Let’s talk about guilt and abuse recovery.
People who haven’t experienced this don’t understand why the guilt we feel is so heavy.
“They abused you – what do you have to be guilty for?!”
This only confuses survivors more and causes us to implode.
On a logical level, we’re aware. We know that we shouldn’t feel guilty. But we do. So we end up falling down this rabbit hole of guilt, then knowing we shouldn’t feel guilty, and then feeling guilty about the guilt that we feel.
It ends up being this insane tornado that overwhelms us to the point of shut down.
Today, we’re talking about guilt.
The guilt about the guilt.
And the root cause of the guilt.
First – why do we feel guilty anyway?
This is for a variety of reasons but at the most basic level, because you’re a good person who got sucked into an awful game.
The longer you’re with your abuser, the more your brain gets attached and even addicted to them. You take it as your personal responsibility to take care of them, to try to make them happy, to keep them from destroying themselves and others.
This is a brief overview of what a trauma bond is. But before I dive deeper into that, I want to talk about keeping them from destroying themselves.
When you’re in a relationship with the abuser, you care about them. That’s why you got stuck in this cycle anyway. It hurts to see someone you care about hurt themselves and tear themselves down.
Because we’ve become so trauma bonded to this person, you don’t see clearly. You just want to do everything you can in order to keep them from hurting themselves.
I see this over and over again with friends, followers and clients.
You feel guilty walking away because the abuser has been through things. They’ve had a hard life. They’ve been through a lot and you take it as your personal responsibility to numb the pain for them. This gives you a sense of importance and belonging which only strengthens the connection your brain has to them.
I want you to take a pause with me for a minute.
Take a big deep breath in through your nose, out through your mouth.
And another one.
Repeat after me:
I am only responsible for me and my behavior.
It is not my job to fix someone else.
It is not my job to be someone else’s punching bag.
Make those your affirmations. Write them on sticky notes and place them all over your house. Make them your phone background. Whatever you need to do to see and hear those often.
But if we’re really getting honest, do you really want to let go of that guilt?
We tend to hold on guilt in order to punish ourselves because we feel we don’t deserve it.
We don’t deserve to feel freedom, let alone be guilt free. There was nothing forcing us into the relationship, we walked into it willingly and didn’t leave soon enough. It’s our fault.
Does that sound familiar?
These were the thoughts that played on repeat in my head for over a year after I got out.
So I know what this feels like. I know the mental exhaustion from running in circles in your mind. I know the battle between the logical part and the trauma bonded part.
The worst part for me was being so self aware that I knew what was happening but it felt like I had no control over it. It was just happening all on it’s own and I had no say in the matter.
If I’m being completely honest, I’m not sure when the guilt subsided.
I don’t have a step by step process to get rid of it.
But I do know that at some point within the last couple of years it wasn’t there anymore. I can tell you I don’t feel an ounce of guilt anymore. There are voices in my head that try to make me feel guilty, but I have no problem pushing them away.
I know my worth and that what happened wasn’t my fault. I know that he’s an autonomous adult with his own free will. When that happens, it’s beautiful.
Living guilt free is possible. It’s there. And it’s waiting for you.
When you begin to heal, the guilt begins to subside.
The more you know your worth, the more it dissipates.
If you’ve been waiting for a sign, this is it.
Make this the year that you commit to your recovery, that you commit to you.
You’ve got this, boo!