Posted by: Judy | January 6, 2015

Gratitude isn’t easy…

Rootstoblossom’s comment on my post last Tuesday turned on a lightbulb.

I won’t pretend being grateful this year will be easy. It won’t. My EF still slips me a little extra cash when NM is more difficult than usual. The extra isn’t explicitly stated as hush money, so to speak, but the timing is unmistakable.

Abuse survivors are caught in a difficult spot.

We’re expected to be grateful for being abused. Not in so many words. Abusers rarely actually say so. Instead, our abusers expect us to thank them for everything they do for us. We are expected to magically forget the abuse they inflict. We don’t forget. We subtly learn we are supposed to be grateful for everything given us, including the unwanted attention, the cruelty, the slights, the abuse.

I hadn’t ever considered what a betrayal that is until I typed it.

Abuse victims live in an upside down world.

Evil is declared good and good is evil. “Your parents are so wonderful. Why are you so mean to them?”

“This is going to hurt you more than it hurts me.” How do they know?

“You’re a mistake.” People make mistakes. They are not mistakes.

“They’re doing the best they can.” Choosing not to change is not doing the best you can. Choosing to avoid seeking help is not doing the best you can.

“They’re your parents. You have to love them.” They may be, but no you don’t.

“You’re stupid.” You are a child of the most high God. I’ve done plenty of stupid things, but I’m not stupid. Psalms 139:14 “…I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

When I first chose gratitude as my word of the year I thought it would be a simple matter of being more grateful. Rootstoblossom made me step back and recognize the truth. Do I truly know what gratitude is?

A few years ago, I finally admitted to myself that I had no idea what honor was. I had a vague sense the concept, but I honestly didn’t know. I spent months reading and researching what honor is. I think I have a much better idea now. I think I’m more honorable now than I ever have been before. I hope so.

I confess I need to study gratitude before I’m able to fully embrace it.

Maybe that was the problem with last year’s word, Happy. I didn’t take the time to study it, learn it, so I’d recognize it when it entered my life.

It’s going to be an interesting year.



  1. I thoroughly relate to your not knowing what these concepts really are. I read in a book, many years ago, that words have the meaning that it is given in our families of origin. That’s why the same word can mean entirely different things to people of different families. I think in the book it said this was because the way the word was used in each family would imbue the word with a different content. (I’ll try to find the passage and write a post about it.) So, we are “subject” to whatever meaning was giving to the word in our families which in our case, as you said, it’s an “upside down world”. I’ve been going through a similar phase lately. Someone recently remarked that it sounded like my sister is jealous of me. I struggled to understand the idea. Then it dawned on me that I don’t fully understand what jealousy really is aside from the general concept. That it’s easy enough to talk about things like gratitude or happiness or jealousy in abstract terms, but when it comes down to how they actually feel like or what they actually look like in every day life, I have no idea.

    • Kara, you’ve given me so many new insights. Thank you.

      • Yes, definitely insightful.

  2. “They’re doing the best they can.”

    This one bugs me the most. I wanted to spit nails when people would say this to me.

    My mother often threw the word “ungrateful” at me. It was like she though any straying from how she wanted me to act meant I was not grateful for having a roof over my head, etc. I guess the price of that roof was my soul and individuality. Ugh, narcissists suck.

    • Narcissists don’t know what gratitude is, and we were raised by them. We are learning, now. We will do this. We are changing.

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