When faced with choosing between attributing their pain to “being crazy” and having had abusive parents, clients will choose “crazy” most of the time. Dora, a 38-year-old, was profoundly abused by multiple family perpetrators and has grappled with cutting and eating disordered behaviors for most of her life. She poignantly echoed this dilemma in her therapy:
I hate it when we talk about my family as “dysfunctional” or “abusive.” Think about what you are asking me to accept – that my parents didn’t love me, care about me, or protect me. If I have to choose between “being abused” or “being sick and crazy,” it’s less painful to see myself as nuts than to imagine my parents as evil. — Lisa Ferentz
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