Child Abuse: Can An Abusive Parent Carry Too Much Pain To Be Able To Acknowledge That They Were Abusive?
After someone has come to see that their early years were anything but nurturing, they can soon have the need to talk to one or both of their parents about what took place. They can hope that this will end up being a time when their experiences will be validated and remorse will be shown.
However, although this will be the ideal, it doesn’t mean that this will actually take place. Instead, when they speak to this parent, assuming that it is one parent that they speak to, this can be a time when what they say will be dismissed and they won’t truly be seen and heard.
A Waste of time
Moreover, they can be accused of making just about everything up and even being ungrateful. As a result of this, they can feel guilty and ashamed and start to question themselves.
If so, they will feel very low and wonder if they are just making everything up and if their parent or parent’s are right. Most likely, they were often made to feel as though they were the problem throughout their early years and, thus, going into this way of being will be normal.
A Brick Wall
Still, before long, they could end up trying to get through to their parent again and the same thing could take place. This might take place a few more times before it starts to sink in that it is not possible for them to get through to them.
What this doesn’t mean is that their need to get through to them will disappear; just that part of them will be able to face reality. The part of them that needs their parent’s acknowledgement is likely to be the part of them that wants to be loved by them.
Frozen In Time
In other words, they will now be an adult but they will still carry a child inside them (or child parts). This part of them would have been deprived all those years ago and it will continue to be deprived now.
For them to gradually phase out the need for their early experiences to be validated and for them to be loved by someone who couldn’t love them then and can’t love them now, they will need to grieve their unmet developmental needs. This is not something that will happen overnight; it could be a lifetime process.
With that aside, though, they could wonder why their parent comes across as though they have amnesia. They will have been around at the most important stage of their life when it comes to their development and yet, they won’t be able to validate any of the horrors that they experienced.
What could enter their mind is that this parent is just choosing to be in denial, to stop themselves from looking back and seeing how abusive they were. Furthermore, they simply don’t care enough to be there for them and assist them with their own healing.
Nevertheless, there could be far more to it than this as they might not simply be choosing to deny what they went through very early on. It might be more accurate to say that their brain has blocked out what took place to protect them and they are then not choosing to be this way.
This is likely to show that they are carrying a lot of pain and that the only way that they can function is by blocking out parts of their life that were painful. The outcome of this is that they have what could be described as a ‘selective memory’.
Consequently, this parent might then be able to remember certain parts of their childhood that were not traumatic and have formed a view of what their childhood was like around these memories. If these other memories were to enter their conscious awareness, they would probably soon come into contact with a lot of pain.
This pain would then overwhelm them and undermine their ability to keep it together and function. Along with the pain that they would experience through acknowledging how they treated their child, they might also come into contact with pain from their early years.
What this comes down to is that as they were abusive, they were most likely abused when they were a child. If they were abused during their formative years, this would have probably been when they first had to deny their true feelings and to lose touch with reality to be able to survive.
This would have set them up to be a disconnected and unfeeling human being, which would have made it easier for them to be abusive. Since that time in their life, more and more defences would have been put in place to keep this pain and the pain they experienced as an adult from entering their conscious awareness.
Not a Surprise
And, as they will see with their brain, not their eyes, it will make complete sense as to why they can’t face up to reality. Their inability to acknowledge how they behaved is then not going to be a way for them to cause harm; it will be a way for them to make sure that they don’t fall apart.
This parent was unable to be there for them early on as they were likely to be in an underdeveloped and traumatised state and they won’t be able to be there for them now because of the same reasons. Ultimately, how they are being treated and were treated, doesn’t reflect their value or lovability or prove that they deserve to be treated badly.
If someone can relate to this and they haven’t already, they might need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or haler.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.