Some People Can Be So Clueless

17 Oct
 
I was sitting, watching my friend chipping away at the oldest profession in history & discussing how it’s been the norm in both of our families to be abusive toward their children. Mainly, what got me into talking about this topic is how it’s now the middle of October & this is domestic violence month, and also how I keep feeling an awful tingling feeling coming from the area of my cheek where a very abusive man split my face open less than a decade ago, sending me flying off my feet & landing with my chest against a corner of a wall that was jutting out. It’s probably because this happened to me at around this time of year, that I feel so creeped out about this topic, & it could be some kind of a subliminal thing.
 
But getting back to the topic of what I’d like to speak about & have been reading about again in the past week in the book called Bradshaw On: The Family (which discusses dysfunctional family systems in great detail), I was astounded to find out that it’s taken certain members of my own family over half a century, never mind decades (or 40 years, or so the book says it takes people to snap out of it) to realize that it is wrong to be abusive toward people – and that includes hitting children & woman (or even anyone, for that matter) or being verbally abusive toward them – and that includes name-calling & belittling as well… plus the added favourite type of abuse I’ve been hearing about as of late and that is gay bashing, which has been causing a lot of terribly suffering people (including very young adults & teenagers) to feel they have no way out except to commit suicide.
 
A favourite lady of mine, named Barbara – the owner of Barbara’s Tchatzkah’s newletter I receive, has written the following blog to commemorate Domestic Violence Month this year, as follows:

 

 
As I have said here repeated, I am healing myself; though it will always be ongoing. Even disabled, my overgrown sense of responsibility tells me I need to do some small thing to contribute to society in a positive way. As someone I respect said "service to others is the payment for living here on Earth."

I am also doing teshuva towards others I may have harmed (since I have been blocked from working it out with any of them directly) by working with victims of Domestic Violence and running a blog on the subject.

I work mostly with non-physical forms of abuse: Verbal, Emotional, Online or Psychological. Abuse that is almost impossible to see and even harder to get at and often scars permanently.

This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Aside from my political babbling, I am going to post about abuse. I hope you take the time to read these posts, pass them on and, if you need help – you can email me privately and I will try to point you in the right direction.

Abuse is an equal-opportunity thing. It effects men as well as women.

I have been living under the thumb of abuse my whole life. It took me over 45 years to see that it had been going on that long and that I was also picked out and targeted for abuse by a variety of emotional & sexual predators. As was explained to me:

"What do wolves got for? sheep that are alone, depressed, distracted or afraid. A sheep that may have been shunned by others or is just huddled with others who are scared."


That was me and still is in some ways. Why? To start, because I was raised that way. Yes, I was raised to be abused. I didn’t know what normal was and it is something I work on to this day. Non-physical abuse can be very serious and toxic, and can color a life forever.

Here is an article on the Characteristics of Adults Raised in Dysfunctional Families. This is who I am. It may be who you are or someone you know. I can’t cure it – but I can make it work to help others:

THE ELEVEN COMMANDMENTS OF DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES

The First Commandment:
Thou shalt reinterpret reality to preserve the perfect fantasy.

Sample Situation: This commandment is designed to hide family secrets. Your mother never berates you or beats you. Your father never talks down to you or makes lewd comments around you. You are never screamed at or called names by your dysfunctional parent. Despite your crying, stomach aches & sleeplessness – it never happened.

Application: Even if you see it, it’s not real. You must have made a mistake. Therefore, reinterpret what you saw to make it nice and respectable. If you don’t, people will think you’re and we’re all crazy. We wouldn’t want them to think that now, would we?

Motto: Always believe the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the dysfunctional truth.

The Second Commandment:
Thou shalt always send mixed messages, especially when it concerns relationships.

Sample Situation: A dominating father tells his child, "I love you. Now beat it and leave me alone."

Application: You don’t really know what’s true. Either your father loves you or he hates you. Since you never know for sure, you’ll never be quite sure if others really mean what they say since those you loved most only spoke in mixed messages. They sounded good, but you couldn’t trust them.

Motto: Avoid people and relationships. It’s the safe thing to do.

The Third Commandment:

Thou shalt be an adult.

Sample Situation: Children were made to take care of their parents emotionally, physically, or sexually and to meet their parents’ "childish" needs for power, attention, sex, and belonging. The children submitted to avoid physical and emotional abandonment by their parents. Children in these environments can’t really remember a "childhood." For this reason, children were always expected to be adults.

Application: Being child-like and spontaneous is irresponsible and bad. You must act like an adult at all times and be responsible, even if you’re only five years old.

Motto: There’s no such thing as child’s play. It’s all serious stuff.

The Fourth Commandment:
Thou shalt keep secrets from others.

Sample Situation: Daddy has a "secret" that only he and his little girl know. Of course, she can’t tell Mommy. If she does, Daddy will hurt you and Mommy might leave and never come back.

Application: A child’s most important duty is to protect the image of their parents and family in the community. Watch what you say and be careful not to act funny around other people either. After all, as family we have to protect each other. If you stay quiet, you’re loyal. If you can’t, we won’t love you.

Motto: To really love someone is to show loyalty by protecting their "secrets" at all costs.

