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Adult Survivors of Child Physical Abuse and Neglect

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i think that the abuse attached with love is what is so confusing and what makes any future "love" relationships difficult as we have a lens through which to figure out what love is.....

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Intimacy is difficult for some people even under the best of circumstances. When you come from an abusive situation it becomes a hurdle of momentous proportions. Either you cut and run because you subconsciously think that it's not going to last or end badly so why bother even trying or you choose people who are incapable of having a healthy relationship to get involved with. If you get involved with someone who is already, excuse me, f*ed up then you know exactly what to expect.


I think in either case one of the core issues is that we, abuse victims, feel like we won't or can't be loved by someone good so we either wreck good relationships or get into bad relationships which support this negative self concept.


All this comes down to is that your self opinion is so low that you can't accept good when its offered or only expect bad and so attract it. I know for myself that I had and still have, although it's gotten better, a hard time allowing people "in". My thought process was that if they got to know me they would see the ugly person that I truly am and leave me. this of course is wrong and I see that now but at the time it was impossible for me to see myself as anything but worthless. If my own mother couldn't love me how could anyone else. So I would run away from forming firm relationships. I also believed that people would only hurt me so I had to run before they could get the chance.


Needless to say there are some intense psychological issues that go into cutting and running when it comes to forming firm relationships and a stable life. There are countless reasons and I only mentioned the tip of the iceberg. Intimacy issues are only to be expected with an abusive background. When you runaway physically either from people or a house or anything you are actually running away from yourself. If you settle down long enough you just might have to eventually take a look at your life and that is a terrifying thought.


Getting over this is a process. Usually it helps to find at least one person you can trust and start slowly building a relationship with them. Slowly over time you will find your self relaxing a little bit. Buying a house is a huge step but a good one. It will be yours and reinforce the sense of self needed in order to build relationships.


Hope I helped

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Thanks for that HelloKitty :)


After reading everyone's posts, I started wondering what percentage of people would be considered 'normal' or average in terms of how us 'dysfunctional' (speaking for myself :)) people see them. There definately seems to be this 'circle' of people on the inside that 'thirive' instead of survive, and we never seem to be able to join the club, and I was just wondering offhand if anyone knew roughly what percentage of people grow up in a dysfunctional (abuse, rape, beatings, etc.) environments?

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Hi again,


Someone mentioned something about going from abusive childhood to abusive relationships that made me think of the broader picture of my life but it is very hard to explain


I have a funny perception of reality that seems the opposite of what it is to me


As a kid, I was a good kid and my dad would come home and beat me for no reason, therefore I equated being good with being punished - hence good = bad


I also expected any happiness I felt during the day to be destroyed when my father came home - so happiness = sadness


A person you are supposed to be able to trust to take care of you (love?) is the one who destroys your life daily - thus love = fear


In a weird way I think my view/interaction with reality is perverted into the opposite of what it should be, and I often feel that when I try and do “good” I end up creating a bad situation, what I think is love is hate, etc.


Does this make sense to anyone?


Thanks :)

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Originally posted by Lucky Dog

Hi Hellokitty,


Yes, I would rage at my abuser (I did) and it really helped


Also, I have to commend you and blind_otter for doing what sounds like a great job dealing with and getting past it.


blind_otter mentioned something about keeping some things hidden, but I wanted to ask you both, do you feel you have a very hard time setting boundaries of where you start, or where your privacy starts? sometimes I am amazed that I can't seem to draw a line of where people can go inside me (pschologically), and am amazed at other well-balanced people who can 'draw the line' so easily and effortlessly


Thanks, dude. It's not easy. I have a lot of leftover aggression...unlike hellokitty I have gotten past the part where I am pissed at my Mom. I see her for the flawed human being she is. She was exposed to worse conditions than I was, growing up, and knows very little about nurturing in an unconditional way. Nowadays she is medicated and easier to deal with.


In many ways I feel better saying that I choose my victimhood, and therefore I can choose NOT to be a victim. As a child perhaps this wasn't so true, but NOW I can say that I choose not to be a victim. I was lucky enough to receive an apology from my mom. It happened a year ago last november and I will never forget it. Her words made me feel better and did a lion's share of the external contribution towards my personal recovery.


