Abuse Small Word – Big Reaction
By Bernadette A Moyer
What an insult to those that have been abused when false accusations about abuse are made. It is a very small word that carries with it a very big reaction. It seems like every young person that gets into trouble was “abused” or so it is stated by their defense attorneys as a way to defend them.
“The word “abusive” is issued so lightly these days, yet it has the effect of completely tarring and feathering the accused as completely at fault. There’s not much to think about if you are talking about an abuser. All of society will support and encourage you to turn your back.” “J”
For more than a decade I have been involved in several support groups for parents that have become estranged from their adult children. One of the single most declared reasons by the adult child is that they were “abused” by their parents. Yet when you listen to the thousands and thousands of parents who have been accused of “abuse” it just doesn’t seem to ring true. Why? Because these same parents are so grief stricken and are seeking answers and counseling and are so hurt and so humiliated and want nothing more than to make peace with the very same offspring that have used that declaration.
What I’ve learned is that one word; “abuse” will stop a parent in their tracks and send them into a complete tailspin on what to do if anything at all. Some kids have used the courts to issue orders against the parents for their perceived actions of “stalking” when parents try to visit or send gifts and cards. So what do the parents do? Most often they give up as they grieve because that is all that they have left to do. Many more are finding one another and supporting one another through various support groups.
Yes! There are kids that have been abused by their parents, and yes, there are kids that have lied about being abused by their parents. These matters need to be handled very carefully as to support a child who is abused but equally as important not “tar and feather” a parents who has been falsely accused.
There are two stories that were communicated to me by the child who grew up and later regretted their actions of false abuse allegations. One successfully integrated back into the family and the other was not as lucky.
Here there are;
When Jane (not her real name) was visiting with a family member she called “911” to report that her parents were “abusing her” the call was traced and Jane was identified. The parents were investigated and deemed “unfounded” allegations. It turned out that Jane was angry with mom and dad and this was her way of getting back at them. Jane came to her senses and was truly sorry and her parents never held it against her. Jane now in her 30’s has a very happy adult relationship with both parents.
When Sue (not her real name) had the car privileges taken away from her at age 17 because of her poor grades in high school, she retaliated by slamming herself up against the car and then called “911” when the police arrived she showed them her red marks on her body. Sue told the police her father did that to her and dad was immediately arrested. He never had any record or other issues with the law. Sue eventually told the truth and dad was released, however he was unable to forgive Sue and no longer wanted her living in the family home. She came of age living with extended family. Their relationship never fully recovered.
Seldom do victims that have been abused speak out so freely, often because they are shame-filled. The ones who so easily and readily throw the words “abuse” and “abused” around, probably should be looked at more closely as to what truly is their motivation.
As a young wife and mother myself, I used to subscribe to the theory that “kids never lie” I have since learned that kids, just like adults, can and do lie and most often it is about manipulation. One of my greatest regrets in dealing with children is that when I was confronted with a child who claimed to be “abused” I not only instantly believed them but I also gave them a big reaction and I coveted them. From that day forward I tried to shield them from any other harm in any way that I could. Decades later I can clearly see where my “big reaction” helped to create someone who learned how to achieve “big reactions” all the rest of their life and learned how easily they could manipulate others into doing for them, protecting them and fighting for them. They now have a very long documented history of how they have been “victimized” and “abused.” They also have a documented list of people that have fought for them all of their adult life.
Think about how we treat someone, anyone who declares that they have been “abused” we immediately want to protect them and fight for them. There are many kids and adults who are smart enough to learn how to use this to their advantage.
As a young married woman I sought out counseling just after I was first married. My first husband had epilepsy and I needed help learning how to deal with it. The first group meeting I attended they said “you are only a victim if you choose to be.” This has stuck with me for decades now. The thought was that yes, you could truly be “victimized” but if you decide to stay there in “victimization” it is by your own choice …
People that survive and thrive after hurtful life experiences inspire me. People that dwell on their hurts and losses and choose not to move past it and learn from them, well, over time they become really unattractive. Part of growing up and part of maturing is accepting that life is not perfect, people are not perfect and to learn to take what you get and to make the most of it.
Some people are truly abused and victimized and some people wear “abuse” as a crutch so people will feel sorry for them do for them and so they can go about life with their own self- proclaimed narrative. Whereas there are other victims that are not as easy to identify because they don’t hold themselves out as “victims” but rather as “survivors.”
True story (Donna not her real name) and I were friends for about a decade before I learned that she was a rape survivor. We took trips together and we wrote together and although she was old enough to be my mother, we were friends and colleagues. There was never anything about her attitude or anything about her demeanor that said “abuse” victim. It amazed me that she had such a healthy attitude and no visible signs of being a victim.
The beauty of life is that even the most challenging, difficult, unattractive and yes “abusive” experiences can be turned around for the greater good, for the lessons to be learned and to cherish the human spirit that says, I am so much better than any one life experience and I have the ability and the capacity to move above it and beyond it.
Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble