Friday, August 25, 2006

Post Traumatic Stress In Adult Survivors Of Child Abuse

Trauma specialists believe that "what is most tragic about child abuse and neglect is the exploitation of the child's attachment to the parent." To be sure, it is far easier to abuse one's own children, precisely because their love and loyalty to the parent render them much more compliant than they would be to a stranger. It is exactly this attachment exploitation that teaches children they are not safe in a relationship to other human beings.

Physical abuse itself does not cause trouble. Most people have had physical injuries, fractures or burns during childhood due to purely accidental causes and they have not been harmed by it because they have been comforted and cared for by good caregivers at the time of the incident. Damage comes when the injuries are inflicted by those to who one looks for love and protection, and there is no relief from the trauma. It is the emotional and psychological setting in which the sexual maltreatment occurs, and with whom it has occured, that makes the difference and causes lasting damage.

Children are born into the world absolutely dependent and helpless. They depend on others for food, warmth, cleanliness and protection from threat. Children's natural and healthy helplessness is transformed into terror and dispair when those needs are ignored, or when a parent plays "let's make a deal" with those needs.

Childhood should be a time of no-risk dependency. Many children, in desperation, learn to care prematurely for themselves...at the expense of trust in others, emotional growth and self-acceptance. Unfortunately, try as they might, such children can never absolutely ensure their survival, simply because it is never absolutely within their control.

Try as they might, parents cannot always protect their children from trauma. A relative dies. The house burns down. The child witnesses a fatal car accident. The child is molested by someone outside the family and terrorized into keeping the secret. Yet, children can survive intact emotionally if adults provide them with a sense of safety and well-being in the aftermath of traumatic events.

Realistic, protective and compassionate treatment by adults can become more meaningful than the trauma itself, thus lessening its after-effects. However, when the source of the trouble is within the family, realism, protection and comapssion are usually in short supply. It is often not so much what actually happened that causes the "persistant negative effects" of trauma, as it is the absence of healing responses...what didn't happen afterward.

Suppose that in the midst of a tornado a child sought comfort and protection from his parents and was told, "What tornado? It's a beautiful day...Go outside and play." That's how crazy and unsafe the world seems to some children. Some survivors have tried to tell the truth about the abuse and were called liars or accused of being responsible for the abuser's behavior.

When a victim or survivor is disbelieved, shamed, threatened into silence, or when the disclosure is minimized or becomes cause for punishment, the trauma inflicted by willful ignorance compounds the original trauma. Children can withstand a lot with the help of other people; conversely, the denial or rejection of children's normal thoughts and feelings about trauma can cause as much pain as the original trauma.

To minimize the damage of trauma, children also need protection from further harm. But in troubled families it is not in the abuser's best interest to teach the child how to prevent further abuse. The nonprotective parent who denies or minimizes the abuse is usually passive. The child is usually left on his own to figure out the best way to protect himself.

Survivors rarely, if ever, benefitted from the compassionate and reasonable reactions that would have lessened the effects of their troubled childhoods. Given the enormity of what didn't happen after their traumas, it isn't surprising that they entered adulthood numb and anxious, or both. Protective numbing and reactive anxiety are, after all, normal reactions to abnormal situations.

Clearly, people were not meant to be physically or sexually abused. Human beings are not equipped to understand abuse as it happens, not to feel the full force of their physiological response at the time. And they cannot, at that moment, find meaning in the experience of the abuse. Each of these important elements of accomodation can only happen later, in distinct stages.

Survivors commonly speak of how they endured trauma by pretending that their mind and spirit had gone to a safer place, leaving the body behind to endure the abuse.

Abused children abandon reality, dissociating mind from body so they won't be overwhelmed and their ability to cope won't be shattered. Even a relatively minor trauma can provoke dissociation until a person is later able to integrate the experience. "Later", in the case of chronic abuse, particularly where the child has no support, may mean years later.

In the short run, dissociation is a very effective defense, walling off what cannot be accomodated. Sometimes the actual memory of the abuse goes into deep freeze. An incident in the present may trigger strong feelings that really belong to an incident in the past. The survivor may become enraged by what merely annoys others, devastated when others are momentarily sad, panicked when others are just worried. Present events tap into a deep well of feelings whose source remains alusive.

When asked what the worst memory from their childhood is, many survivors reply, "My worst memory has yet to surface."

Sometimes only the feelings go into deep freeze. Some suvivors have perfect, excruciating detailed recall of the abuse itself, but are numb to their feelings. Their hearts are in deep freeze. They do fine when they are not provoked to feel too much. They may avoid friendships and romance, or enter into them only on their own terms. They believe their feelings are as troublesome and overwhelming today as their parents once told them they were. They are numb to feelings as a way to keep control.

Many survivors ask, "If I don't remember the trauma, or if I don't have strong feelings about it, isn't that better?" Dissociation eventually takes far more effort than it is worth. The more we try not to, the more feelings and thoughts assert themselves, unconsciously demanding our attention. It takes an enormous toll to keep perfectly legitimate memories and feelings about childhood trauma in deep freeze. In the long run, one is better letting the thaw happen, and with the support of others, participating in some manner of "cure" that will allow life to go on.

Some survivors don't know they have a highly recognizable and treatable anxiety disorder called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which has been associated with survivors of the Vietnam War, the Holocaust, mass murders, natural disasters, rape, kidnapping, accidents, torture, and other extraordinary events.

People with PTSD often re-experience the trauma in their minds. When the memory brings on a physiological response or feeling this is called an abreaction. (The release of emotional tension through the recalling of a repressed traumatic event.) Often the situation that brings on the abreaction is reminiscent of the original trauma.

An abreaction could be triggered by something someone says, circumstances such as the press of a crowd, being left totally alone, a darkened room...or even a particular time of the year, smells, touch, tastes...or other things associated with the trauma. Suddenly, the survivor is transported as if in a time machine to the event of the original trauma and reacts with the emotional intensity that would have been appropriate then, though not now. During an abreaction it is difficult to distinguish "what was" from "what is".

Herein lies the Achilles Heels for survivors. They function well in many aspects of life until they encounter the events or circumstances that are likely to trigger abreactions: emotional vulnerability, physical illness or evasive medical procedures, struggles with authority figures, cultural oppression or abandonment, to name a few.

A person with PTSD lives with a persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma or numbing of general responsiveness. Survivors with PTSD may avoid any intimate connection, often resulting in feelings of detachment or estrangement from others. Survivors often have highly developed social skills and may seem to be extremely extroverted, but their dealings with others may preclude vulnerability. They can talk about movies or work or the weather, but they have difficulty expressing their feelings. Or, they may have constricted feelings. They may be unable to identify and express a wide range of emotions, particularly the anger, fear and sadness so closely associated with the original traumatic events.

Certain circumstances can make the disorder longer lasting and more severe. If a trauma is repeated, for instance, as in chronic physical or sexual abuse, then the disorder might persist more than it would after only one incident. Repitition does not make one immune to the consequences of trauma. Rather, it has a cumulative effect, as unresolved trauma is layered upon unresolved trauma.

Traumatic events that are human in origin seem to have more severe after-effects than natural disasters. Hurtful and frightening as it is to be raped by a stranger, or to be in the path of a natural disaster, the creation of a personal disaster by a loved one is vastly more bewildering and overwhelming.

Another circumstance that contributes to the persistance of PTSD is the victim's age. The younger the victim, the more vulnerable he is. The more developmental skills and life experiences uncontaminated by trauma a child has, the more he has to draw on in the face of trauma. When life goes well, and children are loved and protected, each day is like a deposit in a savings account. Neglect, repeated physical abuse or sexual assault...or other life-threatening events, make huge withdrawals on the account. The more a child has in the bank when the trauma occurs, the better the prognosis for a quick recovery. Small children who are repeatedly traumatized usually have few deposits and easily become emotionally bankrupt.

When the survivor is ready to deal with it, memories and feelings begin to reconnect. He or she remembers, with the mind and feelings, instead of dismembering through dissociation.

The beginning of reconnection is usually attibuted to the fortuitous occurence of a trigger - an event or circumstance obviously associated with or reminiscent of the original trauma. There must also always be the simultaneous occurence of a positive trigger before the reconnection can begin. For instance, the survivor may have found someone trustworthy to talk to (therapist, friend, partner, support group) and may finally feel safe and sane enough to explore and accept her feelings.

The pain and disorientation can be balanced by focusing on the positive trigger. During this process, survivors should ask themselves, "Why now? Why didn't I remember this two years ago? Five years ago?" The answer lies in the conjunction of this trigger, along with the negative one, which tells the survivor "you can afford to reconnect now...you have the power, judgement, insight and support that you truly did not have as a child. It is safe enough."

Walling off parts of the trauma was once the solution to an unbearable situation. Eventually, it causes problems in the mind, heart and spirit, in one's relationships with the child within and others, and in one's work. Trauma, if left unresolved, is destined to be re-enacted in one of those vital aspects of the self.

To recognize that a mother is exploiting you for her own ends, or that a father is unjust and tyrannical, or that neither parent ever wanted you, is intensely painful. Moreover, it is frightening. Given any loophole, most children will seek to see their parent's behavior in some more favorable light. This natural bias of children is easy to exploit.

It is not just the child's body that is abused or neglected. Troubled families mess with a child's mind. Virtually all survivors believe that their ability to think, to intellectually master the challenges in their lives, was of of their greatest strengths as children. Like other coping mechanisms, their over-reliance on rationality fell into obsolesence and became one of their greater weaknesses.

