It is difficult to explain to others who have not experienced abuse or been exposed to it, why victims stay in such a chaotic and unhealthy place. It is such a foreign concept that people will look at victims like they are a bit touched. They try hard to sympathize, to grasp the complexity, yet the simple answer of “just leave” rages on. Maybe we are a bit touched, for a while anyway. Many of us are like Alice and a trip down the rabbit hole forever leaves us changed, but not always for the worse.
This story of contrary and non-sense has been told over and over in our culture to the point that it is common place. Thank goodness, because it is the perfect illustration of what happens to a victim. In conjunction it is also the perfect explanation for how a victim can become an abuser. This latter concept is part of the connection and sympathy that can hold a victim prisoner by choice in such a confusing place. In general abusers were all once victims but, there comes a point in ones journey where they choose to fight their way out of Wonderland and back through the rabbit hole, or become one of the inhabitants.
Think about how quickly Alice falls down the rabbit hole once she catches an enticing glimpse of the White Rabbit. It is much like that for a victim. Everything happens quickly. The circumstances are usually unfamiliar and at the same time familiar enough that there is no fear in falling…only the desire to finally reach some tangible ground. Of course, just like Alice, once we pass through the threshold into Wonderland, it is a confusing trip of elements that we know to be true married to concepts and characteristics that we know to be unhealthy and false by their very nature. What ever lured us into this disorienting land then starts to challenge our understanding of reality and what we think we know for certain. Everything we believed to be genuine gets turned on its ear until non-sense starts to make sense. This is the peak of danger before a transformation from victim to abuser takes place.
When Alice first arrived in Wonderland she was insecure and curious about her surroundings. The longer she remained in and interacted with the characters of this realm she was better able to understand their perspective. She could start to sympathize and empathize with them. Occasionally she was savvy enough to even defend their way of thinking. Fortunately, at some point, it all became too much. Something from the “real” world, the competent and unimpaired world she fell from gave her something to hold on to and strive to return to. That is not always the case. For some of us the principles of Wonderland start to make such perfect sense that it is the real world from whence we came that no longer makes sense. When this thinking sets in we are no longer Alice…we become one of the cast of characters that seek to ensnare, trap, and destroy any future Alices that cross our path. The victim becomes the abuser.
This is the essence of a victims personal Wonderland, tailored especially for her. This is how a loving wife and mother can at some point turn on her children. This is why children who grow up exposed to an abusive household can turn their backs on a productive life and perpetuate abuse. Abuse becomes the foundation from which all decisions are made…Wonderland is an abusers world.