Even though someone may see that they were abused as a child, it doesn’t mean that this is something they have realised for very long. If they have been aware of this for a little while, it doesn’t mean that they were very young when this became clear.
The main reason as to why it would have taken them a long time is due to how their mind handles painful experiences. What took place when they were younger would have probably been horrific, and, to keep them alive during this time, their mind would have utilised a number of different defence mechanisms.
Life or Death
These would have been utilised without them needing to do anything, which is a good thing as they would have had too much going on to be able to consciously select the right defences. Most of the defences that were put in place at this stage of their life would have most likely stayed with them until they were ready to remember some of the things that took place.
Ergo, while they may have a clear understanding of what took place, there could still be things that are hidden from them. As they become stronger, what is hidden may gradually come to the surface.
Ultimately, these defences would have stopped the pain that they were in from wiping them out. This pain wouldn’t a have gone anywhere though; it will have just stayed in their unconscious mind/body.
From the outside they would have looked like one person but, thanks to what they went through, they would have been anything but whole. They would have had many different split-off parts/selves inside them – perhaps they still do.
Up until the point in time when they started to see why their life was the way it was, they might not have believed that their childhood years had anything to do with it. They may have believed that they were just born this way or that it was the result of something else.
If someone did suggest that their early years may have played a part, they might have denied it. This could have been a time when they had a very idealistic view of their caregivers.
A Tough Time
As they had to let go of the illusion that their mind had created of their caregivers, it would have meant that coming to terms with what happened would then have been very difficult. Not only would they have been in a bad way, but they would have had to accept that the people who were supposed to love and protect them were the ones who mistreated them.
The other part of this would be telling the people in their life about what happened and talking about what happened to their caregivers. What may have made matters worse is that their caregivers may have denied that they themselves were abusive, or minimized what took place.
Most likely, this would have been hard for one to deal with. However, considering that they mistreated them to begin with, it could be said that this is not much of a surprise.
This is based on the view that their caregivers had problems during this stage of their life and the problems that they had will have stayed with them, preventing them from being able to act like loving and balanced human beings. Through being told that they were not mistreated, or having these experiences minimized, one may have doubted themselves for a time.
The Body Doesn’t Lie
Yet, just as the earth sheds light on what has happened in the past; their body will have proved that what they said happened, happened. Their body will have been loaded up with the feelings that they experienced all those years ago and their physical body may have clearly shown that they had experienced trauma.
What they may have heard at the beginning of their healing journey, and over the years, is that they need to forgive their parents. This may have been put forward as the way for them to let go of what happened.
A Waste of Time
If they tried to do this, they may have found that this just caused them to repress their true feelings and to live in denial. The whole focus on one needing to forgive their parents can be seen as a continuation of what took place when they were younger – a time when their reality was invalidated and they had to deny their needs.
Thus, if part of them still believes that they need to forgive their parents, and this hasn’t allowed them to move forward, it will be essential for them to try a different approach. What is likely to be far more effective is for them to forget about forgiving anyone else, and to focus on forgiving themselves.
Getting To the Root
When they were being treated badly by their caregivers all those years ago, they would have been egocentric. Through being this way, they would have taken what happened personally; meaning that they wouldn’t have been able to see that how they were treated had nothing to do with their value as a human being.
Many years will have passed but one can still feel as though they are to blame for what took place. If they are carrying toxic shame and self-hate, for instance, this can show that this is so.
The truth is that what took place had nothing to do with them; it was simply a reflection of what was taking place for their caregivers. Their caregivers may have also been abused by their caregivers.
If someone can relate to this, and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided by the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, 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.
Child Abuse And Neglect - How To Heal From Child Abuse And Neglect