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#68191 - 12/25/06 08:58 PM CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
Brokenhearted Offline
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Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
I need to know if any of you who were csa before age 4, when empathy for others develops, have been able to develop empathy through your therapy. I understand that in healing, survivors need to cry for themselves in order to mourn their loss -- but, can they also learn how to cry for others, feel empathy for others? This is important for me to understand. I need encouragement here.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#68192 - 12/26/06 07:04 AM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
ScottyTodd Offline
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Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Brokenhearted - I work with some kids who are CSAV by age 6 months!! Yes, they can reach a point of empathy. This happens in steps...first to get in touch with their emotions (recognize them, identify them, describe them, etc.) before they can begin to feel the emotions and pains of others. This process may take quite a while especially if it has developed into a mental health diagnosis. Good luck in your journey toward empathy remembering it takes time and patience but it is well worth the work.

Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#68193 - 12/26/06 02:43 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
VN Offline
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Posts: 723
I do not know when it start for me, but I know it start before I am school age, and I start school when I was not yet five.

I do not know how it is, development of children, when it is they discover empathy for others. I do not know it could been taught in the home I grown up in, with sexual abuse from mother and physical and other abuses from father. I am not sure how it is me and my sister, we learn anything in how to behave proper. Maybe because there was two of us, we learn for to have empathy for each other? I am not sure of it. I know that in social ways, many, I am not 'right' perhaps, but I think for most part, I am civil and usualy quite polite person. And I do have much easier time to feel concern and caring to someone else then myself. I am not sure of how that was learned, I can not tell to you any way or when it was. I am sorry, I wish it can be more the help.

VN


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#68194 - 12/26/06 02:52 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
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its a lot eaiser to cry for somebody else than it is to cry for myself ,for so long it was impossible to cry at all.it wasnt allowed ,it was a sign of weakness and it would be punished with more pain .

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#68195 - 12/26/06 02:55 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
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Posts: 2437
also i wasnt sa before age 4 but i think mental abuse is just as harmfull to a kid that young,cause thats when you also develop how you feel about yourself ,being told at that age that your a little pussy boy affects the way you feel about yourself forever

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#68196 - 12/28/06 03:39 AM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
TJ jeff Offline
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physical/mental abuse started for me around age 3 I think and continued till I left my parents house at 18

sexual abuse started around age 4 and ended around 9

Am I missing something when it comes to empathy??? (this is first I have ever heard of this being related to age when stuff started happening) - I think to be honest - I got more empathy for others and what happened to them than I do for what happened to me

I am kinda like shadow in the fact that I was not allowed to cry while growing up either - to do so would just bring more punishment to me

TJ jeff

_________________________
Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

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#68197 - 12/28/06 05:36 AM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
Brokenhearted Offline
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It seems what I've read about child development/empathy is that a child learns around age 4 to name his own emotions, whether he's sad, scared, mad, whatever.....then once he learns how to name his OWN, he can start to emphasize with others, how they must feel...

Isn't that kind of how one heals from csa? They learn to admit that they were sad, scared, whatever, rather than pretending they didn't feel anything, they put a NAME on their feelings from the abuse, VALIDATE their own feelings by so naming them, then are able to move on and heal from it?

I guess maybe it's important to cry for oneself and not just for others...if you never allow yourself to feel those terrible feelings and validate your own feelings, allow yourself to feel and cry, then you will continue to be numb and it will be hard for you to have all the feelings we are "supposed to."

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#68198 - 12/28/06 04:28 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
beccy Offline
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Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
This thread is a very interesting one....


I feel very strongly about the need in our culture to shake off this ridiculous way people tend to bring up their boys. Never allowed to cry and all that. Crying is not a sign of weakness, it has nothing to do with a man growing up to feel strong. A man will feel strong if he's encouraged as a child, to participate in the things which interest him. If that's rough and tumble/boys sports etc, that will make him feel a part of where he feels he belongs. If it's other less physical things, then he should be encouraged and praised to do those things too. Whatever each individual boy enjoys should be what he's encouraged to do and within that, he'll grow up to feel strong as a man and to feel he belongs and that he likes himself. Along with plenty of love, both verbally and physically and being allowed to express vulnerable emotions too. We are all HUMAN and as such we ALL feel sad/pain/hurt, man or woman.

