Child Abuse: Can Toxic Shame Stop Someone Who Was Abused As A Child From Getting The Help That They Need?
In an ideal world, perhaps every child would receive the level of care that the need in order to develop into a well adjusted adult. Still, this is not to say that genetics don’t play a part; what it comes down to is that is that it will be a lot easier for someone to develop in the right way when they receive the right nutrients, so to speak.
It would be inaccurate to say that what one is like as an adult is purely the result of how they were treated as a child. What is often said is that one’s temperament and a large part of their intelligence is the result of their genetics.
Even so, if one is naturally aggressive, for instance, it will be a lot easier for them to deal with this side of their nature if they are given the right guidance. Instead of using this energy in a destructive manner, one will be able to channel it in the right way.
A Big Difference
One can then use this energy to become highly proficient at a certain type of sport, or they can push themselves forward in their career. The raw force that is within them is not bad, but if it is not used in the right way it will create a lot of problems.
Not only could one end up harming other human beings, they could also resort to a life of crime. Consequently, one is not going to be valuable member of their society, they will be an expensive burden.
The Other Side
There is also the chance, of course, that one would internalise how they feel. One is then not going to harm other people, but they will end up harming themselves; it will be normal for them to be depressed.
Alternatively, one could be someone who is highly sensitive, and if they are given the right care this won’t have to be a problem. Through receiving the right responses from their caregiver’s, they won’t need to feel ashamed for being this way.
This will also allow them to develop boundaries, and it is then going to be a lot easier for them to function. It won’t be possible for them to handle as much stimulation as the average person, but this won’t stop them from being able to accept themselves.
And through being able to stand their ground, they won’t need to say yes to things that will drain them, or to be around the wrong kinds of people. Being this way is then going to be an asset as opposed to a liability.
Back to Reality
There are people who will have had their needs met on most occasions, others who had them met from time to time, and those who rarely, if ever had their needs met. It would be easy to say that the people in first category will be well adjusted adults, the ones in the second will be worse off, and those in the third will be in a very bad way.
However, it is not always this black and white, and it could be said that one’s inherent nature plays a part in this. What also can’t be overlooked is that there is what happens and then there is how one responds to what happens.
A Common Theme
It is not uncommon to hear about people who had everything they needed and yet they still went off the rails. What can add weight to this is when they have come from a ‘good’ background.
The trouble is that even though someone may appear to have come from a good background, it doesn’t mean that this is the case. At times, the image that a family presents to the world is radically different to what takes place behind the scenes.
What is not as common is to hear about people have been able to thrive even though they had a very challenging upbringing. When this happens, it could show that they had at least one person who showed them love, and they could be very robust.
Something within them would have pushed them forward and some of the people who they came into contact with would have supported them. They may even have had many hours of therapy or healing work.
One of the challenges of being abused as a child is that one might not even realise that they were abused. They can feel bad about themselves and have mental and emotional problems, for instance, but that doesn’t mean that they will be able to connect the dots.
As a child, one would have believed that there was something wrong with them, and this response would have been seen as the only way for them to survive. The alternative would have been for them to see that there was something wrong with their caregiver/s, but this would have caused them to experience far too much pain.
By believing that there was something wrong with them, it would have caused them to believe that they could change their caregiver/s behaviour. If they faced up to the fact that there is very little, if anything, they can do and that their caregiver/s is the one with the problem, it would have overwhelmed their system.
One then had to create an illusion to survive, and while this made it easier for them to survive as a child, it will cause them to suffer unnecessarily as an adult. There is then something inherently wrong with them and they will have to suffer in silence.
And even if one came to see that they were abused as a child, it still doesn’t mean that they will be able to reach out for support. Intellectually, they can see that they did nothing wrong, but due to the toxic shame that is within them, it can cause them to create their own prison.
This shame will have permeated their whole being, and one will fear what might happen if they were to talk about what took place when they were younger. Ultimately, one will be carrying something that doesn’t belong to them.
There is nothing wrong with who they are, but until the trauma within them is dealt with, it is going stop them from being able to truly understand this. When one works with a good therapist or a healer, they will be given the support that they need.
They will probably be talking to someone who was also abused, or has worked with people who have gone through a very similar experience. This will enable the therapist/healer to see that there is nothing inherently wrongs them.
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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.