Abuse victims, especially sexual abuse victims have usually lived within a system of distortions and deceptions. I had been a follower of Jesus Christ, a child of God for several years but I was a defeated child of God. I was held captive by internal fences and invisible walls. I was the prisoner of a lie.
I believed the lies that told me I was nothing, that people had a right to use me and then push me aside, that if I thought of myself then I was selfish, I was not worthy of love. I internalized all this and lived my life always condemning myself, always hardest on myself. I lived my adult life based on the lies I’d been told as a child.
Following is a list of some of the lies I was told while growing up, not only by the perpetrator but also by the adults who were given the responsibility of raising me, one being the mother figure (who lived in denial)…behind each lie is the implication that I internalized. I am sure that you can relate. You may very well have your own list that you can add to it.
1. If you tell anyone, the family will fall apart, and it will be your fault…(implication-victims are responsible for maintaining the family system and it’s secrets.
2.If you tell anyone I’ll kill the family…(implication-death of a family member will be the victim’s responsibility rather than the perpetrator’s choice)
3. It’s all in the past, why bring it up again? (implication- leaving sexual abuse in the past makes it go away. Ignoring truth is better than facing it…futher implication-you are immature, unstable or wrong for bringing it up and not leaving it in the past)
4.You imagined it (implication- don’t trust your memory or your feelings..doubt yourself)
5. You wanted it (implication-victims enjoy abuse)
6. You deserved it (implication- victims deserve abuse)
7. It was just play (implication- it’s okay to use play as an excuse for sexually abusing a child)
8. I did not do that and you know it! (implication- if the perp puts enough direct pressure on the victim the the perpetrator can make the victim mistrust her memory)
9. You consented to it ( implication- if a perpetrator can manipulate a child to nonresistence abuse, then its okay to abuse)
This is just a short list of lies and implications. As a result of living in an atmosphere of distortions and deception I learned to adopt lies as truth. And as a result I lived with a distorted self-perception. I had many self-messages that over the years God has revealed to me for the lies they were and has enabled me to walk free of many of these lies and live in truth. Some of these self-messages that kept me bound were; I can’t make good decisions, I’m unlovable, if I’m not perfect then I’m nothing, maybe I was not really abused-perhaps my memory is wrong, I’m unattractive, I cannot relate to men, I’m always in the way-making someone angry, if someone is upset then it’s probably my fault, I deserve enery thing that has happened to me, it’s dangerous to let yourself feel, it doesn’t affect me- I can handle it, I’m oversensitive, I shouldn’t cry about this, I’m only good for sex, I must be perfect to be loved….and the list goes on….
It has been a process of applying the truth of God’s Word to my life, of who He says I am and not basing my identity of what I’d been told as a child and believed.
I will be touching on “Lies” for awhile…not just regarding sexual abuse but also some of the lies and implications as a result of physical, verbal, emotional and even spiritual abuse…but for now I will leave off and if you are reading along I pray it will give you some time to process some of your own list of lies and deceptions…and the resulting implication.
I will close with a quote from a wonderful book I just finished reading called The Shack by William P. Young. God is speaking to the main character in the book and says;” Honey, you’re a survivor. No shame in that. Your daddy hurt you something fierce. Life hurt you. Lies are one of the easiest places for suvivors to run. It gives you a sense of safety, a dark place where you only have to depend on yourself. But it’s a dark place, isn’t it?”