Shaming Another Abuse Survivor Does Not Help Your Journey

No, no, no.

Ladies, how are you gonna be out there living a survivor’s life and still find a way to shame your fellow survivors?

I’ve got a post over on Facebook in Pantsuit Nation x Supermajority. It’s (loosely) about my years-long journey of hell through coparenting with my abuser, and it celebrates a particular milestone I met with hard-won pride.

(It’s actually a reshare of a post from Breaking the Silence for Women, from back in August when I moved my 18 year old to college.)

Thousands of loving reactions. Hundreds of warm, encouraging comments. Many, many refrains of solidarity from countless fellow survivors and thrivers.

But a single commenter opted to swoop in and make assumptions that I must have had it “easy” because I clearly had more support and better opportunities, a smoother ride, than other survivors.

In three sentences she shat on my entire essay, which was written despite the fact that my journey has been every extreme opposite of “easy,” and was written to emphasize that we are capable DESPITE the impossibilities before us, and was written to encourage other women who must live around and through the same awful scenarios.

She must be hurting, I understand. It feels so lonely to find your way in survival, especially when all the odds and challenges are stacked against you. The world can be so unfair, and the family courts system even worse. People can be awful, and can’t always be what or who you need. And our job of healing is ugly, painful. Raising our kids alongside their abusive parent is unreasonable and demoralizing, the test of all tests.

I know. Because that has been my very existence for literal years.

But hurt as we are, small as we feel, impassible as the days seem, we must not, cannot lash out at our fellow survivors.

We cannot compare our traumatic journey through abuse to another survivor’s.

We cannot presume to know her tools and resources.

We cannot shame her for her pride, her stability, her happiness, and her successes, for we do not know how much she overcame to achieve them,

and we cannot minimize every victory she has claimed amidst the losses.

No, friends.

If we aren’t ready to celebrate another survivor, and worse, seek to tear her down, then we have lost focus on our own crucial healing.

Stop judging what she’s done for herself

and figure out how to do it for you.

Peace and love,

Janna

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