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Unread 03-19-2017, 08:00 PM   #1
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Default Do the effects of childhood abuse become stronger with time?

My childhood and teen years were pretty unpleasant. My father was an alcoholic, my mother would easily get angry at me and beat me and shout at me, the most common place for beatings was the dinner table, because my mom and dad would get angry at me eating slowly. None of the relatives intervened and I was later blamed for my sulky nature, anger outbursts, standing up to my dad and causing a scandal. I was being told I'm nothing and won't achieve anything in life, won't be loved by anyone. I was miserable and depressed but also angry at them and this anger drove me forward, made me confront me feelings of depression (not in a kind way, I would sometime slap myself out of feeling down). I've dealt with eating disorder, panic attacks, hypochondria that was masking anxiety and depression, I have been to therapy, read a lot, spoken to friends with similar experiences. And every time I get a better sense of the roots of my current low self-esteem, anxiety, and recurrent depression. But I am nevertheless, now and then, reduced to a complete mess, thrown into a dark and cold place, paralysed by my feeling of no self worth, ashamed at having thought I have skills and knowledge, convinced that everybody sees right through me the worthless pretentious bore that I am. And although I somehow manage to slowly confront there feelings, with help or without, the very fact that they come back, and seem more scary and more dangerous, makes me feel discouraged. I feel like I have less trust in myself and less confidence in my abilities than I used to have in the midst of my miserable childhood and teens. And I worry that the recurrent wreckage that I experience make me a less able person - both professionally and personally. I worry that nobody will ever love me or value me for knowledge and skills, because every now and then I am reduced to a numb, silent, scared, hurting mess of self-loathing. I've never even had a lasting relationship and I'm in my mid-30s. And, although I know I'm not the only one in this position, I feel anxious that I've not been able to form an intimate relationship. And I've never held a long-term job that leads to a career prospect, mostly because I've always wanted to work in academic research, which is why I'm doing a PhD now, but I have all these fears that I'm too old, too crippled by my emotions to be able to have this type of career. Ok, I kind of went off-road.
The bottom line is, I want to know if other people experience the feeling that instead of getting better, the aftermath of childhood keeps haunting them in ever-changing forms and somehow gets worse because it makes them feel like being stuck with the same feeling of worthlessness no matter how much they try and achieve things in their life. And what advice can you give?
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Unread 03-20-2017, 03:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Do the effects of childhood abuse become stronger with time?

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The bottom line is, I want to know if other people experience the feeling that instead of getting better, the aftermath of childhood keeps haunting them in ever-changing forms and somehow gets worse because it makes them feel like being stuck with the same feeling of worthlessness no matter how much they try and achieve things in their life. And what advice can you give?
I grew up in a very abusive home and have always been haunted by it. I have gone through stages where I handled everything ok, but now, in the last year have been struggling very badly. The last year has been very stressful for me due to my daughter's newly diagnosed mental illness and her two hospitalizations.

I would say that the more stress I am dealing with in my life, the more I am haunted by my past. It's like I have this stress threshold that I hit and after that I become very self-critical, un-trusting, hyper-vigilant etc. Granted, those thoughts are there before that threshold, but I can quiet them and ignore them.

As for advice. I'm not sure what to say here except that you are not the only one. There are so many people that have struggled after being subjected to childhood abuse.

I'm going to recommend reading up on the condition that doesn't exist officially in the DSM-V. Complex PTSD. There is a board on the topic on this site and they have links to information about it. Many therapists aren't overly familiar with it, or maybe avoid mentioning it because it isn't an official diagnosis.

I'm not saying that you have this, it's not my place to do that. I have come to the conclusion that I do have it as I meet all the criteria at some level. You may come to the conclusion that you don't have it.

Best wishes.
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Unread 03-20-2017, 04:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: Do the effects of childhood abuse become stronger with time?

Thanks! Yes, it actually helps to be reminded I'm not the only one. Sometimes I feel like a freak. Sorry to hear about your daughter, sounds quite stressful. I had read about complex PSTD before and also thought that it matches a lot of the things I've experienced and experience.

