logo
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 958
BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet
Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 958
B,

Thank you for sharing your story. I too am a survivor and you described things that I believe are such normal feelings to have.

I'm 38 and at about your age I decided to finally keep my father out of my life. After years of asking him to go to therapy with me and admit and atone for things he did and him refusing, I just couldn't handle being in his presence any more. I felt like I was being asked to lie by my entire family every time I was near. It was exhausting emotionally and physically.

I think someone brought up the subject of forgiveness versus condoning. The first few years of therapy I was with therapists who kept hammering forgiveness in my head. It wasn't until I started seeing a therapist who made it okay for me to angry at my father that I actually started to heal.

To be fair to the other therapists, they reminded me so much of the denial that was going on in my family about the abuse and that is why I think it was so hard to relate to "forgiveness," a word that was used like a weapon in my family. I just believe that forgiveness is very personal and we should all deal with it in our own time. When others start to preach at us about it, I believe they are exhibiting their own fears.

I still have problems with PTSD but have learned coping skills along the way. Sometimes, I really have to focus on the here and now even making it a mantra such as, "I am in my body right here, right now. I am adult and in control of my life. etc." This may sound strange to someone who hasn't been through this, but to a survivor, it is very common. It is actually keeping my abuser out my life that has diminished these symptoms greatly.

I could very much relate to you saying how you feel like you wear your childhood on your sleeve and the need to explain yourself to others. I wince sometimes at how I've "explained" myself to people as if my behavior was so strange that they needed an instruction manual to understand me. They didn't and were usually uncomfortable (but supportive) of my explaining myself. These experiences helped to teach me that I don't have some big tattoo on my forehead that says "victim." It was just how I was feeling.

I'm so happy that you have a supportive husband. It is such a treasure. It is a long road to recovery and you have taken the first steps by exerting your independence. You will do what you need to do in your own time. You have already broken the cycle of abuse by being honest about it. I think you would make a wonderful mother.

Last edited by TrishPaganEd; 06/25/08 09:15 AM.

Trish Deneen
PatriciaJoy.com
Sponsored Post Advertisement
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,079
Parakeet
Offline
Parakeet
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,079
Much of what you all have written rings a clear and ominous bell with me. I was a victim of abuse from my mother, both verbal and physical. Her family knew about the abuse and yet no one ever came to my aid. It was just "accepted."

Let me say here that I came from a well-to-do family and that my mother was college-educated. I only state this to show that abuse covers all strata of socio-economics. Society seems to feel that abusive behavior is limited to poverty and illiteracy-that is so not the case.

My life changed drammatically when my father got custody of me at the age of twelve and I learned kindness and care from him and my stepmother.

It is amazing though how PTSD can affect you years later. I was watching some commentary on TV about children and summer fun and I had to turn it off. My childhood summers were forever scarred by abuse and, as B says, that little innocent girl who was me, died a long time ago.

I also had a tremendous amount of rage in me. I distanced myself from my mother's family and haven't seen these "collaborators in abuse" for years. Without them in my life, I was able to begin a new life.

B you can begin a new life and reinvent living.

Last edited by kristen houghton; 06/25/08 09:36 AM.

"Allow your dreams to become your plans."

Kristen

Kristen Houghton
Author and Relationship Writer
BellaOnline ALERT: Raw URLs are not allowed in these forums for security reasons. Please use UBB code. If you don't know how to do UBB code just post here for help - we will help out!
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 15
B
Newbie
OP Offline
Newbie
B
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 15
Thank you Trish and Kristen for your warm support and stories! It has been a strange last few days for me as the forum and members here have really opened my eyes to new possibilities of hope and living. I have a lot swirling around in my head now but I feel as though all of you have been there and I'm not alone with it anymore.