Children struggle to make some sense of a loved one's abusive and neglectful treatment. If the child understood what abuse really was, a random and violent imposition of another's will onto a relatively helpless person, he would despair at such hopelessness and betrayal. Therefore, he uses every mental effort to make himself seem in greater control while transforming the abusive parent into the safe and loving caretaker he so desperately needs. Such lies of the mind require mental gymnastics.

Children don't do this thinking in a vacuum. In some situations they are told what to think. In most cases they are influenced by the abuser's faulty thinking and by the rationalization of the adults who passively enable the abuse to go on. Children hear what those powerful adults say and what they don't say.

On top of the abuse and neglect, denial heaps more hurt upon the child by requiring the child to alienate herself from reality and her own experience. In troubled families, abuse and neglect are permitted; it's the talking about them that is forbidden.

Minimization is a thinking error designed to protect the injured self, making one seem a little less injured. The need for it can lessen as the survivor can afford to embrace the full reality of the past. (Refraining from denial is an act of courage for survivors. They have to choose quite literally between being alienated from themselves and reality...or being alienated from family members who still deny abuse.)

In troubled families, the thinking around who is responsible is convoluted at best. Abusive parents externalize, blaming other people, places and things for their behavior. They compensate by controlling everyone around them. But...in their heart of hearts...they feel out of control. They must blame others because it is too painful to take responsibility for their unhappiness. Children are easy targets because they cannot challenge their parent's thinking errors. Few children can argue when facing an enraged mother. Hearing accusations often enough, children come to believe that they are responsible for their parent's troubled behavior.

Unfortunately, children receive an internal psychological payoff when they believe the abuse is their fault...a false sense of power. The child can let the unfairness and danger of the violence shatter him, or he can tell himself, "I'm not frightened or angry or sad or helpless or innocent. There is nothing wrong with this situation. This is happening to me for a good reason. This is happening to me because I deserve it, because I provoked it, because I was put here on Earth to endure such things. There is really nothing out of the ordinary about this."

The child is doing the best he or she can do to make sense out of the abuse or neglect, by feeling guilty and responsible, thereby holding on to the illusion that he or she is in control of what is truly out of control. This illusion of power seems better than acknowledging that one has no power at all. Such pseudologic quells feelings of hurt, rage, terror, confusion or sadness...rationalizing them into a deep freeze.

The child's sense of guilt and responsibility is useful to the abusive parent, who believes he isn't abusive..that it is the child who forces him into being abusive. The nonprotective adults want the child to bear the guilt so they won't have to face the harm their neglect is causing. So...the dance of the violent family begins: Children are responsible for adult's behavior...adults are responsible for nothing.

Faced with random, senseless abuse, a child begins to think herself as inherently unlovable.

Believing oneself to be guilty, responsible, or in control of others' hurtful behavior can be a tenacious habit. Many survivors deal with any overwhelming experience - physical illness, abandoment by a friend or spouse, academic or job demands - by "comforting" themselves with the illusion that they are in fact in control and to blame. An enormous amount of energy is sapped by this irrational guilt.

Rarely do survivors see themselves as so powerful over the good in their own lives. Here, their parent's constant projection has left it's mark. Many survivors, convinced of their inherent worthlessness and inadequacy, look to other people, places and things for salvation. Only when they have the "perfect intimate partner, their dream house, or public recognition for their work" will they be redeemed. Of course, anything so powerful to save their lives might also destroy their lives, which brings the survivor back full circle to his original feeling of powerlessness. Reasponsible for all the pain in the world...he is inept at enjoying his own happiness.

Fantasy, as a coping mechanism can also be a weakness. Too often fantasies become more real than relationships. Survivors may fantasize a lot about what other people think or feel about them.

Trauma influences our ways of organizing in our minds what goes on out in the world. Survivors who have not fared well in life tend to think in sweeping generalities...people are either good or bad, with no gray area in between. Everything is "always" or "never", with no room for "doesn't matter much." In contrast, some survivors have thinking that is highly compartmentalized.

Children simply do not have the cognitive development or life experience for clear thinking in the face of trauma. Their thinking errors reflect their best attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible...when the truth wasn't offered or allowed. A first step to recovery, then, is to examine, challenge, and change these old ways of thinking about trauma.

The goal of sorting through the lies of the mind is to learn to take the abuse less personally, and thereby to feel safer. By looking back, the powerful adult mind can more objectively measure the powerlessness of the traumatized child.

Thinkly clearly may not be the entire answer, but it is an excellent and necessary beginning. Emerson wrote: "It is the oyster who mends its shell with pearls." But, unlike oysters, we are not solitary creatures. We mend one another as well as ourselves. Pearls of wisdom help us to take the next step...to heal in the company of other people, feeling the effects of the trauma while we hold onto our life rafts.

Feelings begin in the body, not in the mind. Many survivors say, "I know what happened wasn't my fault, but I still feel somewhat unlovable and damaged. My self-worth is measured by how other people see me. My head knows that is wrong, but my heart feels differently. Thinking comes much more easily to me...it's still a big risk to feel. If I ever started to cry, I'd cry a river. If I ever felt the terror of it all, I'd disintegrate into nothingness."

Children don't innately know how to repress their spontaneous responses. They have to be taught, and troubled parents are perhaps the best teachers of all. There are three iron-clad rules in the abusive home: Don't talk. Don't trust. Don't feel. To break any of them means risking rejection or punishment.

One of the few predictable aspects of a violent family is the unpredictablity of the parent's responses. Every time the child cries, he gets a different response. Soon he realizes that it is unsafe to cry. After a while, he keeps his feelings to himself and perhaps loathes spontaneity because it causes so much trouble.

Young children offer their feelings to adults as gifts, as their currency of exchange in intimacy. All they can do to be close to adults is to offer their feelings. When their feelings are ignored or rejected as wrong, bad, troublesome, sick, crazy or stupid...they feel rejected. The young mind reasons "since my feelings are unacceptable, I must be unacceptable, too."

Beyond teaching children to recognize and articulate their feelings, parents help children to contain and express feelings constructively. When children do not learn how to do this they may become overwhelmed by them, experiencing them as floods. They may come to fear or loathe their feelings.

Adults from abusive homes can also become pain-avoidant. Survivors attempt to control the people and events around them so that they will never feel pain again.

What is most tragic about pain-avoidant behavior is that it is a defense against something that has already happened and cannot be undone. A survivor cannot live fully in the present until he or she has the past in perspective. Sometimes being preoccupied and defensive about the pain waiting in the future is just a distraction from addressing the real pain in the past.

To be intimate is to risk pain. There are no guanantees. To miss years of loving to avoid the pain of loss is too high a price to pay.

Survivors attempt to flee from feelings about having been abused, from normal reactions to an abnormal situation. Because that situation was life-threatening in the past, some survivors mistakenly believe that to experience those feelings today would also be life-threatening, would bring on an emotional breakdown, a falling apart akin to death. They do not understand that the breakdown has already happened, when their feelings were preempted by shame.

A survivor can afford to look that "death" squarely in the face when he has people who will stand by him, as well as the insight and power he did not have as a child. When it is finally safe enough, the survivor will remember the memories and feel the feelings about the trauma. Such a "thawing out" is a second chance, an emotional reincarnation. Still...the first sensations that have been repressed or avoided all of one's life can feel like a tidal wave.

When he is ready, the thoughts and feelings return. In response to what has been uncovered, he often feels great anger at the betrayal itself and the injustice and randomness of the violence.

Underneath that anger is a terror and helplessness that is more difficult to experience than the anger. ("Maybe it wasn't as bad as I remember. Maybe I'm just exaggerating.") This can go on for a long time, but with the help of others, the survivor will eventually accept that the trauma was as bad as he knows it was.

Profound sadness follows. This compassionate acceptance of "poor me" and the mourning of the losses that the trauma created eventually lead to resolution.

When the losses engendered by trauma are fully mourned, the trauma loses its power over the survivor. Instead of the emotional breakdown they feared...survivors experience an emotional breakthrough! Completing the grieving process means divorcing the trauma from one's sense of identity and self-worth.


100 comments:

hakpenguin said...

Hi Barb,
Your Aug 25 post caught my forever alert search for "reactive attachment disorder." I did read it completely and found it interesting. It seems you are fairly knowledgable in this area so I'm wondering what your background is. I am merely a parent of two adopted Russian children with RAD. My wife and I think that one is much more RAD than the other, the lesser being affected by his loss (abandonment), and perhaps PTSD. Your article does explore the division of heart and mind and we believe the lesser is doing exactly that. He does not want a repeat and thus does not share a lot there.

Barb said...

Thank you for writing me, hakpenguin. My background is simply years and years of therapy, along with some good reasearching. (I have PTSD for the reason cited in this post.) I wish you the very best of luck with your two children. The fact that you're exploring RAD and other options is a good indicator that they have found a good home with you and your wife.

Anonymous said...

Abuse was also in my family. I have very little memory of my childhood. Recently I had a medical emergency, kidney stones and an apendicitis. I felt no pain but after vomiting in the ER for 12 hrs they took an xray to find my problems. Mean while the ER was accusing me of wanting drugs and all I wanted was relief. I alss have evidence of a cracked vertabre in my neck of which I have no memory. I was accused of being a bad girl, crying alot, biting strangers, etc.. and eventually the black sheep of the family. I was the oldest and suffered more abuse cause later the siblings protected each other as best they could. We no longer speak to each other and the parents are dead.

SQT said...

Barb,

My sympathies. I found this post compelling because I have a similar past. I'm sure you noticed by my blog that I have a rich fantasy life (to say the least) but it was my one comfort and consistency growing up.