The stress factor sounds like a good explanation. Unfortunately, it's not possible to avoid stress at all times. I guess mindfulness should help but I still haven't been able to connect the control I have on my thoughts - I can do the CBT thing and eventually overcome the bad thoughts - with the lack of control over my feelings. I can sense when a bad time is coming but I panic and I'm not able to prevent it from happening.
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Unread 03-20-2017, 07:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Do the effects of childhood abuse become stronger with time?

Don't let the past predict your future. you get to choose what to do in life. I started school at 60! It is never too late to do what you want to. xo

I grew up without a father and an abusive mother, extreme poverty, etc....and joined the army, married an abuser, etc.

I realized I could do nothing about the past and was determined to make something of myself.

My life story won a scholarship at 60 and AI am a Sophomore at 70.
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Unread 03-20-2017, 08:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: Do the effects of childhood abuse become stronger with time?

When I look back into my past I realized I had to take some time in my life to process it correctly. It took awhile & caused a lot of hurt not only to myself but also my family.
But then I realized it was time to let the past go & stop processing it. Like a drew a line in the sand of my life & told myself I won't go back there & dredge it all up again bec I can get lost in it & it really doesn't help.

I remember a story in the Bible about...I think...(sorry) the disciples going into a town & preaching & if they weren't accepted they were to go to the edge of the town, take off their sandals, shake the sand off them & continue to the next.
Sorry for the religious example, but I like to think of the action of acknowledging our past, seeing it & shaking the sand off & leaving it. I'm not saying put up a solid wall & never go back, but to acknowledge it, then look at the present; then forward.
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Unread 03-20-2017, 08:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: Do the effects of childhood abuse become stronger with time?

I had a similar abuse experience as a child over eating at the dinner table.

I really didn't think about that much as I grew up. I went on to teen years with different issues, then college, then eventually marriage and motherhood.

My worst problems started from conflict with husband.

This brought me to this website, and I started reflecting back to my childhood trauma, remembering that abusive situation with my mother.

So I confronted them! I stood up to my mother and all the family members who sat by and watched that abuse and did nothing. I pleaded with them for empathy.

But history repeated itself and I got more abuse.

I'm glad I tried to get restitution, but I learned you can never go back.

I'm sorry I didn't have good news for you, but maybe my experience will save you some futility.

Good luck in your journey, be good to yourself.
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Unread 03-20-2017, 08:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Do the effects of childhood abuse become stronger with time?

The resentment seems to have grown stronger.
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Unread 03-20-2017, 09:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: Do the effects of childhood abuse become stronger with time?

Hi beta.

No advice mate. `Just empathy`

My child-hood was not that good at all, too long to mention! `BUT` over the years` got worse and worse `UNTIL` that day with the ROPE back in September of last year!!!! Then I saw a Psychiatrist for the first time in December last year! "NOW" I am at PEACE with my dad now!! ` Predominantly it was the resentment for my dad, which I had since I was in my young teens` (Probably due to the fact being ill treated un-fairly, un-like my brothers`, who whey`re loved always`!! And maybe due to the fact his Sister,(My aunti) sexually assaulted me when I was 6yrs and my mum had not long been killed in a car-crash!!!) `No-wonder my f*****g head is MASHED`!!
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Unread 03-20-2017, 11:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Do the effects of childhood abuse become stronger with time?

(((beta))),

Your entire first post is reflecting what you were encouraged to believe about yourself by growing up with dysfunctional ignorant parents.

If you have ever spent time with an abused animal, often these animals struggle with trusting and a friendly hand reaching out to pat them actually scares them, sometimes to a point where they literally shiver in fear. One can take a lot of time to rescue them and give them love, but they never forget the abuse they suffer and will always be more guarded than an animal that never faced abuse. However, often the animals that are rescued and finally get a lot of love can be the most loyal and protective. Often there are stories told about these animals that are so touching.

Human beings are also "animals" however we have larger brains and are more complex in nature, we have so many of the normal animal instincts that are based on a design meant for our survival.

