View Full Version : Childhood abuse


Hermus
07-28-16, 05:49 AM
Recently I haven't been doing too well emotionally. In those times I always struggle with the relationship I have with my parents. Right now my relationship with them can be described as good. I have a strong bond with both of them.

However, this hasn't always been the case. One of my most strong and terrifying memories is that of my father beating me in the hallway. He used to beat my brother as well. I'm not sure any more where and how he used to beat me or how often it happened. There is just the memory that it happened and most likely it happened more than once. My mother used to protect my father and make sure that nothing could come out. Rather than standing up for her children, she would create the possibility for it to continue. Apart from that my memories are that my mother when there were conflicts or when we misbehaved would repeatedly threaten to abandon us.

Also, my father often got into a rage when he asked us to do something and we didn't jump up immediately. Even if we were legitimately busy doing some task, he expected us to just drop the task and immediately abide by his commands. This went on far into adulthood, but has become less lately.

While when trying to take an outsider perspective I would call this abuse, I still struggle to call it that way. My parents are loving people, who do a lot for their children, support them financially and (especially my mother) emotionally. It feels so disloyal to talk about abuse in this case. Moreover, since I don't know the exact details of the violence I endured it might be that it wasn't that bad and that my mind is exaggerating things.

These things of my childhood, combined with an unsafe environment at school (bullying) might have to do with my fear of abandonment. However, should I seek treatment and talk about something that I'm not even sure was abuse? I just don't know.

sarahsweets
07-28-16, 05:58 AM
I'm not sure any more where and how he used to beat me or how often it happened. There is just the memory that it happened and most likely it happened more than once. My mother used to protect my father and make sure that nothing could come out. Rather than standing up for her children, she would create the possibility for it to continue. Apart from that my memories are that my mother when there were conflicts or when we misbehaved would repeatedly threaten to abandon us.

Trauma can affect us this way. It must have been terrifying and scary to go through that. The mind sometimes blocks out the specifics to protect us.


Also, my father often got into a rage when he asked us to do something and we didn't jump up immediately. Even if we were legitimately busy doing some task, he expected us to just drop the task and immediately abide by his commands. This went on far into adulthood, but has become less lately.
This is something you should take a look at. When you are an adult you dont have to accept that kind of treatment. But its hard for us to feel like adults around our parents.

While when trying to take an outsider perspective I would call this abuse, I still struggle to call it that way. My parents are loving people, who do a lot for their children, support them financially and (especially my mother) emotionally. It feels so disloyal to talk about abuse in this case. Moreover, since I don't know the exact details of the violence I endured it might be that it wasn't that bad and that my mind is exaggerating things.

No, this was abuse. We are hard wired to protect our parents and treat them with respect because we grew up with the mentality of "they are right and I am wrong".
It doesnt matter what you call it though, it has a profound effect on you today.


These things of my childhood, combined with an unsafe environment at school (bullying) might have to do with my fear of abandonment. However, should I seek treatment and talk about something that I'm not even sure was abuse? I just don't know.

Yes. You need therapy. Even if it turns out that you are crazy and have all these false memories (which I dont think you do) you would still need to understand why. I find it hard to believe that such vivid memories would be false.
The mind alters things sometimes or affects out perspective as a way to protect itself. Think about how it would be if you walked around in terror because the specific memories of that abuse were always at the forefront of your mind? It would be paralysing.
Fear of abandonment and abuse go hand in hand IMO. Its a very real fear that affects how we have relationships with others.
I am so sorry you had to live through that.

peripatetic
07-28-16, 06:03 AM
i think talking to a therapist could help you sort through these feelings and even begin to define what constitutes abuse. then you can work through whether you suffered it.

for the record, i think that sounds abusive. however, i experienced no corporal/physical punishment as a child, so even a slap sounds like abuse.

i do think that not all people who resort to abusive methods are bad people though. i can imagine someone who is loving being fed rhetoric claiming that you must exact physical discipline to teach children properly, so loving them requires that type of discipline.

i don't agree with that, but it was a different time and people did believe that. not all, surely, but many. i think there's a lot to explore though. "beat" is a pretty loose term. if you got more specific with a professional about whether there was shaming, whether it was open hand or closed fist, was blood drawn, bones broken...etc, etc, etc...

i doubt there's an easy one-size-fits-all answer, but i think you can find a way to make peace with your situation and, yes, that would be worth going to see a therapist. :)

Hermus
07-28-16, 06:07 AM
Yes. You need therapy. Even if it turns out that you are crazy and have all these false memories (which I dont think you do) you would still need to understand why. I find it hard to believe that such vivid memories would be false.

Actually, I don't think I'm crazy. However, to decide whether it was abuse or I was just being disciplined I need to know more details. That I don't know the details any more might have to do with blocking things out, but also might have to do with that it actually wasn't that bad what occurred. I feel like I can't accuse my parents of abuse when there is the probability it was not.

However, I think something needs to change. I'm starting to become the same person as my dad. Getting annoyed and frustrated whenever someone (especially a loved one) doesn't immediately do what I want.

Fear of abandonment/being insecurely attached might also have to do with ADD btw. I recently found a scientific article that claimed that only a minority of the people with ADD/ADHD were securely attached. So I'm not sure whether my childhood or my ADD are at the root of the problem.

peripatetic
07-28-16, 06:09 AM
However, I think something needs to change. I'm starting to become the same person as my dad. Getting annoyed and frustrated whenever someone (especially a loved one) doesn't immediately do what I want.

this is hugely important that you recognize the propensity building in yourself and want to find ways to curb it. i strongly encourage you to explore this with a professional. you might also consider taking an anger management/managing frustration series if you can find one in your area or get a referral.


one other thing: maybe you could start by addressing how you're handling anger/frustration and find better ways...and that could lead you into discussing how you were disciplined as a child and what habits your parents have manifested that still crop up now and then.

