Augusten Burroughs writes that Affirmations are dishonest. “They are a form of self-betrayal based on bogus, side-of-the-cereal-box psychology..The truth is, it is not going to help to stand in front of the mirror, look into your own eyes, and lie to yourself. Especially when you are the one person you are supposed to believe you can count on.
“Affirmations are the psychological equivalent of sprinkling baby powder on top of the turd your puppy has left on the carpet. This does not result in a cleaner carpet. It coats the underlying issue with futility.” This Is How, p 4-5, 2012.
I would like everyone to be safe, but sometimes survivors who have been abused need to be especially cautious, because of a tendency to expect abuse and not watch out for it. This may be especially true for incest survivors.
Right now, look around yourself and check that you are physically, emotionally, and interpersonally safe. If you are not safe, problem-solve. Where does the danger lie and what can you do about it? Then do it. Remember, denial is the bugaboo. Safety concerns might include birth control, protection from STDS, abuse of substances, illegal activities such as shoplifting and DUI’s, an unsafe living arrangement, acquaintances that have a toxic effect on you, impulsive behaviors–yours and theirs–frequenting unsafe places, etc.
Many survivors find themselves in unsafe relationships which they do not see as abusive because of their past. Ask yourself if you are being respected, listened to, and free of physical and emotional abuse. (Emotional abuse includes being called abusive names). All of us incest survivors were trapped in the abuse earlier, for which we were not responsible. We are responsible now if we allow ourselves to be further abused in any way.
It just came to me that we survivors are so busy and judgmental of ourselves for not knowing how to totter on heels that we fail to realize we’re still developmentally learning how to tie our shoelaces. Loving patience and self-encouragement…
From Fallout: A Survivor Talks to Incest Offenders (And Others), by moi.
From time to time I wondered how my father or grandfather would have fit into our prison group. Would they have denied their culpability? My grandfather would deny his molesting behavior and perhaps convince himself that he was blameless. I can imagine him complaining–as I have heard more than one offender do–that “It’s gotten so you can’t even give your grandkid a hug any more.” I do not believe that treatment would have deterred my grandfather. My father would have been more honest, but both would have denied that any damage had been done. (p 16)