Sanctuary for the Abused
Monday, May 16, 2011
Why Abuse Survivors Attract The Wrong Sort of People
An abuse survivor e-mailed me saying how she seemed to attract men who want to exploit her. On the other hand, good people seem to run from her. Tragically, this is the common experience of abuse survivors. I have always puzzled as to why this is. She sent me a couple of photos of herself. Then something clicked. I was a little gentler, but here is the essence of my e-mail to her:
Your photos, though nice, give the impression that you are sad, shy, lacking in confidence and aching for love. An evil man might look at those photos and think to himself, "Her need for love and for a boost in self-esteem seem so overwhelming that if I let her think that I could meet these needs, she would be so scared of losing me that she would find it hard to resist the urge to do anything I want. If I initially treat her tenderly and kindly and flatter her, I'll have a good chance of turning her into virtually my slave. I could then treat her however I wish."Regardless of how resistant to sexual pressure she really is, a person with low self-esteem and who craves love gives the impression that she is vulnerable to seduction.
If, on the other hand, a man saw you as happy, confident and relatively content, he'd assume you are quite choosy as to who you relate to and how far you would go. He'd assume you have none of the desperation that pressures some women to compromise their morals to get the love they crave.
Not only could this be a factor in men with evil intent being attracted to you, it could cause good men (or good women) to feel tempted to try to get their way with you. Because they are honorable, they might run for fear that if they stayed close to you they might yield to that temptation.
Upon finding such a person, immoral men feel emboldened to test their suspicion that they have found someone they could seduce.
To resist sexual advances, a woman craving love and lacking in self- esteem needs far superior self-control to that of other women, if she perceives that she must yield to those advances in order to receive the love she desperately needs.
Furthermore, an abuse survivor is strongly tempted to accept the lie that because she has been mistreated before, she has little purity left to protect. This lie is yet another burden weighing down abuse survivors.
Moreover, in addition to these strong pressures, she will find resisting an evil man much harder than other women find it because she has a history of having done everything possible to resist and she was still overpowered. Her past tragedies cause her to lose hope that she could ever successfully prevent a man from exploiting her. She feels sure that any attempt to resist would be a futile waste of effort.
Sexual & Emotional predators know this, so they are on the look out for abuse survivors. A tragically large number of abuse survivors have mistakenly thought that perhaps they have low morals or are evil or that God is against them, since that they seem to attract sexual predators. This is most certainly not so. The thought is so obviously incorrect that, theoretically, there should be no need to deny it.
Sadly, it needs to be spelt out because predators are skilled at cruelly manipulating tender consciences, causing their victims to have a mistaken view of themselves. The truth is that abuse survivors tend to attract repeat offenses simply because they are hurting; and sexual predators, like beasts of prey, think the wounded might be an easier target.
If sexual predators imagine they have a chance with you, it means nothing. Simply by refusing their advances, you can prove them wrong.
Knowing why the wrong sort of people might try to exploit you can be a relief. The is nothing wrong with you other than the simple fact that you are hurting. I am sure what you really want to know, however, is how to prevent this attention. It's easy to say that self-esteem, confidence and feeling loved is the answer, but the difficulty is knowing how to grow in these things.
Sunday, May 08, 2011
The Day I Became a "Mom"
By Linda Jones
The day I became a mom was not the day my daughter was born, but seven years later. Up until that day, I had been too busy trying to survive my abusive marriage. I had spent all my energy trying to run a "perfect" home that would pass inspection each evening, and I didn't see that my baby girl had become a toddler. I'd tried endlessly to please someone who could never be pleased and suddenly realized that the years had slipped by and could never be recaptured.
Oh, I had done the normal "motherly" things, like making sure my daughter got to ballet and tap and gym lessons. I went to all of her recitals and school concerts, parent-teacher conferences and open houses – alone. I ran interference during my husband's rages when something was spilled at the dinner table, telling her, "It will be okay, Honey. Daddy's not really mad at you." I did all I could to protect her from hearing the awful shouting and accusations after he returned from a night of drinking. Finally I did the best thing I could do for my daughter and myself: I removed us from the home that wasn't really a home at all.
That day I became a mom was the day my daughter and I were sitting in our new home having a calm, quiet dinner just as I had always wanted for her. We were talking about what she had done in school and suddenly her little hand knocked over the full glass of chocolate milk by her plate. As I watched the white tablecloth and freshly painted white wall become dark brown, I looked at her small face. It was filled with fear, knowing what the outcome of the event would have meant only a week before in her father's presence. When I saw that look on her face and looked at the chocolate milk running down the wall, I simply started laughing. I am sure she thought I was crazy, but then she must have realized that I was thinking, "It's a good thing your father isn't here!"
She started laughing with me, and we laughed until we cried. They were tears of joy and peace and were the first of many tears that we cried together. That was the day we knew that we were going to be okay.
Whenever either of us spills something, even now, seventeen years later, she says, "Remember the day I spilled the chocolate milk? I knew that day that you had done the right thing for us, and I will never forget it."
That was the day I really became a mom. I discovered that being a mom isn't only going to ballet, and tap and gym recitals, and attending every school concert and open house. It isn't keeping a spotless house and preparing perfect meals. It certainly isn't pretending things are normal when they are not. For me, being a mom started when I could laugh over spilled milk.