Pilgrim
07-28-16, 08:10 AM
It's an interesting question whether fear of abandonment or ADD interfere with secure relationships.
My bet would be the ADD.

peripatetic
07-28-16, 09:41 AM
Fear of abandonment/being insecurely attached might also have to do with ADD btw. I recently found a scientific article that claimed that only a minority of the people with ADD/ADHD were securely attached. So I'm not sure whether my childhood or my ADD are at the root of the problem.

i've been thinking on this more...and on pilgrim's post at the end of the thread.

i wonder what the study cohort looked like. what i mean is...ok....so, i have adhd, my daughter is genetically predisposed to it (her grandfather has it, too). she's very securely attached. and i suspect a lot of people with adhd have securely attached infants/children.

that said...is it a patience/impulsivity problem you're seeing or more a frustration with behaviors that would lead to less secure attachment percentages among adhd persons? in some era, i can imagine having a boisterous kid...i was a LOT of kid...could lead to parental resentment, overwhelm, etc...and less opportunity for that secure attachment.

then again, i think of now and parents i know who have adhd...like...myself...like...sarah...stef, steve, ganjin...i could go on and on...the point is, i suspect we are all VERY much giving our children secure attachments because, and i'll speak for myself on this bit: as impatient and impulsive as i am...estelle never exhausts that patience. i haven't had reason to yell at her, avoid her...separate her against her will. i'm sure...like, things happen, but i mean, as a general rule, it seems having adhd might set us up to BE better at providing secure attachment because it's a lot of quality there even if we're scattered.

whilst a generation ahead...i'm quite fortunate because my father has adhd...his childhood sucked though. he was thought unruly, and all of the negatives. so i can imagine him being pushed away and neglected in a sense.

so there's that attachment issue...then there's, compounding it, that a few generations ago, and even today in some cultures, children are to be seen and not heard. that doesn't necessarily lead to neglect or fears of abandonment, but i think doing the opposite might safeguard against it.

all of that is to say...which generation is that cohort that is rarely securely attached? because i don't even know when the whole idea of attachment really trickled down into mainstream parenting. maybe it's a social-cultural-historical base that is very different from now.

that's all general. back to your situation... i don't know that it couldn't be both the fear of abandonment AND add that would make for more impatience, challenges managing frustration, expectations of relatives, etc. it could be both...or, how to tease out which precedes the other? maybe the ADD created the frustration which exacerbates the fear? or maybe the underlying fear is there from a different way of child raising and then when the ADD is discovered it is used to "explain" why the connection was not secure, but is actually a scapegoat.

do you have a link to the study?

finally, i would just say that...i believe, with obvious exceptions, that parents then and parents now are doing their best. we don't all have the same tools, resources, support, education, financial means, abilities, etc, etc, etc...but i think most parents love and want to securely attach to their children. whether ADD makes it harder is debatable, but i'm wary of saying that it does because that is just a few short steps away from blaming the parents' inability (likely through no fault of their own) to securely attach on ADD, which then all of the issues that can arise from lacking that secure attachment...that blame might be placed on the parents.

and that's what it sounds like you want to avoid...blaming... but not everyone is able to take that step back and examine without looking for blame. i think it's a potentially charged conversation to have because people, especially parents with respect to child raising, in my experience often tend to be defensive. maybe because parents are so often blamed for every misstep or difference a child manifests, but i can appreciate why you don't just want to write off your parents as abusers. in the same way i wouldn't write off my grandparents as neglectful or cold...they just had no resources to deal with my hyperactive boisterous father in his heyday.

that is why i think fleshing out a definition of "abuse" is key in your situation. because, with what you say...it sounds like you're placing emphasis on intent. your father may have "beat" you...but he didn't *intend to abuse* you. someone who has worked out their childhood and sees abuse might read what you wrote and feel like it's clearly abuse because it's comparable to their experience...so if yours isn't abuse...then they might feel theirs isn't. or that that's the allegation.

abuse, attachment, neglect...these are very heavily connoted terms in our language. maybe getting away, in your case, from the term abuse and finding another way to talk about your parents' actions would help you process. "abuse" is seen as so thoroughly negative and there's nothing inherently negative in your description of your parents or your relationship with them, necessarily. i guess...maybe that's why it's challenging. the ways we think about abuse don't fit from your perspective, so talking about your experience might need terms that you work to define in order to even begin talking about your childhood? just a thought.

hope that makes sense. interesting topic though

Hermus
07-28-16, 10:26 AM
do you have a link to the study?


This is the study I'm talking about. It's a PhD thesis written at Tilburg University. Since I'm not a psychologist I'm not really able to evaluate the quality of the work. A lot of things you mention seem to make sense to me though.

http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=122758

finally, i would just say that...i believe, with obvious exceptions, that parents then and parents now are doing their best. we don't all have the same tools, resources, support, education, financial means, abilities, etc, etc, etc...but i think most parents love and want to securely attach to their children. whether ADD makes it harder is debatable, but i'm wary of saying that it does because that is just a few short steps away from blaming the parents' inability (likely through no fault of their own) to securely attach on ADD, which then all of the issues that can arise from lacking that secure attachment...that blame might be placed on the parents.

and that's what it sounds like you want to avoid...blaming... but not everyone is able to take that step back and examine without looking for blame. i think it's a potentially charged conversation to have because people, especially parents with respect to child raising, in my experience often tend to be defensive. maybe because parents are so often blamed for every misstep or difference a child manifests, but i can appreciate why you don't just want to write off your parents as abusers. in the same way i wouldn't write off my grandparents as neglectful or cold...they just had no resources to deal with my hyperactive boisterous father in his heyday.

