Get me out of here
A Non-Profit Organization for Child Abuse Survivors Learning to Thrive

Recovery from Abuse: the Search for Information/Validation

Hey there, fellow abuse survivor.

Have you been trawling Google lately, searching for terms like “abuse”, “narcissism”, “co-dependency” and “the rights of children”? Do you have an enormous thirst for knowledge of all things abuse-related? Do you scroll through pages and pages of web data, drinking in information like it’s clean water and you’re lost in the Sahara Desert? But no matter how much you consume, it never seems like enough? You’re up to page 10 of the search results already. Who goes to page 10 of the search results, for anything? Who even goes past page 1, for that matter?!

Who? People who want to do a thorough freaking job, that’s who.

The search for validation can become a compulsion. If web information on abuse were crack, you may now be considered an addict. You can’t help it. No matter how much you take in, it all seems to leak back out the next day. The waves of knowledge consumed are not strong enough to hold up to all those internal voices yelling at you that you’re wrong, that you’re making it all up, that your family was normal, that your parents loved you. Just shut up, they keep saying, stop creating drama and whining about nothing. You’re just as useless and stupid as they always thought.

But here’s the thing:

Maybe you’re not wrong.

Maybe this compulsion you’re developing is coming from somewhere. Perhaps this overwhelming need to understand is your brain trying to process and comprehend patterns in your life that do not otherwise make sense in any logical manner. Maybe this compulsion reflects your suspicion that there is another explanation for why you’ve been feeling so crap than that there’s something wrong with you, as those internal voices would have you believe.

The fact is: whatever part of you is searching hungrily online for information, help and alternative answers deserves support. To continue my starving-in-the-desert analogy (it seems apt so I’m running with it), in the early phases of abuse recovery that part is like a baby plant trying to take root – it needs a whole lot of sunshine and nutrients and probably a little water to help it along. If you are at this website because you were abused as a child, that plant is going to be fighting years of negative conditioning that could easily kill it off before it has a chance to grow. There is a heck of a lot of brainwashing that goes on during abuse. This needs to be inspected, seen for what it is and then dismantled in order to reduce its power.

Abusers always seek to offload responsibility for their actions onto their victims. They may say things like, “look what you made me do. If only you weren’t so stupid/worthless/attractive etc, this would never have happened.” Abusers often promote and encourage the idea that they abuse because of fundamental characteristics inherent within their victims, thus absolving themselves of all accountability. When viewed logically, this idea is blatantly ridiculous. In no way is anyone forced to treat Fred badly because Fred has red hair or sees himself as worthless. But in the absence of alternative support and information, and particularly when told to children by those in positions of authority, such lies may take root causing horrific and sometimes lifelong consequences.

So if you find yourself hungry for information, support, and awareness of abuse and what constitutes abuse; if you are Googling pages and soaking up information like there is no tomorrow: please be very gentle with yourself. At a deep level, you are likely fighting to break patterns that may have taken years to establish. You are analysing, reinterpreting and redefining your life’s events, piece by piece. This is no easy task. Your need for validation, support and accurate information is real, understandable, and deserves to be honoured.

June 1, 2014

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