Sexual abuse is one of the ultimate betrayals. When it is committed on a child, the child feels somehow responsible for this terrible invasion. And, of course, great feelings of shame and self-hatred consume the child’s self-identity. If the child is lucky enough in adulthood to finally be ready to deal with this cancer on his/her soul, finding a group therapy can be the best way to acknowledge all the hatred that lies under the emotional surface. Sex Addicts Anonymous is a great 12 step program which has helped many of the people I’ve known over the years.
One of the deepest sources of pain for sexual abuse survivors is the lack of support from family members, especially from parents. Over and over again, survivors of abuse have expressed the feeling that as destructive as sexual abuse is, it’s the abandonment and betrayal of their parents that hurt the most.
Conversely, when a child is believed and supported in childhood, the effects of the abuse are significantly diminished. Many parents don’t learn about the abuse until their child is grown, but understanding and support remain important even for adult survivors.
We asked survivors to share their stories and feelings about their abuse and the rejection of their parents. This is a collection of their thoughts, from their hearts, in their own words. For their full stories, you can read here.
2. From Faith Allen: “Other Abuse Aftereffects: Splitting into Two Parts”:
I have encountered a handful of child abuse survivors who split into an adult and a child alter part. They would not be classified as having dissociative identity disorder (DID) because there is no loss of time or an interchange of personalities. My guess is that they would receive a label of dissociative disorder not otherwise specified (DD-NOS), but the label is irrelevant for the purpose of this blog entry. I want to provide a place where people who experienced this split have a place to be recognized.
The people I encountered in person, online, and through books who experienced the type of split I am talking about explain their experience along these lines … They might have experienced some level of abuse or trauma in their early years, but the trauma that caused the split seems to have happened in the age range of five to eight years old, with age six being the most common age for the split to have happened. Admittedly, I have only been able to observe the experiences of a small sample, so this is definitely not written in stone.
At the time of the split, the person “buries” the wounded child part and continues on with the part that grows into an adult. The person has two parts, but the child part does not come out, which is one reason this person would be unlikely to be diagnosed with DID.
3. From just Be Real: “Healing of My Little Girl”:
We all have an inner child. I was not aware of that until I went through counseling. I just thought the way I behaved was because I was very immature and scared. Not realizing I was deeply hurt, frightened, angry, shameful… just to name a few.
As I began working on my issues and seeing how I react and think it made sense that another part of me (although one in all) was influencing me. A five year old inside me dictating my decisions most my life. Can you imagine? I can now.
I believe I had two major trauma’s in my life as a child. Sexually abused and the divorce of my parents. Basically both going on at the same time. Being sexually abused as a child (9 years old), I believe began a little before I even noticed that my parents were having difficulty in their marriage. Not understanding at all what both brought to me.
When I was sexually abused, I did not tell anyone out of fear and confusion. Many of us grew up in dysfunctional homes with dysfunctional parents. Being a victim of incest, I was even more afraid of telling a parent out of fear that they might blame me. I really do not know if I could even of expressed myself. I do not even know if I thought what my brother was doing and having me do to him was even wrong. I just know I did not like what was happening and was petrified.