that is why i think fleshing out a definition of "abuse" is key in your situation. because, with what you say...it sounds like you're placing emphasis on intent. your father may have "beat" you...but he didn't *intend to abuse* you. someone who has worked out their childhood and sees abuse might read what you wrote and feel like it's clearly abuse because it's comparable to their experience...so if yours isn't abuse...then they might feel theirs isn't. or that that's the allegation.

abuse, attachment, neglect...these are very heavily connoted terms in our language. maybe getting away, in your case, from the term abuse and finding another way to talk about your parents' actions would help you process. "abuse" is seen as so thoroughly negative and there's nothing inherently negative in your description of your parents or your relationship with them, necessarily. i guess...maybe that's why it's challenging. the ways we think about abuse don't fit from your perspective, so talking about your experience might need terms that you work to define in order to even begin talking about your childhood? just a thought.

hope that makes sense. interesting topic though

Actually, I think it's fine for me to use the word abuse. Today for the first time in a conversation with a friend I used the word abuse, whereas previously I always tried not to talk about what happened at all. By calling it as it is it can get a place. The problem is mainly that if I think of abuse I have a mental image of some kind of malevolent people. My parents actually are the kindest people I know, so it's hard to think of them as abusers.

Maybe I need to decouple the words abuse and abuser. Even though what my parents did counts as physical and emotional abuse, that doesn't mean that being abusers is constitutive of their identity. Even kind people make mistakes.

Bluechoo
07-28-16, 12:40 PM
Abuse can mean a lot of different things, such as neglect, and not one form is more damaging or legitimate than the other. Some people respond differently do different types of abuse, but it does not change the fact that abuse is abuse.

I started to question my childhood in my early-mid twenties, then in my mid-late twenties I had somewhat of a quarter-life crisis, and now in my early 30s, having barely emerged from the storm, I have started seeing things a bit more clearly and calling things from the past as they are. I grew up in a big, loving family that loved christmas, presents, shiny things, and always being loud with everyone constantly striving to be King of The Hill. I was the youngest out of 5 until I was 9 and my litte sister was adopted. In my first 9 years I was the baby. And just around the time I when I really needed someone to notice me because they cared, not because I was screaming to get their attention, that certain someone had her own problems to manage, sought psychotherapy, spent hours talking to shrinks, got some Rx's for who-knows-what and sedated herself for most of the day. My father (who was more a provider than a hands on father) was always working. The result: I was neglected. I don't think I was properly potty-trained until I was about 9 years old. Perhaps when my little sister came along I was old enough to realize that there was something wrong with the picture and had to "train myself." I was actually embarrassed that I couldn't maintain myself in the bathroom; no child should ever have to live through that feeling. Here's the kicker: my whole life has seemed to have been organized around me reliving that experience.... I let my life turn into a big mess because I do not manage the little messes on the way, until I get so overwhelmed and finally realize that I need to re-train myself to clean up.

The only good thing I got from this is that I am a very strong independent learner, because I realized that I am the only person I can really depend on the most to get anything done. The bad thing is that I have some trust issues and don't generally allow myself to get close to others, or others to get close to me.

I was abused and no one layed a single finger on me. Your dad beat you and you don't even remember if there was a reason for it... You tell me.

Fuzzy12
07-28-16, 02:16 PM
I don't think it matters if it's officially classified as abuse or not..if you believe it might have caused you damage then it's definitely worth talking it out with a therapist and trying to find some resolution.

For whatever its worth, I tend to regard any sort of physical punishment as abuse, maybe because like peri I have never experienced anything of that sort and to be honest what tyou describe does sound very damaging and abusive to me.:(

It's very difficult to think of your own parents as abusive and you can't imagine how much I can relate to the feeling of disloyalty when you even just start questioning some of their actions.

I wonder if it might help to think that your parents are good people who did the best they could but some of the things they did, did cause you a lot of hurt and hAve harmed you long term even if they didn't mean for that to happen. There is nothing wrong or disloyal about acknowledging and addressing those bits. Parents aren't perfect and they can sadly harm us in so many ways...even with the best of intentions. You seeking help for that is not disloyal.

And bullying just is always abuse. I can't see any excuse or reason for that whatsoever and I think it causes so much of long term damage to so many people.

:grouphug:

aeon
07-28-16, 03:13 PM
Recently I haven't been doing too well emotionally. In those times I always struggle with the relationship I have with my parents. Right now my relationship with them can be described as good. I have a strong bond with both of them.

However, this hasn't always been the case. One of my most strong and terrifying memories is that of my father beating me in the hallway. He used to beat my brother as well. I'm not sure any more where and how he used to beat me or how often it happened. There is just the memory that it happened and most likely it happened more than once.

Moreover, since I don't know the exact details of the violence I endured it might be that it wasn't that bad and that my mind is exaggerating things.

First, Hermus, I am sorry to hear this. I know what it is to be beaten, so my heart is with you.

Not remembering the details and having somehow incomplete or unclear memories is typical in cases of trauma. In part, this is because the release of hormones (adrenalin, cortisol, among others) in moments of extreme stress interferes with the brainís ability to form and store memories, as well as properly integrate the senses.

It is highly unlikely that your brain is exaggerating things. Much more likely is that your brain is trying to recall memories of those events, and it can only find and access bits and pieces that are not integrated together.

These things of my childhood, combined with an unsafe environment at school (bullying) might have to do with my fear of abandonment.

My mother used to protect my father and make sure that nothing could come out. Rather than standing up for her children, she would create the possibility for it to continue.