Since my bf started therapy, he has cried properly in my company. I didn't love him amy less, or think of him as less of a man. God, no! I saw him as more of a whole PERSON. I have to say I, overall I have begun to love him more, because I know him more. Even the way he has expressed his emotions, crying, whatever, he seems to be all man to me. He still comes accross as being all man and in no way effeminate in the expressions of these things.......I have to say, it is when he witholds/withdraws/covers up his vulnerable emotions that the problems begin. When he does that, he comes accross as being cold, unemotional and like he doesn't feel anything about anything!


I'm a believer in howling if need be and I am trying so hard not to repress my own children in their expressions, or to make them feel weak if they're stuck in feeling low/whatever. I have noticed certain cold ways of my own, which have come from part of my own upbringing and have felt very dissapointed in myself on occasion with my own kids.....I'm fighting to be free of that and bring my own children up to feel ok about ALL their emotions and therefor themselves....

I say, in general we live in a hugely repressed culture. We all need to learn better ways to LET IT ALL OUT!!! Then we can feel free to smile and embrace the joys in life in all their magnificent glory,


peace
Beccy


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#68199 - 12/28/06 05:01 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
Trish4850 Offline
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My b/f was abused since his earliest memories through about 13. He has a tremendous amount of empathy for others, but none for himself. No one of import in his very young life ever gave him any. He was taught the right way to "act" and the right things to do, especially when others were watching, so he is the consumate gentlemen. Unless you are close enough to know better, he seems like the perfect man.

Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#68200 - 12/28/06 06:09 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
reality2k4 Offline
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Posts: 6838
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I cannot cry for myself, but I can for others.
The age of abuse is important because the earlier it happens the more deeply rooted it will become.

I have spent a lot of my life helping others, a natural progression I suppose, but it sure hurt to help them knowing my own needs were not being met.

When I myself seek help, I dont get it, because my mask is so good, and it is hard to keep repeating stuff over and over to those who dont want to listen.

Boys do cry, encourage it, and anything else a child puts their mind to,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#68201 - 12/28/06 10:16 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
Brokenhearted Offline
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Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
So what I'm wondering is, is it true or not that before we can love others we have to first love ourselves?

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#68202 - 12/28/06 10:23 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
Brokenhearted Offline
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Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
Reality2k4,

You mention the mask. How should I be around my husband so that he knows I see through the mask and am tired of it? Always such a happy "nothing's-wrong-with-me" facade. Rather than just going along with it as I have for too many yrs now, I want to acknowledge that it is just a mask. Is there any way someone could treat you to make you take the mask down? As in, saying something like, "enough bull____ already!" ???

Also, when you say you seek help and don't get it, are you speaking of seeking help from a trained therapist? Because a good one won't ignore your pleas for help no matter how repetitive.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#68203 - 01/02/07 07:06 AM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
SAR Offline
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Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Maybe I'm projecting but it seems to me as a parent that kids can recognize different emotions in themselves and in others earlier than 4 years.

I have found that I still can't identify every emotion I feel when I think of my past. What has helped me more in healing is learning how to name and acknowledge what is REAL (or "okay") and what was NOT REAL (or not okay). I believed X,Y, and Z that were not real, not true, only based in a sick person's version of reality. I experienced x, y, and z that have no correlation to "okay" experiences or regular healthy living. I think this is where kids get stuck at young ages. They have no frame of reference for what is okay or sane or normal beyond what is shown them.

I remember reading a list here once, of the various ages that people are likely to disclose abuse... there are some big gaps in there... does anyone have that or remember it?


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#68204 - 01/02/07 06:16 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
ScottyTodd Offline
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Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Sar - It's good to have you post!!! Happy New Year!! I don't remember to what you refer but know in working with victims that there are certain ages I have experienced their disclosures. I'll share that if it helps!

