Lis

It Wasn't Your Fault - An Exercise

285 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

It seems like a lot of people on this board right now are having problems with shame and feeling like it was their fault. I thought I would share this exercise from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060964375/o/qid=989471318/sr=8-1/ref=aps_sr_b_1_1/107-2309128-2844533">"The Courage to Heal Workbook"</a> by Laura Davis, that helped me deal with my feelings that my rape was my fault. If you don't want to do the exercise, of course you don't have to, but I thought it might help us identify sources of shame and talk about it. Please be safe when doing exercises like these, because they can be triggering.

Lis

--------------

LETTING GO OF SHAME

Before you can let go of shame, you have to recognize it, name it, and hold it out in the light of day. When you keep shame a secret, it gains power over you. Yet you may feel too ashamed to tell anyone why you think the abuse was your fault. Or maybe you've never taken the time to actually look at the reasons. But admitting shame is the first step to deflating its power.

The following exercise is in two parts. The first asks you to identify the reasons you blame yourself for the abuse; the second asks you to gather information to negate those reasons. Filling out the answers in the first section can bring up intense feelings of shame and self-hate. It's important that you counter those feelings by filling out the more positive affirmations in the second section. Try to complete both parts at once.

IDENTIFYING HIDDEN SHAME

Fill in the following sentences. Don't hesitate or censor your answers. Write down the first thing that comes into your mind. (Feel free to use any of the examples that pertain to you).

Examples:

A. It was really my fault because - I kept going back for more. I was the one who asked for a backrub.

B. It was really my fault because - I had an orgasm. I must have wanted it.

C. It was really my fault because - I never said no.

D. It was really my fault because - it was only my brother. And he was a year older than me.

E.  It was really my fault because - my father said I was a slut. He told me I wanted it.

F. (for men) It was really my fault because - I had an erection. It must have felt good to me.

1. It was really my fault because ____________________________________

2. It was really my fault because ____________________________________

3. It was really my fault because ____________________________________

4. It was really my fault because ____________________________________

5. It was really my fault because ____________________________________

6. It was really my fault because ____________________________________

REPLACING SHAME WITH REALITY

A good support person will readily tell you that abuse wasn't your fault. A great support person will tell you why it wasn't your fault. If you start with an intellectual understanding of why you weren't to blame, that understanding often begins to infiltrate and replace the false beliefs you carry. Your sense of shame is gradually alleviated and you begin to realize, in your deepest self, that you really weren't to blame.

Go back through "the reasons it was my fault" you just came up with. For each reason, write down a corresponding rebuttal (see other examples below). If you can't think of anything to write, talk to other survivors. Read The Courage to Heal. Read other books about healing from abuse. Ask your therapist to explain it to you. If you don't have a therapist, what do you think a good counselor would tell you? This is a research project. It is your job to come up with facts and information that contradict your reasons for blaming yourself.

When you've done your research, write the reasons down. Even if you don't believe them at first, write them down anyway. Putting the truth down on paper is the first step in replacing a false belief with a true one.

Examples:

A. It wasn't my fault because - children need attention and affection to survive. Sex with my grandfather was the only touching that was available to me. That's why I went back for more.

B. It wasn't my fault because - my body responded. My body did what it was supposed to do. It wasn't my fault.

C. It wasn't my fault because - I was never taught to say no. No one in my family ever taught me that it was okay to set boundaries or say no.

D. It wasn't my fault because - my brother was older and stronger than me. He had a lot more power in the family. I looked up to him and wanted to do anything to please him. When you're a young twelve and your brother is thirteen, one year is a big difference.

E. It wasn't my fault because - My dad was wrong. I was an innocent child. He called me a slut to justify his own sick behavior.

F. (for men) Penises are supposed to respond to touch. I had an erection because my abuser stimulated me sexually, not because I wanted to be abused.

