Jump to content

Adult Survivor Of Child Abuse: The Consequences In My Life


Recommended Posts

“I am not sure how many “sins” I would recognize in the world. Some would surely be defused by changed circumstances. But I can imagine none that is more irredeemably sinful than the betrayal, the exploitation, of the young by those who should care for them.” Anonymous


They dwell unseen in before our very eyes. A host of people different from the men and women that are familiar to us. An invisible, lonely society within our own. Since the dawn of humanity, this group has inspired fear, guilt, and misunderstanding. It can be your co-worker, your best friend, or even your brother.


This group I am talking about lives with shame, mental illness, and eternal questions about their lives. These people live life being discounted, misunderstood and prejudiced against. I am talking about the Adult Abused Children. I am one of them.


What is funny is that the survivors of abuse grow up in families that wish to deny and hide the abuse. They discount what you say as “created memories,” or often saying that you do not remember things as they were. Families use the belief of Mental Illness to trample on your rights. They put conditions if the abused child should ever want to continue a relationship with their parents, like never being allowed to bring up the past. These same families expect that the memories of what ever good times they may have had, should payback or balance out the memories of the abuses, as well.


Most importantly, the families where abuses occur never see the abused child as an adult, nor do they recognize when they continue to abuse the child into adulthood. Adult abuse can be just as traumatic as child abuse, but even more so when it occurs by the same people that abused you while growing up.


The definition of what exactly abuse is is very important. Abuse can be as painful as beating someone, as manipulative as trying to make someone do something they do not want directly or indirectly, or as shallow as not allowing or hearing the expression of feelings that are within someones heart, without consequence.


Abuse refers to the use or treatment of something (a person, item, substance, concept, or vocabulary) that is seen as harmful. The term comes from the words "abnormal use". It can be used for anything ranging from psychological manipulation to the physical striking of a person.

I feel foolish writing these memories down. Through my mind are all the phrases that other men would say to me, and statements that my family says, as well. I am a 35 year old man, why don't I grow up, the past is the past, why don't you forget about it. Like all of our past, it effects us. I can no more forget what has happened to me than I can forget how to drink water.


By not dealing with the past that has happened to me, by denying it. My parents lose respect for me as well. They do not treat me as an adult. They feel that they have a right to criticize and compare me to my siblings, sometimes even denying the facts regarding them as well.


Someone once said that “Time heals all Wounds.” In reality, the only thing to set in the distant horizons of time is the reason for the pain, but the pain is something that I carry with me. Every time I see my parents, every time I hear their voice, questions flood into my consciousness. Did you know what you were doing to me? How could you not know? Did you know what the other people were doing to me? And most of all, Why did you not protect me?


The experience I had growing up was not as pleasant as my parents would like to have it remembered. My earliest memories are not of my mother, but of my grandmother. Early in my life my mother and father were divorced. From what I gather my mother went to live with her mother with me. Unfortunately, out side of vague remembrances of late nights eating pudding with my mother, the rest draws a blank in regards to her. I ma not saying that my Grandmother was perfect in any sense of the word, but this is my memory. During this time, my mother joined the Air Force and left me with my grandmother.


I feel a bit of resentment towards that, in hind site. I was talking to someone who was a veteran of that era, and she told me that the Military did not accept unwed mothers in the 70's. Does this mean that she denied me, even back then? Was I an embarrassment to her from a distance?

When my mother returned, things changed. She brought back someone who she called my stepfather. I do have some pleasant memories of him, but my good memories seem to fade after I am taken away from my grandmother.


Some of my earliest memories with my mom and stepfather were the name calling. I remember being called monkey ears, monkey lips, and elephant knees, many times over. I remember my mom chasing me around and throwing things like shoes and books at me when I would make her mad. Sometimes, when I was especially naughty, my mom would sit on my shoulders while my stepfather would spank me. I remember not only getting beat, but also not being able to breath, as well. This seemed to make me mistrust them even more.


There was one particular horrible time for me. I had a problem wetting the bed for some reason. The punishment for that was to throw one of my sisters diapers on me and toss me outside. Through the window I could hear someone calling “Look at the baby.” I would run and hide behind bushes until my parents would unlock the door and let me in.


I never really learned to trust my parents, even to this day. One of the reasons is that they would give me things and take them away. Whether is was my Atari 800 XL, my 1890 Blankenstein piano, or any number of other things that they gave me and sold or thrown away.


Another reason is the fact hat my stepfather never adopted me. This was a carrot that was hung on a pole for most of my life. In fact, I always thought that if my last name was the same as everyone else's, then I would be part of the family. My mom said she asked me one time and I refused. Even if that was true, all the millions of other times I said I wanted my stepfather to adopt me, she point out one instance where I said no. I do not recall this, I doubt the accuracy of my mothers word, but my memory is bad.


I think they try to justify when they break my trust and then try to use things they do as an excuse for why I should not feel the way I do. I hate to say it, but actions, money, and gifts will never fix a broken trust. Only showing that you have learned and are now trust worthy will solve that. Only by showing respect can respect be given. If you find it easier to love other members of you family except for one person, you must look into yourself and ask why? Do not try to blame the other person for you inability to love.


