Child Abuse: Can Someone’s Need To Protect Their Parents Stop Them From Being Able To Heal From Child Abuse?
If someone had a harrowing experience as a child, the best thing will be for them to reach out for support now that they are adult. At the same time, it could seem as though what they went through as a child is all in the past, so there is no need for them to worry about what happened.
Nevertheless, although what happened will have taken place many, many years ago, it doesn’t mean that it will actually be in the past. What happened during their formative years could still be affecting them.
The Best Option
Ergo, if it is still affecting them, it will be a good idea for them to reach out for the assistance that they need. As things stand, they could be in a hell of a lot of pain and their life could be anything but fulfilling.
Now, while this could be the best thing for them to do, there is the chance that this won’t take place. Firstly, they might not even be aware of the fact that they were abused as a child, and secondly, how they experience life could just be what is normal.
This is why, instead of doing something about what is taking place, they could simply suffer in silence. Or, if they do reach out, they could end up being put on some kind of medication.
This might make their life more bearable but what it won’t do is allow them to develop self-knowledge and to get the root of what is going on. If anything, it will be a bit like painting a rotten door.
It might seem strange as to why someone wouldn’t remember what they went through, given how horrific it was. Yet, with an understanding of how the mind works, their inability to remember what took place will make perfect sense.
What this is likely to show is that due to how traumatic this time in their life was, their mind has blocked it out. This will have taken place to stop them from being overwhelmed by the pain that is inside them.
This is not to say that they consciously decided to forget about what happened, though, as this will have taken place automatically. What happened will be a mystery but the effect of what took place will still affect them.
In other words, they won’t have the memories but they will have the feelings and sensations that go with the memories. A lot of emotional material will be held in their unconscious mind/body and this material will seep into their conscious mind.
Building a Connection
Sooner or later, however, they may find that they start to remember some of the things that happened when they were younger. What could play a part in this is a breakup or the loss of a loved one, for instance.
If this takes place, how they have experienced life throughout their adult years may start to make more sense. In a way, a light will have been turned on and what was unclear for so long will start to become clear.
In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of why their life is the way that it is, they could come into contact with a lot of shame. They could have experienced a certain amount of shame before but now it could be even worse.
At this point, they could feel as though they are inherently worthless and that they deserved to be treated badly as a child. Further, they could feel very protective of the people who mistreated them – their parent/s.
The reason they will feel bad, even though they were innocent and didn’t deserve to be treated badly, is because they were egocentric at this stage of their life. Therefore, the fact that they feel bad doesn’t mean that they are bad.
If this wasn’t enough, having the need to protect their parent/s will stop them from being truthful to themselves, and others, about what took place. The toxic shame can cause them to believe that they would be ostracised if they opened up and their need to protect their parent/s image can prevent them from expressing what they need to express.
A Closer Look
One way of looking at this would be to say that this is the result of what is often described as a trauma bond. One, or both, of their parents would have mistreated them, but as they were dependent on them, they would have still developed a strong attachment to them.
Unlike a healthy attachment, this will be based on fear and terror, not love, and this means that they will have a strong sense of loyalty to the person, or people, who harmed them. Instead of being loyal to themselves and doing what is best for them, they will be loyal to their abuser/s.
A Matter of Survival
Deep down, they will believe that their survival depends on this person/people, which is why they won’t want to upset them or make them look bad. The child within them will still be looking for the love and care that they didn’t receive all those years ago.
Also, part of them could believe that if they were to talk about what happened, they would be harmed all over again or abandoned. What this illustrates is that their inner child, or the emotional part of them, has no sense of time, hence why it is unable to see that the past is well and truly over.
Taking all this into account, it will be imperative for one to reflect on the fact that they are not worthless and that it is now safe for them to open up about what happened. This is not to say that they should just open up to anyone.
The assistance of a therapist or healer may be needed. Someone like this can provide one with the support and guidance that they need to move forward.
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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.