Failure to protect, emotional distancing sets the stage for...

Apart from that my memories are that my mother when there were conflicts or when we misbehaved would repeatedly threaten to abandon us.

My sense is this is it...this is the source of your fear of abandonment.

Aside from the physical violence from your father, you were also terrorized by the experience of your mother physically and emotionally abandoning you by allowing the abuse to happen, as well as the threat of her abandonment being final, and in total.

To a child, abandonment by their primary caregiver to whom they have the strongest attachment bond is pure, abject terror. This is because abandonment is experienced by the child as a form of annihilation. This can be literal, in the sense that the child will die as it is unable to be self-sufficient. More importantly, this is psychological and emotional. The disruption of the attachment bond to the primary caregiver before the development of the individuated self is traumatic to the developing self. This can distort the sense of self, and in some cases, the self is shattered, such that the atomized pieces are not integrated and are dissociated from awareness.

With such a distortion or dissociation of self comes the resultant lack of personal boundaries as well as the inability to recognize othersí. This becomes more acute with the repeated boundary violations of an abusive caregiver against the child.

Also, my father often got into a rage when he asked us to do something and we didn't jump up immediately. Even if we were legitimately busy doing some task, he expected us to just drop the task and immediately abide by his commands. This went on far into adulthood, but has become less lately.

This, combined with what you have said above, along with what I wrote in the bothering thread based on your posts gives me the sense your father was a narcissist, and your mother was codependent to him.

While when trying to take an outsider perspective I would call this abuse, I still struggle to call it that way. My parents are loving people, who do a lot for their children, support them financially and (especially my mother) emotionally. It feels so disloyal to talk about abuse in this case.

A child, when abused/neglected by its primary caregivers (most often its parents), is caught in a dilemma. It is imperative that the child maintains the internal model of loving parents, for the child is dependent on those parents for its needs, and ultimately, its survival.

This is why many people who are developmentally traumatized experience inner conflict later in life when trying to reconcile their internal model with what they experienced. They will tend to defend their internal model until they are able to integrate their experience with it.

However, should I seek treatment and talk about something that I'm not even sure was abuse? I just don't know.

If you were beaten, you were abused. This can be difficult to see when it was all you knew of as a child...it was normal - you had no other frame of reference.

My sense is that the other dynamics within your family have also contributed greatly to your trauma history.

The question of whether to seek therapy, or not, is up to you, of course.

That said, I recommend doing so as soon as you are able. Find a therapist that is trauma-informed, and uses a relational/attachment/emotionally-focused approach in the therapeutic process.

I wish you well, Hermus. I hope you decide to make choices for yourself that allow you to begin to heal.

Interestingly, I was the same age as you are now when I got sober and decided to start making those choices. Doing so was the best thing I have ever done for myself because it meant I could find out who I really was after so many years of having to be whatever and whoever I was told to be, and fearfully hiding who I really was.


Best Wishes,
Ian

aeon
07-28-16, 03:30 PM
i believe, with obvious exceptions, that parents then and parents now are doing their best

I believe this in all cases, without exception.

That belief is the source from which my compassion and forgiveness for myself and others comes into being.

That said, uncountable numbers of children are neglected, sexually abused, physically abused, emotionally abused, and some of them, even murdered, every single day.

There is no need to use other language when these things have occurred. Doing so only helps to perpetuate shame.

Those who do these things to children are abusers, no question.

Who they are, and what their intent was, is irrelevant.


Thanks,
Ian

Fuzzy12
07-28-16, 03:44 PM
This is the study I'm talking about. It's a PhD thesis written at Tilburg University. Since I'm not a psychologist I'm not really able to evaluate the quality of the work. A lot of things you mention seem to make sense to me though.

http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=122758



Actually, I think it's fine for me to use the word abuse. Today for the first time in a conversation with a friend I used the word abuse, whereas previously I always tried not to talk about what happened at all. By calling it as it is it can get a place. The problem is mainly that if I think of abuse I have a mental image of some kind of malevolent people. My parents actually are the kindest people I know, so it's hard to think of them as abusers.

Maybe I need to decouple the words abuse and abuser. Even though what my parents did counts as physical and emotional abuse, that doesn't mean that being abusers is constitutive of their identity. Even kind people make mistakes.

I think you can safely classify the things that happened in your childhood as abuse. Especially after reading what aeon wrote. You are not exaggerating or making a mountain out of a molehill if that's what you are worried about. not at all.

And yes, as I said above, you don't have to judge your parents as bad or anything negative because even kind and well intentioned people can inadvertently be abusive but that doesn't mean that the damage done to you was less (which is why i keep thinking that just loving your children is not enough). On the contrary, it might make it more difficult to deal with it because of the conflictING emotions.

I mean, my point is that you are right. it's Ok to call it abuse because that's what it was and it's Ok to acknowledge that it hurt you and you might need help to deal with it and it's also ok to continue loving your parents and believing that they love you and that not everything they did or do was or is abusive or bad but neither was it all good or as it should have been.

Hermus
07-28-16, 04:40 PM
First, Hermus, I am sorry to hear this. I know what it is to be beaten, so my heart is with you.

Not remembering the details and having somehow incomplete or unclear memories is typical in cases of trauma. In part, this is because the release of hormones (adrenalin, cortisol, among others) in moments of extreme stress interferes with the brainís ability to form and store memories, as well as properly integrate the senses.

It is highly unlikely that your brain is exaggerating things. Much more likely is that your brain is trying to recall memories of those events, and it can only find and access bits and pieces that are not integrated together.

Failure to protect, emotional distancing sets the stage for...

My sense is this is it...this is the source of your fear of abandonment.

