Discretionary Fools

At their own peril, predators believe that their lies will be kept hidden forever.

One of the vilest results of sexual abuse is how it deceives and confuses those who are victims, as well as those who are perpetrators or silent witnesses. It deadens the ability to discern good from evil. It confuses the mind so that truth and error get all mixed up.

On the Threshold of Hope, Diane mandt langberg, pHd

I heard one perpetrator say, “Even when you’re caught, lie. Lie to the end.” Well, that only works if the victim keeps quiet.

I have learned that I’m only as strong as the story I tell. With each telling, I gain more strength and understanding into who I am. When I kept silent and held it all in, I suffered greatly, made bad choices and lived a life half-mast.

Every time I had to confront a person who abused me, they called me a liar. Told me they were innocent. At their discretion, they bullied me and believed they could keep me quiet with their insistent denial. Each of them thought I would not find the strength to stand against them.

Unfortunately, that was true for much of my early life. What hampered me was my ability to practice dissociation. When I woke up at night with debilitating leg pain or a nightmare, I would go into the bathroom, sit on the toilet and find a “zone” that seemed to fly me to the ceiling. Through my dissociative efforts, I could look down on myself and feel no pain.

Those practices are still evident in me today.

When a painful memory comes forth, I find myself is the fog of dissociation, struggling to stay in reality.

What did I learn from my family? I learned to practice pretense.

I no longer hate myself and I don’t belong to their club anymore. I tell my story now even when it hurts. And, sometimes, I find myself sailing against the wind.

The gap between appearances and reality exists not only because others didn’t know or want to know what was happening to you but also because you practice pretense.

Some of you have cleaned yourselves up after being abused and gone about your day trying to act as if nothing happened. You have been raped and come down to dinner. You went to church and played the part. Many of you continue that today. Your memories torment you. Your nights are frightening. You hate yourself.

ON THE THRESHOLD OF HOPE, DIANE MANDT LANGBERG, PHD

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