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Unread 06-19-2009, 05:22 PM   #1
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Default How do I know if I was really abused?

So I have spent my life wondering why I am sooo angry and don't remember a happy childhood. I sometimes think it was because I was abused, but other times I just think it was because I was selfish and bad as a kid. I know there were hard things but what makes something abuse? And the kinds of abuse, like physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and any others, but what makes each one true abuse?
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Unread 06-21-2009, 03:34 PM   #2
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Heart Re: How do I know if I was really abused?

there is no "true" abuse... you seek a definition or decision line that will justify either what happened to you, or to justify how you feel about it. There isn't a thin line somewhere or a formula.

i struggled with this myself... a long time with my ex... and now again with the past trauma work. Labels matter to me and i'll share what i've learned in working through the abuse by my husband...

i personally believe that i cannot be a survivor, or claim that term, until i can also claim that i was the victim of abuse. Call it target if it fits better for you. People dont like the word victim, but survivor was out of my grasp. i felt like i deserved or caused the abuse and so i had not right to claim i was being abused. Being able to say i was being victimized mattered a lot to me. But the bigger issue is that i felt i deserved what i got... that it was ok to treat me that way.

my T is helping me define new labels for the past trauma stuff now but i can't use any yet. Fortunately he has had zero trouble in instantly identifying things... for him there is no question... for me i question every word and feeling.

to decide if your experiences were abuse you can do a few things...
*one, ask here, like you have done
* two, ask yourself if your experiences were happening to someone else, would you call it abuse?
* read material in the area you are looking at

... but whether it is or it isn't, it's your feelings that matter. If your history bothers you then talk to a T about it. Find someone objective and talk. It very well might be abuse related...

but you know, it is ok to have issues with your childhood without it meaning that you were abused per se. The right mix of love, etc for *you* might not have been what was there.

you don't have to have been abused to be suffering inside... it isn't like that. Being abused isn't a special pass to feeling bad and it being ok. It's ok to feel bad regardless.

i used to think that kids who had been victims of csa were allowed to feel pain, but not me... women who were beaten could feel pain, but not me. People around us will have broad differences in how they view people and what they call abuse or not... it doesn't make it ok, it doesn't define it, and it doesn't mean that other types of suffering are not valid.

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Unread 06-21-2009, 11:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: How do I know if I was really abused?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Candika View Post
there is no "true" abuse... you seek a definition or decision line that will justify either what happened to you, or to justify how you feel about it. There isn't a thin line somewhere or a formula.

i struggled with this myself... a long time with my ex... and now again with the past trauma work. Labels matter to me and i'll share what i've learned in working through the abuse by my husband...

i personally believe that i cannot be a survivor, or claim that term, until i can also claim that i was the victim of abuse. Call it target if it fits better for you. People dont like the word victim, but survivor was out of my grasp. i felt like i deserved or caused the abuse and so i had not right to claim i was being abused. Being able to say i was being victimized mattered a lot to me. But the bigger issue is that i felt i deserved what i got... that it was ok to treat me that way.

my T is helping me define new labels for the past trauma stuff now but i can't use any yet. Fortunately he has had zero trouble in instantly identifying things... for him there is no question... for me i question every word and feeling.

to decide if your experiences were abuse you can do a few things...
*one, ask here, like you have done
* two, ask yourself if your experiences were happening to someone else, would you call it abuse?
* read material in the area you are looking at

... but whether it is or it isn't, it's your feelings that matter. If your history bothers you then talk to a T about it. Find someone objective and talk. It very well might be abuse related...

but you know, it is ok to have issues with your childhood without it meaning that you were abused per se. The right mix of love, etc for *you* might not have been what was there.

you don't have to have been abused to be suffering inside... it isn't like that. Being abused isn't a special pass to feeling bad and it being ok. It's ok to feel bad regardless.

i used to think that kids who had been victims of csa were allowed to feel pain, but not me... women who were beaten could feel pain, but not me. People around us will have broad differences in how they view people and what they call abuse or not... it doesn't make it ok, it doesn't define it, and it doesn't mean that other types of suffering are not valid.

Wow, we have a lot in common.....feeling deserving of abuse....struggling to consider myself a victim of abuse....not feeling the pain. I see so much of myself here....
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Unread 06-22-2009, 02:21 PM   #4
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Trig Re: How do I know if I was really abused?

I guess I too feel like much of the stuff was deserved, or that it was normal for the time anyway. I was hit and occasionally kicked, pulled by hair, grabbed and shook by the neck, hit with a wooden slat, and I think a lot of families did things like this 20 or 30 years ago. So I wonder if it can be called physical abuse. I was yelled at and put down all the time, but I was lazy so probably deserved all the teasing and yelling. My father was always hurting himself and doing crazy things. He would give me pain tolerance tests, which consisted of numerous types of inflicting pain at increasing levels. I was molested by my cousins but they were not much older than me, so technically it can't be called sa, but my grandfather's touching and things probably could, but I just don't know for sure. I had a bf who was super controlling and would not let me go to school and kept me from work at times, forced me to have sex with him often but told me I wanted it. Was always watching me knowing what I was doing, but at the time I didn't think it was abnormal, considering what I grew up with. It was very normal in that context, but when I looked it up, that might be classified as abusive relationship. He is my daughters father and made sexual comments about her as an infant that were so inappropriate and that is when i started to see that things were not right. i guess I would like a clear cut answer as to weather this were all abuse or not, because I feel so much pain from it all, and i want that pain to be justified. I feel like it is not justified if it is not abuse as I then deserved it all, and need to stop feeling bad for it. I want to stop feeling guilty for feeling pain over this, but I can't until I know. I know you said it doesn't matter and it is okay to feel bad even if it is not considered abuse, but I guess I just don't quite believe it is okay. So if it truly isn't abuse, then I guess I feel like I need to work thru it, to get over the feelings that I feel are not justified. I am afraid to talk this openly with my T. It is easier here, where no one really knows me, i think. I haven't even told my T all of the stuff that went on, it would take a long time to tell it all. Anywaya, Thanks so much for all the help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Candika View Post
there is no "true" abuse... you seek a definition or decision line that will justify either what happened to you, or to justify how you feel about it. There isn't a thin line somewhere or a formula.

