Archive for child abuse
“I will leave the past alone when it leaves me alone” Commenter on Emerging from Broken
I heard so many things against speaking about the past. Questions which are actually statements and judgements more than they are actual questions such as “why do you want to talk about your problems in public” or “why do you want to air your dirty laundry in front of the whole world?” These judgements always concluded with some version of “you are only making yourself look like a fool.” Statements like that carried with them the all too familiar indication that the speakers (the judges) were concerned for ME; that they truly cared about what was “best for me”.
When I faced the cold hard truth, I began to comprehend the actuality reality; I realized that their concern was never for me. I didn’t need to make myself look like a fool, they did that for me all of my life. I think of the times they delighted in finding ways to embarrass me or humiliate me in front of others. In fact I think that some of their motives were based on discrediting me in case I ever revealed the truth. They were not concerned about MY dirty laundry. They were only concerned about what I was exposing about THEM. They didn’t want me to expose THEIR dirty laundry. And I think this would be a good time to add that if they didn’t KNOW what they were doing was wrong, if they didn’t “know any better” then WHY did they know that they needed to keep me quiet about Read More→
It wasn’t that bad. What happened to me wasn’t “that bad” and I told myself that for YEARS. When I was in my early twenties and struggling with trying to quit the coping methods of alcohol and drug use, some of my memories of child sexual abuse were coming up and I was trying really hard to get rid of them without resorting to alcohol or drugs. At that point in my life I had never told anyone (outside of family but they didn’t validate the abuse OR me) what had happened to me.
One day I was having coffee with a friend of mine who I had met in a 12 step program. In an attempt to mentor me and validate an issue that I was struggling with he told me that from as young as he can remember his parents sandwiched him in between themselves while they had sex. He told me that he can never remember a time growing up when he didn’t have sex with both his parents. He told me that by the time he was 5 he liked it and by the time he was a young teenager, he loved it. He didn’t know it wasn’t “normal”. It was his normal. And now he was struggling to learn what the truth about “normal” actually was and to overcome the damage that had occurred in his life. He was having all kind of relationship problems as a result of child sexual abuse.
Although I felt extreme compassion for him, I didn’t hear any of what he was trying to communicate to me. He was trying to communicate that it wasn’t his fault and that his body reacted to being sexually stimulated. He had been sexualized from a very young age. All I heard was how horrible his childhood was and how horrific the child sexual abuse that he endured was. And the biggest thing I “heard” was that what had happened to me did not compare with Read More→
I convinced myself of many things in order to cope with child abuse, emotional abuse and being defined as less important than others in my life.
I was unable to cope with the truth so I changed the truth to suit me. I learned how to view “unhealthy attention” as though it was healthy and validating in order to cope with my dysfunctional world the way that it was and by doing so I was able to pretend that my world was actually functional. I found a way to believe that I was special.
But in order to feel loved and to believe that I had at least some degree of self worth, I had to change my understanding of the word “special”. I had to warp my definition of that word in order to fit it to the actual circumstances. The things I accepted as “proof” and validation that I was “special” became pretty sick and unhealthy.
I remember when I was about 13 or 14 years old, my mother started Read More→
If there is ONE place that I recommend starting the emotional healing process, it is starting with the damage. That might sound easy, but I had to actually find out what “the damage” to me was.
I had to find out how I got broken. What happened to my self esteem in the first place? How did my self esteem get so low? What happened to me? That was where the keys were and those were the keys that led to freedom.
I remember when I realized that my depressions and dissociative issues came from somewhere; I sat stunned, repeating to myself over and over ~ What happened to ME?
I had to look at the roots. I thought that I was born depressed. But the more I thought about it, how could that be?? There were actual events that caused damage and my depressions were in fact related to those events! I just had to see it. I had to finally SEE it.
The biggest obstacles in my way were avoiding looking at how I used by others, how I was objectified and not considered to be equally human, and how I was failed by others. By avoiding looking at the truth about that, I was able to excuse the damage they caused. I excused them because I had to. As a child, survival is of the utmost importance and if we start complaining about the people who are failing us, but are also in charge of our welfare, it is a pretty sure fact that we are not going to survive.
When I tell stories about teachers who were bullies or outsiders who devalued or abused me, I get a huge response. It is much easier to face the truth about someone outside of the family that hurt me and damaged me than it is to face the truth that my parents let me down, but the truth is that my parents knew about the bullying and the way it was effecting me, (I was sick in bed for months) and they avoided doing anything about it until I was so sick that the Dr whose care I was under, figured it out and MADE them do something about it. As I have written before, my parents tried to resist the Doctor, but he threatened to get a court order on my behalf.
