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Why is it so hard for one to open up about an abusive past?

How to you summon the courage to share? What are the reasons that one may keep such terrible things locked inside? How does one overcome this fear of sharing?


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    May 23 2013: I know some victims and coupled with shame is a frequent feeling by society and victim that it was the victim's fault. In sharing, it takes a desire to help others. It also seems difficult for people to believe that it actually happened in the way described. The evil that some can do is somehow beyond our ability to accept of others. These add to reticence to share. Abuse is often surrounded by system failure: individuals who did not act; those in charge of ensuring a safe environment who failed; and those in charge of checking safety and of fixing things in the aftermath may fail. General trust can be destroyed -only avoided if people act responsibly in the first place, rather than fall into a pattern of irresponsible behavior that enables abuse.

    To fix? Therapy, obviously, and safe people/safe spaces are key. Also, time and timing: those under stress are more close with feelings or those who have not yet come to terms. I suspect there is a fear that disclosure will somehow come to define the victim so education of the non-abused is important to help them show belief and not be prejudiced against the abused. Once educated, if one falls abused, they may have different reaction and different expectations placed on others than currently. Compassion as a trait we expect of each other generally. How can society become more compassionate and responsible?
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      May 24 2013: Chris,
      You ask..."How can society become more compassionate and responsible?"

      One of the first steps is awareness, which has begun. For a very long time, abuse was not talked about, and as you say...it seems difficult for people to believe that it is actually happening as described.

      It used to be common to think that abuse only happened in certain socio-economic segments of society, and we know that is not true. I think, in some instances abuse is "normalized", and that prevents people from addressing it. People sometimes don't know what to do, so they do nothing. As you say...abuse is often surrounded by system failures. I have volunteered in a shelter, family center, correctional facilities, and been a case reviewer for kids in state custody. We were seeing all the same families, going through these systems for generations. You mention some of the reasons why the systems fail.

      I believe that our communication systems are going to help with awareness, because one very common underlying factor with abuse is isolation. If we can be aware and communicate our awareness, we may have a chance to become a more compassionate and responsible society.

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