If, after being abused and/or neglected as a child, someone was to get to a point in their adult life where they realised that this is what took place, they may experience a strong need for their experiences to be validated. It might seem strange as to why it took them so long to realise that this is that took place, but, this is usually what happens.
There are at least two reasons as to why it would have taken a while for them to become aware of what happened. Firstly, what they experienced would have been normal, meaning that they wouldn’t have known that it was abuse.
Along with this, their mind would have blocked out what took place, causing their conscious mind to ‘forget’ about their early experiences. This would have been something that their mind did to keep them alive.
What they went through during their early years would have probably been hard for an adult to handle, let alone a child. Thus, although losing touch with what took place will have caused them problems as an adult, there was a time when it was the only option that they had.
Before they started to re-member what took place (to connect to the information in their body), they may have experienced a number of different challenges. However, this is not to say that these will have simply disappeared now that their defences have started to crumble.
They may have often felt depressed, suicidal and lived a life that was anything but fulfilling. A number of their relationships could have been abusive, or they might not have had any close connections with anyone.
A Rough Time
Perhaps they found it hard to connect to their feelings and were emotionally numb most of the time. Or, they may have experienced a fair amount of fear and anxiety, with it being as though they were in a warzone.
To top it off, they may have had a very strong inner citric that was only too happy to lay into them. Most, if not all, of what they were going through, may have been things that very few people knew about.
Connecting the Dots
When it comes to why they are gradually starting to realise why their life has been the way that it is, it could be due to a number of reasons. Perhaps they ended up reaching out for support and the person that they worked with was able to shine the light on what was going on.
Maybe they just felt the urge to search for something online, with this being a time when they came across something that went into the impact on child abuse. One piece of the puzzle would have been put into place and more pieces will have been added over time.
The Current Position
Now, if they were to compare how their life was before they were aware of what happened and what it is like now that they are, they may find that not a lot has changed. This could simply be because they have only just started to heal their inner wounds.
Regardless of how far they have progressed on their healing journey, they may find that they have a strong need for their caregiver/s (or whoever else it was) to validate their early experiences. Said another way, they will want them to acknowledge what they did and to express remorse.
Considering how they were treated by their caregiver/s, it could be said that this is the least that they could do for them. If the person/people that were supposed to love, protect and to care for them did this, it could lead to incredible healing.
But, while they will have this need, it doesn’t mean that they will be able to do anything about it. If they were to open up to their caregiver/s about what happened, they might not get very far.
When they open up, they could end up being told that they are basically making it all up and that it didn’t happen. Or, they could be told that it wasn’t as bad as they make out and that they just need to move on.
The type of response that they receive could be very similar to how it was when they were younger, with their thoughts and feelings being ignored. What they are going through will be bad enough and this can just make it even worse.
It’s not personal
Ultimately, their caregiver/s will be denial, and this could show that they are emotionally shut down. Maybe, they were also abused and/or neglected during their early years and have had to lose touch with their own feelings (reality) to stop themselves from falling apart.
The outcome of this is that they will lack empathy and compassion, and it simply won’t be possible for them to face up to how they treated their child or how their caregiver/s treated them. Their primary motivation won’t be to invalidate their child; it will be to keep their own trauma at bay.
Cutting the Cord
With this in mind, one is not going to be able to truly move forward if they want their caregiver/s to validate what they went through. Somehow, they will need to let go of this need.
Fortunately, there are a number of other ways that this can take place. One way is for them to find what Alice Miller described as a ‘compassionate witness’; this is someone who can validate what they went through and give them the support that they need.
This is why the assistance of a therapist or a healer is so important, as someone like this can be a compassionate witness. Through receiving their support, one can start to develop an adult self that will be able to validate what their child self/selves went through.
They might not be able to accept it as this point in time but what they went through wasn’t their fault and they deserve to live a fulfilling life. The main thing is that they keep going and don’t give up on themselves.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 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.