The Fifth Commandment:
Thou shalt protect family secrets.

Sample Situation: A member of the family commits suicide. Since this is not acceptable to discuss even in the family, all pictures, memorabilia, and anything else which would indicate that this family member had ever lived here must be discarded. After all, no one in our family would commit suicide, would they???

Application: Our family doesn’t have any problems, does it? Even if we did, we don’t have to discuss or deal with them. After all, they’re not that important. We can simply deny their existence so that we don’t have to deal with the grief.

Motto: Life’s too painful to have to deal with the pain and the problems. Just ignore them, they’ll go away.

The Sixth Commandment:
Thou shalt not feel.

Sample Situation: A child cries because her best friend is moving away. "You shouldn’t feel like that. Stop crying!" yells her mother angrily.

Application: Since any display of emotion might betray the family secrets that all is not perfect, all emotions must be repressed and numbed. After all, we’re a normal family. We’re not like other people who get angry, sad, or afraid.

Motto: Be respectable. After all, respectable people never show their emotions or pain…


The Seventh Commandment:

Thou shalt allow your boundaries to be violated, especially by those who "love" you.

Sample Situation: A child trying to accomplish a task continues to persist and work on it, hoping to gain a sense of accomplishment and approval. "Don’t be so stubborn!" mommy says. "Just give up. There’ s more important things than that to be done! Now put that stuff away and clean the house so that mommy knows you love her."

Lesson Learned: Anything you want is not worth protecting. Only those you love can tell you what is important and what’s not. Quit thinking for yourself and just do what makes everyone else happy..

Motto: Because others are more valuable than you, you don’t have the right to maintain your own boundaries or to make decisions.

The Eighth Commandment:
Thou shalt be hyper-vigilant

Sample Situation: A child is constantly reminded how dangerous the world is. People can’t be trusted either. Therefore, stay aloof, don’t get too close to anybody.

Lesson Learned: The only way to be safe in this world is to be careful and insulate yourself from others. Be careful. Always be on guard They might hurt you. If you need help, don’t ask for their help. Do it yourself.

Motto: Always be on your guard. The wise person is always over prepared and distrustful of everyone and everything.

The Ninth Commandment:
Thou shalt not let anyone do anything else for you. Do it all yourself.

Sample Situation: Parents continually remind the child that no one is to be trusted. If they do something for you, they’re doing it to manipulate you.

Lesson Learned: Stay aloof and don’t make friends with anybody. After all, if you get too close, they’ll use, hurt and abuse you. And remember this: nobody does anything for anyone unless they want something from you.

Motto: Do everything yourself.

The Tenth Commandment:
Thou shalt be perfect

Sample Situation: "Just because you got all ‘A’s on your report card doesn’t mean that you couldn’t have done better. You’re lazy. Now get to work and let’s see you get some more ‘A+’s’!"

Lesson Learned: If it’s not perfect, people won’t love you. No matter how good it is, it’s never good enough…but keep trying!

Motto: You’re only as good as your performance and that’s still not good enough!

The Eleventh Commandment:
Thou shalt not forgive yourself or others.

Sample Situation: "You’re always in my way, child! Why do you keep asking me to play with you? Don’t you know I played with you last year? Wasn’t that enough?! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Go to your room. Don’t bother me."

Lesson Learned: The only way I can be forgiven and loved is if I can earn it by being perfect. The guiltier I feel, the harder I must work to gain other’s approval. If I make any mistakes, even a small one, they’ll reject me or think I’m incompetent or worthless. I’m afraid I will make a mistake, I know I will, I feel so guilty. Therefore, even if I think I can do it, I won’t. After all, I could make a mistake and then what would I do? Oh, I could never go back and say I’m sorry!

Motto: Since God doesn’t forgive me, I can’t forgive you either.

The Eleven Commandments Of Dysfunctional Families: A Summary

The First And Greatest Commandment is this:

"Be a "good" person: Be blind, be quiet, be numb, be careful, keep secrets, avoid reality, avoid relationships, don’t cry, don’t trust, don’t feel, be serious, don’t talk, don’t love and above all, make everyone think you’re perfect…even if it makes you feel guilty."


The Second Is Like Unto It:

"Since you’re worthless and nobody loves you anyway (including yourself), don’t try to change yourself. You’re not worth the effort and you couldn’t do it if you tried anyway. God won’t help you either. So get back where you belong. There’s nothing wrong anyway so what’s your problem! See, I told you that you were stupid."

taken from work by Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A. (some changes made by this blog owner)

 The friend to which I was speaking to this about, both he & I have been raised in a dysfunctional family where we often found ourselves to be the brunt of both verbal & physical abuse. Back then, no one ever talked about it & it appeared to be acceptable as well as the norm. Well, nowadays, it is most definitely not acceptable by any means & both he & I have broken out of the vicious cycle and are striving to lead a non-violent & non-abusive lifestyle. As for the rest of our family members & how they choose to behave & conduct themselves, that is their choice to make & to live with, and we in no way condone their actions. I hope by us leading a happy & harmonious lifestyle, perhaps we can eventually be good role models for people to look up to. I’m hoping that some day the time will come for that before I reach the end of this life – and if I can do this for people, I will be satisfied.

 

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