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Adult Survivors of Child Physical Abuse and Neglect


Abuse Support for and discussion of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.

 
 
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Old 4th March 2005, 4:47 PM   #1
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Adult Survivors of Child Physical Abuse and Neglect

I have a friend who is an adult who is struggling as an adult to deal with what he dealt with as a child. He was physically abused and neglected by his dad. Had a strong relationship with his mom, but also was also the one to emotionally caretake for his mom as well.

While he appears very confident and outgoing, he also needs constant reassurance and is insecure though it isn't obvious because he protects himself.

Also he says that he "cuts and runs" from his relationships, with friends and relationships.

Comments or experience with this?

Sources, books, suggestions?
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Old 7th March 2005, 8:33 PM   #2
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He needs counseling. Please see that he gets it.

Books may help, but if his childhood was that traumatic, it may be more beneficial to consult with a professional.
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Old 10th March 2005, 12:07 PM   #3
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I agree. I had a horrible childhood. I can see a pattern of cutting and running in my life even though I've done counseling.

Counseling will help tremendously. It's so freeing to have someone else tell you that the problem wasn't YOU.

I still have some issues that I will probably always work on but I also can see that what happened to me turned me into who I am now. I love who I am now.
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Old 10th March 2005, 12:19 PM   #4
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Re: Adult Survivors of Child Physical Abuse and Neglect

Quote:
Originally posted by clynn
I have a friend who is an adult who is struggling as an adult to deal with what he dealt with as a child. He was physically abused and neglected by his dad. Had a strong relationship with his mom, but also was also the one to emotionally caretake for his mom as well.

While he appears very confident and outgoing, he also needs constant reassurance and is insecure though it isn't obvious because he protects himself.

Also he says that he "cuts and runs" from his relationships, with friends and relationships.

Comments or experience with this?

Sources, books, suggestions?
There is an organization called the ASCA (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse) that can be of help. It is difficult to maintain and establish romantic relatinoships, for those who have suffered not only child abuse and neglect, but molestation and rape as well - the treatment for PTSD in both instances is very similar. I totally understand where he is coming from and I do very much the same thing. What you describe is exceedingly common.
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Old 10th March 2005, 12:45 PM   #5
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blindotter,

First let me apologize for kidnapping this thread (hopefully it will only be momentary)

The ASCA. I've never heard of that before, I think I will check it out. I have never dealt with my abuse. I just grew up and took charge of my life and made conscious decisions NOT to do the things that my Mother did to me or neglected my children the way my Father did with me. I tried drowning in alcohol, I tried chemicaliaing my emotions with drugs and then I got married to a man that I should'nt have married...............Gawd the mistakes I have made. I fight my way through every day of my life and yes I do struggle with relationships. I would much rather Walk away than have to fight with someone about the poor treatment I feel I am receiving. I am extremely NON-confrontational. The way I see it? If someone is treating me poorly? Then, I don't want to be around that person and I will walk away rather than fight it out.

What would therapy do for me?


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Old 10th March 2005, 12:55 PM   #6
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For anyone the main thing that therapy does is help you identify unappropriate or ineffective coping skills you have developed, change your cognitive reactions to specific triggers, and find new ways of interacting in your relationships/in your surroundings so that you have a more fulfilling life - so you fight against everything less.

The thing about people who grew up in abusive homes, is that you learned coping skills - to survive. But sometimes surviving isn't the same thing as thriving. And the key is to get to the point where you are thriving. So not only are we talking about conflict management skills, which you seem to have some hold on (although avoidance is only appropriate about 50% of the time, I'd say) - but also reactions to everyday stressors, organizational skills, learning how to let people in, dealing with latent anger and aggression - those are the things I can think of off-hand. You can develop more effective relational skills to use in the workplace, with your children and the parents of your children's friends, and with romantic relationships.

Basically it is a good idea, with any client who approaches therapy, to sit down and identify their personal goals - in life, in love, in finances, etc. The good therapist can then help you figure out how to better approach your difficulties.

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Old 10th March 2005, 12:59 PM   #7
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That was very well written... are you a therapist?

Sounds like you have some sort of expertise here, considering the technical nature of your explanation. Impressive.
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Old 10th March 2005, 1:04 PM   #8
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And how would I know when I am ready to broach therapy? I have to be honest.......I don't know if I want to open up that door in my head that stays shut and locked. I'm afraid that opening that door will create a really big emotional mess (which normally I would avoid like the plague). I don't know if I am brave enought to do it. And what will I gain? I cannott change what happened to me.

O.K. I think I am talking out loud now.

Thanks for your advice blindotter.

