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Do women who are abused as children think abuse is normal?

We hear the theory that if a woman was abused as a child she will think abuse is “normal” when she is an adult. This idea makes us crazy and here is why. If we suggest that because a woman was abused as a child, she thinks abuse is normal, we are suggesting that she does not know right from wrong and that she cannot detect abuse. We are suggesting that she has no personal, internal wisdom about what is okay and what is not okay in a relationship. This is not true; women know when something does not feel “okay”. Their intuition or “inner voice” or “gut” tells them this. They may have learned to “turn down the volume” on their voice, or that it is dangerous to act on what they know, but it is there. We want to help women to hear their voice and to trust it. If we suggest that previous abuse has destroyed a woman’s “inner voice”, we leave her feeling like she is not a whole person. Furthermore, we have removed her from being the expert on her own life and put ourselves in that position.

 

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When Love Hurts