I do have a problem drawing boundaries. Now I am doing it more easily than I ever did in the past, so go figure, I have more problems letting people IN than I do keeping them out, and when I do start to have feelings I get all weirded out. I will be say, making out with someone, and random thoughts will run through my head, distracting me, because I get overwhelmed with extreme discomfort at the tender feelings I may have for someone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi! I'm new to the boards and need some advice, please...


My mom had drug issues and was physically abusive when I was little. It continued until I left home at 17. After almost 5 years of therapy, I think I'm okay... it doesn't overwhelm me anymore.


I met a really wonderful man in October, and he wants to get married... while I know I want to be with him for the rest of my life, I'm so, so scared that I won't be a good mother. Is anyone else scared that they might one day become abusive? Is having kids an irresponsible decision?




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I applaud the effort you have made for your own recovery.......BRAVO! Well done! You have made great effort to move forward!


Yes, it is possible to be a good Mom! Of Course! I beleive that each "survivor" can make a difference and stop the cycle. I have 2 children I love them both dearly. The most important thing to remember is that you are not the same person that she is. You CHANGE the parenting skills that you were confronted with and THAT will be the essence of your parenting. Never forget how it felt to be on the receiving end of the negative and you will do fine :)


There are also plenty of excellent magazines and parenting forums on the internet that can be an excellent resource for you before & after you have your babies. Life is all about creating networks for ourselves. Take LoveShack for instance...we also have a parenting forum where mothers and fathers alike come to vent or ask questions.


Good Luck to you and congratulations on your upcoming wedding! ;) See? There is LIFE out there for we survivors!!!





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gsujillybean, being scared that you won't be a good mom is a good thing because you are aware of all the damage that abuse causes. You have taken a courageous path to deal with the abuse you endured at the hand of your mother.


Bubbles is correct, you can be a good mom.


I'm in counselling now (as a survivor/victim) for a violent and abusive marriage and my counsellor that I see in private sessions and in group sessions disclosed to the group that her own mom (who she called the "best mom in the world") recently told her that her mom (my counsellors grandmother) had physically and emotionally abused her (my counsellors mother).


My counsellors mother made a decision before she had kids that she wasn't going to do the same thing to her kids and didn't.


It wasn't all smooth for my counsellors mom and there were times that she felt the desire to be abusive but would give herself "timeouts" at these times so she wouldn't abuse my counsellor. Suddenly some things made sense for my counsellor because she could recall times when her mom would appear to get mad and then quietly go off to another part of the house by herself and then later rejoin the family and the anger would be gone.


I'm not saying that you are going to have to take time outs with yourself but rather that you, without question, can be a good mom--maybe even the worlds best mom. :)

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IME it depends on the severity of the abuse, the individual's desire to heal, and the circumstances of their life.


For example, it would be more difficult to resist returning to habitual patterns if you were in periods of extreme stress. There are definatley coping skills that you can learn NOW that will help in the future, and you can definatley structure your life to avoid added stress.


Things to consider -


- counseling during and after pregnancy. I seems to remember reading research indicating that adult survivors of childhood abuse and/or incest are more prone to postpartum depression


- a lot of research on your part regarding the issue of concern. I highly recommend Aphrodite Matsakis, she wrote a great book called I Can't Get Over It: Coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which has sections dealing with specific trauma related PTSD (child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, etc.)


- keeping a journal


- learning better coping skills NOW to deal with anger issues (adult survivors of physical and sexual abuse often have extreme latent rage that can come out unexpectedly)


Good luck.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi All, I'm new here; saw this thread and registered because I'm going out of my skull right now and could use some advice.


Early in life I was subject to sexual abuse outside of my home, while inside, verbal, physical violence, and neglect.


For most of my adult life, I've stayed the hell away from intimate relationships, cutting and running before things even had a chance to get off the ground.


About 18 months ago, I started chasing after my demons instead of letting them chase me and the effects have been astoundingly good.


For the last six months, as far as men go, the world is starting to look like a candy store (great!), and right now, someone's dangling chocolate under my nose (better!); the problem is I feel like I'm broke and can't afford to buy any! So to speak. If said piece of chocolate were just looking for someone to screw, it would be so much easier. I could just steal it. But that's not the vibe I'm getting. It's not so much like I feel my baggage is in the way where I'm concerned, but I fear it's going to make him run for the hills if I have to spring it on him before he's known me well enough to see I'm not a psycho.