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Old 10th March 2005, 1:10 PM   #9
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Bubbles,

If you notice a change in your behavior that adversely affects those around you, then maybe you should consider therapy. Otherwise, you sound okay. It all depends on what I like to call "the strength of your glass." You sound pretty level-headed though, but I'm not a professional, so what do I know.
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Old 10th March 2005, 2:01 PM   #10
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Well, I feel like I am level headed but I often wonder if I should EVER deal with this? but as you can clearly see.......I'm afraid to go down that road again when I have come so far away from it already.

There is a fine line between coping and denial (or just plain ignoring things).

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Old 10th March 2005, 2:14 PM   #11
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Whatever you decide, I hope you're okay.
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Old 10th March 2005, 2:19 PM   #12
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Well, I guess now you all can understand WHY I am here at Loveshack. It helps to keep me grounded.

Thanks for your encouragement......


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Old 10th March 2005, 2:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bubbles
And how would I know when I am ready to broach therapy? I have to be honest.......I don't know if I want to open up that door in my head that stays shut and locked. I'm afraid that opening that door will create a really big emotional mess (which normally I would avoid like the plague). I don't know if I am brave enought to do it. And what will I gain? I cannott change what happened to me.

O.K. I think I am talking out loud now.

Thanks for your advice blindotter.

bubbles
I was in grad school to become a marriage and family therapist, but I dropped out due to my miscarriage last december and everything with my crazy ex who is in prison now....I don't know if I even want to go back to school here so I am re-thinking EVERYTHING....

anyways, for me it has never been about re-opening that door, in the almost 8 years I have been in and out of therapy...I mean you always have to review what happened to you with new therapists - but it's about learning how I deal with reality and people on a CURRENT basis, versus how I would LIKE to be able to deal with them - you see the difference, bubbles?

You never "get over" a severe trauma, but you can learn to more effectively deal with it. For me, without therapy, I would probably be institutionalized or dead. I was physically abused as a child by my bipolar mother, and my father has severe PTSD from the Korean and Vietnam wars. I was molested when I was 4, raped when I was 12, raped again when I was 19, I became addicted to several drugs and at my lowest point I was living out of my car. I dated a series of physically and emotionally abusive men and married a drug dealer. I made a lot of bad decisions based out of fear and self-loathing.

In many ways I am a walking train wreck. I often fear for those who choose to involve themselves in my life because I have had SO MUCH bad in my past, that I can be a little weird and hard to deal with. It's hard to be around someone who has suffered severe trauma.

Therapy has taught me to be very open (as I am on these boards) - and taught me how to educate friends and lovers about the consequences of physical and sexual abuse. It has taught me "how" to interact with people in a healthy, thoughtful way, rather than operating out of the dark, fearful place that I lived inside my head for many many years.

Thanks for letting me write this, it is has been a long and winding road. I have sometimes thought, am I bipolar? or, do I have some serious psychosis? This is common for people with PTSD because you are a normal creature reacting to very abnormal circumstances. It is all about the human experience - my thing has been, learning to accept what happened, and that it is unfair, but that I can't change the past. As Carl Rogers said, the most important part of the process is learning how to look at yourself both honestly AND acceptingly. The first part is easy. The second part - very hard.
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Old 10th March 2005, 2:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
I was in grad school to become a marriage and family therapist
I knew it, or something along those lines.

Quote:
...the most important part of the process is learning how to look at yourself both honestly AND acceptingly. The first part is easy. The second part - very hard.
Acknowledgment definitely has a lot to do with the recuperative process. I hope you're okay as well. Looks like you've been working at it... good for you.
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Old 10th March 2005, 7:06 PM   #15
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Though I have done some reading and thinking and examining my childhood, I've never actually dealt with it formally wtih a counsellor.

And I find I experiene a lot of anxiety when I date someone I actually like. I am great when I can be cool and collected with someone I am not attracted or interested in. But if I have a connection I start to get anxious, and have a lot of responses that I think get in the way of me having a relationship with someone I am actually interested in and who geneally seem decent.

I've always thought what is the point of bringing it up and dealing with it. Won't it just hurt? And be difficult.

And maybe a romantic relationship with someone who I don't have "deep" feelings for but can be better cuz I don't have to go there with the emotions, you know.

Now finally at 30 I think perhaps some counselling might be worthwhile. Also a concern cuz of course a counsellor can only help you to the degree you're willing to divulge. ALSO - they see things through their own lens. And of course from my perspective, which simply is just that - my perspective. Memories from childhood can be faded or exaggerated or I also downplay it a lot cuz I don't want to make things seem like "oh, woe is me".

After all, most people have lived through some kind of dysfunction. So what? Get on with it, get over it, move on. Don't blame and don't complain.
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