Comments for Child Abuse Story from Louise

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Dec 09, 2008
Part 1: Understandable fears...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Louise, it comes as no great surprise to me that you would feel unsafe even today. You were forced to endure the most vile and heinous forms of criminal child abuse. The very people in charge of keeping you safe from harm were the ones either inflicting that severe harm or enabling it to continue unchecked. The betrayal you must have felt at not being believed when the evidence was so clear and obvious would have been unbearable and overwhelming. Add to that, all that you were forced to endure while in the "care" of others, including Child Protective Services; it's no wonder the effects on you have been and continue to be so deeply life-altering. How could you ever trust again!

What happened to you all those years ago, Louise, are in the past. You are no longer in any of the homes that are inflicting the abuse upon you. Yes, the memories are horrendous, but it's your thoughts about those memories that are now causing you the adverse effects, including the shame and guilt and self-admonition. The shame and guilt is not yours to bear, Louise; that shame and guilt lies squarely on the backs of your abusers. You must change the way you're thinking about all of this. Something I say to so many who write me their stories: You can't change the way you feel, but when you change what you think you automatically change how you feel.

You have now found a counsellor you find trustworthy and therefore respect. Having a counsellor you trust and respect is critically important for you, Louise. She can help you to move forward along the path toward healing and recovery, but only if you're willing to allow the process to go in the direction it needs to go.

See the remainder of my comments Part 2: Understandable fear... below.

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

Dec 09, 2008
Part 2: Understandable fear...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

I understand the overpowering emotions attached to your flashbacks; you relive each and every horrendous moment as though you are right back there being abused all over again.

Louise, when I was in therapy, I too dissociated as a coping skill (residual coping skills from childhood), and I too felt those overpowering emotions in flashbacks. I too felt the unrelenting fear, both on an emotional and physical level. The flashbacks immediately transported me back to being that vulnerable, terrified, helpless child. My psychiatrist taught me that his office was a safe place for those memories to be remembered and then hashed out. He taught me that the emotions could not be circumvented, that they had to be felt in order to be released. And he had to repeatedly assure me that my thoughts about what he was thinking, about his judgments of me, were way off the mark. I didn't want to show more "vulnerability" by crying and telling and reliving. I had to show him that I was strong and able to cope just fine, exactly the way I'd had to when I actually dealt with the abuse day in and day out. I had ten-foot-wall barriers.

Eventually, after a great deal of prodding and probing by my therapist, I learned that dealing with my past didn't make me a "wimp" or "crazy"; just the opposite, in fact. I learned that my strength was in being a willing participant in my own therapy. It was this last lesson that afforded me the greatest breakthroughs.

Believe your counsellor, Louise. It's her job to help you through the flashbacks and dissociation. She can't do her job if you won't do yours by cooperating. Don't allow what those animals did to you continue to control your life now. As a child you had no power; as an adult you now have ALL the power. You just need to take it back. So take it back, Louise. You're worth taking it back.

Thank you for sharing your story with my visitors and me. And just for the record, Louise, your story was not at all long; it was the perfect length.

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

Dec 09, 2008
Monsters for parents and relatives...and enablers for a mother and brothers
by: Francine

Louise, everybody in your family (your father and cousins and cousins' friends, in particular) are twisted, demented perverts that should've been locked up in prison for life for all those terrible crimes that they deliberately committed against you. As for your mother and brothers, I understand how you feel when they willingly supported your perverted abusers, so that means that they are just as guilty as those insane perverts. I am so sorry.

Dec 14, 2008
Thank you
by: Louise

Hi Darlene,
Thank you for showing my story on your site and most importantly thank you for taking the time to express your comments
I wanted to add to your comments by saying how relieved (I think that's the right word) I was in reading about your own experiences of dissociation and flashbacks, especially during your counselling sessions. I have always felt that I am crazy and abnormal for having such experiences. For me though as I stated in my story flashbacks and dissociation are consuming my days to the point I have left my job as they were occuring at work without my control. I live with the constant images of the abuse and the experiences whereby I feel like I am re-living the abuse. I come out of dissociation with the physical and emotional effects as I had when the abuse occured. I am desperate to know how can I stop the flashbacks and dissociation because at this point in my life I am experiencing them from the moment I wake up in the morning to the moment I fall asleep. Are there any strategies/techniques that will can help me to stop this from happening and controlling my life because at the moment they are putting my life on hold as I cannot work and I refuse to be in a public place or socialise with people for the fear it happening? I cannot continue to live like this anymore.
Thanks Louise

Note from Darlene: Louise, I know only one way: through it, not by circumventing it. A therapist really is your best option.

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

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