Usually most memories pick up the abuse about 5 years old [ most of us remember our abuse starting around 5-6]. If it does not occur at that time, the next age is usually 8-9-10 when we become more aware of those around us, we start the "bathroom" humor, we realize what happened was not "normal" or okay. If it does not occur at that time, it may occur during puberty or sexual development [maybe 10-11-12+) when the 'guys' joke about sex, bash homosexuality, etc., in Middle School we begin showers after gym, sports, etc. If it does not occur at that time, it may come out during the dating era (about age 16 more out of guilt and shame than enlightenment). If not at that time, it may occur around age 18 which signals readiness to leave home and spark safety and individuation issues. If it does not occur at that time, it usually follows us through life until some emotional or environmental trigger sets us off at 35 - 55 years old. By that time, many of us have had multiple marriages, bouts with drugs & alcohol [rehabs, struggles], struggled through prostitution and sexual addictions, lost enumerable jobs and careers and may even have experienced homelessness. The longer you keep "The Secret", the more trauma and damage it does in our lives.

Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#68206 - 01/03/07 08:45 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
Brokenhearted Offline
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Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
Whenever I cry my husband does not feel sad that I am hurting. He does not have the natural inclination to come over and comfort me. In fact it seems to irritate him. He will say, "Why are you crying? Stop crying!"

I started this thread because I am hopeful he can learn to be more empathetic and not so much like a stone. I don't even know his first age of csa but I am sure it is very early. When I read that emotional development stops at the age of the first csa, and then read that kids start understanding empathy around age 4, I wondered if he just never got around to developing it, and further I wonder if it can be developed now, late in life, through therapy. I worry because I need someone who can sense others' feelings, someone who can feel with me so I'm not so alone, and our daughter needs a dad who can "mirror" with her, demonstrating empathy with her, thereby validating her own feelings.

You all are helping me to understand but can you say that you feel sad if someone else is sad?

I feel sad that so many of you say you care for others more than for yourselves. I hope all of you will find a tender heart full of well-deserved love and regard inside toward yourselves one day.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#68207 - 01/03/07 08:50 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
reality2k4 Offline
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Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
BH, I live in UK and its not like the states, you have to keep on and on to get anywhere.
The mask is gained in childhood, a way of dealing with hurt such as isolation or whatever you used to lessen the hurt.

Its more complex than you think, because it is intertwined with boundary issues.
Cognitive therapy can help to an extent, but you cannot just give up something without putting something else in its place.

Yelling at him wont do you any good, and he will need space to do things the way he does them without being yelled at.

Try and start by doing things outdoors together, long walks in isolated places can be good.
You have to realise the terror he must have gone through so young, and it tends to pop up unconsciouly.

Its like having a terrified little kid inside you yelling to feel safe.
If he hasnt talked about it for many years, it will be pretty embedded in his psyche,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#68208 - 01/03/07 10:43 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
reality2k4 Offline
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Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Just to add to your original plea.
I have empathy with others, but lack being able to deal with grief, like it cannot be happening,

As a 4yo your partner would not have made the essential contact with protective adults.
In other words, he will have a mass distrust with other adults, and he will see any love, as a part of his past.

Maybe he treats sex as the confused little boy, who had no concept of what was happening.
He would have sensed a deep wrongdoing, with the added expectancy of ritual of it happening often.

You are going to think of a cowaring lil boy in some place he called safe.
I cannot even think of the terror in a child so young, but it would have been terrifying if it was not under any of his control, i,e. if a guardian or parent who he trusted did this.

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#68209 - 01/04/07 02:14 AM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
Brokenhearted Offline
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Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
Ste, wow. You are helping me understand more than you know. The perp he told me about was his mom's b/f. I wonder if the mom was aware of it. A few months ago when I was talking about it to him, I asked if he ever told him mom what was happening. He shook his head. I said I was so sorry she didn't protect him, then I added, "Maybe she couldn't protect you." He just shook his head but said nothing. And then that conversation was over.

