Child Abuse - Head in the Sand Mentality

by Name Undisclosed
(Location Undisclosed)

God blessed me with a voice, and the courage to use it, and with that blessing saved my sanity but it came at a cost. The cost was to be alone in the world for 46 years.

As a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of my birth father I railed against the injustice of a legal system who denied his actions. The legal system decided that I couldn't define reality from fantasy and committed me to a mental institution at the age 10. Terrified, scared and confused I faced a psychologist who's treatment was to explain to me "it was a figment of my imagination, that I needed to realize that nothing happened to me and I was unstable." Lashing out I stood up walked across the room and grabbed him between his legs stating, "This is a figment of your imagination. It is not happening to you." My anger was frightening as I could recognize terror in his eyes. But of course this aggression didn't help me, it didn't get my message across. I was quickly removed from the room and placed in my single-bed with open toilet and no privacy cell and left alone for 3 months. I cried without sounds, careful for no one to hear my sobs. Stayed awake for days frightened of the nightmares, and frightened of any noise in hall which might bring late night visitors.

The lonely days and nights that followed brought feelings of safety, see I like me, and being left alone with me was safe. I believed me it was in that thought my strength began.

One day I was taken from my cell to be tested to find out the extent of my mental disorder. Numerous clear plastic shapes were placed in front of me and I was to place them in order of importance to me. At first I was cocky, angry and laughed, but God spoke and let me know, it was my life I was laughing at. I was being given a chance to fight again. A chance to be heard, and it was up to me to find a way to communicate the truth. So I placed them in order. Circle first, spade next random shapes in-between, and the heart last. When questioned about my choices I replied, "Circle first because it represented confusion, it just kept going round and round never completing it's self. He proclaimed that things come full circle it has a beginning and an end, I gently picked up the circle and rolled it across the table watching it spin, and smiled saying it's not stopping till it falls, see there is no end to stop it. He quietly shook his head asking, "why the spade?" Because after confusion comes death. I could see his eyes start to worry, but being 10 I'd never thought of suicide and the word was one I didn't understand. That was the first time I saw that look but not the last. I would learn to understand I was considered suicidal now. Why the heart last, he asked. "Because there is no love in this world, it is a second thought."

He left the room and came back with another puzzle for me. It was cardboard cut into squares with a picture of a man taking a mower out of a garage, going about the preparation of mowing the lawn, then mowing the lawn then putting the mower away. I just sat there frustrated, I wasn't making any headway here and I was getting scared. My fear was over-powering and panic set in. He left the room saying he'd give a few minutes to think it over. But I just sat there frantically looking at the clock, tears streaming down my face, knowing my life was being judged in this puzzle, and I needed to find a way to expose the truth. Then God gave a hand to a small scared child and the answer came clear. I put the puzzle together, but I put it together backwards.

When he returned he looked at the puzzle and I knew by the look on his face I'd had my first victory. Cocking his head he smiled slightly stating, "You know you did this backwards?" I simply said, "yes, because my life is backwards. I am the one hurt and I am locked up while he walks free. Isn't that backwards?"

Within two weeks I was placed my first foster home.

This isn't the end of my horror, as it wasn't the beginning either. But it was my first lesson in head in the sand attitudes. The county didn't want this, the courts didn't want this, my family didn't want this. What I heard? No one wants you unless you're willing to put your head in the sand and pretend it didn't happen. We simply don't want to deal with this, you are not important enough to deal with this. If you don't conform, we'll mock you, call you a liar, disgrace you any way we could. Any infraction on my part, would be looked upon with bright lights and no acceptance of any wrong doing would be given. I had set a marker high to being good and honest and true. I took that challenge.

This was the start of my mission to face all realities as they came, handle them openly, honestly and to continue to survive as me, the me I knew and believed in. I would strive to not let society teach me to lie, but struggle to hold on to the truth and support the truth in being heard.

So to all of you survivors out there, my strongest prayer is that you keep talking, keep it honest no matter who says put your head in the sand, look to the light. You don't have to be around your offender, if your family, friends, therapists or whomever says just let it go, you hang on tight to the truth. It's hiding it that is driving you crazy, covering you with depression, nightmares, drug addiction, insecurities. You don't have to forgive or forget, but you do have to move away from the hurt. Say no to the bullying affect of those saying, make amends with your aggressor. You simply need to know in your soul it happened and it was wrong. And those who don't want to understand, that's okay that they don't understand. It's a hard, and can be lonely life you were given but it's YOUR life and only you can make choices for yourself. If your aggressor is still involved with your family and you feel uncomfortable being around them, stay away. You are NOT denying your family of your presence you are preventing yourself from constantly being exposed to an aggressor who isn't being held responsible. Stand up for yourself quietly and without aggression, but stand firm in who you are. Be true to you. That is where peace is. Believe in you, There is a society who believes that if the law can't protect you, you can protect yourself in a non-violent non-retaliatory way, by removing yourself from harmful situations. And yes it takes courage. Courage to walk away from even the small amount of support you feel you're getting from family and friends. If the stove is hot, don't touch it just because someone can't handle the heat themselves.

This probably could be written better. But I hope the message isn't lost in the words. Believe in yourself and your right to feel what you feel. Don't let anyone bully you into getting over your hurt. It may never go away, but it can be managed with support. But first support yourself by believing in you. God bless you all and keep talking.

Darlene Barriere: author. speaker. survivor. coachNote from Darlene: I welcome you to follow me on my Facebook page at Healing from Child Abuse. When you get there, don't forget to click onto the Become a Fan link. I hope to hear from you there!

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How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life


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