Tag Archive: child abuse


dearest little ss,

for so long now, i have avoided looking at you. your eyes, they are mine, the same steel blue. the same pain runs through them into my soul. your freckles, i have them too. those scars, look here. see, feel. they are there, we share the same heart and the same pain. the same memories run through our veins. we are one, you and i.

i am older; i grew up. i can protect you now. i’m sorry that i couldn’t then. i am with you. i can see you. i can feel you. i can hear you. i am listening. take my hand. hold onto me. i will help you out of the darkness. i will guide you, protect you, love you.

precious one, you are not undone. your life has only just begun. look to the stars, look to the sun. i am here, little one.

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Another thought occurred to me this morning that I’d like to share in relation to this topic of “abuse” and “abusive” behavior. For many of us who have struggled with understanding these terms, one of the biggest “lies” we accept is that just because we do not have “many physical scars,” somehow that means we were not abused or our abuse wasn’t severe.

In conjunction with this, we also struggle because many adult survivors of child abuse do have happy memories of their families. We ask ourselves how can people who created such good memories in our childhoods also create such heartache and violence. There are no easy answers for the survivor.

We minimize the events of our childhoods, sometimes blocking them out all together in our effort to survive. We press our feelings down so far that the events become like pebbles in our mind. In reality, they are large, jagged boulders, but we have believed the lies so long that we cannot see the reality of our past. Often times, we are not ready to see it for what it was- tragic.

When we come to counseling and begin therapy, the process is painful. We are asked to bring in pictures of us as children, to confront and reassure our inner child, to dredge up the past bit by bit. The pain seems endless, robbing us of functionality for a time after each memory surfaces.

Therapists gently push us through this stage, for they understand what we cannot- to stay in this state of recovering memories would render us incapable of living. It is an ugly, heart wrenching process, and so to spare us additional pain, they prod us on week after week until we are empty of the memories, the purging complete. Only then can we begin to tackle each brick of our past and find healing. Only after we have acknowledged the horrors and owned them as our own, can we begin on the journey to wholeness.

Acknowledging the abuse happened to us, and not some detached version of our former selves hurts, because with this acknowledgement we feel, perhaps for the first time, the pain as our own. It didn’t happen to the child we were or the stranger from our past, it happened to us. Feeling this is both essential and cruel. The pain would be unbearable if it were not for the hope of recovery and healing. Admitting that we were abused and understanding the gravity of that abuse produces in the survivor both sadness and acceptance. From this place, we begin to move forward….

So who am I? What’s my story? I’m not entirely sure yet, but I’ll share what I know.

I am an adult survivor of child abuse- physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual. My life felt more like a nightmare. At the age of twelve, I attempted to cry out and let people know my pain, by attempting to take myself out of this world.

Consequently, I spent time in a mental hospital and upon release was put into foster care. My foster care experience was actually a good one, though I know many aren’t, but I was never fully able to deal with or remember my past. I tried therapy while in foster care, but the therapist seemed to quickly ostracize me and after a few months “graduated” me from the program, with no healing or progress on my end.

I later went to college on a full-scholarship, and my past came back to do some more damage to my life. I lost my scholarship and dropped out, ran away from my foster parents, and skipped the state. I moved in with my now husband in an attempt to find myself and find acceptance.

Now I’m a married mother with two precious children, but I don’t live the American dream- far from it. My past is even more destructive now than it was growing up. Memories are being unlocked, self-destructive mechanisms are rearing their ugly heads, and my marriage is breaking under the strain- and we have our own non-related issues as well.

I’m back in college at a crucial time in my life; it is my destraction therapy- something positive to look forward to each day. I’m working towards my Associates of Arts in English, and then have plans to transfer to the University and pursue my Bachelor of Arts in English, Education, or Creative Writing. Ultimately, I hope to earn a Masters of Fine Arts some day.

So, I have no shortage of personal goals, but I do have a shortage of personal resources, support team members, and coping mechanisms. Distraction seems to be the only way I can cope in an even remotely positive way at this point. I would like to pursue counseling but our financial situation seems to be a major hinderance to this most important step towards healing. For now, I am surviving the best way I know how, and some times those “best ways” aren’t any good at all.