Posted by: Judy | February 20, 2012

Learning to live free…

A couple of days ago, upsi had quite the dust up. She was called to task for her unwillingness to continue to associate with the narcissists in her life. I’m frequently amazed at her graciousness, and awed by how many people come to her defense. Not because they come to her defense, but because these are people who have been taught they aren’t allowed to protest their abuse, and though they may not speak up for themselves, they will for a friend, more for someone they recognize as a defender. I was also impressed by the incredible perceptions expressed. I learned a lot. Those replying were saying what I was thinking, but better than I could have.

She has created an environment where she encourages love and  compassion toward people who knew little if any from the place they should have been given those things, namely their families. She encourages others on their journey to becoming a better person, better than they were taught to be.

You see, we were taught to be slaves, lacking the right to feel our own feelings, lacking the right to live our own lives, lacking the right to be ourselves.

As slaves to our abusers we were fed and clothed, sometimes very well to show off the master’s wealth and supposed generosity, and sometimes only enough to be kept from drawing the attention of those who would do something about it. Slaves may be neglected or given lavish gifts, but they are still slaves to the master’s will. They may be allowed to socialize with others, but always they are under the master’s thumb and subject to the master’s whims. They may or may not be required to “service” their master or their master’s friends, or they may be set up to be used by other predators. Instead of their masters having papers stamped with “Sold,” they have papers listing them as “Mother and Father or Husband and Wife.” If it is a relative, the same paper is waved about as proof of “family,” endowed with familial rights. In any case. the papers are held to be as binding. Proof they have the right to do as they see fit.

Do you know how they train an elephant not to run away?

When it is a baby, they chain it to a post. No matter how much it pulls, it cannot escape. As the animal grows accustomed, it stops pulling. There comes a time when the chain is replaced by a rope, until the thinnest of lines will hold the giant animal in place.

Abuse victims are taught they cannot escape. Some never believe it, and fight, sometimes to the death. Others, believe it, until someone opens the door to free them, and they curl up in a ball, unable to even take a step toward freedom. Remember the viral video about the dog who’d spent its whole life in a cage?

I was taught from my earliest memories I could not survive without my family. I’m almost 50 years old. I have had a few friends open the door wide, and offer a way out. Sometimes, I would look with longing, but most times, I would curl into a ball, and cry, unable to bear the sight. It was beautiful, but even the thought of reaching for it would cause searing pain and terror.

From my earliest memories and throughout my life, it was driven into me I would die without my family. I would die if I tried to make it on my own, because family was everything, and I shouldn’t complain, because it could be worse.


  1. Family can really suck. I am glad we are teaching each other how to get out of that damn cookie jar.

    • Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  2. we are groomed to believe we have no other options, and eventually, we quit even looking for an escape … if we get really, really lucky, we find our way out anyway, and discover that the world is bigger than we had hoped

    • I haven’t given up hope.

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