Mental health, Parenting, Relationships

Ugly Truth 50: 4 Ways to Forgive an Abusive Parent

“I also believe that parents, if they love you, will hold you up safely, above their swirling waters, and sometimes that means you’ll never know what they endured, and you may treat them unkindly, in a way you otherwise wouldn’t.”
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

Dear Readers,

I wrote about my parents in a previous post titled, Ugly Truth 45: Life Will Break You. In it, I unveil all of the heartfelt hurt and truth we share, and how I learned to move forward. I used to think parenting was simple. As I grew into my motherhood, however, I learned nothing is more complex than parenting and family dynamics. In general, most of us need to feel we’re loved, we’re accepted as we are, and our parents are proud of us to grow into resilient productive beings. We generalize our own sense of self worth as a result of the treatment we’re given. Furthermore, we are asked simultaneously to discover just who we are apart from that.

In my first year of college I learned about “tabula rasa,” better known as the “Blank Slate Theory” brought forth by an English philosopher named John Locke who expanded on an idea suggested by Aristotle in the fourth century B.C.. Essentially, this theory suggests all children are born as white boards and their parents hold the markers. That is, we are shaped by our environment. While the Blank Slate Theory is half true, I take issue with the fact that it fails to take our autonomy into account. Certainly we are all born with predispositions and temperaments, regardless of our environment. Surly we inherit personality traits, our quickness to anger, and shared interests genetically. Therefore, the answer to the Nature versus Nurture debate is yes. With that being said, it stands to reason why some people cope better as adults while others fall into addiction. Likewise, it explains why some believe abuse and suicide are acceptable while others would never behave in such a manner.

As children, we hope to emulate our caregivers. In adolescence, we’re more likely to judge them when faced with the fact that our belief system may be different from theirs. As adults, we seek to understand and are quicker to offer up compassion, primarily when faced with our own independence and the humbling experience of our own parenthood.

How then does that translate when abuse takes place? Is there something to be gained other than mistrust and resentment by hearing them out? What happens when the confrontation fails to yield accountability or even acknowledgement on their part? Apology remains the most promising way to rebuild a damaged relationship, but more often than not that doesn’t happen. While immensely helpful, the truth is we don’t need an apology to heal because sincere forgiveness remains an equally powerful alternative.

Maya Khamala at Goal Cast offers 4 solutions on how to forgive your abusers when they’re not sorry.

1.) Accept and acknowledge all the reason’s you’re angry – Make peace with what happened, how you feel, and their response to your confrontation should you choose to go that route.

2.) Write a letter – Get it down in writing. You may decide to share it or keep it to yourself.

3.) Get Physical – Exercise helps us better manage emotional distress.

4.) Seek Therapy – Every person on planet earth can benefit from some well spun therapy, especially during experiences that bring trauma to the surface. Don’t be afraid to seek extra support.

If you or someone you love is in a dangerous situation, please see below to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, available 24/7.

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

Mental health

Trauma Confession Series: The Letter

“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”
Michael J. FoxDear Readers, In my previous post Trauma Confession Series: Confronting Abuse, we discussed the importance of taking back power and the tough-love approach as an abuse survivor. As promised, I took the time to pen a few words of harsh truth for my perpetrators. I have yet to decide when I will actually send it, and will likely alter it a bit more. I place value in the short and simple, assuming these type of people seldom find the time to read – or genuinely give a shit about what I have to say. So I will not pour my heart into it, for it would only be a gift wasted. Instead, I choose facts. For those of you who have followed along these past few weeks, asked questions, or contacted me as a result of my work – I want to express my most heartfelt gratitude. You’ve offered a warm response to the most honest series I’ve ever written. I remain humbled, aware and empowered by it. The Letter
I want you to know that I am healing from trauma as a direct result of the things you did to me as a child. The next step is confrontation and resolution. So I have decided to tell you, and the world, in words. I want you to know that you hurt me. I want you to know that you objectified a child. I want you to know that I haven’t forgotten. I want you to know it caused a decade of self loathing and poor choices resulting in near death experiences. I want you to know that I know that I am not the only one. I want you to know your behavior is unacceptable, and does not go unnoticed. I want you to know that your selfishness cost me 15 years of therapy, multiple hospital stays, and psychotropic medication. I want you to know your lack of acknowledgment hurts more than the abuse. But also – I want you to know I’ve put the work in, and you can’t hurt me anymore. I want you to know that you should keep your hands to yourself. I want you to know I seek to forgive you, but it hasn’t happened yet. I want you to know I found strength in suffering. I want you to know I found restoration in self love. I want you to know I found solace in self care. I want you to know that I chose to break the cycle with my children. I want you to know that you will suffer isolation as a consequence, and these words as a reminder. For additional reading on confrontation and boundaries when recovering from trauma visit Confronting an Emotional Abuser, Psychology Today Other posts in the Trauma Confession Series in order of appearance: Overcoming Avoidance (my story) Love After Abuse (my relationship) Mourning (my grief) When Trauma Work Wakes Other Sleeping Monsters (my diagnoses) Confronting Abuse (my decision) **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!
Mental health