It's not like it's a deep, dark secret. All of my close friends know my history. But those conversations always came after enough of a friendship had developed that I could gauge whether or not they would have a reaction that would freak me out.


What the hell do I do when he wants & expects to compare notes? Do I just say, 'gosh, I haven't had anything resembling sex since President X (not saying, it's embarrassing!) was in office?' and pray it doesn't lead to being pressed for details?

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I think that you're entitled to hold back on certain information until you are ready, same as with other friends. Don't push yourself or you'll feel vulnerable and unavailable.


And as for past sexual history, you can reveal that you haven't had sex in some time because you haven't felt ready for a relationship and are interested sex in the context of a relationship (if that is indeed the truth).


You don't need to elaborate as to WHY you haven't felt ready for a relationship.


I think one piece of the puzzle at a time.


All the best.

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There is a world of difference between dysfunction and abuse and neglect. They cannot be lumped together in therapy or in how people cope with and address them - even though all three may have occurred simultaneously.


This is going to be long -- please bear with me.


People who have or are dealing with dysfunction or neglect only may think that abuse is simply a more severe form of dysfunction or neglect. Abuse is different. People who have been abused may downplay neglect.


People, especially children, develop their own coping mechanisms and escape routes. A good therapist -- and it takes time to find one who you are comfortable with and who has the expertise to help -- will be able to help separate the events and address them appropriately.


There is no statute of limitations on when the events of the past will affect a person and no guarantee that they will ever surface. Sometimes the coping skills developed in childhood are the right ones for the person and all they need is assurance that they are OK. Other times those coping skills are just as damaging as the abuse/neglect suffered in childhood and can act as reinforcements.


The movies tell us that identifying and recognizing the abuse/neglect will lead to healing. That is not necessarily so. Sometimes and for some people they inherently know and they don't want to go through it all again and analyze it because they are comfortable with how they have coped. They may need reassurance from either a professional or a loved one that it’s OK for them to continue to cope as they have always coped; and sometimes the abused/neglected person needs only to address certain behaviors now.


Therapy is not easy - if it were, we would all be able to breeze through a few classes and become psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors, therapists, etc. Sometimes a person will go to a counselor or therapist and that person can help identify if a psychiatrist or psychologist would be better for the person.


It takes time and usually money to identify the right course for an individual. Sometimes it takes years. It's not as easy as someone saying "Ah, I see. This and this is what was done to you - you are not at fault. Do you understand?" and the person saying "YES! I understand that now" and all is well. It just doesn't work that way. In spite of GI Joe's "knowing is half the battle" it is more often than not only the beginning of the war and there will be battles won and lost during the course of therapy. Thinking that once identified the problem is almost solved can raise the expectations of the person and when their expectations are not realized -- they still experience the emotional pain and habitual coping -- they can become even more hopeless or their fears become reinforced instead of addressed.


It may also be a lifetime battle.


My husband's parents were dysfunctional. They were not a good match. They did not cope with their own emotional baggage and took it out on their son. They were physically abusive -- his mother tried to kill him once and they both beat him severely. As a child he developed a large bald spot on his head because of the stress of his childhood. He broke out in blisters and sores so much that his hair would not grow. His bald spot is his most visible scar of the abuse. His father kicked him from one end of their home to the other when he was only a couple years old. He still remembers that -- folding himself into a little ball as his dad kicked him. A neighbor called the police to put an end to that instance. His mother used to hit him with an iron skillet when he was sick and his coughing kept her awake. His grandmother would buy gifts for his cousins and show them to him and give the gifts to his cousins in front of him, but never bought him anything. His mother had seven abortions after he was born and each time she would scream at him and tell him that she wished she had aborted him too. She strapped him in a car and started driving toward a drop-off and large stone fountain screaming that she was going to kill them both "that'll show your father" she kept screaming. Hubby was old enough to reach over and stop her before she could do it.


Hubby's mother abandoned him when he was 12 and he lived with his alcoholic father -- cooking and cleaning and caring for him. Hubby had neural brain damage which caused a severe learning disability and he was/is severely dyslexic. They didn't know about that then, they just called him stupid and worthless. Hubby missed so much school that he was 21 when he graduated from high-school. He won a partial scholarship in drama to a junior college and his father told him he was too stupid and told him to go into construction.


