>>>Oh my, your post really helped me out too. That makes sense about the child being protected after the abuse. I don't know how people survive it when the parent says something dismissive and then treats the person like what happened doesn't matter.
It feels like your brain is litrally blowing itslef outside of your body.. that the REALITY of what happened is so obvious but then someone actually says "I dont know what you are talking about" or "that's not true" is just unbelievable. I literally saw nothing but WHITE in front of me when I heard (and still hear) those (pardon my language) "mind-fuck" insane double-messages.
>>>I never thought about it quite in the light of "maladaptive coping techniques". Yes, that is a good piece of insight. He is really having trouble believing the world is not a scary horrible place.
Just by having ONE parent or ONE adult stick up for him even in light of the insanity of the rest of your family will help. He needs to see you model the proper and appropriate behaviour to react to your brother's intrusions which continue to MASSIVELY overstep boundaries with respect to appropriate behaviour. He may still have unresolved issues with respect to men/male authority figures, but at least you sticking up for him will give him some confidence that he will be able to trust WOMEN and hopefully his ability to have a relationships with women will not be so shattered. When my fiance's abuse happened (outside the family) and he NEVER felt comfortable enough to tell his mother (he thought he'd be shamed or yelled at or blamed) and he's had anger issues with both men and women for his whole life.
Hopefully your son can find some kind of respectable male figure to develop trust in - if there is someone - a friend, etc. who he can develop a relationship with then that will be something.
>>>To make a long story short - I didn't have a garage sale on a day that he decided I should, and so he came over to my Mom's and my house and started a yelling tirade.
Believe you-me, I beleieve every friggin word of this .. sounds like the way my family gets along! I have even had fights with my fiance that have included head-being-slammed-in-door stuff....
It sounds very plausible to me that you were able to put up with/marry someone like your sons' father because you are so used to this type of behaviour.. its tough isnt it... I dated a lot of creeps because dammit I was so used to being treated like crap that I didnt even KNOW there could be anything better!!! And even now its hard when my fiance gets off on one of his tirades.. to actually acknowledge and recognize unacceptable behaviour because I am SO USED to crappy treatment!!! It's like.. days later when I go "hey .. wait a minute!! That was NOT OK!!"
Be very careful to educate yoru son as he gets older that all families are not like his, that what goes on in your family started long before he was born, and that you are DAMN sure that it will STOP at his generation, that he is loved, that he does not have to have a life from NOW ON like the one he has had in the past. Its the only thing that I do to keep myself insane, to make sure that my present and future is NOTHING like the manipulative, abusive and aggressive/violent past that I knew.
>>>His nightmares tell me that he is very concerned with feeling safe.
Yah thats the BIGGY deal for both me and my Fiance. And I have to admit that I"m not doing a good job of FEELING safe lately - last week my dad freaked out on the phone at me a few hours before we were to meet him and my mom for dinner.. I got to the dinner after a spat with my fiance (both of us feel unsafe around my dad and we start sparring) and I literally FROZE at the dinner table.... my dad's body language told me something was up and 5 minutes after getting there and being grilled about this that and the other thing (I was being put under a lot of presure to make some snap decisions about the wedding) I walked out of the restaurant, climbed in my car, locked the doors, and sobbed in my lap for about 45 minutes. I continued with that kind of behaviour with my fiance on Sunday.. he started yelling at me for something or another and I jumped out of the car when it was still moving, scraped the (*&(*& out of my leg, and ran into the house, locking him out. Later on when I let him into the house i wiped out down the stairs, smashing my knee.
I just cant handle right now ANYONE raising their voice to me.. I have given up on my ANGER reaction to what I perceive MIGHT be an abusive situation boiling (the whole "the best defence is a good offence" approach) but I now start to zone out or freak out or just run away (i used to fight, now I'm into "flight") and I still dont know what to do.
So yeah.. if a 35 year old woman can act this weird due to not "feeling safe" then I'm sure a young kid can certainly feel that way.. and that his behaviour will be motivated to ensuring he's "SAFE" for a long time.