I recognize myself a lot in this post. I've been to a few councilors and they usually tell me that I'm pretty well adjusted after a few visits. And mostly I think I agree. Though I often wonder if I've just gotten good at faking it.

The birth of my first child really brought out my past and I was forced to deal with it. But it was good. I confronted my Mom about a lot of things and really cleared the air. Our relationship is much healthier now.

But it's nice to connect, even superficially with people who've "been there," so to speak. It makes me feel less alone.

Barb said...

sqt, you say you wonder if you've "just gotten good at faking it."

Didn't you know? That's our best defense growing up? We children who come from abusive childhoods, I mean.

I'm glad you stumbled in here and glad you feel less alone.

survivor girl said...

what an insightful and educational post. i too have suffered greatly with abuse issues of which i told no one for many, many years. it took me until i had my daughter to really start working with it and through it. i refused to allow the cycle of dysfunction and abuse to continue and sought help. the memories were beating me down for a long time and it wasn't until i began to talk about it that i realized the behavior i'd adopted. to this day, i'm still a little guarded with people and sexual contact, but at least it's not nearly as bad as it had been. i still have signs of disassociative behavior, but i'm fortunate enough to now recognize when i'm doing it and am armed with the tools and resources to deal with it.

thank you for posting this and for the help you're giving to so many people as a result.

Barb said...

survivor girl.. best wishes to you.

AnotherSurvivor said...

There is so much more to child abuse and the resulting PTSD than most people realize. Two years ago, I reached the final breaking point (so it seemed) and couldn't even get out of bed. Even the simplest tasks had become impossible. After months of hospitalizations, expensive tests, and untolled hours of therapy with a trauma specialist, it's now clear that I have significant neurological dysfunction caused by neglect and emotional trauma through childhood and overwhelming stress in adulthood.

When a child suffers trauma and/or neglect in the early years, the brain and nervous system do not develop normally. The effects can multiply over time. In my case, it eventually resulted in disability due to impairment of the prefontal cortex, along with severe depression. We are still trying to figure out how/if I can regain the ability to work.

Anyone who works with or raises children needs to understand the impact of trauma and the critical biological need for nurturing and attachment. We are so incredibly ignorant as a society.

For more info on the neurology of trauma, see Trauma Spectrum by Robert Scaer.

Thanks for your excellent post. I hope you post more in the future.

Mayren said...

Brava!

This is an astounding essay.
I hope you seek to have it published into the psychology medical journals.
As an avid reader giving a critique: Your Essay flows with a language that is easily followed and understood. The ideas and process of the Essay are structured very well.

As a fellow Surviving Adult; this post touched my heart. I recognized all the things I've gone through and couldn't articulate myself in your words.

*big hugs*

Lizard Princess said...

Have you read, "A child called 'It'"? I'm pretty sure you probably have. What a sad, sad story. It is so wrong that those things occur. That is why I do my best everyday to give my child a safe and loving environment to live in.

Audrey said...

A truly excellent post Skittles, the effects may never fully go away, but to reach a stage where we can hold our lives in our own hands and face the abuse and at times the abuser face to face takes much courage and the emotional breakthrough you write of. I work in the mental health field, so many untold stories of abuse that are given a glimpse of light before being packed away again, when one knows at a personal level the rutted road to recovery its enough just to hold someone where they are until, if ever they find the strength to travel the path.

May you and all who share this experience continue to grow and shine as we were meant to,

Michelle said...

You've left a few comments in the past on my blog and I thought I'd check yours out and saw this one listed and thought I'd give it a look...I'm so glad that I did!
I have to admit that I couldn't get through most of this post without letting the tears drip from my face like a waterfall. It was as if I wrote this myself...only I've never been quite brave enough to let my feelings/memories/trauma show to others. Very few know about my story. I've obviously never recovered from it.
I saw a few counselors at a very young teen age. Most made everything seem like it was my fault. Military doctors really aren't equipped to handle things like this...or at least they weren't back in the 80s.
I'm seeking help now...have tried a few medications, and struggle with other issues in life.
I just want to thank you so much for putting this out there. You have unknowingly helped me...and I can related to sooo much of what you said that it's scary!
Thank you for putting your knowledge, and unfortunately, your experiences out there so that those of us who've lived in your shoes (I think we may have very similar stories) know that we're not alone. And we're not crazy...
Once again, thanks.

bundle-o-contradictions said...

Seeing things that I've done/been/felt for years on end explained and classified...I'd never thought of myself in those terms. I've glossed over and tried to make it positive. My only fear is that somewhere lurking in my brain is an incident that I'd always thought, "Well, at least that never happened to me. I only got hit & screamed at & abandoned." If it's in there, I really don't want to know. I really don't want to deal with the result. Only recently did the possibility arise. And here I thought all this time I was just quirky, depending on my fantasy world when things are rough. Thanks, Barb.

Susan said...

I've also experienced some of what you spoke about.

Thanks for writing such a clear synopsis of the pain, struggle and consequences of abuse. It has led me to think about some areas I've been wanting to ignore. Ignoring has seemed the "easier" and more "mature" way to handle the past.

I am now seeing where easier and more mature aren't necessarily in my best interests.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I was amazed by the truths in your post. I have a question for you, would like your opinion. What do you do if the abusive parent wishes to continue a relationship with you and imposes guilt if you do not? (I'm 39) My mother tells me I'm ungrateful, that things were not as bad as I say, that others had it worse, that I should forgive and forget, and that families stick together no matter what. I go into a dark hole of depression whenever I hear her voice and am reminded of life with her. How do I get over the guilt and not believe the things she says to me? How do I stay healthy and safe, but guilt free?

Skittles said...

Was your mother the abuser? I'm not quite sure by what you told me. Whether she was or wasn't, she is still trying to exert her power and control over you.

I think you already know what you need to do. You told me that you are 39. You told me you go into a dark hole of depression.

Something in the back of your head is trying to tell you that enough is enough.

Child abuse should NEVER happen to any child. The guilt does not lay at your feet. It belongs to the abuser.

I am nowhere close to being a professional counselor, but I would strongly recommend that you break ties with your mother to save your sanity and to get into some kind of therapy program so you can stay strong in what you need to do and slowly, SLOWLY, learn to heal.

I wish you the best of luck.

Donetta said...

Hay , a while back I was visiting the Heads or tails and an image disturbed me so badly I stopped coming by. I saw your sweet comment and looked you up to find the site here. I find we have more in common than realized. This is a good site. I am not up to reading the whole thing through. I have the life restored blog as well. Being rather tired today I'm a little off. I'll give skittles another try.

Laura said...

Wow...you must have peeked in on my life at some point! My mother was my abuser, and she blamed it all on my "very vivid imagination"...but the broken bones and bruises were NOT imagined. 21 years after getting out of the house, I still occassionally flinch when the hubby moves fast....

I only just broke the depression cycle...I've not been depressed in over a year now...after having been depressed for more than 20 years. Being at a great distance from the abusive family member has been a HUGE help.

Thank you for this great article. I will have to come back and read it again, in more depth.

Anonymous said...

I come from a family that has been in an abuse cycle for generations. Not sexual abuse - poverty, resentment, neglect, occasional violence and plenty of threats... I am a middle aged man now, successful by any measure, but as my oldest son is now in his teens I look back at my own upbringing in disgusted astonishment. And it is bothering me A LOT. I have never felt the need for therapy, but I sense that I am obsessing over and over about events and neglect, and I do not seem to be able to resolve this on my own.

I have broken the cycle and my children are happy, loved, and cherished - as they should be. Since my father is dead, I see no harm in building a different identity for him in the eyes of my children. Why should they have to know that my father was a neglectful and abusive jackass?

And in the final analysis I know that my father was the victim of childhood PTSD, too. He was just unable to break the cycle.

Anonymous said...

Hi Barb,
I stumbled upon this blog in what felt like a last ditch effort to discover, "what the heck is wrong with me." I am a successful person, I have a good job, a wonderful partner, great children, the house two cars, dog, cat etc. etc. My question to myself is why can't I be "happy" and "normal" like other people seem to be. Why am I so restless and constantly seeking more. I have been to several therapists but none seem to understand and working in the field myself I often leave feeling that I learned nothing new in terms of theories or about myself. I thought I have delt well over the years. After all I am so "well adjusted" considering the adversities I've overcome. Others look at me in disbelief after all when I tell them my stories. Reading your blog said it all for me. I cried and more than that felt like someone got it for the first time in my life. WOW is what I have to say. You never know when or how you'll make a difference, and you have. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

This article came at the right moment. I have been healing for the past 21 years. I have a MSN and have run child abuse prevention agencies even before I remembered my own abuse. The long illness and ultimate death of my loving husband was the only thing that could of and did catpult me to a place that I could no longer not feel. I had a spontaneous regression and for the first time my adult daughter triggered one of my worst memories. Having my mother charge $20 to my brother's friends to rape me. Twice it happened and the last time my brother held a gun to my head because I would not go downstairs again because I knew what was in store. I begged him to shoot me, I wanted to go "home" and to finally know peace. One thing I know for sure about abusers is that they are cowards. If I was not afraid to die he had no "power" over me. The darkness then knows not what to do. The darkness fears death beyond anything else because in death ego dies but the light is eternal and never dies. So the darkness becomes conflicted and cannot understand how I could be begging to die. I do not yet understand or know how the mind of darkness works, even though I worked with perpetrators. My saving grace was a belief in light and love and I have no idea where it came from or maybe I do!

Charles B. Rangel said...

