Trusting Yourself Fallacy
Trusting in yourself is not always beneficial. An abuser destroys a person's sense of self worth and robs his/her victim of decision-making power. So, although others mean well when they tell a victim to trust herself--they are not comprehending what a difficult task they are assigning. It is like asking someone to meet you 5 miles north, not realizing that her compass is broken and is pointing south when it indicates "North.”
It is important to remember this broken compass when we try to help someone else who is still living in abuse. After we've spent some time healing and operating in a non-abusive environment, it is easy to forget just how broken a victim is.
When I lived in abuse daily, I thought I had very little value, so when I made decisions I was oriented in that direction. I made many decisions on the assumption that I had little value. So when my boyfriend grabbed me and shoved me into his car right after I told him "No! I don't want to come with you right now, " I did not flee and I did not break up with him. I trusted myself, following my inner guidance system accurately--but it led straight into more abuse, rather than away from trouble.
In those days of abuse, I believed I somehow deserved abuse. I didn't know what I had done, but I firmly believed it must be my fault. So, my faulty compass gave confirmation that there was nothing wrong with me being abused. With that information guiding me, I didn't specifically ask for help from God or people. Who asks for rescue when they merely face "normal" life?
Before ending abuse in my life, non-abusive men seemed kind of boring. I was used to a more intense life. I didn't know how to have fun, not really. My broken compass was turning me around, back toward abusers.
So let's be careful how much we encourage abuse victims to trust themselves. Some victims will steer themselves straight to an early death.
There is an important part of healing that restores our ability to trust ourselves in healthy ways. I'll write about that in the next post.