His mother (who had an affair with her boss and then married him) invited him to California to visit (actually, it was his step-father who wanted him to come out and convinced his mother to allow it) and he went to visit. His mother had a huge Christmas party there and gave everyone lavish gifts and then when someone asked what her nephew (she insisted that he call her Aunt and not tell anyone that he was her son) was getting for Christmas she pulled out the calendar her bank gave her and said "This is all he wanted -- isn't that sweet? My older sister did such a great job raising him!"


Hubby came back to Texas and did not see or hear from his mother for over 20 years after that. Hubby dated and was engaged once but the girls father bought him off. He let everyone walk all over him and never ever stuck with a commitment. He hated himself and put himself down all the time. He spent all his money as soon as he made it and when he was forced to sell stuff he just figured that was what he deserved.


Then he met me. We dated for two years and I learned some of this stuff, but it didn't all come out until after marriage. We broke up a couple of times but I fell into that "I can see his potential" frame of heart, and being the nurturer that I am - I thought I could help him.


Over the years we have been to counselors and psychologists and psychiatrists together and separately. We have had a lot of our own pain to deal with, as well as our own issues that we each brought to the marriage.


Hubby reconciled with his mother about five or six years ago and he and his step-father are uber close now and he has been the best influence in his life, while his mother is bringing out the anger and hatred in him that he had been dealing with. His own father passed away last October and they had not spoken in about eight years after a falling out they had. He got to see his father a little before he died, but his father was suffering severe dementia and didn't always recognize hubby. Hubby never cried and he has felt guilty about not feeling sad and is dealing with that. The abuses and neglect are rearing themselves again and we are dealing with this together again. My own mother is dying and he sees how close we are and how much I cry and how this is affecting me and he thinks there is something wrong with him for not feeling like that about his dad or his mother -- and he knows that when she goes he won't feel it like I do. He understands intellectually why and knows it's OK to not feel about his parents like I feel about mine, but it still hearts his heart. That's what I mean about 'knowing' not being the same as 'healing'.


Healing and coping are life-long processes. I am the one that has held the marriage together because I am dedicated to commitment – even though we have broken up a couple of times and have struggled. For a while I was dealing with my own co-dependent issues and counselors had told me that I was co-dependent and that I should let go and we should live our own separate lives. That wasn’t what I wanted to hear and it wasn’t really what hubby wanted either. It would have been reinforcement to him that there was something wrong with him and that’s why he couldn’t commit. Maybe we could have lived apart and built new lives – but that isn’t what we wanted. We do love each other and want to make it work so we kept looking for the right therapists that could help us with what we wanted and not try to identify what they thought would be best for us.


One of the things that I had to deal with was hubby’s refusal to have sex with me. That took years of adjustment and heartache and we did split up for a while then. I felt rejected and unwanted and unworthy. Sex is important in a marriage. I was raised that sex was wrong or bad unless married. My baggage came from seeing my 16 y/o sister get pregnant when she was in high-school and what a horrible and shameful thing that was. Back in the mid 1960’s it was shameful even though that was the beginning of the latest sexual revolution. Pregnant girls in school were sent elsewhere and many never graduated. My sister didn’t show until after graduation so no one knew about it. But I heard the ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ comments and saw how she was shunned. So I had my own hang-ups about sex. I wanted to have sex and experiment and be uninhibited but I felt shameful for wanting that. After we were engaged and before we were married we began living together and where I was totally uninhibited, he was totally inhibited! We had some problems from the start, but when he began rejecting me I was able to deal with it and we stayed together. I wasn’t dealing with it the right way though – I felt like that was what I deserved because I enjoyed sex so much and I still had those hang-ups about how shameful sex was. These were some of the things we dealt with in therapy and now we have found a comfortable intimacy. He would be willing to have sex – and enjoy it – but he is unable to now because of his health! I’m OK without it now and I don’t have any guilt or any real regret either.


All this text doesn’t really even scratch the surface of what we personally have been through; but I hope will illustrate what some may expect if and when they decide to pursue counseling.


