DISSOCIATION FROM YOUR ABUSE
A man uses a Bible to beat up another man. The beaten man says, “At what point can I call this abusive?”
We’re talking about being abused but not realizing it.
I’ve spoken with women who describe a situation and then ask, “Was I raped?” I try not to look at them with dismay because yes absolutely they were raped. Sometimes by their own husbands!
The same with spiritual abuse: sometimes we don’t realize we’re being abused.
Why? It happened to me, so I came up with a theory I hope will help you.
We call it dissociation.
What are we dissociated from when we are being abused and don’t realize it?
- The situation? The abuse could happen in what we think is or what claims to be a safe space. Like being attacked by a shark in a bathtub, it just doesn’t sink in that this is happening to us here right now.
- The person? The abuser claims to be good and others agree. We trust them because we’re told we should and because we’ve chosen to. It never occurs to us that this person would ever hurt us.
- Ourselves? We’ve been raised with no or weak boundaries. We’ve been violated so often and for so long that this feels normal and deserved. We don’t trust our guts that this doesn’t feel good and should not be happening to us.
When women share with me their stories of what was to me obviously rape and when people share their stories of what was to me obviously spiritual abuse, I always ask, “What did your guts tell you?”
When they respond, “I was numb!” or “Something was off!”, I say “That’s all you need! It was abuse.”
Do you relate?