Posts Tagged ‘surviving abuse’

It’s weird when you realize how much of the brainwashing still lingers. Even weirder when you have all the evidence you need in front of you to refute what you’ve been trained to think.

Right now, I speak of intelligence.

Being brainwashed into believing I am an idiot really wasn’t that difficult, since I really didn’t think much of myself to begin with, given that I lack basic education from grade 5 on, I didn’t graduate high school, and I dropped out of university and college.

Being in class for a full day half the week is draining. It took a while to get used to. I don’t know how to study or how to have the discipline to do homework. I don’t know how to organize notes, or note-take effectively.

Plus I thought I forgot all the Hebrew I knew. And grammar exercises kill me with their tediousness. I can’t sit still in silence with others. The chairs and desks are uncomfortable. And I hate looking like an idiot if I don’t understand something.

But –

I just got my last test back. I got 82%. Which I found really surprising since I didn’t study. And I got really restless halfway through and rushed through the work so I could leave.

Which makes me wonder –

how much intelligence would I possess if I actually applied myself? If I knew how to apply myself? If I had real confidence in my innate intellect so I could expand on it?

It also shows how deep the psychological disturbance runs. My first test I passed (barely) with a 55%, the second, a 73%. And now the 82.

They weren’t even sure if I would be able to manage the more advanced Hebrew class, a class which I now find somewhat easy, if tedious with all the grammar.

Point is, that my grades and my language skills expanded rapidly once I finally realized that I can learn this and that I am not a moron. Cause I think to myself (or say out loud anyways) that I am intelligent. I didn’t really think this was an issue. But it was.

Makes me wonder how much more I am capable of doing, and excited about the untapped potential.


Every night since I was a child, I would cover myself in piles of blankets. I would sleep with my blankets cocooned around my body, pulled up to my ears. Didn’t matter what the weather was, I needed to have at least five blankets over me.

I never really fell out of the habit of needed to keep myself warm at night. My grandfather joked about it a few weeks ago when I said how cold I was at night, even with my sweater and socks and pj pants. I smiled at his joke, but the safety I find in being buried under a pile of blankets goes deeper then a physical need for warmth.

It’s not something I ever really thought consciously about, even during summers when I’d have to cocoon myself at night to the point where a/c didn’t do enough, but I had to sleep with a fan and without clothes and was still hot.

I get it now that I really have no privacy, living with 40 some other people in co-ed dorm-like buildings. Especially since last night I had the best sleep yet in Israel because I had a real blanket, plus sweater and socks and pjs. It was a relief to wake up in the middle of the night because I was too hot. And I wrapped the blanket around myself even tighter.

I was thinking about that last night, the womb-like cocoon of blankets. It’s something I’ve only ever done when sleeping on my own. Cause once someone else is there, the sense of safety has already fled. Imagination can’t be worse then the reality lying beside me. Or something like that.

Bottom line: blankets equal happiness and love and (mental) safety and (mental) security.

Free choice. Something that I really didn’t have for most of my life. Whether it was from doctors, being overly medicated, being pushed into choices due to disability, to being dictated to by a multitude of abusers. One would argue I never had to make any real decisions of my own.

I say ‘sure‘ in response to most things. My ‘sure‘ is not an agreement, but neither is it a disagreement. It is a neutral yet polite and positive response to something I have not yet made my mind up about. And it may very well take me a long time to make my mind up, because I like knowing my choice comes directly from me. I dislike any hint of being pushed in a direction I am uncertain I want to go in.

However, sometimes it borders on ridiculous. I answer ‘sure‘ as if I still am somewhat expecting a violent reaction from others. Which, to be honest, I am. There is a tension still there when a decision to be made is directed to me.

And yes, it is a lot easier to just let someone else make a choice, and go along with it. Which is what I typically do. And which is what I can’t really do here in Israel, where people really know their own minds and voice it.