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extreme stress response to a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless. If you have PTSD, you may believe that you’ll never get over what happened or feel normal again. But with treatment and the support of your loved ones, you can overcome your symptoms, reduce the painful memories, and move on with your life. http://www.xanax-effects.com/

Happyflower said...

Reading this is so hard for me because I see myself in it like I almost have written it.

I am numbed from my feelings from my past child abuse, I am now almost 40 and finally in therapy to deal with it.

But I still want to believe it didn't happen. My brother died from the effects of child abuse from my mother a year ago, he was 36.
My therapist today wants me to keep a long on where I feel my emotions, all my emotions. She asked me if I were to draw my feeling of numbness what would it look like, I said a blank piece of paper.
I am scared of getting into those feelings because I am afraid it will go crazy or something.

This is so hard, I hope I can have the emotional breakthrough like you. But I wonder if I can do this in the 50min therapy hour and still be sane enough to walk out her door afterwards.
But I know I need to do this, somehow.

Henry Cisneros said...

There are a number of stressful medical conditions affecting many of us today. One of the broadest topics is anxiety disorders, with millions of people suffering to some degree or another. Specific symptoms vary greatly from person to person. As anxiety disorders grow progressively worse without treatment you should see your doctor immediately if you suspect that you may be suffering from one of these illnesses. http://www.buy-xanax-online-now.com/

Anonymous said...

Invasive medical procedures...evasive means escaping

Anonymous said...

hi im matt... im dealing with all of this curently... i am 16 my father beat me phisicly and mentaly torcherd me from birth to 13 years of age. i have decided to stop it from controleing me... i found your article VERY informative thankyou. because of what i went threw im trying to become a police ofacer. i want to make a diffrence... but thank you (sorry about the spelling)

Tina said...

was just stopping by here barb for a change. this is a great site here.

i hope it really helps people out. i can see from comments it has already. good job :)

have a great weekend

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I don't know how I found this information, but I'm so glad I did. Everything I read in this article, describes me. I thought I was the only one who had these feelings, but apparently my behavior and feelings are "normal" for people who have had abusive childhoods. My parents are both in denial and I have suffered from depression for years and used "blocking things out" and creating a fantasy world to cope. I used to try to minimize the abuse and tell myself it probably wasn't that bad. I told myself I must just be overly sensitive. Only now at 35 yrs old am I really seeing things clearly and begining to recognize my parents as abusers. As a child I was never hugged or kissed. My parents never said "I love you". The only time they spoke to me it was to threaten or humiliate me and the only time they touched me it was to beat the hell out of me. I was raised as an only child, and now as an adult I have social anxiety disorder. I wanted to remain attached to my parents (because I have no one else) so I stayed in denial for a long time. This posting really opended my eyes. It explains a lot.
Thanks :)

nwtsbtr said...

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R, A, J said...

I too, have PTSD (mine is the complex PTSD). This post is written in a way that everyone who has any sort of relationship with someone who has PTSD needs to read it. Thank you for writing it.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm 39 and was abused from childhood up through adulthood by my parents until around Christmas of last year (2008) when I broke contact. I'm actually doing alot better already, but haven't found a Dr or counsellor that really takes me seriously. I'm starting to remember things that I had forgotten, but I think it would help to find a professional to help me through it. Does anyone know how to do that? I am pretty much alone in this because the other people in my family have chosen to ignore things. Also, it seems like people really don't understand abuse, and don't even like to go there. Your article was excellent. I wish more people understood things this way. Thanks!

supah said...

thank you for writing this. i completely identify and feel more hopeful that i can heal after reading this.

Anonymous said...

Your article made me cry. Thank You. It's empowering to have validation because I know it's all true, but it's too heartbreaking to believe, to acknowledge, to say out-loud to myself... I turn it off, I have to. Who could do this to a child and why? To heal I must feel it - to feel it is too painful, like dying a slow painful death every day. The hopelessness is too much for my heart and my spirit to bear - I can't breathe. Instead I am the living dead. An artist unable to paint. A woman unable to live. A child unable to die. I am a prisoner still. Some day I hope I will be free. I keep trying... Is there really ever a resolution? How can one ever accept the unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

I have been friends with my husband for over 20 years, but we only fell in love and married a few months ago. I knew of his abusive background, and that he struggled with pain and addictions, but did not know how very much he suffered until living with him 24/7. Both of us have read self-help books. He has seen therapists briefly. he has tried antidepressants, but washing them down with a depressant (alcohol) is definitely counterproductive. What you wrote is a very accurate explanation of what he has endured and how he coped, and how now - with our late-life very deep love painful emotions and physiological reactions/ abreactions are occurring. We hope the new counselor will provide the safety and security he needs to release these fears, painful emotions, and guilt/responsibility that you describe. Do you have guidelines - advice? You must have moved through a great deal of this in order to present it so clearly. Help????? Nancy in West Virginia

Anonymous said...

hi
im currently on antidepressants( for a year now).I've been treated for severe depression and ptsd.My memories of my childhood trauma and abuse from my mum have surfaced because of a trauma i experienced on holiday 3 years ago. I performed cpr on a little girl who drowned in the hotel pool.Her mum seeing her lifeless on the ground screamed and i can see it so clearly even now.I'm happy to say the little girl survived, but the screaming tied in to my childhood abuse by my mum.I was constantly on edge as a child, never knowing when my mum would kick off. i was terrorized by her actions and i still cannot look at her face without feeling the fear.She would hit me if i ever tried to talk back, so i realised that i never had anything of any importance to say, i was unlovable and as a result i have stopped myself from feeling the love of others, even my own dear children . I love them with all my heart, i vowed to myself never to be like my mum, and i have agonised over the years have i been a good enough mum? I cannot tell you how reasuring this has been to me to discover your blog and all the comments here by fellow survivors.This could have been written for me. i am seeing a pyschiatrist and pyschologist, and now i realise that i have to be brave enough to truly feel the horrors of my childhood, and talk about them out loud.This has been an incredible journey for me and i dont think im through the worst yet but it has helped me see that i can get over all this and make my life into something so much better - i so deserve this, despite what i have been told by my parents. i encourage all you survivors out there to find the strength to make your life your own.

Anonymous said...

I am Jessica Johnson a transgender and I would like you all to know that society doesn't understand the pain a child suffers at the hands of abusers for it never ever goes away, thus justice must be swift & absolute -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYQBy7bGNvA
(song with clip is R.E.M everybody hurts)

Lynn said...

I am a transgender woman who has been dealing with gender issues since the age of four. This has led to serious child abuse and later sexual abuse. By the age of six or seven I had tourette syndrome. As an adult I have been diagnosed with tramatic brain injury, clinical depression, anxiety disorder and PTSD.

I need help, I have had several therapists whom all diagnose me the same, but no one seems to have a treatment plan for me. I am to the point where I am out of work on temporary disability, either can't sleep at all or all I do is sleep all day. I can no longer do the things I enjoy the most. I feel like I am dying a slow death.

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msinglynx said...

Hi. I was at the point of leaving my boyfriend until I read this. I have Autism & when I met him at my work I assumed he also had autism or something similar because of his odd behavior & reactions. Over time I learned that he has been diagnosed as bipolar (which I am certain he is not) & ADHD (which he definitely is) but I also noted that he definitely is very OCD which very few people notice because they see him as being random but he has very distinct patterns of behavior. We've been having trouble lately & had a fight & broke up a few weeks ago but we have been trying to patch things up. I was discussing our relationship with a friend who understands autism (so she understood my way of interpretting information & giving it) AND knew my boyfriend and the overall traits of PTSD & after telling her some stories of my BFs childhood, she suggested that I look up PTSD & I am so happy I did. I dont know if this article can help save our relationship but I hope it can help me help him move past his bad experiences. Thank you very much for this.

Love Covers A Multitude of Sins said...

Thank you so much for your blog. It is like hearing about my own inner life. I am working through the exact same emotions as I recover from the traumas of my childhood. Unfortunately the offenders continue the abuse to this day (not physical or sexual, you understand)and I have been working on my depressions and anxieties for 13 years now. Just when I think I'm done another layer emerges. Thank you for expressing the experience so very well for me.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic post - thank you so much for it. I'm 23 and just learning the deeper levels of my own psyche...this essay really helped me to understand a few things I'd been wondering about. Thank you again for the wonderful post. :)

bbchad1020 said...

This is exactly my life! It couldn't have been said better. I too am a nearly middle aged man and have been working through PTSD and social anxiety disorder for several years now. I also am in counseling for addiction problems. This really helps me, because I am writing about my past too. My book will entail all the horrors of my childhood and how to deal with it and what to do and what not to do in these situations. It's nice to know that I am not the only person on earth who went through what I did. Thank you.

Nancy said...

I am grateful for this essay, it leads me towards sharing my own experience and knowledge, because I can read and I can feel how great the value to those of us who are still silent, and to those who, like me, have only recently seen our truth with fullness and clarity.

I too felt my heart connect, when I read words that prove to me I am in contact with truth now, even though I am all alone. I cannot see or touch any person now that can let me know I am not alone. But by reading these words I know I am not alone, and I know that I am needed. I am encouraged mightily to connect further, deeper, wider, to help and to be helped, to heal and be healed.

You cannot know exactly how important these words came to me now; I promise to give my words, my truth back as well...but now, right now, I think I have to move out of where I am sooner than I thought I might, and I don't know where to go, where I can turn, other than God, my heart and you all.

Love and blessings!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. I cried all the way through. I'm 25and was physically and emotionally abused and neglected by both parents throughout my entire childhood. Every time I have contact with my parents, the guilt and emotional abuse continues to this day.

