’t happen as much, and you won’t feel “stuck” in the past.

It is a form of gaslighting to convince victims of abuse that the abuse is somehow all their fault, and that they are in “victim consciousness” just for talking about what actually happened in their lives. I’ve seen this point of view in so many spiritual communities, but I strongly disagree with it, because I’ve seen how harmful it is for survivors of abuse (not just for me, but for many other abuse survivors who deal with victim-blaming statements like these).

I strongly encourage people who are in mystical or New Age spiritual communities to read “New Age Bypassing is Victim-Blaming” on this trauma healing website, Betrayal Trauma Recovery. This kind of bypassing is not okay, and it can severely harm trauma victims. I’m far enough in my healing journey where it doesn’t bother me quite as much anymore, but I still see how devastating it can be, which is why I have written in the past about why it’s harmful.

Fortunately, this website is here to help female abuse survivors (and other abuse survivors as well, from what I know) to heal from this harmful form of gaslighting. Although people may not intend to cause harm by saying, “Don’t be a victim!” or “Don’t stay in victim consciousness”, their statements are very invalidating towards victims of abuse and trauma. And it is certainly not right to blame victims for an abusive event that they couldn’t even control.

When it comes to healing from trauma, of course it’s important to acknowledge that we are able to use our spirituality to rise and rejuvenate ourselves. We are more than our trauma. But we also have to acknowledge that we’re still human. We can’t control every single event that happens in our lives. And we certainly don’t control how abusers treat us. We can sometimes be victimized by things beyond our control.

Most psychologists have already found that we tend to victim-blame because we don’t like to be reminded of our own vulnerability. It’s easier to blame the victim than to face the reality, “Hey, we don’t have control over everything, this kind of abuse could also happen to me.” Unfortunately, victim-blaming is not a very empathetic path to take at all. It’s better to show empathy and understand that it’s not the victim’s fault.

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