1. It wasn't my fault because  ____________________________________

2. It wasn't my fault because  ____________________________________

3. It wasn't my fault because  ____________________________________

4. It wasn't my fault because  ____________________________________

5. It wasn't my fault because  ____________________________________

6. It wasn't my fault because  ____________________________________

(<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060964375/o/qid=989471318/sr=8-1/ref=aps_sr_b_1_1/107-2309128-2844533">The Courage to Heal Workbook</a>. Laura Davis. pp 257-260)

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will even go first.

It was my fault because....

1. It was really my fault because I had a crush on him and had flirted with him a lot before he raped me.

2. It was really my fault because I was stupid and went out with him alone at night to a deserted place.

3. It was really my fault because I didn't actually recognize that it was rape until three years after it, so it must not really have been rape.

4. It was really my fault because I needed attention really badly during that time in my life. Maybe negative attention was better than none at all.

5. It was really my fault because I had been abused before this. It seems to be a pattern with me. Maybe there is just something wrong with me.

6. It was really my fault because the kids at school told me it was.

It wasn't my fault because...

1. It wasn't my fault because just because I had a crush on him, didn't mean that I wanted to have sex with him.

2. It wasn't my fault because I trusted him. He is the one who broke my trust and did something wrong. He is the one who should feel shame.

3. It wasn't my fault because I pushed it away because I didn't have the ability to deal with what happened. It was too emotionally damaging to recognize what happened while still living in the place it occured.  

4. It wasn't my fault because I didn't want THAT kind of attention.

5. It wasn't my fault because none of the abuse was my fault. Just because it happened more than once, doesn't mean I was any less the victim.

6. It wasn't my fault because the people at school were mean and made me feel like a slut, but what happened to me was rape, and my abuser told people it was consentual to make himself feel better.

Lis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my fault because i got in the car

my fault because i trusted a stranger

my fault because i was stupid

my fault because i didn't fight

my fault because i let it happen

my fault because i really should've known better

not my fault because i was a child

not my fault because he had a knife- i couldn't fight that

not my fault because i

not my fault because

still struggling with the not-my-faults...

hilary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  My fault because I used to flirt with those boys

2.  My fault because I laughed at their dirty jokes

3.  My fault because I wore sexy clothes sometimes

4.  My fault because I had a good figure

5.  My fault because I knew I was pretty and wore make-up

6.  My fault because I didn't fight them hard enough

1.  Not my fault -- flirting isn't an invitation for abuse

2.  Not my fault -- listening to jokes, even dirty ones, can't be considered an invitation to assault

3.  Not my fault -- clothes that are flattering aren't necessarily sexy, and even if they were, that's no excuse for their abuse

4.  Not  my fault -- I couldn't help having large breasts, and even if I could, that's no reason for them to assault me either

5.  Not my fault -- there's nothing wrong with wanting to look your best

6.  Not my fault -- I fought them as hard as I could and did everything I knew to make it stop.  There were six of them and only one of me.

And for the second assault...

1.  My fault because I enraged him by commenting on his ragged clothes

2.  My fault because I ignored his anger and added to it by pretending that he didn't exist

3.  My fault because I was well cared for and he was abused, and I was smug about that

4.  My fault because I told a teacher that he had harrassed me and that got him in minor trouble, and made him angrier

5.  My fault because I put myself in a place where he could get at me and no one else could hear or see what was happening

1.  Not my fault -- I thought he didn't know he had a hole in his pants.  I only suggested he have his mom sew it up because I didn't want him to be embarrassed

2.  Not my fault -- I didn't know how to deal with his anger.  I was afraid and so I just pretended he wasn't there.  It wasn't my job to validate him and his emotions

3.  Not my fault -- I did not abuse him, and I was not smug, either -- he said that I was because he was angry at me

4.  Not my fault -- Telling a teacher should have solved the problem, instead of making it worse.  He should have been held responsible for what he did and not been allowed to hurt me again

5.  Not my fault -- when I went back to the stage, alone, I was hiding from my other abusers.  I had no idea that he was angry enough to want to rape me, and I didn't know that he knew about the other assault, that I was vulnerable, and where I was

There...I feel very empty now.  But that's better than feeling like you're full of sharpened nails, huh?

