March 2019

Facing abuse and each other


Understanding the effects and assessing the damage caused by child abuse can take many years, sadly, there will be those that are never able to do so. For those that remain within the pain of their child abuse, life will always continue to be a struggle. Albeit the child abuse adult survivor themselves, or a loved one, and at times both. It is important for us to remember that child abuse is not only felt by that child abuse recovering adult. Understanding, or connecting, is painful. At times it may seem easier to avoid. Looking into the face of that painful abuse to achieve that understanding, for many, is something they will never be able to do in unity. But if we were able to dissect each set of their emotions independently, it would be extremely enlightened. Quite simply, we would find two very different set of emotions. Although inexplicably linked. For that child abuse adult in recovery, they may still be struggling to go within. They may not as yet found, or possess the strength in which to do so. For their significant other, well they have only ever seen their loved one’s abuse from the outside looking in. Which is unfortunate, because at times the difference can unwittingly create an unintended impasse.

That child abuse adult may have openly chosen to stay hidden and withdrawn from the world, they just can’t face that experience of movement. I’m talking here about a movement, which will enable them to dig within their shadow self. On the flip side, we also have to understand, that the subject matter is so extremely sensitive for their partner to address. Their loved one’s child abuse is of course within their realm of acquired knowledge, but how can they truly understand? How do they approach that conversation within a margin of complete safety for them both?

It must feel as if they are about to enter into a dark hole somewhere out there in the abyss. Ever present at the forefront of their mind is to comfort, by saying just that. They understand. But in all truth, they are fully aware that they really can’t. That of course, is not a failure to consider on their part it is just the reality of the situation. The subject matter they are facing was never within any mainstream curriculum, just where do you go to experience such knowledge without the experience? That doesn’t mean that they are not trying to understand. They can plainly see the pain that their loved one is consumed with, that has never been the problem. But trying to support without real knowledge is extremely difficult, at times, even the professionals put their hands up in desperation.

If an adult child abuse survivor has chosen not to look towards their own recovery, or to share openly with their loved one. For the most, they have convinced themselves that it is safer not to do so. This can be for a multitude of reasons, and those they feel they can only share, with their broken child within. For some, a choice is made to stay within denial. Well, that of course, comes with its own set of concerns. In time, they will hopefully find that strength in which to address their shattered past. For the person that is sitting on the outside of that abuse, still searching for the knowledge of understanding. There is the pain of not knowing how.

It is a huge challenge, to be able to sit and converse within this painful subject. Because in all truth once entered, it will be without the aid of any safety net. They’ve arrived there without the experience of child abuse themselves, and for most, they will feel, that whatever they say it could never make a difference? If their loved one is completely within a self-enforced positioning of exclusion, how can any movement be made in addressing their pain? Surely, they feel, this is of their loved one’s choosing. Maybe they wish to stay within that place, other than to painfully address their abuse. Could that be right? So what can be achieved if they have chosen that for themselves? Clearly, they don’t want that painful interaction? But don’t they?

Just maybe, they are acutely aware and can recognise, the adverse effect on the person that they love. They may even feel, that the knowledge of their abuse alone, is already too much for their partner to hold. Holding is so very difficult and they are so very aware of that. They have become masters in doing so when they were forced to hold that secret. All the while being told that not holding it alone, would bring immense pain to those that they loved. They can’t do other than to be so very reluctant to pass that measure holding on to the one that they love. Holding hurts.

They have never really shared that secret in its full capacity, they are just so used to holding it alone. As an adult survivor, they may also feel, that they can’t, or that they won’t, put their relationship in such jeopardy. There will always be an underlining feeling even if it is not explainable. A legacy left to them long after the abuse has subsided. Just how much can they divulge within their approach to that loved one? Should it be head-on letting the pain escape? Commit to full expression. For many, they truly feel, that the end result of doing so, may mean that they lose everything. How can they judge what is too much for their partner to digest? Will it change how their loved one sees them? That feeling is simply felt, because of how they see themselves. They have no chance in hell of knowing their full reaction on impact. Just maybe, they can’t find the trust within themselves in which to try. Because once out there is no putting it back in the box.

