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Getting To Know You => Ask HAF => Topic started by: Dave on December 16, 2017, 02:34:53 PM

Title: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Dave on December 16, 2017, 02:34:53 PM
This post contains a "generalised" account of personal effects of abuse,  hoping, as it says, to give those who have only second hand knowledge an idea, an insight.

I have checked it with another who largely aggrees with the account.

----------------------------------------------------

There is a well known saying, "Forgive and forget". Another goes, "Time cures all". Neither are relevant to victims of child abuse. You can never forget, the results live with you, conciously or unconciously, every day of your life, waking or sleeping.

They affect your relationships with others, subtly or in a gross way. There may be a constant undercurrent of fear of being "'used" by another, regardless of gender. There may be a constant feeling of being under-appreciated, of having never having your positive qualities and talents fully recognised... even when they are, positive feedback is constantly needed. There maybe a difficulty in accepting sincere compliments from others.

This can be interpreted as "attention seeking" by others which, of course, usually has negative outcomes that reinforce the problems of the victim.

Most people suffer self-doubt, a lack self-value, of confidence etc but, after an experience that involves being used as merely an object of sexual gratification, at an age when one's personality is just starting to form, a permanent psychological scar is formed.

Work done on PTSD may work for some, but those daily invasive memories, often triggered by present events that only have a very lose connection to past events, are hard to settle.  Something like noticing an engagement ring may invoke a memory of a relationship that, basically, failed due to things linked to the early abuse and the subsequent reaction may seem out of context to an observer.

So one may avoid circumstances that might invoke such, being wary of close relationships, avoiding being noticed, even becoming reclusive. Behaving, noticeably, "a bit weird" in public exacerbates the whole thing, negative feedback that increases the "volume". Pets may become more important than socialising.

Memory can be affected. I have no memory of the actual events, which I am led to believe is not unusual, though I do remember events surrounding the offence - being given "treats" like ringing the church bell and bring alowed to light the candles and invited for "private singing tuition", important things for a 7 year old. Grooming. But, all my life, I seem to have been driven to "trying to forget something", and this has had a permanent effect on my memory in some ways. Bit like a whole life with very low level Alzheimer's. This affected my social, academic and professional life. It also had the reverse of the desired effect because it made the "pop-up" behaviour of the trigger memories even more serious.

I have a deep-set distrust of authority which is balanced, sort of, by more intellectual attitudes - however I will always assume a rebuff but have educated myself into progressing applications etc with a little discipline and approaching authority figures with an attitude of "respectful equality." The doctor, say, knows more than me and has a degree of authority over my future, but that does not make him a better person than I. But this has to be a concious behaviour on every ocassion.

However I do not hate these abusers, in some cases, where a personality disorder or other mental illness is involved I may even pity them. I do wish to see a legal and humane way found to prevent them abusing further - even if that means life incarceration for out of control ones. I think those who protect abusers, whilst knowing the nature of the crime, should also suffer severe punishment. Those who knowingly and actively aid and abett should suffer the same punishment as the offenders.

I will never be free of this experience, will constantly seek ways to earn the respect of others because I have to fight for every iota of self-respect, self-esteem. This is mainly the source of my drive towards voluntary work, I practice what skills I posses - giving them value - whilst (hopefully) being appreciated by others. That is not abnormal in itself, but the fact that it is a constantly concious and "driven" thing may be. The more objective part of my mind does recognise that the net effect on society is mostly positive, so I do not let the "motives" get in the way. It eventually becomes a sort if "inbuilt learned behaviour," part of my personality. However I find it very hard to do certain things for myself.

It may also be the source of my tendancy towards Humanism, I think my atheism itself has a more intellectual source, but I need some kind of association even though I have grown not to need actual company.

