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Helping Survivors and Victims Heal: Things Not to Say to Someone Recovering

show starting post by AnoraE
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Buckley
How can I help my wife heal from her abusive relationships. She is suffering from the trauma of physical and mental abuse from 3 previous husbands. All alcoholic, drug addicts and rager, just like her father.
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Buckley   in reply to charles05
How can I help my wife heal from her abusive relationships. She is suffering from the trauma of physical and mental abuse from 3 previous husbands. All alcoholic, drug addicts and rager, just like her father.
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Possum76   in reply to colgate
Colgate thanx for that, I wanted to know if I would ever get over it. Bless you
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colgate
I was abuse when young, by a family member.. I have had people say to me, you need to move on and you did not have it that bad, it could of been worse.. Or you need to put it in the past and move on, or they compare you situation with some elses. You never get over being abuse, sexually, phsically and emotionally.
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rusherD   in reply to mothersscapegoat
Your words: "I am a hard-working, college educated, single mom who made the mistake of hoping my own mother would someday love me." Your words nailed me - in the chest - hard. I understand what you were communicating with these words in the context in which you used them. I do not intend to preach and/or correct you, and I write these words for myself as well, because what you wrote hammered me. How is it a mistake to hope the very person who carried you, bore you, and was to be 'mother' to you might one day love you? I believe that is an instinctive 'hope' or need, and I believe it would indicate just how normal you are to want that love. If there is a mistake here, it is that you are left to HOPE for the love that you have always deserved, and I do not believe it is you who made the mistake. I, too, was raised by a mother with a malignant form of narcissism. When you speak of evil, I hear you. I do not doubt there are things in your past that are nothing less than psychological/emotional torture. As far as it "really not being that bad" . . . living at the mercy of someone with a narcissistic character disorder is a brand of hell I cannot find words to describe. When it is a child at the receiving end . . . it is toxic, and not the "icky feeling in your tummy" toxic . . . it is the potent, poisonous toxic. I recently learned this truth about my mother. I know your hell, mscapegoat. It was real. It cannot be minimized.
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Court22   in reply to Desertguy
I was beaten and raped by my own parents and at age 17 I was finally able to leave. I had such a rough time the first few years and it took me along time to let someone touch me without having a panic attack. Still almost 8 years later I still sometimes have trouble falling asleep because of it. When I was 22 I told one of my good friends at the time about it and it was the first time I had told anyone. I still remember the look she gave me when I told her the things my father did to me. She just looked so disgusted and then said "You f***** you own dad!" and processed to joke about me being an incest freak. After that, instead of feeling relieved like some people say they feel when they tell someone, I just felt disgusted with myself and everything I thought I had dealt with re-surfaced. I moved shortly after that. I felt like I was the 17 year old girl who just ran away, I didn't solve anything I just buried it. I was a complete wreck. Shortly after I moved I had a horrible break down when someone bumped into me and I fell. I had a really vivid flashback in the middle of a grocery store isle and that when I realized I needed help because I couldn't do it alone anymore. It took a lot of time and I know I have a long road in front of me but I'm getting better.

This really actually helped me a lot! Thank you.
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charles05
I was in an abusive relationship when I was eighteen years old. After being beaten, raped, and tortured I returned home to escape my abuser. After telling my mom and trying to seek justice years later my mother said "why can't you move on? Obviously you must not be happy with your life now that you have to write about it and talk about it?" I was so mad she said that to me! My mother says she doesn't know anything about that kind of abuse and she now wishes to live away from me because I am not normal.
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ToniLB   in reply to Desertguy
Desertguy, that is very beautiful and really sweet....
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Desertguy
My heart breaks for any person who was abused that hears or believes that no one will ever want you. Met a wonderful lady this year. She is kind, considerate, and so much fun to be with. She was abused by her ex-husband, knocked out and beaten up. She still is being harassed by him in various ways and got very upset. I love her very much and have told her so. I will continue to be here for her, and love her unconditionally and sacrificially. She is such a beautiful person and has touched my heart in many ways. I am a better person for having her in my life and pray to God for her emotional, spiritual, and physical well being.
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oceangirl1118
Thank u so much this helps a lot. I just got out of an abusive relationship not to long ago.
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ToniLB
Thank you so so much for writing this! it means a lot to me as a survivor, and hope you don't mind but I am going to keep a copy for myself...
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beenthere...   in reply to mothersscapegoat
i can undersatnd you exactly..from the outside-nice house, nice clothes and so on. my mother hated me and told me she did every opportunity she could in every way possible. i feel for u and since her death 10 years ago-i am finally relaxing. i did the therapy thing, the confiding thing and did not help me because she was the one that needed help. if u can put some diatnace-half way house, friend something-at least u will be able to rest. blessings
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BobbiA   in reply to macdoodle
A few years ago I was badly re-abused by my parents. And I do mean badly. I have never told anyone about it though, just kept it in even though it is very painful. But recently I told my sister about a few of the things our parents did to me. Her answer was to say, "I didn't do those things to you".
I was stunned. Speechless. Stunned. My sister was also abused by our parents. In an email to me in 7 - 2012 , she mentioned she still had problems in her life because of abuse she endured growing up.

