Activity 1, Self-help : Write about how they put the burden on you, the child.

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C.

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Reminder: In order to honor our group process we ask that only current members post and respond here please.  Thank you.

Note:  Your recovery is unique to you.  These topics and activities are suggestions.  Please feel free to do and respond to those that work for you at this time.

1.   Write in your journal (or OOTS journal, forum, here, etc.) the words you recall your parents/abusers using to place the burden of responsibility for the abuse on you.  What was the tone in their voices, the look in their eyes when they said those words?  What reasons did you adopt to hold yourself responsible for the abuse?


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VeryFoggy

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Trigger Warning! Graphic spanking.

It was chanting I think, while being beaten, chanting, one word per lash, in rhythmic time to the lash of the belt against my bare legs, back and bottom. Something like, “You-need-to-understand-that-I-have-to-do-this-for-your-own-good. You-have brought-this-on-yourself.  And-I-will-beat-you-and-beat-you-until-you-learn-your-lesson-and-you-will-not-ever-embarrass-me-or-talk-back-to-me-or-act-like-that-ever-ever-again. Do-you-understand-me?  Answer-me!  I-am-talking-to-you!  Do-you-understand-me?

And I can’t talk now, because how many is that by now? I count depending on the infraction at least 61 lashes by now. And I am in so much pain I can’t talk, but I have to talk, and I have to agree that I was wrong, that it was all my fault, and it will never happen again. Or it won’t stop.  So I finally manage to sob out a yes.

Of course it is hard to hear what they are saying, because I am screaming bloody murder.  Because I start crying before they ever even start. Because I know how bad it is going to hurt, and I dread it and fear it with every fiber and cell in my body.  And they are holding me with one hand and I am going around in circles desperately trying to get away, which seems to aggravate and provoke more rage as does my screaming, but I decided screaming was better than trying to be brave.  I sensed and felt that my screams of pain, that they wanted the tears and screams, and they needed to know they had inflicted pain, they had to have it.  So I gave it in an effort to shorten the severity and the duration of the beating. But mainly I remember the contempt, and the lack of compassion, and the lack of empathy for my pain, the pain they had inflicted on me, and the mocking that followed, and the condescension and the anger that was not abated even following the beating, and heavy breathing when they finished. They were out of breath, it was very intense physical labor to inflict this beating.

But when they finished?  They looked like it was never enough. And they were just dying to give me more of what for.  That rings a bell. What for. So they must have said it. But I never knew what that meant.  But I was definitely responsible. They had to do it, it was all my fault, and I had brought it on myself with my own horrible behavior. And there was no forgiveness afterwards, and it was never enough, nothing, no pain of mine could ever be enough for them to be satisfied, and to make them ever forgive me for what I had done.
There was no doubt left in my mind who they thought was responsible for the beating, and it sure wasn’t them. They told me that they had no choice, their hands were tied and I had forced them to do it, and I was completely responsible and I had brought it on myself. I forced them to do it.

But that was the message, I can see that clearly now. That I, a tiny and small child was responsible for their incredible, overwhelming, frightening, scary, and horrific rage. That scared me to death to be told that I had that kind of power over them. That I could turn people I thought loved me into ugly, screaming, beating, rage filled, pain inflicting monsters.

I don’t remember having any thoughts about reason, or holding myself responsible, as I was not of the age of reason.  I was told it was true, therefore it was true. They said it?  It was true.

My parents gave me lots of power.  I had the power to incite rage and I had the power to incite lust. Ever since I was 5 years old. And this was clearly explained to me, in detail.  That it was my responsibility, and that I did these things to grown men.   And they had no control over their bodies and behavior at all, and it was all my fault. And they were not responsible. Everything was my fault. His rage and his lust.  My father was a very sick man. He still is. I used the pronoun “they” above, but mainly it was my father.  My mother did it too, because that was what he said had to be done, and he was the man, and she had to do what the man said.  I did not know this at the time, but I finally figured it out.  She was a victim too. Not as much as me, but she too was a victim. Still is.

Oh my. I don't even have words. Well, I do, but they're mostly swearwords right now. I'm reading your memory and the thing it mostly reminds me of is reports of Medieval witch hunts. You were tortured. This fits every description of torture I've ever read, which weren't many, but it fits one hundred percent. This is so f***ed up. I'm just so, so glad you're not a child anymore.  :hug: 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2015, 06:21:01 AM by schrödinger's cat »

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anosognosia

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My god VeryFoggy, I'm so very sorry you lived through this. No one should ever be subjected to such torture (emotionally, physically). Let alone a child.


