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To the Poster Who'd Posted re: Abuse vs. Discipline

2 posts in this topic

Hi, there was a post up here this morning - I had drafted a reply on my mobile, but when I clicked Submit, the post had disappeared.

I hope you did not delete your post out of fear, or apprehension that you did not belong here, or that your story was unwelcome, or that it seemed weird or...anything. Because you do belong here.

Now I'm going to try to remember what I said before, lol...

First off, yes, it was definitely abuse that you experienced - very severe abuse. 

It's normal to have mixed feelings and difficulty reconciling abuse with the caring/supportive person. And especially, the parental relationship is very, very difficult to reconcile that way. There are very "primal" feelings in the mix as well, which make the attachment very deep. 

The fear and feeling of betrayal about discussing this with your therapist could be due to "trauma bonding." That is a very common side-effect of abuse like this. In fact, that may have even been why you deleted your post? Fear of betraying that?

But in order to really start on your path toward healing and become your own individual self, it will be necessary to be open and honest with your therapist and tell them the truth about all this. 

It is not a "betrayal" because they were responsible for what they did, and now you get to become your own person - and in order to begin to do that, you need to be able to work through that. It feels weird and wrong, but it isn't wrong at all. That's the trauma bonding making it feel wrong.

However, being dependent on the abuser(s) can make it more challenging to be open and to work through these things. Because it keeps a person from being able to get the needed distance that helps give them a more accurate perspective of what is actually going on.

Now, what you described of your earlier childhood - to me sounded like pretty normal kid stuff. The way your caregivers treated you, however, can actually cause all sorts of other issues and problems for you. So a lot of the symptoms you described, sounded to me like they might have resulted from the abuse. They were definitely not reason for you to be abused!

In fact, that is something that abusers often try to do - twist it around and blame you for your own abuse, make it "your fault." They are great at manipulating - especially with guilt - and may even lead the target of abuse to draw that conclusion themselves. Making them think they thought it themselves. That they deserve it. That they brought it on themselves. If only they hadn't ______. If only they'd been more ____. But that's not true. Abusers abuse because they are abusive. Not because anyone deserves it. No one deserves it!

Anyway - of course, I don't know what your diagnosis is (and it's none of my business ;), and I could be way off-base, but there's a chance that all this abuse actually caused your condition, or made it much worse than it would ordinarily be. 

And I suppose this can be scary because there will probably be a lot of anger that might arise at some point. A lot of anger...a ton of confusion and hurt feelings. That's a big ball of wax to start unwrapping (pardon the mixed metaphor). So even acknowledging "Yes, they were extremely abusive" - is scary. But it's a great first step to take.

It doesn't mean you have to hate them. It's a complicated relationship. A mix of feelings is entirely normal.

There are a couple of books I recommend a lot, that I think might be helpful for you. One of them is "Healing Your Emotional Self" by Beverly Engel. It's really great for adults who grew up in abusive/neglectful environments. It also helps identify what some abuse is, in those respects, so it can help with the confusion and help gain clarity - as well as help with some practical guidance on what you can do for yourself to help yourself begin to heal.

Another is "Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin" by Anne Katherine (not a workbook). I like this book for the way it's written. Boundaries are something that anyone who grew up in abuse will struggle with. And it's essential for healing and for becoming a healthy individual to really learn to identify and practice with them. It's an ongoing process - takes a long time - but this is really great information and I think would be of help.

Don't worry about posting as much as you want, or about whatever you want. The people here are very understanding. 


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Quaddie, thank you so, so much for your kind and thoughtful response.

You are right; I deleted my post because it felt like a betrayal. I was terrified that they'd find it, and that the detail I included was enough for them to recognise it, although I know it would have been unlikely. I'm sorry for my poor timing in deleting it, and so grateful that you put so much time and kindness into rewriting it.

They have changed a lot over the years, and I don't want to hurt them by bringing up the past, even if not directly to them. But at the same time I am realising more and more how much it has and still does affect me, and I realise that I need to work through it for the sake of my own mental health.

I'm thankful that you understand so much of what I wrote, and the explanations you offer make a lot of sense. It is very scary to start acknowledging these things, but I see that it is also necessary.

I will go and look into the books you recommended now. Again, thank you so much for your kindness. I did not expect any response after I deleted my post, not to mention one filled with so much compassion and help.


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