Tag Archive | Child abuse

Obituary of a Child Abuser

No, not anyone I know, just something I saw in the news, all over the news actually, that started up some interesting thoughts in my mangled mind.

One day my abusive father will die, and I assume someone will write an obit for him. I wonder what they will write? I wonder who will write it? Not me. Perhaps his sister will. His passing will mean nothing to me. Perhaps a bit of relief will come my way, knowing he can no longer hurt anyone and is finally out of my nephew’s home. But do abusers deserve a respectful obit and funeral, respectful that they were a living human and that life is now gone, or do the abused deserve the truth to be told again? Should the funeral be full of the good they did in life, or a reminder of all the pain? I do know I have no intention of attending my father’s funeral, if someone has one for him. But I also think I would not disrupt the services someone else planned. We all need closure in our own way. His siblings knew him before he was a child molester and may be entitled to grieve for the boy they grew up with. Just like a couple years ago, when my father’s sis-in-law tried to keep him away from his brother’s funeral. I thought he should be allowed to quietly attend and say good bye if he wished, though I do wonder if it was only to keep up appearances that he is in fact human and capable of loving his brother in the first place. I’m not so sure that is true.

I’m still not sure what I think about the following obit that abuse survivors wrote for their own mother’s passing. It is a powerful message. I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts about this.

 

 

“Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Aug. 30, 2013. She is survived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them. When they became adults she stalked and tortured anyone they dared to love. Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit.

On behalf of her children whom she so abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life, we celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty, and shame that she delivered on her children. Her surviving children will now live the rest of their lives with the peace of knowing their nightmare finally has some form of closure.

Most of us have found peace in helping those who have been exposed to child abuse and hope this message of her final passing can revive our message that abusing children is unforgiveable, shameless, and should not be tolerated in a “humane society”. Our greatest wish now, is to stimulate a national movement that mandates a purposeful and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America.”

Advertisements

Another Child Abuse Survivor Resource to Share

I have read much of Faith’s blog and learned from her healing journey. Here is a link to her blog.

http://faithallen.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/loris-song-child-abuse-healing-forums/

Faith has been working on forming another safe place for child abuse survivors to speak up, learn, heal , and reach out to one another. I have not had a chance to check it out much yet, but plan to, so I am adding it here for safe keeping.

http://www.lorissong.org/

 

So many brave survivors are out there in the world, trying to make the world a better place for tomorrow and restoring hope to those without.

I have therapy today, and will share more of my own journey later once I get my thoughts sorted out a bit. My mind and body are a jumbled mess of emotion and stress right now. I feel open and vulnerable, but more like nude sunbathing, where I’m afraid to stay exposed too long for causing unbearable pain to the parts I usually keep safely hidden.

The World is Scary Without Walls

Experiencing life and ME without my protective walls is scary. No, it is terrifying, and painful, and I want to retreat and go back to my safe fantasy world.

Being aware and mindful and experiencing every emotion as it comes, rather than carefully controlling them has not been a fun ride the past few weeks.

The shell of who I presented to the world is not just cracked – it is shattered. Getting real for the first time – ever – really sucks, to put it in simple terms.

I’ve lost my written voice for the moment, as I am in survival mode, and feel out of control. My emotions that I used to keep at a pleasant level for all, are too intense and have me cycling between tears, terror, and fury each day. Some of the emotions are coming from no where, no trigger, no event, just spewing up out of me because I am allowing them. But I am not allowing them, I have no choice. I am me, and those are my feelings – blah. I hate this. I don’t feel safe as me. I don’t even like me.

I have realized that it was easier to accept I may be a bad person, and may have deserved the childhood abuse. The problem was me. That was easier to accept than the reality that I was unloved and abused, and that I was a beautiful innocent child, deserving of love and protection and guidance.

I created a fantasy world where bad things did not happen. I was the perfect student, because no one looks too closely at the perfect student. I had to hide my reality from the world so I could hide it from me. I see the patterns  now in every action I ever took. Every choice I ever made, in school, in college, in boyfriends, in marriage, in becoming a mother – every choice was to fulfill the fantasy that I am OK and that bad things did not happen to me.

Well, bad things did happen to me. And I am not OK. But I will be, one day I will be OK, I just have to get through the terror of seeing my reality, accepting it wholly, so that I can accept myself wholly. I don’t know how long this will take, I have taken any deadlines off the table. I have no expectations any more. I have never been where I currently am. I am relinquishing the control, letting fantasy me slip away, and letting the hurt, terrified girl within me see the world as it is. I am allowing a few people that seem safe to help me on this journey. I don’t trust them, but I am taking a leap of faith and holding their hands anyway. I can’t do this alone, no one can. That is the biggest lesson I have learned in life.

