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          Trained in   Collaborative Divorce sm  model                

 

 

SOMEDAY, MAYBE 

THERE WILL EXIST A WELL-INFORMED,  WELL-CONSIDERED, AND YET FERVENT PUBLIC CONVICTION THAT THE MOST DEADLY OF ALL POSSIBLE SINS IS THE  MUTILATION OF A CHILD’S SPIRIT.

  ERIK ERIKSON

What is   SANCTUARY TRAUMA

THE EFFECTS OF CHILDHOOD ABUSE, PTSD AND SANCTUARY TRAUMA

The return of Vietnam vets displayed to us what it looks like to have your safety taken away.

THEY DISPLAYED THESE SYMTOMS -- some subtly, some dramatically:

  • Oppositionalism
  • Defiance
  • Rebelliousness
  • Non-compliance
  • Quick to anger
  • Quick to rage
  • Quick to sadness
  • Unhappiness
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Major control issues

IDENTICAL SYMPTOMS HAVE BEEN SEEN IN:

  • Incest survivors
  • Rape victims
  • Abuse survivors
  • Children who have had medical trauma
  • Young childhood diabetics who are dependent on injected medication
  • Childhood cancer patients who have had invasive medical prcedures against their will
  • Witnesses of domestic violence
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Adults and children with divorce grief reactions
  • Adults and children who have experienced the trauma of divorce and the family breaking apart

The following is excerpted from the NCPCA publication, "Help for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse" by Pat Brown and Elizabeth D. Jones.

Childhood abuse has lifelong effects.  Adults who are survivors of   childhood abuse often report a feeling of being ‘stuck’. Their efforts to build and manage their lives often seem fruitless, hollow, or even hopeless. There can be a persistently nagging perception that they are somehow different from others.

Often, these symptoms of childhood abuse can take many forms:

  • Difficulty in developing or maintaining close personal relationships
  • A strong desire to live in isolation or to ‘hide out’ from life
  • Physical ailments like neck, back and stomach problems repeat and persist despite efforts at good self-care
  • Feelings of sadness, fear and anger often seem unmanageable, even overwhelming
  • Panics, rages, depressions, sleep disorders, or suicidal thoughts interfere with efforts to reach cherished goals
  • Dependency on alcohol, other drugs, or food to buffer and cover feelings of humiliation, shame and low self-esteem
  • Sexual problems like low sexual self-esteem, avoidance of sex, promiscuity, or an inability to experience orgasms or erections
  • Signs of trauma like panic attacks, numbing of body areas, and feelings of being disconnected from the body limit the ability to participate fully in life

Most of these symptoms are due to the disruption of healthy psychological development. An abusive childhood interferes with the child’s natural movement toward growth and the expansion of his or her experiences.

All children have a right to have their basic needs met by their parents. A consistent sense of welcome, of belonging, and of worth is needed from family and home situations. Loss of sanctuary denies these very basic needs. An adult survivor is left with a deficit of emotional and practical skills for dealing with the ‘grown-up’ world.

Symptoms undisturbed for years may flare if a survivor enters a serious romance, considers marriage, or gives birth to a child. The intimacy and responsibility of a committed relationship may be feared. Caring for a child can arouse memories of unmet needs and lead to sadness and depression. Adult survivors may also fear that they will abuse their own child the way they were abused.

It is often difficult for adult survivors to seek help. Consistent, patient and caring efforts are needed by the survivor and those who help with the healing process. It is difficult to recover from childhood abuse alone.

Recovery and healing are best accomplished with a combination of strategies. The two most important are obtaining a therapeutic person and using a support group. Adult survivors need to obtain professional help to work through the intense feelings that have been buried for so long. It is critical to find a therapeutic  person who is comfortable to be with.

In addition to working with a therapeutic wise person, it is important for adult survivors to have a support group. It is extremely healing to hear others tell their stories because it reinforces the idea that the survivor is not alone. There are times when recovery may be particularly difficult, and it is comforting and reinforcing to have several people in addition to a therapeutic wise person to call upon for help.

Many adults have made the decision to confront their childhood abuse, despite strong feelings of fear. It may take a while and it may get worse before it gets better, but healing is possible and the rewards are invaluable.

Excerpted from the NCPCA publication, "Help for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse" by Pat Brown and Elizabeth D. Jones. A single copy of the publication is available for $2.00. Send your request and check to NCPCA, PO Box 94284, Chicago IL 60690. For quantity prices, contact the NCPCA Catalog Department at (312) 663-3520.

RESOURCES: VOICES (Victims Of Incest Can Emerge Survivors) In Action, Inc., PO Box 48309, Chicago IL 60614 (312-327-1500. Incest Survivors Anonymous, PO Box 5613, Long Beach, CA 90805-0613, 310-422-1632. Adults Molested as Children, United, PO Box 952, San Jose, CA 95108, 408-453-7617.

 

WHEN AM I  BEING A VICTIM . ?   

We are powerless

over others

and their behavior

but we can

own our power

to remove ourselves

as victims.

 

What are Self Defense Mechanisms?   

WHENEVER HUMAN BEINGS PERCEIVE

A THREAT IN ANY TRANSACTION

WHETHER IT BE REAL OR IMAGINED

LESSENING OF LOVE, APPROVAL,

AFFECTION OR PRAISE,

THEY STOP LEARNING

AND START PRACTICING SELF DEFENSE

AVOIDANCE

DENIAL

FABRICATION

/DISTORTION

AGGRESSION

ANGER

RAGE

INTIMIDATION

SADNESS

UNHAPPINESS

DEPRESSION

WITHDRAWAL

CHARACTERISTICS OF ADULTS SHAMED IN CHILDHOOD

Adults shamed in childhood …

…are afraid of vulnerability and fear exposure of self.

…may suffer extreme shyness, embarrassment and feelings of inferiority to others.

…fear intimacy and tend to avoid real commitment in relationships.

…may appear either grandiose and self-centered or seem selfless.

…feel that "No matter what I do, it won’t make a difference; I am and always will be worthless and unlovable."

…frequently feel defensive when even minor negative feedback is given. They may suffer severe humiliation if forced to look at mistakes or imperfections.

…frequently blame others before they can be blamed.

…may apologize constantly and assume responsibility for the behavior of those around them.

…often feel like outsiders and have a pervasive feeling of loneliness even when surrounded by those who love and care for them.

…project their beliefs about themselves onto others, frequently engaging in "mind-reading’ and consistently feeling judged by others.

…often feel angry and judgmental toward the qualities in others that they feel ashamed of in themselves.

…often feel ugly, flawed and imperfect and may be overly focused on make-up or clothing as a way of hiding perceived flaws in self.

…often feel controlled from the outside as well as within; normal spontaneous expression is blocked.

…often suffer from performance anxiety and procrastination and depression.

…often lie to themselves and to others.

…frequently block feelings of shame through compulsive behaviors like workaholism, eating disorders, shopping, substance abuse, list making or gambling.

 

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Last modified: September 10, 2009 
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