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Once a Victim- Always a Victim?

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  • #84147
    anita
    Participant

    Once a child is a victim of abuse, neglect, an ongoing invisibility, or being alone with fear for endless periods of time, and the child responds with ill symptoms, then turns 18 or so, legally an adult, what happens then? Is the legally-now-an-adult magically transforms from victim to a self empowered individual? Or after a healing process, can the person ever be “as good as new”? Or is the person always a victim, always to suffer the consequences of childhood neglect and abuse?

    Is once a victim, always a victim?

    anita

    #84150
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Um….. wouldn’t it be wonderful of that was the case ?

    Is that you?

    I think it’ll take awareness and bravery and time and asking for help and accepting it.

    For me I had to look at why my parents were as they were , was it pure evil or were we caught up as victims of their circumstance? It was the latter so that’s reassuring at least to know it’s not through a hate of us.

    It’s never all going to go away though. I bottled all mine, made excuses for them, thought I was alright and at 38 years old now it’s seeping in slowly. But not destructively.

    Self empowerment I’d think will come from self forgiveness. You don’t have to forgive them but you have to forgive yourself. It wasn’t your fault so you (a person) doesn’t have to live their lived like it was. People have choices and that’s what they chose and you have you your own choices to make.

    #84156
    anita
    Participant

    Dear pomplemous:

    You wrote: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful of that was the case?” What case are you referring to? It would have been wonderful if once a victim always a victim? I do not understand your meaning.
    anita

    #84165
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Oh. Sorry. Wouldn’t it be lovEly if it was so that a birthday comes and a new person emerges. …… although that happened to me at 30. Wow.

    Anyway I just came here to say watching rubbish on telly and watching a David Bowie thing and it came up a quote which I thought was revelating.

    “You have to incorporate your past into your persona. It makes you reflect on WHAT you re now.:.

    I thought of your question.

    #84201
    jock
    Participant

    What about those people who turn their victimhood into success? I think people like Oprah Winfrey suffered child abuse and now she champions personal development and healing. People who turn a negative into a positive.
    Then I might be talking about material success here. These people look successful on the outside, but what are there close relationships like in adulthood?

    #84202
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Yeah i agree with your viewpoint. I think Oprah is still a mess but she’s not a victim. And I get the point you’re making.

    I dont know….. I genuinely don’t know. How do you feel about that past? Let’s start there.

    #84214
    anita
    Participant

    Dear jack and pomplemous:

    Thank you for your replies. I have an answer to my own question (surprising? I think not…):

    Once a child victim, that is a victim in ones formative years, an ongoing victim, long enough to be significantly damaged, then always a victim, that is the consequences of that damage will always be there to some extent, something to deal with lifetime.

    The consequences do not go away, not magically by reaching 18 or 21… or 121.

    And they do not disappear with healing, no matter how much healing. One cannot make himself or herself “as good as new”- that is re-make oneself as if no abuse has happened. It is impossible to erase or undo past abuse.

    It is possible to grow from it, like an injured tree branch, bent, growing in a new direction, maybe 90 degrees from the directions other branches are growing, yet it grows and it catches you eye when you look at it in the forest…

    As to material success, it is what it is: material success. Robin Williams was as famous as Oprah and like her he didn’t work for minimum wage for a long time. He had enough money for any and all therapy available yet he chose to hang himself. So, material success and fame of an international magnitude is just that. There is plenty of misery in the world of the rich and famous- it makes sense to me- because suicide is just the visible crust of that misery we, ‘regular folks” can hear about.

    It would be an unrealistic expectation for any child victim to foresee a time in the future where it would be like “nothing happened.” Or that there will be a time in the future where nothing (negative consequences of the abuse) will be happening.

    Any thoughts on this?

    anita

    #84217
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Okay, maybe i am too young to comment on this. I do know one thing for sure – there is no magic, there is nothing like good as new as if never happened. It happened and its real but i am not doomed to live the rest of my fleeting life in fear and hopelessness. I am not defined as a person by a diagnosis or some analytical framework. I am not a victim. I cant change what happened but i can work on making every day more bearable and happier. Sometimes the hardest thing is to let go and move forward, despite the doubts, fear and pain that seem so deeply ingrained as if we never knew what we would be without them…

    #84220
    jock
    Participant

    I know someone pretty well who suffered child abuse. Guess they never fully trust, always suspicious, but I’d say they’ve achieved a certain happiness, a lot of happiness really. I want to think optimistically about this issue. We can’t just accept that nothing can improve.

    #84225
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Moongal:

    Thank you for your comment. If you define a victim as one ruled by fear and having no hope, then I am no longer a victim much of the time. I define a victim as a person who suffered abuse and will be suffering for the rest of my life from consequences of that abuse. I too do not limit myself to diagnoses. Hope and courage, yes, required.