Kristen - My father too, is a well-to-do man, he owns his own business and makes good money, lives in a nice upscale neighborhood, he travels well and even participates in charity sailing events, etc. On the surface a wonderful, well rounded, well educated guy. But that is yet another part of him I struggle with...he has so much "good" to give to others but when it comes to his family he treats us with no respect. It's very hard for me to be in my fathers presence with his friends who all think he's super and wonderful and great, as it feels as though I am lying and hurting my "inner-child" just by being there and not saying anything...it's so sad to me that we the "victims" of abuse feel guilty, as though we did something wrong!!! Abuse affects us in so many ways and I thought I had a handle on it but I am just realizing how little I knew.

Why do we have shame? Why do the victims carry the shame? I believe my father deep down has shame too for what he's done...but I think that is something he will settle up with between himself and God one day, but probably not with me unless I confront him directly. I think I know how he feels, I know he has a tremendous amount of love for me and my brother, but I know he abused us and I can't forget that.

My twin brother is getting married this September and he and his fianc� (whom I adore) are running into several issues with my father now. I am staying out of it as I can not be the "protector" of my brother anymore, even though I have been in several circumstances where I so badly wanted to stand up for my brother but didn't because I knew it'd only lead me to ending our relationship earlier than I am ready to with my father. We're grown up now and my father and I have our own issues to deal with on our own level. My sister-in-law and I have talked about my father a lot and I've explained to her what the situation is like, she and I have bonded a lot over the issues and she is shocked to see this type of behavior yet, for her, coming from a "normal" happy, loving childhood up bringing, she too finds herself speechless and defenseless when my father says something short or disrespectful...he just has this tone in his voice and it's like you're so scared to say anything or challenge what's been stated.
We are all spectators sometimes and it's terrible. One day, when the feeling is right I may confront him, maybe sooner than I'd like as this wedding is really bringing up a lot of issues. I think about it a lot. I think of what I'd say to him, how I'd say it. What he'd say back and how it might all fall out in the end. I don't see a good or happy resolution, he's too "proud" a man to admit to this, he'd explain it away, blame me, want ME to take responsibility for it as if I brought it on myself, (NO CHILD DESERVES ABUSE) and as I said before it's not something I am going to stand for anymore.

My boyfriend and I have been talking about marriage a lot as we are building our first home together and we both feel as though that will be the next step for us once we've settled in and things calm down. We've been joking (sort of) about eloping...and when I mentioned this around my father one day, he glared at me and said in his abusive tone "Jacquelyn...you wouldn't DARE do that to me"...inside I shuttered with fear, but I also knew IT'S NOT HIS CHOICE ANYMORE! My getting married will probably be what tears us a part finally. It will probably bring all of this to a head and I will confront him and tell him he either changes his behavior, and how he treats me and shows me and my partner full respect OR THAT IS IT, I'm done.

I promised myself that my wedding would be meaningful and sacred and I would not let me father dictate anything to me...my getting married is like a symbolic ritual for me, expressing my separation from my parents as my immediate family and me creating my own new family...a non-abusive family. The cycle stops here. I have been making small comments here and there to my parents, like "I want you guys to enjoy my twin brothers wedding because I am not having a traditional big wedding when I get married" I am trying to ease them into what I have planned in my head but I'm sure it will be a fight and struggle and in the end, I will win...even if I loose my father for good over it.

The thought of him walking me down the isle is something I know he views as his �right� as my father, and the fathers dance with the bride...same thing. These two ideas make me want to scream, it's like fathers day times 10000! Everything in me says no, I don't want that, I want to walk down the isle alone or with my twin brother, I was willing to do those things for my father to just keep things calm and not fight but the more I think about it the less I am ok with it...I guess I'll have to face that when I get there.

Kristen - I am and have begun a new life slowly...four years ago I made major changes and decided it was time for me to live my own life and be happy. There is a wonderful freedom in deciding for yourself what your life is and where you want it to go, even if I am still compromising with my abusive disrespectful father. I wake up every morning and I have one word written on my mirror that reminds me of exactly that opportunity I have and EVERYONE HAS each day.

