Monday, July 5, 2010

Abuse Disguised – the “grooming” behind learning to tolerate the intolerable

Recently over on the blog Emerging From Broken (EFB) Carla Dippel wrote a post she titled "Groomed to doubt in Spiritual Abuse”.

The response by the readers was first, immediate, second impassioned and third overwhelming as nearly 50 comments were made on this post within minutes of it's arrival. This was clearly a subject that touched the hearts of many on this issue of how we are often "groomed" by those around us to learn to "tolerate the intolerable".

You can read the post I wrote recently on "Abuse: I didn't know that I didn't know" ”....because of the "grooming" that goes on as we are trained to tolerate abuse to such a point that it becomes our "normal".

I wanted to add this post-script to my first comment EFB, but for some reason I was unable to post this as a comment, so I am posting it here on “A Journey” because it is such an important issue that we learn to recognize that what we may have come to know as “normal” may in fact be abuse that we have simply learned to tolerate.

My comment/response to Carla’s post on how she experienced the spiritual abuse as she was groomed in the church to doubt herself…

I also experienced this form of abuse that you describe here, Carla....and have since come to rely on my better judgment to avoid anyone or any place/organization (including therapists, doctors as well as "pastors or anyone else) that puts themselves above another, judges another or tries to tell me "you can’t do it without _________" or "you need __________ .

What I have found is that "spiritual" is wayyyy different than "church" - and the people in it - and no one has the right to decide for me what I "need" or "need to do"- whether they are with a religious organization, a personal relationship, a professional/work relationship or a caretaker.

Anytime anyone is telling another person how to live their life, criticize their life choices, their thoughts, ideas, opinions and decisions, ridicule, shame and embarrass another in order to force compliance...."or else".. or "you can't do this without me/us"....this is power and control du jour.

Abuse of any form is about "doing" not "being" a's about doing it "right enough" or "good enough".

And often we never know what it "Right" or "good" because it changes and we are dependent on others to "feed" us for a day, tell us what to do, how to live, what’s my answer, "fix me" - and those who are attempting to exert this control over others thoughts, feelings and actions does whatever they must to keep their victims in line, doubting themselves and dependent on the abuser for validation, approval, love and acceptance.

It doesn't matter if it is a church or a specific religion, a family, a dating relationship, a therapist, doctor, friend, father, mother, sister, brother, lover, friend an employer - or a comment in a thread online.

Abuse is not selective and is in all life arenas and is all about telling another what to do, how to do it and when to do it....and "you are wrong if you believe differently than I do or try to do it in any other way"- and "you can't do it without me/us/it".

When we learn to identify "abuse" and learn how to not be a victim, to live a self empowered life free of dependence on others for validation and the need for acceptance at any price - we are empowered to protect ourselves from predators no matter what "church" they belong to (or any other abusive relationship.)

And I think those who are seeking for answers in others - in people places and things outside of themselves - will continue be prey for those seeking the thrill of power who will do whatever is necessary to keep the "sheep" in line.

Learning to live a self empowered life is much more than living in a chronic state of fear or hyper-vigilance on the lookout for the next “abuser” or “perpetrator” from home, work, church…whatever the source of the power/control issues.

It’s about learning how to no longer be a victim and creating the life we choose for ourselves each day…trusting ourselves instead of relying on others to define our reality and being “on guard” for the next abuser.

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