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#205977 - 02/19/08 04:00 AM The age we become 'stuck'?
ak Offline

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
I rather wonder this, because of what someone respond to something I post on the member side. The comment was something like how, sometime we can only best deal of our hurt 'inner child' when they are well-behaved, and when we see them who is not, it is not comfortable to us. (Something rather like that)

I think sometime that is what is presented here. We come here, we seek support and understanding, to give and receive it. But partly, only, it is us at our maturity and age we now are, and 'knowing what we know' and such. And partly, it is as we are the damaged and frightened children who are still within us and needing the help here. So I wonder rather, when we react to what others here say, are we reacting as the adults, or as the children? If we feel put off by something said here, or feel bullied, or not understood, is it us reacting as adults or as damaged children?

Sometime, I think I am in ways still stuck as a child, at the same time I was when the abuses started. A lot of time, I spend feeling 'less then'. I feel less smart, less talented, less belonging. I did not feel belonging then, and lot of time, I do not feel it now, even when I know that it is rational that yes, I do belong in my life now. There is ways I feel, and things I feel, that I know are direct related to the abuse. But now I wonder, if by feeling that, is it more who I am as a child, who I was at that time, that I am still feeling it as that now? Like part of me, emotionally, is rather 'stuck' at that age, feeling what I feelt then, and what things I scared me or upset me then, still have such power on me now.

I guess I have more growing up to do then I like to think sometime.


#206075 - 02/19/08 12:13 PM Re: The age we become 'stuck'? [Re: ak]
Lazarus Offline

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
Andrei, I think you are quite right. I think many (if not all) of us are 'stuck' at whatever emotional age we were when we were traumatized. Obviously, that age is different for everybody, but as I was reading your post I was struck by something rather odd;

Take the boy who was violently and sadisticly raped when he was 10. He may never 'grow-up' emotionally past that age without serious help, and he may spend years in turmoil and self destruction.

On the other hand, take the boy who is seduced into sex at the age of 10. He likes what he is doing, gets attention and affirmation from his seducer. It's not until years later perhaps that he realizes how damaging his early induction into sex has been for him. He might start acting out, or doing drugs or suffer from depression caused by his inability to cope as 'normal' people do. In other words, he was abused at 10, but he might not be 'traumatized' by that abuse until years later. Is that the age when he becomes emotionally 'stuck'?

This might help explain some of the wide disparity among survivors. Same circumstances, different results.

On a more personal note Andrei, you have been a source of lots of wonderful advice and support on this site, and I can't believe that was the advice of a child. You have been one of the most rational and stable people around. Perhaps you are right about our reactions when we are stressed being the reactions of a child, but I've never seen it in you. I'm sad that such things still have power over you.

Respectfully submitted very early in the morning...


"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

#206079 - 02/19/08 01:35 PM Re: The age we become 'stuck'? [Re: ak]

Registered: 08/12/07
Posts: 1298

We have only spoken a few times so i hope you do not mind that im responding to your post.

When the abuse started i was very young and it went on into my teenage years. i never grew up as ''normal'' kids. I did not develop the skills needed to function in the adult world. I did not learn about emotions and how to use them in my life.
For many years i have gone through life cold, cold on the outside and cold on the inside. just mimicking the reactions needed to stop people thinking i was a complete freak. not always getting it right but most of the time i managed to seem to be the same as the other adults around me.

now at nearly the age of 40 i found i could no longer be that cold person. All the fears and the past i had hidden deep inside could no longer stay hidden.

Sometimes i find myself reacting like that scared and hurt little boy. When things go wrong or my wife gets annoyed with me, she says its not me but a little child having a tantrum. and she is right.

I read some of the posts and my adult brain says one thing but i react with little me. This is why when i post some people think im just being angry, yes i do have a lot of anger inside of me, but when i read back what i have posted. All i see is a hurt and scared little boy trying to find the words to speak.

I have to be careful that i dont find myself slipping into the way a child would think. This happens a lot. Yes i do understand about being stuck in the emotional state of that small child.

Just my thoughts and how i feel, hope you dont mind my post.


