Always a Voice
Empowering Survivors of Abuse & Trauma
|Posted on 21 September, 2016 at 0:10|
~By Danielle S.
(Danielle is a 17 year old survivor of abuse. She recently came forward with the devastating truth of her situation. These past months have been difficult, but she is actively persuing healing and growth in her life--and writing about it! She is meeting hardship head-on. I am so blessed to have the privelege of sharing her writings with you all! ~jill)
EVERYONE has their opinion of what I should've done. Some voice it louder than others. Some people ask me, "Why did you wait so long?" "Why didn't you just confront him about it?" One girl even told me, "Your story has holes in it". "Well, if he was MY dad..." "Your situation wasn't half as bad as many others..." "You should be over this by now..." "You need to just forget the past." Agh!!!!!!
It frustrates me to think that after all I've already been through, people are critiquing the situation and trying to tell me what I should've done, should do, should think, and should feel! People's opinions are poisonous when expressed in a judgmental way. It's not wrong to have an opinion. But when you don't know all the details and try to come across like you know all the answers, it can have many affects, none of which are good. It can be crippling, hurting, depressing, self-esteem destroying, and crushing.
If an abuse victim opens up to you at all, in any way, respect that. A lot of times, all we want is just someone to listen, believe, and have compassion for us. Now, that makes it sound like we're feeling sorry for ourselves, doesn't it? Well guess what! That's probably what we're doing... and it's OK! After all we've been through we have the right to lean on others for strength and support while we can't strengthen and support ourselves. A lot of times when someone makes a judgmental remark, they just don't have a clue of what you're going through. That doesn't give them the liberty to blast away though.
I still don't know how to handle these opinions... sadly, I don't have a manual with all the answers. But if I talk it out with someone I know will listen, encourage, and support me no matter what, it helps me to realize that the judgmental opinionator doesn't have any ground for what they're saying. Even opinions from other survivors of something similar aren't necessarily the best for your case. You have to remember that every situation is different. There is no 'one size fits all.' And for all you getting judgment from anyone, just remember: they DON'T KNOW what they would do. Even if they think they know, how could they? They know the facts, but not the feels. They understand the logic, not the confusion. They assume the anger, they don't reason through the twisted emotions.
Moving on to another aspect of this: Even if they were right and even if they understood everything, what's done is done. You can't change the past. What good is it to bash someone for not doing it the "right way" if there's no chance to go back and redo it? Just support, sympathise, and encourage for the future. Sometimes I can remind myself that the person is just trying to help and they're lost in going about doing that. Other times I've had to say, "You know what? I don't need this." Yes, I've had to break off friendships with certain individuals because of their extremely vocal opinions. I just came to the conclusion that it was causing me more stress and heartache than support and help. You'll have to be the one to make that decision- who to put up with and who's just not worth it. They're just placing another smothering decision on you that wouldn't be there if people would just treat each other like they should.
And lastly, now that we see first-hand how hurtful being overbearing and opinionated can be, maybe we can learn to hold back our opinions for the proper time and place, and only speak encouraging words, as we truly understand the struggle of poisonous opinions.