To lose more within their salvaged world, well, that is something that they are not sure they could survive. It is important to realise here, that we are looking at the situation through their eyes. Not our own. That feeling remains alive and it is so very real and deeply felt. If we were to analyse this a little further, there are questions they ask of themselves often. Can I really dispense of my pain in that place? How could that be fair? Should I ask if it is OK to do so? Will the reply only be obliging? That list is endless. The reaction from their loved one is unknown, even armed with some knowledge. It is the unknown which is feared, that is a place in which they once had to survive. That place they will never forget to return to it. Well, that may seem unthinkable. A tirade of voices within never seem to stop asking the questions, whilst they are never quite able to correlate any reply. We also need to recognise that this stance can also be used as a great tool for avoidance, in the convincing of themselves towards abstaining. Let’s not forget that it can also be the direction that they themselves prefer, in essence, it is their choice, and that is a rarity. For some, that avoidance has been in place for so many years that it has become an art form.

For that significant other, yes, of course, they are aware of their partner’s abusive childhood and their memories. Even so, they may feel that there is no real need for full disclosure. What would it achieve? Somehow, they are afraid to look towards any real answer. Is it not safer for them both if they let it stay where it sits? In all truth, often, they just can’t or don’t want to dig within that painful place. OK, I’m aware that may seem as if they are being somewhat callous, or uninterested. But that will be their intention. Believe me in that. It is fear which guilds them towards that place because getting it wrong is a huge weight to carry, by choosing to abstain. Well, that weight has been removed. They may feel that if the said abuse were to erupt beyond all control, they would then be consumed. Deep within an overriding feeling of helplessness. So do they then choose to carry on like nothing is wrong? Do they stand toe to toe with it? Their thoughts at that moment in time are a disjointed mess, only able to revolve around that particular day. Is it easier to convince themselves that tomorrow will be different, that everything will settle down? But will it?

For a child abuse surviving adult within this relationship, the altering turn of events in order to defuse will be completely confusing? Yes, they don’t want to look within themselves, because it is still painful. But equally, they just can’t understanding why their significant other is choosing to withdraw. Yes, I know, that may make little sense. But whilst embedded within their past abuse and those painful memories. Well, there was never any real sense to be found in which to rationalise. So here it is that we find them both. Facing each other whilst trying to control the situation, but what that so immensely difficult, is that they are also trying to control their own set of emotions. Both or either may feel at that time that talking about the said abuse, well it would only serve to inflame, the already igniting situation. They have reached an impasse. No movement can be felt in either direction, whilst neither may really understand why. It is the elephant in the room as large as life, taking up all the space. It is far too huge emotionally to push it into a corner.

They are within deadlock. Any entry into each other’s emotions remains firmly locked it is just too difficult to share. Whilst in truth, they each hold the key in which to unlock that shared suffering. That elusive locked imagination truly exists. Imagination, we know just where that can take them. Sadly, they just don’t know how to approach the other. They are both locked within the fear of bringing pain to the other. So why? To be emotionally held within a place of unknown fear, whilst gripping tightly on to your own world. Well, that fear is unimaginable. Fear will always override everything else so completely. It is as much as they can do, just to hold on to their own life raft.

So they say that love makes the world go around, so does it really? Sadly not for all. Not when that emotional turbulence is still so deeply bedded within, and the memory of abuse seems to be the only thing within their world. Well, sadly then even love somehow seems to stand alone in the shadow. Within a journey towards recovery, there are real needs which will need to be addressed, alongside that said emotion of love. A place of understanding, a place to understand, a place to feel held. To know how it feels to hold without the pain. Before that point of achievements, then there is not much which will compare to these requirements. Love, of course, is seen and recognised in their here and now. But it still stands alone. Those accomplishments are sorely needed, to reach a complete place of healing. For a broken person, desperately trying to become whole, there is a real deep-seated need to be loved. But just what is this thing they call love? To be standing on the precipice looking towards a sheer drop into oblivion, for that abused child, the understanding of the word love within any natural state. Well, that said love had so very long ago fell off the podium.

Whilst writing this article today, it is within all hope, all of the above will be achieved for every child abuse victim. To feel nurtured and loved in life is so very deserving, for every one of those child abuse survivors. Life has already tormented them for so long within their wakeful hours, within their sleepless nights. Within their childhood and beyond. My hope is that peace love and understanding in every way, will one day reside in a place where there is none. Love in all sense for a child abuse recovering adult. Well, it has not always been something that was looked upon with joy. Their abuser will have almost certainly used that word so many times throughout their abuse. They are left questioning themselves endlessly, is that really love? For them, it would have seemed extremely preferable to be unloved and not abused. We can’t help but see their confusion around this emotion called love.