He has told me he doesn't remember large chunks of his childhood.

I feel like I have been in mourning for 6 months now, and that it will never end for me, imagining him as that scared to death little boy w/ no one to protect him. Then I need to come out of that mourning so that I can concentrate on what to do "now", or what "can" be done....or at least what to hope for, for him and for our marriage.

6 months ago he said "I don't trust ANYBODY," and, "I don't feel anything....I can't feel..." So that is why I figured maybe the PTSD symptoms began then, after he has suppressed these things for so long, and was probably triggered by a big rejection earlier in the year, in January 2006, jobwise, a job he really badly wanted and almost got and everyone said he should have gotten, and it hurt his ego tremendously. SLowly he grew more and more distant from me until Father's Day, when he started taking midnight walks and startled pretty badly if I tried to hug him, etc.

I wish we could spend time together....an outdoor walk would be nice....he makes sure he works almost 24/7, especially these days, so it's very difficult for me to get time alone w/ him unless it's in front of the tv late at night sometimes, during which he watches loud, violent sci-fi or crime/escape shows....hmm, wonder why....

God, how I wish I could help him.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

Top
#68210 - 01/04/07 02:46 AM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
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Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
you are helping him

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#68211 - 01/04/07 03:07 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
reality2k4 Offline
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This is one of the hardest topics I have read recently, but you are helping him, he is talking, but it will be slow at first.

Try and wean him off violent TV, and try get him to listen to relaxing stuff.
If he has full trust in you, he will open up, but it will be slow,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#68212 - 01/04/07 03:58 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
Brokenhearted Offline
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Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
I will try to wean him off violent tv - ironically he always says that's his way to *relax*. He always has the remote, too, of course. \:\( Maybe I will offer a foot massage in lieu of tv and see if that works...I've ordered some new CD's with very relaxing music on them....if I have to I'll do it every night to get him away from the violent/gore stuff.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#68213 - 01/05/07 11:20 PM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
reality2k4 Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
One thing to remember, is the level of coercion, he was made to face, and how he may have been forced into it.

Did he feel threatened with his life?
He must have known his mom knew what was happening.

I keep throwing myself back through hurt, and how it would feel being in that position, but I dont know what he went through, and there are many factors to this.

I was threatened with my life, and it is still there, just as he said it.
That why this post triggers me.

Be firm with him, but not let him take you over,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#68214 - 01/06/07 01:38 AM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
Brokenhearted Offline
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Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
I don't even know. All he told me was that the bf did something (VERY inapropriate) to him. It was a sex act. I was too polite to ask any questions. I do know his parents divorced when he was ONE yr old, and so he could have been pretty young when this happened. I wish I knew more. I hope one day he will tell me. Did his mom know? I don't know. Every time he's talked about her he's held her up on a very high pedestal and always said he "owes" so much to her for raising him and his brother on her own. But that is all. Nothing about whether she was loving, just that she worked hard. To me it always sounded very artificial. Sort of how I've read that sometimes a survivor will idealize the parent even if they were the abuser, because it's just too painful to see the truth.

It's definitely interesting. I've observed his mom when we've seen her - only about every 2 yrs b/c she lives in his country of origin - and she often cries and acts depressed (broods), has many somatic complaints (stomach problems and operations and troubles for which the drs can never find a reason), and she treats him like he were a king, and me as if I'm a queen, as though she feels guilty and is trying to make it up to him or something. I don't know....

I'm so sorry this thread is triggering for you. Your insight is very helpful to me.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#68215 - 01/06/07 11:32 AM Re: CSA before age 4 - need to hear from you
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
You dont need to know what happened right now, leave him to tell you in his own space.
He will have had little male guidance in his upbringing, and possibly his mom had little time for him.

It is likely that he sees her as a rock in his life, and the unexplained illness, are throw backs to when he really was sick of life as a kid with nowhere to turn.

She must be triggering to him, because he may never have truly been able to bond with her, as a young kid, but this is only one of a number of things in the sorry mess.

Just my thoughts,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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