So don't ever tell an abuse survivor, I didn't do that to you. Its actually a hateful thing to say and I'm now wondering about my relationship with my sister.
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coffeebones
For me it's been "why didn't you just leave?" or "why didn't you just tell somebody?" I hate those questions. It's not that simple.
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DianCandles
For me, it's the "Didn't you call the police"/"Did you make an official complaint"/ or anything else that basically says to me that it couldn't be that bad if you didn't complain/these things are my fault for not taking official action. Mostly because the people who make them can never see how hard it is and are using it to hold up their status quo.
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MightyOne
You can survive! I appreciate your choice of words, calling yourself a survivor, that is what you are! Be proud of it, it is not an easy accomplishment but so worth the journey.

After 12 years in a bad relationship, I started my life over. While it was rough for a while, I feel that I have overcome my initial challenges and have once again found happiness. I have been out of the relationship for quite some time and remain single by choice. Not because of fear but because I have found myself and enjoy where I'm at in life, all of things I was once denied are now mine - selfish maybe, but I am worthy of every once.

People who chose to speak negatively about abuse are not well informed, so I believe. If someone speaks negatively and you do not appreciate their words, you should create separation between you and that person. For lack of understanding they can become harmful to your healing process. Instead, be around those who can be comforting when needed or those who want to be a friend and help you celebrate life!

Remember, you alone are important!
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mothersscapegoat   in reply to annie46
See, that's what nobody seems to understand. I literally CAN'T escape her. Not for lack of trying, not because I'm lazy or "like being a victim." She is a vicious, deranged, narcissistic psychopath whose only objective in life is to destroy the object of her obsession...which happens to be me. People cannot conceive of the vile and heinous behavior that dominates her every waking moment. Nobody believes me when I tell them what she has done, is doing, and will do. I would love to find a therapist to help me. There have been 4 so far in my life who have told me to cut ties and run. But when a person (and I use the term only because not many people respond well to demon) is allowed to continue abusing someone, allowed to break the law, allowed to do anything she chooses with no consequences, the victim cannot escape, cannot heal, cannot hope. Therapy has helped in small ways but I have no hope of future therapy. I seriously have nothing and no matter what I try to do, every move I make results in more and bigger problems. I have no money, no job, no insurance of any type, no driver license, no possessions (save for a few baskets of clothes), no family, no resources....and she took all of it from me. No I'm not trying to escape responsibility....I know I made choices in life which put me in a position to allow these things to happen to me. But I did not make those choices with any idea that a mother could or would ever be capable of doing what she does, especially now being a mother myself. And my responsibility for my choices does not negate her culpability for the abuse and criminal behavior that she relentlessly inflicts upon me. I am a hard-working, college educated, single mom who made the mistake of hoping my own mother would someday love me or actually possessed a conscience or ability to empathize. Right now, as you're reading this I can almost guarantee you're thinking things like: "it can't really be that bad," "she couldn't be responsible for you losing everything," "you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it." Well, it is as bad as I'm telling you. You can't understand because you're human. And no human being with a shred of decency within them can conceive of the evil I've endured, or the complete destruction it has caused. But, a good place to begin trying to understand (as I've only recently discovered myself) is to google "narcissistic mother," "narcissistic victim syndrome," "narcissistic rage," "narcissistic abuse." I finally get why/how this has happened to me, but I have yet to figure out how to make it stop, or how to regain any hope of ever salvaging anything of my life.
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annie46   in reply to mothersscapegoat
Sweetie You have got to get your mother away from you so will have a chance to begin to heal and I pray you will be able to find a Good therapist to help you understand she{ mother} made a choice you as a child did not have or even understand your choices BUT it is NOT your fault!!! Now you are grown it is your choice if you continue to let her take all of your and your son,s future away!! She did have power over you once--- now you can choose to not be around her or give any opportunity at all to hurt you or your son. Your own son does not need to see his mother hurt by any one,, You can give your son something you never had a Good Mother I will be praying for you annie46
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mothersscapegoat   in reply to Enraged in Burbank
Omg! Seriously! Yes! How can society not see that?!? "She's still your mom so you should (fill in the blank)...." I have yet to meet an average person who can even conceptualize the idea that my MOTHER is the one who destroyed me and won't stop. The things she has done to me are near impossible for society in general to accept are ever perpetrated by anyone at all, least of all a mother. Then I'm accused of being paranoid and/or mentally ill because of the fear of what might come next.
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mothersscapegoat
I want so badly to print this and give it to every person I have ever met but am fairly certain they won't even care enough to read it. I am not a survivor and don't believe I ever will be. The abuse I have endured throughout my entire life, and the never-ending revictimization have killed me. I am an empty shell of loneliness and bitterness and pain. I have begged and cried and screamed and searched for support. I literally have nobody! This is not my victim's fatalistic perspective....my narcissistic mother has literally taken everything from me or facilitated the compounding of my abuse to the extent that everything I have ever owned, every single family member, and all hope for salvaging anything of my life is gone. And I mean everything. I have $.42 to my name, my 760 credit score that I about killed myself to attain lasted a month before dropping to a 430, I have 16 cans of vegetables, and a few boxes of mac and cheese but no stove, no dishes, no silverware, this phone is my only connection to the world outside of the mold-infested dump my son and I were forced to take refuge in after her false police report and it will be shut off in 3 days. If I thought for a second that anyone would believe me or show the slightest compassion I would spend the next 3 days typing on this tiny keyboard about some of the non-stop abuse I have endured for 33 years...but all I ever hear are the phrases in this article and then some. The worst is: "I don't doubt you believe it happened to you." "Stop always trying to play victim," or "Stop being a victim" are such ridiculous phrases that I just scream, "Don't you think I want to?!? Why do you think I keep begging people to help me make her stop?!?" They tell me to stop being a victim as though that's not exactly what I'm trying to do.
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