In the course of my recovery, there came a time when I wanted my abusers to suffer. Most people who have been, or are being abused, don’t seek help. Statistics on abuse show that as many as 60 percent of perpetrators are never prosecuted. In my case, my abusers were never called to account for their actions. When I began to talk about my abuse and work through all that had occurred, I came to a point where I was angry and resentful. My nightmares of abuse shifted to ugly visions of ways in which I could cause as much suffering to them as possible without killing them. I had to work to reconcile these intense emotions where I wanted to make my abusers suffer to continue healing.
I Considered Ways to Make My Abuser Suffer
I hated my abusers, but I wasn’t enjoying the thought of seeing them in physical pain. It burned bitterly to know that their lives continued without shame, humiliation, feelings of worthlessness, panic attacks, or dissociation. I wanted them to own my burden. I wanted their families to turn away from them; I wanted them alone and scared.
I sought them out and discovered that one of them was still alive and living in the same house where he abused me. He had a family, including a teenage son. My anger became focused on this living perpetrator and I thought of making this abuser suffer.
I worked with my therapist. I thought about sending my abuser’s son a letter, telling him what his father had done. Surely that would hurt this offender. In my unhealed state, it was all about finally lashing out at my aggressor, successfully retaliating against the abuse.
Making My Abuser Suffer Could Not Cure Me
All of the hate that I generated towards making my abuser suffer was never going to lead me to recovery. My counselor had ideas for me to consider. While I did not appreciate them immediately, I needed to hear them. Here is what she presented to me:
- Hatred stands in the path of healing. If all of your energy pours into anger, your trauma is still there, behind it, thriving and untended. In my anger, I was considering harming an entire family to satisfy my desire for revenge on one abuser. This would have haunted me forever if I had done it.
- Hate gives power to the perpetrator. All those years later, he was unknowingly still able to push me to my emotional limits. I came to understand that by healing and growing strong enough to have as much concern for him as I did for a speck of dirt on my chin, I took away his significance. He became inconsequential, powerless.
- Forgiveness is not mandatory. While dealing with my hatred, I was also waging another battle with guilt. I had been raised to believe that it was a requirement to forgive those that have hurt you. For those who can and find peace, it is a significant healing step. For myself, I could not forgive; I could cast him aside. I placed him in a position of absolute indifference.
My Abuser Has No Power Over Me
I want to be clear that getting to the point where I didn’t narrow my eyes in anger every moment I considered my remaining abuser took some time. I still refer to him as “the disgusting scumbag,” and I admit it is a bit satisfying to do so. I don’t know if he is still alive; it doesn’t matter.
If you are struggling with hatred towards your abuser and thoughts of making your abuser suffer, I hope you find someone to talk to and a way to rob this person of any power over your emotions. As always, I welcome your comments and look forward to them.
- “Are There National Statistics about Child Abuse?” Ark of Hope for Children. Ark of Hope for Children Inc., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2017.