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Childhood Abuser Still In My Life?

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Childhood Abuser Still In My Life?

Postby qwerty95 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:53 am

So, I’m going through a weird breakdown at the moment with resurfacing childhood abuse. I’d done my best to suppress things way down for a long time, I always try not to conscuously think about it - but the times where it does come up, it inevitably makes me emotional, disgusted and sick. So, my abuser is a family member and is still currently in my life... what I’ve somehow only just realised lately, is that... I’m really good at making eye contact with anybody, whoever... I’m not a socially anxious person... but I cannot make ANY eye contact with my abuser that isnt more than a split couple seconds. It’s so weird how I’ve only just become conscious that my eyes dart all over the place to avoid him when he’s around. I was sexually, physically and emotionally abused as a child and there did come a point years after it all, where he apologised pretty profusely about it. Now, I cant deal with vulnerable or emotional discussions AT ALL, so my literal response to the few times it was brought up was “shut up!”, I would squirm so bad and shrug my shoulders like “whatever”, like it was fine and I just wanted the conversation to END. Honestly, I think it’s because if there’s anything I dont want to give him is the satisfaction of seeing me become emotionally vulnerable. F*ck that! I’m very good at putting on a “hard” exterior. Like I have zero emotions... but then when i’m on my own, I’ll just cry. It still pisses me off something awful when he tries to maintain a normal relationship with me or if he asks me intrusive questions about my life. I cant have any physical contact with him, even the brushing of shoulders, I just cant. Anyway, we pretend like nothing happened, play happy families and so on. Another thing I cant understand is; I’ve told a small handful of close people to me about being abused as a kid, yet I’ve never disclosed WHO it was. I think I have a fear of exposing him? Like, some weird part of me doesnt want him to get in trouble, yet I completely hate him, so really shouldnt care? (If anyone can analyse and explain that one for me haha) Anyway... I think it’s been messing with me more lately because I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the person I’ve become as an adult... I have mega trust issues, I push good people away from fear of being hurt, I have ups and downs with my sexuality. I’m fed up of it. Yet, unsure how to change it? How exactly do you change these behaviours that are ingrained AF in you? Over the last few years I thought I was doing really well and actually made a lot of progress in these areas... but I’ve backslided for sure. Anyway, I just thought I’d write here to hear from other people who might still have their abusers in their life... How do you cope? Or what has helped you overcome certain ingrained bad habits/traits as a result of abuse?
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Re: Childhood Abuser Still In My Life?

Postby avatar123 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:49 pm

Querty, I think first off, it may help to understand that your issues are very common in abuse survivors, so by no means are you alone in what you're feeling. I wouldn't say "normal" in general (because normal is a place you're trying to reach), but perhaps "typical" for a survivor.

Secondly, I think you have huge repressed emotions towards your abuser, which no doubt are fully justified, but unfortunately do more harm than good while they remain pent up within you. Those emotions are especially powerful because he is a family member, whom you should been able to trust not to hurt you. And even now, you are protecting him in the way that he should have protected you. No way does your mind accept the injustice of that without it surfacing in unexpectedly strong emotions (you asked for an analysis, this is a common one for survivors).

Thirdly, it sounds like your abuser may believe that his apology to you was enough to resolve the issues between you, when clearly the issue runs much, much more deeply for you (and undertandably so). So you are operating at a huge disadvantage with him (much as you also were when you were abused), as long as he believes he's all good and you are concealing the truth (sound familiar?).

So taking these things together, I think the path forward has to be for you to safely unpack those emotions and let them come to the forefront, so both you and he can deal with them. I know you are determined not to let him see vulnerability, or that you were hurt, but the fact is that you were both vulnerable and hurt, and there is no shame in that at all. It's actually a wrong that needs to be righted, at least to the extent that it can be, even it can never be made wholly right. But it at least can be made so the wrong is visible and acknowleged. Most survivors are able to turn a corner after that has occurred. Before it occurs, the only means of dealing with it is suppression, which you now seem to realize doesn't work very well.

By not letting him see this, you perpetuate your suffering and also let him off the hook far easier than should be the case. He has a responsibilty for what he did, that should not be borne by you, it's not right or fair. He can't undo what he did, but he can accept responsibility for it. It sounds like he is part way there already, although still clueless about the full repercussions of his actions. In some sense that puts you ahead of other survivors, some of whom receive no remorse at all. So perhaps there is some hope for him, as well as for your own progress.

Only you can decide what is best for you, but I will say that most survicors that struggle with those emotions can benefit from counseling. Allowing those emotions to surface after holding them back for such a long time, is itself a highly emotional and intense experience. It needs to happen with someone you trust and is supportive, and who will act as an experienced guide. Once you get the emotions out and have some experience with dealing with them, you can work on sharing them constructively with others, including your abuser if you choose. In doing these things, you will learn to put yourself first and ask others to do so as well, at least where your abuse is concerned.

If you can get to that point, the behaviors you mentioned around your abuser will evaporate, you'll be more confident and you will no longer have the conflicted feelings you have now around him. Those behaviors are physical manifestations of the conflict that exists right now within you.

If you think about it, it should be him who feels the conflict around you, as he was in the wrong, not you. So that's the place you're trying to reach, growing emotionally so that you properly see the power balance between you, for what it actually is. That will allow you to deal with it successfully. I hope you will give that a try.
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Re: Childhood Abuser Still In My Life?

Postby qwerty95 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:02 am

avatar123 wrote:Querty, I think first off, it may help to understand that your issues are very common in abuse survivors, so by no means are you alone in what you're feeling. I wouldn't say "normal" in general (because normal is a place you're trying to reach), but perhaps "typical" for a survivor.