Blessings,

Shaina

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow

what an incredible exercise

i haven't done it yet

i had 9 abusers that i know of

but i will do it

thanks!

kate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lis,

thanks for posting that exercise.  I'm going to try it for my last attack.

1. It was really my fault because I knew what he was capable of and let him in my house anyway.

2. It was really my fault because I had let him overpower me before.

3. It was really my fault because I didn't fight back hard enough.

4. It was really my fault because I believed he could have changed.

5. It was really my fault because when he asked me if I was alone, I said yes.

6. It was really my fault because I was flattered by his compliments.

1. It wasn't my fault because and invitation into my house is not an invitation to hurt me.

2. It wasn't my fault because he is strong, there is no way I could overpower him.

3. It wasn't my fault because if I had faught harder, he probably would have hurt me more.

4. It wasn't my fault because being alone does not give him the right to hurt me.

Like Hilary I am still having a hard time with the not my faults.  That was alot harder than I thought it would be.

((hugs))

Melanie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it was really my fault because i got drunk

it was really my fault because i hated myself enough to put myself in dangerous situations

it was really my fualt because i allowed myself to be abused the first time and the second abuser could sense my weakness

it was really my fault because i am a weak person

it was really my fault because i wanted to have sex and i have no right to ask for protection if i'm going to act like a slut anyway

it was really my fault because i am a slut and he was just doing what people do to sluts

it was really my fualt because i asked for it

it was really my fault because i didn't fight back

it was really my fualt because i lied and said i liked it

it was really my fault because i should have let him kill me before i let him rape me

it was really my fualt because i was too much of a coward to take a beating

it wasn't my fault because i wanted to live and i would have let him do anything just to stay alive and unhurt

i thought of other ones but right now i have trouble believing them. the only one that seems valid right now is my will to live. thanks for this exercise it has started me thinking. sleepy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. It was really my fault because ____he was my brother, and he was 3 years younger than me.  The other one was a freshman and I was a junior. ________________________________
2. It was really my fault because ____I never told________________________________
3. It was really my fault because ___I kept going back to Garrett_________________________________
4. It was really my fault because __I thought that it would take away all the pain__________________________________
5. It was really my fault because __I kind of liked it__________________________________
6. It was really my fault because ____I never screamed________________________________

1. It wasn't my fault because  _even though they were younger, they were much stronger than I was.  I tried everything I could___________________________________
2. It wasn't my fault because  I tried to tell.  My dad and mom didn't do anything so I didn't see any use of telling and just stayed quiet____________________________________
3. It wasn't my fault because  I did keep going back to him, but he had a strange power over me and coerced me to sit by him.  He had done it 5 times before and I couldn't see any other way and that that's not all I was good for at the time___________________________________
4. It wasn't my fault because  I had just survived 3 years of abuse with my brother.  I was still scared and didn't know what to do.  All I wanted is love and for everything to go away.  I did make a bad mistake, but that's all I'm guilty of- just wanting love.____________________________________
5. It wasn't my fault because  _I did kind of like it, but that was my body's natural response.  There's nothing I could have done about that___________________________________
6. It wasn't my fault because  _I didn't scream because I was in shock at the time.  I did say no and I did pull his arms away.  I did all I was mentally able to do at the time___________________________________

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone,

  I'm glad that you think that this exercise was a good idea. If you'd like I can post other ones. You really should check out the workbook, it is very helpful.

:)

Lis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It just was my fault ok!!!!!

Why is it that I will open up but, not fully. I am trying to reach out, but I stop, because I think that I am ok and that I can handle it and I don't want people to feel sorry for me, I can do this on my own. I am not looking for attention. But maybe its attention I need......

billdaclown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*Hugs* to you all..  

