Feeling safe will never truly happen after abuse occurs. That feeling of naivety where the world is a this truly good place is forever stricken from your vocabulary and thoughts. Yes, there are good people, good things and great days but the rose color glass over the eyes that allowed you to see all things glass full now appear glass half empty instead. That may sound negative but it realistically what we feel keeps us alive. It is a protection kind of thing if you know the absolute worse case scenario for everything it helps you to be able to have a safety plan in place. Planning is one of the things that allows you to feel you have some control over your future.
Survivors are often sitting there waiting for other shoe to drop because they will never allow the fear and anxiety to leave because holding it keeps you hyper aware. The key word in that sentence is aware. Letting your guard down when someone threatened to kill you is not an option. It can cost your life. Missing what would appear to be a small detail to the rest of the world such as falling asleep without locking door can cost you your life. So we live with the saying forgive but never forget otherwise you are doomed to repeat. There is a good chance that is a mistake you may not live to regret.
The worst part is the survivors have PTSD and the horrific tragedies of the world whether related to the abuse or not increase the anxiety to point for some that they wont watch news at all. A person who is dealing with the trauma of abuse be it present or past is overwhelmed by terrifying thoughts, anxiety, fear, shame, guilt and feeling helpless. They may have anxiety over answering door, phone or checking mail.The efar of impending doom can be debilitating. It is hard to concentrate, sleep and sometimes leave the house. They may be experiencing flashbacks which are memories that imprison you frozen in a terrifying moment that your stuck reliving. Nothing real exists around you but that memory for however long the flashback lasts. Some feel as if they last an eternity. I recall one that is branded in my memory as it felt like i couldn’t leave it nothing around me existed but the memory and darkness. I kept falling from feeling dizzy. The fact that things in the room were not physically where they were in flashback made falling into things a given. The room was dark and it consumed me to the point that though I knew realistically where I was I could not escape it.
A big part of childhood that many survivors of childhood abuse are missing is the stable environment. An article in the American Journal of Public Health links how well a child does in kindergarten to how well they do in early adulthood. Psychologist at Crittenton Children’s Center says in order to teach your children how to succeed as adults there are four things they should learn at kindergarten age from parents, caregivers and family around our children. These things must be teach us to to deal with people and life. They are as follows;
- teach our kids to lead by example
- show them kindness
- create a routine
- provide stable environment
When a child grows up without those things they are nervous all the time wondering whats going to happen. They have anxiety. Children need to understand emotions and relate them to our world. When a child is abused, neglected and called a liar when reporting abuse it teaches them anxiety, not to trust, to hide emotions and that they are not important. The hidden messages sometimes coincide with the things told by the perpetrator. These messages if not dealt with last a lifetime replaying in the back of the mind affecting every decision. The common messages are it is my fault, I am bad, I deserve abuse and no one cares. Most often we perfect faking it because we think no one cares so why waste time telling them and its our fault anyway so they will hate us too. It sounds silly when I put it in writing but in the back of the mind it makes perfect sense. It seems like it should be as simple as just to stop thinking it. No, it is not. When someone repeats something over and over it becomes ingrained like its just a part of your brain.
In a way when a child is abused the child “dies”. The childhood dies so a child no longer exists in the sense of the word. The child loses feeling of safety, trust in the system and sense of stability. These things can be gotten back with proper treatment and healing. That is where the biggest problem lies. The child is treated like a criminal and the alleged perpetrator is given rights and kid gloves. The system fails our kids and as parents we have no recourse because most do not have money ,connections or strength to fight them. Each one who walks away and lets it go teaches everyone this is how it is. No its time for us stand up, speak out even if alone, and make sure our children’s voices are heard. Remember together we can and will move mountains one pebble at a time. For more information please see: www.voices-amplified.com