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Thread: Don't know if this counts as abuse

  1. #1
    GUEST123 Guest

    Don't know if this counts as abuse

    Used to be sure, now I'm not. When you look at symptoms of adult survivors of child abuse, in particular sexual abuse, the symptoms seem to apply to many things, not just that one type of abuse. So how do you know for sure? I have some memories, just bits and pieces, but I do know they weren't "suggested" by others because they sort of came to me when I was alone and something triggered like a "flashback". A movie memory in my mind of an event. Can't recall if the memory was due to a movie or a song or who knows.
    But so I do have problems with what I call over-reactions-my rage can be way over for the situation, and I heard that is a sign of abuse. I also have a very long history of drug abuse, I have panic attacks, have had nightmares (violent ones) ever since I was a pre-teen, self-harming behavior, reckless behavior, but also a strong aversion to being touched or any intimate behavior. Often I find it disgusting or repulsive. It makes me react in a very angry manner and a hurtful manner to the person who is trying to be romantic or loving to me.
    So I'm not sure, but as of late, as I have come to a place in my life where I know I need to resolve this constant turmoil and other issues and I in many ways feel ready now to leave my past behind and get on with my life, I feel that I have to know. Was I sexually abused, or are those few things I remember just an overactive imagination? I just feel that it is important for me to know so that I can move on with life.
    I can't afford a therapist, and to be honest whose to say they would know any better than I would? I welcome any advice or sharing or any help I can get in getting clarity on this. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Not sure where you are from Guest123 but there may be alternatives in your area for lo-cost or no cost therapy if you have no insurance or your insurance does not cover it. Without commenting too specifically on what you posted ( We are survivors giving peer support, I think its awesome, it is NOT therapy from a licensed pro though), You surly are troubled by something. So peer support sites are a good tool for you to have but it is a real good idea to get an opinion from a pro too. As to your memory question I can relate my own experience to you. I am also unsure if some of the tings I "remember" were 100% real. A combination of therapy and medical care provided the incontrovertible evidence that there had been SA in our past. Still, memory is chaotic and fragmented. It may be some time before it gets sorted out but, to do that you have start somewhere.Hope that helps and you find your answers.
    "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain." - Vivian Greene

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  4. #3
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    hey guest123

    many interesting questions, im gonna ramble for a while

    being an abuse survivor is not a psych condition, it doesnt have symptoms. some survivors do have various psych issues, others dont. can google symptoms of stuff like PTSD, common survivors issue. just saying that each condition got a different checklist really, theres no generalized symptoms for abuse survivors. there are warning signs of children who are currently being abused - those dont prove that the child is being abused, just red flags to look into. like anger outbursts - can be caused by hundreds of different reasons, including but not limited to ongoing abuse.

    memory doesnt know the difference between reality and fiction, thats why imagery is so helpful. flashes of memories could be memories of actual events, of dreams you have had, of movies youve watched, of just plain thoughts you have had. also, children often identify with a character of a story - so, for example, i have very vivid memories of flying to norway holding on to a neck of a giant goose. was a fairy tale grandma read to me when i was a kid, i was listening to it and my brain was imagining what it must be like, so i remember those imageries. obviously i never flew with geese, physically impossible - but i remember it vividly: the cold wind, the warm neck of the goose, the feel of its feathers on my hands. im not saying memories mean nothing, and not dismissing your experience - im just saying they could come from variety of sources, and actual abuse is just one such source.

    my personal approach is - abuse doesnt happen in a vacuum. its impossible that one would have a fairly healthy childhood, where theres trust, boundaries, kindness, where the child loves her parents and feels that the parents love her back, where occasional grudges are of course present but overall the family life was ok - and yet there was also sexual abuse. just doesnt happen this way. because in a more or less healthy family a child cannot be intimidated into taking abuse and suffering in silence. in order to sexually abuse a child, there needs to be an established and enforced overall atmosphere of fear, shame, and secrecy.

    when i started recovery - i wasnt sure if what i experienced qualifies as abuse. however, i knew very well that i didnt love my parents and my parents didnt love me. i was terrified of them, deeply ashamed of my existence, and wasnt able to talk of anything at all because my childhood felt like a huge secret i cannot possibly break or else the world will fall apart. i knew things were not ok at home - it was not happy or healthy, and it was way beyond grudges that all kids have about their parents, such as being made to eat your veggies, being grounded for breaking curfew, or the like. my confusion was not whether my childhood was ok or not - it was whether my childhood legally counts as abuse, a crime, or not.

    therapy helps if you have a specific problem in the here and now that you want help with resolving. for example, anger management. therapist cannot tell you if you were abused or not - they werent there, cant tell you what happened. besides, its a subjective matter - only you would know if you felt violated or not.
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  6. #4
    Guest123 Guest

    You've Given Me Food For Thought

    Your responses have given me a lot to think about. I guess I have/had convinced myself that my problems stem from my belief that there was that type of abuse, and if I could disprove it, then the problems would go away. But you are right, the childhood was far from perfect and I can collaborate some other things if not that one thing. So maybe I need to quit concentrating on what did/didn't happen and more on what to do about it. As for therapy by professionals, I have been looking around into lower cost options.

