||National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
- Feature Article -
|EDITOR'S NOTE: Here are a few recent stories and feature articles from a variety of sources that are related to the kinds of issues we cover on our web site. They'll represent a small percentage of the information available to us, the public, as we fight to provide meaningful recovery services and help for those who've suffered child abuse. We'll add to and update this page regularly, bringing you just a few of the featured articles on the web site.
by Teresa Joyce, NAASCA representative in the United Kingdom
In 2011 after many years of considerable thought, I found the determination and strength in which to be able to write and publish my book “There's a fine line” The journey that I was about to embark on in truth could lead me anywhere but I was just so very tired of standing still.
It was a difficult process for sure but until I found movement in using my own direction I would never really know. What was completely clear was that I had to deal with the residue of my emotions. Emotions within me, that were still holding fast to their power and they had the ability to tie me up in knots inside. If I'm honest they had me within a continual place of circling. Questioning my abuse within that circle and as we are aware a circle has no end.
But where did I start to write a book like that? Where did my abuse begin and end? Because it still felt so very much like it had never left. Within me, there were so many emotional wounds I needed to heal that was still so extremely painful. In truth, once I had begun it was seemingly no longer the issue. I was on a roller coaster without the ability in which to stop, I had to expunge that which was inside of me before it destroyed any margin of sanity that I still felt was mine.
My story is accessible to everyone in the form of a free e-book. I invite you to take this journey with me. Who knows just maybe it may help you find your own beginning.
<< Please visit this link to obtain your free copy: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/719998 >>
Since that time I have been active within the world of adult abuse support and recovery. To be able to continue I had the task of setting up a website my book alone was no longer enough. In doing so I was extremely hopeful my words would continue to contribute towards another's recovery. I felt such a powerful emotion to reach out of and beyond my own abuse, towards all of those that were still within their own struggle daily. Today I continue to write and post new articles within my website, hopefully, I am able to give just that little bit more insight into child abuse. After all, my insight was deemed through my own exposure and it will never be forgotten.
For everyone the way in which we move towards recovery will almost certainly be very different. Therefore, I am only able to contribute the knowledge from my own experience. Yes, in all truth, the damage inflicted on each child may differ because their abuse always had its own direction.
I receive many emails on a daily basis directly through my website from those still looking towards their own recovery, I feel so extremely privileged to be a part of that. The emails I receive daily seem to be unbelievable but they are so very real. To think that another human being would inflict such devastation upon a child is hard to imagine. Sadly, where child abuse is concerned it seems that the imagination of those who abuse is limitless.
Every email I receive will in time receive a reply although done so in date order. With repeated succession within those emails, the subject matter I will address below is always so extremely paramount. Quite simply it is repeatedly asked. Resoundingly expressed, that dark penetrating feeling of not knowing where they belong or who they are.
I have been a guest speaker on many talk radio shows I have also been asked to return on many occasions. Those radio show hosts that are also forthright with their own input surrounding child abuse, often exposed to the horror of child abuse themselves. Across the miles within that calibration, we try our best to contribute towards another's recovery. We stand together with one aim to create awareness around the atrocities of child abuse.
Being a part of the NAASCA family has created a whole new level in which I'm able to communicate and it's something that is felt deeply. When I connect with another child abuse survivor, who could be anywhere in the world, it's as if they are sitting next to me. That common bond will always shine through and is exchanged without words. I also have the privilege of being a UK representative for NAASCA to be included within that platform.
The piece below is my attempt at trying to explain just how it feels to be that lost child and an adult survivor. To address that ever-burning unanswered question I spoke about above, just where do they belong? I hope that I am successful within that attempt, it's an experience that so many have shared to include myself among them. Travelling down this road was never going be easy but it is achievable and given time we can all walk that road to its end.
I will be using an analogy today as a tool in which I hope will assist me whilst writing. I hope that everyone will be able to relate to the subject matter, equally I'm so very sure that it will be understood completely. It's a common emotion shared between all those who have suffered within the complexity of child abuse It's seen without question, but why? Simply said, we have all suffered to find and address our ability within that emotion of integration. Life it seems has left us with a completely empty space when it comes to this emotion and the feeling of painful separation. It can take many years to learn how to migrate to that place where everybody else just seems to fit. During which we will at times feel that others only hinder us rather than help, and for that, I am unable to offer up any explanation.