CHOOSE

It's very simple, but profound. Each day we get to CHOOSE for ourselves, who we'll be, how we treat people and how we let others treat us. I didn't get a choice growing up, but today I do get to CHOOSE. I love your saying "Let your dreams become your plans", that is sort of how I live each day, I go for those things I want so badly now because I CAN!!!!

One day I will be courageous enough to finally confront my father and finally allow myself the real healing I need, to REALLY 100% have FREEDOM from the secret of abuse. I do my best to squeeze every present moment for what its worth but the secret deep inside remains and shadows me sometimes. He needs that freedom too whether he knows it or not...all his good actions and over-compensating isn't getting him any closer to forgiveness for what he's done to me as a child, he needs to atone for his actions, only then will he be free of the past.

Sometimes I find myself wishing this forum was all from one state so that we could have a monthly get together and talk etc...this has been such a healing place for me, a place to face things and admit my feelings...very good, very hard, very sad, very real...Thanks to all of you who've shared and continue to share, you're helping others so much more than you know!!!

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,079
Parakeet
Offline
Parakeet
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,079
B,

You have a lot to be proud of in yourself.

As far your father walking you down the aisle, I would not do this myself. That role should be for a man who has truly acted like a father.

I have found that creating a new life was the best thing I could ever have done for myself. I also learned that I was not to blame for the behavior of adults.

Have you ever looked into the eyes of a child? They're so trusting and innocent. I looked into a little boy's eyes recently and the sweetness of his look overwhelmed me!

No one has the right to destroy childhood innocence. Remember that whenever you feel forgiving.


"Allow your dreams to become your plans."

Kristen

Kristen Houghton
Author and Relationship Writer
BellaOnline ALERT: Raw URLs are not allowed in these forums for security reasons. Please use UBB code. If you don't know how to do UBB code just post here for help - we will help out!
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 7,189
BellaOnline Editor
Chimpanzee
Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chimpanzee
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 7,189
Originally Posted By: b the change
Why do we have shame? Why do the victims carry the shame?


I think part of why victims carry the shame is because sex really is not separate from the soul in most people. Yes, we can learn to be that way, but naturally I believe sex means much more than just the physical.

So when that is torn from us, it tears a little bit of oiur soul, too. And that is where the shame comes in. Our body, mind, and spirit have been dirtied and torn - and that feels wrond and shameful. And, especially for little children, our parents are right so it must be us that is wrong.

It takes a lot of years and hard work to overcome these feelings. But it can be done.


Michelle Taylor
Marriage Editor
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 15
B
Newbie
OP Offline
Newbie
B
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 15
Kristen,

When the time comes and I TELL my parents what we plan on doing for our wedding and how things will be, I will add at the end that my wish is for them to be able to enjoy and share in this very meaningful special moment in our lives and our future family and hopefully they can, without selfishness, respect our wishes as adults. I feel as though eloping always seems easier because I can go have the special wedding I want with just my husband, no asking "permission" to do what we want or having to cover issue after issue of this and that, fighting tooth and nail on each and ever part of the wedding, and then have that fight afterwards so as not to taint the day for me...I feel as if there is no escaping what horrible fight lies ahead for me and will be yet another moment and memory and special time in my life where my fathers presence will ruin it and take the happiness away because of his selfishness, lack of respect and abusive ways. All he'll care about is how it will "look" to the family why he didn't walk me down the isle...and how could I do such a thing to take away HIS right as my father!

