Monday, May 19, 2008

Article on "Selective Amnesia"

I am finding myself having a good time at this web page. It is at Luke 17:3 Ministries. I'm actually looking for something else, but this is too good not to show you.

It is the essay titled, "Selective Amnesia". Ha. You can see why I went there given recent events. Here are a few pull quotes:

When your abuser claims to have no idea what he did wrong, HE IS LYING. He knows perfectly well what he did. He will try this ploy even if you have told him point blank and in no uncertain terms exactly what he did wrong, argued with him and protested his mistreatment for years, and repeated your complaints dozens of times. And yes, even if you have written him a detailed, 10-page letter listing a few decades worth of examples, which he has no doubt read a couple of hundred times. He has seen your distress every time he hurt you. In fact, that was his reward for hurting you and the reason he continued to hurt you. Because he loved knowing he COULD....There is no way he does not know what he did. That is a lie. He only has Selective Amnesia because it serves his purposes to conveniently “forget”.

I laughed out loud at the "10-page letter" remark since that is how long my letter to sister was.

How do you list 50 years of abuse? How do you put it into words? Abusers want to know “what they did wrong” as if it was merely one or two incidents, that could be discussed and settled in a few minutes. But it’s not. It’s a LIFETIME of incidents, 20, 30, 50 or more years; hundreds, if not thousands, of times. It’s overwhelming. It’s not one or two obnoxious behaviors or hurtful episodes. It’s a PATTERN of ongoing, continuous, unrelenting evil. It just never ends, until we leave.

Touche. For me it was more like 40 years, but that is a damn long time by any measure. A lifetime of incidents. It is overwhelming.

This next part says something I have felt but haven't had the heart to say it this bluntly to my sister. I was tempted to say something along this line in my last letter, but I held back. Can you believe I still don't want to gratuitously hurt her feelings? Just in case I'm wrong about her, I still sometimes hold things back. I hadn't thought it out as well as it is articulated below. Had I gotten it this well formed in my mind I very well may have said something to this effect:

The problem with trying to explain to our abuser why we divorced her is that it’s not so much what she DID, it’s WHO SHE IS. Or rather, WHAT SHE IS. With an abuser, it is NOT any one incident. It is not just her behavior, IT IS HER. It is the kind of person she is that we don’t want to have anything to do with. Abusers are evil, wicked, demonic people. Their behavior is merely an outward sign, a manifestation of the condition of their souls and the shriveled up, dead black heart within them.

The reason we stay away is that we have finally seen this. It’s our abuser’s whole persona that keeps us away, not any one incident or behavior. It’s EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM. It’s his personality, his character, his unrighteousness, his whole evil being. It’s not just this thing or that thing or any of the things he does, it’s HIM!

It would be more accurate to list her personality traits rather than her behaviors as the reason we disowned her. Imagine telling our abuser the truth- that we refuse contact with her because she IS nasty, cunning, spiteful, manipulative, belligerent, treacherous, critical, lying, untruthful, bullying, conniving, deceitful, sneaky, trouble-making, jealous, sabotaging, envious, bitter, sadistic, malicious, selfish, narcissistic, hostile, dangerous, cruel, hateful, psychopathic, and abusive? That’s who she is. Who in their right mind would want someone like that in their life? What normal, healthy person would want to deal with this, or to expose themselves and their children to it?

Our revulsion, repulsion, and avoidance is a natural, normal, healthy reaction to exposure to evil. It is our God-given discernment setting off alarm bells in our heads and telling us to run for the hills. We left because we finally realized it was hopeless, and that changing these ingrained characteristics is impossible. Our abuser would have to change her very being, and that will never happen because she has no desire to. She left us no choice but to cut her off in order to protect ourselves and our families.

The only way we can lead healthy, happy lives is to stay away from such evil people. We don’t disown them because of one or two things they did. We disown them because they are unfit as people to have in our lives. [emphasis mine]

"Selective Amnesia"

I appreciate the affirmation of this article since it is exactly what I'm up against right now.


Anonymous said...

oh anna, thank you for posting this! and amen!!!

for years, it has been "what did i do?", "i don't understand what it is that i did?". did we ever tell them? yes, of course. it's amazing how easily they forget. over and over.. and over.

ironically, they remember some of the most useless, and tiniest details from the past, though.

but ultimately, like your post says, it boils down to who they are. not what they did, for if they were decent human beings, they would never commit such haneous acts of evil. period.

i'm so thankful we chose to no longer deal with that insanity!


Anonymous said...

Reading that was like a much needed refresher course in the F#@+%!-upness of dealing w/ the N-Ex!! Cringing cuz we share a child. Unable to go NC. I think I'll print this blog and carry it w/ me for peace of mind. Luv ya Anna

KatyTexasMommy said...

Just wanted to ask a question to those of you that have dealt with this N mom/N Dad stuff longer than me- I am filled with rage/hate/etc stuff I am just starting to work out in therapy, I scare myself when I spew words at my mom under my breath, and I feel the intense desire to get all this stuff out

do you suggest a anonymous blog to let it all out- do you think it helps or to at least write it all down?

trying to find an immediate way to cope with the N mom thing, have clued in like a GONG show GONG about 2 months ago and have been stewing ever since

thanks and thanks for this blog

Anna Valerious said...

Spewing your anger on a blog, even under a pseudonym, probably isn't the best way to approach the problem. I recommend a blog when you've gotten well past the initial rage, and well into understanding what has happened to you, and well on your way to containing the problem. You're not in a position to open yourself up to the criticism you will get from a blog. You have to be very well grounded in what you know, and have a very firm grasp on a healthy mindset in order to deal with those who will come along and take swipes at you. Believe me, I get nasty comments with regularity. I've even been screamed at by a self-confessed narcissist for the things I say about narcissists.

