We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Child Abuse Survivors' Voices - Part 10

This is the second to last blog in the Child Abuse Survivors' Voices series. I hope reading about other survivors' experiences has been inspiring, comforting and helped you feel less isolated knowing that you are not alone out there. 

Survivor #34:  What I think every person can remember from childhood (abused or not abused) is being on the receiving end, being open to receive. Memories are likely more to do with what is going on outside of us rather than how we felt inside at the time. Children are not focused on themselves. Children are not narcissistic. Children are too dependent to think of themselves, how they feel about things. Sex is an adult behavior. It is entirely adult.

Survivor #35:  I am not at all surprised that there are mothers who sexually abuse their children. My guess is that most are mentally ill. Publically, we as a society seem to acknowledge that men are capable of such horrendous violations of body and spirit. But, in most cases, mothers are not only aware of what is taking place, they support the abuse by their silence, by providing places and opportunities, and by providing alibis… “The child ‘lies’ all the time. He/she can’t be trusted.” In essence, they abandon their children to monsters. In some cases, fathers do likewise.

Survivor #36:  I am just starting to do the hard work of reconciling the neglect and lack of attachment that I now know has caused me so much pain. I am really just now accepting that the neglect was very powerful. I always felt like “I wasn’t beaten or anything,” so parenting can’t have been what my problem was. Truthfully, I still struggle with it. I am learning that I dissociate a lot to cope, and really don’t know how to attach and connect with anyone. I’m terrified of what this will do to my own little girl who is five, and I already know what it’s done to my marriage in that it’s barely hanging on. I feel so totally helpless and like I’ll never be happy and I’ll end up completely alone. My marriage is disintegrating. I try to be present for my daughter, and am fighting to do that. But I usually lose that battle and can only withdraw into my own world where it’s both miserable and lonely. Poor me, right?!!

Survivor #37:  Children who are abused have to “deal” with it somehow—both at the time of the abuse (which coincides with no many important developmental stages in the child’s body such as neural pathways and connections, bio-chemistry, hormone levels), and later in life (when one enters the “adult” world with all these adaptations that worked in the abusive situation, but which are often maladaptive in adult society). Therefore, the abuse can never be just swept under the rug, forgotten about, or lightly “gotten over” as it formed such a huge part of our development as a child and young adult. It was literally what we learned about life. To expect someone to be able to “just get over” childhood abuse, and be able to live a totally functional, healthy life with no support, is incredibly short-sighted. It is like plucking a person from a tiny Amazonian tribe, with their own unique language, out from their home village in the rainforest, and plunking them down in the middle of Times Square in New York and expecting them to “get on with it.” That little tribesman or woman wouldn’t last a week without someone to translate for them, help them find shelter, etc. And yet, survivors of child abuse are expected to take the emotional “language” they have learned in childhood, and somehow make it fit in the real world, or just learn a whole new emotional language and way of living from scratch on their own. Even for those of us who have no outward visible manifestations of the damage, we are still dealing with it silently, internally, and unless we get help, very often self-destructively. So much substance abuse and eating disorder is about this which can be effectively “hidden” for decades but which are a huge personal cost to the individual hiding them.

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Child Abuse Survivors' Voices - Part 9
Child Abuse Survivors' Voices - Part 11
 

Comments 2

johndt41 on Monday, 27 July 2015 18:16

I was abused from birth and abused in all ways. I was abused by parents, extended family and people outside the family including nuns and priests. One of the worst things I had to endure started at age 6 when I entered catholic school. I was being sexually abused by my mother (with the help of my father) and a neighbour girl who was sexually abusing me separately. Every day in so called religion class we tiny children were told all the horrible ways we were going to suffer for having sex outside of marriage. This went on throughout the entire 12 years of school. Everyday the nun or priest had more and more horrible ways we were going to suffer for having sex outside of marriage. And they loved telling us and made the telling as graphic as possible. Of course, they never told us what sex actually is but I knew they were talking about what was being done to me. I didn't understand why god would punish me in such horrible ways for something that was being done to me which I did not want done. The nuns and priests never said the people who were doing these things to me were going to be punished. I lived in such horror of religion class every day that finally I learned to 'space out'. Things changed a bit when I was in fourth grade and they started to teach us the horrible ways we were going to suffer for masturbating. Of course, they didn't use that word. They read us the story of Onan who spilled his seed upon the ground so was struck dead by god. Everyday we heard more horrible ways we were going to suffer for having sex outside of marriage and masturbating. But these ridiculous people had made a mistake. I lived on the family farm for about 18 months. One of the things I had to do was help plant cereal crops which we did by going out into the fields and spilling our seed upon the ground just like Onan. Now, these nuns and priests were telling me I was going to suffer horribly and endlessly for growing food. I decided adults lied and thought about sex all the time. The sexual abuse that goes on in this institution is much worse than the public knows.

0
I was abused from birth and abused in all ways. I was abused by parents, extended family and people outside the family including nuns and priests. One of the worst things I had to endure started at age 6 when I entered catholic school. I was being sexually abused by my mother (with the help of my father) and a neighbour girl who was sexually abusing me separately. Every day in so called religion class we tiny children were told all the horrible ways we were going to suffer for having sex outside of marriage. This went on throughout the entire 12 years of school. Everyday the nun or priest had more and more horrible ways we were going to suffer for having sex outside of marriage. And they loved telling us and made the telling as graphic as possible. Of course, they never told us what sex actually is but I knew they were talking about what was being done to me. I didn't understand why god would punish me in such horrible ways for something that was being done to me which I did not want done. The nuns and priests never said the people who were doing these things to me were going to be punished. I lived in such horror of religion class every day that finally I learned to 'space out'. Things changed a bit when I was in fourth grade and they started to teach us the horrible ways we were going to suffer for masturbating. Of course, they didn't use that word. They read us the story of Onan who spilled his seed upon the ground so was struck dead by god. Everyday we heard more horrible ways we were going to suffer for having sex outside of marriage and masturbating. But these ridiculous people had made a mistake. I lived on the family farm for about 18 months. One of the things I had to do was help plant cereal crops which we did by going out into the fields and spilling our seed upon the ground just like Onan. Now, these nuns and priests were telling me I was going to suffer horribly and endlessly for growing food. I decided adults lied and thought about sex all the time. The sexual abuse that goes on in this institution is much worse than the public knows.
Diane on Thursday, 30 July 2015 13:17

John, I am saddened by your story, but am glad you were able to share it. As long as the American public, our Presidents, and Congress completely ignore the plight of adult survivors trying to recover from their abuse, their silent participation remains unjust. That is why I will begin providing services for survivors this year after 10 years of preparation. We deserve to be heard and cared for.

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John, I am saddened by your story, but am glad you were able to share it. As long as the American public, our Presidents, and Congress completely ignore the plight of adult survivors trying to recover from their abuse, their silent participation remains unjust. That is why I will begin providing services for survivors this year after 10 years of preparation. We deserve to be heard and cared for.

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