My fiance recently convinced me to get help -- I didn't even realize how much my behavior (specifically, the things that cause me to become angry, anxious, or emotionally numb) was based on the abuse. I was shocked when he pointed out that *I* had a problem. He was right, though.

I've started seeing a psychiatrist and she diagnosed me with PTSD based on my childhood abuse. Thanks so much for writing this post and bringing clarity and understanding to what I'm going through.

Anonymous said...

...and then the survivor engages with the medical profession that minimises, labels, blames, denies the abuse and its effects...

...The survivor is not trusted and is told not to trust themselves because they were abused...

...if you don't fit my label, my way of scientifically understanding abuse then there is something wrong with you the patient and not me the authority figure...

...Beware the medical man with his theories and labels...

...Trauma has(physical)organic, physiological and psychological effects because a child is a complete person not a sum of parts...

...Trauma is unique, a child is unique, life experience is unique...

...Beware the tick box and the educated guesser...trust yourself, understand yourself, do what is right for you...

...You need to do and be and be with and without what you need when you need it...

...Victims of child abuse are not damaged people they have experiences that are as unique as the next man or woman...

I experienced severe and chronic abuse from birth it was not good, it was not bad, I did not lose, I did not gain. It was what it was and I am who I am...

...that's life.

almost there said...

Hi Barb,
I have a history of sever physical abuse and cruel emotional abuse. My mother was a volatile woman addicted to codeine, and also an abused child. She used her physical problems to control her kids and would pour on the guilt every single day that somehow our behaviour is making her sicker. You wrote my story...

It started at 5, with a backhand that bloodied my nose, before that she had never really disiplined me as I was the youngest and cute... it progressed through the years and I grew up terrified of her. I started drinking at 14 and was raped when drunk at 15...

Many bruises and suicide attempts later I finally ran away from home at 17 because I was afraid I would finally hit back and not be able to stop until she was dead. For years I had night terrors and nightmares that I would quell with alcohol, but couldn't sleep without a nightlight until I was 23...

Over the years my alcoholism has gotten worse and progressed into a severe and deadly drug addiction that will probably soon take my life. I am so sad that at 37 I will probably die as there is very little help that is available to me....do you know of any foundations that offer free treatment or counseling of any kind to survivors? I am a good person and I have so much more to give the world, if only I could be free from the terror and self loathing that I desperately want to numb.... Any advice is very appreciated. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Heather Westcott said...

Has anyone ever considered how the breakup of a family affects a parent?
I have read countless articles on ptsd in abused children, ptsd in the social worker working the case, yet nothing on ptsd in parents of a situation. Countless children are separated from everything theyve ever known under false accusations by child protective services every day. Children who have NOT been abused at all are now a statistic in government studies to prove how many children ARE abused. Funding from the government will help the children with later PTSD providing they are still in foster care, it will help the Social Worker who lied about the facts and yanked the kids from the loving home, it will not help the falsely accused parents (and there are literallly thousands in California alone) find any sort of help when they develop PTSD years later.
That would be admitting they were wrong. And the government's never wrong we all know this.
However, there are thousands of parents each year who are diagnosed with PTSD and can barely live a normal life. Most go undiagnosed and some turn to drugs, prescription or illegal, in order to calm their nerves and minds,
Since there is no funding for research in this field, parents and health professionals would rarely consider the symptoms to be PTSD. The symptoms go mistreated or untreated and the parent isolates more and more thinking that perhaps they were crazy and the children were taken for correct reasons.
I wonder how many other parents there are going through this like I am.

Beautiful Warrior said...

Thank you so much for this

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on these. Maybe someone could comment. I'm in therapy, working abuse issues. My body goes physiologically crazy when we work on them and I have been too embarrassed to ask my therapist about what is going on. Just that my vaginal secretions go wild when we talk about the abuse. Is this common?

Anonymous said...

This was written so long ago but it helps me understand what my husband is going through a little better.

One of the Anonymous' above notes the black hole he enters when he hears his Mother's voice and I wonder if my Husband posted that. I know he didn't where he is still in denial and is no fan of blogging, but it gives me hope we can get through it.
My best to all of you survivors..

Anonymous said...

I am 56 now and still suffering from the torment and torture at the hands of my father. It began at so early an age that I can't quite remember just when it actually started. This article is scary in that it is right on the money. But in all honesty, I would never have read it had my therapist not mentioned to me that I may be suffering from PTSD.

M said...

Thank you.

Because, seriously, what else can I tell? You've helped a lot of people with that article, I can see that. And it positively amazes me.

I already had my sort of life as well. I'm 19 and still deal with my issues mostly on my own. The reason is simple: hardly anyone ever believed me if understood. And of the few who did - one friend pressed on the fact that I always could manage on my own, one friend could do nothing and another 'friend' rejected me as a person after a time.

So I had and still have my own way. searching for information is a part of it - and it is how I foung your article.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Although my mother died 37 years ago, I am still struggling with the after-effects, which crop up unexpectedly when I am in difficult situations. I am certain it is PTSD, just as a soldier reacts to a loud sound.

I have never regretted having broken off contact with my mother four years before she died, and still feel that her death was the greatest gift she could give me - knowing she was out of my life and the day-to-day threat was gone.

I, too, have broken the cycle, raising an amazing and amazingly well-adjusted daughter who is all the things I believe I could have been without the emotional abuse.

Even as I approach 60, the reality of the situation still hits me - and I remain relatively walled-off in an effort to protect myself. Reading this helps validate my feelings and explain my reactions.

Dana said...

Owch, this article really hit home. Especially the last part. I'm 20 yrs old and I hope as I get older everything will sort out, as I build a new life, and the other fade away.

Anonymous said...

I just want to ask if it's normal for a normal person to identify with this stuff. Because I'm questioning whether or not I'm normal, or if there's something wrong with me. I couldn't finish the article.

dawn said...

YOur post has brought tear to my eyes. for the first time I feel someone has described what I have gone through. I was severly emotional and verbaly abused as a child by my grandmother and my mother did nothing to stop it. Now as an adult, my mother and the rest of the family do not speak to me and blame me for all the problems in our family. I am the scapegoat and outcast. When i was a preteen I started to "act out" and do really bad things. Deep down I was so angry and hurt and didn't know how to cope with it. I started to vocalize how and what happened the older I got. Just like your artical said it made them reject me not embrace me. I am realize that my mom is never going to validate me. In fact she is the one that has turned the rest of the family against me. She didnt do anything herself, but she dosent see her allowing the abuse and her emotional distance was abuse. I just started reading a bit about ptsd the last few days and I am blown away. I feel Like I have it for sure. Do you have any ideas and thoughts of what I should do?

Melissa said...

I wish I could find words to express wht readeing this blog did to me. I could have written every sentence myself. My profound sense of being alone in this state of mind has now been shattered. I have been in councling,for 3 yrs , seeing psychologist and hospitalised lst year for many different "reasons" and just few months ago a new psych said YOU HAVE PTSD -- I fought it and fought it. He said read this article online about adult w ptsd from childhood .. I thought it ws crap.. and I tripped on your blog ... and ... as I said there is no words to describe how i feel right now.. thank you for writing this

Anonymous said...

You have put words to what I call the "building whirling and swirling" inside of my head and body.
I feel like I am breaking. Years of tolerance have been emotionally crumbling - I am so tired of the fake smiles. Exhausted.
Sometimes I wish my parents and all the people that enabled them would just die so I wouldn't have to watch them live their lives like nothing ever happened.
Thank you for this article - it makes me feel a little more normal.

Anonymous said...

I was looking through the web, in hopes to find something to help me understand more about the way i feel and some of the things i do to forget the feelings. I came across this and found it so interesting and so many of the things it says, i do or have done in my life to try and lock my feelings away. I am just now 20 years later, trying to deal with what happened to me as a child. I just wanted to say thank you for writing this and i hope it helps more people understand them selves more

Jocelyn said...

Hi Barb,
My father, now deceased, was a womanizer, alcoholic and had a very bad temper. Growing up, my older brother and I, along with our mom, were emotionally, verbally and physically abused by our father. As children and adults, my older brother and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things – but I related and empathized better with his suffering than with our two younger siblings…

Presently, my mother and two younger siblings prefer that we just move on from the past. They do not like to discuss the painful part of our family history. They are convinced that the real road to success is to not look back. In the past years, we have had very enjoyable family get togethers with our spouses and children – as long as no one discusses our childhood abuse experiences and feelings.

Deep down I felt that my own pain and experiences were minimized. Unlike the rest of my family, I was not able to block things out and live in a fantasy world in order to cope. But since I felt that I was in the “minority,” I thought of myself as being the overly sensitive one in the family. Some days, I even wondered if I was “abnormal.” I sometimes second-guessed my own memories…

My final “breaking point” and commitment to take the healing journey began in the aftermath of my older brother’s death. On January 23, 2011, my older brother (“Kuya”) died from a motorcycle accident.
Since my Kuya’s death, I have been waking up at around 3 AM – feeling tightness and pain in my chest, chills, anxious and afraid. After a couple of hours, I manage to go back to sleep. When I wake-up the next time, I am paralyzed by the same wave of sensations. The crashes of these waves overwhelm me and I fear that I might be slipping away. This is when I pray and ask the Lord to come and pick me up…

Yesterday morning between 3-5 AM, with the help of my nifty iPhone, I searched on Google to find out “what is really wrong with me, how I can be normal and be solid again…” I stumbled on your very helpful blog post “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Adult Survivors Of Child Abuse”

I hope you won't mind.. I reposted and referred to your blog onto my facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/note.php?note_id=182324905141953&id=182243611816749). It is my hope for other survivors to find your helpful article as well. For me, discovering your helfpul article was like finding a rare and magnificent seashell -- and validation that my pain/feelings are considered "normal" for those who have had abusive childhoods.