    Dear Jack:
    Thank you for your second comment on my thread (thread made possible by you!)Lots and lots of people suffered child abuse- it doesn’t have to be a definite act by a parent, it can and is neglect as well, not being attended to emotionally, any situation where the child is alone, afraid and alone, for a long, long time. From what you shared that includes you. And are you not presently still suffering the consequences?
    anita

    #84239
    jock
    Participant

    I’m definitely not a victim of child abuse. (neglect or physical harm)
    I was/am predisposed to sensitivity which made me feel “minor” incidents as “major” incidents. I was and still am an emotional person. But the problem with being emotional is that small negatives can potentially become big negatives. (Ruminator Ron) Of course our emotions work in tandem with the “monkey mind”. Like a vicious cycle, feeding off each other. Eckhart Tolle talks about the “pain body”. (another thread?)
    But the people who suffered severe child abuse such as sexual or outrageous neglect, they are the ones I feel sorry for here. I’m sure if it happened to me, I’d be scarred for life. A teenage drug addict and homeless for sure. These people have an excuse for their antisocial behaviour in adulthood.They have an excuse to go off the rails. I don’t have an excuse. I had loving parents and an idyllic childhood really; the occasional older brother bullying but it was more how I reacted to it. I chose to dwell on it and blow it out of proportion. in the scheme of things, it was nothing.

    #84244
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jack:

    You are saying that your childhood was idyllic and that you had loving parents. You were loved then, grew up with love.

    When did you lose that love?

    Did your over sensitivity dispel that love? Make it go away? Miss it so it was left behind?

    What happened to that love?

    anita

    #84249
    jock
    Participant

    mmm good one Anita…
    my problem is more self-esteem related than love related. Does that make incense?
    My mother loved me but her self-esteem was low so I never felt it. My father was a gentle guy with moderate to low self-esteem but his love was more effectual. he was more cheerful than my mother. Mum was kind of passive but an extremely hard worker. A good person but if I can be critical she was status conscious and afraid to look silly in front of others. (her family were that way too, conservative)
    My parents were protective of me to some extent. I wasn’t allowed to have a bicycle until age 12 whereas my older brothers had one at age. 5 or 6. My father lacked confidence when it came to investments and often consulted my older brothers. I felt my older brothers’ status became that of surrogate parents to us younger ones.
    I took longer than my older brothers to forge an identity. Even now, I hesitate to take a strong stand on anything. Who is Jack? What does he stand for? I bet my family can’t answer that question. I have played a low profile role in my family. Example, my older brothers would host family reunions but I don’t have the confidence to say “OK lets have it at my house”. I don’t have the motivation either I guess. I’m afraid I’ll be judged by them for my effort.
    I think I love myself if I’m not in a social situation. I am an introvert and can enjoy my own company. I think I have good qualities and a few weaknesses such as lack of courage and focus in a flight or fight scenario.
    So Anita you’ve raised an interesting point. Can you have low self-esteem and still love yourself? I think you can….as long as you spend most of your time alone…. 🙂

    #84250
    jock
    Participant

    Did your over sensitivity dispel that love? Make it go away? Miss it so it was left behind?

    I know my parents love was unconditional but my older brothers was not. They were like bosses who were never satisfied and gave you low scores on performance appraisals. I think I have unconsciously tried to live up to their expectations all my life. Also being sensitive, I felt their judgements of me harsher than say my younger brothers who were less touchy. I’ve always had a “junior” mentality in their presence. I’m sure a lot of people know what I’m saying who grew up in families as the younger sibling. The younger one is trained to look up and respect the older one(s). In that way, you tend to doubt your own capacity for decisions..”let the older sibling decide, he knows better”.
    Confidence is my problem. Especially social confidence. Not self-love.

    #84258
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Anita,

    By your definition of victim as someone who has suffered abuse, i am one too. The only difference is that i refuse to let the consequences wreck me like before. Thats why i call myself a survivor now, rather than accept myself as a victim. I have thought like a victim for too long and wallowed in anger and self-pity. I have seen the consequences shatter me in more ways than i can ever explain to anyone. I have had to walk away from the people who hurt me, forgive them as far as i could, let go and start over. I have had to come to terms with the anger, confusion, numbness the younger me felt when all that happened to her. Holding on to the past harmed my present and future way too much. I cant change what happened but I can choose to move forward. The last 2 years in particular, i have been working very hard to recover my self-esteem and untangle those years. I am happier with my life now and am slowly coming to terms with myself. Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.

    Regards,
    Moon

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