From child to adult: Recovery from childhood abuse (Part 1)

May 28, 17 From child to adult: Recovery from childhood abuse (Part 1)
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Adults in recovery from childhood abuse can feel so removed from their family

From child to adult: Recovery from childhood abuse (Part 1)

As mental health awareness month draws to a close we want to take some time to discuss a subject that’s been a frequent topic lately within the Seth’s Mom family: the obligations of adults recovering from childhood abuse to their families. We had informal talks with adults in recovery who spoke of family functions or events where they had to interact with abusive parents or family members and the same themes were repeated over and over. They spoke about feelings quite similar to PTSD, including fear, panic, avoiding family events (isolation), being overprotective of their children (hypervigilance), not trusting new mates or friends (paranoia), reliving the moments of abuse (flashbacks), lack of sleep (insomnia), feelings of dread, racing heart (anxiety), uncontrollable crying. And guilt.

I feel guilty for choosing myself over my abuser

This guilt was not because they survived (survivors guilt often accompanies PTSD particularly with military personnel). The guilt was because they felt forced to chose between their need to heal (in their way, in their time) and their family. This was particularly true if there was a toxic relationship with one, or both, parents. How do adults recover when there are so many societal pressures to “honor thy mother and thy father” that has abused them? The folks we talked to recounted how they were made to feel like they were the problem as a child and continue to be the problem as an adult because they “wouldn’t let it go” or they were “just trying to get attention” or they kept “making it all about you.” What is the basis for such a tremendous level of obligation for someone who has already suffered? Why demand that they (for the sake of others) delay or completely suspend their own recovery? This is not the typical expectation. The expectation is not for someone diagnosed with Leukemia not to speak of their condition because it upsets the family. We do not expect someone in rehab to return to a meth lab because it somehow benefits their mother. Why does this happen to some adults in recovery from child abuse? Why this dynamic within some the families? 

 


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Cognitive Processing Therapy: PTSD treatment changing thoughts to heal the mind

 


NEXT  STEPS…

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External Resources

Support program: Autism Sibling Support Initiative

Support program: Sibling Support Project

Administration for Community Living

Disability Scoop

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Center for PTSD

The Blue Ribbon Project: supporting victims of child abuse and youth in foster care

Faces of PTSD

 

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