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Adult Survivor Of Child Abuse: The Consequences In My Life Part 2


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There is a big difference between healing and not healing, in regards to parents. When they are able to grow past certain behaviors and are willing to try some sort of reconciliation, true healing of relationships can occur. When they are in denial of what has happened, this will perpetuate resentment for years to come, and it causes the problem of allowing the abused child to grow into an adult within their eyes. Without reconciliation, they will not respect, they will not accept you, they will trap you.



Trap you in attitudes and perceptions of the child that you once were. They will trap in judgments and excuses to allow the continuation of the control they wish to keep on you, without realizing this. They will use tactics that they claim are for your own good. They will use tactics that, when pointed out that is not good, will get the response of indifference.



Trappings come in many different forms. One must be aware of these trappings so that you are not caught within its net. As an adult, be aware of the habit of bargaining to try to justify the allowance of abuse. “I have done this, so you should look past that.” is a common tactic in abusive relationships. So is also the concept of self righteousness, “Without me, you would never have accomplished what you have.” Ultimately, if you try to stop what is happening in the relationship, it may even boil down to using regret and guilt. Statement of, “You should have stayed where you were, or I wish you were never born” are also used as a tool to force you to accept the abuse to continue in your life.



I am not saying that I kept an expectation of perfection on their part, and I know well the frustration of child rearing. But in an abusive situation regarding parents, there seems to be unrealistic expectations that can harm the adult/abused child. Some of these that I am dealing with not just with my parents, but within myself also:



Trust, my parents believe I should trust because we are related. I believe that trust must be nurtured and cared for through out our life. When I have come back to them in Tennessee, there was an expectation of trust. The trust they expect is one I cannot give yet, because they have not proved deserving of that trust.



In my short time so far, even the ability to trust on a small level has failed. Scheduled meetings and trips, behaviors reverting us back to a time that I am trying to move past. Even something as big as blatant manipulation and blackmail is still occurring in my family's dynamic. When I point this out, my mother discounts my statements and it becomes an argument about who deserved what treatment, when. When dealing with past abuse, it is hard to deal with issues if they are not handled separately in discussions.



Unfortunately, in this type of relationship, there is a delusion that is evident. The belief that they know what is best or right for myself. Since they are certain that they have special insight into my own behaviors or intentions, they feel gratified if they can manipulate me into following their advice. At one time this same behavior did carry over into my own existence.



In my life I have broken many trusts, but I have learned the emotional ramifications due to the fact that I would justify these dishonors. Too often, I was too embroiled in my own emotional pain to recognize that I was repeating the same attitudes, the same abuses that were done to me. By trying to lie about my own pain, by trying to deny my own pain, I was causing pain, both knowingly and unknowingly to others



When it comes to honor and trust I am guilty of:



Lying about my past experiences through denial or creating a better than truth scenario so that I could feel accepted by others around me. I already felt bad about my past, but by not taking ownership of my past and admitting truthfully to myself what had occurred had further fed the feeling of guilt that already dwells deep inside.



Using the excuse, "I did not promise" as an excuse to not do something that I said I would. This is a form of self justification. It is also a form of dishonoring myself. Every word that comes out of a man's mouth is a promise. A man without honor is not a man.



Repeatedly using outside circumstances, no matter how minor, to get out of things that I had given my word on doing. Too often, instead of being honest with the person I had given my word to, I would use any excuse to get out of what I needed to do.



Using my past as an excuse for disrespectful behavior towards others. It really does not matter what happened 20 years ago, in regards to disrespect. Respect is defined as the ability to regard highly and think much of someone, whether they agree or disagree with you. When you respect someone you allow them to have a similar or difference of opinion. You give weight to their words, you give them more consideration the more respect you give them. By not hearing what they are saying and seeking what they are trying to convey to you.



Using my past as an excuse to justify not feeling compassion for those I have wronged. This is often too common in our daily lives. Whether it is the response of “My life was much harder than yours” or just selfish indifference towards feelings or circumstances, we do not allow compassion because we cannot look past our own pain.



I have used manipulation tools. One example of this can be to withhold something from someone “for their benefit”, but what benefit would that be? In reality the only benefit would be the chance to further my control over the other person's life.



Another tool is to flood information that is irrelevant to a debate or argument in order to achieve a victory, instead of trying to look at the merits of each individual point in order to achieve compromise or see the truth from both perspectives. The reason for this is an over bearing since of self-importance. By not allowing yourself to see things from another perspective you are actually saying that your is the only correct one. An example of this tool is to shut yourself away from someone, so that you inspire guilt and heartache in them. Their guilt then consumes them to the point that they acquiesce, and allow you to win and get your way.



At the core of a manipulator is a person who is dissatisfied with their own life. They try to create imagined problems, or try blowing existing problems out of proportion. If they are able to make us unhappy or uncomfortable they can focus on our pain instead of their own. This helps them to momentarily feel better. This drives the need to manipulate further because as the feeling of satisfaction dissipates, the manipulation must be reinforced.



All these are tactics that have been dominant in my family in regards to dealing with me. These tactics I have used in the past in dealing with people, as well. I recognize how unhealthy all these tactics are and strive to constantly move away by changing my behavior.



The way I change my behavior is to constantly think about what actions I am about to do, and to consider what my intentions really are in regards to these actions. I am constantly having to consider what my feelings really are. Whether it is a statement, compliment, or action, I need to be constantly aware of my intentions. Am I saying something that is beneficial to those around me? If I am saying a compliment, is it something I truly feel or am I saying it to achieve my own purposes? Is the action I am doing being done for good reasons, or is there an agenda that is only beneficial to me? By evaluating myself in this fashion, I am not only taking responsibility for my actions and feelings, I am also protecting those around me as well.



You have to be brutally honest to yourself. To some this may seem like a heavy responsibility or task, but as time passes you will find that you lose the need to consciously be aware of what you are doing, and realize that by trying to respect others, you are really respecting yourself.



Up next "Adult Survivor Of Child Abuse: The Consequences In My Life Part 3", the effect I have had on lost opportunities, friends and loves.

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