If someone was abused by one or both of their caregivers during their early years, it can be hard for them to understand why this was. One question that can enter their mind is: why would the people who were supposed to love and care for me treat me so badly?
This can be a question that they can end up thinking about for many, many years, with it being something that will completely consuming their mind. It might not end there, though, as there could be another question that will take a lot of their attention.
A Strange Scenario
By looking into this area and having conversations with their caregivers, they may have also come to see that their caregivers early years were very similar to their early years. Therefore, not only have these people been the perpetrators of child abuse; they have also been the victims of child abuse.
One can then struggle to comprehend how someone who has been abused as a child can end up doing the same thing to their child. It can be as if what they went through had absolutely no impact on them.
An Odd Scenario
So instead of what they went through giving them a clear idea of how painful it is to be treated this way and putting an end to this type of behaviour, they end up doing the same thing to the next generation. It can seem as though someone like this has no awareness and is simply a programmed machine.
Undoubtedly, if they did have awareness they would have realised that what they were doing was wrong and done something about their behaviour. This would have stopped them from make their child’s life a living hell.
What Is Going On?
However, although it might be easy to assume that what happened to them didn’t have much of an impact, this is not the truth. It will be more accurate to say that what happened did have a massive impact on them; the trouble is that they didn’t deal with what happened to them.
In other words, their caregivers went through hell during their early years but didn’t heal any of the damage that was done. Or if they did heal any of it, it would have only been the tip of the iceberg.
To handle what took place, their caregivers would have most likely disconnected from how they felt – this would have been a way for them to survive. Facing how they felt during this time would have been too painful for them and, if they were to express how they felt, they may have been treated even worse.
The years would then have passed but the pain that they experienced during their early years will have stayed in their body. Even so, this pain will have been looking for a way to be released.
When they got to the stage when they were no longer a child, they will have still had the need to keep their true feelings at bay and they may have had the need to protect their caregivers. Being an adult would have meant that they were stronger, yet they still wouldn’t have felt strong enough to face how they felt.
This can be seen as a sign of how much pain they were carrying at this point. If they had the need to protect their caregivers, this may have happened by seeing them as perfect and making out that they were perfect to others, even though they were anything but perfect.
Through seeing their caregivers in this way, it would have stopped them from having to come to terms with how they actually treated them, thereby allowing them to keep their true feelings at bay. Out of their loyalty to these people, and their fear of losing their approval, they would have also had the need to protect their image.
The bond that they had with them, and may still have if they are still alive, will most likely have been a trauma bond - a bond that is based on fear, not love. Deep down, they would have still believed that their survival rests on these people.
Desperate to Come out
The years would have continued to go by and a time would have come when they had a child of their own, with this being a time when the pain inside them would have expressed itself. Up until this point, this pain may have been directed towards other people in their life.
When this happened, a deeply wounded part of them would have done to another what was done to them – or something that was very similar. This would have happened without them being aware of what was going on.
And even if they were able to take a step back and to reflect on their own behaviour, they could believe that they behaved in the right way. They could say that their child was behaving badly and needed to be taught a lesson (abuse) or that they needed to be left to realise that their behaviour was bad (neglect), for example.
Due to how disconnected they were from themselves, it wouldn’t have been possible for them to see how their adult behaviour went back to what took place to them when they were a child – to see that their child was on the receiving end of what they were unable to express to their caregivers. Unconsciously, they would have seen their child as their caregiver/s (projection) and as this child was not a threat to them there would have been no reason for them to hold back.
Ultimately, their caregivers would have been controlled by the pain that was held in their body/unconscious mind and there may have even been something wrong with their brains. What this emphasises is how important it is for someone to work through their inner wounds if they have been abused as a child.
The trouble is, of course, is that someone can end up shutting down and be oblivious to the fact that they were abused. Thanks to this, there will no reason for them to reach out for external support.
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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.