Posted by: Judy | March 23, 2020

Tough Subject: Abuse

Angela, over at Water for Camels, handles this well.

I would add one suggestion for parents:

Teach your children that they have the right to say, “No.” As unpleasant and frustrating as that can be, sometimes, it is a vital skill.

My first experience with meeting in a group of survivors happened when I was in my late 20s and continued into my early 30s. We’d all endured different kinds of abuse, some severe and some not but all abuse. Our very first meeting, we were all horribly uncomfortable. We didn’t know how to talk to each other. What do you say? We didn’t even know what to say to ourselves. What did you say to another survivor?

After a great deal of awkwardness and stumbling, we came to the realization that the one thing we shared, without exception, is that we hadn’t had the right to say, “No.” Once we realized that, we recognized that the details didn’t really matter because it all came back to us not having the right to say, “No.”

Every healthy person knows how to say, “No.”

No is a complete sentence. This was an extremely difficult lesson to learn. I always needed to make excuses. With practice, I’ve learned to keep the excuses in my head, sometimes.

“No.” I plan on doing nothing this week. They don’t have to know that.

Two-year-olds understand the power of “No.” And then parents condition them out of it. You have to hug the creepy aunt or uncle who makes your skin crawl. You have to give grandma a kiss, even though you want to run away. You have to be nice to the man or woman your parents are trying to impress.

Granted, as an adult, you have to use wisdom. Children need to have the opportunity to learn to be circumspect. They’ll muff it up plenty, but better to do that when they’re young than when they’re facing an unreasonable boss and trying to decide if they can afford to lose their job.


  1. I think this is something I need to work on as well. Thanks for opening my eyes.

    • Not easy but doable. 🙂

  2. I’m sad to see you are still suffering. I wish you complete freedom one day. 🙂

    • Better every day.

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