That confusion, is also easily understood, within the mind of their significant other. Although very different nevertheless there is confusion. It will never be a walk in the park to watch someone that you love within a world of pain. At times, there will be a real need to reassure that love felt towards them. Nor is it easy to get the balance right on the tight rope of what if? What if? That is so very daunting. What if the choice made on approaching their loved one’s abusive past is not the right one? Just how do they enter a dimension that for themselves was never experienced, and feel confident that their input will be well received or even helpful? Wow, that is a tough one. But nothing in life is unachievable if given time. Well, that may be the one thing that they have in abundance.

The sorry story that surrounds child abuse is that no one will ever have all of the answers. As for myself, I can speak from my own understanding. I also have the experience of my own child abuse in which to draw upon. So I’m guessing that maybe I have a few. I can also draw upon the many heart-warming, although painful interactions, of those I connect with whilst conveying their emotions also. Albeit through my own website, my many radio shows, or the huge amount of emails in which I receive daily. My feelings around this are that any interaction is better once shared. We are inexplicably linked through the devastation of our past, so let’s use that force to the full capacity. Together, we have never been in such a powerful position.

They say that love shouldn’t hurt, but sadly it does, when love has been somewhat mired……

Migration

They say there is safety in numbers

In 2011 after many years of considerable thought, I found the determination and strength in which to be able to write and publish my book “There’s a fine line” The journey that I was about to embark on in truth could lead me anywhere but I was just so very tired of standing still.

It was a difficult process for sure but until I found movement in using my own direction I would never really know. What was completely clear was that I had to deal with the residue of my emotions. Emotions within me, that were still holding fast to their power and they had the ability to tie me up in knots inside. If I’m honest they had me within a continual place of circling. Questioning my abuse within that circle and as we are aware a circle has no end. But where did I start to write a book like that? Where did my abuse begin and end? Because it still felt so very much like it had never left. Within me, there were so many emotional wounds I needed to heal that was still so extremely painful. In truth, once I had begun it was seemingly no longer the issue. I was on a roller coaster without the ability in which to stop, I had to expunge that which was inside of me before it destroyed any margin of sanity that I still felt was mine

My story is accessable to everyone in the form of a free e-book. I invite you to take this journey with me. Who knows just maybe it may help you find your own beginning………

The direct link to obtain a free copy is within the navigation tap.

Since that time I have been active within the world of adult abuse support and recovery. To be able to continue I had the task of setting up a website my book alone was no longer enough. In doing so I was extremely hopeful my words would continue to contribute towards another’s recovery. I felt such a powerful emotion to reach out of and beyond my own abuse, towards all of those that were still within their own struggle daily. Today I continue to write and post new articles within my website, hopefully, I am able to give just that little bit more insight into child abuse. After all, my insight was deemed through my own exposure and it will never be forgotten.

For everyone the way in which we move towards recovery will almost certainly be very different, therefore, I am only able to contribute the knowledge from my own experience. Yes in all truth, the damage inflicted on each child may differ because their abuse always had its own direction.

I receive many emails on a daily basis directly through my website from those still looking towards their own recovery, I feel so extremely privileged to be a part of that. The emails I receive daily seem to be unbelievable but they are so very real. To think that another human being would inflict such devastation upon a child is hard to imagine. Sadly, where child abuse is concerned it seems that the imagination of those who abuse is limitless.

Every email I receive will in time receive a reply although done so in date order. With repeated succession within those emails, the subject matter I will address below is always so extremely paramount. Quite simply it is repeatedly asked. Resoundingly expressed, that dark penetrating feeling of not knowing where they belong or who they are.

I have been a guest speaker on many radio shows I have also been asked to return on many occasions. Those radio show hosts that are also forthright with their own input surrounding child abuse. Often exposed to the horror of child abuse themselves. Across the miles within that calibration, we try our best to contribute towards another’s recovery. We stand together with one aim to create awareness around the atrocities of child abuse.

Being a part of the NAASCA family has created a whole new level in which I’m able to communicate and it’s something that is felt deeply. When I connect with another child abuse survivor, who could be anywhere in the world, it’s as if they are sitting next to me. That common bond will always shine through and is exchanged without words. I also have the privilege of being a UK representative for NAASCA to be included within that platform.