Lis that exercise was a great idea!!!  I definitely hope you post some more of them.  The truth, I just tryed to do it, and found that the my faults came too easily, and I got so overwhelmed that I couldn't bring myself to do the other part (and I know its the part that's supposed to help) but I will do it, it made me realise just how much of an issue self blame is for me.... so thanks.

Bill, I am sorry I havent had a chance to catch up with you for awhile, and no matter what, it was never your fault.  It's okay to want and need attention.   I know you are finding things difficult right now, but please hang in there.. Give yourself some time, we are all here for you when you are able to open up a little more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. This looks like a great exercise. if you don't mind though I think I will come back later on and do it. But I wanted to say thank you for sharing this. it is good to see that it really is not your fault at all. We all were not to blame. None of us asked for this and none of us deserved it. it is good to see an exercise like this because it gets us to see just how it is not our faults. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The SA

It was really my fault because I didn't stop him

It was really my fault because I was bad

It was really my fault because I didn't tell anyone

It was really my fault becase my body reacted to it

It was really my fault because I was weak

It was really my because he was my brother and I must of asked for it in someway...he would never do those things unless i wanted it.

It wasn't my fault because i was only 8yrs old

It wasn't my fault because Ididn't like it

It wasn't my fault because I was scared

It wasn't my fault...... Have to keep working on that

The R*pe

It was my fault because He was 20 and i was 16 i shouldn't have been dating him

It was my fault because I was fooling around with him

It was my fault because I didn't stop him

It was my fault because I was scared

It was my fault because I was a coward

it was my fault because I allowed it to happen

It wasn't my fault because I didn't want to

It wasn't my fault because I tried to say no but no words would come out I just froze

It wasn't my fault becase he was to strong

it wasn't my fault that I trusted him

It wasn't my fault .....still working on it

Thanks for the exercise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know why, but I started panicking when I read it.  I WANT to heal.

I keep thinking it is my fault.  I keep thinking that it's my fault that I thought up such disgusting stuff.  I don't remember a lot.  When I read the one about "It's my fault because my brother is a year older than me...."  Well, it was my sister--the parts that I do remember.  Same age difference--well, 18 months.

I know it's helpful to talk about this stuff and all... but for some reason this got to me....  I can't really say it's not my fault especially since I don't know exactly what happened.  All I know is that I want to go hide under my bed.

I'm sorry if I panicked.  Thanks for letting me freak out--hope you don't mind....

I think it's good that some people found this exercise helpful.  I think it's good that there are healing books out there.  I just wish I didn't freak out from just looking at them.

Thanks for listening to me.

pianogirl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just thought this was a good exercise, so I thought it deserved to be on page 1, and not page 15

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done this one in my head, but I just wanted to post it.

It was my fault because I talked to a stranger.

It was my fault because my I didn't listen to the warnings my partner gave me about people from his particular culture.

It was my fault because I was dressed nicely that night.

It was my fault because I had sexy underwear on that night.

It was my fault because the door wasn't locked.

OK (*T* for my potty mouth)

It wasn't my fault because he was my neighbor, and I should have been able to talk to him.  Merely meeting someone twice is in no fucking way an indication of sexual desire.

My partner gave me the warning about men of that particular culture while we were in a different country, and it's sick what men do to women in that country, anyway.  This is America.  People need to assimilate!  Besides, I don't know any culture where it is acceptable to walk into an apartment and start having sex with a sleeping girl while her male partner is asleep on the couch.

I was going out with my boyfriend and two friends.  Of course I wanted to dress nicely.  I wasn't even in particularly sexy clothes, just jeans and a shiny button down.

Hello?  Someone needs to get ahold of their self blame, because if he hadn't come into my home, he would have never seen it in the first place.  Wearing sexy underwear?  This may possibly be the most ridiculous case of self blame in the entire world.

He should have never walked into the apartment in the fucking first place.  