I have a Mustang that was captured in the wild, and he did suffer abuse. When I got him he was hit in the face so hard that it shattered part of his jaw and he had some teeth missing and some that were dangling and some that were broken under his gums. He was head shy, especially with men and especially with men wearing baseball caps. To my total amazement, he still had a "good" heart and was willing to "try and learn and engage". Me and my daughter worked with him and my daughter invested a lot of time getting him to trust being saddled up and groomed and slowly ridden. YET, he will ALWAYS be sensitive and he always needs a person to take a few minutes with him "before" handling him, so he can size that person up until he can feel he can "trust". Once that happens he is such a good boy, not a mean bone in his body.

When we spent time with "his" trauma therapy, YES, I am sure he struggled with fear and doubt like you have described, yet, not as sophisticated because we are more intelligent and complex. We never forget "hurts", we are designed that way not only for our survival, but, to also learn and share.

One day someone said to me, "We are baffled that even though you were told not to do this, you would "risk" being tossed out and shunned and not allowed to "engage". I thought a lot about that, and I realized all the things I did in my life that were "brave" where I did risk being shunned and tossed out, the times I WAS tossed out too. And many of these times, I would not play along and chose to "help" someone or even an animal that was IMPORTANT yet that others did not want to see or say anything about, or think about.

That person will never be anything, why do you bother to "care". We will shun you and be mean to you and ignore you if you don't "listen" to us. I faced the same thing with my ponies and horses too. Even with that Mustang, "he is wild, and spooky, you are wasting your time, he will never be anything".

The worst was my older brother, he was considered "the bad, stupid, child" and had NO FRIENDS, and he was abused because he was "different" and did not fit in. That is when I started to make it a point to reach out to him so he did not have "no one". Thing is I always thought "he" was the trauma victim, never really realized that I was also badly traumatized by witnessing what I saw happen to him. This is something I began to do and experience when I was only a young child.

I have lots of experience of the "We are baffled that you would take such a risk".

I took risks ALL MY LIFE and faced a lot of shunning. But, I also saw the rewards of that risk taking. One day I went to a horse show to see my daughter show her horse. This horse she was showing was BADLY abused when she got him. He was lame and so confused in that he had been ridden and pushed so hard at such a young age that it physically hurt him, and all he did was try to protect himself from being hurt and he would often rear up instead of go forward because going forward became something that would hurt him (he has scars on his sides from someone using sharp spurs on him). He hated even going into a riding ring because that became the place he would experience so much pain. For a while he would not even want a saddle on his back because someone put a saddle on him that did not fit him right, so it "hurt" him. The trainer that owned him was considering euthanizing him and he was only 3 going on 4 and he had so much growing to do yet, just a baby in that he was/is a warmblood and they grow and develop a lot longer than other horses. My daughter had wanted to buy him before he suffered all this abuse but this trainer came up with money faster. So, my daughter saw how he was "before" he got so messed up.

I remember seeing him when my daughter first got him, he was thin and so babyish looking, did not think he was a good looker really. My daughter said, "I have no goals for this horse right now, I am just going to see what I can do with him and see "if" he can be anything". There was gossip about this horse too, nothing positive at all and a waste of time and money". Yeah, but we had heard that before, nothing new.

My daughter began by riding him bareback down the trail and in fields, he would not go in a riding ring. It was hard for her because all the normal cues a horse learns meant pain to him so he tended to rear up. Just getting him to trust to go forward was a lot of work, time, patience. My daughter also spent time with a vet trying to figure out what was "hurting" in him too. She also got a chiropractor to work on him to help straighten his spine. The days were challenging, two steps forward, three steps back, lot of frustrations and patience. So the days turned into months and the work continued.

So here I am at this big horse show, it's important to understand that this horse show consisted of top riders, top trainers, and riders that were on horses that often cost anywhere from $50,000 upwards. I sat on the bleachers next to a family that have a second home in Spain and the woman has a pocketbook that costs more than my daughter's horse. They were spending more on the board and training for their daughter's horse then most middle class people spend on their home mortgage.

