The Distorted View of an Abuse Victim
A Distorted View of Reality
When my son was around 9 years old, he apparently needed glasses. We did not know that he needed glasses. He was not aware that things were blurry to him. He thought that what he saw was reality. For example when he looked at trees he saw a green blurry mess. For him this is what trees looked like. He did not know any differently. This was a distorted view of reality, but it was all he knew. He had no way of knowing that what he saw was not reality. So to him it was reality!
When we discovered this, of course we took him to the eye doctor to have his eyes checked. The doctor confirmed that he needed glasses. He put on his new glasses, and we walked outside. He immediately exclaimed, “Wow! The trees have leaves!” For the first time, he could see clearly the individual leaves of the tree. He was so surprised at this and found it to be very enjoyable. Now he was seeing a clear picture of reality.
Check Your Symptoms
Before getting glasses, you might experience bad headaches and not know why. These headaches can cause you to be frustrated and tired. Yet you still do not know where this is all coming from. Kids can even start having bad grades as a result of vision issues. If these things are going on with your child, you start trying to figure out why rather than fuss at them for not being good enough, right?
So take a look at yourself. These are some of the symptoms you need to be checking.
Do you feel like everything is your fault?
Do you feel that you are never good enough?
Do you doubt everything you do, say, or think?
Do you see yourself as worthless and hopeless?
Are you losing motivation in life?
Do you struggle to get out of bed?
Do you feel you have no purpose in life?
If you are experiencing these symptoms, then you need to start exploring. It may not be from abuse, just like your child might not need glasses. There can be other reasons for headaches and bad grades. And there can be other reasons for your symptoms. One big thing to ask yourself is - Are you especially experiencing these symptoms around one particular person in your life and noAbust around others?
The Distorted View of Abuse Victims
Victims of abuse definitely experience a distorted view of reality. Not physically, like my son’s eyes. Rather, your distorted vision is turned inward. You do feel like everything is your fault and everything is your job to fix. You feel that no matter what you do you are not good enough and never will be. You doubt everything you do, say or think. You see yourself as worthless and your situation as hopeless. You have an extremely tough time seeing a clear view of reality, and you might not even be aware of it. Your vision is extremely distorted.
A distorted view of reality absolutely affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You find yourself with no energy, tired all the time, not feeling well, and all sorts of physical ailments.Yet you do not know why. Your mind goes into hyper-drive until it reaches a point of total exhaustion and shuts down completely. Emotions become too painful to feel anymore. Your relationships suffer. Consequently, you lose all motivation to even function. There seems to be no purpose in life anymore. Building the strength to even get out of bed can prove quite challenging. You easily become more and more isolated from the world, and even from those you love, and yet you continue to blame yourself for all of this. This has a disastrous effect on your life.
You are just like my son, trying to decide if what you are seeing is real or not. Are the trees really a blurry green mess or do they have individual leaves? Are the words on the board at school written with a blurry marker or are they clear? Is all this your fault or have you been manipulated to believe this? Are you completely worthless or is there great value in you?
Our son would never have known he needed glasses if he had not spoken up to someone, anyone. He asked me if I could read the words on the movie screen. “Yes, of course,” I replied. “What does it say?” he asked. I was surprised. “You read it,” I said. He responded, “I can’t. I can’t see the letters.” So the process that lead to contact lenses began.
You also need an outside perspective. You need to open up about what you are going through. Start talking about it. Start asking questions. Don’t keep it inside any longer. Even if your friend or family member doesn’t understand, that’s okay. The more you can talk about your feelings, the sooner you can start getting some clarity on them. Quit assuming that you know all the answers already. Let go of the belief that you can tough your way through this.
You must admit that you need help. There is absolutely no shame in that! Join support groups. Read books on healing from abuse and on mindfulness. You need tools that can help you get a better perspective of what reality is. You have to be able to get out of your own mind and see life from a healthier perspective. Just like you would go to the eye doctor to check your view of reality, don't hesitate to go to a counselor, therapist, psychologist, or any other form of help to check your view of reality.
Keep picturing those blurry green blobs that my son saw as trees. Accept that your own perspective may be every bit as blurry. There is a reason you are here looking for answers. You are not alone on this path! I wish you much peace on your journey of healing!