The trauma of child abuse: from denial to healing, part 4 of 4

The invitation, the concern and the wish

Truth is the key to healing.

I ended the first part of this four-part post with these concepts:

Free at last….

And the first step was truth—hearing it, believing it, receiving it.

From lies to truth
To move from denial to healing, we have to throw away the lies and drink in the truth. In part 1 of The Trauma of Abortion, you read the many lies involved in that devastating trauma, as well as the three big truths.

What lies were involved in Brandon’s lifetime of abuse?

Top 10 Lies of Sociopathic Parents
1. “We love you!”
2. “We’re a normal, happy family.”
3. “We’re wonderful and you’re the one who’s afflicted.” (That’s a two-for-one.)
4. “You deserve it.”
5. “You should be thankful for….”
6. “We’re doing this because we love you.”
7. “You owe us.”
8. “I didn’t say/do that,” “You didn’t hear/see that,” etc.
9. “You never said/did that.”
10. “You belong to us (i.e., we own you).”

Obviously, there are many, many more lies where sociopaths are concerned. I included one of my favorite sayings about Delia, my mother-in-law, in my last regular post in the first series: “If she’s talkin’, she’s lyin’.” That pretty much sums it up.

Hearing the truth
Who told Brandon the truth? After hearing Brandon’s history, our counselor Matt told us that Brandon’s parents are sociopaths. And he followed it up with this strong advice: “It’s time to divorce your family.”

Brandon’s initial reaction to that truth was shock and denial. “No. My dad can’t be a sociopath. What about all the good things he did for other people?” From the first post on Choosing Peace:

Matt told us this important truth: “It’s what people do at home when no one else is watching that tells you who and what they really are. The public performance is just to make them look good and to hide who they really are.”

I looked up the characteristics of sociopaths and shared them with Brandon shortly after that. The descriptions sounded just like his parents.

Believing it
Brandon heard the truth and—after he recovered from the shock of it all—he believed it.

From believing to receiving
What’s the difference between believing the truth and receiving the truth? That’s a great question. I can believe that something is real or truth without incorporating that something into my life. For example, I can believe that the item on that plate is a strawberry, but I haven’t received the strawberry until I actually eat it.

Choice 1
Several times in the Bible, including this account from Mark and this account from Luke, we learn that Jesus was casting demons out of people and the demons knew who he was. They knew that he was God’s son, the Lord of heaven and earth. But because they didn’t receive him, they were his enemies and they feared him. They believed, but they didn’t receive. They knew the truth, but they didn’t experience the benefits of that truth because they didn’t receive it. They knew who Jesus was, but they rejected the truth and sided with the lie instead.

You believe that God is one. You do well.
The demons also believe, and shudder.
James 2:19, World English Bible

That’s at the heart of much sickness, sin and evil, isn’t it? Knowing the truth but rejecting it? Choosing to side with the lie instead?

Choice 2
To turn away from sickness, sin and evil, I can make the life-giving choice.

First, I hear the truth. Then—at some point—I believe it. Now what?

Receiving truth requires me to act on it. I invite the truth into my life. I eat the strawberry. I don’t just look at it and think about it. I eat it. I do something to make that truth a part of my life. I change the way I think. I no longer believe the lie. I believe the truth. And I do something about it.

I acknowledge the truth—not just in my own thoughts.
I speak it to someone else.

And my life reflects that change—the choice and the gift of receiving the truth—tangibly.

A sociopath’s snare
Peaceful Readers, it’s time to enjoy the tangible evidence of Brandon’s healing. At the end of this post, you’ll read his response to an old friend who was being manipulated by Delia, Brandon’s mother. She’s the Top Sociopath—the ringleader. Who did the talking, manipulating and lying in this little escapade? Probably both of his parents. They operate as a team, even though Delia’s in charge.

Brandon and George have been friends since they were just out of high school. George goes to church with Brandon’s parents and has spent holidays with them even when we didn’t. Interesting scenario, huh?

The set-up
Brandon’s parents nagged George into contacting Brandon about getting together with him and Brandon’s dad, Andrew. The sociopaths like to pretend that Brandon has issues with his mom, but not with his dad.

A couple months ago, George sent Brandon an email that included this request: “I was wondering if it was just you, me and your dad and we came down there if you would have dinner with us….” George also wrote this comment: “I just hate what this battle is doing to everyone….”

Who, pray tell, is “everyone”? Interestingly, George hadn’t bothered to ask Brandon how he was doing (or what was going on). What was this alleged battle doing to his supposed-best friend? George didn’t bother to ask. He believed the dramatic lies from the sociopaths. Surprise, surprise, surprise!

The battle—real and not real
Brandon’s oldest friend believes that our lack of contact with Brandon’s sociopathic parents is the battle. In reality, the sociopaths’ chronic physical and emotional abuse was The 48-year Battle—until Brandon walked away.

The battle is over.

Since the sociopaths absolutely must have the battle, the conflict, the victim, they’re lying and manipulating people to try to get their victim back. (I compared them to heroin addicts in this post.)

The lies
Having witnessed the way Delia operates for many, many years, I know how she rolls. Think of her as The Velvet Steamroller—smooth and deadly. Brandon shared that expression with me.

Check it out, Peaceful Readers. Does any of this sound familiar?

Delia’s Labyrinth of Lies
♦ “We just don’t understand why they would reject us like this.”
♦ “We’ve done all these great things for them and now they won’t even speak to us.”
♦ “They’re so ungrateful.”
♦ “Our hearts are just broken.”
♦ “We can’t sleep at night.”
♦ “We’re just sick over this.”
♦ “Brandon would never have treated us like this before he married her.”
♦ “Now we can’t even see our grandson.”
♦ “They are so cruel and unfeeling.”
♦ “We are just devastated.”
♦ “We’ve gone out of our way to try to fix this, and they won’t even talk to us.”
♦ “There’s nothing we can do.”
♦ “We’ve lost our son.” (Actually, that is true.)