The piece below is my attempt at trying to explain just how it feels to be that lost child and an adult survivor. To address that ever burning unanswered question I spoke about above, just where do they belong? I hope that I am successful within that attempt, it’s an experience that so many have shared to include my self among them. Travelling down this road was never going be easy but it is achievable and given time we can all walk that road to its end.

I will be using an analogy today as a tool in which I hope will assist me whilst writing. I hope that everyone will be able to relate to the subject matter, equally I’m so very sure that it will be understood completely. It’s a common emotion shared between all those who have suffered within the complexity of child abuse It’s seen without question, but why? Simply said, we have all suffered to find and address our ability within that emotion of integration. Life it seems has left us with a completely empty space when it comes to this emotion and the feeling of painful separation. It can take many years to learn how to migrate to that place where everybody else just seems to fit. During which we will at times feel that others only hinder us rather than help, and for that, I am unable to offer up any explanation.

OK, if we were to think about a flock of swallows they know exactly where they belong and their direction of travel is obvious. They are within the group and there is the consistency of the whole. If the group move they follow it’s never second guessed. They are a part of that bond. Migration whilst either moving away from or progressing towards matters not, they follow because they belong within it.

They have a shape that feeling of togetherness a place within the world in which they fit. I don’t suggest here that we should all behave like those swallows, of course not, neither am I saying that we should mindlessly or blindly follow. But is that really what they are doing? Maybe they are in fact engaged with the art of following mindfully. It’s a huge difference. The point I’m making here is that they have a direction they are among kindred spirits, they understand each other and they are able to relate.

Migration adheres it is part and parcel of their being, overly more, regardless of where they may be they want to be there. Not to leave with the others when movement occurs would leave them completely exposed, not sticking with the flock? Well, that could have a very adverse effect. This effect is not created by the others on leaving, it’s created because they no longer know how to be, where they belong, or with whom. By sticking together they are able to feel safe, protected, and recognised, most importantly they recognise.

Do they not say that there is safety in numbers? That child was alone…….

Within that accepted group, they feel held supported and understood. They belong. Within this analogy, the image above captures just how strong that bond is felt they are within that flow. So when ready to move it is within that complete structure. There is no need to glance behind they know the others within their group are there with them. Without a glance, they are felt and they remain complete.

So just where is that place to be found for an abused child? Where do they go to find their place in life where they will also fit? Somewhere that they can also feel complete and within that feeling of oneness? The answer to that question is nowhere. That feeling just isn’t there. Who can they feel safe enough with to find that integration? They have never had that experience of just being, they have never experienced a group in which to belong, or been anywhere even near to another’s protection.

In time, as that recovering adult abuse survivor, they will have access to a different knowledge where they will then understand completely. Where their questions have answers. You see they were always within a potential group for inclusion, but even so, once met it will feel just as equally foreign to them. After so many years of being held in forced exclusion, they now have to learn the art of inclusion. But what does that mean? Avoidance through their experience of the unknown is just so strong, and the inclusion that should have been theirs as a child, well, that has to be learnt. Are they even recognised in that so unfamiliar place? They as sure as hell can’t recognise it.

As a very young child, they wouldn’t have had any awareness that now an adult is be armed with, not that the adult knows just what to do with it either. When faced with that knowledge that they weren’t alone, just how can that broken inner child understand this adult world of abuse in recovery? In all honesty, whilst alone, everything they thought was true now isn’t. They were told that they were special and just how much they were loved, how lucky they were to be wanted. The question they now find themselves asking is how could they have been? The only thing that they were told made them special is ripped away within seconds, the vessel of their being feels far emptier than before. When they have experienced nothing other it’s always going to be profoundly felt, emotions that we struggle to understand will not always be under our control.

It was difficult before this knowledge all they were doing was just existing, somehow they feel that this knowledge has the potential of taking away far more than it gives. We would have to be within that troubled mind to have any hope of understanding.

If questions were asked all those years ago at best they were left unanswered, and in truth never really knowing what they were asking. As that adult, they at least now they understand the questions, but all answers will elude them for a time. Sadly at times when that knowledge arrives it’s just far too late to assist that adult, it seems far safer to hold on to that abused child. The other option in the unknown.

If we think about the analogy that of the sparrows we are then able to relate to that child’s situation, as they desperately try to find out for themselves where they also fit. God knows they have experienced such painful exposure, they were alone, and somehow also badly different. They were never safe within any structure. An oddity, within a world, that they just didn’t understand and unable to share with anyone. The empty space they were within must have felt just as vast as the sky above carrying those tiny birds in unity.

