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Development of CPTSD in Childhood => Causes => Physical Abuse => Topic started by: Gentian on August 13, 2017, 07:01:37 AM

Title: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: Gentian on August 13, 2017, 07:01:37 AM
I am fair-skinned.  As a child, I sunburned badly every summer, but only during the two-weeks of * that were my court-ordered visitation with my father and his wife. This was because at my usual home--on a small farm, outdoors all the time!--I could wear long sleeves/pants or seek shelter in the shade or a building when it was hot, as dictated by common sense.  I never burned.  However, in Dad's suburban squalor, I was ordered/shamed into wearing swim suits and shorts outside all day every day with none or inadequate sun protection, and I burned to a crisp every. *. Year.  As in, solid sheets of blisters covering my torso and head.  One particular day they had me remove my one-piece swimsuit to photograph the "hilarious" white pattern of unburned skin on my back.  They were laughing because my burned skin was almost purple.   My stepmother and her son were pale redheads, and I have memories of watching her slathering herself with sunscreen, and neither of them ever burned.  But I always did, and she always had two big bags of ice at the ready for me in the evenings.  She'd  dump them into a shallow bath and make me fully submerge my body until they melted. It took me until my forties to fully appreciate how hellish, and risky, it probably was ( I don't remember what it felt like, only that I dreaded it). Was  this just a normal, albeit ignorant,  "medical" treatment back then?   She pulled a lot of other abusive crap regularly, so that is not at question.  Just this one particular ritual she had with me.  I'm not sure how long it went on, but probably from the age of 5 or so (possibly earlier as she married my dad when I was 2), until 10 or so probably.  I'm not sure why she stopped.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: Three Roses on August 13, 2017, 08:39:45 AM
Our family were all fair skinned. We had remedies, prevention, etc but not one of them was an ice bath. This was very clearly child abuse. They let you get so badly burned that you had sheets of blisters? And they laughed at your burns? Sorry to say this so plainly but in my book that is child abuse.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: Blueberry on August 13, 2017, 07:48:36 PM
No, Gentian, that wasn't normal in the 70's. your step M treated herself and her son better - they wore sunscreen. you were deprived of that. At best neglect. But really, abuse.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: sanmagic7 on August 13, 2017, 10:57:47 PM
i agree with the others.  humiliation, mocking, not protecting you while protecting themselves, willfully exposing you to pain of sunburn - that's akin to torture, in my book.   definitely child abuse.  so very sorry you had to endure that.  how horrible for you.  gentle hug.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: Blueberry on August 14, 2017, 10:27:44 AM
humiliation, mocking, ..   definitely child abuse.  so very sorry you had to endure that.  how horrible for you.  gentle hug.

I agree with everything san wrote, but also want to add that I endured a lot of humiliation and mocking, as others on here too. That is in itself a form of abuse. I didn't realise that for a long time, till a therapist pointed it out. It was a form of keeping me in control, a form of 'keeping me in my place' ,something my M is big on, except I was the one child who needed that least of her 3 children. Anyway, it's a form of abuse and you suffered it too. It's only 'normal' in the way that abuse is far too common.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: sanmagic7 on August 14, 2017, 04:41:25 PM
blueberry, for some reason what you wrote made me come out of denial about the mocking and humiliation i also experienced as a kid.  thank you.  one more puzzle piece in place to make the whole of the picture clearer, make me stronger.  big hug.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: Gentian on August 14, 2017, 07:11:34 PM
Thank you all for the replies and validation.  I didn't realize until recently that the ice baths were probably an excuse to torture me.  I try really hard not to think like a "victim", and I struggle with taking inventory on the stuff that went on because I can get stuck in it.  I realize that that attitude in myself is suspect because I don't feel that way about others taking inventory and seeking clarity.  It's just weird coming to realizations, however small, so late. 

eta I actually googled "ice baths as sunburn remedy" many times before asking here, trying to find some historical reference to it, and didn't hit anything except modern-day parents losing custody for using it as punishment and nearly killing their kids with hypothermia.  Thanks again.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: I like vanilla on September 23, 2017, 11:48:30 PM
I grew-up as a fair-skinned child in the 70s and every summer was spent outside in bathing suit and/or shorts and tees/tank tops. Every year was spent with severe sunburns including blisters. We smeared on Noxema each night then went right back out and got re-burned the next day.

Unfortunately, I have no idea if this is 'normal' for the times or not. My FOO was far from normal...
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: Blueberry on September 24, 2017, 07:34:16 PM
I know that in some countries in the 70's people knew about sunscreen and about protecting their children from the sun. Not where I grew up though. I don't remember anything as bad as sunburn with blisters, but sunburn in general - oh yes. It was just part of summer.  Sometimes alleviated later in a luke-warm bath with baking soda (??) I got sunburn with blisters while skiing (sun reflecting off snow) as a child, that I do remember. Only once though.