  7. #5
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    Hi

    Get what you are saying...even with irrefutable evidence of my abuse...scars and medical records...I still have periods where I find it hard to believe that it happened. Feel I am dreaming it up...guilty that I am blaming the blameless. My T tells me this is not at all uncommon. Suppose it is something to do with finding it hard to accepting the cruel truth and all that this means.

    For you.
    Rest in my arms precious child; cradled and warm. You are safe. The war is over.

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  9. #6
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    i'll ramble some more then

    i believe that problems come from somewhere. if i wasnt sexually abused - doesnt mean the problems dont exist, just means they are coming from somewhere else. figuring out where problem comes from can sometimes help with a solution to it. heres a random example:

    lets take anger management, for arguments sake. yelling obscenities and kicking walls each time youre mad - causes problems. inability to keep a job, relationships falling apart, neighbors leaving dead rats by your door, etc. obvious solution is to quit yelling and kicking when youre angry, to speak calmly and politely and maintain a relaxed posture. not a rocket science really, anybody coulda guessed it. however, people with anger management problem are unable to do it, for one reason or another. so thats where therapy comes in handy. cuz you sit down and figure out whats blocking you from doing what you know you gotta do, where did this start, what specifically is glitching. and so thats where digging up childhood history makes a difference. cuz reasons for this could be different, and most probably they stem from childhood, abuse or not.

    cuz maybe you learned as a newborn that nobody cares unless you yell on top of your lungs. in this case you're yelling now cuz you feel thats the only way to get your needs met, so talking calmly feels counterproductive cuz you just know nobody gonna listen. solution would be to give it a shot and see what happens. whether youd get better results by yelling or by talking calmly.

    or maybe parents didnt stop you from throwing tantrums in supermarkets - so you never learned that you're actually in control of how you express your emotions, feeling angry doesnt mean you gotta yell, you have a choice, to yell or not. so solution to this would be just practicing and experimenting, seeing if being mad always makes you yell or only sometimes, if you can postpone yelling by ten seconds or not, if you can control the volume or not, etc. just exploring the options/possibilities, discovering your power at managing emotions.

    or maybe parents allowed you to cuss them out and throw things at them when they grounded you for breaking your curfew at 15 - so you never learned that its actually not ok to do that, feel entitled to yell when youre feeling angry, and having to supress your natural urges and talk calmly even when youre mad feels unfair. so here solution would be both - speculating on what would be fair to everyone involved, and evaluating the costs of your uncensored self-expression, such as failed relationships.

    or, in the case of abuse - maybe you've just been violated left and right, screwed over and over, year after year, and could never say anything back - so you got all this anger pent up inside you, from all these years, youre like a waterbomb ready to explode from the slightest touch, so when someone looks at you the wrong way - you explode. so in this case solution would be to work through all that old anger: unload on your therapist, write a letter to mom to tell her just how much you hate her guts (dont have to send it), rant about your childhood to your friends, publish a book of memoirs, etc. let the balloon deflate, you know.

    im just saying - solutions to the same problem can vary depending on where it comes from, so thats why people go into therapy and talk there of their childhood - to figure out where did it start glitching and how to fix it...

    for you, sorry for the lecture
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  11. #7
    Guest123 Guest

    Very Good Insight

    What you ramble makes sense. So much so that I decided to register and hang out a bit and try and get a better grasp of things. So I did join up though funny how I find it easier though to respond to this anon. as guest, but your words bring a lot of things to my mind and possibly some that can lead to answers. So forgive me for still being shy I guess and feeling safer to just respond as a guest, though I just signed up. For the record, my parents were not even close to permissive lol just the opposite; I was pretty much punished for everything from bringing home anything less than an A in school to making too much noise if I was excited about something (I believe their words were I was "acting stupid") and well a lot of other things in between. So guess I will explore those root causes, under my new sign in. When I'm ready. Thank you again for your incredible insightful words.

  12. #8
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    Hi good you have decided to join us...hope like it has become for me the Fort becomes your safe place a place where you feel able to discuss your issues and feel supported as you decide on your best way forward.
    Rest in my arms precious child; cradled and warm. You are safe. The war is over.

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    Likewise

    Thanks hope so too and yes I know I'm logged in.

  14. #10
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    Abuse

    I became ot accept it more when my sisters told me they too were abused. It became irrefutable after that. I got letters to confirming this from abuser family. After a long while I had to accept, though still some memories are not clear. I am talking that I was young child who memory may have not been very correct.

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