I had not seen my daughter's horse in quite a while, she never kept it at my small farm. Then I see her on her horse and I did not recognize the horse at all, he looked amazing. My daughter was entered in a jumper competition, there were 60 other riders in this competition, top barns, top trainers. I watched my daughter enter the ring on this horse and I could not believe what I was seeing. I could not believe what I was seeing considering the way this horse was, not even willing to go in a riding ring? Here he was not only willing, but jumping around a complicated course of big colorful challenging fences/jumps. Forward?, he was going forward at such a speed and willingness and I was shocked and yet at the same time hearing the other people on the bleachers wondering where this beautiful amazing horse came from.

Then I heard my daughter's name called as not only jumping all that course without knocking down any rails, but in the fastest time. I sat there watching rider after rider struggle to beat her time maybe 50 horses and riders as I think my daughter was the tenth rider, and still none had matched or beat my daughter's time. My daughter won, ended up being the champion out of all those top riders.

After my daughter's victory ride as I walked back to the horse trailer with her, she said, you know, I just wanted to see if I could compete with this class of riders. I looked up at her and said, "well, I think you got your answer to that don't you?". I think that what should be appreciated about that moment is how GENUINE it was, that my daughter genuinely did not know "if", and how she had not even imagined that when she took on this horse that was so messed up the owner was going to euthanize it and "EVERYONE was so baffled that she would risk the EFFORT'.

And while I am telling you this story, I would also like to mention how my daughter was learning disabled, made fun of for that, and she also rides and trains despite the fact that she has a floating spine and has to go to a chiropractor herself so he can work her discs that get displaced.

She did have one person that knew how much effort she put into this horse, a veterinarian that worked with her in figuring out the challenges created in this horse. She did make it a point to get off her horse, give this veterinarian a big hug and tell him this could not have happened without him.

My daughter did so well that year in the five big shows she saved up for to compete in that she qualified to be a part of a big competition that included the top 20 in the country. They could not believe she qualified for this in only five big shows. She competed against 20 other horses that had so much more training and experience, way beyond her horse, and she ended up coming in 4th place. One of the big shows she went to she stayed up all night braiding other people's horses so she would have enough money for her entry fees. She slept in her truck and got up very early so she could use the hoses meant for the horses to clean herself. She has so little sleep, but went into that competition and was champion. None of the other competitors (they are wealthy people), knew what she had to do just to be in that competition. Even I had not learned that until much later.

When you get so hard on yourself, think about this story as an inspiration. The world is full of people who make negative judgments, there can be some difficult messages that try to encourage negativity, to give up, give in and think badly of self. Not only when it comes to human beings, but with a horse that was almost euthanized or a human being that is considered a waste or something bad by so many, many that are baffled by any effort to look beyond what doesn't meet some kind of approval.

You are broken, and have some challenging pain, but you are not beat unless "you" decide you are.

I am sharing a video of the Mustang I have talked about in this post. He is still learning a lot in this video. The song is so appropriate because every single person you see touching or riding this Mustang has suffered abuse/trauma of some kind. Including the lady in that puffy coat and funny hat that the Mustang learned to trust enough to walk up to for a kind pat and kiss. He changes colors in the video because at times he is shaved as that way he doesn't get overheated in his winter coat. Also, when you see him buck up behind? He doing that because he is trying to figure out what to do with his hind end. The rider is saying in her riding, "that's ok, we will keep working at it, you will learn". There are a lot little things he is being taught in this video as he is doing everything you are watching. Just wanted you to know so you don't think he is being bad.

The young rider in the video struggles with severe anxiety attacks, from "trauma" she has experienced. Two struggle with PTSD. A new day, in all these lives "trying", including the animal that is benefiting despite how others were baffled that we would even think about trying to do what we did with him. Each person was "hurt" in some way being told they were never going to amount to anything or were shunned in some way (and so were these special animals). Or labeled in a mean way. The mark you see on this Mustang's neck is a freeze brand that captured Mustangs get that tells where they were captured, and what year. LOL, a lot of the wealthy show competitors thought is was a brand on and exotic import from Europe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXkMrWoWUCE

Last edited by Open Eyes; 03-20-2017 at 01:25 PM.
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Unread 03-20-2017, 01:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Do the effects of childhood abuse become stronger with time?

great story and web page video!!!
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