i struggled with this myself... a long time with my ex... and now again with the past trauma work. Labels matter to me and i'll share what i've learned in working through the abuse by my husband...

i personally believe that i cannot be a survivor, or claim that term, until i can also claim that i was the victim of abuse. Call it target if it fits better for you. People dont like the word victim, but survivor was out of my grasp. i felt like i deserved or caused the abuse and so i had not right to claim i was being abused. Being able to say i was being victimized mattered a lot to me. But the bigger issue is that i felt i deserved what i got... that it was ok to treat me that way.

my T is helping me define new labels for the past trauma stuff now but i can't use any yet. Fortunately he has had zero trouble in instantly identifying things... for him there is no question... for me i question every word and feeling.

to decide if your experiences were abuse you can do a few things...
*one, ask here, like you have done
* two, ask yourself if your experiences were happening to someone else, would you call it abuse?
* read material in the area you are looking at

... but whether it is or it isn't, it's your feelings that matter. If your history bothers you then talk to a T about it. Find someone objective and talk. It very well might be abuse related...

but you know, it is ok to have issues with your childhood without it meaning that you were abused per se. The right mix of love, etc for *you* might not have been what was there.

you don't have to have been abused to be suffering inside... it isn't like that. Being abused isn't a special pass to feeling bad and it being ok. It's ok to feel bad regardless.

i used to think that kids who had been victims of csa were allowed to feel pain, but not me... women who were beaten could feel pain, but not me. People around us will have broad differences in how they view people and what they call abuse or not... it doesn't make it ok, it doesn't define it, and it doesn't mean that other types of suffering are not valid.

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Last edited by Piper16; 06-22-2009 at 05:27 PM.
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Unread 06-23-2009, 01:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: How do I know if I was really abused?

What matters is your coming to terms with what you went through, your feelings, emotions around it, and how it effects you in the present. If it is still in your life - by avoidance, or trapped in similiar patterns, then you know you have healing work to do.
Best to you!
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Unread 06-25-2009, 08:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: How do I know if I was really abused?

I think Kiya has spoken well. If the past continues to haunt you, has changed the way you feel about yourself, has taken away your dignity as a human being, has limited you, causes you to doubt your self worth, then, I believe, these actions constitute abuse. It doesn't matter what the norms were when you were growing up, nor how many other people endured similar kinds of experiences, if the memories continue to affect your life and your choices, then yes, i agree that paying attention to your emotions and working through this, with help, is warranted. You deserve to look at your history through your own spyglass. I wish you well.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 08:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: How do I know if I was really abused?

I struggle a lot with this question to. Mainly because I wasn't just a victim. Although I never SA anyone, I was a mean little kid who likely hurt others mainly repeating the aggression because that was what I knew.
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Unread 06-28-2009, 03:04 AM   #8
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Smile Re: How do I know if I was really abused?

Piper16,

It might help you if you look up a book on what Good parenting looks like. Sometimes we need to see what is right to be able to see what is wrong.

I personally have trouble with a dad teaching "pain tolerance" by inflicting pain on a child. Dad's should teach manners, problem-solving skills, help with homework, explain life as best he can and a Dad should provide for his child's physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

I'm old enough to be aware of different methods of "discipline" back then, but hitting a child with a bed slat and constantly deriding and putting a child down seems like very poor mothering. Mom's teach life skills and how to take care of your room, how to earn an allowance, how to treat siblings and many other skills. While no parent is all good or all bad, it is obvious that your relationship with your mom and your dad has left you with a ton of pain and bad feelings.

Speaking only for myself - I consider the actions you mentioned from your parents wrong. They would be labeled by me as "UNKIND AT BEST" AND "ABUSIVE AT WORST".

Where was the love and nurture, Piper?? I'm a mom to two adults now. I did not treat my children the way you were treated. If I had to punish them for something they did wrong, I explained why they were in trouble, what the consequences were going to be and as all was finished up I made sure they heard that I love them no matter what went on. There are NO perfect parents, but THE BOTTOM LINE IS LOVE, love that meets the childs genuine needs.

I've been kinda blunt here and I hope I haven't stepped out of line, but I know you are looking for some kind of criteria to help you tell what is what. You need some help to heal from your past (I didn't speak of the sexual abuse, but it is a significant need also, no grandparent should have any sexual contact with a grandchild, that is absolutely wrong)

I wish you help and peace,

Leslie
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