History of abuse using some of these concepts, how to own my thoughts and feelings while holding abuser responsible


My father was a member of what I will call a “self-improvement cult” for a few years of my childhood in the 1970s and 80s. He learned some of the concepts Brooke and other self-development groups teach — that our thoughts create our emotions, not other people, and that a “healthy person” would not have emotional reactions to adversity, personal attack, etc.

This was used as a justification for abuse (mostly verbal but also including sexual abuse) and neglect. “I didn’t make you feel anything, that’s in your head.”

It took a very long time to get from there to here. Here is what I understand now. Yes, I have thoughts that what he did was wrong, brutal, disgusting, and unacceptable, and yes those thoughts cause me pain. However, I have NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in not believing those thoughts, and I have no interest whatsoever in associating with people who do not share those thoughts. That is my choice to make. I will not give the greenlight to abusing a child (my inner child or any child) just to avoid emotional pain.

This is aligned with what Scholars teaches, correct?

Next, how do I deal with the idea that he has no responsibility? He has no responsibility for what I chose to think — that’s true. I would also think such acts were dispicable had he done nothing. But had he done nothing to me, I would not have been traumatized. He’s responsible for his ACTIONS correct? As am I.

How do I reconcile this with the Scholars concept that we are not responsible for other people’s thoughts and feelings? Obviously if I cuss out a coworker, for example, their thoughts, feelings, and actions, will certainly create a result I do not want.

I responded to my father’s behavior with my own thoughts, feelings, and actions — I don’t trust him, I won’t be alone with him, and I have told him to his face he’s a total failure as a father. He doesn’t like that of course.

Hmm now I see something. He wants me to change my thoughts, feelings, and actions in response to his abuse and so tells me “you’re only upset because you choose those thoughts.” He doesn’t like the actions I’ve chosen to take towards him.

And that is his problem.