Aside from the physical violence from your father, you were also terrorized by the experience of your mother physically and emotionally abandoning you by allowing the abuse to happen, as well as the threat of her abandonment being final, and in total.

To a child, abandonment by their primary caregiver to whom they have the strongest attachment bond is pure, abject terror. This is because abandonment is experienced by the child as a form of annihilation. This can be literal, in the sense that the child will die as it is unable to be self-sufficient. More importantly, this is psychological and emotional. The disruption of the attachment bond to the primary caregiver before the development of the individuated self is traumatic to the developing self. This can distort the sense of self, and in some cases, the self is shattered, such that the atomized pieces are not integrated and are dissociated from awareness.

With such a distortion or dissociation of self comes the resultant lack of personal boundaries as well as the inability to recognize othersí. This becomes more acute with the repeated boundary violations of an abusive caregiver against the child.

This, combined with what you have said above, along with what I wrote in the bothering thread based on your posts gives me the sense your father was a narcissist, and your mother was codependent to him.

Actually I don't think of my father as a narcissist. What I suspect is that like me he has some combination of ADD and a disorder in the autistic spectrum. That's based on my father in many respects being exactly the same as me. My mother co-dependent? Definitely. She is the type of woman who always puts herself second place to my father and ignores her own wants and needs. In return she thinks it gives her the right to be a spiteful and cranky woman.


A child, when abused/neglected by its primary caregivers (most often its parents), is caught in a dilemma. It is imperative that the child maintains the internal model of loving parents, for the child is dependent on those parents for its needs, and ultimately, its survival.

This is why many people who are developmentally traumatized experience inner conflict later in life when trying to reconcile their internal model with what they experienced. They will tend to defend their internal model until they are able to integrate their experience with it.

If you were beaten, you were abused. This can be difficult to see when it was all you knew of as a child...it was normal - you had no other frame of reference.

My sense is that the other dynamics within your family have also contributed greatly to your trauma history.

Definitely. While my parents are very great at putting up a show and make it look like we're the ideal family, behind the curtains a lot is wrong. I also suffered abuse from my brother, who was sexually assaulted by a stranger when he was very young and never talked about it until he was 18.

The question of whether to seek therapy, or not, is up to you, of course.

That said, I recommend doing so as soon as you are able. Find a therapist that is trauma-informed, and uses a relational/attachment/emotionally-focused approach in the therapeutic process.

I have had EMDR in the past that was directed at the traumas I got from bullying and the abuse sustained by my brother. I just wouldn't talk about the abuse by my parents. And I have had other types of therapy. One of the problems I have with these types of therapy is that it's mostly 10 sessions at the max and after that you're on your own again. Are there forms of therapy where you're not expected to be over things in a few sessions?

I wish you well, Hermus. I hope you decide to make choices for yourself that allow you to begin to heal.

Interestingly, I was the same age as you are now when I got sober and decided to start making those choices. Doing so was the best thing I have ever done for myself because it meant I could find out who I really was after so many years of having to be whatever and whoever I was told to be, and fearfully hiding who I really was.


Best Wishes,
Ian

Thank you very much, Ian. :)

I think you can safely classify the things that happened in your childhood as abuse. Especially after reading what aeon wrote. You are not exaggerating or making a mountain out of a molehill if that's what you are worried about. not at all.

Actually I start to believe I'm not. However, if I would tell my parents about the therapy and why I need it they will definitely tell me I am. I just know how they respond to criticism or to me having any emotions at all any time. 'You're making something out of nothing', 'your exaggerating', or the worst thing my mum does 'it's your PDD-NOS that makes you feel about it that way'. Probably they really don't know better, but still it is unacceptable.

And yes, as I said above, you don't have to judge your parents as bad or anything negative because even kind and well intentioned people can inadvertently be abusive but that doesn't mean that the damage done to you was less (which is why i keep thinking that just loving your children is not enough). On the contrary, it might make it more difficult to deal with it because of the conflicting emotions.

I mean, my point is that you are right. it's Ok to call it abuse because that's what it was and it's Ok to acknowledge that it hurt you and you might need help to deal with it and it's also ok to continue loving your parents and believing that they love you and that not everything they did or do was or is abusive or bad but neither was it all good or as it should have been.

Thanks :)

peripatetic
07-28-16, 04:49 PM
i respectfully disagree with you on this and appreciate your response so i can clarify. we might not be in disagreement once i do.

i would say that it mightn't be relevant to you or me or any number of folks...but to hermus or someone reading this somewhere who isn't a member...for any number of persons...part of processing this type of trauma might make believed intention VERY relevant. right now, what's relevant to him is relevant in this conversation and i was asking if that's what he meant in his post or if that's why he was having difficulty. if their assumed/believed/stated intentions play a role in hermus processing his childhood and his present...then i think it IS relevant, at least contingently.

i'm not suggesting that i believe or that it's believed widely that their intent makes them more/less abusive or strengthens/weakens the fact that someone endured trauma. what i'm saying is that i think it's important to meet the survivor where that person is, for a professional to, and work from there. so i was saying that if that's difficult right now to think in terms of "abuse" or if he can be confident enough to go seek some more help, if hashing out and drawing a distinction between his parents perpetrating abuse versus being "abusive"...that's ok right now. that what's most important is that he sees this is something to explore with a mental health professional and there are ones out there who will meet you where you are and it's ok to be conflicted.