Trauma Confession Series: Confronting Abuse

One person may really feel that getting justice, coming out, and not hiding is necessary and a part of their healing. Some feel that exposing the perpetrator is helpful, whereas others feel quite the opposite.” Rachel Elliot, Thrive Therapy & Counseling Dear Readers, Welcome back! It appears this Trauma Confession Series is reaching many of you in need. I want you to know that I am eternally grateful to have my hand held in this corridor through the loving words, affirmations, and encouragement of so many of you. Thank you, Readers. As indicated in the above quote, choosing disclosure versus non-disclosure when faced with abuse of any kind is an extremely personal and consequential decision. Many resources encourage you to write a pros and cons list before making a decision since each individual’s suffering is relative to their own set of circumstances and support systems. For me, I believe it is paramount that I not only name my abusers publicly, but that I also inform them of the memories, the cost, and the aftermath of the abuse. Confrontation is not only about awareness, but taking back the power. This is significant because many instances of abuse, especially sexual assault, hinge on this shifting control dynamic. Now that I’ve decided to expose my story, how will I go about it? Why must I go about it? The How There are many ways to confront another human being in their wrongdoing. You may choose to write a letter, engage in a verbal conversation, speak over the phone, or record a video. In my opinion, the method is not as important as the execution. Some might openly disagree with me and say that the last thing a monster deserves is tactful communication and grace. However, I believe this is important for two reasons. One, it allows you to lead by example in terms of how one should carry their anguish when engaging others. Second, this display of character, regardless of how it is received, allows you to show your abuser just how much you’ve gained back despite being derailed by inexplicably horrific circumstances. Processed grief is highly sophisticated, and generally more impactful than flailing with open wounds. Therefore, it is important to allow yourself due process so you can execute confrontation from a position of strength, rather than victimization. That said, I think writing letters will suit me best. It will provide the pause necessary to say exactly what I intend to in a way that is highly personal. The Why Some survivors of abuse may deeply struggle with the notion of confrontation, ultimately choosing not to. That’s fine for them, but not for me. In general, I am a highly passive introverted individual so confrontation is always to be circumvented. However, this is an exception since abuse is a violation of self, predators thrive on avoidance, and wholeness will always supersede public opinion. Additionally, I know for a fact that in at least one of these cases, my perpetrator favored other young girls as well. This tells me that I am not the only one, and swells in me a rage there are no words for. While I will never be responsible for the choices of others, I am obligated to speak openly about it due to the very nature of my being, and my passion for crisis prevention. Ultimately, my theory is that this encounter will bring my trauma full circle so I can very simply, let it go. Finally, if you take nothing else from this post then take this: When navigating the waters of abuse confrontation, you do not have the luxury of expectation. Let me say that again. You do not have the luxury of expectation. Many people often hope highly of their interactions with others when faced with serious subject matter. These false aspirations may drip with fantasy dialogue, or the response you needed as a child but never received, or silver-tongued apologies. Not only is this rare and unrealistic, you may even find yourself faced with blatant denial, social consequences, or additional abuse. You may receive nothing at all, and you have to prepare for that. So, you must articulate what you want to say with tact, understand how and why this will take place, and drop all glittery wet dreams of reconciliation or remorse. Next week, the final chapter of this series will be published in two parts. I will feature the confrontation letters, and coach you through the resolution so that we may finally be free from our childhood nightmares. **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!