>>>Tonight I told him that he is in control of whether he sees Daddy and whether or not he wants someone else there to make sure Daddy doesn't do anything he doesn't like.
That's awesome. I wish more moms (and court systems) would be this way for their kids and put their kids needs FIRST.
>>> It never even occured to me growing up to pretend to be the anti-hero. I always had to be the good one, and I know that I just took it for granted that I was a good person and I am so furious that his father took that self-assurance away, what a hideous crime. He told me he thinks he's bad because of Daddy hurting him - and, it shows in him saying "Daddy hates my bum". My gawd that says it all.
The truth is that Daddy hates HIMSELF.. over time hopefully when your son has had more time to advance and mentally develop he'll start to be able to put things together. But he will always struggle with issues of feeling "safe" - his behaviour will always somehow come out of the need to "control or be controlled".. and you will have to watch out for any maladaptive behaviour. He will have to get "reprogrammed" from the initial shock, which has such a powerful impact on so many things in abused people's brains. The logical deductions after abuse are so weird "this-then-therefore-that" they do have to be deconstructed and repaired.
>>>"I wish the same had been done with respect to my own father -who abused me for about 20 years, both verbally and psychologically, and my mother was a willing accomplice." - you know, I think that is just the most horrible thing.
It was. I try not to let it get me so angry.. my parents WERE where they WERE at the time, they couldnt have been any different. And in their own inept kind of way, I KNOW they love me, but they just relaly dont have a clue how to ACT right!
My mom too was so afraid of my dad, so afraid of losing him, she never stood up for her kids. She too was and in some ways still IS willing to put up with his shit. I refuse to allow him to say the shit that he does to me (he still tells her to fuck off on a regular basis, makes cracks and jokes about her appearance, picks on my brother, etc. he's really just a big "schoolyard bully".) and both my mom and my brother think I'm some kind of insane bitch for telling my dad to STUFF IT but so what. If its a choice between my sanity and their approval, I think I'll pick my sanity. Its hard though to continueally be put into that situation - that I have to stay calm when he's provoking me, to PROVE that its acceptable to say to my dad "ITS NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR YOU TO SAY SUCH AND SUCH TO ME or to talk to me in that threatening tone of voice". I do have to take my family in small doses. Its hard because I feel so lonely and abandoned so often, but what other choice do I have?
>>>It was just such as sick situation it made me feel physically ill to be around the Mom.
I bet the mom was also horribly abused at some point in her life too.. what else could convince her that she didnt deserve any better? Its a big friggin cycle.. it goes around and around and around.. and it takes GENERATIONS to get through it.
I think the only thing that in my situation that has been an acceptable antidote to anger at my family has been PITY. PITY that they still act that way, that they dont demand anything more for themselves and from each other, PITY that they feel they are so "lowly" that they have to act this way and accept this shit. If I feel compassion and pity then I understand them and feel sorry for them instead of being so angry. But it MUST be hard to handle the anger when you still are reminded on a daily basis of what your ex did to your son..
My fiance has done a lot for me in teaching me all about pity/compassion. He said that a lot of the time he feels more PITY for his abuser than ANGER... But mind you that came from YEARS of him going to Buddhist centres, learning all about meditation, anger management the Buddhist way, etc. etc. its the only way to let the overwhelming anger go.. to turn it into PITY.
>>>I have some thoughts on the effects of these things too. I think that abuse causes so much emotional damage, and one of the things it does is cause your subconscious to use up lots of it's "RAM" just while you're going about your daily living. So vast human resources are being used up spinning on this problem in the person's life.
Yes. the Dr. Phil book "self matters" talks about the effects of negative self talk on one's mental energy. Its EXHAUSTING to always have that going in the background and then try to get through your day. I thnk of my fiance and how his SA experience has eaten up so much of his mental energy that he dropped out of high school and has not been able to aspire to a higher calling in his career/professional life - he's been stuck in a low level dead end type job for about 14 years, only because he's not had the mental energy to think about going back to school, to take on new challenges. Its SO tough. I"m thinking with all I've already accomplished in my life I must be some kind of friggin genius to manage this middle-class life that i've got going and still battle with the crap that's going on in my subconscious.. I guess it shows around my belly with the 20 lbs of extra weight.. ugh...