I am unstable and unpredictable right now. I can lash out in anger one moment, and then feel afraid or tearful in the next. The force of the bottled up emotions seemed overwhelming at first, but it is already smoothing out – a bit. The return of panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks was a shock. I feel like I have been trampled. But I think I need to let these things happen, and not force them into submission by sheer will, which is what I have done for so many years. I need to feel them, feel the terror, feel the outrage, and let it pass through me once and for all.

I thought I could control it. I thought I was OK if I had no outward PTSD symptoms. I had no idea it was all just waiting for me beneath the shell of perfection I so carefully crafted all these years.

So now I am real. Hello. My name is Roots To Blossom, (one day I’ll attach my real name to that statement) and I am an abuse survivor. My childhood was terrible, traumatic, painful, horrifying. But nobody knew. I never let anyone know, so that I also would not have to know. No one deserved what I went through. Not even I was bad enough to deserve the daily emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse delivered to me by my own dad. He was supposed to protect me. I was supposed to trust him. It wasn’t my fault.

It was NOT MY FAULT!!!

PTSD or Just a Bad Memory, Who Cares What You Call It

A woman thinking

A woman thinking (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something on my mind today that I can pull out of the million of other things always on my mind: memories.

I have been trying to explain to hubby what it is like to be me, an adult survivor of child abuse. He is finally ready to do this, to know the pain I handle on a daily basis. He is asking so many questions, and seeing me clearly – because I have let him in. I don’t completely trust him, that he’ll never hurt me, but I do trust our marriage now, and that even if we do hurt each other, we’ll still love each other and help each other through it. That’s a lot of “each others”, now, isn’t it? And isn’t it wonderful? (Let’s pause and bask in that happy thought for a moment, mmmm)

Hubby is noticing that sometimes I go somewhere very far away, even though I am sitting right next to him. He started asking where I went. Well . . . Are you sure you want to know? I ask him. He says “Yes” quite often now.

The other night, my little boys asked if they could have a “sleepover” by inviting my daughter into their room. Hubby’s reaction was, aww, how cute, and sure why not? Because he remembered staying up late and giggling with his siblings, and playing cards, and telling stories, and making flashlight faces. But my reaction, was icy silence. Instantly, and with no choice, my brain is taken back to when I was their age, and what a sleepover in my brother’s room meant for me. When my own brother invited me into his room, and into his bed, and asked me to take off my underwear while I lie on top of him, and  . . . well I remembered the rest, but I have no need to type it out here.

Is this PTSD? No, I don’t think it is. Does it really suck? Yes, yes it does. You see, everyone has “triggers” for memories. It’s just that abuse survivors have so many bad memories to trigger. My husband relived a bit of his childhood too right there, but it was a sweet, light-hearted memory for him, not at all traumatic. Whereas mine makes me feel nauseous and worried about my kids.

Now, I do think I had PTSD, past tense – HAD. In that I had flashbacks, and they did not need a natural trigger, I could be washing dishes and suddenly reliving horrific scenes from my past. And they weren’t just memories, every bit of my body relived it, and I was exhausted when the flashback was done, and usually shaking and sobbing. That was me about 5-6 years ago, and what prompted me to return to therapy, as those outbursts were scaring my little girl, and making me detach from her and hubby.

But now, the memories are still there, still come to mind, but I don’t physically relive them. I don’t have any way to remove my past, and though those memories are fading with time, less vibrant, less real, they are still there in my roots. And though healed, the scars are still quite raw. I hope one day, to think back on childhood with even more distance and perspective, and it won’t hurt so much. Still hurt – just not so much is all I hope.

But today I am hurting, so much, as my head is full of memories triggered from a few things I read to try to support my husband on his journey of being married to me. His counselor recommended a book, and I went to download it for him and check something off my “be productive damnit” list for today. I did not immediately recall the book from the title, but as I read the excerpts and reviews, I then recalled this was the first book my therapist gave me nearly 15 years ago. It was “the Courage to Heal”  by Bass and Davis, and I remember just shaking and sweating and crying as I tried to heal myself and work through the exercises in that terrible, awful workbook. This is not a book I recommend to any survivor.

So then I started thinking, what books do I recommend? ? ? I came up blank. So I started looking at what is now available, to see if anything is worth recommending to hubby, or to other survivors. I read too many true life stories today. And now my heart is hurting, and I have to suck it up and get my work done, and get out of my hurt head and put on a work head. I have found no tricks to this, only time brings me back to focus. But I have deadlines today. I knew I had deadlines today. And yet I could not stop reading the painful accounts of other little girls. Why? Why today? And what do I do with myself now? Ugh. So I am hurting, and annoyed too.