If we were to think about a flock of swallows they know exactly where they belong and their direction of travel is obvious. They are within the group and there is the consistency of the whole. If the group moves, they follow it's never second guessed. They are a part of that bond. Migration whilst either moving away from or progressing towards matters not, they follow because they belong within it.
They have a shape that feeling of togetherness a place within the world in which they fit. I don't suggest here that we should all behave like those swallows, of course not, neither am I saying that we should mindlessly or blindly follow. But is that really what they are doing? Maybe they are in fact engaged with the art of following mindfully. It's a huge difference. The point I'm making here is that they have a direction they are among kindred spirits, they understand each other and they are able to relate.
Migration adheres it is part and parcel of their being, overly more, regardless of where they may be, they want to be there. Not to leave with the others when movement occurs would leave them completely exposed, not sticking with the flock? Well, that could have a very adverse effect. This effect is not created by the others on leaving, it's created because they no longer know how to be, where they belong, or with whom. By sticking together, they are able to feel safe, protected, and recognised, most importantly they recognise.
Do they not say that there is safety in numbers? That child was alone.
Within that accepted group, they feel held supported and understood. They belong. Within this analogy, the image above captures just how strong that bond is felt they are within that flow. So, when ready to move it is within that complete structure. There is no need to glance behind they know the others within their group are there with them. Without a glance, they are felt and they remain complete.
So just where is that place to be found for an abused child? Where do they go to find their place in life where they will also fit? Somewhere that they can also feel complete and within that feeling of oneness? The answer to that question is nowhere. That feeling just isn't there. Who can they feel safe enough with to find that integration? They have never had that experience of just being, they have never experienced a group in which to belong, or been anywhere even near to another's protection.
In time, as that recovering adult abuse survivor, they will have access to a different knowledge where they will then understand completely. Where their questions have answers. You see they were always within a potential group for inclusion, but even so, once met it will feel just as equally foreign to them. After so many years of being held in forced exclusion, they now have to learn the art of inclusion. But what does that mean? Avoidance through their experience of the unknown is just so strong, and the inclusion that should have been theirs as a child, well, that has to be learnt. Are they even recognised in that so unfamiliar place? They as sure as hell can't recognise it.
As a very young child, they wouldn't have had any awareness that now an adult is be armed with, not that the adult knows just what to do with it either. When faced with that knowledge that they weren't alone, just how can that broken inner child understands this adult world of abuse in recovery? In all honesty, whilst alone, everything they thought was true now isn't. They were told that they were special and just how much they were loved, and how lucky they were to be wanted. The question they now find themselves asking is how could they have been? The only thing that they were told made them special is ripped away within seconds, the vessel of their being feels far emptier than before. When they have experienced nothing other it's always going to be profoundly felt, emotions that we struggle to understand will not always be under our control.
It was difficult before this knowledge. All they were doing was just existing. Somehow they feel that this knowledge has the potential of taking away far more than it gives. We would have to be within that troubled mind to have any hope of understanding.
If questions were asked all those years ago, at best they were left unanswered, and in truth never really knowing what they were asking. As that adult, they at least now they understand the questions, but all answers will elude them for a time. Sadly at times when that knowledge arrives it's just far too late to assist that adult, it seems far safer to hold on to that abused child. The other option in the unknown.
If we think about the analogy that of the sparrows, we are then able to relate to that child's situation, as they desperately try to find out for themselves where they also fit. God knows they have experienced such painful exposure, they were alone, and somehow also badly different. They were never safe within any structure. An oddity, within a world, that they just didn't understand and unable to share with anyone. The empty space they were within must have felt just as vast as the sky above carrying those tiny birds in unity.