By sheer definition, that’s just where their abuser had placed them within a place of secrecy while exposed to all of the elements, to include, any knowledge of who they were, or just how to be. They never had a group enabling them to see that life could be any different. They had never felt held there was only the abuse. There was no access for them to have any hope of understanding differently. There truly wasn’t. As that recovering adult, it will take much adjustment to integrate with life and the biggest adjustment of all will be to trust. Trust is delicate, it will mean sharing those abused pieces of themselves, and in order to gain that trust, we need to allow them the time in which to give it.

When suffering within the repercussions of their abuse as children it would, of course, be less than helpful to have joined any particular group. As that child, they would never have felt able to hold another’s abuse as well as their own, that knowledge would have only served to add to their confusion. Just like a sadly lost abandoned sparrow, they were splintered away from everyone by their abuser’s design and hidden away from any inclusion. There was just no placement in which to be so you can clearly see their dilemma.

Sitting on the outskirts of life is so completely devastating whilst at all times feeling different and not knowing why? What makes this so completely overwhelming is that they feel as if they are not even noticed, whilst they can do nothing other than to notice, that everybody else is not quite like them. Quite simply, they are not a part of anything in which they felt mattered. All they have ever really felt with consistency was their abuse, within that the newly acquired knowledge it’s now seen and it’s felt immensely. They were only ever owned……

An adult child abuse survivor in time they will come to that realisation, that whilst within that dark macabre act they were never alone, but it’s still met with loneliness which fills them. As they try to battle with this new realisation of their ever changing vision, and regrettably, they now understand the price in which they had paid. That price had been their childhood……

That feeling of not belonging never really leaves any of us there will always be some residue, but with time it can be distanced to a place of management.

To arrive within that placement in the here and now even if engaging with support they will experience the feeling of being empty of everything, the person they always thought they were just isn’t. When this occurs they can be continually pulled back within that controlled abusive past as they engage with that feeling of being lost.

At times the experience of being pulled back and within their childhood memories of abuse will happen and it seems somehow inevitable, during that time all we can ever do is to sit and wait. It’s surely not where they want to it’s where they are being taken, So why? It’s where they felt inclusion and yes it is anything but logical, but whilst there, they experience some remanence of belonging. Their need to feel a part of something at that moment in time prevalent and it can’t be ignored.

It’s not so difficult for us to see that even whilst within that solitary imposed confinement at least they were a part of something. Oddly within that place they had never felt lost, they couldn’t lose direction when its something they never had. Although the direction to be followed was that of their abuser’s it was still a direction. How do they shake off that life long feeling of being directed?

They will always feel slightly less lost whilst being within the known, the unknown, well, that’s a different story. The unknown freedom and is feared, but why? Because it now means that they have to find their own direction. Through that acquired knowledge they are now also armed with a staunch resentment of being directed at all. Where do they go? They are back within that never-ending circle, once more within that solitary confinement. Only this time its self imposed.

Confinement is a place in which us humans will never bode well……..

It’s such a dreadful reality, that at times in adulthood regression is experienced towards that child and to where that damaged child had no control, at that moment in time control becomes just too difficult for that damaged adult to hold. They need to exercise control but where is the experience in which to do so? Or is it now that control that is holding them? That, of course, means that there is no control whatsoever. By returning to that child within they are able to avoid that much requested emotion of self control. No direction is required within and there they will stay until direction is no longer asked of them.

knowledge of and understanding abuse is so completely different and the adult they have now become is as equally devastated. Only in time within self realisation will that migration to a better place seem possible. Where they can start to feel that yes they do fit within the jigsaw of life they just need to keep looking. There is now an understanding that transition is possible, and recognition that it was never a weight that could have been carried as that child. On reaching this point in our recovery we then truly understand our inner child and its where we are now ready to take on the responsibility as that adult complete.

With work and support and the coming together it’s at last clearly seen that placement in life is possible, that flock in which to belong had always been there. A flock in which myself and many others will spend a lifetime trying to bring together. Enabling adult abuse survivors to find that place in which they belong is extremely paramount. Somewhere that they are understood but what’s far more crucial for them to reach a place of understanding.

Birds will always experience movement by opening their wings……

But the movement for a child locked within abuse will never experience such freedom……