>>>It's like, until it's resolved your subconscious mind is going to be going all over it, turning it over and over in your mind instead of doing so many positive things it would normally be doing for you- keeping you aware of other danger, huge chunks of intuition do not get processed through there because it is working on this #@$!.
Personally what it has affected me most is in my ability to sleep (and some anxiety-eating issues too). I am ok during the day but when it gets dark, and I am getting sleepy, my subconscious takes over and is constantly alert, guarding me from danger. And I am SOO tired. I've barely had a good night's sleep for more than a few days at a time in almost 20 years. I AM concerned about the effects of this, long term, on my health (i.e. heart attacks, cancer, etc.)
>>>So right there it is destroying potential as well as all the other more obvious ways. To be truly creative a person needs to have the most important needs of safety, food, shelter, security met.
Indeed - are you a student of Maslow? (Maslow's hierarchy of needs - significant concept in psychology) - many psychological theorists have LONG described how if someone doesn t have safety, security, shelter, food met FIRST they simply CANNOT go on to higher levels of self-actualization and achievement.
HOwever.. when I sometimes get mired into the "what if"s and think of my and my fiance's lost potential, I feel better when I look at what happened to us as a mirror of Jesus' "parable of the talents" in the Bible. Yes, while I and my fiance had the POTENTIAL to do so much more, but in life we were only handed 1 or 5 gold bars, not 10, that God STILL wants us to do great things with the 1 or 5 bars of gold that we were given, and not sit there and hide it away... that even though I didnt get as much potential as the other guy or girl that I should give up and get stuck in my self pity. There's still a LOT of living to do.. and just because our monetary situation may not be all that it could be because of our past, that our emotional situation can be as good or even better than many others.. that we can be the best people we can be - helpful, happy, healthy.. and we have to keep working to strive for that.
>>>I think we would be a lot farther in curing cancer if people were not abused and then told they are crazy, not supported and left to deal with it for the rest of their lives.
Yes .. I have been told by many people NOT in the know about what was going on in my life that I WAS crazy. And lately the more time I am away from my family and away from people who are abusive and aggressive I realize, that dammit, I am a completely NORMAL, SANE, LOVEABLE, PRODUCTIVE, INTELLIGENT and COMPLETELY CAPABLE person and what was going on for so long was my REACTION to the situation that I was in, and not ME! What a revelation to realize that my insane behaviour was just that! REACTIVE BEHAVIOUR and not who I really was!
That whole "false reactive self" has really set up a really distorted self concept that I've spent the better part of my adult life trying to combat. Now that I see who I REALLY am I actually like her, and am having a lot more fun and feel a lot more free of the demons that I carried within me.
>>>So, I think yes, unequivocally you would feel more secure, you would believe in yourself more, you would accomplish more and you would sleep at night (this is a severe problem with me as well, starting with when I started realizing that there was some kind of serious problem in the relationship with my ex-h)
I hear ya.. I'm back to the sleeping pills
>>>I think learning to channel all of that stuff into something positive does help, but it takes a lot more energy than just accomplishing and feeling safe in the first place.
It does. You really do have to come to some kind of "higher level" of understanding to make sense of abuse and its effects. if you can push through it and find a way to deal with it it DOES make you a much more enlightened and understanding person.
>>>I don't want my son's potential drained by grappling with the whys and wherefores of his father's sick behavior. He keeps talking about growing up, getting bigger than his Dad and then going and throwing him in the trash.
I think part of him will always be angry, and somehow he'll have to come to terms with what happened to him, somehow, sometime, for himself, within himself. HE will have to do some definition of what happened, for himself, when he's ready.
>> I try to tell him that the thing to do is call the police and get people who's job it is to take care of these things to handle it while he goes his way being happy and building a good life and learning, exploring and being curious.
>>>Thank you so much, P, I think bravo for YOUR post!