Comments for Child Abuse Story From Julie

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May 11, 2008
I can relate...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Your story resonates with me, Julie. There are differences between our childhoods, but there are many similarities, as well. I can relate to the emotional toll the abuse took on you and on your brother. I can relate to the eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia and obesity. Eating, gorging myself actually, was my "fix." When I ate, I didn't have to think about the memories. When I ate, there was no feeling; there was only the food. More food. I was consumed by eating. I ate until the gorging prevented me from getting up. I ate until I couldn't get myself off my reclining chair in order to go the washroom. I ate until my body threatened to heave all its contents in protest. But then, the pain of the past was back, and so was the pain of what I had done to my body. It was a revolving cycle that I couldn't seem to stop. Therapy is what saved me, but it was more than that. Through therapy, I came to understand what eating—and NOT eating—represented. I learned that ALL my food-related behaviours (anorexic, bulimic, purging and overeating behaviours) were a form of self-destruction. I learned that at the core of that self-destruction was the deep-seeded belief that I wasn't worthy. I had to learn that I WAS worthy. And when I really and truly learned that lesson, I started to take care of myself.

Julie, you ARE worthy. You ARE loveable. You ARE a special person. But it isn't me you need to hear it from. You need to hear it from within yourself. Only then can you re-teach yourself better eating habits.

Take things in the moment; not in the past, not in the future. While my own story can help you feel less alone, the books I would highly recommend are Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose and The Power of Now. These two books can help you understand how living in the Present moment is the key to true happiness and Inner peace.

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

May 12, 2008
Know where you're coming from!
by: Elaine Riley

Julie,

It really isn't good when people who are meant to be close to you, and caring for you, actually do completely the opposite. You've been through so much, and unfortunately none of us come out of it unscathed.

My own parents were abusive, and left me feeling utterly worthless. They favouritised my brother, their younger child, directing most of their abuse at me. I think much of this had to do with my parents' Catholic beliefs that boys are "better" than girls, and also that my mother was mentally unwell.

Anyway, you must not blame yourself for anything. To be abused as a child, when you are defenceless, is dreadful. Parents ought to protect their children, not put them at risk. As children, we are all powerless, and dependent on our parents for love, support, safety... We cannot go and get this for ourselves, as we are NOT the adults. Parents should behave as adults, setting a good example for their children and treating them kindly.

When this does not happen, you can become very hurt and confused. Abuse causes so much pain and anger, too. I reckon anyone who has been abused, has these feelings - they are a natural reaction to being treated unfairly. But it is also hard, feeling hurt and angry towards people we are supposed to love. I think many people probably have an "ideal" of what a "good" family is like, even if they do not live in one.

When you don't feel loved, you can do many things that you later think are foolish. But at the time, perhaps they make sense. As a child, if you don't have power and love, you will do things to get them. Sadly, this can mean that NEGATIVE attention is better than NO attention. So you act up, and rebel, to get attention.

I understand your eating problems. I've been through Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa, and still have a very negative body image. Food is an easy thing to control, when you have control over nothing else. I realise now, just as you say you do, that this is not healthy, but at the time it served to help me cope.

Julie, you sound intelligent and articulate, and I think you are well on the way to helping yourself get over your abuse. You need to be able to talk things through - Counselling may be useful - to see you are not to blame. This may also help you find ways to manage your eating more effectively. Good on you that you now have a supportive partner. He obviously likes you for who you are, and this should prove that you are O.K.

I feel sorry for what has happened with your brother. I, too, have lost touch with mine (but for different reasons). Heal yourself, Julie, and then maybe with time, you can reintroduce yourself to your brother - when you are stronger, and can more easily deal with things. But remember... in your own time! Slowly is better than not at all!

Maybe you could check out my "room" in the Open Space part of this site (Elaine's room), it might help to share experiences? If not, good luck anyway, you deserve all the best.

May 13, 2008
you can survive!
by: Anonymous

i know what you must have been through , my prayers are with you.

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