With gratitude,
Jocelyn

MJ said...

This article touched my heart on so many different levels, that I don't even know where to start. I am 33, diagnosed PTSD and ADHD and experienced chronic physical and emotional abuse throughout the duration of my entire childhood. I have always been anxious, continue to have nightmares and night terrors, and flashbacks. Recently, I have been flooded with memories, (and not the good kind), that I am late for work, freeze up, and can't focus. This is the only article that I have read that makes sense. I am going to share it with my therapist. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I am a survivor of severe pysical, mental and emotional abuse. I am no longer happy with survival, I now intend to thrive. I have siffered all the sadness and lonliness and sorrow you can imagine. The abuse was from both parents and we were abandoned by our father. Our mother held on to us for the welfare money. She hated us and let us know how unwanted and worthless we were. Foster homes with strangers were the only reprieve we had. I am the youngest of 7. I feel for my siblings, many have clung to the ways of abuse and a couple have risen from the hell. I have been so depressed and sad I do not know where the will to go on has come from. I am a parent and have broken the cycle. I love my children and will always be the best I can for them. I choose not to let my RAINING or Destiny be defined by sorry and inhumaine animals who were in the form of my Parents. I just want you all to know I have felt the despair, the pain the sorrow and needed so much to feel comfort that never came. It is okay. Fight it and fight for your life. Your future and carve out your own destiny. LEAVE the abusers behind and forget them. YOU can do it too.

fellow_survivor said...

I am the youngest of five. The other children were much older than me and would come back to visit just as cheerful as could be, so I was terribly confused: why did our parents love them and not me? Eventually I began to realize that the elder siblings were abused at least as badly as I was, and that even in their adult lives they were too afraid to admit it. I began to see how other people were treated so much better, and desperately wanted that for myself. I begged the police for help, and unfortunately they all but laughed in my face. Anyway, at 17 years old I moved out on my own and severed all ties with my family. It has been a hard journey. Now, just two years later, I have grown in so many ways. Still though, I am terrified of people and fight every day just to keep going. I found this article extremely helpful and want to thank you all for sharing your stories.

Anonymous said...

Did I write this? (seriously had to consider the possibility for a second) I may as well have, and ditto to the rest. Moral of the story for me, today? We are NEVER alone. :)

Kate said...

Barb, Every time I need to "educate" someone on the effects of trauma and why I can't just "get over it," I send to them this blog. You explain what it's like so brilliantly.

mary said...

Thank you for posting this. It helps to see that we are not alone. I felt very alone when I was a child and felt helpless to speak up. Feel free to read and comment on my blog.

I don't think I'll ever be able to fully "move on" but I need to be able to cope.

The therapy I had in the past didn't fully help. The last one just told me to (literally) "take a pill".

How did you all go about dealing with PTSD? Did therapy help? thanks

Timothy said...

Timothy, wow what a well written informative article. I am 34 and a survivor of severe abuse and neglect, my mother died when I was seven, my father was abused and is a war veterin. I do not have a good relationship with any of my family apart from my older sister who is also a survivor. After a bad break-up 2 years ago I had a full on recall of my past. As you say in your article it is a very overwhelming experience with great sadness. Probably the hardest part for me as a male was the feeling of un-cleanlyness as I was sexually abused for many years. What has helped me the most in terms of re-living the experience is to write down my memories of abusive experiences- this helped to clear my head day to day so I could get on with things (mainly my work).This writing in my case was well over 100 pages,written in a way that could be used as a statement. A part of me wants to go to the police, yet part of me feels shame about what has happened to me. I have spoken to my older sister about our past and as yet she does not remember any of her abuse. I do but have not told her as I know how painfull the recall can be, Do you think I have made the right choice?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. Isn't it incredible that five years later your words are still deeply touching others? I'm 29, and while reading your post I felt like I was reading my own feelings and thoughts. I called my partner, read it aloud to him, and found myself sobbing while saying, ""I'm not frightened or angry or sad or helpless or innocent. There is nothing wrong with this situation. This is happening to me for a good reason. This is happening to me because I deserve it, because I provoked it, because I was put here on Earth to endure such things. There is really nothing out of the ordinary about this."" He agreed that it sounds exactly like me, and that it is amazing to finally understand that my intense guilt has been an unknown coping mechanism. Your blog has opened up a part of me I never really understood, and now I am going to explore myself and my belief that I am "meant to suffer." Thank you so much for your courage and intelligent and effort to help others. I am deeply grateful. Honestly, this is life-changing for me. Lots of love to you & your family.

Anonymous said...

I could of written this article.

The big question I have always asked myself was, "Why wasn't I lovable? Was it something about me that was wrong? Or were they unable to love?"

The article made me want to cry and yet sigh in relief that someone understood my feelings about my childhood.

Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

I am in my late forties and only now addressing the sexual abuse by my 'father'. I dont how young I was when it started and in a way dont want to, but I was very young. I told my mother when I was about 8 or 9 and her reaction is more vivid than the abuse. She was obviously in shock and confronted my father when he got home. He just turned to me and said he was sorry, but he must have been drunk at the time, I emotionally told him it wasn't one time. I was told by my mother that if I told anyone it would be in the papers and everyone would know what I let him do, also he'd probably go to prison. I learnt very quickly to keep it all in etc. I'm trying to let it out now cause I realise it has been ruling me forever. The man who fathered me is dead but my mum is around and has never ever referred to it and would probably disown me if I mentioned it. The weird thing is I dont want to hurt her or in fact discuss it with her, I know it would kill her. He was a alcoholic and a wife beater and she often talks about the horrendous life she suffered. Thanks for the blog, it really helped.

Anonymous said...

This post is very insightful. Its a tough situation to deal with, not wanting to hurt anyone, and trying to find the one person who will understand. Sometimes I feel like just having someone who would stand by me after knowing all of my secrets would heal all the years of hurt. Unfortunately though, people are cruel and when they see what they consider to be freakshows, they cant pass up the opportunity to harras and make one feel responsible in a way. I opened up to one friend, who then told several other people. and almost instantaniously they accused me of exploiting my daughter and even trying to "hookup" with teenage boys. I think its reactions like those that keep people quiet. The shame that people taunt you with. I have learned though never to open up again to anyone and to always keep my chin up. Things in the past dont define me. And I am a survivor. not a victim.

Anonymous said...

I am 54 years old, I have lived a life of exactly what was outlined in many sections of your blog. I have found my safety person (psychologist) and due to an incident that happened very recently - triggering my child abuse PTSD has now been recognised. I am being flooded by memories right as I write, but thanks to your article and my psychologist, I realise I have a way to go, but also realise there is a light at the end of the road. Alcoholic, prescripton drugs were only two of many addictions........Cheers S.

Divinity's Cupcake said...

I cried throughout this entire article...which took me almost a week to read in its entirety. In January, I began counseling through an abuse shelter for abuse, abandonment and neglect I suffered from the time I was in fifth grade until a month before my 21st birthday. I just turned 40. I kept it bottled for that long and the sadness is overwhelming. I feel like I should be on meds but don't want to for fear of minimizing what I need to feel. This article was absolutely the most spot on of anything I have read in the hopes of helping myself along on this very difficult journey...this road of healing. if someone were to ask me to highlight the parts of the article that most described me, I'd highlight at least 95% of it...maybe 100% if I was able to recall all of my missing memories. Thank you for writing this. I plan to reread it many times and grow into everything I dreamed I could be before the dreams were shattered. The hardest part...I have children and a good man that I married, but was never in love with (what is that anyway?)...that are going to be hurt in this process. I know that I should not feel guilty, but people will be hurt because I was hurt while I was growing up. I just wanted someone to love me and keep me safe. I didn't realize that I should have taken into consideration what I was feeling, or rather what I was not feeling. Thank you again for this article.

~Kris said...

this paragraph about feelings being in a deep freeze esp caught my eye, and is something I've been saying about myself for years. I talk about the fact of what i went through just fine, but never, ever feelings about it. I don't know if that is something I will ever change about myself, ever

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting to me. I'm 52 and have a really difficult time due to being irrationally terrified of a variety of authority figures and of abreaction when my spouse gets angry. I had not connected the dots between significant physical abuse that occurred from about age 6 months to 4 years and this. I just thought I was crazy. I've been functioning well as far as the outside appearance goes (however never enjoyed satisfaction from my success) but now I am experiencing exacerbation of symptoms as my adrenals are not working well anymore. I am still a bit hopeful as I think I can name it now and perhaps now I can get treatment that is more on target for relief from these symptoms. Thanks for your blog.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article. Your analysis is dead on. Nobody else in the family wants to deal with what happened to me or even acknowledge that it happened. My father was the physical abuser but my mother turned herself into the 'victim' at my expense, turning the rest of the family against me. But she knew about everything that happened to me (she was there!) and even continued living a normal married life with my father after he admitted to having molested me. I could never have done that and today I have absolutely no feeling for my mother. Generally, I have had to go it alone. My 'saving grace' is the fact that I was strong enough to break the cycle. Blessings.

tymguy said...

i want to begin to tell my story but don't know how

tymguy said...

i want to begin to tell my story but don't know how

Martin said...

I stumbled upon your excellent article on P.T.S.D. and I was absolutely astonished. You were describing my life, even though we've never met. Or, have we? Maybe everyone, tormented and tortured as a child has met in that terrifying, ugly, dangerous place we were imprisoned in so long ago. Couldn't stop reading and now that I have, I want you to know how grateful I am for it. Absolutely exceptional. Thank you so much.