Secondly, I think you have huge repressed emotions towards your abuser, which no doubt are fully justified, but unfortunately do more harm than good while they remain pent up within you. Those emotions are especially powerful because he is a family member, whom you should been able to trust not to hurt you. And even now, you are protecting him in the way that he should have protected you. No way does your mind accept the injustice of that without it surfacing in unexpectedly strong emotions (you asked for an analysis, this is a common one for survivors).

Thirdly, it sounds like your abuser may believe that his apology to you was enough to resolve the issues between you, when clearly the issue runs much, much more deeply for you (and undertandably so). So you are operating at a huge disadvantage with him (much as you also were when you were abused), as long as he believes he's all good and you are concealing the truth (sound familiar?).

So taking these things together, I think the path forward has to be for you to safely unpack those emotions and let them come to the forefront, so both you and he can deal with them. I know you are determined not to let him see vulnerability, or that you were hurt, but the fact is that you were both vulnerable and hurt, and there is no shame in that at all. It's actually a wrong that needs to be righted, at least to the extent that it can be, even it can never be made wholly right. But it at least can be made so the wrong is visible and acknowleged. Most survivors are able to turn a corner after that has occurred. Before it occurs, the only means of dealing with it is suppression, which you now seem to realize doesn't work very well.

By not letting him see this, you perpetuate your suffering and also let him off the hook far easier than should be the case. He has a responsibilty for what he did, that should not be borne by you, it's not right or fair. He can't undo what he did, but he can accept responsibility for it. It sounds like he is part way there already, although still clueless about the full repercussions of his actions. In some sense that puts you ahead of other survivors, some of whom receive no remorse at all. So perhaps there is some hope for him, as well as for your own progress.

Only you can decide what is best for you, but I will say that most survicors that struggle with those emotions can benefit from counseling. Allowing those emotions to surface after holding them back for such a long time, is itself a highly emotional and intense experience. It needs to happen with someone you trust and is supportive, and who will act as an experienced guide. Once you get the emotions out and have some experience with dealing with them, you can work on sharing them constructively with others, including your abuser if you choose. In doing these things, you will learn to put yourself first and ask others to do so as well, at least where your abuse is concerned.

If you can get to that point, the behaviors you mentioned around your abuser will evaporate, you'll be more confident and you will no longer have the conflicted feelings you have now around him. Those behaviors are physical manifestations of the conflict that exists right now within you.

If you think about it, it should be him who feels the conflict around you, as he was in the wrong, not you. So that's the place you're trying to reach, growing emotionally so that you properly see the power balance between you, for what it actually is. That will allow you to deal with it successfully. I hope you will give that a try.



Hey! Thanks for taking the time to write such a lengthy reply. It’s definitely appreciated. I just very recently decided to seek counselling again. I never tackled the core problem of abuse in therapy in the past, at least not to any detailed extent that would allow myself to properly process it. So maybe going through things with a professional will be beneficial. - In response to your suggestion that I talk things through with my abuser - I literally don’t think I could ever bring myself to do that. I know myself pretty well and I tend to.... run from what I’m afraid of. Plus, I really dont know if that’s even what I’m looking for. I dont want to be friendly with him and forget the past. Whenever I’m around him, I instinctively get creepy vibes. I also don’t care for his remorse. I’m not looking for his apology.. the damage is done. I’m also not seeking vengeance either though. I just want all memory, awareness and knowledge of his existence WIPED from my brain. I’d like to take back the dysfunctional years of my life. ALL the years of my childhood. All I can do is try and move on, try and undo some of the ingrained unhealthy views I have as an adult, relating to trust, self-beliefs, world views etc. (In saying that, I should note that I wasnt sexually abused for my entire childhood. But the things I remember have certainly scarred the sh*t out of me and really affected the rest of my childhood. He was actually mostly physically and emotionally abusive over the years.)
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Re: Childhood Abuser Still In My Life?

Postby avatar123 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:35 pm

It's good that you will address this in counseling, it's helpful to talk it out with someone with experience. It takes time but is worth the effort. You don't have to involve your abuser unless you want to, it just sounded like that might be an option since he apologized. Some find that helpful and some don't, it probably depends on how much that person has really changed, whether they are sincere in their remorse or not. It's up to you to decide. I agree that moving on with your life, and focusing on yourself, is the best and most important thing right now.

Main thing is that you eventually recognize that you are not in an inferior position to him, actually the reverse is true because he abused you, he was in the wrong. It may take awhile but hopefully you will get there in the end. In the meantime, it's understandable that you would want to erase those memories. That's one of the steps in the healing process.
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Re: Childhood Abuser Still In My Life?

Postby qwerty95 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:09 pm

avatar123 wrote:It's good that you will address this in counseling, it's helpful to talk it out with someone with experience. It takes time but is worth the effort. You don't have to involve your abuser unless you want to, it just sounded like that might be an option since he apologized. Some find that helpful and some don't, it probably depends on how much that person has really changed, whether they are sincere in their remorse or not. It's up to you to decide. I agree that moving on with your life, and focusing on yourself, is the best and most important thing right now.

Main thing is that you eventually recognize that you are not in an inferior position to him, actually the reverse is true because he abused you, he was in the wrong. It may take awhile but hopefully you will get there in the end. In the meantime, it's understandable that you would want to erase those memories. That's one of the steps in the healing process.


Do you mind if I PM you a little more on the subject?
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Re: Childhood Abuser Still In My Life?

Postby avatar123 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:15 pm

Sure, happy to help if I can. Please feel free.
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