a self examination


there comes a time in your life
when you stop trying to escape
from your childhood

and you try to get back
what you had to give up
to make your escape.
Jonathan Harris

child abuse can take many forms. the result, of any though, is residual, into adulthood. that is a mute point. child abuse - action, behaviours or inaction by an adult towards a child or young person that harms or endangers the child's: physical, psychological or emotional health, development or wellbeing...
emotional abuse is when a parent (or another adult) constantly puts you down, calls you names, makes you feel like you're worthless, or always acts like they don't want you or don't care about you.
neglect is when a parent doesn't look after your needs (like providing food, clothes, a safe home and medical attention).
physical abuse includes when a parent, a family member (such as a relative or a sibling) or an adult hits, bashes, or physically injures you, or threatens to hurt you.
sexual abuse is when a parent, caretaker, someone in your family, or someone else, makes you do sexual things... they might trick you, pressure you, scare you, confuse you or threaten you so that you feel like you have to do these things. 
it is difficult in adulthood to not continue the beliefs we were taught while growing up, especially by those that were entrusted to take care of us, thos who were meant to nurture us, to instil in us, the values and beliefs, we would take with us into the journey of adulthood - both of ourselves and of the world at large..

i think a lot about the sort of person i would be had i had a 'normal' life ... normal being relative of course, but, had my parents not died - had i not been handed on a silver platter to be raised by monsters, had someone stepped in and 'spoken out' about the conditions i lived in, had *i* spoken out? ...... would i have been a stronger person? would i have been taught skills on social relationships? would i have known how to create, develop and nurture friendships? would i have learned to 'talk' ? to interact with others? .. would i not be so vulnerable to abusive people now, as an adult? would people actually like me? would i not live on the edge of over alertness, highly atuned to every word being said around me, every action, waiting for the 'bad' to occur, keenly ready for and expecting it ... would i not always be searching for an area of escape in every situation/place i find myself, 'just in case' i need to ... would i *not* .................... ad infinitum.

whilst, we cant change the past, it is our childhoods that make us the people we are - as humans we can 'move on' but it is difficult to not question within ourselves, how to become better people, how to be 'normal', - because the one thing we dont feel we are, is that.

the past couple of years, i have grown, and changed. a lot. i know that. i even SEE that. i have actually been fortunate for the first time to have in my life,  people who are great role models. tenacious. women. role models. the epitome of strength.
from whom i have learned a great deal that i should have learned as i was growing up, as i was developing, as i was learning 'right' and 'wrong' .... not discovering now. they are quintessential to my life.

i think in great part, exercise - finding a more healthy 'escape' has also been one of the big factors ... i know when i am self loathing, if i go and run, or i go to the gym, even when i am feeling most anti-social, - then 90% of the time, i will feel a little better afterwards, even if for a short time ... this results in me doing possibly more exercise than i should at times, but it is still better therapy than any old behaviours i used to rely on ...

on the surface, i am definitely a new person. to those that know me now. to those that knew me before. but the underlying factor is, i havent really changed at all. things still affect me and i still revert to old behaviours when i let my guard down, when i don't remain in a vigilant alertness, when things become overwhelming .. sometimes, well, mostly, unknowingly.

but, while always playing with an ongoing journey of self development, i AM proud of the person i am becoming, compared to that which most of my adult life i have been ...
i came across this list a couple of days ago, that i wrote about myself maybe about 10 years ago ... i dont know that much has changed, but i think i have learned to deal with things better in some areas, when i know they have hit or when i am involved in those interactions ... yet i still have such a long way to go ...

a brief synopsis of how an abusive childhood affects in a lingering and on-going emotional way...
          guilt - shame
          fear - anxiety - depression
          self blame - dissatisfaction
          powerlessness - helplessness
          inability to say no to others in relationships
          lack of trust in others
          lack of trust of own perceptions and feelings
          emotional shut down or 'numbing'
          inability to see the positive aspects of oneself
          'splitting' mind from body
          feeling invisible
          problems giving or receiving affection
          difficulty relying on or believing others

physical symptoms of child sexual abuse for me include:
          withdrawing or flinching from touch
          sleep disturbance - insomnia - inability to sleep
          ability to 'oversleep'
          nightmares recurring /disturbing dreams
          not being 'present' in own body
          eating disorders
          drug/alcohol addictions
          suicidal thoughts/behaviours
          self abuse self mutilation self injury
          self imposed isolation

relationship problems for me include:
          idealising, over valuing, or devaluing others
          fear of commitment
          difficulty with trusting self/others with intimacy or closeness
          self imposed isolation or excessive neediness
          toleration of abusive patterns
          emotional and physical care taking of others at own expense
          involvement in abusive, criticising relationships
          giving or receiving abuse

sexual symptoms include:
          promiscuous behaviours
          inability to differentiate/combine sex.. affection... intimacy
          sexual orientation confusion
          sexual exploitation through prostitution
          sexualising all relationships
          sexual guilt about sexual pleasure
          belief that my own worth is only sexual
          intrusive flashbacks of forced sex (occasional)
          alternating between sexual abstinence and compulsivity

behavioural effects of sexual abuse for me include:
          impulsively entering/leaving relationships
          compulsive spending or working
          dangerous risk taking behaviours
i wonder so often about the residual effects of child abuse in others, wonder how many have overcome, how they do ... wonder how many people out there, are like i am, and are trying every single day to be a person that society wants us to be, to simply fit in, specially when amongst others - yet feel like they always fall short of expectation, regardless the effort ...
how damn tough is it?
cos sometimes, often, most of the time, i find it really really hard ....


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