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Jan 07, 2009
Part 1: It WAS child abuse...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Charlotte, there is no question about it; you most definitely dealt with child abuse growing up. Not only did you face child neglect, you also endured emotional child abuse. In particular, rejecting, ignoring and terrorizing. The fact is, emotional abuse was the most difficult of all the abuses for you to deal with, because it tore at the fiber of who you were as a child. It is the type of child abuse that the overwhelming majority of survivors have the most difficulty dealing with. Knowing this information can be cathartic in that it is validating; but more importantly, it's the repercussions of the abuse that one must consider, because it's these repercussions that result in the longest-lasting effects. You're dealing with those effects in spades, Charlotte.

I'm very sorry to learn that your experience with counsellors was so negative. Not all therapists are created equally. I had a completely different experience with my psychiatrist. I was fortunate; he helped me understand about so many things, including child abuse, the effects of that child abuse, and appropriate effective discipline. He did not just write me a prescription. One of the reasons I wrote my book was to show other survivors how healing could result from the services of a good therapist, and how my therapist helped me.

See below for Part 2: Therapy...

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

Jan 07, 2009
Part 2: Therapy...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

"Getting over it"; so much easier said than done. Something I learned along the way: I'm no longer being abused by my parents. Sounds simple, right? It's the logical vs. emotional mind. But if I continue to relive the memories of that abuse, my body reacts in the same way it did when I was being abuse, because the mind does not know the difference between what is really happening and what we are remembering. When I learned this lesson, I came to realize it was my thoughts that needed to change if I had any hope of feeling and thus behaving differently.

From time to time, I still have minor meltdowns, usually when things that are out of my control wreak havoc on this site, or when I've been working very hard on a project and I don't seem to be making any headway. The difference between the way it used to be versus the way it is now is that I don't lash out anymore. I recognize what's really going on very early in the emotional stage, so instead of becoming a raving lunatic like I used to be, I enlist in the help of my husband or my best friend. Am I still emotional when I'm doing so? Absolutely. But by the time I'm done talking about what's really happening, I'm over it.

I suspect what's happening to you, Charlotte, is that when you are about to go into a "tirade", you fight it. You probably don't even know you're fighting it; the pain is too much for you to bear. Another lesson I learned: What you resist persists. I'm not talking about allowing yourself to take a strip off of your husband when you are in one of those states; I'm talking about going into yourself and focusing on the emotions you are feeling. In other words, give yourself permission to feel those emotions. When you try to avoid pain, it's relentless; it won't go away. But if you accept that it's there, because it IS there (acceptance or not) and then allow yourself to feel that pain and understand where it's coming from, it's far more likely that pain (and the thoughts attached to them) will dissipate. I used a couple of mantas of sorts when I was in this stage of growing: "You're okay" and "She (my mother) or he (my father) can't hurt you anymore". I found great comfort in those mantras.

Charlotte, I've written so many comments on this site to many story contributors that would or could apply to you. There isn't the space for me to point you toward all of them, even if I could. I can only suggest you read as many of those stories as you can. My sitemap page has an A - Z listing that will facilitate reading them. Perhaps you'll find some helpful responses in those comments.

Thank you for sharing your story with my visitors and me.

And for the record, your story wasn't at all too long, so no need to apologize.

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

Jan 07, 2009
One last thing...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Charlotte, it is possible that your tirades are exacerbated by menopause related hormonal imbalances. It might be worth your while to see your doctor about having your FSH levels checked, and then find out if there are any supplements that you could be taking. I'm not suggesting hormone replacement therapy; but there may be other safer more natural treatments available to you.

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

Jan 08, 2009
A troubled family...
by: Francine

Charlotte, you seem troubled and so does your whole family. Although I am sorry that your mom was killed in the car crash, what she did to you and your sister was wrong, and she should've gotten help. Your father needs help, too, and maybe I'd suggest that both of you (and your sister) try counselling. Even your stepmother needs help as you pointed out that she was "abused by her own mother". Maybe a family therapy will do. As for your anger issues, You'll definitely need help controlling them. Although I am sorry for what you went through, there is no reason to snap at your husband, let alone your kids. As for the abortion thing, I'm delighted that your father had to stop your mom from trying to abort you, causing her to fail the abortion. Take care and I wish you and your new family (husband and kids) all the best.

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