Thanks Lis, this is a good one.

Mistral

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i appreciate these littel parts lis gave us..just not having the strength to do them sorry gang.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 my fault b/c i agreed to mess around

2 my fault b/c i didn't scream or fight

3 my fault b/c i didn't tell anyone, so I must have wanted it

4 my fault b/c i kept letting him go further and further

even though i told him he couldn't, so of course he     thought he could do anything he wanted to me

5 my fault b/c i kept being his girlfriend for another year after it happened, so it couldn't have been bad or i would have left

6 my fault b/c i turned him on so much and then wouldn't have sex. teases deserve what they get.

not my fault b/c

  1. i clearly told him what i didn't want to do when we messed around

  2. i react to panic by freezing, so i couldn't help not fighting

  3. just b/c i didn't say anything doesn't make it not real. I didn't have anyone to go to.

  4. I *did* tell him that penetration was out of the question, and no means no. He had no right to assume I wanted anything.

  5. My family was so screwed up, and he made me give up my friends to be with him. So he was really all I had. I had to stay with him until I was strong enough to leave. It was the only way for me to keep from killing myself.

  6. what kind of loser has no self control? if i can stop at any time, then he can too. He *chose* not to stop.

I'm not sure I believe the second list yet, but I hope that posting it will help me see the truth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an awesome excercise.  Here is my attempt:

1) It was really my fault because I was nervous and did not follow my instincts.

2) It was really my fault because I believed him when he told me he loved me.

3) It was really my fault because I didn't get away when I thought I should have.

4) It was really my fault because I should have known what would piss him off anyway.

5) It was really my fault because I forgave him after the first two times (there were 3 assaults in all).

6)It was really my fault because I let him convince me that this was normal.

1) This wasn't really my fault because I was unsure of the signs I was reading, and I was so desperate for some sort of stability that negative stability was better than instability.

2) This wasn't really my fault because he was my first real boyfriend, the one I originally lost my virginity to, and at one point, there was actually love and trust involved in the relationship.

3)  This wasn't really my fault because I did not know HOW to get away, I was 17 and scared and had no emotional support system waiting for me and I stayed with what I was comfortable with, and besides, I did not know how he would react to my breaking up with him.

4)  This wasn't really my fault because he was a ticking time bomb and different things would piss him off on different days and it really depended on the mood he happened to be in on that given day.  It was as if I was walking on eggshells unsure of how to behave anyway, so how could I really know what would set him off.

5)  This wasn't really my fault because I am by nature a forgiving and believing person, and I believe in giving people second chances, and it really doesn't matter because I DID get out. :-)

6)  This wasn't really my fault because I was so far under his "spell" and I was so emotionally depleted that I was not sure what was or wasn't normal so I believed anything that would justify his actions.

Wow, that was on surface level without looking in too deep, I am sure I could go on and on with this list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. It was really my fault because - I never told anybody about it

2. It was really my fault because - I didn't try and stay away from him

3. It was really my fault because - there must have been something wrong with me for him to do what he did

1. It wasn't my fault because - he said he would kill me if I told, and I was afraid

ALSO - I didn't have the vocabulary to tell what had happened or how it affected me!

2. It wasn't my fault because I didn't have a lot of choice about avoiding him - I was little and he was smart

3. It wasn't my fault because - there was nothing wrong with me, there was something major wrong with him

Thanks Lis, still not entirely convinced about number 3, but I guess that'll come.

Lots of love

CA

(Edited by crying angel at 4:32 pm on Aug. 28, 2001)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, here is gose.

