How does the survivor prepare themselves for confrontation with the abuser?

The below described considerations refer to adult victims of childhood sexual abuse who might be considering confronting their abusers in adulthood.

Survivors seek support before confronting the parent abuser:
– Conversations with therapists about recovery including confrontation
– Conversations with the siblings about support in confrontation
– The threat of “the abuse news” to the integrity of the family
– Survivor expectation of abuser“ acknowledging (validating) and apologising”
– Family expectation of survivor “forgiving and forgetting”

The aim of the confrontation is to step out of the victim position
– The confrontation is optional to step out of the abuse related victim position
– the content is about validation of memories / consequences of the abuse for the survivor
– sometimes the confrontation happens spontaneously with no preparation
– it is important to consider the option of the false memory syndrome (wrongful accusation)

The power of the confrontation should belong to the survivor:
– it is the survivor who initiates the time, place and the form of the confrontation
– the place of the confrontation has to be safe for the survivor (own home, own work place, therapist office, a public place like a restaurant)
– effective confrontation can be done in therapy with/without the abuser being present
– effective confrontation can be done in a phone call/a letter without the abuser being present
– it is the survivor who wants to set the records about past straight
– it is the survivor who says things from herself about herself to the abuser operates from within her own integrity
– the confrontation is supposed to provide closure to the victim/ a finished business
– the confrontation is supposed to clarify the relationships within the family

The doubts of the survivor about confronting the abuser could be caused by:
– a fear of hurting abuser’s feelings
– a guilt about putting herself first, before the abuser
– uncertainty about the past events (amnesiacs)
– fear of unexpected health consequences of the abuser (heart attack, stroke, etc)
– fear of rejection of the memories of abuse by the parent
– fear of anger reaction of the abuser
– fear of being socially ostracised/abandoned by this parent or by the whole family

The survivor has to stay realistic about the denial of the abuse by the abuser, which grows along with the level of social condemnation of the crime that had been committed

Contents extracted from the book by Catherine Cameron “Resolving Childhood Trauma. A Long-Term Study of Abuse Survivors (the US population research)” (Year 2000, Sage Publishing), Chapter 12 – Confronting the Abuser

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