my opinion on whether or not they're abusers only matters if it matters to hermus. it's something where i can read what he wrote, but i'm sure that only scratches a surface. and i don't think the point i was most focused on making was about whether intention matters in an absolute sense or how abuse is defined in this or that arena...my point is that, yes, i think it's worthwhile to pursue these concerns with a therapist and if getting to the point of making the next step to doing so requires suspending a judgment on whether his parents are abusers...that's not my judgment to make anyway, but it's ok if that's where he is. and if he hadn't been comfortable calling it abuse (though, as he said, he is), i just wasn't sure, then that's ok to be at that point right now, too.

i guess i'm just wanting to emphasize that it's ok to not see yourself as fitting this or that right now if it helps get help.

also...i wish i could agree with you that i think everyone is doing their best... but i've encountered some incredibly manipulative people. maybe i should've said doing what they believe to be best for themselves. but then...i do think most parents want what's best for their children and would give it if they could. just...i don't believe in the inherent goodness or badness of humans... and though i think most want as i said... and i wish ALL did... i am unconvinced that all do. but that's a minor point :)

cheers for reading xx


I believe this in all cases, without exception.

That belief is the source from which my compassion and forgiveness for myself and others comes into being.

That said, uncountable numbers of children are neglected, sexually abused, physically abused, emotionally abused, and some of them, even murdered, every single day.

There is no need to use other language when these things have occurred. Doing so only helps to perpetuate shame.

Those who do these things to children are abusers, no question.

Who they are, and what their intent was, is irrelevant.


Thanks,
Ian

aeon
07-28-16, 05:41 PM
i respectfully disagree with you on this and appreciate your response so i can clarify. we might not be in disagreement once i do.

i would say that it mightn't be relevant to you or me or any number of folks...but to hermus or someone reading this somewhere who isn't a member...for any number of persons...part of processing this type of trauma might make believed intention VERY relevant. right now, what's relevant to him is relevant in this conversation and i was asking if that's what he meant in his post or if that's why he was having difficulty. if their assumed/believed/stated intentions play a role in hermus processing his childhood and his present...then i think it IS relevant, at least contingently.

i'm not suggesting that i believe or that it's believed widely that their intent makes them more/less abusive or strengthens/weakens the fact that someone endured trauma. what i'm saying is that i think it's important to meet the survivor where that person is, for a professional to, and work from there. so i was saying that if that's difficult right now to think in terms of "abuse" or if he can be confident enough to go seek some more help, if hashing out and drawing a distinction between his parents perpetrating abuse versus being "abusive"...that's ok right now. that what's most important is that he sees this is something to explore with a mental health professional and there are ones out there who will meet you where you are and it's ok to be conflicted.

my opinion on whether or not they're abusers only matters if it matters to hermus. it's something where i can read what he wrote, but i'm sure that only scratches a surface. and i don't think the point i was most focused on making was about whether intention matters in an absolute sense or how abuse is defined in this or that arena...my point is that, yes, i think it's worthwhile to pursue these concerns with a therapist and if getting to the point of making the next step to doing so requires suspending a judgment on whether his parents are abusers...that's not my judgment to make anyway, but it's ok if that's where he is. and if he hadn't been comfortable calling it abuse (though, as he said, he is), i just wasn't sure, then that's ok to be at that point right now, too.

i guess i'm just wanting to emphasize that it's ok to not see yourself as fitting this or that right now if it helps get help.

Thanks for writing that, you helped me to understand where you were coming from, and the context, and I appreciate that, very much so.

I agree with you.

also...i wish i could agree with you that i think everyone is doing their best... but i've encountered some incredibly manipulative people. maybe i should've said doing what they believe to be best for themselves. but then...i do think most parents want what's best for their children and would give it if they could. just...i don't believe in the inherent goodness or badness of humans... and though i think most want as i said... and i wish ALL did... i am unconvinced that all do. but that's a minor point :)

cheers for reading xx

Some people make it to adulthood and manipulation is the best way they know to meet their needs. If they had a better (for them) way to meet their needs, they would choose it. Or so I believe.

Sometimes, a person doing their best will result in what seems like to everyone else, some kind of monster. Humans are curious creatures.

And I agree with you in that there is no need to judge one way or the other. After all, what is good for one is bad for the other, and the other way ’round too. ;)

And to you, Cheers for writing. :goodpost:


Best to You,
Ian

Fortune
07-28-16, 05:51 PM
Actually, I don't think I'm crazy. However, to decide whether it was abuse or I was just being disciplined I need to know more details. That I don't know the details any more might have to do with blocking things out, but also might have to do with that it actually wasn't that bad what occurred. I feel like I can't accuse my parents of abuse when there is the probability it was not.

Actually... Current consensus seems to be that any kind of corporal punishment is bad for children. That hitting children is likely to result in poor outcomes. You may or may not call it abuse, but being beaten as you described is something that current research points to as "likely to result in a poor outcome."

You can google "spanking is bad for children" to find some stories on it, and they'll reference the relevant studies.

Hermus
07-28-16, 05:52 PM
Some people make it to adulthood and manipulation is the best way they know to meet their needs. If they had a better (for them) way to meet their needs, they would choose it. Or so I believe.

Sometimes, a person doing their best will result in what seems like to everyone else, some kind of monster. Humans are curious creatures.

And I agree with you in that there is no need to judge one way or the other. After all, what is good for one is bad for the other, and the other way íround too. ;)

And to you, Cheers for writing. :goodpost:


Best to You,
Ian

In an interview with a famous Dutch lawyer a few months ago he was asked whether there were people he wouldn't defend. His answer was: "I wouldn't defend truly evil people, but I never met one truly evil person in my entire career'. I agreed with him then, but some recent experiences with someone I love have made me think otherwise. Some people just do what they please for their own gratification, without even caring about the harm they do to others. For me that's what being evil means. So yes, in my point of view there are evil people. Are my parents evil people? I doubt it. They are kind people who sometimes make the wrong choices.