By the way, I've written a novel with child abuse and its ramifications as an undercurrent. It's called, Witness For A Wiser Dog. Google it or check it out at Amazon.Com. If, after checking it out, you’re interested in reading it, I’d be happy to send you a complimentary copy.

Thanks again. Peace.

Martin

Bobbie said...

Your story and especially "The Scream" were like reading my own biography.
I then joined the Navy after the many years of neglect, abuse, molestation and trauma from my childhood. I was looking for some sense of order. My recruiter sexually attacked me the night before I left for boot camp, that threw me off the deep end. I had a self loathing, a subconscious suicidal behavior. I used drugs and alcohol to calm the beast within. I am now 55 and don't use the drugs and drink one drink at most to relax. These years of sobriety have now brought me to the center of the storm so to speak. I am dealing with PTSD, MST (Military Sexual Trauma), anxiety/panic disorder, Fibromyalgia and miscellaneous getting older stuff. God has helped me a great deal in the past ten years that I have truly been seeking Him. I truly have a hard time though with Christians who think you just need to pray your pain away and 55 years of anger, pain, and feeling truly unloved will miraculously disappear. I know there are miracles in this world but somehow I'm not on the receiving end of one as of this point.
The VA is giving me counseling and I have applied for disability through them recently but if it is anything like the 3 years it took to get Social Security Disability I don't hold my breath on that.
It isn't the money as much as the acknowledgement that I was violated and put in the hands of a monster at the age of just barely 18. There were 5 years of constant sexual harassment that followed that horrible night that I could tell no one about being lower ranked, a woman no one would believe me.
It took me 35 years to say anything. It ruined my ability to have relations with men and stole my adulthood as my childhood was also robbed from me.

Thank you so much for your candid story and sharing from your heart.

Max said...

Hello, I'm a child of a father who was abused as a child and my father is just now coming out with a lot of the things that happened to him he forgets some and for him to be okay he's to remember the things so he can't rightfully leave them in the past I really want to help my dad I'm only 18 and my dad is 45 and I wondering if you could give me tips on what to do to help him I love my father very much and I want him to live a happy and healthy life for that to happen all this needs to happen so if you could give me your email for some advice or you could post something on here I would greatly appreciate it you would be helping me out a lot thank you

L said...

I wish it ended here for me. I married a man with PTSD from war. It's his excuse to hit me. I think I had it worse. He had an identity to work back towards. I don't.

L said...

I wish it ended here. My husband has PTSD from war.

It's his excuse for hitting me.

I think I have it worse.

He had an identity to return to.

I don't.

Anonymous said...

Hi All:

The main problem I have now is with Spirituality. I consider myself a Born Again Catholic. Ha Ha, a nice mix. I know I am saved, I know I'm going to Heaven. But I've never been able to develop the trust to have a personal relationship with Jesus, with God. And I could never figure out why. It was my mother that was mentally ill, schizophrenic, the abuser. I had a good relationship with my father, so why did I have trust issues with my Heavenly Father, and with Jesus, another Man? I always thought it was me, I just wasn't as good as my other Christian friends, and that God and Jesus didn't want a relationship with me. Or my ongoing sins prevented that relationship, because altho repentent and saved, I surely wasn't perfect. Not close. Maybe it had to do with the Old Testament God, who did things I just couldn't equate with a loving father. But recently it occurred to me, as much as I loved my father and he loved me, I didn't trust him. And I didn't know that. Every time my mother would go in the mental hospital, I'd live with my grandmother, where I had a normal life and would flourish. She wouldn't allow my brothers to beat up on me, and days were no longer filled with fear and hypervigilence. But then my mother would get out of the hospital, and I'd have to be removed screaming from my grandmother's to return home to be with "the family". My father worked two jobs, and he really didn't know what was going on. Because my mother had an uncanny knack of behaving normal around him. Of course she'd have all the tales of the bad things i would do, but since she took care of the abuse, he didn't even have to concern himself if what she said was true or not. One time after being returned to the "family" home, and being subjected to abuse by my mother and brothers, I thought, I'm out of here. I packed my meager belongings, took buses, and actually made it a good way from home. I even took a ride from a man - he had to have been an Angel as he didn't attack me. I got caught on some man's estate. He called the police, and I ran as long and hard through those woods to get away from them. They finally caught me hiding behind a big rock. They took me to the police station, found some id on my things, and called my parents. I begged them not to, to please please please, take me to an orphange. This was in the days before social services would've investigated. I asked where the lady's room was, it was upstairs, and they caught me trying to climb out the window of a second story. That's how desperate I was not to go back. But even after that incident, my father didn't remove me from the home. And her abuse accellerated. At one point though he did intercede, and I'd really forgotten this. Isn't it strange how our memories come and go. The guidance counselor nun told my father "You better send that girl AWAY to college." My mother was back in the hospital, I made the grades senior year to get into college (as well as taking care of the household) and even though he couldn't afford it, my father and the guidance counselor arranged it. When my mother got out of the mental hospital and found out what had happened, she was a wild woman. I always thought it was because of the money, but it was because her victim was being taken away from her. Because I was the firstborn, and she had a "nervous breakdown" when I was born, and blamed me for ruining her life. It wasn't until I was much older that her siblings told me it wasn't my fault, it wasn't my birth that drove her over the edge, that she was sick before she was even married. That year away at college saved me, because it was really my one and only year of childhood. And I guess since my father finally did come around for me, posthumously I should re-establish trust in him. Maybe now I'll be able to have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, that I so desire.

Anonymous said...

Great article.

My family actually enjoys abusing the scapegoat (me). They sincerely love getting away with harming me. I liked your comparison of violent "dance" because it is like that, like a sport to them. It is has a dark spirituality to it, like dancing with a cursed spirit, and loving it like an addicitive drug... I think that psychological abuse is like a narcotic to my family. They love it more then anything, so long as it is not directed on them.

I am learning that the majority of humans really do get off on abuse. They love to be abusive, because they never even attempted to learn healthy kinds of love. I think many people never wanted to be loved, and most actually like being evil. I wondered for years, why do some people get a satisfying kind of twinkle in their eyes when abuse is being talked about or occuring? Its because they get off on it. Most people seem to just enjoy harming others. That is in my current experience, tho I am without a helping and supporting group or people yet.

My family reminds me of when making spagetti, their is leftover pasta sauce in the metal pot, and it is stored in the fridge. The sauce is forgotten about for a couple weeks, sitting there, getting moldy. Then you open it up, and surprise, it is covered with sickly poisonous mold. My family would eat that sauce and love it: They like eating poison. They hate anyone who would identify the moldy sauce as dangerous.

In my experience, the most effective tool abusers have is their baffling talent of being able to isolate their target, and in the process gain more allies, distorting a larger scope of views of you. They like to shape other peoples opinions about others that have never even met you, and most people gladly take the bait. It is the relational and social abuse that is the hugest killer. Sometimes a family will only have one person that has emoional intelligence; sometimes their really is only one person in the family with their head screwed on, and they are chosen ones for absorbing the abuse.

It first dawned on me about familial abuse about 3 years ago and I am still struggling to escape. The only thing they have controlling me is finacially, and I have one child to take care of, I struggle to find any kind of work at all! Since I identified my abusive family, I have reached out to so many help lines and groups and organizations it is discouraging, to say, every single avenue has an abusive person working. Abusive people love working in the helping professions, it is an unlimited supply of easy targets. Learn that BEFORE reaching out for "help".

Thanks again, this is an excelkent article with tons if responses.

Anonymous said...

This nailed it.

I'm almost out of this thing, I think. It has been very hard on my wife. Most of my triggers happen at night, as that is when most of the abuse took place. My mother left me to her female lover who physically abused me for 8 years. I confronted the abuser 20 years later and when I did, I did not get support from my mom, where the real work began. That was 5 years ago. She to this day refuses to stop contacting me even though I have been very clear that I do not wish to speak with her anymore--she refuses to acknowledge her role and that it was her neglect that kicked the whole deal off. She repudiates her relationship with her ex-lover, but only did so after I confronted her, and only after being called "selfish" for doing what I needed to to. This breach was the first clue that I had idealized my mother as a protector when in reality she was the one who left me exposed the most, even though she didn't do the majority of the hitting and screaming.

I had/am having off and on a period of intense sadness in which all I could/can see and feel was/is pure evil, and that is not over yet. At the age of 42 it is hard to reconcile all of the missed opportunities for success and love. I feel intense rage because of this. I'm back in cognitive therapy and we have been talking about PTSD and opening up that box again and sorting through it. It is hard to remember but it comes in bits and pieces.

The part of over reliance on rationality is so true. I have had to read Kant and other philosophers in order for my over rational mind to cancel itself out to a more balanced nuance, to gain back access to other parts of my soul, mind and spirit through the useful rational part that remained intact to some degree; the parts that are now barely alive, dead for so long.

The best thing about this post is that it sets things straight in a manner that I would not have been able to do. I will show this to my wife so she can fully understand this road, and that it is nearing completion. I don't have much faith but glimmers of hope appear now and then. Thank you for putting it out there. So clear, concise, and complete.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this post is amazing. I thought I was alone in thinking of all the ways you described ... but here it is. I've spent my whole life trying to find "salvation" through career, dreams of a perfect life, etc... and I recently realized it was from the worthlessness I felt after enduring abuse growing up. Of course all my efforts, even successes, never fixed a thing and just made things worse.

Thank you for this post. It's nice to not feel alone in this ... and honestly, it feels a little strange, too. I thought I was totally kooky or screwed up for thinking these ways.

