Comments for Child Abuse Story From Ashley

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May 30, 2008
Part 1: Counselling, confrontations and a mother with problems...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

I'm delighted that you are still in counselling, Ashley. Your counsellor can help guide you through the maze of emotions that you are still grappling with. Make no mistake, the abuse your brother inflicted on you was definitely physical AND emotional abuse.

As for your mother, she DID abandon and betray you, and she is making excuses. Her job was to protect you. She knew what your brother was doing and still she did nothing to stop the abuse. Taking a belt to him was in effect begetting violence with violence. Her actions only perpetuated the abuse. Her ignorance and absence not only enabled the abuse you were forced to suffer, she taught your brother that there would be no consequences for his actions. Yes, he's a grown up now, and that means he's responsible for his actions; but your mother is accountable too. The fact that she is trying to tell YOU to "get over" what you had to deal with is about HER; not about you. It's about dealing with her own guilt at abandoning you in your most desperate time. It's about her own failings as a parent. It's about the shame she must carry now that she's lost one daughter to whatever took your sister's life, the shame she must carry at letting you down, (her second daughter) and the shame she must carry now that she knows that her son has rage intense enough to seriously injure, or even kill, others.

About the confrontation with your brother, I would have been surprised if he took any kind of responsibility for what he did to you, let alone actually apologize. I am not an advocate of confrontations with abusers because in my experience, they are rife with outright denials, minimizations and/or blame directed at the victim. I believe they serve only to re-victimize the victim, which often results in major setbacks.

Regarding your 4-year-old cousin, he may well need help for what you did. While I respect that you told here, on this website, if you don't tell his parents, he won't get the help he needs. It isn't enough to own it privately. Part of growing up is making difficult choices and taking responsibility for your actions. Your brother hasn't done that, as you are so painfully aware; but you can do that for your actions. You can do that for your cousin. Consider talking to your counsellor about this.

Part 2 follows below.

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

May 30, 2008
Part 2: A few words about depression and your aunt's unfounded response...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Depressed for the rest of your life: that doesn't have to be the case at all, Ashley. If you research "depression" you'll find that there are a multitude of actions you can take to help yourself out of a depression and depressive state. Therapy is very helpful, and so is medication. And while your mother will not allow you to be medicated at your age, you will be able to make your own choices when you reach the age of majority. Talk to your counsellor about options. And also, talk to her about how you feel regarding her statement that you could be depressed for the rest of your life. You might find what she has to say encouraging. I personally found that exercise, like jogging and kickboxing, were and continue to be highly effective at elevating mood.

As for your aunt and her response to you phoning a friend, I agree with your counsellor. You did EXACTLY what you had to do to protect yourself and get yourself out of harms way. Period. End of story. No question about it. Your aunt's response was selfish. If she had been thinking about YOU instead of herself and/or the family's shame when you were talking to her about this, she would have given you the warmest hug and told you how smart and quick-on-your-feet you were for having the wherewithal to call the first number on your phone. I think you should be very proud of yourself for the way you took charge and took care of yourself, Ashley. I'm certainly proud of you.

And Ashley, every bit of what you wrote makes perfect sense. You did not waste my time. Thank you for sharing. I hope you will continue with your counselling sessions so that you can learn the tools you need to start making healthy choices for yourself, and so that you can live your life with some peace and tranquility. You certainly deserve that.

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

May 31, 2008
Getting over it
by: Hayley

Hi Ashley, how are yo today?

You have a very large mountain to get over, and you have taken some very valuable and valid steps to doing just that. It is somewhat bemusing and sick that your mother tells you to get over what happened in such a seemingly flippant manner. while she is right, you need to get over it, but you are doing it in the best way for you. It isn't like having a cold is it? I have every sympathy with your plaight. Like you, my father knew thatmy brother was abusing me. He saw him trying to get me to have sex with him, and nothing was done. After that, and the disclosure to my local police force, there were the recriminations from my mom. I feel confused but it's my fault as I should have kept my big mouth shut. I was blackmailed to drop the charges, and like a pratt I did. He later wen on to abuse another girl and I got the blame because I droppeed the charges. she was determined to exculpate her darling son, as your mother seems so anxious to do in your case. It is the ultimate kick in the guts.

Don't keep trying to commit suicide because you have too much good to offer the planet. You are too special to let your family win. Keep on with the counselling, keep going back for s long as you need to. I am myself going to return to help me to cope with the nightmares. A friend I play hockey with is helping me s is a friend at work. Another friend didn't make me talk about it, just said I shouold go to counselling. When I look at how depressed I have been, I thought I would never recover from my ordeal. I am now a care assistant on an Oncology ward in my home city of Birmingham, England. This morning, I saw a patient crying her eyes out, I knew it wasn't just life, and managed to get her to talk. You can make that turn around because you are so strong. You wouldn't have survived those previous attempts if you were weak.

Hang on in there kid, you've done well so far and deserve so much credit for what you have achieved in your battle to recover. As a friend and former hockey coah told me, Don't ever give up. I listened to him, and am not sorry I did. You weren't wasting anyone's time, and don't ever believe that.

Jun 29, 2008
Hope
by: Lauren

Hi Ashley,
I just wanted to let you know you're not alone. I, too, grew up in a physically and emotionally abusive home. For over a decade my mother physically and emotionally abused me; I knew deep down it was wrong, but when I tried to tell people (friends parents, school counselors, even my sunday school teacher!) nobody believed me. I learned very quickly that I must be "wrong" and that it "wasn't as bad as other people had it." THIS IS INCORRECT. I'm wondering if you are feeling the same tension as I do - knowing you were abused, yet having nobody stand up for you and validate it. It sounds like counseling has been a good first step; I actually just had my first counseling appointment this week!

The main purpose of this post is just to let you know that you're not alone, and that there is hope. Part of moving forward is recognizing what you've been through and understanding how that impacts you. I am so sorry for what you have been going through and wish I could help you. I know God has a specific purpose for you here - nobody can be Ashley like you! :-) You are of great worth, Ashley, and please know that your future is not set in stone. You don't have to repeat the abuse cycle, be destined for chronic depression, or whatever else you may hear. When we begin to understand how our experiences have negatively effected our thoughts and actions, we can then begin to correct them and move forward. You're doing great!!

Jul 10, 2008
Typos and progress
by: Hayley

Hi Ashley, and everyone else that read my contribution. Just a quick and heartfelt apology for the terrible typing errors I made.

Anyway, now the second part. How are you getting on Ashley? Keep with the counselling, you'll get over it in time. You're doing really well so far. I am still in my job as a care assistant, and again I found myself talking to a patient who was so depressed, she was crying because she wanted to go home. Just like friends have done with me, I gave her the time to just cry her eyes out, and assisted her in taking her medication. It was a risk to do the latter but I was prepared to take it, the risk that is, and honoureed that she trusted me to help her with her medication. I don't know what I said exactly, but she was cheered and seemed so much happier when I left the room. I never thought I could help someone like this after being told I am good for nothing. Now I have an appointment on Tueday 22nd of July and can't wait. I get on so well with my mom now, but couldn't tell her the real reason I was going back. Probably because she is the cause, the one hounding me in my nightmares.

Keep it up Ashley, we're all on your side kid and you are a pleasure to be communicating with, as is everyone I have communicated with.

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