If the damage, (including the emotional damage) is excused and ignored… there is further damage. I am saying Read More→
I was dying my whole life; I just didn’t know it until I started living.
The fog that I grew up with was almost completely transparent. I didn’t know that I didn’t know. I lived in a false normal and growing up like that was the way it was. It was my truth and my “real”. I didn’t know that there was any other way. I didn’t know that I didn’t know there was indeed another way; most of my life, my reality and my truth were dysfunctional. The adults, the reality all malfunctioned.
And therefore so did I.
That is what living in a dysfunctional family was like for me. Those were the effects of psychological abuse emotional abuse and trauma. That is the effect of being groomed and being trained in silence, compliance, obedience and obligation. That is what happens when a child is taught that their value as an individual is not the same as the value of others. There are consequences and negative results when we are raised in a false normal.
Psychological abuse is at the root of all forms of abuse. It is part of the grooming process. Emotional abuse and neglect makes a statement to a child. Abuse in any form makes a statement about human value. It teaches things that to the child that no child should be taught. It teaches the WRONG thing.
Sexual and physical abuse leave a child living in fear every day of their lives. It doesn’t make “sense”; abuse is incomprehensible and as a child I had to try to understand. Trying to understand something that is incomprehensible as a child is impossible. So, I “tried” to understand “them” for the rest of my life and as I was slowly dying I didn’t realize that my life was being extinguished by the very people who Read More→
I was fifteen or sixteen when I worked in that Real Estate office as a receptionist on the weekends. I answered the phones, and typed offers for the salesmen. My mother’s disgusting boyfriend got me the job. That should have been the first red flag.
There was this one chubby salesman named Ron who gave me the creeps. He was about 40 years old. He was just a little too friendly. He would come up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder. He tried to rub my back. I was terrified of him and didn’t even understand why. It was one of those feelings that today I have come to realize was my intuition. It was my “radar” warning me about a predator. That man had really bad motives when it came to me.
One day he came up to my desk and showed me some porn pictures. At first he was on the other side of the reception desk. He handed them to me; I took one look at them and handed them back without speaking. They looked like snapshots and they were mostly of naked people having oral sex. Those snapshots were pretty graphic. He came around to my side of the desk and at first I tried to look away, but he told me to look at the pictures. Something about him scared me and so I did as I was told and looked at the pictures. He slowly flipped through them, and I looked at them one by one. I was horrified and terrified, but I didn’t turn away. I thought if I was strong, if I showed no reaction, that he would lose interest in me. I thought that if I just pretended that it wasn’t bothering me, he would not ask me to Read More→
People always told me things like “deal with it” and “get over it” and “put it behind you” They always seemed so impatient with me and even exasperated that I was still “there” and not over it.
Has anyone ever given you instructions on HOW to “deal with it”? Have you been giving information about HOW to get over it, that didn’t include statements to which you have to keep asking “how do I do that”?
Just get over it (HOW?) Just put it behind you. (HOW?) ~ “give it to God”. (HOW?) To which the answer was “Have faith” (HOW?) well you get the picture.
I was told to accept things with statements like “nothing happens by mistake” And while I totally love that expression when I was in the right place at just the right time and suddenly met the person who was going to change my life, what about when someone uses that expression “nothing happens by mistake” when you are trying to comprehend the leftover emotions from child abuse? That expression becomes a way to try to make you grateful for having been abused!
What about people who tell me that I would not be the person that I am today if I had not been abused; that the abuse made me a stronger person. (again that I should be grateful that I was abused) But the truth is that I will never know how I would have turned out. I don’t know how strong I would have been if I had never been abused. Perhaps my brilliant mind would have been capable of Read More→
I saw a poster on facebook. It reminded me of the extremely foggy place that I emerged from. It reminded me of the lies that I told myself in order to resist looking at the truth about my life. Believing this type of statement, (or trying to) became a big part of how I survived. It was also how I beat myself up.
The poster states: “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how it’s supposed to be”
~ Survival thinking was: “As soon as I can achieve this standard and realize that my own thinking and expectations are the problem then, I will be able to put the problem (which is really all in my head) behind me.”
~ Self abusive thinking was: “I am a failure at getting over the past because Read More→