Even if it had been generally known in that country then, my parents wouldn't have bothered protecting us much. They had this idea that caring for children 'too much' was molly-coddling them and generally showing signs of weakness, which was to be avoided at all costs.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: I like vanilla on September 25, 2017, 01:59:49 PM
This is a bit off topic, and scary but I have also learned that because I have had so many blister-raising sun burns as a child, I am now at higher risk for skin cancer as an adult.

Yes, scary but now that I know I am at  higher risk for skin cancer, I am able to take precautions. I now wear sunscreen and/or clothing to protect myself from the sun. I also periodically do a scan of my body for strange moles, including educating myself on what moles-of-concern might look like. I am not uptight about it, but am aware of the risks. Skin cancer is one that is easily treatable if caught early so not one to panic about, but for me, it is reassuring that there are steps that I can take now to reduce my risks (and really, protection from the sun is good practice even for those at low risk).
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: Andyman73 on November 17, 2017, 06:11:40 PM
I am so so sorry Gentian.....such intentional mistreatment....surely tortuous and grossly negligent at best. Down right insidious at worst. You deserved to be treated  with the sunblock as they did.

I got burned a lot...mostly due to spending as much time as possible, outside, away from my mother....
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: Phoebes on February 20, 2018, 02:49:29 PM
I'm sorry Gentian. If it was normal, it was normal with all of the other abusive parents in the 70's. We were brainwashed to think these things happening to us were the norm. Or at least made to do these things we didn't want to do, like get sunburned, and lay in ice baths. If they were all doing it across the board, I might question if they were just ignorant, but they knew better clearly. They were abusing you. I'm so so sorry you went through that.  :hug:

Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: silentrhino on March 12, 2018, 05:46:49 AM
I frequently had bad sunburns and once had 2nd degree burns over nearly my whole body, I was put in an excruciating y cold ice bath while my skin fell off.  I t was *. 

I also broke my ankle as a child by running and tripping over a tree root.  my father punched me in the face for crying and threw me in the back seat of our car to drive home.  At home my mother make me put my broken ankle in the ice bucket.  It hurt so bad I remember wishing to die.  The whole time being berated about how stupid I was and how they're not paying for any damn doctor for some stupid kid. I never got any treatment for my leg and had to use my sisters old crutches to get to school, she was six feet and I was five feet two so I could barely get me arms into them.  They still made me participate with PE classes and walk to and from school on my broken ankle every day.  I remember every minute of those six months.  Its kind a surprising I can walk normally now.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: ah on March 12, 2018, 12:32:23 PM

That's atrocious!  :no: I'm so, so sorry you had to go through such awful burns, and those six months, and then from then on to be scared you may get hurt again and get no help, I bet. The fear when you know you're alone is so big when we're small.


I think letting any kid come to harm, then not caring enough to help them is abusive. And singling out one kid over the other is abusive. And so is turning a kid's pain into a ceremony... as though it's entertainment or a twisted version of bonding... it means FOO knows it's painful but won't prevent it, instead they consider it fun. That's very abusive, to me.
For me, indifference and pleasure in my pain from FOO left the deepest, worst marks on my soul. I knew very well that whenever something hurt me, I turned into a spectacle for the bored. I think the way you were treated was cruel and objectifying.
You deserved to be protected, for your needs to be noticed, and to never, ever be laughed at or humiliated for being in pain.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: Gromit on March 12, 2018, 06:35:26 PM
I grew up in the 70's UK. We had sunscreen. Don't remember any remedy for sun burn, although that did happen, but not to any serious degree even with our fair skin. I remember having sunstroke too but only once.

I am sorry you had that experience.
And @silentrhino I am amazed you can walk.
Title: Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
Post by: Phoebes on April 19, 2018, 06:18:58 PM
Oh god I remember the noxema. I'd been thinking of this thread. It made me think of a lot of things like this, where Nm and Ngm were always making statements like they were the authorities on everything, but in reality, they didn't know what they were talking about, often to a downright dangerous degree. We kids didn't know any better.

Regular sunburns were definitely a thing. We did have one bottle of 4 lotion that we had for years, if that says how much it was used. It was more for getting a dark tan than for blocking the sun. Who puts that on kids?

The other topic was seat belts. Since we learned at school we should be wearing seat belts, and I had always ridden in the front seat, standing up holding on to the head rest as a very young child, I questioned my mom. She flew into a rage and from that point on kept repeating a story of how some acquaintance of their family had been riding in a jeep in the country and it flipped, sending people flying through they air, but they lived. The doctor (why?) said if they had been buckled in, the jeep would have crushed them. So from that moment, our family deemed seatbelts unsafe (but I grew up in the city where cars smashed into each other all the time).

When I was a teen in the passenger side, my Nm got pulled over by the police and given a ticket for no seat belt, but he commented, why does your daughter have one on and not you? She glared at me, and when he turned and walked away she launched into a rage/tirade about how I better not open my gd mouth or mention this ever again or there was going to be * to pay. (When was there not?) but I digress.