The topic of my last article was betrayal blindness. I discussed how trauma can cause a person to forget abusive episodes, acting as is a psychological defense that prevents an individual from trauma overload.
Abuse minimization is similar to betrayal blindness, but not quite as extreme--and it's also more common. I've spoken with hundreds of domestic abuse victims and survivors, and the stories are all painfully similar. Nearly all of survivors eventually arrive at the realization they’d minimized their situations. In a previous article I mentioned that minimization isn’t a deliberate effort to excuse the behavior of the abuser. Instead, it’s a subconscious attempt to make sense of the nonsensical and to preserve a crucial relationship.
However, minimizing abuse can't be maintained long-term. At some point, a victim has to come to terms with what's happening in order to set up boundaries and begin to heal.
Forgiveness is also a crucial part of the healing journey, but forgiveness can't take place if the intensity of the abusive relationship isn't fully admitted. In order to forgive, a person needs to know exactly what they need to forigve.
PDF on forgiveness from Nicky Verna of Hope's Garden.
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I'm Jenny duBay, a domestic abuse survivor and now advocate. My degree is in Christian theology with a concentration on spiritual direction, and my vocational emphasis is on helping those who have suffered from domestic abuse to heal and reclaim their true selves.