Heck, he doesn't even have to be honest with them and explain why I chose to do that, and I know he wouldn't tell them anyway, but they can go on thinking that I am just an ungrateful daughter who is killing her poor father for not including him in the ceremony of his only daughter. Most of my family thinks that I was a "difficult" girl growing up, stubborn, etc, but what was REALLY going on was I was being abused. For the most part I think most of my family would do their best to explain why, oh, he didn't really mean it, or you know how his mother was, or whatever...funny how us victims don't like that, the trivializing of our childhood abuse, it's like a slap in the face after being beaten with the belt. There�s nothing that gets me going more than an uninformed/un-abused person passing judgment on your abuser as if they know they are such good people inside and would never really do things like that, we just need to "work" on things.
I know the truth, that's all that matters.
My partner and I have also decided to not accept anything from my parents whether it be money or anything else, my father would only use that as leverage and as a way of saying he has a say in it because he's helping pay for things, I would never take his money for my wedding. I was engaged once about five years ago and for the two years I was engaged my father never talked about it or mentioned anything to me, except to cause a fight only two days after my engagement when I found my wedding dress...he and I fought for days over it, I decided to buy the dress myself and move on (it was only $250 and he said I was making a big mistake by buying such and expensive dress!), he ignored me after that completely when it came to the wedding. This is when I was still living at home and he and I weren't "speaking" anyway. He just assumes that he'll get to do these things one day...just show up after all the work has been done and "play the perfect dad". I feel as if he has no idea that I even think of this every day or how he has this huge shock coming.

"To thyne own self be true"...my motto. At my wedding, I will be the woman I've always admired, the strong beautiful girl who no matter who is against her stands up for herself and what is right and fair. I will free myself of the guilt of being a daughter to an abusive selfish father and create a new bond of love and support...That is my dream and hope for myself one day and I work very hard at making myself believe this can be done.

I would still want for my parents to be at my wedding, especially my mother as she isn't abusive, just weak and passive, and I love my mother dearly. But if he can't come and "be quiet" then I guess I will start the detachment process and really invest myself in a new life, without my father.

Every time I see a child I smile and my insides just light up. There is something about seeing children in their innocence, their own little world of wonder that could keep me captivated for hours...to me there is nothing more precious and nothing that should be more protected. Children are a true gift. Kristen, I know exactly what you mean.

Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 15
B
Newbie
OP Offline
Newbie
B
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 15
Michelle,
I have never been sexually abused, except for a small "kissing" incident my mother told me about with a teenage boy who lived on our street and who's sister used to babysit us when I was four, which I have no real memory of. However, I still feel as though the sweet innocence lost is simmilar. That innocence I had before my father made me realize that there is alot more to the world than just sand boxes and play grounds and wonderfull dreams of being a princess something like that...he disciplined out of anger and kept us inline with fear...he was verbally abusive and broke us down. I felt like a hostage, like a vigilant survivor...There were "good times" sometimes, sometimes there were a few quiet hours...but the unspoken truth of the last abusive session was in the air and the tenseness was thick. I lost that carefree feeling, that childlike innocence, like theres nothing bad in the world, back when I had NO WORRY, NO ANXIETY...he took that from me, my childhood.

I guess I feel like a "participant". Like I knew it was wrong and I should have stopped it, or confronted it...and I did try but he was too powerful, I was young...
I know, and most of my immediate family, aunts, uncles, cousins, family freinds...no one knows so it feels like a dirty bad secret. I feel like I can't be the whole free me because of this secret thats never been let out...whether I want it to be or not, my abused childhood past is part of me...and that is where my shame grows. It's a part of me.

I am healing slowly though, sometimes going forward, sometimes going back...it's a process but even though my brain tells me, I have nothing to be ashamed of, it wasn't my fault, its not me...my heart and soul feel differently, there's a sorrow I think only those who have been abused understand, being hurt by your parent that way is unimaginable.

Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 7,189
BellaOnline Editor
Chimpanzee
Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chimpanzee
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 7,189
Sorry B, I may have been projecting a little bit...


Michelle Taylor
Marriage Editor
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 15
B
Newbie
OP Offline
Newbie
B
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 15
Michelle, No need to apologize, I knew what you meant, I'm so sorry that you've been through such pain.

I just saw a news report today that was discussing whether or not a child molester/sexual abuser should get the death penatly. They argued that because it did not "kill" someone, that the death penalty should not be a punishment. Then they had a psychologist "expert" type guy who said the difference with a sexual abuse offender is that they destroy the child, and the child has to endure the pain every single day of their lives, and they say that, that is worse than killing.