A private journal would be far wiser than a blog, in my opinion. Don't be afraid of the anger. Channel it to start making changes that will minimize contact with the narcissists. Minimized or no contact will greatly facilitate you being able to dissipate the anger. It is the continual assaults that keep anger fresh and hot. Minimize contact and time with work her healing power.

Anonymous said...

I related so much to that website!
After reading your blog I went & checked it out, & it is so what I'm dealing with also, with my family of origin. You've written on these issues before, & I've taken your writings to heart throughout these past 2 yrs. Mob mentality,alpha dog & pecking order, rocking the boat,family image,etc,ad nauseum. Though my mind is accepting all of these truths--my soul still struggles with the harshness of the reality. My heart knows it's true. But my soul grieves for the loss of what I wanted to believe our family was. This website was yet another voice putting very clear words to the unchanging NATURE of the beast. Not the contrived actions,not the well-planned false words--but the very NATURE!
I know that when I have a defect of mine revealed to me, I get on my knees & pray i.e. humbly plead with God to change me, one day at a time. I don't glibly announce it to anyone. I realize the enormity of God's mercy, & my own undeservedness, but for His grace.
Turning it over to God doesn't excuse bad behaviour from me. I still must do my part, & it's often terribly hard, as I engage in spiritual warfare. That's where the big difference comes in. As outlined on your blog & this website-it's so much easier to turn away & PRETEND there's nothing wrong. That noone's been hurt. That there's no white elephant in the room. It's maddening! The only safe place is far away from it--where the wounds can heal into scars...

Cathy said...

My therapist once said to me when I wanted to go back in yet once again and explain, explain, explain to my narcissistic sister-in-law why she was an "unsafe" person for me:

You can't explain to an unsafe person why they are unsafe and make them see or understand. The very characteristics that make them unsafe in the first place prevent them from seeing it and owning it. If they were safe to begin with and have simply offended you, there would be no need for this endless merry-go-round. You'd be able to discuss it, deal with it and move on.

The article hits the nail on the head. It isn't so much their behavior as it is WHO THEY ARE. Wow!

Cinder Ella said...

This is definitely a website I need to check out. Are you sure you didn't write this essay? ;) I smiled at the "10 pages" part. There's nothing like affirmation, eh?


K said...

Wow great article. So accurate. Nice to read articles from others who understand.
My N-Mom is still, two years into no contact, running an active smear campaign against me where she goes on and on that she doesn't know what she did to me, and I won't tell her what she did to me. It is so much about years of incidents and about who my mom is a nasty, manipulative, mean, abusive person.

Anonymous said...

That article is fantastic. For anyone who has doubted themselves, there it is, step by step. Now, I ask you, when your abuser does these exact same things in exactly the same order, there is no room for doubt: the problem IS them!

Hellboy said...

Hi Anna,

Your blogs always provide a lot of relief, apart from being a source of information.

Thanks heaps, as always.

And, I liked your photograph very much! Very much like the image I had in my mind about you (can't exactly explain how, but believe me, it is!)


Anonymous said...

You send the most powerful message by refusing to respond to her at all .

Your silence screams what a hundred letters never will .

She wants .. do you really give a rats ass about what she wants ?

She WILL slink away if you refuse to engage .

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, Luke 17:3 Ministries is a great website. Sometimes my eyes cross at all of the fonts and colors and italics, but they make very good points.

And don't forget the classic, "I've forgotten because I'm old" that we've been battling the last two years. They sure pull that one out only when it suits them. And the rest of the family falls for it. Blech. (Lots of "blechs" today!)


Anna Valerious said...

I read a lot of Luke 17:3's content some time ago (about two years, I think). I hadn't been there for quite awhile until the other day which is why I'm suddenly highlighting them in posts.

I had to laugh at your comment about your eyes crossing cuz of the font size changes and colors. I hear ya. There are some color contrasts that totally whack my eyes out. I have to highlight to change the color so it is readable. Or I have copied and pasted into Wordpad to read it there.

Their content is very good though.

Anonymous said...

katytexasmommy. I haven't been dealing with it longer than you but writing it down can help. Journals, Anonymous blogs, paying a person to listen to you aka psychologist etc.

Sometimes I get in a foul mood and confront my mom every now an then. The results aren't good but I am glad I got it out lol. Ever been grounded for the rest of the year just because you pointed out to your mother that she is being a complete hypocrite.


Anonymous said...

Oh Anna,you have summed it up perfectly. I couldn't have said it better myself. These vile, evil beings are nothing but spiteful, malicious and vicious. I hate them to their rotten core. Why were these vicious sociopaths/psychopaths ever born?

Anonymous said...

That's why I just cannot get my head around us having to love our enemies. This just sucks because it would mean having to love someone who is beyond evil and demonic. Those hypocritical Christian narcissists use this to control us because they are malicious abusers themselves.

Anna Valerious said...

It is important to realize that God never commands us to have certain feelings toward others. Love is how you treat them. Love is not how you feel about them.

One of the clear delineations of love (in the Bible) is to not retaliate against those who use or abuse you. Removing yourself from their sphere is the opposite of retaliation. Christ telling us to turn the other cheek or walk an extra mile, etc. illustrate this non-retaliation principle.

God isn't demanding you have warm fuzzy feelings about anyone. He only is asking you to not retaliate, use vengeance, or harm others.