So, though I feel HAF members are mostly open minded and empathetic I hope this gives you a bit of insight into why others might act a little, er, "abnormal". Their sudden exclamation might be because of one of those memory triggers and an established reaction they have little control over.
Title: Re: Living with the redults of abuse.
Post by: xSilverPhinx on December 16, 2017, 02:50:13 PM
 (((Dave))) :hug2:
Title: Re: Living with the redults of abuse.
Post by: Dave on December 16, 2017, 03:00:09 PM
(((Dave))) :hug2:
Thanks, Silver!

Er, can you change my typo in the title please?  :grin:
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Magdalena on December 16, 2017, 06:52:33 PM
"I hope this gives you a bit of insight into why others might act a little, er, "abnormal"." --Some people act "abnormal" for other reasons, so when someone acts "abnormal" I don't immediately associate it with sexual abuse. After talking about pedophiles/child molesters, here, I think it's good that you speak on behalf of the victims/survivors, and the lifelong suffering these predators cause.

I knew someone who was sexually molested, she said that the abuse affected many aspects of her life, mostly her behavior and coping mechanisms. But she noticed that there are areas where the abuse didn't affect her. She concentrated on those. She said it didn't affect her intelligence, her resilience, her sense of humor, etc., etc., etc. She said she wasn't gonna let "them" win by being miserable all her life, instead, she was gonna try to live a happy life, with the help of therapy, of course.

Thank you for sharing this with us, Dave.  :hug:

Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Dave on December 16, 2017, 07:03:18 PM
"I hope this gives you a bit of insight into why others might act a little, er, "abnormal"." --Some people act "abnormal" for other reasons, so when someone acts "abnormal" I don't immediately associate it with sexual abuse. After talking about pedophiles/child molesters, here, I think it's good that you speak on behalf of the victims/survivors, and the lifelong suffering these predators cause.

I knew someone who was sexually molested, she said that the abuse affected many aspects of her life, mostly her behavior and coping mechanisms. But she noticed that there are areas where the abuse didn't affect her. She concentrated on those. She said it didn't affect her intelligence, her resilience, her sense of humor, etc., etc., etc. She said she wasn't gonna let "them" win by being miserable all her life, instead, she was gonna try to live a happy life, with the help of therapy, of course.

Thank you for sharing this with us, Dave.  :hug:

Your friend has the right of it - if the victim is lucky and does not slide into a life of despair, substance abuse, sex-working and all those negative things that trap the non-copers. That is not to mention those who go criminal "to get their own back", even violently psycho. Etc.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: AngelOfDeath on December 16, 2017, 07:13:51 PM
sorry to hear about that, Dave
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Magdalena on December 16, 2017, 07:15:41 PM
Your friend has the right of it - if the victim is lucky and does not slide into a life of despair, substance abuse, sex-working and all those negative things that trap the non-copers. That is not to mention those who go criminal "to get their own back", even violently psycho. Etc.
Yes, hurting themselves is part of it. Many hit "rock-bottom." But to watch them come out of it is glorious and priceless.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Tank on December 16, 2017, 10:26:31 PM
It took a lot of guts to tell us that. I'm sorry to read what you wrote but immensely glad that you felt you could share that with us here. [[[[Dave]]]] 
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Sandra Craft on December 16, 2017, 11:26:32 PM
This is a wonderful post, Dave, thank you for it.  There's so much need for the information you've shared so well. :hug: 

I've always been fascinated by who remembers, and why, and is it better to remember or forget?  I suspect both have their advantages (or they wouldn't both be common reactions) and which way one goes depends on personality.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Recusant on December 17, 2017, 12:39:10 AM
Thank you for that post, Dave. A touching and courageous piece of writing.  :bravo:
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: hermes2015 on December 17, 2017, 03:09:33 AM
Dave, I think sharing it here in our open-minded and supportive community will have some beneficial effects.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: jumbojak on December 17, 2017, 05:51:27 PM
It's the sort of thing I can only talk about when I'm drunk. That's probably part of the reason I very rarely drink. It's tough.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: xSilverPhinx on December 17, 2017, 09:55:46 PM
I've always been fascinated by who remembers, and why, and is it better to remember or forget?  I suspect both have their advantages (or they wouldn't both be common reactions) and which way one goes depends on personality.