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Kizzie

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There are few words Very Foggy to express what I feel for you right a this moment, except to say it makes me incredibly angry and sad to hear what you endured. I sincerely hope that sharing this with us is in some way healing and also that you know the trauma you experienced matters here, that you matter.  :hug: 

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Annegirl

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Very Foggy,  :hug:
I found it difficult to read what you wrote, and sorry missed some, too heartbreaking. (and bringing on my own memories) I wish I could have taken you away before any of that happened. For any child.
 :hug:




How they put the burden one me... hm, talking about this feels weird, like, "thanks for telling me about your war experience, now here's the story of my hangnail". But I know that covert abuse isn't harmless. It's just really hard to really keep this fact in mind, at least for me.

Whenever I had a problem, my mother would calmly inform me of the attitude I ought to assume towards said problem. Then she left me to go and do that.

It was in a thousand little things. It was everywhere. Two bigger instances I can remember are these.

If I fell and hurt myself after playing or jumping about, she quoted a rhyming proverb that more or less says: "Exuberance only ends up hurting you." I learned that I wasn't hurt because I'd fallen, or because the ground was uneven. I had lacked self-restraint, and I had felt too much wild joy.

When I told her that I was teased at school, she said: "Oh well, you'll simply just have to grow a thicker skin. That's just how kids are, you won't change them. Only an immature person blames their woes on others. Only a childish person says: 'Oh the others, those evil evil others!' A truly mature person looks into themselves. A truly mature person changes their own behaviour."I still remember how shocked I was to discover that I had caused the teasing - that it wasn't a mistreatment at all, it was something I'd caused. I desperately tried to think of ways I could fix this fault in myself, but I wasn't able to. It made me realize that I was fundamentally defective in a way my classmates weren't. After all, they weren't teased. It had to mean they had successfully grown thick skins.

And of course, if we had a difference of opinions, it's because I was being stubborn, oversensitive, rude, cheeky, overemotional, clingy, needy, lazy, imposing, presumptuous, and lacking in discipline, diligence, and self-control.

She's overcontrolling. She can only rest easy once everything that's close to her is ordered precisely to her liking. If I'm close to her, I get ordered precisely to her liking. She thinks I'm fundamentally flawed. If other people asked her about me, she'd say I'm competent. But the way she treats me, it's like I cannot be trusted to do the simplest task and require adult supervision. If I'm voicing a strong opinion, or if I'm talking about something that upsets me, she'll sometimes tell me to be quiet, and she'll say it in a soothing way, one you'd use to an overemotional person who's once again off on her little drama routine. And so on, and so on. The problem is never caused by things outside of myself. It's always my attitude that causes problems. She tries to fix it by having me be like her.

All in all, it's like being smothered by a duvet. Soft and subtle, but still, you end up without air.

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Annegirl

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SC  :hug:  :hug: So awful. Yes i can see how that must have felt like being smothered by a duvet. No acceptance of who you are. It is amazing how you are finding yourself now and how much you have overcome.  :hug:

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VeryFoggy

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Dear SC and all, it is not a competition, and I am so sorry if my story caused anyone to feel invalidated in any way. And thank you for the sympathy.  If you can believe it, I often wonder if what they did was all that bad, so hearing it was "that bad" helps me. Thank you.

But, I think that everyone's story is equally true, and the method that was used to deliver the lesson to us is simply not all that important.

What is important for all of us to understand is that we, our “we,” our sense of ourselves, and who we are, and our differences were not celebrated. There was no joy in watching us, the delicious and wonderful surprise that was us.  We were not welcomed and warmly received. As we unfolded and became, there was coldness and withholding and no warmth or love given or shown.  The more we became “we,” the more we were rejected and told that we were “wrong,” and that there was something wrong with us.  We were constantly told that and we needed to change and adapt to THEM.  And if we could not, or would not, then we were not worth loving.

That is the lie that we were all told, and that is the nugget of truth for all of us.  It is that, that we were not worth loving, that broke us into pieces that we are now patiently gluing back together. And I am so glad that we have all figured out that we ARE worth loving!

