Sunday, January 20, 2008

Blame Keeps You Stuck---Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 7

The Doubleday Dictionary For Home, School, and Office gives the definition of blame as:

1. To accuse of fault;
2. To find fault with; reproach;
3. To hold responsible for something undesirable.

Blame can keep you stuck in the abuse in two ways.

When I was a child and a young adult, I didn't tell anyone about the incest because I thought they would blame me and say the abuse was my fault. I was so afraid of being judged as bad that I kept the secret inside of me for many years after the abuse stopped.

In many ways, I was told that women were sex objects that drew the abuse to them. I didn't know any different. I grew up believing the there was something really, really wrong with me or men wouldn't treat me that way. I never thought I was pretty so that couldn't be what drew the abuse to me. I thought that there was something about me that was just inherently bad. I didn't know that I didn't deserve to be treated that way.

Today, I know better. Today, I have healthy boundaries. Today, I know that incest and child abuse in any form are never the fault of the child. Today, I know that the shame lies with the abuser, not the abused. Today, I have self-love and self-respect so that is how others treat me.

Another way to let blame keep you stuck in the abuse is when you make blaming your life story. You can get so caught up in what happened to you that you live in the past or you recreate it in your present by the choices that you make. If you are actively playing the victim role, you invite people into your life who will abuse you. What you expect from life, Life gives you. People will treat you the exact way that you expect them to.

Yes, I was sexually abused as a child. Yes, my abuser was at fault. Yes, I can make better choices in my life today. Yes, I can choose to walk away from people who want to abuse me today. Yes, I can build a better life for myself than I had as a child. Yes, I can allow hope, love and joy into my life. Yes, I can refuse to be a victim any longer. Yes, I can forgive myself and, if I choose, I can also forgive my abusers.

Are any of these stories who I am today? No, I am not my story. I can use my story to help others if I choose to. I am. We all are so much more than our stories can ever tell. Don't let blaming keep you stuck in the abuse any longer.

I have been reading and commenting at some great blogs this week. I am going to share those with you today. I hope that you check them out and meet the wonderful people behind these blogs:

Andrea Hess writes an article called "What's Your Story" found at

Slade Roberson wrote an article called "The Stories That No Longer Serve You" found at

Matthew Spears at Loving Awareness wrote an article called "The Essence of Compassion Part 2" found at

SANCTUARY FOR THE ABUSED has an article called "Blame: One Painful Way of Defeating Yourself" found at . This is the January 2008 edition.

There are two Blog Carnivals that I also want to share with you:

Carnival Against Child Abuse---You will find the current carnival at . This is the January 2008 edition.

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 39---You will find the January 15, 2008 edition of this carnival at


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for linking to my article, Patricia! And for participating in that discussion ...

I think you're so right - blaming our life events ends up hurting us by keeping us out of our own power.

Thanks for your continuing work!

Patricia Singleton said...

Andrea, you are welcome and thanks to you for the inspiration to do the article. I remember when I was going to Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) meetings. Several times I would get comments from people in Alcoholics Anonymous(AA) to the effect that "Oh, you are in that group that likes to blame their parents for what is wrong with their lives." I know that those comments probably came from their own fear of being blamed by their own children but it always made me ask myself if that was what I was doing. For a short time, that was probably true for me. Some people do get stuck in that stage and never leave it. In Al-Anon, I got that my recovery was all about me and what I do with my life rather than the other person and what was done to me. I am so grateful to my ACA sponsor who told me that I had to also go to Al-Anon meetings. They both changed my life for the good.

After 10 years of not going to meetings, last week I went to an Al-Anon meeting with a friend who wants to go. It felt like I had never left. I will continue to go with my friend as soon as she wants me to. I will still find benefits for me from going to meetings as well.

Patricia Singleton said...

Little details seem to keep slipping past me lately. Matthew, I am sorry for putting the wrong link to your wonderful article. I left out a little hyphen that I didn't see. Here is the corrected link:

Resim said...

This was a very powerful post. Your vulnerability and courage are inspiring. Thank you!

Patricia Singleton said...

Jeremy, thanks. I hope you check out the sites and people that inspired me to write this article.

Matthew | Loving Awareness said...

Thank you for linking to me as well!

Blame is a touchy one. It's essentially about denying a part of yourself, part of the experience.

This is different from honest anger or even hate. Here's what I wrote a bit ago about my healing journey:


I realized that I had never been given (or gave myself) permission to hate. I could get angry with a reason, but that childlike "I hate you!" or "I hate this!" without reason, just feelings, wasn't given a full spectrum. This made it really hard because a lot of my memories are still suppressed - and because of this I was unsure if I was allowed to feel hate without 'reason'.

The end result I realized was that it all went inside and came out as self-hatred and self-destructive behavior.

I'm with someone very loving and knowledgeable about emotions, and we both have learned that hatred isn't the opposite of love. In fact, it's part of love. You can see this in children. So we've given ourselves freedom to say "I hate you". Not in any sort of attacking way. It's funny that if you say it in a vulnerable way it can be really touching. There've been more than a few tears at being given the freedom to say this. Letting go of many images of what love is. Stopping walking on tip toes and trusting.