Me too.

While there is still some controversy, many believe some traumatic memories are state-dependent. 

How Traumatic Memories Hide In The Brain, And How To Retrieve Them (https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2015/08/traumatic-memories-hide-retrieve-them)

State-dependent memory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-dependent_memory)
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Sandra Craft on December 17, 2017, 09:57:25 PM
It's the sort of thing I can only talk about when I'm drunk. That's probably part of the reason I very rarely drink. It's tough.

It is indeed.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: AngelOfDeath on December 17, 2017, 11:30:03 PM
were you abused by clergy?  if so, catholic or?
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Papasito Bruno on December 17, 2017, 11:43:02 PM
Hello Dave,

I read the book "To Kill a Mockingbird" when I was around 10 or 11. One of my older sisters had read the book for school, and one day I was at home looking in the family bookshelf for something to read and she said, "Here, read this", and she tossed the book at me...it's a great book", she said, "and anyway your going to have to read in couple years for school so you might as well get it out of the way".

I remember being just totally enamored with the story. I think it was one of those "Ah-Ha" moments of my youth when I realized that there was more to life than the childish toys and games I enjoyed.

Anyway I've read it numerous times in my life, in fact my sister was correct I did end up needing to read it again in a couple years for a literary class, teacher made me read it again, not sure she actually believed that I had read it on my own, anyway I gladly read it again.

So many parts of the book stand out to me, but I remember this part quite well. Atticus is describing the courage of Mrs. Dubois to Scout and he say's real courage is "When you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what."

I hope you don't mind me finding relevance to what you so honestly wrote and that quote from the book, but what you wrote took courage, more courage than many folks might realize, like the type Atticus referred to, "Real Courage"... so I just want to thank you for sharing something so deep and personal, for allowing yourself to open up about the type of wound that never heals.

I hope you know that you have not only my deepest respect, but also my admiration and appreciation. Appreciation especially for what motivates you for your volunteer work.

I also think it speaks volumes about our little commonality here at HAF, that something so traumatic and personal such as this could be shared on an open forum.


(((HUGS)))
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Dragonia on December 18, 2017, 04:51:14 AM

----------------------------------------------------

There is a well known saying, "Forgive and forget". Another goes, "Time cures all". Neither are relevant to victims of child abuse. You can never forget, the results live with you, conciously or unconciously, every day of your life, waking or sleeping.

.....

Wow Dave, drinking or not, your post took courage and was no doubt difficult to write, as I know the pain can stay sharp over the years.
Thank you for the insight and the compassion that it may inspire when we are faced with possibly odd or reactive behavior.
There are a thousand things I  want to say, but they all sound trite, so I'll just say I'm glad I'm here with you and I think you're great.  :hug2:
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Dave on December 18, 2017, 08:31:36 AM
Thanks people, your acceptance is appreciated.

After almost 70 years the reactions and emotions are still strong but, somehow, "normal" - like a pain that is never going to go away it becomes part of your being. One grows to be a little objective about it - there are sayings like, "You must abide thst which you cannot cure."

I am thankful that something in my make-up, despite the years of depression, has never caused me to become dependant on any substance, though I smoked up to the night of my heart attack one cannot "lose oneself" in nicotine! Deep inside there is a strong coping and survival principle that has retained an outward view.

In answer to AoD's question: memory suggests it was a local Catholic priest, there are heavy hints in my account. This is reinforced by a memory of my asking where Father X was and my mother replying, angrily, "He's been sent away because he likes little boys too much." 