Do you hear and understand the evil of her lies? …the not-so-tiny twist she’s using to paint them as good and us as bad?

According to Delia and Andrew—the sociopaths—we’re the abusers and they’re the victims. Evil…. For more on this typical sociopathic strategy, see part 1.

Refusing the available fix
Brandon did tell his parents, very pointedly, what they each needed to do to fix the problem: Go to a real counselor (not their preacher) and find out (1) why Delia has to attack him and (2) why Andrew never protected him from attacks; and fix those problems. They chose not to. And they’re pretending that these conversations never took place. The Theatrical Thespians rewrite the scripts (i.e., the facts) for their dramatic, Academy Award-worthy productions.

Why will Delia and Andrew never go to a great counselor to find out what is wrong with them or in an effort to improve their lives? Psychiatrist Scott Peck gives us the answer on page 77 of his book People of the Lie. Read the paragraph that begins with the highlighted phrase on this web page.

Drama, drama, drama
Delia and Andrew are great actors. They can weep and wail and put on quite the show, don’t you know. So George assumed that everything they said was true. Let’s reread the section called Controlling the casual observers and accomplices from part 1:

That’s the way the Personality Disorder Princesses play. They bad-mouth their victims so dramatically that other people get on board with their stories. The casual observers and accomplices don’t ever bother to ask those horrible victims what actually happened. They buy it all—hook, line and sinker.

The invitation, the concern and the wish
Because Brandon’s old friend George didn’t have any idea who (or “what,” I should say) he was dealing with, he unknowingly became both a casual observer and an accomplice in the sociopaths’ evil.

Here are the three key sentences from George’s email:
1. “I was wondering if it was just you, me and your dad… if you would have dinner with us….”
2. “I just hate what this battle is doing to everyone….”
3. “I just wish there was some level of communication you guys could establish….”

If he knew the truth, he never would have said those things. But casual observers and accomplices don’t bother to ask for the truth, do they? No. They just play their role in The Sociopaths’ Insidious Show.

Brandon’s reply:

I will communicate what my true current feelings and position are. Frankie Ann and you are the only ones I share it with. It has been very difficult to strengthen myself and come to terms with my true situation, but despite the financial and “stuff” support provided, most definitions of what a parent is [would] classify me as an orphan from birth. It may be difficult for you to see. I suppose my opportunity to parent a child has made it all very clear to me.

The fact that they have represented it to you as a battle indicates part of the excessive drama-making, forced teaming and sense of ownership that I once had to deal with. After every seemingly positive interaction you ever witnessed, they found a way to make me pay for it multiple times, like investments they required an interest-bearing return on. Classic case of die-hard infanticidal sociopaths which act like angels in public and demons in private. I never let you see the private [reality]; you saw results many times, but never had the root cause. My own conclusions at the time were that it was normal and I was somehow broken/black/demon-possessed/irreparable/defective. That is of course how control was enforced and maintained. Break the spirit and control the mind.

It was once [a] battle where I spent my entire life on the defensive wishing to be left alone, which resulted in all the crazy escapist and sometimes suicidal things I used to do. I finally realized I have advanced enough into adulthood to leave the battlefield. I suppose my spirit rebuilt itself with the aid of a loving wife and son.

The results are [1] them freaking out that they have no one to spew their venom on and [2] desperate attempts to bring pressure from all possible sources to force me back into my targeted battlespace. They attempted to use my son (thank God, I never mistakenly gave them his phone number), my wife (until they realized she was far more loyal to me than them… wow, that backfired), my uncle (also a master venom-spewer who does not even know me, but they presumed I had some respect for), occasionally you, some strange sense of loyalty to the land, religious scripture (also a huge backfire), etc….. all to pressure me back.

The funniest thing is… they think somehow [that] group ostracizing would bring pressure when it is actually giving me the one thing I always hoped for: to be left alone.

The impression that the abusiveness is somehow less with my dad is also wrong. He realized I was not going to take it much longer and behaved better for a few years but that does not make up for the lifetime [of abuse] (including all the surgeries I am still putting off due to negligently-caused injuries that were never properly cared for). Once I put a stop to my mother’s abuse by cutting the access, he became as bad as he ever was.

So in short, one of my primary antagonists died, and I am waiting for the other two; only then would it ever be safe for me to come and survey the places where so much carnage occurred.

I could tell that writing this response to his misguided friend was extremely therapeutic for Brandon. There’s something very powerful and healing about putting the truth—and our decisions in light of the truth—in writing. It makes the truth tangible.

We drank the truth in—bringing the truth to life—and we were healed by it.

Your turn
What’s your story, Peaceful Reader? How has truth impacted your healing? I look forward to hearing from you.

Coming next: You’ve read a lot about Brandon and his childhood. Next time on Choosing Peace, I’ll begin sharing about my childhood.

Healing through truth and music
Peaceful Readers, I’ve found great healing in my life through the beauty and truth of God’s word and through music. I hope the truths and songs that I share at the end of each post will bless you too.

During this four-part post about Brandon’s abusive childhood, I hope you’ve enjoyed this passage—a little at a time—from Isaiah 59. Also, this is the fourth consecutive song by Matt Maher. I don’t usually group songs from one artist with an extended post, but it seemed to fit this time. This song provides a wonderful ending to this aspect of Brandon’s story.

Truth from The Word: Isaiah 59:19-21

Song for Healing: “Christ is Risen” by Matt Maher

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