I’ve even been told that being here is good for me cause it’ll force me to learn to make choices for myself. Which I completely agree with. But it is a statement that also makes me feel very much like a child.

Meanwhile, it is my choice to be indecisive about a lot of things. I choose to take time to make my mind up about things.

I was thinking about this cause it’s been really hard and draining, the last several weeks. I had a moderate freakout which lead to a shared cigarette and buying makeup and earrings for the lobe piercings I retired long ago. Which really isn’t a big deal on the surface, but in my mind it was the first step back into oblivion.

However, smoking made me realize why I stopped in the first place (it’s really yuck. I had to decontaminate myself afterwards). And wearing makeup does not make me look like a whore. Nor do multiple earrings.

Which made me look at why I kept thinking like that, and realizing I’m still internalizing J’s abuse long after his exit from my life. I just figured he was right: I was a whore, therefore I looked like one. So I tried to eradicate any lingering ‘signs’ (weight, clothes, hair, appearance, everything). Which is ridiculous. And brings me back to choice. Perspective too, since anyone who is human could be a ‘whore’, and what does that word mean anyways? Cause it’s really not applicable to me, despite what I lived through (circling back to choice).


So I essentially said fuck you in my head, and hoped he got the message, wherever he is. And went late to class this morning just to put on some makeup.

I did my nails too.


What takes a victim of violence to a place where they feel they have survived?

It is important to understand is that victims are survivors, even while they are being victimized.

However, how one feels on the inside makes the difference between the perception shift of victim to survivor.

For me, it came when I accepted that god did not mean for me to die, when I lay on the ground, awake again after my near death experience, and decided I would survive this.

Yet, looking back, I realize I was a survivor long before that. Every time I defied my abusers in some small way, even if it was something only I would notice, meant that I grew stronger inside, and ever more ready to leave. Every time I tried to pick up the pieces of my shattered life, not realizing it was my abusers who were the problem, I was surviving.

You learn to survive as you slowly separate your identity from that of your abuser. As you slowly rebuild (or in my case, for the first time discover) boundaries. As you slowly find your own voice, and realize you have a valued opinion on different things. As you slowly discover or rebuild self-worth, self-esteem, self-respect, you are a survivor.

Surviving abuse is a painful process. One where you question your sanity and the validity of your claim of abuse.

One thing abusers are good at is creating doubt – crazy making.

When you find your self waffling back and forth between loving and loathing, questioning whether it was your fault (when logically you know that it was in fact his doing, and you have evidence to back you up), needing answers to why he behaves the way he does, why his words do not match his actions – why he torments you like this. And it makes you crazy. And that behaviour makes the abuser turn around and call you the abusive one, the crazy one, the hysterical one, the neurotic one… that you are “lucky to have someone like” him. Because no one else would put up with you.

This is false. It is a form of brainwashing.

People, normal, average people, dislike lying, even if it comes easily to them. Truth is always easier. However, abusers are habitual liars. This means that they lie so often, to themselves and to others, that there is no emotional registers of any lie whatsoever. This makes them masters at finding your vulnerabilities and manipulating them.

Cut contact! When you find yourself between victim and survivor, between loving and loathing, between should I stay or should I go – err on the side on caution and LEAVE! It is better to be lonely and heartbroken then to be beaten down, raped, or dead.

Mean what you say and say what you mean! When you say your final goodbyes, abusers know that the majority of the time, you will return to them. And if you don’t come “crawling back” in a timely manner, they will reach out to you and make things out to be your fault, and even have you apologizing for things you did not do.

When you say goodbye, mean it! Change your number, block him from any social media, change your locks, move out, anything you have to do to stay safe. No matter how much you want to believe otherwise, these are extremely dangerous men!

Find a good support system! Whether it is a good friend, family members, a trusted elder, a therapist, or a survivor group online or in your community, having a good support system is crucial to your healing journey. It will help you feel less alone, and help you realize that these monsters are all the same.

Stay safe!