So hubby calls and says “How was your day? Do you need anything?” WTF do I say to that? In the past, I would have said I was fine. Today I said, I had a rough day, and could really use some help with dinner so I can get back on track on work. He says, oh my poor sweetie, and that he’ll bring dinner home, not to worry about it. God I love him. And I love me too. So I know this will all be fine, and tomorrow I’ll be even stronger and know more about me, life, and love.

But knowing tomorrow will be better does not make today hurt any less.

Boundaries are Better Than Impenetrable Walls

English: Drystone walls near Bryansford Drysto...

Boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When I came out of my tower of solitude, I had to learn how to live without walls. I found out that I had no boundaries for most of my relationships, since the tower walls kept everyone and everything out. Now that I’m letting people in, and letting myself actually feel my own feelings every moment, I have to establish safe and healthy boundaries so they can come in a little, but not so far as to be dangerous or toxic to me.

I am trying to feel my own feelings, and not be overly influenced by manipulators. I am learning to examine my feelings and decide if they are indeed my own, or some version that someone else has superimposed onto me, or some version that I have warped within me.

Abused children are not permitted to own their own feelings. Abused children are not allowed to be human. Abused children are objects, mere property, to be used by the abuser. It seems to be a common, shared experience then, that abused children lock up their true selves and feelings, deep inside themselves, as a means of self-preservation. This tactic may be helpful, but it is also confusing, if the true self is hidden so deeply, and so long, that we can no longer access her.

So I’ve stopped feeding the hungry manipulators in my life. In particular, I needed to build a boundary for my mom. I realized she was digging for emotional dirt on me, and then throwing that dirt back in my face.  Just a few weeks ago, I was ashamed that I had allowed her to still do this to me as an adult. The shame is now gone, and I accept how it happened. I so much wanted to completely forgive my mom for not protecting me from my abusive dad. I so much wanted to have an open mother-daughter relationship. So, I let her in – too far- and allowed her to cause me pain, doubt myself, and feel guilty for a world of wrongs that I should have never assigned to myself.

Now I have stepped back, accepted that she may not always have the best of intentions for me, and that she will not be gentle with my heart. In the past, this realization would have sent me running for my protective tower. But my tower is gone. Truly gone. So what to do?

I am not ready to push my mom out of my life completely. At this point I don’t think she is completely dangerous or toxic. Instead I have pushed her back a bit. She used to send 5-10 emails to me daily, and would either act hurt, betrayed, or worried, if I did not answer each one as they came in. If I missed too many, I would get a concerned phone call. She expected me to call her 3 times a week, and talk for an hour or two each time. I did not realize how she had put me in this devoted daughter role over the years, and that I felt guilty for not jumping at her calls. I did not notice that I used her for 100% of my social support, and that she liked that, and did everything she could to keep me there. She needed me to need her.

Steps to building this boundary:

Week 1:  I started answering my moms emails all at once, answering all 5-10 in a single response at the end of each day, or even the following day. The response was polite and truthful, but not overly detailed as they used to be.  I only called her once that week, and only for 20 min. At first she sensed the distance, and panicked. She called to see if everything was ok. She started digging for dirt, asking if husband was hurting me and making me so quiet. I assured her I was fine, but very busy.

Week 2: Her emails decreased, and so did mine. She sent me maybe 2 a day, and I sent her maybe 2 responses for the whole week. I did not call her at all. I did not actively think “I’m not calling my mom today” either, it was more like, I’ll call her when I want to, not out of duty or fear of hurting her feelings.

Week 3: This week, I only had 2 total emails from her, and they were light-hearted forwarded jokes, and simple polite greetings – not the usual deeply emotional, and negative ordeals she used to send. I called her today, and the discussion was pleasant. She did not ask why I didn’t call last week, and I felt no need to apologize or explain. (What? Seriously? I did berate myself for being a lousy daughter? ) She did have some comment about me being such a busy woman now, but it slid right off me, as I just agreed. I told her some of our upcoming plans, but did not discuss my feelings in depth with her about anything. Kind of ‘just the facts ma’am’. And she mostly did the same for me.  And when I hung up today, I did not feel guilty, angry, troubled, or anything. Just content.

I did it. I found a healthy way to keep in touch with my mom without allowing her to hurt me. I did not run away. I faced her and slowly pushed her out of my psyche until I felt secure. I’ve done the opposite with my husband, allowing him in further than anyone has ever been in before. And he is gentle with my heart, and fills me with love and hope and dreams for our future together. We talked last night, about how far we have come these past months, and just shook our heads in disbelief at how terribly we used to treat each other. Yes – each other – we both take full responsibility for hurting each other, and turning away from each other. We vowed to never let it happen again, that we will pull each other back, gently, if one starts to drift.

This new power to build boundaries is extremely exciting to me. That I can take ownership and responsibility for myself. That I can choose who to let in, and how far to let them in. And if I make a mistake, I know I will just let those feelings come and go, and reset that boundary again.