Comments for Workers have "hands tied"...

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 06, 2008
Excellent points...Originally posted Feb 15, 2008
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

The conflicting emotions must be very difficult to cope with, Elaine. On one hand, you have your childhood memories and the feelings of betrayal and abandonment at a system that let you down when you were being abused as a child. On the other, you feel the agonizing frustration of a system STILL so lacking in every type of resource, that even though you personally strive to help the most vulnerable in society, help that was denied to you as a child, your now-adult Social Worker hands really are tied.

I wish I had the room here, and the personal time, to address more Elaine, but I don't. I do, however, feel compelled to address one set of your comments.

I don't buy that people didn't know, or at least suspect, that your parents were not the "respectable" people they were trying to portray. Mental illness is not that easy to "hide," unless it doesn't exist in the first place. Mental illness rears its ugly head in all aspects of one's life. Dependency and abuse of barbiturates and alcohol leaves signs, signs that are far more likely to be ignored than NOT evident. Rage is not typically reserved for the perceived safety of closed doors. And even if it is, people hear, but once again, they choose to ignore the very clear evidence: the screaming and yelling, sounds of things breaking, the unmistakable sounds of a child being physically abused. Your parents' professional and social-climbing status bought them the lack of action of others. I refuse to let your neighbours and your extended family and your teachers and principals and everyone else who were in some way involved in your life, off the hook. EVERYONE turned a blind eye to your plight. They made the choice to discount and disregard the signs. They made the choice to turn their backs on you.

Yes, abusers can be crafty, but not so crafty that they are able to hide all signs. No way, Elaine. On this point, we part company. I lived a life much like yours. Over the course of my adult years, I've had the opportunity to speak with neighbours and extended family and teachers and principals who were all a part of my life during the abusive years. "We didn't know" was a statement I heard over and over again. But when I probed just a little further, IN EVERY CASE, they suspected. In EVERY CASE, they shared at least one incident where they very nearly picked up the phone to make a report. In EVERY CASE, they decided not to pick up that phone because either they were afraid they might be mistaken or they didn't want to get involved. The syndrome, 'what goes on in people's homes is there business, not mine' was alive and well.

I'm out of space and time, Elaine, so I'll sign off saying that your points were extremely thought-provoking; I hope my points will provoke some additional thought.

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

Sep 17, 2013
Re-think
by: Elaine

Several years on, Darlene, I noted what you have written, over and over again, it's caught at the back of my throat.

I've ALWAYS suspected that people WERE aware... I did NOT want to think they CHOSE to do nothing. I have talked (in brief, never fully - we're not able to do that) with my younger brother about things that went on at home. He let me know that on at least a couple of occasions, he attempted to call the Police. He says my mother stopped him.

I did have a handful of teachers at School who I felt suspected something. Maybe they just handled things incorrectly? When I refused to eat school dinners, I recall one teacher forcing me to eat - being made to sit at the table until everything was finished. Maybe she thought this was helping? I also had a couple of English (my favourite subject) teachers who I thought knew something. My Geography teacher, too. I even dated his son for a little while (the son was a "Goth" as well, and his father/my teacher was accepting of the clothes and lifestyle). They tolerated the way I dressed; never asking questions about my appearance and never making negative comments. They were always encouraging, and simply accepted that I got good grades no matter how I looked. I would have LOVED to have opened up to them. I did not dare!

I also know that a friend's mother spotted bruises on my wrist/arm, from where my father had grabbed me. She DID ask me very briefly how I got the bruises. I suspect that she DID try to talk about it with my parents. I remember my mother having a very weird conversation with me. She told me she had been talking to a friend's parents about "discipline". She told me this friend's parents had informed her that they regularly "thumped" my friend. Like it was normal for people to do that. This was my mother's response to the fact that my friend's mother had asked what was going on. Clearly, my parents had told her that it was just "discipline". Maybe they had invented the "conversation" in which my friend's parents said they thumped their daughter. I really cannot imagine her parents doing that - let alone telling another child's parents that they did it. I reckon this was fabricated by my mother, to make me believe that every child was treated the way I was. I also now believe that they probably told my friend's mother that I "deserved" whatever my parents did to me.

I would have been unable to present my side of the story. I suppose that this means my parents could "write off" my behaviour and that of my friend as "bad". I doubt that the reasons behind the behaviour were discussed.

Perhaps I WAS BAD? To this day, I do feel guilty, and responsible, for burdening my friend with company like me. After all, who wants to hang out with the girl from a "troubled family"? When I finally dared rebel against my parents, my friend got caught up in the spirit of rebellion, and rebelled against her parents, too. I am sorry if I caused that.

Sep 17, 2013
Elaine:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

You're not responsible for the ails of the world. You carry enough guilt and shame for what happened to you. Guilt and shame that isn't yours to carry. So tell yourself that you are NOT responsible for the decisions of others. Focus instead on healing yourself in the Now.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir


Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Child Abuse Article - Write one.

Return to Workers have "hands tied"...

Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge the child abuse
stories on this site are true. While I cannot guarantee
this, I do try to balance the need for the submitter to be
heard and validated with the needs of my visitors.



E-book: Victim To Victory

From Victim to Victory
a memoir

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

Read more...

Most Recent

  1. The reasons I've been absent

    Nov 14, 17 01:30 PM

    It's been another challenging time for me. As I actively work toward an online program for survivors of sexual abuse, I've also had to deal with issues at home. Hubby has been diagnosed with 2 types o…

    Read More

  2. I Self Medicate

    Jun 26, 17 04:40 PM

    When I was 3 we left Illinois for Arizona. The day we left my grandfather had a heart attack and died. I have one uncomfortable grainy memory of him. I

    Read More

  3. Ongoing Abuse

    Jun 06, 17 03:03 PM

    I'm 15/16. I am still getting abused physically, mentally and verbally by my family especially my mother. I don't understand what to do to overcome this.

    Read More

E-book: Victim To Victory

From Victim to Victory
a memoir

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

Read more...