I do not think this experience was the sole seed of my atheism and aspiring humanism, though it probably reinforced my inquiring and analytical traits . The humanism came a bit later, a sort of recognition.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Dave on December 18, 2017, 10:36:38 AM
Exploring this further: I find myswlf with an understading of the "repressed personality", where that is caused by a deepset but denied need to express the softer emotions. The denial may be due to a kind of fear of the vulnerability that was oart of the original experience. It may be due to a seething anger over the mistreatment, an anger that may be triggered by any event that causes a "flashback", especially in the unconcious. "I don't know what came over me..."

My father never once showed me any affection, ckme yo thinknofbit nrither did my mother - though she showed little anger either. They did, hiwever, obviously track my interests and give me very appropriate - and sonetimes expensive - presents. Displaced affection. How iften, dince, have I wanted to say, "Give your child a hug instested of, or as well as, that pile of material stuff." How often have I heard thise same parents ssy, "But we gave him/her everything and this is our reward?" as the ever angry child rejects them.

How often fo I feel a vicarious joy when I see a parent splashing through the puddles, or having a gentle snowball fight with their kids, or inventing stories with them . . . That is when I cry.

How angry do I feel when a young girl, beautifully dressed and coiffured, standing at a gate asks, "Will you talk to me?" as I pass. I, of course, cannot as a single male stranger of (then) 54? My strong need to answer her need and having to refuse it (mostly for my own protection) invokes anger in me still.

This is a kind of repression that was only balanced by being given a baby and her bottle to hold in perfecf trust, then turning the Argos catalogue toy section into a story with "morals". "Look, that girl had ten teddies, do you think she is lucky or just greedy?" then discussing those two qualities in a light way. I think, "Would you rather have one toy and a hundred hugs or a hundred toys and one hug?" might have got in there as well in some form.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Dark Lightning on December 19, 2017, 12:34:21 AM
That was a tough read, Dave, and a lot tougher to live through, methinks. :hug: Sorry to see that this happened.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: AngelOfDeath on December 19, 2017, 02:11:00 AM
 How does a person know if there is no memory of the actual events?
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Sandra Craft on December 19, 2017, 03:54:13 AM
Going back to your original post:
Quote
There is a well known saying, "Forgive and forget". Another goes, "Time cures all". Neither are relevant to victims of child abuse. You can never forget, the results live with you, conciously or unconciously, every day of your life, waking or sleeping.

This touches on something that has always ground my gears -- the easy and facile way too many people dismiss any abuse, including childhood abuse.  One also hears "just get over it", "concentrate on the positive" and, my personal dis-favorite, "pretend it didn't happen".  This all too often said to people who were not only abused as children but often had to actually live with their abusers for years.

I'm thankful most people these days know better than to say such things to soldiers with PTSD (tho it took long enough), I just wish they'd pick up a clue when it comes to child abuse.  I understand that part of it comes from feeling uncomfortable about the subject and wanting to get away from it as quickly as possible, but it seems to me a few seconds of applied thought should yield a more sympathetic get-away line that that.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Magdalena on December 19, 2017, 05:59:52 AM
...
"concentrate on the positive"
...

"Concentrate on the positive, at least you didn't get pregnant."

Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Dave on December 19, 2017, 06:45:22 AM
this is pure curiosity so don't take it the wrong way.  How does a person know they were sexually abused if there is no memory of the actual events?

Not going to go into detail on this, PM me if you like, but there are typical "symptoms" that are indicative. For a long time I did not link these to certain memories, as decsribed, nor understand why those mrmories were so important. It was not until I was sbout 40 that things started linking, for no apparent reason - in those days child abuse was not something discussed openly.

When there was more public discussion of the effects I could tick boxes from my own experience. I was very careful to be sure that what memories there were came first, thst they were not false. There is always a chance that the remembered actions of the priest were entirely innocent, I think I used the term "circumstantial" before, if I did not it applies. As I said, I am of an analytical nature, can remember taking things spart, to "see how they worked" from a very early age. I am well aware of the "false memory syndrome", my memories are like snapshots, not really detailed, though constant in what detail there is. From what I understand FMS centres on a traumatic, but false, event, there is no such single event in my memory, just peripheral ones. But, when "grooming" was defined, publically, not so long ago, they fell into that slot and fitted very well.

