Tag Archives: abuse scars

Surviving the Fire

High Park fire, Larimer County, CO (2012), Author US Air Force, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/usairforce/7462740970/, (PD as work of federal govt.)

Read the blogs of child abuse victims and those concerned for them.  Somewhere along the line, you will find mention of what the abuse damaged or destroyed outright.

Our innocence.  Our childhood.  Our peace of mind.  Our self-confidence.  Our self-esteem.  Our ability to trust.  Our capacity to select loving partners, and sustain healthy relationships.  Our faith.  Our voice.

And from far too many, the abuse took their very lives.

For many of us, what the abuse left behind was isolation, grief, anxiety, depression, rage, and a permanent sense of violation.

Unfortunately, that we will never be the women (or men) we might have been is not helpful information.  We are who we are…marked by these scars.

In some sense, the scars are our badges – if not of honor exactly, then certainly not of shame.  We were the ones sinned against, not the ones sinning, no matter how we were made to feel about the torture inflicted upon us.

As with the veteran who has lost a limb to war or the woman who has lost a breast to cancer, this is simply our reality now. Continue reading

Advertisements

16 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Polio

Tank respirator (“iron lung”) in use at Union Hospital, Terre Haute, IN 1953-1973, Author Daderot (PD)

Polio has been known since antiquity [1].  Before vaccines for the virus were discovered, polio was a scourge [2].

Fortunate patients experienced only minor symptoms.  Others were paralyzed to varying degrees; left with deformed limbs, or permanently dependent on mechanical respirators (“iron lungs”) for their next breath.  A certain percentage died outright.

Up to 50% of those who survived polio succumbed to post-polio syndrome, as long as 35 years later.  The symptoms of post-polio syndrome include exhaustion, difficulties with memory and concentration, increasing muscle and joint pain, and depression.

Will Power and Moral Superiority

Recovery from polio is not reliant on will power or moral superiority.  Neither is recovery from abuse.  We must not, therefore, grade ourselves on the extent to which we can be said to have recovered.

Vulnerability

Like polio, abuse can leave us vulnerable in certain areas.  This is not the same as being weak.  To be weak suggests that, with a little work, we might be stronger.  It implies a certain lack of character on our part.  That is not the case with abuse.

Effort and Determination

Yes, we can, with effort and determination, overcome some of the physical, mental, and emotional scars stemming from abuse.  But there is no arithmetic relationship between effort and outcome.  A teaspoon of sweat will not guarantee us a corresponding amount of improvement.  Nor, for that matter, will a gallon.

That is not to say the effort is useless.  Whether we succeed in overcoming the scars of our abuse or not, the mere effort develops qualities in us we could not have anticipated.  Qualities like courage, patience, and humility.  Like fortitude. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

If You Have Survived…

Sometimes, the critical voices from all sides can be overwhelming to abuse victims (and non-victims, for that matter).  Other times, the criticism of a single loved one will become the inescapable voice in our heads. This is a little advice to tuck away for such times.

If you have survived abuse or neglect, you are not a failure [1]. Having survived at all is an achievement. The scars you bear attest to your strength, not your failure.

It is not your purpose in life to meet the expectations of others, certainly not those of family members and other loved ones incapable of loving you in return.

Obvious as this may sound, make sure you seek validation from someone actually capable of giving it to you. Some people are simply blind. They lack the ability to see you clearly. Others may find it easier to focus on your imagined defects, than their real ones.

Anyone saying you should limit yourself, rather than use the gifts God gave you, may be worried about their own limitations. Criticism that convinces you that you can do nothing right will result in your doing nothing at all.

Self-blame is a paralyzing form of abuse. Try not to engage in it. If you’ve made mistakes, learn from them. That’s how life works for all of us.

Life is always better than death. Choose life… if nothing else to spite your detractors [2].  You have at least as much right to this world as they do.

[1] This is not to suggest that the victims of abuse and neglect who did not survive were, in any sense, “failures”. The label does not apply.

[2] Small joke.  Use every tool at your disposal, including humor.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

2 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

Surviving the Fire

Read the blogs of child abuse victims and those concerned for them.  Somewhere along the line, you will find mention of what the abuse damaged or destroyed outright.

Our innocence.  Our childhood.  Our peace of mind.  Our self-confidence.  Our self-esteem.  Our ability to trust.  Our capacity to select loving partners, and sustain healthy relationships.  Our faith.  Our voice.

And from far too many, the abuse took their very lives.

For many of us, what the abuse left behind was isolation, grief, anxiety, depression, rage, and a permanent sense of violation.

Unfortunately, that we will never be the women (or men) we might have been is not helpful information.  We are who we are…marked by these scars.

In some sense, the scars are our badges – if not of honor exactly, then certainly not of shame.  We were the ones sinned against, not the ones sinning, no matter how we were made to feel about the torture inflicted upon us.

As with the veteran who has lost a limb to war or the woman who has lost a breast to cancer, this is simply our reality now. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Prostitution, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Chained

In Southeast Asia, wild elephants are trained to be docile while young.

When an immature elephant is first captured, it is securely tied or chained in place, so that its will may be broken. Unable to escape and denied food or water, the little elephant is repeatedly beaten while the trainer speaks in a calm voice to acclimate the elephant to commands. Afraid, in pain, hungry, and thirsty the young elephant is finally forced to submit.

Adult elephants would be strong enough to break free, but continue to believe in the power of the chains to hold them.

Could there be a more clear picture of child abuse?  We were repeatedly assaulted, at our most vulnerable.  It is no wonder the scars linger.

Now adults, we, too, have the power to break free from our chains.  The very knowledge is exhilarating.

But the extent to which release from our scars is possible will vary from one individual to the next.  For most, this will be a process. Setbacks should be expected.

There is no standard for suffering. Each victim is unique. Release from our scars is not a test of our worth, a calibrated measure of our recovery, or a competition with other victims.

Continued bondage is not another reason to berate ourselves.  Some scars may be intractable.  But there is reason to hope.

Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, ‘Arise quickly!’ And his chains fell off his hands” (Acts 12: 7).

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

7 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Boundary Violation

No matter how far we may have come in our recovery, as abuse victims we retain scars.  Many of us, for instance, are vulnerable to boundary violation.

Since our boundaries were not respected, the ability to defend ourselves (especially against someone who “should” be trustworthy) may be diminished.  When that line is crossed – even in adulthood, even in a non-sexual context – we are often flooded with shame for having “failed” to protect ourselves…as if the fault were ours.

It is worth reminding ourselves that we live in the shell crater, the aftermath.  The scars we retain are evidence of that – not evidence of our supposed defects.

But we need not let that reality defeat us.  We have value and purpose.  And lives yet to live to the fullest.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT:  http://www.alawyersprayers.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Child Abuse, Justice, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women