Shame seems to be one of the most effective tools that abusers and society have to make survivors of abuse feel horrible about themselves and keep them suffering in silence. I buck against this way of thinking because it directly contradicts my truth. I know what is true in my heart about myself. I have clear examples in my memory that proves to myself that I am not a bad person and I have no reason to think otherwise no matter how many people want to point fingers or criticize. Their comments and attempts to shame me talks of a deeper truth about them. The silence they seem to want only furthers the agenda of the abusers.
Many survivors are shamed into silence. I was shamed into silence for a long time. I thought I was protecting my family at first, then others from me. That’s right from ME, as if I was going to negatively affect them with my painful experience or scare them away. I’ve learned that what someone does with information about me is not my responsibility and not in my control. I didn’t want to be seen as broken or that there was something wrong with me and the truth is that there really isn’t anything wrong with me. I’m healing from abuse. There is nothing wrong with that. I’m not going to feel shame for something that someone else did to me. I didn’t choose to be abused and I choose to no longer be ashamed of it. I am not ashamed.
So who should we shame? No one. No one should be shamed but instead we should support them to heal. People who are abusive often have been abused or experienced a trauma in their life. They are already ashamed of themselves whether they show you that side of themselves or not. The anger in me does want to shame the abusers, string them up by their toenails and a myriad of other punishments! My heart tells me that this is not the way. Abuse does not stop abuse, it only continues to spread it. Ok, them now what? We acknowledge what has happened and we move to heal those contributing factors that may lead to abuse in both the survivor and the abuser. Offer love, empathy, and the support we ourselves would like to have when in pain.