But, deep down, there is a child that is still hurt and confused and never stops asking questions. You can learn to live with it, if you are "lucky", but you are also always aware of it, as aware as a sufferer of, say, a seriously arthritic knee that is beyond normal pain relief. Keep the joint still, or your mind occupied, and it fades into the background, only to flare at the smallest excuse.

Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Dave on December 19, 2017, 01:00:34 PM
If anyone should want to read further about the subject the following, not too long, paper covers it quite well. I think the only aspect missing is a mention of high-risk activity: climbing, caving etc, and taking extra, maybe unnecessary, risks within those activities. They cannot list the mix of symptoms, within the psychological/behavioural groups, that might be unique to the individual. This is a generalisation of the situation, needs a whole book to cover it in detail!

https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/effects-child-abuse-and-neglect-adult-survivors
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: hermes2015 on December 19, 2017, 01:14:35 PM
If anyone should want to read further about the subject the following, not too long, paper covers it quite well. I think the only aspect missing is a mention of high-risk activity: climbing, caving etc, and taking extra, maybe unnecessary, risks within those activities. They cannot list the mix of symptoms, within the psychological/behavioural groups, that might be unique to the individual. This is a generalisation of the situation, needs a whole book to cover it in detail!

https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/effects-child-abuse-and-neglect-adult-survivors

Dave, I tried it, but the link does not work for me.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Dave on December 19, 2017, 01:42:38 PM
If anyone should want to read further about the subject the following, not too long, paper covers it quite well. I think the only aspect missing is a mention of high-risk activity: climbing, caving etc, and taking extra, maybe unnecessary, risks within those activities. They cannot list the mix of symptoms, within the psychological/behavioural groups, that might be unique to the individual. This is a generalisation of the situation, needs a whole book to cover it in detail!

https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/effects-child-abuse-and-neglect-adult-survivors

Dave, I tried it, but the link does not work for me.

Hmm, still works for me even off your quotation. Can't think why an Aussie doc like this eould be blocked - let's see if another route works.

Try putting the following into your search engine and pick the one titled "Effects of child abuse and neglect for adult survivors"

CFCA Resource Sheet— January 2014
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: hermes2015 on December 19, 2017, 02:24:42 PM
If anyone should want to read further about the subject the following, not too long, paper covers it quite well. I think the only aspect missing is a mention of high-risk activity: climbing, caving etc, and taking extra, maybe unnecessary, risks within those activities. They cannot list the mix of symptoms, within the psychological/behavioural groups, that might be unique to the individual. This is a generalisation of the situation, needs a whole book to cover it in detail!

https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/effects-child-abuse-and-neglect-adult-survivors

Dave, I tried it, but the link does not work for me.

Hmm, still works for me even off your quotation. Can't think why an Aussie doc like this eould be blocked - let's see if another route works.

Try putting the following into your search engine and pick the one titled "Effects of child abuse and neglect for adult survivors"

CFCA Resource Sheet— January 2014

Thanks. For some reason it suddenly started working. Must have been a temporary glitch in my connection.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: xSilverPhinx on December 19, 2017, 11:41:01 PM
The link works for me.

Thanks for posting it, Dave. I think it's important to gain understanding why some people who have gone through abuse and neglect (a form of emotional abuse?) behave the way they do.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: Sandra Craft on December 20, 2017, 02:27:08 AM
...
"concentrate on the positive"
...

"Concentrate on the positive, at least you didn't get pregnant."

Exactly.  "It could have been worse", etc., while technically true, is neither comforting nor helpful.
Title: Re: Living with the results of abuse.
Post by: AngelOfDeath on December 20, 2017, 06:01:11 AM

Well, I wouldn't be surprised if it messed people up on a subconscious level.