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Kizzie

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So true Very Foggy, the core wound is the same for us whether we were smothered like a duvet as Cat suggests or beaten as you were. We simply were not people in the eyes of our perpetrators, and the more we tried to become an individual the more they had to beat us down, sometimes it was with fists, and sometimes by (seemingly) small acts of rejection/neglect. In the end it comes down to CPTSD and not feeling a sense of self, safety, or belonging in the world.

And you are right - we are worth loving and it is our time now, to rise up and out of those dark spaces we have inhabited.  :hug:

Yikes! I didn't feel invalidated at all, honestly not! Sorry, English isn't my first language, so maybe I expressed myself a bit awkwardly. I do feel weird sometimes with my softly-softly story of covert abuse - but that's just a side-effect of my own abuse ("you're just being oversensitive"), and it's one I'm fixing. Sloooow going, but at least I'm now conscious of the problem (yay) and able to express it sometimes (whoo-hoo) and sometimes also able to overcome it (the sucess, it is endless!), so there's hope.

But how kind of you to reach out to me, VeryFoggy. You're a dear!  :hug:  Many, many thanks.

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VeryFoggy

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Thanks Kizzie and SC!  Your English is amazing SC! Really amazing! No, I just felt bad when I saw the war experience hangnail thing.

Because I did not want anybody to think I thought my story was "worse than" or in a perverse way "better than" anybody else's story.

Believe me I have been told all of my life it's not them, I am just too sensitive. Yep, that's what it is. So I understand completely!

Thank you for the hugs!  I wish I could use the emoticons and the quotes the way others do, but for some I can't make any of it work.

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bee

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VerryFoggy, no one should have to indure that. It is just wrong, and the people who do such things are evil.
I unfortunately understand what it is like to have to agree, while it is happening, that it is my fault. I think this heaps abuse on top of abuse.
Putting it in terms of giving a child so much power really does show that their claims are rediculous.

SC - the constant repetition that everything bad that happens is your fault is horrible. Disallowing your pain, by saying you caused it, well that's just stupid. Everyone has a right to feel pain if they get hurt, even if they hurt themselves. If a professional athlete gets hurt while playing their sport of choice, do we as a society tell them it's their fault, or do we gasp in pain with them, and hope that they are ok. This example is from my T, I too think I have no right to react to pain, but I'm working on it.

The words she used to convince me that it was my fault.
You know we only planned on having two children. It costs more to raise thre children, and it's not like money grows on trees. Everyone has made sacrifices, the least you could do is be grateful.(I was the third.) tone-snide, look-disgust
I'm doing this for your own good.tone-bored, look-disgust
You think the world revolves around you. You think you're better than everyone else. All you can think about is yourself. Someone's got to tell you the truth, or else no will ever like you. Tone-anger, look-hatred
You know you bring this on yourself. tone-bored, look-disgust

And the one that I have paid little attention to until recently. That I see now was as damaging as all the others.
From my father-You know better than to upset your mother.
He completely threw me under the bus. His eyes were cold, and the tone is one that says there will be no discussion, he wants no part of this.

I held myself responsible for the abuse, because I believed I was not grateful enough for my existance. I believed that my self centeredness was too much for anyone to bear. My constant need for things, you know clothes and food, caused a huge amount of monetary stress that caused my mother to yell. I believed if I could have been a better daughter, anyone other than myself, then my mother would not have cause to loose her temper.

Oh Bee.   :hug:  :hug:  :hug:

What a weird thing for your mother to say. No child is ever grateful for the right to eat food, and that's exactly how it should be. ... Is this just me, or did your mother imply that it's your own fault for having been born?  :stars:  And that you have to compensate everyone for the sacrifices they've made? By being "grateful", which - somehow I suspect it's not about a simple "thanks, Mum", but about being exactly what they want you to be, being convenient, being compliant...? That sounds like such a cold environment to grow up in. So chilling. And all of this simply because you were born. You hadn't even done anything yet, and already you were the scapegoat.  :sadno:

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Annegirl

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yes, my T says that the moment we even expect gratitude as a parent we are going outside of unconditional love, and making it like a business exchange relationship.
I have never asked for my children to be grateful, but i have expressed gratitude to them, my husband and G-d. and our children regularly thank my husband and i for things. I love it but if they forget or are feeling ungrateful and grumpy i see that we all have bad days and allow them to see I am comfortable with all their feelings negative and positive. This helps them become resilient and accepting of themselves and not be afraid of their feelings and to be comfortable in their own skin.