Archive for physical abuse
The first time a boy got a little rough with me I was 14. I had been swimming at our community pool and Mike the 17 year old life guard let me wear his diving watch in the water, which I thought was so cool. My boyfriend Rob showed up and called me over to the gate and I forgot to take the watch off when I went to meet him. I could tell he was angry.
I grabbed my towel and as we were walking away from the pool I had a sinking feeling in my gut. Looking back it was a familiar feeling, one that I had had often in my lifetime; it was the feeling of impending doom.
My internal dialogue went like this; “I have a bad feeling. Something bad is going to happen. Something bad… my tummy hurts, I don’t feel good; I don’t like this feeling.”
I remember my boyfriend started questioning me.
Rob: Who is that guy?
Me: He’s just the life Guard
Rob: Why are you wearing that watch?
Me: Because he let me wear it to dive in the deep end. It’s so cool!
Rob: Give me that watch.
Me: NO, I have to give it back to Mike.
By now the feeling of impending doom is almost making me throw up. I am scared; I feel like I have done something really bad but I am not sure what. I want to hide and there is nowhere to hide. I want to disappear. I want Rob to stop breathing in that angry way. I want him to calm down and listen to me.
I can see that Rob is getting more agitated. He grabs my wrist with one hand (OW, stop it, you are hurting me!) and he rips the watch off my wrist with the other hand. Then he goes back to the fence surrounding the pool and he throws the watch over the fence and into the pool. I am just standing there dripping wet, feeling scared and stupid and starting to give myself shit for being so dumb. Earlier in the year Rob had beat up a boy at school because he said something flirty to me and it took three teachers to break the fight up and now I am really scared he is going to beat up the life guard. But he doesn’t go into the pool area. Read More→
I am pleased to welcome Kylie Devi back to Emerging from Broken. In January of 2012, Kylie wrote a guest post about having been sexually abused as a child and how much trouble she had getting professional help dealing with it. There were some unforeseen results due to her sharing this information however and this new post is about her abusers confronting her about that blog post and her reaction to that confrontation; how it froze her and how she got through it. It will be helpful for you to get the whole picture by reading her original blog post first. Please help me welcome Kylie back! ~ Darlene
Breaking Through the Fear of Speaking About Child Abuse by Kylie Devi
In January of this year, I wrote a blog post sharing my experience with the “get better industry.” I shared how I felt that traditional psychology and social work failed me when I really needed it. And how I pulled myself out of the trenches of the horrors of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse as well as a ten year battle with drug addiction.
The belief I shared is that any industry designed to help me “get better” is only going to thrive when I don’t get better. An example of this is that the medical industry doesn’t thrive when nobody is sick, seeing doctors, or buying pharmaceuticals. Therefore, they are invested in people being sick. Make sense?
My main purpose for sharing this blog post was to reach out and say, hey, we all have our own unique path to healing… and it’s really awesome when we can share with each other too. For me, both of these are implicit – we have to do the work ourselves, but it is so powerful when we can participate in communities full of people who are also “doing the work.”
I do believe it was received that way by many people who read it, but there were some other people who weren’t too excited about what I had to say.
In February, I got a phone call from my main abuser saying: “I read your little blog post, what are you doing? Trying to get attention? Who abused you, and why am I hearing about it in this way?”
(I would like to say that “your little blog post” was kind of comedic to me, since this is a highly trafficked website that has helped thousands of people.)
And then 3 more phone calls from my other 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 had this dream the other night.
I dreamt that my mother threw an elegant cocktail party. It was attended by her well to do friends and it was very formal. The house was decorated beautifully; all dressed in sparkly Christmas decoration, Christmas flower arrangements and the type of decorating perfection that my mother has always been known for. There were handsome waiters in beautiful black tuxedos quietly bringing around trays of fancy treats and beautifully presented drinks.
My mother looked stunning in her black full length evening gown; She was happier than I had seen her for years.
I felt as though I was not actually “at” the party but that I was observing it. I felt awkward in my professional style dress and wished I had thought to buy a new evening gown myself. I felt more like I was part of the “staff” instead of a guest. (In real life I always felt like part of her staff too ~ just a servant, her cook, her whipping post) I noticed that what had started off to be a slight tension headache was quickly becoming a migraine headache and I decided that I better take some Advil and get somewhere quiet to let the pain killer work before it was too late.
I quietly slipped upstairs to the guest room to lay down while the Advil took effect. A few moments later my mother quietly slipped into the room. She whisper/yelled “what do you think you are doing?” I felt that same shock and bewilderment that I always felt when she asked me something in that accusatory tone of voice as though I was purposely doing something “wrong” and that I should not PRETEND that I didn’t know what she was talking about. I was already backing away from her as Read More→
“What did you do to make “him” do that? What did you do to cause that reaction?” This is such a lame thing to ask someone because it immediately places blame on the victim.
I am guilty of saying similar things to my own kids when they were small. I cringe with horror at the memory of it today. I know exactly what I communicated… that the bully was only defending themselves. I was inferring that the one who was complaining or reporting an offence must have done something to deserve it in the first place. (This is psychological abuse)
I can comfort myself that usually I said this to two of my kids who were fighting with each other at the time and that I was trying to get to the bottom of it. I was trying to find out what really happened from the beginning. Although it is bad enough to say this to a child who is having some sort of sibling rivalry crisis; “he stole my tractor” ~ “she hit me with her toy duck” and the adult is really just trying to get to the bottom of who really started it, it is a whole other story and a whole other accusation when you say this to a child who comes home from school with a black eye. This statement implies that Read More→
“Child abuse damages a person for life and that damage is in no way diminished by the ignorance of the perpetrator. It is only with the uncovering of the complete truth as it affects all those involved that a genuinely viable solution can be found to the dangers of child abuse”. Alice Miller ~ Banished Knowledge ~ facing childhood injuries
Lately I have been writing a lot on the subject of dysfunctional family systems. I feel like I am just getting started when it comes to sharing about some of the things that were so dysfunctional in my own family. The dysfunctional mother daughter relationship I had with my abusive mother was only one part of it. I had an emotionally unavailable father as well. There was sexual abuse and physical abuse. I was not heard or even seen as a child ~ as though I was not really a person yet. And that “non person” fact seems to be at the root of everything; the discounted voice and disregarded feelings of the child. We live in a whole world of adults who have not been valued as children but who are Read More→
“When a child has been in a dysfunctional family system, that child grows up with some dysfunctional thinking. It can’t be helped. The dysfunctional ways of thinking in my family system got passed on to me. Dysfunction and mistreatment, psychological abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse all contributed to the survival methods that I had to adopt in order to stay alive”. ~Darlene Ouimet
I have this “to do” list. I tell myself that I am going to get “this much done” each day. I have it all mapped out. But I don’t stick to the plan. I get distracted, I want to chat on the phone, I want to read a book, I want to spend more time on facebook talking to all my peeps and updating the Emerging from Broken facebook page. I want to catch up on Twitter. I tell myself that all these activities are part of the greater goals that I have to spread this message. But the truth is that I am not Read More→