So I've been realizing I've pushed away many hates. Hating what happened to me. Hating my brother. Hating my mom who didn't want to see any problems and only wanted me to act 'perfect'. Hating the world which came down hard any time pain or some of this came out.

This hate has nothing to do with desiring to "get back" or punish anyone or anything, or that anyone owes me anything. It's simply a raw emotion, more about acknowledging the need for appropriate distancing. I think that because I didn't allow it inside myself, I pretty much ensured that I would be in relationships with boundary issues - way too close to each other or very distant. Inviting it back actually brings more love out.

Joker said...

Thanks for your kind compliments... Greatly appreciate it... I had read some of your articles and was worry that some of my blog contents may be offending to you... My apologies in advance should you came across such jokes, pictures or videos...

Patricia Singleton said...

Matthew, I agree with you. My deepest pain came from loving and hating my dad at the same time. My feelings were so confusing that I didn't know how to deal with them so I denied that I felt the hate and almost developed ulcers instead when I was in my 20's. For many years, I turned my anger inward on myself and created many health problems. Thanks for your comments.

Patricia Singleton said...

Joker, I don't easily get offended. I always have the choice to read or not to read. Thanks for caring.

Anonymous said...

Very inspiring. Well, the moment you talk about abuse, there's necessarily a victim, the one that's abused. So the victim cannot be blamed.

Patricia Singleton said...

Alfa, I wish everyone thought like you on this subject but they don't. My family was very judgmental, especially the women. When I was 10 years old, an aunt told me that I was going to Hell because I was wearing shorts. Imagine what she would have said if she knew about the incest. I have talked to other survivors whose parents did say the abuse was their fault. I read about one abuse victim who went home and told her dad, a minister, what the neighbor had done to her and she got a beating from her dad and was told that she must have done something to have caused the man to act that way. Do you think she blamed herself? People can think the worst about you when they find out that you have been sexually abused.

Anonymous said...

What an inspiring post. I felt and understood every word you wrote. Blame can have such a powerful hold over someone and to have the ability and to feel the relief of releasing that hold is just amazing.

Patricia Singleton said...

Barbara, thank you for your words of praise. It is so sad to see someone who isn't living their life to the fullest that they can because they are stuck in blaming others for what is wrong with their lives.

Anonymous said...

"If you are actively playing the victim role, you invite people into your life who will abuse you. What you expect from life, Life gives you. People will treat you the exact way that you expect them to."

This is classic example of manifesting negatively. By playing the victim and blaming others we open ourselves up to manifest dark energy and connect with those who also manifest the same darkness leading to an endless cycle of abuse.

Thank you for your honesty, strength and integrity, your movingmany toward the light!

Patricia Singleton said...

Michael, thank you for your words. My objective is definitely to stop the abuse by giving knowledge to others.

Anonymous said...

Wow! You've come a long way, that's for sure. Good job and great post.

Tuck, The Rebel Belle said...

Hi Patricia, Thanks for responding to my Rebel Belle email. I truly appreciate what you shared. is fabulous to meet you. I am subscribing to your blog to stay connected and immerse myself in the wonderful words and experiences you share. Rock on!
Tuck, The Rebel Belle

Patricia Singleton said...

Brandon, thanks for visiting and for your comment.

Tuck, I am glad you liked my blog enough to subscribe. I enjoyed meeting you through your blog too.
Both of you have a glorious day.

Anonymous said...

Dear Patricia -

I believe that under the "Blame" is an insidious feeling called SHAME.

That is an imprint that does not go away and comes up in the oddest ways - when someone does not call you back - if you are reprimanded by anyone anywhere. If you feel disrepected in the smallest way.

I have found, as an incest survivor, that the only way to deal with it is to recognize the core and LABEL it right away. "OK - here it is again!" It helps the feeling go away.

Patricia Singleton said...

Anonymous, I agree with you. Shame is an emotion that I still sometimes struggle with today. It gets buried so deeply inside of me that I am still surprised when I find new pockets of shame to deal with. It has been the most difficult to deal with because shame can affect every part of who you are. What helped me the most with shame was a John Bradshaw book called "Healing The Shame That Binds You." I found out that a lot of what I thought was guilt was really shame instead.

Patricia Singleton said...

Andrea Hess has posted this article in her Carnival of Truth #6 found at
Check out the articles and if you like them, Stumble them and the Carnival itself to let others know about these great writers. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Patricia, Blaming does keep us stuck in victim mode... I am curious what you think about this dynamic (I've thought about this a lot and it makes sense to me): 1.We are taught how to love by our parents. 2. The abuse must mean love. 3. If someone loves me, then they must abuse me and if they don't I need to find someone who will so I can be loved.

I know this isn't true, but it feels like it underlies the way we can draw abusers to us... Until we stop blaming ourself, I think this dynamic can keep the cycle of abuse going. What do you think?

Patricia Singleton said...

CK, Thank you for adding to this article with your list. Yes, I agree with you that for many of us, these 3 things do play a part in how the blame works in our lives. I played this for awhile in my life then by the grace of God, my husband came along. My sister is still caught in this with her relationships. I think I will have to turn my anwswer to your question into another article. You have helped me remember that I did do this also for awhile.