Identifying with abuse victims. A new realization--I read an article today about a film about sex abuse by clergy in Poland and realized that while the victims were children and I am not, and while they suffered the physical abuse and I did not, and while they knew what was going on and I did not, I easily identify with victims of such abuse.
Four years ago, after discovery, two therapists asked me if I identified with the women by H had exploited. I thought the question strange at first but then realized that EI behaviors involve double exploitation.
Perhaps all betrayal involves double exploitation-notwithstanding the moral weakness of a typical AP who, despite knowing her lover is married, continues the relationship even asking that he leave his wife and family, the betrayer is exploiting the AP -especially when he has no idea or plan to leave his marriage.
But an even colder, more heartless form of exploitation is evident with the men who exploit the young women working in massage parlors--as in my H's case, day after day, week after week, year after year. To these men it makes no difference that they are promoting sex trafficking and it doesn't bother them that they are also exploiting their partners, their spouses.
But I said, no, I didn't identify with those women. As bad as their lives were, socially, financially, they were not being lied to, they were not being fooled-they were not doing things daily, weekly under a false impression of their husband's decency, loyalty and and good faith. They were certainly exploited by him, disrespected, trivialized, dishonored as women, and as human beings, but not deceived and manipulated.
But I do identify with the abuse victims I hear about. They were mislead and manipulated. I relate to their asking their abusers "why," "why, did you do that?" "How could you?" I've asked my abuser betrayer H the same questions.
The massage parlor prostitutes don't have such questions. They haven't been disillusioned by their clients, their johns. It's all up front and honest in a way. Not even so secret to the outside world since the signs for their business are all over the place; my H found his places in a local paper. So no secrets between them. But surely a huge secret with regards to me, our lives together and a secret with everyone else in his life outside the parlor. I was part of a secret life I knew nothing about; how crazy is that?
The abuse of the children also involves secret. The children are told to keep the secret. Now I keep the secret too. It's not to protect him but to protect myself-but it's secret keeping still.
The victims, now adults, speak of feeling shame. They carry the shame with them through life. feel shame. Yes, it's different in the detail. They were innocently but physically involved; I was not. They sort of knew. I did not. But now I do. And now I feel the shame of being married to someone who could live that way, do what he did, feel as he did, want as he did, lie as he did, exploit and abuse as he did. Shame for being with someone so insensitive, so exploitative. And so needy of such a fix.
I can identify with the abuse victims when they talk about their disgust and how certain things can trigger their disgust years after.
I still cannot watch tv with my H because that is what we did when he came home from work. I didn't know then, but I know at least twice weekly it wasn't just work he'd been at all day but also the parlors. And I still feel disgust when passing a T-Mobile store because I learned he used a TM cell phone to make his appointments.
Like the victims of sex abuse, I too would spend years dealing with the trauma and the disillusion. Dealing with the freakiness of learning someone was not who we assumed; learning someone we respected, trusted, loved, was a very creepy, unhealthy and unethical person.
The abuse victims in these stories were innocents. The vast majority were children or young teens. I was a wife, not a child, but I also relate to their innocence as I relate to their feelings of disgust, and shame and sadness.