Is it My Fault That I’m abused?
No! It is never your fault if you were or are being abused. There are lots of reasons why you might feel this way, but it absolutely is not your fault! It is unquestionably, 100% always the abuser’s fault. If you were abused and blame yourself, please read below for some possible reasons.
Reason’s Why You Would Blame Yourself
There is a psychological effect that has been studied that shows we are predisposed to believe that if something bad is happening to someone, then they must be a bad person. This is because we want to believe in a fair and just world and believe that good people are spared from bad things. Following this logic, if you were abused, then you must be a bad person. This can also explain why people tend to blame survivors for their abuse. If they can somehow believe that you were to blame, then you aren’t a good person, and it is your fault. If that is true, then, they, as a good person, are not at risk of being abused themselves. It is a little twisted, but this essentially gives people a sense that they have control over their lives and can help them to feel safer. It doesn’t mean that it’s true though, just that this is one of the ways our brains work. I find that our brains will often believe things that are not true and this is absolutely one of those things! You are not responsible for the abuse that happened to you! You also are most likely a good person as well.
Another reason why you might blame yourself is that abusers set you up to believe this. We talk about survivors being groomed by their abusers and this is essentially what it means. Over time, the abuser manipulates their victim to make them believe that they are causing the abuse. This allows the abuser to shift some of the guilt and shame associated with the abuse onto the victim and off of the abuser, where it actually belongs. Also, if the victim believes they are to blame for the abuse, then they will be much less likely to tell anyone about the abuse because they will start to feel shame for being abused. It is really unfortunate that many people do not report their abuser because of this.
The Abuse Was Not Your Fault
If you were abused, the abuse was not about sex, hitting you, or yelling at you. It was about control. Your abuser used sexual acts, physical abuse, or emotional abuse to exert control over you. It was about them getting what they needed and using you to get it, and what they needed what some semblance of having control in their life. If you were abused, there was nothing that you did that caused it. Many people worry that they didn’t fight off their abuser hard enough, or that they stayed with the abuser, that they feel love for their abuser, or maybe even that they are in some way unlovable. But none of these things make you to blame for being abused. You weren’t abused because of something you did, or because of something you didn’t do. And if you were abused as a child by an adult, then it was the adult’s responsibility to take care of you and keep you safe. It was not your responsibility to take care of the adult! A child is very powerless when compared to an adult and the adult that abused you took advantage of that power discrepancy when he or she abused you. The shame and the guilt associated with that abuse are not yours to hold. It always belongs with the abuser. Always.
Guilt and Shame
If you find yourself struggling with these thoughts and feelings of guilt or shame, know that you are not alone. This is something that almost all survivors struggle with and is in fact a symptom of PTSD. But that being said, the guilt and shame are not yours! You did nothing wrong! The shame and guilt belong to the abuser. If you don’t address this, it can cause ongoing pain in your life. Therapy can help, so please consider talking about someone about these issues. Also, check out the links below for information on support groups here in Michigan.
For More Information
If you would like more information on this topic or would like to schedule an appointment for Trauma Treatment, please call today.