By sheer definition, that's just where their abuser had placed them within a place of secrecy while exposed to all of the elements, to include, any knowledge of who they were, or just how to be. They never had a group enabling them to see that life could be any different. They had never felt held there was only the abuse. There was no access for them to have any hope of understanding differently. There truly wasn't. As that recovering adult, it will take much adjustment to integrate with life and the biggest adjustment of all will be to trust. Trust is delicate, it will mean sharing those abused pieces of themselves, and in order to gain that trust, we need to allow them the time in which to give it.
When suffering within the repercussions of their abuse as children it would, of course, be less than helpful to have joined any particular group. As that child, they would never have felt able to hold another's abuse as well as their own, that knowledge would have only served to add to their confusion. Just like a sadly lost abandoned sparrow, they were splintered away from everyone by their abuser's design and hidden away from any inclusion. There was just no placement in which to be so you can clearly see their dilemma.
Sitting on the outskirts of life is so completely devastating whilst at all times feeling different and not knowing why? What makes this so completely overwhelming is that they feel as if they are not even noticed, whilst they can do nothing other than to notice, that everybody else is not quite like them. Quite simply, they are not a part of anything in which they felt mattered. All they have ever really felt with consistency was their abuse, within that the newly acquired knowledge it's now seen and it's felt immensely. They were only ever owned.
An adult child abuse survivor in time they will come to that realisation, that whilst within that dark macabre act they were never alone, but it's still met with loneliness which fills them. As they try to battle with this new realisation of their ever-changing vision, and regrettably, they now understand the price in which they had paid. That price had been their childhood.
That feeling of not belonging never really leaves any of us there will always be some residue, but with time it can be distanced to a place of management.
To arrive within that placement in the here and now even if engaging with support they will experience the feeling of being empty of everything, the person they always thought they were just isn't. When this occurs they can be continually pulled back within that controlled abusive past as they engage with that feeling of being lost.
At times the experience of being pulled back and within their childhood memories of abuse will happen and it seems somehow inevitable, during that time all we can ever do is to sit and wait. It's surely not where they want to its where they are being taken, So why? It's where they felt inclusion and yes, it is anything but logical, but whilst there, they experience some remanence of belonging. Their need to feel a part of something at that moment in time prevalent and it can't be ignored.
It's not so difficult for us to see that even whilst within that solitary imposed confinement at least they were a part of something. Oddly within that place they had never felt lost, they couldn't lose direction when it's something they never had. Although the direction to be followed was that of their abuser's it was still a direction. How do they shake off that lifelong feeling of being directed?
They will always feel slightly less lost whilst being within the known, the unknown, well, that's a different story. The unknown freedom and is feared, but why? Because it now means that they have to find their own direction. Through that acquired knowledge they are now also armed with a staunch resentment of being directed at all. Where do they go? They are back within that never-ending circle, once more within that solitary confinement. Only this time its self-imposed.
Confinement is a place in which us humans will never bode well.
It's such a dreadful reality, that at times in adulthood regression is experienced towards that child and to where that damaged child had no control, at that moment in time control becomes just too difficult for that damaged adult to hold. They need to exercise control but where is the experience in which to do so? Or is it now that control that is holding them? That, of course, means that there is no control whatsoever. By returning to that child within they are able to avoid that much-requested emotion of self-control. No direction is required within and there they will stay until direction is no longer asked of them.
knowledge of and understanding abuse is so completely different and the adult they have now become is as equally devastated. Only in time within self-realisation will that migration to a better place seem possible. Where they can start to feel that yes, they do fit within the jigsaw of life they just need to keep looking. There is now an understanding that transition is possible, and recognition that it was never a weight that could have been carried as that child. On reaching this point in our recovery we then truly understand our inner child and its where we are now ready to take on the responsibility as that adult complete.
With work and support and the coming together it's at last clearly seen that placement in life is possible, that flock in which to belong had always been there. A flock in which myself and many others will spend a lifetime trying to bring together. Enabling adult abuse survivors to find that place in which they belong is extremely paramount. Somewhere that they are understood but what's far more crucial for them to reach a place of understanding.
Birds will always experience movement by opening their wings.
But the movement for a child locked within abuse will never experience such freedom.