Have you ever thought about what you expect from yourself in comparison to what you expect from others?
Maybe receiving or doing something for yourself feels selfish?
If someone else makes a mistake, you're understanding of them, but if you make a mistake you're critical of yourself. You remember your so called failures, but not so much your achievements.
Learning to consider your needs and having compassion for yourself can be very difficult for survivors of abuse. Feelings of guilt and shame can leave you feeling unworthy of your needs being met.
It was inconceivable for you to say no to an adult or older person, especially when the adult says ‘it’s because we love each other’. That may be true but this kind of dialogue leaves you feeling that you wanted the abuse, when in-fact you just wanted the love.
Maybe the opposite was true, the abuser said things like ‘it’s because you are bad, that’s why this is happening to you - you deserve it’.
Unfortunately you'll have carried this belief with you.
You can’t make sense of why you didn’t tell anyone at the time of the abuse.
Based on your story and circumstance at the time, what could you have done, realistically? What stopped you?
Probably a catalogue of fears - didn’t want to upset your family - didn’t want people to see you differently - you already felt that you were bad - fear of not being believed, not wanting the abuser to get into trouble or fear of the abuser.
I mentioned in another article defence mechanisms which we adopt in order to survive and how vital these are to keep us safe.
The downside to
Not only are defence mechanisms understandable, but they are vital elements to recognise. Once recognised and understood you can kick start the healing process.
By avoiding your pain you remain stuck in the repeated behaviour patterns and difficulties in relationships that are all too familiar.
What if you knew that it wasn’t your fault? What if you knew that it isn't selfish to have needs and have them met?