One thing that we did use to help us and this may sound trite – but I don’t want to underestimate the value of self-help – is a video set we ordered. I read the book but since hubby doesn’t read well because of his neural brain damage and we saw the video’s of the book advertised we ordered them. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Actually seeing/hearing someone else talk about things that we experienced ourselves helped us both to truly know and understand (intellectually and emotionally) that what we feel and experience is not unique to us was so very helpful. We watched the Video’s and paused them and would ask each other “is THAT what you’ve been trying to tell me?” really helped us turn a corner and those Video’s helped our marriage more than individual counseling alone. They also helped us to approach counseling a bit differently so that the counseling was more effective for us.


There are still times we backslide and have to really work to move forward again and re-learn things we learned before – but that is part of life.


Recognizing a problem or issue IS important. But learning HOW to cope and deal with those issues is the trickiest part. If you feel whatever course you choose is not working – don’t give up it may be that you just have not found the right way to cope, not that you can’t cope.

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  • 1 month later...



I myself grew up being molested by my father. I felt like my mother did not love me. I felt nobody did. I decided one day though that i was not going to let him kill my soul.


He took my childhood I was not going to allow him to take my life. We never pressed charges but the world goes round and he will pay for what he has done. Everyone does.


I have started once again to go to counseling. I can actually say I am now little by little living. I was miserable for so long I did not know who I was and who I was suppose to be. I decided one day that I deserve to be happy and that God put me on this Earth to be happy. I stopped blaming myself for allowing it to happen all those years and even stopped blaming my mom who had no idea what was going on.


She did one day though break down and told me she was sorry for not being there and being more protective of my older sister who was not his and that she should have taken care of all of us the same. I am fortunate in this situation that my mother believed me and told him to get out.


I know of a girl whose mom called her a bitch and told her she was lying. It turns out that her dad fathered her half sisters children now I think that lady deserves to be behind bars right along with the father. People like that make me sick. The situation as sad as it is made me a stronger person.


I as a teenager went through depression and always had suicidal thoughts. I finally one day realized that I was blaming the wrong person for what happened to me. I have come a long way! I also know I have a long way to go! But I will be happy from here on in!

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To the poster that asked about rage - you are so not alone. My rage at my mother is episodic - that is, if I see her behaving in a similar way (ignoring a guy's obvious sadism or just plain s***ty behavior), or if she asks to watch my children when she's got company - that sort of thing.


My rage at the actual pschytic bastard who hurt me has never leveled. I'll dance, piss, and crap on his grave.



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I have been dating a lady now for nearly a month. Let me give you a little background on her. She is 46, never been married, no children. She does not get along with her family and has not spoken to them in years. She has ended two long term relationships. She was engaged to be married in both. I am thinking she has some serious issues with trust. Why else would she get so close to marriage and then "cut and run?"


She has told me that as a child she was emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. She is insecure and has low self-esteem. She did get some counseling as a teenager but never completed it. She says she will not go back for more as it is too painful to deal with.


My question is what can I do, if anything to help? Is there anything I can do or am I just in for a lot of heartache and misery that will likely end up just like the other relationships have? I really like her a lot and feel like I could easily fall in love as she seems to be the kindest, sweetest, caring person I have ever met. I am very attracted to her but I want to keep my head here.


Is it possible for her to overcome this on her own or with the love and support of myself? I know I am not supposed to believe that I can fix her but of course I would be willing to do anything in my power to help.


What is most likely to happen here in regards to our relationship?

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  • 2 months later...

Wow, drillertex, what wisdom you possess. Your fiance will need you to stay in that caring, wise place, which will be hard for you to do.


Marrying someone who has been abused and neglected requires a special kind of commitment, a "regardless" kind of love.


I speak as someone who has been married to a wonderful guy for 25 years who has saved me from the normal mistakes (see previous threads) of someone whose childhood left her with her truster busted. He is an incarnation of God's healing love--when he's able to transcend his own issues and respond to me as the abused/neglected child who knows how to hide very well.


Have you ever tried to rescue a frightened animal? I heard a story out of New Orleans this past week about a guy who stayed in his house because the shelters wouldn't let him take his dog. As the waters rose, he could hear his neighbors' dogs barking, and he went to help them. They were so scared that he had to fight them to free them and feed them. I don't mean this to sound awful, but you may be marrying a terrified abandoned pup. She may look like a savvy together person on the outside, but intimate relationships require openness and trust which is a whole different ballgame that is terrifying, bringing up all the powerlessness of the past and fear of loss of control.


