Consider this: what if you got up tomorrow and, suddenly without explanation or warning, everybody around you told you that the sky orange: not orange at sunrise or sunset but orange around the day-lit clock? And, what if, when the day finally ended everyone told you the night sky was green? The first day you might laugh it off as a colossal practical joke but what if you got up the next morning, and the next and the next and the next and every single morning you were told the daytime sky was orange and every single evening you were told the night sky was green? Finally, in frustration, you’d ask them how they could possibly believe the sky had changed color. What if they then “reminded” you of some calamity that had occurred, something so grand, so awful, it had altered reality and then chided you for forgetting the event and then, pointing to the sky, said, “And it’s been like this ever since”. And, yet you saw, as clearly as you ever have, that the daytime sky was blue and that the nighttime sky was dark blue or black. What if you protested, trying to make others understand only to be told “You’re crazy! the sky is orange, I tell you, orange!”? You alone disagree and, because of that, you alone are the one everyone thinks crazy. Finally you begin to feel like everyone else might be right: maybe you really are crazy. So, after a long period of being laughed at, of being accused of craziness for not accepting their version of reality, sadly believing you somehow forgot this sky-changing calamity, you begin to accept that everyone else was right and you alone were wrong; in defeat you admit that the daytime sky is indeed orange and the nighttime sky is green. And, yet, every morning thereafter when you look at the sky, you wonder if you really are crazy because no matter how many times you tell yourself the sky is orange, it still looks blue to you. Finally, one day, able to bear it no more, you simply quit looking at all.
That’s called crazy-making and that is what abuse victims face day-after-day, year-after-year. We are told black is white often enough that we begin to doubt our own version of reality. We clearly see one thing but our abusers tell us quite another. When we deny their version of reality (no matter that it is faulty), it is we who are told we are crazy. Quite often they tell others, too. Finally, after being continually browbeaten, in defeat, we accept the sad truth: we really are crazy. Black really is white.