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.

24 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. 🙂

  4. Thank you, Chuck for sharing about your experience with abuse and how you have come through the trauma. You are now reaching out to others, which is so important. I am a survivor of childhood abuse and abandonment. In my twenties I sought out help, came to terms that I was not at fault, and once I reached the point of forgiving my mother and stepfather I was able to use my abuse to help others. I became a nurse counselor and massage therapist/acupressurist/healer. It was amazing to see how many men and women had stored the pain and memories of abuse in their bodies. Once they accepted the beauty of their bodies and released their shame/anger, they were able to come to the point of forgiveness.
    With your permission, Chuck I would like to post your blog on my blog which is about relationships, health/wellness, and spirituality at http://www.outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Thank you for your warm and supportive comments. I like you went through years of therapy and resolved much of the anger. In later years, I was able to forgive my parents. It was years later, when I retired, I decided to write my memoir. The end results is my current book “What Did I Do?”. Like you, I too want to help those that are suffering from being abused and bring awareness to the public. You devoted your life to helping others and I give you the tribute and respect you deserve. You are on my list of followers and I look forward to reading some of your blogs. BTW, you are most welcome to reblog this or any other of my post. I hope it will be reciprocal. I look forward to future interaction. HUGS

  5. What an incredible story and learning curve. While I don’t have children and I don’t think I was ever abused as a child (despite my parents not being emotional people and my husband telling me it is weird that they never hugged me when I was a kid, something I blamed on my culture, which is non-US), I have an inexplicable urge and need to please. And, I can only be happy when others (especially my husband) are happy. Trying to do stuff for myself rarely happens and fills me with guilt. I guess I have issues as well. 🙂

    1. Hi Liesbet,
      I thank you for taking the time to come by and read my post. I feel honored that you left a comment. If you truely believe that to find happiness in your life, you need to please others, then my opinion is you have some self-esteem issues. I’m not a professional, and would never try to recommend a remedy. For each of us it is different. I finally got tired of living for other people and the continued self-anger. I was also lucky that I found a great therapist. BTW there is child abuse that is a results of neglect. It has just as much effect on children as physical, or sexual abuse. It is mental abuse. I would not be bold to say you were abused, only you and a doctor can make that determination. What I can say, you are not alone. If you were abused, you don’t have to live with it, get help. Let the sunshine of happiness into you heart. HUGS

  6. Isn’t it amazing how many “strangers” (now friends) have responded positively to your story and – judging by your response to their comments – you have worked hard enough to be healed enough to finally let it IN.

    Congratulations, Chuck – and thank you for being the beacon of light that you are.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    1. Hi Madelyn,
      You keep amazing me with your beautiful supporting comments. From someone I keep getting your name wrong…he grins. Seriously, I feel honored . Yes, it is hard work to get a following and have it be meaningful. But, with leadership and support from you, it made it less difficult. Thank you…Thank you. HUGS

      1. lol – wasn’t the last time you got my name wrong last century? 🙂 I’ve done it to others a time or two myself – my fingers get ahead of my brain – especially the one that hits “send” before I’ve had a chance to proof (teehee).

        This is a dear response, my friend. I’m with you about our “WordPress Community” – amazingly supportive all round.

        Will I see you at Sally’s end-of-summer virtual bash this weekend?
        xx,
        mgh

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