If you don't know the story of Sleeping Beauty, read it. Even as adults our abused child is encased in thorns and enchanted fortresses. We often test at every turn, even subconsciously seek to sabotage. So you need to be steadfast in your love, which is difficult. Don't respond to the things she may lob out at you to see if you really love her. Just keep steadfastly reassuring her of your love because she may never really believe it deep down. Remember, you are rescuing an abandoned puppy whose caretakers abandoned her.


I have been married to this wonderful guy for 25 years, and I still don't believe he's there for me. I do cognitively most days, but emotionally?--nah! I'm still a mess and slogging through the painful process of therapy for the third time and finding some healing at last at the age of 45. Sometimes the abuse/neglect happened so early we can't get to it. We deny it or minimize it ("It really wasn't that bad--hey, I wasn't born in Darfur or Romania, etc., so let's just not talk about it and move on already. I've already had enough of my life taken from me by this."). But until we really work through it however we each need to, it's like this trap door that opens up to swallow us up into that place of confusing powerlessness out of which we respond to the world with whatever coping mechanisms we learned as children to keep us safe.


I really don't think we ever get over it. It just is. We simply learn to accept it, acknowledge its presence, but not react out of it every time. We learn new ways of being as we work to confront the lies that we were led to believe as children not even a {mother/father} could love.


You will have to continually reassure your beloved that you only mean to free and feed her with your love, not harm her, because to those of us who were de-formed by those we were dependent upon as children, it's very difficult for us to believe intimate relationships will not just end up hurting us. So we cut and run--a lot--before we get cut again.


Problem is, of course, that you will hurt her because we do hurt one another whether we mean to or not. When she responds over the top to something you've done, it's probably triggering something in her past that makes her think, "Here we go again--more pain's coming" and fortress and lob, a variation on that popular default game "Cut and Run!" Here's where the Venus/Mars stuff helps. You may be thinking, "Hey, it's just {whatever immediate issue it is in the here and now}, for God's sake!" But it's not just the {whatever} for her; it's what it represents/symbolizes. Try to enter her symbolic world and look at life from her point of view and EMPATHIZE and REASSURE OF LOVE.


That's what all women want. But that's what your woman NEEDS so desperately and may not even be able to ask for it because cognitively she thinks, "Gracious, I'm 46 years old! I can't really say this stuff; it's silly" or whatever. Except that one part of her, the vulnerable, intimate part of her, is still that hurt child longing to be loved.


Be her Prince. Keep going after her. Keep hacking through all her thorns and protective defenses and offensives. Always love.


And learn how you can do all this taking care of yourself. You're going to have to learn how to transcend your own pain that you will no doubt experience from her. I'm not suggesting you become a doormat. I'm just trying to give you a heads-up.


And you may want to get into a good marriage counselor ASAP to avoid any further damage to the two of you because of the abuse. If I had done therapy in my 20's after leaving home rather than in my 30's after having had children, we'd have saved so much further wounding.


May all God's blessings keep you in the strength of love.

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Becoming, thank you so much for your reply. I want to say that I so admire you and your husband for hanging tough and working on your relationship. I know it takes a lot of courage to go through the therapy that you have been through. I promised her my love, patience, and support if she would seek more counseling but she strongly refuses saying the therapy just hurts "too damn bad". Meanwhile, this wonderful, intelligent, attractive lady is very unhappy and as she put it, she feels alone and empty. Barring some divine intervention, I don't see it changing. I sure hope I am wrong.


As much as I would like to tell you that things are going well, such is not the case. I love this woman so much but she will not (cannot?) allow herself to be loved. So terribly frustrating. Whenever things are going really well for awhile, she will invent some issue out of the blue just to give her a reason to pull back. After a few days of us not talking, a mini break up I guess you could call it, I call her, I apologize ( for something I didn't even cause ) and then all is well again until the next time. This has happened time and time again. I hang up the phone after these surprise attacks thinking to myself, " where in the hell did that come from?"