Unfortunately, my abuse was not limited to just my parents. My first instance of sexual abuse was in Fairfield, California. There was a sweet older lady that would babysit us. Sometimes when she was busy, she would ask for a younger woman, maybe a teen girl, to come in and watch us. Well, this younger girl would come in, and one day she told me to take off of my pants. She was wearing a dress while this was happening. To make a long story short, she tried to have sex with me. I was only 5 or 6 at the time, but I did what she said. I never got erect, and I remember it burning. Later on, because I was not into it, she would stand me in the corner.


When the babysitter got home, she asked what had happened and the lady made up some story. When my parents came to pick me up, I ended up getting punished by them as well. In this situation, I would say that parents really need to ask their children about what goes on in their day care, and parents need to realize that if a child is punished at day care, they should not be punished at home as well.


Another thing that my parents did was send us to church while they would stay home. This was at First Assembly Of God in Florida City, Florida. We would go every Sunday for Sunday School, and every Wednesday for Royal Rangers. I suspect that many parents use church as a free baby sitting service to get a break from their kids. This selfish act on the parents part is putting millions of kids in danger every Sunday.


Well, the problem was that one of the Leaders in Royal Rangers, a man named John, was also a sexual abuser. He would pick me up, my parents seemed to trust this man. He would sometimes take me to church, sometimes he would not. I was put into a position that no child with loving parents should ever be in. He did touch me, he did do certain unspeakables to me. The weirdest thing though is that he did not seem to care either. In front of other church members, he would kiss me, on the cheek sometimes. I was young and I did not understand it. All I know is that this person effected me in ways that made me a very easy child to abuse sexually.


Once again, I remember my parents forcing to go to church. I was threatened with spankings and groundings. It really was a shame that they never listened to me. They only considered it whining. Religion should never be forced onto anyone. To do so is to create resentment against the object of worship, instead of a relationship with GOD. Sometimes parents should consider honoring their child's wishes, because they are their child.


In Arizona, I was molested by a man named Jim. He was the school librarian at a local junior high. I thought he was nice at first, but he was into taking pictures and touching me, as well. When I started going to high school, he became librarian there as well. He tried to initiate some things, but I stayed away form the library. I though high school offered freedom from him, I was wrong.


It is a real odd thing, some small part of me felt like at least these people were willing to give me some sort of attention that my parents would not. They did not beat me, chase me around with book and shoes or any of the myriads of other things that went on in my family.


There was also the times that I was abused in the hospitals that my parents put me in as well. In Georgia, I was put on an adult mental word as a child where I was abused by one of their patients. In Arizona, I went through foster homes, halfway houses and psyche hospitals. In fact, I almost died in one called Desert Hills, I had been given lithium carbonate, and just happened to come down with diabetes. The whole time I was coming down with symptoms, I was being punished for complaining.


Punished for using the bathroom too often. I was tied up, restrained, sat upon, because using the bathroom was an act of rebellion. It was not until later, wit ha blood sugar of 1800 did my parents finally force the issue with an ambulance. I went to the hospital only to be released into another mental hospital.


Too many times, it seems, my parents would leave me in the care of others. Too many times it would end in abuse, or almost dying. They say they love me, and I want to believe them, but something happening twice is a coincidence. Three or more times... I do not know what to think.


So, how has the abuse I have gone through effected me?


Well, the first thing I would like to mention is that is has left me without a family really. The definition of a family is an association of people who share common beliefs or activities. Unfortunately, I do not have this. I have a mother and a stepfather, but they do not treat me with respect. They criticize about things that are really not their concern. About my hamsters, about how I should not write articles, or they try to tell me I should write about other things. They also try to use the justification of “love” to manipulate or control. It is easy to judge when you peer from a mountain.


My parents would not be where they are at without the help from my stepfathers parents, I don't really have such luxury, because for me such requests for help would come at a terrible price, on what remnants of a relationship we might have.


My Stepfather goes and spends time with my sister fiance playing racquet ball, goes shooting and talks about guns with my other sisters husband, but does not do anything to spend time with me. My mother only sits at home and lives in her limited world of her farm because she has preconceived notions of the world and fears criticism from others, even if it is baseless. One of my sisters has lived at home until she was 25 and then got a job at a place that she can live at also. She has not real sense of what ti is like to live in a world where you have to pay for bills and such. My other sister seems to feel she needs to fix everything, but does not realize that her need to fix everything is by spreading gossip about people as well. If you cannot trust you family, who can you trust?


I suffer from Major Depression Disorder, Post Traumatic Disorder, Social Phobia.


I survive and I thrive. I tend to get depressed sometimes. I tend to get a little sloppy to. I am a little disorganized. I sleep odd hours because sleeping causes me to dream and my dreams are not good.


I have been published in magazines and newpapers. I have even been on TV and radio. I have a number of certifications and a college degree. I have worked for Microsoft, Sierra Online, and Sputnik Network Services. For the past 15 years, I have survived without their help.