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,966
E
Koala
Offline
Koala
E
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,966
My husband and I paid for our own wedding too, and I know we prevented an enormous amount of pain, arguments, etc, for ourselves. I presume that my parents were grateful because they were in dire financial straits at the time, so it was a great excuse, but I wouldn't have accepted anything even if they'd been wealthy. My hubby's parents did secretly contribute to our honeymoon, though, and they also lent us a sum towards our house deposit. I have no problem with that at all, but I was never going to give my parents the slightest bit of leverage when it came to our wedding.

Ironically, my mother herself then chose not to be involved at all. I was feeling "forgiving" at the time, and I approached her and her best friend with my dress ideas, and there seemed to be a pre-arranged signal between them because her friend got a bit embarrassed and very swiftly changed the subject. It was weird.

So, my mother-in-law took me shopping for fabric. My two "best women" went with me to meet the dressmaker. I went alone to most of the fittings. I went alone to the hairdresser. My friends helped me dress on the day, and the first time my mother even saw the dress was as I was walking down the aisle.

Which brings me to walking down the aisle itself. I had a brain wave. I didn't want my father "giving me away" as if he owned me. So I visualised all the parents walking down the aisle - hubby with his, me with mine. Then I got brave and I offered the idea to both sides that we swap parents as a sort of symbolic gaining of new family (although I dislike the idea that you marry someone's family). They all loved the idea! So we ended up with my hubby walking down with my parents either side of him, and then me with his parents either side. It really made such a huge difference to the way I felt. We wrote our own ceremony, so there was no "who gives this woman" or promising to obey sort of thing.

Originally Posted By: TrishPaganEd
I think someone brought up the subject of forgiveness versus condoning. The first few years of therapy I was with therapists who kept hammering forgiveness in my head. It wasn't until I started seeing a therapist who made it okay for me to angry at my father that I actually started to heal.


I've never liked the word "forgive", so I don't force myself to think in those terms. I just choose to "let go" instead, and not hold on too much to the hurt. "Release" is another nice word. None of that has anything to do with the other person, and doesn't suggest condoning what happened.

Originally Posted By: TrishPaganEd
still have problems with PTSD but have learned coping skills along the way. Sometimes, I really have to focus on the here and now even making it a mantra such as, "I am in my body right here, right now. I am adult and in control of my life. etc." This may sound strange to someone who hasn't been through this, but to a survivor, it is very common. It is actually keeping my abuser out my life that has diminished these symptoms greatly.


I relate to that very much. It certainly doesn't sound strange to me.


Elle Carter Neal
BellaOnline Alumna
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  ELS - Child Abuse Editor 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Brand New Posts
Astro Women - Birthdays
by Mona - Astronomy - 04/12/24 06:23 PM
2024 - on this day in the past ...
by Mona - Astronomy - 04/12/24 06:03 PM
Psalm for the day
by Angie - 04/12/24 08:57 AM
Inspiration Quote
by Angie - 04/10/24 08:39 PM
Useful Sewing Tips
by Cheryl - Sewing Editor - 04/10/24 04:55 PM
"Leave Me Alone" New Greta Garbo Documentary
by Angela - Drama Movies - 04/09/24 07:07 PM
Check Out My New Website Selective Focus
by Angela - Drama Movies - 04/06/24 02:11 PM
Curiosity and Learning
by Angie - 04/06/24 09:56 AM
Easy to Sew Pillowcases
by Cheryl - Sewing Editor - 04/03/24 04:38 PM
March Equinox to June Solstice
by Mona - Astronomy - 03/31/24 01:10 PM
Sponsor
Safety
We take forum safety very seriously here at BellaOnline. Please be sure to read through our Forum Guidelines. Let us know if you have any questions or comments!
Privacy
This forum uses cookies to ensure smooth navigation from page to page of a thread. If you choose to register and provide your email, that email is solely used to get your password to you and updates on any topics you choose to watch. Nothing else. Ask with any questions!


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2022 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5