update: an example of the below abuse was published via Medium on 6/14/18
My best friend, Jess, wrote a powerful message on her Facebook page today. I felt compelled to share it here because I know her pain. I know the darkness. I know the cry for help when no one is believing the pain exists.
If you are a victim of covert abuse, I believe you. I see you and I am here for you. Please let me hold your virtual hand and lead you to strength. Light is possible. More than possible. This is a safe place to find it.
Jess’ message is below.
**TRIGGER WARNING FOR VICTIMS OF ABUSE**
Here’s why it is very triggering to see your abuser be praised or celebrated. It makes you question your own foundation. It takes you back to each and every instance of interaction and time spent with that person to wonder if you allowed yourself to lower your core values of honesty, integrity, care, compassion, and love to enable the abuse. You search for the only thing that seems logical enough to explain why the things they say and do regarding you after you’ve spoken up about their abuses and walked away. And why people have believed them. Or, worse, ignored them. Allowed them. Sat by, unknowingly enabling them, under the misguided belief that “they haven’t done it to me so…”
But here’s the thing. I didn’t know it was being done to me until it was clear it was being done to me. Covert abusers are inherently imperfect and the moment will come when they aren’t as crafty as they’ve always been. And they will show their victim how insignificant they are in their eyes from the same mouth they have praised them from. Sometimes within days. Sometimes within months. Sometimes within minutes.
To circle back to the celebration of abusers, I’d like to say a couple of things. Firstly, doing research on victims of abuse by public figures, the constant throughline on the complexity of why victims are hushed, quieted, coerced to say nothing about their experience, is because of a false sense of power that the abuser has as a public figure. The victim is led to believe that their experience will be excused or dismissed. By some, who may subscribe to the decision to sit by like I mentioned above, this will be the outcome of speaking out. For others, it will be eye-opening. It will allow them to reflect on their own experiences with that person and make decisions accordingly. Your decision to remove yourself from the abuse is yours. It cannot be expected of others. This does not mean that you won’t feel a world of empathetic pain for them. You will. At times it will feel overwhelming, all-consuming, crippling. That side effect alone should stand to remind you that you were not the abuser.
So I want to share with all victims of abuse a reminder this morning.
Your energy is yours.
You’ve always come from a place of love.
You’ve always come from a place of peace.
You’ve always come from a place of growth.
You are allowed to feel your pain.
You are allowed to remember your strength.
You are a victim but you have always been so much more than that.