Yet this is not enough for them. Part of me wishes to leave and to never talk to them again. Yet another part of me hopes, that one day, maybe I might have a healthy relationship with them. This will never occur until they stop lying to themselves about our past, look at me in the present, and really work with me for a better future.


“The germ of violence is laid bare in the child abuser by the sheer accident of his individual experience ... in a word, to a greater degree than we like to admit, we are all potential child abusers.” F. Gonzalez-Crussi

Link to post
Share on other sites


I hope this helps someone.


Yeah sometimes I wish I had the chance to grow up functional instead of dysfunctional. I wonder how my life would have been had it been different.


But the simple fact remains that I wouldn't be me if I didn't have all of the life experiences I've had.


But yeah, it sucks sometimes. :(

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...
Seeking Neverland



I want to reply to you, though I am not sure where to start. I too am a survivor of child abuse. Society recognizes what a terrible crime it is to abuse a child . . . when it is discovered and prosecuted, the offenders frequently spend a considerable number of years, if not a lifetime, in prison. Efforts are made to protect the child and counsel the child in effort to minimize future effects. Everyone recognizes that the child has suffered a terrible ordeal and has lost the innocence and zeal of childhood. Yet, for some reason, when a child of abuse grows up with their victimizers having never been discovered or punished and at that time the now adult confesses what he or she had to endure, the result is much different. The adult survivor of child abuse is seen as weak, holding on to the past, and perhaps even accused of exaggerating. Instead of society embracing the vicitm, as they would have done when the victim was a child, the victim is ostracized by society. Adult survivors of abuse make people feel uncomfortable. Few psychological studies have even been conducted on the adult survivors of child abuse.


My own story is not terribly different from yours. Sexually abused by the babysitter's daughter at age 4. Abandoned by my mother at age 5. Physically abused by my step-mother every day from the age of 5 to 13. Suicide attempt at age 16. Married an abuser at age 19. Growing up, I did seek help from my mother, father, grandmother and teachers. The teachers didn't believe me, my father denied it, and my mother and grandmother recognized it as happening but didn't want to deal with it. In truth, my suicide attempt was one of my greatest blessings. My father, step-mother and I were all required to attend counseling (I assume CPS stepped in, but I was too young to know).


For some reason, once a person becomes a victim of abuse they carry a demeanor that draws other abusers. I was ridiculed daily by my classmates (mainly because my step-mother forced me to dress as a boy and cut my hair as a boy) . . . the abuse seems to snowball into nearly all other areas of life.


I've gone through counseling and read hundreds of self help books. I am determined not to be defined by the history that I could not control. In terms of abuse victims, I am a "success story". I put myself though college and law school and now have my own law practice. I appear strong to everyone except those who are the closest to me. But I always carry the insecurity. I am prone to depression and suffer from extreme anxiety. I do not know how to overcome these lingering problems and may spend my lifetime seeking the answer to that. I too suffer from PTSD and within seconds can be thrown back into a vulnerable and shattered state because some event triggers hidden memories or emotions.


I found one book written for psychologists to treat adult victims of child abuse. The book is called "Treating Survivors of Childhood Abuse, Psychotherapy for the Interrupted Life" and is authored by Marylene Cloitre, Lisa R. Cohen, and Karestan C. Koenen. You can probably find it on Amazon. It sets out a step by step treatment program for psychologists to use with their clients. As the title suggests, the psychologists point out that the abuse endured during childhood interferes with the healthy developement of certain psychological traits and these have to be learned in adulthood if the vicitm is to ultimately overcome the abuse. I used the book to walk myself through the program, though I have yet to finish it. I find that when I try to work through these issues, the pain of reliving these ordeals drive me to the point of being unfunctional in my life. So, my approach has been to sporadically attempt the healing . . . then take a break and let the beautiful mercy of denial allow me to return to life and function as well as possible.


As you pointed out, one of the problems with trying to heal from these wounds is that the people who hurt you are often still invovled in your life and you are left with either pretending that these things did not happen or cutting off relations with your family. In my case, the birth of my little brother coincided with the end of the physical beatings from my step-mother. I love my brother and he has no reason to believe that his mother is such a monster. The rest of my family knows what happened, but it is much of a dirty secret. If I were to ever demand acknowledgement and apology, then I am sure my family would be divided . . . and my brother would never believe that his mother was capable of such things. She has been a very good mother to him. My answer has been to live in the silence. I don't know if there is a right answer, but I do want to hold on to the few undamaged bits of family that I have.


The other problem that I encounter is that when I do open up to someone close to me about my past, it is inevitably used against me. Arguments with my husband frequently end with me being called psycho or being told that I believe as I do because I'm not normal. Once confessed, those around me always view me as damaged goods.


I wish I had better answers. These wounds are hard to heal. I also study my Bible and I pray. A part of me is angry . . . why did God place me in this abusive home? But, perhaps it was to make me the empathetic person that I am. I am outraged by injustices, therefore I studied law and do what I can to make a diffence in the lives of others. Perhaps through your writings you are doing the same. I also like the writings of Norman Vincent Peale . . . they are uplifting.


I will keep you in my prayers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Create New...