Fortune
07-28-16, 05:59 PM
I believe this in all cases, without exception.

That belief is the source from which my compassion and forgiveness for myself and others comes into being.


I don't believe this is true in all cases. In fact, I have seen enough cases where it's demonstrably not true to counter the idea that it is true without exception. My legal father is a psychopath. He tormented and abused me constantly, and he never tried to be a good parent. At best he tried to be a mediocre parent, and that only being the calm before another abusive storm.

I have no compassion for him and I do not see that he deserves any from me. I'm sure he does fine without that, however.

stef
07-28-16, 06:17 PM
I wish I had the words to find to post here. its very late.

:grouphug: to all and thank you for sharing your experiences.

kilted_scotsman
07-29-16, 06:43 AM
Most types of humanistic therapy were originally intended to be long term.

The typical 10 session is fine for "symptom relief" for mild issues.

It is a myth that the 10 session thing is all you can get..... but it is usually all you can get on insurance or with the UK health service.

I work in a "Low Cost Counselling Service" (LCCS). Client get allocated a 20 session block and can extend as required after discussions with the centre manager and therapist. I have worked in other LCCS' and the charges vary from UKP 10/session to donation/free. Alternatively one can go fully private.... in the UK this costs between UKP40 and UKP65/hour session.

The therapists in these services can be trainees, but there is usually a core of fully trained therapists. The thing to be wary of is the prevalence of purely "Person Centred" therapists in these services... in my view ADDers need more than straight person centred therapy, and their issues run deeper than is likely to be resolved by someone just listening and empathising.

RE the Phd study.... remember that the DSM is a symptom checklist approach and doesn't have any link to causation....they're a shorthand for diagnosticians to "prove" to a funder that the client has something and should be "treated". These symptoms have many potential causes and insecure/anxious attachment may well be one of them. In my experience when I come across someone with ADHD symptoms (diagnosed or undiagnosed) and have the opportunity to talk deeply with them I find family issues are present more often than not.

WE have to remember that correlation does not mean causation..... however what people often think of as genetic.... that ones parents and maybe grandparents had symptoms does not "prove" there is genetic inheritance, because familial issues also tend to travel down families because of attachment issues..... a parent who was not well parented may not parent well themselves...... in the UK we have the Boarding School thing where generations of a family have deep attachment issues, owing to the "family tradition" of sending offspring to boarding school, often at a very young age.

If you read people like Cozolino, Mate etc one finds the neurological routes that link childhood trauma to the ADHD symptom group.

Working through this requires a good therapist..... over a long period of time..... the reason for this is that there needs to be a solid basis of trust between therapist and client before the work can properly begin.... in my experience the trust building alone takes more than 10 sessions....

DevotedBaker54
08-01-16, 05:44 PM
I'm so sorry to hear you're going through all this. Even though your dad doesn't hit you anymore, it doesn't mean that he didn't abuse you in the past. You may have a good relationship with your parents now, but what they did to you when you were younger has lasting effects on your emotional and mental health. I think seeking therapy is a great idea! Even though the abuse isn't present anymore, the effects of it is, and that's why you want to seek therapy. There is not problem too small for a therapist to hear about!

BellaVita
08-01-16, 07:22 PM
I don't believe this is true in all cases. In fact, I have seen enough cases where it's demonstrably not true to counter the idea that it is true without exception. My legal father is a psychopath. He tormented and abused me constantly, and he never tried to be a good parent. At best he tried to be a mediocre parent, and that only being the calm before another abusive storm.

I have no compassion for him and I do not see that he deserves any from me. I'm sure he does fine without that, however.

I 100% believe my mom did her best to hurt me and damage me at every moment she was with me. I think any "good parent" things she did were simply to impress the outside world, while she abused me behind closed doors. She never displayed remorse or guilt nor did she apologize. I actually seriously think she spent her time thinking of the best ways to hurt me - coming up with different plans. It's obvious she did that because so many things wouldn't have happened (to harm me) if she didn't meticulously plan out every detail.

My dad, I'm not so sure about if he ever tried to be a good parent, because he would at least apologize sometimes....but he was still an abuser.

aeon
08-01-16, 08:03 PM
Remember though, doing their best is not doing their best to be a good parent - it is doing their best to meet their own needs.

So that sometimes means they will be the antithesis of a good parent - psychopaths, narcissists, abusers, and on and on.


Cheers,
Ian

Fortune
08-01-16, 09:21 PM
Eh I have no energy to spare to provide excuses for abusive parenting. Sometimes it's fine to just wash your hands of someone and not care about their reasons.

BellaVita
08-01-16, 09:32 PM
Eh I have no energy to spare to provide excuses for abusive parenting. Sometimes it's fine to just wash your hands of someone and not care about their reasons.

Yes to that! :thankyou:

aeon
08-01-16, 09:34 PM
And for sure, what I offered is a framework, one possible way to explain things.

But excuse things? Excuse poor parenting? Excuse abuse, traumatization, and a childhood spent terrorized and without the love and nurturing every child needs?

Never.

My compassion is for their being.

But for their doing? Their acts?

Never to forgive, never to forget.

There is no redemption for those who prey upon children.

May each and every be cleft in twain with a fiery sword for all eternity.


Woe unto them,
Ian

kilted_scotsman
08-02-16, 04:53 AM
Someone who has experienced a loving, nurturing family environment develops resilience to cope with the many difficulties life presents. This is likely to be passed on, firstly they are more likely to select good partners and secondly if things get messy in the family they can deal with it in a loving and nurturing way....... which means their kids are likely to absorb those same skills.

