Child abuse. Words that no one wants to hear. It’s awful and I think that many times people try to turn a blind eye because either they’re in denial (they don’t want to believe that someone is capable of that, especially if it’s a loved one) or they feel that they are unable to help or simply because they don’t want to get involved.
I am a victim of child abuse, specifically neglect and emotional abuse. It took me a long time to realize this, really only admitting it a week ago when my therapist mentioned child abuse. I asked, “Do you think what I went through constitutes child abuse?” Her reaction: “Heck yeah!” Until then, I had never really definitively thought that what I experienced was child abuse. It took validation from a professional to help me see it.
There are different types of child abuse, some more easily to prove than others. According to this website the different types of abuse include physical, neglect, emotional, sexual, abandonment, and substance. (If I forgot any, please forgive me, it’s not intentional.) Unfortunately, I believe that neglect and emotional abuse could be a couple of the hardest to prove. Now that I’m older I’m angry. I’m upset that no one came to help us (me and my sisters). There must have been signs, and yet no one took the time to ask questions or look further.
The house I lived in was a complete wreck. Molding food and dishes, bugs everywhere, no floor space, cat feces and urine everywhere. My mom was always really sick and couldn’t do much. We were responsible for walking to the store in any weather (often without proper clothing), getting food, making food, cleaning (or trying to) the whole house, laundry, reminding our mom to take her medicine and eat, etc. There were a lot of verbal arguments, often escalating into screaming matches. The house smelled too, like smoke and other things. We didn’t brush our teeth, we didn’t always have clean clothes, and I’m sure we smelled. With all of this, why didn’t a teacher or someone notice that something might have been wrong? My therapist pointed out that nowadays people are much better about that. It sucks that back then people didn’t really notice or care or know what to do. Also, she pointed out that it’s hard to see that something might be wrong. Because we weren’t coming in with black eyes, etc., it was less evident that something was not right.
I notice that I have a lot of problems because of the way that I was raised. I crave attention and care-giving from others; I find it hard to trust myself and others; I self-invalidate all the time; I feel that I need to be in crisis to get help from people so I oftentimes want to make things worse for myself or exaggerate. I’m sure there’s much more, but my brain is being a little slow today and I can’t really think. The mental and emotional anguish from neglect and emotional abuse is extremely painful and long-lasting.
All types of abuse are horrid and leave lasting scars, physically and/or mentally. It can take an extremely long time to realize it and/or come to terms with it. It can take even longer to try and recover from that abuse and/or neglect and build back up those things about yourself that were broken down. All I know is that I am still working on repairing the damage that was done and I’ll keep on trying for as long as it takes.