In trying to get some understanding as to what might be happening with her, I began to do a lot of reading and a lot of research on the internet. While researching childhood abuse and abandonment issues, I came across a mental disorder termed BPD. Borderline Personality Disorder. It seems to occur in many people, especially women, who were abused as children. While I am not a doctor and don't profess to be, it is so very obvious to me that she fits many of the criteria required to make a diagnosis. Not only that, but reading some of the downright horror stories from partners of a borderline seems to confirm what I suspect as many of those stories are exactly what I have encountered.


The analogy you cite about the terrified pup is one that I have made as well. The difference is that with the pup eventually I could gain its' trust with consistent love and affection (and food! :-) ). With her, as soon as she feels like we are getting too close, she hits the "reset" button, pulls back, and starts the cycle all over again. Just the other day, she gets up close, looks directly into my eyes and with a stern voice says, "I am mad at you about so many things. I know they are not your fault but I am mad at you about them anyway." This totally irrational comment coming from an otherwise intelligent and very articulate lady. I nearly couldn't believe what I had just heard.


There is a great book that has shed a lot of light on my situation called "Stop Walking On Eggshells." From this book comes advice to the non-BP that goes something like, I didn't cause it, I can't control it, and I cannot cure it. Basically I think they are saying that given a choice, run, don't walk away if faced with a relationship like this. Easier said than done when dealing with matters of the heart.


Once again, I applaud you for being so brave and your husband for being so supportive. I wish the very best to the both of you!



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Whew! You're really going through it. I'm sorry this is happening to you. Y


Of course I don't know her or you, so take anything said with a grain of salt, but here are a few observations.


You're right about the abandoned dogs. I have successfully rescued three animals and watched them go from skittish and scared and even somewhat aggressive to wonderfully loving pets with varying abilities to trust, which I accepted with steadfast love. Though I might have wanted more affection, I knew I had to accept whatever they could give--that's what a commitment to love in respect and honor of where the other is means.


Except there was one dog--a beautiful golden retriever who'd been picked up running wild in a park. I worked and worked with that dog, but every time the door was opened, she bolted. I was able to persuade her back with her favorite food and the help of all the neighborhood kids who thought this was a fun, fun game of chase the crazy lady's dog. But one day she evidently jumped a five-foot fence when we weren't home and kept running despite months of playing with her, cuddling her, holding her whenever there were fireworks or storms, etc. She broke my heart, and I never saw her again.


All of that is to say that you can't help someone who doesn't want help. So the question becomes are YOU willing to accept this relationship as is? Where do you draw your boundary lines on what you will and will not accept in a relationship with another? That's really a question only you can answer.


I know what she means about therapy being just too damn hard. She's right. It is. I was in therapy for three years one time and never really talked about the abuse. I was in therapy again for almost a year, and when it became obvious we had to talk about it, I ran. Terrified.


Then some months ago I started working with my therapist I'll call One Smart Cookie. She kept forcing me to feel my feelings, which, frankly, I hated. My feelings feel bad--that's why I went to see her! But she gained my trust in a way no other therapist had, and one day, one of the abuse incidents just came out in a torrent of tears and nausea and dizzying confusion. I'm an intelligent professional woman, too. I felt embarrassed that underneath all my competencies I was just a scared little kid. But from that moment on, I began to heal in a way I hadn't before. Just by telling what happened to me.


If it helps, show her this and other posts from this thread. As someone else said, I, too, distinctly remember the day when I said it was time to stop running from my demons and turn to face them (kinda like the movie Jumanji) It's scary, but the only way to find freedom. And a good therapist is absolutely necessary.


Honestly, my unsolicited advice is that you place some boundaries around what you will and will not tolerate from her. What does and does not feel good to you? Whatever these boundaries are, you will need to enforce them, which may be scary for you. She will balk--count on it. But after awhile she will also grow to respect you, which may make her think twice about treating you badly so casually. Remember, despite all her apparent control, she's really an out-of-control child who needs a loving adult tell her how to behave in personal relationships.


I think someone advised couples counseling? Probably a good idea. You may also want to make her getting therapy a condition for any further deepening of the relationship. A list of those qualified to work with victims of abuse might be handy to give her at the time. Couples therapy might be less threatening and it could help you deal with all the stuff going on with you as well. If she refuses to go, you'll know where you stand, but you'll also have to be prepared to let the relationship go or suffer her abuse ad infinitum. You may have someone who'll bolt every chance she gets and who will jump every boundary fence you put up to keep her safe, in which case, really, shouldn't you just let her go? You deserve to be in a relationship that's good for you, too.