Anonymous said...

Six 6 years later your post is still out there and helping someone. I thought I was the only one. I related to almost every type written word you wrote. I'm 52 years old. I wish I read this 30 years ago.I want a do over. Thank you. Now I have a name for this.

Anonymous said...

When I was 18, home from college for the summer, my father tried to kill me. We were not arguing. He did not drink. He had lost money in a business and woke up and tried to kill me. My mother finally pulled him off of me, as he tried to strangle me for about ten minutes. And this was 1971. He rationalized the whole thing and never apologized. I had lost my mind, my boyfriend, everything. My father never apologized and he died on Thanksgiving. The will and Trust he left, single me out as not to be a Trustee. He names a stranger and my brother, who he spoiled, set up in three businesses and adored. Meanwhile I kept my parents in my life and my sons loved them. My father was never sorry and he got "killed" me finally by humiliating me with the reading of the will. I was always there for him. I was a fool. I hate him and worse I hate myself. I never reported his crime to the police. Now it is too late. And I can't afford a lawyer. My brother has all of the money my father left under his control. He is also embezzling money. I don't care about the money though. I am a poet. I have a Ph.D. I got my education on my own. I raised my boys on my own and they are good boys. But now they 're grown and gone away. I taught college for years but gave it up when my youngest son was chronically ill, and now I'm in my late fifties and I can't get another job. I'm alone, broke, and depressed. I have tried to help my mother and she kept blaming everything she did that our "family" didn't like on me. I'm outside of an outsider. I am suffering from PTSD. I wonder now why I didn't defend myself. I was so naive. My father was so strong. I can never get any justice. I just want out. I want to die. There is nothing left. I loved someone once and the person died long ago. I have no hope. I am good at problem solving and i am tenacious, but I have no more hope. Everything is gone.

I don't know anyone whose own father tried to kill them. And I can't live with the fact that my father never had any consequence for what he did to me. After my father tried to kill me, my mother sent me to a relative's house. When college started, I had feelings i had never experienced before, anxiety so bad I finally couldn't get out of bed. So now my father died at 91, so much for karma. He got away without even an apology to me. He was a bad person. And I want to leave this world where everyone is only out for money. I always had friends before, but I'm isolated now. I worry about my kids, who live far away and have their own lives.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for explaining a complex issue in layman's terms. I am just starting on my journey of reconciliation: facing up to two years of sexual abuse as a child. Your stage by stage description makes me realize the journey is long, but so necessary. It has given me the faith the stay the course. i wish you good luck in your healing process and in your future life.
We have to remember that we have survived this far...even during the worst moments of therapy, you simply have to say to yourself: "this too, shall pass"
stay strong and face your fears.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous who said they didn't know anyone whose father tried to kill them... well my mother tried to drown me on several occasions when I just a child. I was beaten every night, and molested and raped by her father for years. The sexual abuse continued throughout my childhood with other men and neighborhood boys because I thought it was "normal". My entire childhood was repressed for many years, but I started getting memories back when I was 18. I'm 20 now. This article touched my heart, as it did for every other survivor out there. We are never as alone as we think are.

LadyMadden said...

Barb-
I am going to echo most of the posts here and tell you that when reading your post, I felt as if your words expressed everything I have felt, and do feel. I was abused by my mother the majority of my childhood. I am continuing to do my best to deal with the mess of depression, anxiety and panic attacks her abuse has caused. We currently have a 'good' relationship, but she still really gets under my skin sometimes.

I am having trouble resolving something she said the other weekend about how 'some people just need to get over their childhoods. I can't tell you how many times MY head was beat against a wall'. That is the closest she has ever come to acknowledging that she also did that to me, and I am SO angry and hurt that she minimized my childhood pain like that. I am also so disgusted with myself that I pretended she didn't say what she said to keep the peace that day. I swear I had to bite my tongue. I now regret doing so.

After reading this, and the feelings it resurfaced, I have decided I need to go back to counseling. I would like to print this essay off and bring it with me to give my counselor a better understanding of what I am dealing with, and hope to work on. Is that okay with you?

Thank you for expressing yourself, and putting it all out here for people like me to see and learn from. I think that we all gain strength in telling a little bit of our story and recognizing that we aren't alone. Peace.

tymguy said...

do not be afraid to realize that you dont have to like your mother. by saying what she said to you she is proving that she still has not acknowledged that she was a very bad mother. still trying to blame you. i had to let my mother and my sister go before i could begin to heal. some people are toxic and staying close to them will only infect you like with pain....

tymguy said...

do not be afraid to realize that you dont have to like your mother. by saying what she said to you she is proving that she still has not acknowledged that she was a very bad mother. still trying to blame you. i had to let my mother and my sister go before i could begin to heal. some people are toxic and staying close to them will only infect you like with pain....

Holly Jones said...

Growing up having to deal with abuse from your parents and other family members isolates you already. I identify with this article except for the part where people always say we start to believe it is our fault. I never took ownership for their evil but did learn to fake that I believed it was my fault. I knew that is what they wanted me to believe so I carried it and wore that mask to protect myself and to survive. It takes years to get over just one incident and when there are many they can come out at times you do not want them to. I wish we could openly talk about abuse but it scares people away. At times I forget how low I used to be and that I have made progress but I see others who don't carry that pain and it still bothers me. We all have different stories and I find mine so difficult to tell even to therapists. I guess that is what my family wanted. Maybe one day I can talk about all of it freely but I am afraid that if I let go of my strength and my wall that I will fall back down again. I pray for all abuse survivors that we can stop being repressed and feel the justice we deserve. It pains me so much when I see other kids being abused and humiliated in public as I was because now I know there is not much outsiders can do to help. Anyway thanks for your article. It was really well-written and hopefully other people will read it to see what us survivors has to go through and why we are the way we are.

Anonymous said...

God Bless You! Thank you.

I was rejected yesterday and it really hit me hard, and I could not understand why.

The group I felt rejected from, prided itself in being a family. That turned me off because I thought of my abusive father, neglectful mother and look-the-other-way "Glad it's not me" brother.

I did not totally burn and blow up this bridge, but it made me sad and I turned to thought.

Found your posting and it soothes my soul. Someone understands! My mother continues to deny. Recently she told me if I had told her my father was beating me with his belt, she would have done something. But she never KNEW he used a belt. I suspect she is lying, she certainly knew about the time he broke a fiberglass fishing rod over my butt. He complained about losing that rod for weeks.

Your article helps a lot. I'm showing it to my wife.

I try to believe in God. I was raised Catholic and my mother always says I should pray to the Blessed Mother Mary. sigh

If you folks are out there just try to hang on. You did not come this far, to be dropped now.

Tie a knot at the end of your rope. Someone out there says "You don't know - it's just too much!"

I DO KNOW. I HAVE BEEN THERE! I AM SAYING A PRAYER RIGHT NOW - FOR YOU!

I never met you but I do understand. I was in those same dark depths, and somehow I made it to today. HANG ON! You are worth something! I LOVE You - this message is FOR YOU!

Take a deep breath!

Breathe in PEACE.

Exhale the pain.

Do it again.

Thank you all for reading this. You have all helped me to cope today. I was at the end of my rope.

Someone, out there, prayed for me and I found this site.

Thank you!

M.

Anonymous said...

I am a female that was sexually abused or molested starting at the age of 2 &1/2 until I was 14 years old. Also physically abused by my mother and still to this day it was my fault according to my mother. The sexual abuser is deceased. I lost everything from this. So much was taken from me. The God given rite to bare children, my Innocence, a proper education, my self worth and much more. I always question my self about telling what was going on with the sexual abuse when I was asked at the age of 15. I told on my abuser cause by then I had a voice and could stand up for myself. All hell broke loose. If I had not told would things have been different. I lost my 2 half sisters over my dark dirty Secret that I let out. I had to scream. When the sexual abuse started for me at such a young age I was told not to ever tell or I would lose my mother and 2 half sisters. And if my molester ever told the truth that was it. It has been years that I have spoke with my mother that I do not mind cause she was physically abusive to me but the loss of my little sisters hurts everyday. They were told I made it all up and just wanted to get out of the house and I was being defiant. I do not understand to this day why I was to blame. I do understand that they were sick individuals that ruined my childhood. But I do have a question --- why does God let or allow this to happen -- I remember praying all of the time for the abuse to STOP. But it never did. I love God and Jesus Christ but I guess what I am really asking is why??? I would have loved to been raised in a loving, nurturing, happy, caring home. I still suffer immensely for the trauma. It will stay with my until I die. I miss my two younger half sisters that I tried to protect.

dawn said...

I am so sorry that this happend to you. HOw sad and terriable. I am sure you have heard every reason and excuse and why there is to hear. I dont know why. No one knows why, the only thing i can think of is that their are evil people in the world since the begining of time. You unfortunatly came across them when you were unarmed.
I am so sad and wish i could do something to take the pain away and help you in some way, but obviously we dont know eachother so I cant even take you to lunch or give you a hug.
Even though I cant do anything for you in the physical world, no I am in tears for you and will pray for you. It is heartbreaking and thanks for having the courage to share. I dont know you and i feel love for you, You are a survior and a strong one at that.

God sees your pain, knows your violator, sees your sisters and mom and the situation. I know God loves you more than anyone ever and who know what they are going through because of all of this. I hope someday you can be reunited with your sisters and they will make the right desisions.

Anonymous said...

I cried all the way through this and the poem it was like reading a book about my life. I read part if this to my husband and he said it really helped him understand better what I have been trying to tell him. And then I read the poem to him and he understood even more.

You are in my prayers, God Bless!