I post stories of abuse survivors because I think their stories can help to inform and validate that this experience can happen to anyone. There’s a lot of shame and self-blame that survivors carry.
When people identify me as a victim of abuse, because of my dysfunctional childhood, I dislike that label because it focuses on negative actions that were beyond my control. I’m a survivor of domestic abuse, not its victim. The stigma of shame is attached to the victim but all the shame really belongs to the perpetrator.
My family was stuck in denial about physical violence and abuse because they were culturally trained to cope with it in silence. We were raised in a misogynistic mindset where the value of females was less than those of males. Women and children were controlled by the male patriarch for generations, and change happens slowly.
In Korea physical abuse was considered discipline (teachers were still allowed to hit students too). No one spoke out about being abused because it was normalized, “What did you do to get beaten?” or if you were raped it was because you were being irresponsible/didn’t protect yourself, that kind of mentality.
It didn’t matter if you were raised as a North American citizen, as I was, the rules of tradition were steadfastly followed by the 1st generation immigrants. But I was the anomaly in my family and the older I get, I realize there’s nothing wrong with being surrounded by people who can’t comprehend you. It’s not your fault or theirs, they simply can’t understand what you understand, they’re incapable of it.
You can’t teach people to see you for who are are no matter how much you try to show them. You can’t control anyone else’s thoughts or opinions about you, no matter what you do. Doing what they want, to receive their subjective acceptance is really about trying to manipulate them, but they’re still manipulating you. People pleasing doesn’t earn respect, just the opposite.
Compassion can bridge the gap. I feel compassion for my family’s judgement of me but I don’t have to absorb or believe in it. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish and being a good person doesn’t mean you have to accept abuse. That’s something I didn’t understand fully until recently.