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I applaud the effort you have made for your own recovery.......BRAVO! Well done! You have made great effort to move forward!


Yes, it is possible to be a good Mom! Of Course! I beleive that each "survivor" can make a difference and stop the cycle. I have 2 children I love them both dearly. The most important thing to remember is that you are not the same person that she is. You CHANGE the parenting skills that you were confronted with and THAT will be the essence of your parenting. Never forget how it felt to be on the receiving end of the negative and you will do fine :)


There are also plenty of excellent magazines and parenting forums on the internet that can be an excellent resource for you before & after you have your babies. Life is all about creating networks for ourselves. Take LoveShack for instance...we also have a parenting forum where mothers and fathers alike come to vent or ask questions.


Good Luck to you and congratulations on your upcoming wedding! ;) See? There is LIFE out there for we survivors!!!








I am a mother of three and yes I too was terrified of being a mother (as I had been abused by mine), not being good enough of afraid I would perhaps lash out and hurt them.As a result, my children have never recived spankings, never been yelled at , ad for a long time ran roughshod over me.I have three boys ages 3, 4, and 6.This did not make matters worse.Then I learned the trick of time out (short ones) and consistency.Ahhh thats better, life is much sweeter, I find its simply easier to spend lots of time and attention on your kids (possitivly) and that when they act out and loose that they miss the possitive aspect of mom ,and are eager to please just to get back to building that awesome space ship with mom before they threw a lego at their brother.So 3-4-or-6 min in a chair does it.Really this is great (people used to joke about my kids being so out of control)now I get complimented on how well behaved .

Ok anyway back to the other issue before I trailed off, about this time of year ,I get "caught up" In my childhood abuse (cant sleep,for days)("looping,on memories, some anger) Theres some trigger obviously due to time of year, but im not quite sure what it is. For a long time I survived , not really having any idea that you could do anything else.I still told no one about the abuse , you know it is a BIG secret and since it was my fault anyway,,,WRONG, eventually I decided that wasent the truth and I told everyone people on the street , my family , friends , anyone , its not something to be ashamed of so I decided not to let it be ,I started to try and catch my emotional triggers , and found lots of them , made myself aware of them and knew when and where they were for future referance.Started calling myself out on them and letting others know what they were so they could call me on them too.Then I got MAD, Pissed really , and tried to figure out why, how could people be this way?I called my mom on it , and when she wouldent be up fornt cut ties with her completely for a couple of years, I also cut ties with anyone who closly assosiated with her to the point of against my wishes disclosing where I was.Then I contacted and confronted my molester and his family.Then the anger started to fade I stopped trying to figure it out and started to look forward instead of backwards.I knew my "emotional cues" ,and I dident have to react anyway I dident want to , so I dont ,I have very limited contact with my mother now ,this is more than before as she is an old woman now and claims to not want to die with a rift between us , this is fine by me if shes willing to accept a phone call every few weeks and not knowing where I live not ever actually seeing me again or ever being left alone with her grandsons.I have set boundaries. But i think abusees ? will always have some baggage " damage" to carry around , our childhoods are the foundation of our lives and abuse leaves a crack in that foundation but its up to you how tall or wide you want to grow or are able to.

Facing your abuse and becoming vocal about it is the first step even if its just to one person, then its not only your secret anymore . Good luck all-


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Yes, it's possible to be a good parent. Though you probably don't have many good models, you definitely have the bad ones and know what not to do! And you can learn what to do by taking parenting classes, reading parenting books, and working on your own issues with boundaries. As TinkTink says, we do have a tendency to perhaps be too lenient at times out of fear we'll hurt our kids. I noticed at times my distance with my children at one point when they were little and really a handfull and realized the distance was because I was stressed and fearful I might lose it with them.


In many ways, adult survivors are aware of things most people don't even think about, and it's that awareness and discipline to be a good parent that can make us better parents than most. But we have to work on managing stress because parenting is the hardest job in the world. Your own issues will rear their ugly Hydra-like heads at times, so it's important to keep doing your own recovery work. Congrats on your new life! May it be blessed with bliss and lack of sabotaging your own happiness. Keep on . . .


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