Forgiveness, Child Abuse, Dissociation and An Experiment With Gentle Reparenting

As a child of abusive parents, you are faced with a terrible dilemma. If you disown your abusive family, you become an orphan. If you belong to your abusive family, you implicitly condone the abuse. By not forgiving yourself, you are choosing to be part of the family. You are also seeing yourself as deserving of the abuse they meted out, and denying that you are worthy of the love of others.

Precious Daughter, Lois, It’s over twenty-two years since you walked into my office for help with depression , which we decided was secondary to chronic pain brought on by multiple abdominal surgeries. You told me your birth family was “close”. Little did I know just how “close” your family was! Nine years passed, during which you saw me off and on. I didn’t seem to be able to make much of a dent in your depression. Then again, other people and approaches to dealing with pain and depression didn’t seem to help either. There were some indications that your parents weren’t quite as nice as you claimed. For example, they blamed you when a blizzard made you late in getting home, and they seemed to see their own illnesses as more important than yours, but nothing foreshadowed the horror you have described here. Were someone like you to walk into my office today, I would suspect severe abuse, but then, it didn’t cross my mind. Continue reading “Forgiveness, Child Abuse, Dissociation and An Experiment With Gentle Reparenting”