If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, you know the shame. While in the relationship, our shame avoids eye contact and minimizes harm. When someone questions why we stay with someone who hurts us, we scoff at the question and promise ourselves to double down on our secrecy. Once we’ve left the abuser, we finally shed the shame of being discovered and face the new shame of having stayed too long. We vacillate between Should I have stayed and tried harder? and Why didn’t I leave earlier? We find no satisfactory answer for these shame-based questions.
Would it surprise you that abusers are experts in brokering shame? In the farmer’s market of shame, they operate the high-traffic booth on the corner sharing free samples and peddling it to customers that look like easy marks. Abusers understand the power of shame in motivating their targets.
Like a colt imprinted in early training to accept human touch, we targets of abuse were imprinted early in life to accept shame. My own imprinting was subtle and well within the limits of socially acceptable parenting, but I was an extremely sensitive colt, and quickly learned to accept shame. I hear other breathtakingly brutal childhood stories, and I grieve. Shivers run through my nerves when I think of children currently being groomed to bear the shame of their supposed caretakers.
Maybe we can’t stop abusers from attempting to pack their shame onto our backs, but I believe we can refuse the load. Powerful, beautiful, and wise is a website dedicated to rejecting the shame of abuse. I was abused, I learned, and now I know better. Why must it remain a secret? It mustn’t, and that’s what started this website and my book.
Please stick around and join me in bucking off that load of shame and becoming the whole free creatures we want to be.