WERE YOU ABUSED?

HuffPost Feb. 2014
If you have been following my blog post or social media pages, you know I have been discussing the issue of child abuse. I am no expert or do have the credential to advise anyone struggling with the issues. What I can do is share an article I have read. I can also tell you my experiences.

In one of my first blog post I wrote, I spoke about self-esteem (Self-esteem – A Self Examination). I told the story from my youth and the effects it had on my self-confidence and self-esteem. Had it only been that one incident, the long-term effects would not have been as severe. However, as I shared with the readers of my book, What Did I Do? my entire childhood contained incidences of mental and physical abuse.

I found the website Blue Knot Foundation – Empowering Recovery from Childhood Abuse. “Experiencing any form of childhood trauma and abuse can impact on an adult’s quality of life in fundamental ways. It can make basic day-to-day activities, such as eating, sleeping, working and study difficult. Trauma and abuse in childhood can also affect your mental health, physical health, and your relationships with the people around you…”

Children of Domestic Violence
I know I frequently was angry with individuals around me and especially myself. I know when as an adult my parents manipulated me, I felt used and guilty for allowing it. The above article states: “This confusion often persists into adult life, and can result in heightened experiences of: anxiety; grief and sadness; shame, shelf-blame and guilt; alienation; helplessness, hopelessness and powerlessness.”

One of the major areas I experienced was interpersonal relationships. I felt I couldn’t trust anyone. The closest people to me as a child who were supposed to be protecting me they abused me. How could I trust anyone? I did not know how to express affection towards anyone, because my parents never gave it to me. I did not understand how to differentiate between intimacy and sexuality. Consequently, these areas have been a problem with my spouses and me.

The above article further explains: “When children are abused they come to believe the messages their abusers deliver, such as: ‘You are worthless’ and ‘You have no value’. Of course, these messages are not true, but children accept and internalize them. These messages become ingrained that, when a child who has been abused or traumatized grows up, the adult survivor will often experience feelings of low self-worth or poor self-confidence. Rebuilding self-esteem is a gradual process, but a crucial one.”

Rebuilding, for me took years. For most of my early adulthood, I didn’t understand the abuse by my parents. I thought my parents were right. I thought I had low intelligence, no ambition, and I bought into them telling me, ‘You will never amount to anything.’ I kept trying to please them. If I could please them, then they would accept me and maybe, just maybe, love me. Many of the same instincts and self-preservation I utilized as a child, I continued to use as an adult. I survived but did not grow. What I read, I was typical of the survivor of abuse.

Project Inspired Nov. 2016
I did have success in my life, yet I didn’t acknowledge it. When there were only strangers telling me I had done well, it was not validating. I took no pride. When I was in my thirties, I went back to school and received a BBA in Accounting. I passed my CPA Board exams and started a career in accounting. By then, my parents and I were estranged and it didn’t matter what they thought. That little inner voice kept telling me if they knew they would be proud and we could reconcile. That didn’t happen either.

What did happen was I finally got tired of feeling guilty and depressed. I sought counseling and I found a beautiful woman that helped me understand it wasn’t me. She helped me understand the effect of the child abuse had on me. She allowed me time to work through all the guilt and anger I had for my parents and especially myself. One of the hardest things I had to learn was the right to be happy. I couldn’t be happy for myself, I had to be pleasing the other person. If they were happy with me, then I could feel happiness. I was still carrying the worthlessness feelings. When I broke through that barrier, it was like walking out of a storm into the sunlight.

I began to actually feel real emotions. I didn’t have to subdue them because it might not please someone. I could voice my opinion, tell someone ‘no’, or share my fears and insecurities. I started seeing other people as my peers and not someone I had to compete with or please. I did things for myself that gave me pleasure. I began to like myself. I was living for myself and for the first time, I was truly happy.

14 Replies to “WERE YOU ABUSED?”

    1. Annette, I know the feeling. For years I said little about it and suffered in silence. However, if we are ever going to stop child abuse, it will take the strength of those in the showdows to come out and support the effort. It also take those who witness it, to report it. Thanks for your continued support. HUGS

  1. Good on you Chuck. This is an incredibly important issue to keep in people’s minds… if generation after generation damage children and make it harder for them to reach their potential (although many bravely and successfully do) the world will never get better. This is a fight for peoples hearts and minds… and you’re fighting the good fight!

    1. Thank you for your warm remarks of encouragement. At this point in my life and at my age, I have overcome so many effects. There are so many adults that continue to suffer. My book was for them as much as for the prevention of further child abuse. HUGS

  2. Thanks for sharing Chuck, I’m currently in therapy for CPTSD. I must confess, learning to feel and express my emotions is harder than I imagined. Writing and my safe, loving marriage is my biggest salvation.

    1. Thank you Lorraine. Am I correct your CPTSD stemed from military service? What ever the source of emotional trauma, accepting it and working to overcome the effects is a challenge, yet something we must do. If you are seeing a counselor, ask her/him about using a journal to get in touch with the feelings. Those feelings you cannot discuss with anyone. By writing, it is opening up to yourself. That is a step in healing. Stay positive and remember you don’t have to do this alone. HUGS

      1. Yes your right, my dad was in the army. That didn’t help. Like you my childhood was full of physical & emotional abuse. Me & my councillor are working on releasing my emotions, they usual churn inside with no release. Thanks for the tip of journaling. Hugs to you too.

        1. Stay positive it does get better. Sometimes reading about someone else’s struggles help dealing with your own. My book is just one of hundreds. HUGS 🤗

  3. A beautifully expressed post on all the baggage that we carry from childhood and how it factors in to our adult life if we don’t become aware of how toxic our upbringing was. Thanks for shining light on this issue Chuck. It seems you and I both advocate for similar issues, from similar experiences.
    I’m going to be reblogging this post later next week. 🙂

    1. Hi Debbie,
      I’m sorry for my delayed response. I appreciate your warm comments and your continued support of my writing. Abuse whether it is child or adult, is an issue that should never be in the shadows. It takes individuals like yourself, who are strong enough to make their story public. We can only pray, that our efforts will make a difference. Please reblog this on your site. You have a great following and it will have a larger impact. Thank you. HUGS.

      1. Thanks so much for your lovely comments Chuck. I’d be thrilled to reblog this. I’ve got it in my drafts to set up a reblog in a week or so. I’ll ping you when I do. 🙂

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