Comments made me realize I need help for child abuse

by Kelly
(Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

Reading this site's comments has really made me understand the abuse that is really in this country. My childhood abuse from my family and in my in-laws' family has had an impact on me...I am sorry that people have to go through this hurt and pain. I know now I need help to stop the abuse that I give to my children everyday. Maybe I can stop. If I can't, I will leave my husband and leave my children behind...I know now how much help I really need.


Thank you for talking about this on the Internet and giving people the opportunity to get help.

Kelly

Darlene's comments to this Child Abuse Commentary "Comments made me realize I need help for child abuse" can be found at Comments below this submission. Depending on system activity, there are sometimes delays in comments going live on my site; but rest assured, they do eventually appear. So if you don't yet see them, I hope you will return later to read what I, and possibly others, have written. I thank you for your patience and understanding.

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Comments for Comments made me realize I need help for child abuse

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Jan 12, 2009
Part 1: Very honest...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Kelly, I first want to congratulate you for understanding how impactful child abuse is, and for realizing how child abuse has affected your own children. I commend you for your pledge to get help in order to stop child abuse in its tracks in your own home. I'm delighted that this site has brought you to this realization and undertaking.

You wrote: "I know now I need help to stop the abuse that I give to my children everyday. Maybe I can stop. If I can't, I will leave my husband and leave my children behind..." I hope when you say this it is really intended to express the degree of your commitment toward getting help for yourself, and thus your children. The reason I say this? If you physically leave your children, they will blame themselves, in part because you've abused them in the past. They will believe that they were unsuccessful in pleasing you, and that's why you left. They will believe you left because they were "bad" or in some way flawed. They will believe that if they were better behaved or a better daughter or a better son, then you would not have left them. That is the nature of children, Kelly; they internalize all that is going—and has gone—wrong in their lives. This is very important to understand.

As contradictory as the following sounds, what I've said above does not mean you should not leave if you continue to abuse your children; under such circumstances, the latter would be the lesser of the two evils. But if you do find yourself having to leave because you cannot mend your ways with them, then you owe it to your children to sit down and discuss with them why you must go away: Mommy needs help; Mommy needs to see a doctor and must leave you for a while; you are ALL perfect as you are; when Mommy gets angry and hurts you, it's because Mommy is having problems with her mind, not because of anything you've done; etc., making what you say age appropriate. And while there are no guarantees that your children will not blame themselves, even with such a discussion, those positive messages will stay with them and help set the premise for their own healing and recovery.

See below for Part 2: The turnaround...

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Jan 12, 2009
Part 2: The turnaround...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

How can you turn this around? Here are a few suggestions:
  1. You've taken the first necessary step by admitting you have a problem.
  2. Now you must tell yourself that you WILL be successful, and keep telling yourself that.
  3. Engage in the help of your husband AND yes,
  4. ask for help from your children.
  5. Family support and encouragement is critical...but get that in tandem with the help of a counsellor.
  6. If you can get additional support from extended family and friends, even better. Openness about what you are doing is every bit as important as your dedication to stopping, because openness will keep you accountable.
  7. Consider drawing up a contract with your children, a contract that says in writing specifically what you will do to correct your ways with them.
  8. Be devoted to making your home a safe place for ALL who live there.
  9. When you feel yourself losing control, be prepared in advance with a plan of how to stop whatever you're doing (go for a walk, phone a family member or friend to talk, something that will replace you becoming abusive).
The above is not an exhaustive list, Kelly. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of a good counsellor who will work with you and help you devise a plan to ensure your success. You, your children and your husband are all worthy of that success. The futures of your children depend on that success. I do applaud your commitment to this success.

Thank you for sharing this very personal aspect of your life with my visitors and me, Kelly. I wish you and your family all the best.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Jan 12, 2009
thank you
by: touched2mysoul

I read your story and wanted to applaud you on the first step... recognizing that you need and must stop... my mother was my abuser and the damage she did haunts me now and im in my late thirties. As a child i often wished my parents would just separate than try to stay together. I was just a kid but can see that staying together made our lives hell. Being apart would have in my eyes at least allowed me to see them as individuals instead of one messed up household together. You can change your ways. You can get help and make a difference. Your recognizing that you have a problem is the first step... the second will be to get that help. An important part of your process will be to one day be able to really and truly give your children a real mother who doesnt abuse them but can see them for who they are... gifts from God. A gift they will need from you though they might not accept it is for you to apoligize for what you have done but mean it... My mother has never apoligized to me and even if she did i dont know that i would believe her but the thing is i would at least get to hear her say it...
Again i say to you ... you have done what so many of those of us who have been abused wished our parents would have done... you see that you need to change... you see that what you are doing is not right... you see that you need to do better for your children... stop their pain and yours...
I wish you the best in your journey... but i wish your children safety and peace and love first.

Jan 14, 2009
thank you!
by: Anonymous

good job writing!

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