1. It was really my fault because - I trusted him.

2. It was really my fault because - I didn't watch his signals.

3. It was really my fault because - I went with him.

4. It was really my fault because - I didn't strugle.

5. It was really my fault because - I said 'no' to touching, not sex.

6. It was really my fault because - I kissed him on the street because he asked me to.

1. It wasn't my fault because - I told him 'no' about touching, and that should have told him that I didn't want SEX.

2. It wasn't my fault because - I was drunk.

3. It wasn't my fault because - he was over 40 (i'm 13)... he was bigger and stronger than me.

4. It wasn't my fault because - I was afraid.

5. It wasn't my fault because - It was dark, and I couldn't really see him.

6. It wasn't my fault because - I didn't want it to happen... and he didn't care.

And that's all fokes....

I NEED TO GET THAT BOOK!!

Lol

-----

Jen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was my fault because I should have known better than to jog alone at night.

It was my fault because I disobeyed my parents by sneaking out.

It was my fault because I wasn't more aware of my surroundings.

It was my fault becuase I didn't fight him.

It was my fault because I told him that I loved and wanted to fuck him.

It was my fault becuase I was also sexually abused by my uncle...I must attract perverts.

It was my fault because my mother said so.

It was not my fault because although I was jogging alone, any woman should be safe to be anywhere alone...we can't control the sick assholes in the world. People are even raped in their own homes. It doesn't matter where you are.

It was not my fault because people disobey their parents all the time, rebellion is part of being a teenager. I didn't know nor did I choose the consequences of my rebellion.

It was not my fault because he crossed the street and came upon me so suddenly I couldn't have seen it coming even if I was aware and looking around.

It was not my fault because he had a knife. There's nothing wrong with trying to stay alive.

It was not my fault because he had the knife handle inside of me and told me that if I didn't say those things to him he would put the blade in next. He and I both knew I didn't mean it.

It was not my fault because I was a child when my uncle abused me...children cannot protect themselves. I did nothing to attract my uncle just as I did nothing to attract my rapist.

It was not my fault even though my mother said it was. She was trying to deal with things in her past and projecting her own self-blame onto me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. It was my fault because I trusted him.

2. It was my fault because when he asked if he could

   sleep in the same bed with me I agreed.

3. It was my fault because I kissed him back.

4. It was my fault because I let him touch me.

5. It was my fault because I did not fight back.

And here are reasons why it was not my fault...

1. It wasn't my fault because I made it clear about not

   having sex before marriage.

2. It wasn't my fault because I said no.

3. It wasn't my fault because I experienced disassociation,

   making it unable for me to fight back.

Thanks for starting this thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi well i have looked at this time and time again maybe its time to try it now...

Lis it seems like a wonderful idea ty for posting

It was my fault because....

1. It was really my fault because I Went out of my way to go and meet him

2. It was really my fault because i am married so what the #### was i doing anyhow?

3. It was really my fault because i went back to the situation alone

4. It was really my fault because I got in a near strangers car!

5. It was really my fault because I gave him the wrong impression

6. It was really my fault because i did not stop it. I did not try hard enough people were around i could have stopped it SOMEHOW.

7. It was really my fault because i answered my phone and said nuthing everything was ok.....what the fuck????

8. It was really my fault because i still got back into his car after

9. It was really my fault because i reported a sexual assult not a ra*e they knew it wasnt the truth and he got away with it.....now who will he hurt next? CAUSE OF ME! Being a failure and a wimp.

It wasn't my fault because...

1. It wasn't my fault because I was set up..i thought i was meeting his gf with him

2. It wasn't my fault because i was meeting a "friend" and i never wanted this

3. It wasn't my fault because i thought i was safe? Why does that sound so #### stupid? I was 23 SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. Id met him b4 i took a friend that time i trusted them?

4. It wasn't my fault because I .... it was my fault.

5. It wasn't my fault because i dont see how i did? Inever intended to. No is no whatever

6. It wasn't my fault because i couldnt...............

7. It wasn't my fault because i didnt want hurt noone else

8. It wasn't my fault because i was scared and in a strange place...i wanted to die

9. It wasn't my fault because hte police were insensitive ******* and male..noone appearded to give a fu**. I gave them a ton of info they ignored it. I HURT. but if anyone else gets hurt..........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now