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Abuse: Guilt the Victim for having Needs

This was originally a response to an LJ entry by a friend. It got way too long and too important to be buried in a comment to a f'locked entry. The original entry contrasted how the poster and her brother were treated by their mother when ill.

What I'm hearing here is that you and your brother were treated very differently by the female authority figure in your home when ill. Your brother got a lot of positive attention, emotional support and help. You got a lot of negative attention, emotional abuse and no help.

I can see three possible reasons for that: gender, illness type and parental dysfunction. None of these are valid.

Treating a sick son differently than a sick daughter because of gender is sexist.

Heaping emotional abuse on a child with emotional symptoms is counter-productive in itself. Treating another child in the family with physical symptoms with kindness and consideration may also cause the first child to develop somatisation of stress symptoms.

Parental dysfunction isn't valid by definition. Being a parent means having a moral and legal obligation to take care of all one's children, regardless of health status. If a parent can't cope, they are in a position to seek help outside the family. Children aren't.

I'm coming to the conclusion that if I often feel guilty after interacting with a specific person, it's usually because they manipulate me. There is genuine, healthy guilt, eg if you've terrorized a family pet. But when a person feels guilty for having normal needs such as needs for medical attention, there's manipulation and probably emotional abuse involved.

Comments

Oh - that was timely. Thanks :)