When parents do not show loving, nurturing skills to the extent that they emotionally damage their offspring you can bet your bottom dollar that their childhood left a lot to be desired. This can be for many reasons, but war, illness, accident and luck all have a part to play.

It's worth remembering that in the past, what we would describe as good parenting and a nurturing environment was probably the exception rather than the norm. Unfortunately in much of todays world the same applies.....

This is all about choice.... and since we know much much more about mental health we have much more choice than our parents did. This means we can choose the environment we give our kids at home, parent teacher groups mean we can influence the school environment and the levers of democracy and protest mean we can affect the general environment our kids grow up in.

Because we know our parents screwed up it means we have the choice to do something different....... and we have the gift of being the first generation to be given widespread access to the tools to name and neutralise the effects of our upbringing.....if we choose to pick them up and use them.

Therefore the buck stops with us. Look back to learn in order to grow ourselves make the future better than the past for everyone.

Our parents didn't have the courage for this work.... do we??

Hermus
08-02-16, 12:50 PM
Most types of humanistic therapy were originally intended to be long term.

The typical 10 session is fine for "symptom relief" for mild issues.

It is a myth that the 10 session thing is all you can get..... but it is usually all you can get on insurance or with the UK health service.

I work in a "Low Cost Counselling Service" (LCCS). Client get allocated a 20 session block and can extend as required after discussions with the centre manager and therapist. I have worked in other LCCS' and the charges vary from UKP 10/session to donation/free. Alternatively one can go fully private.... in the UK this costs between UKP40 and UKP65/hour session.

The therapists in these services can be trainees, but there is usually a core of fully trained therapists. The thing to be wary of is the prevalence of purely "Person Centred" therapists in these services... in my view ADDers need more than straight person centred therapy, and their issues run deeper than is likely to be resolved by someone just listening and empathising.

RE the Phd study.... remember that the DSM is a symptom checklist approach and doesn't have any link to causation....they're a shorthand for diagnosticians to "prove" to a funder that the client has something and should be "treated". These symptoms have many potential causes and insecure/anxious attachment may well be one of them. In my experience when I come across someone with ADHD symptoms (diagnosed or undiagnosed) and have the opportunity to talk deeply with them I find family issues are present more often than not.

WE have to remember that correlation does not mean causation..... however what people often think of as genetic.... that ones parents and maybe grandparents had symptoms does not "prove" there is genetic inheritance, because familial issues also tend to travel down families because of attachment issues..... a parent who was not well parented may not parent well themselves...... in the UK we have the Boarding School thing where generations of a family have deep attachment issues, owing to the "family tradition" of sending offspring to boarding school, often at a very young age.

If you read people like Cozolino, Mate etc one finds the neurological routes that link childhood trauma to the ADHD symptom group.

Working through this requires a good therapist..... over a long period of time..... the reason for this is that there needs to be a solid basis of trust between therapist and client before the work can properly begin.... in my experience the trust building alone takes more than 10 sessions....

Thank you for your useful post. Indeed I think that a good therapist would be a minimum and I would need more than 10 sessions probably. I don't really know what's possible within the Dutch healthcare system, but I'll have to find out. One problem is that my healthcare insurance regarding psychological disorders is quite minimal.

At the moment I am a patient at the psychiatric department of the hospital for my diagnosis and medication, which I get reimbursed by the insurance. However, I fear that one problem there will be that since they have a diagnosis they will take that as a basis of treatment, instead of looking at the whole person. My experience is that once they have a diagnosis all things else (life history etc.) doesn't count any more. For my specific problems I'm not too confident in this overly clinical approach.

Probably I will have to ask mum and dad for money for treatment. Knowing them they'd be happy to pay. At the same time it once again would make me dependent on them.

Hermus
08-02-16, 02:51 PM
Eh I have no energy to spare to provide excuses for abusive parenting. Sometimes it's fine to just wash your hands of someone and not care about their reasons.

Also depends on the role the parents still play. My parents have stopped being abusive and now are more supportive than ever. So I would say that they aren't bad persons and I can forgive them. Probably they didn't know how to deal with their frustrations. Unfortunately my dad's behaviour is a bit too recognizable from my perspective. I'm not a bad person, so I guess he isn't.

I have looked into schema therapy, which seems to be designed for people who have followed therapy in the past without proper results and is based on changing patterns of thinking and behaviour. Since I have been to quite a lot of therapists in the past it might be something for me. Does anyone have any experience with this type of therapy?

aeon
08-02-16, 03:53 PM
I have looked into schema therapy, which seems to be designed for people who have followed therapy in the past without proper results and is based on changing patterns of thinking and behaviour. Since I have been to quite a lot of therapists in the past it might be something for me. Does anyone have any experience with this type of therapy?

Yes, and combined with a trauma-informed, attachment-based approach, I found it quite helpful, and indeed, the only therapeutic approach I ever found so.


Thanks,
Ian

Hermus
08-18-16, 11:25 PM
Yesterday I've been to the psychologist for the first intake conversation. I talked about the relationship with my father and the worries I had in discussing it in therapy. I told her that I was afraid I was making something out of nothing and of being disloyal to my parents. She seemed to be completely understanding.

I also had lunch with a friend, with whom I discussed the problems I encountered in relationships. It gave me some new insights in having a wrong role model. My mom always putting herself second place to my dad. The sad thing is that I've seen the best side of my mom, when my dad was imprisoned. While she missed him, she finally started to do stuff for herself and become a person in her own right. It seems that while I don't want to be that way, the relationship between my parents has become my model of what a relationship should look like.

I always kind of looked up to my dad and loved him a lot. It always seemed like we have so much in common. However, the more I think about him, the more I realise that he is everything I don't want to be. Controlling and in his core quite egoistic.