#206120 - 02/19/08 04:46 PM Re: The age we become 'stuck'? [Re: SEVEN ARROWS]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

I think you're right. When a boy is abused his childhood somehow ends at that moment. He is no longer developing from boy into man, but is emotionally "stuck" at that moment, returning to it again and again. Perhaps that's because for so many of us what happens is that we cope by refusing to feel things anymore. We deny the reality of what abuse is doing to us, but at the same time it seems that the abuse is all that's real anymore. I think that's a big part of the reason so many of us feel alienated from our surroundings; it's as if we belong to a secret world that "normals" will never know.

Two and a half years ago I was still having major problems with dissociation and returning to my Little Larry state. When I disclosed to my parents in November 2005 the T later told me that I had been speaking in the present tense and in a child's voice, and a few days later I dissociated in front of my Dad and told him I can't make the abuser stop - and the guy had been dead for years by then.

I have found that with time this feeling of being stuck fades. As I recover, more and more of my memories of those bad times are being processed and turned into memories that I understand and no longer fear like I used to. I don't need the defensive strategy of becoming that frightened traumatized boy again; Little Larry knows he can leave Big Larry in charge and he will keep him safe. I'm sure the same will happen with you, my friend.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#206536 - 02/21/08 07:24 AM Re: The age we become 'stuck'? [Re: roadrunner]
copenbay Offline

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 127
Hi Andrei,

I too have a little boy inside. Mine is about age three sometimes, and rarely past age five, when he reacts without thinking in a present situation with pouting, tears, rage or complete withdrawal. Thus, I do think sometimes that only the ill-behaved me has regressed to a very young emotional age.
Yet that can't be completely true when joyful exuberance bubbles up that doesn't seem like the 40-plus me, or any other expression of someone much younger that isn't necessarily wrong, but just feels a little strange.
Having read some of your writings, you're very intelligent and insightful. I think you can agree that the ill-behaved one can be informed by the adult and eventually receive that information. And that the good side of things can always be celebrated as a gift instead of a curse. We may always be growing up, but that isn't a bad thing.


#210347 - 03/12/08 11:49 PM Re: The age we become 'stuck'? [Re: copenbay]
JT's the Man Offline

Registered: 02/21/08
Posts: 41
Definitely understand being stuck, I am coming to grips with the impact it has on me

#210360 - 03/13/08 12:44 AM Re: The age we become 'stuck'? [Re: ak]
GateKPR4 Offline

Registered: 10/29/07
Posts: 955
Loc: North Carolina, USA
sometimes I can be rational and adult in my posts, then something triggers me and I react as a child and I'm 44yo. It's usually when someone treats a person bad that triggers me and the child comes out. Humiliation is a big one for my child to react on because of the humiliation I endured as a child at the hands of adults. You could see that in my post to Freedom49. that was a reaction I did not act upon the information I reacted to the information. I had no logic just the experience of a humiliated child of 12. So I'm probably stuck some where around there, I have faith in my recovery and feel that I can one day get unstuck \:D \:o

I'm a normal person dealing with abnormal experiences.
The greatest discoveries we will find within ourselves.
|| || || || || || |

#210498 - 03/13/08 05:17 PM Re: The age we become 'stuck'? [Re: ak]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA

I felt like a 12 year old boy for years. In a way it didn't feel bad; I kind of wanted to be 12. When I was issued a uniform at age 18 they wanted to give me a size much smaller than I was. So evidently others saw me as a child

I have found a therapist who could do EMDR. The EMDR cleared this up for me. In the EMDR session I went straight to the CSA trauma I experienced as a 12 year old. The process seemed to unite parts of my brain which felt 12-yr-old self with who I am as an adult.

It is great to be free of this problem.

Other problems didn't seem to yield to EMDR, such as low self esteem and tendency to isolation.

#210604 - 03/14/08 06:18 AM Re: The age we become 'stuck'? [Re: pufferfish]
Mark P Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 17
Loc: Bonney lake, WA
i think, for the most part, all of us got "stuck" at the age we were abused for the first time, or at least, realized we were being abused. i was asked questions by my therapist, i wrote those answers down, and then re-read them months later to see, i sounded like an 8 year old. the year i was first abused.
i'm stuck, i've been stuck, and we can only progress when given the direction we were never given when we were younger.

Walk a day in my shoes, and you will want to die. protect me from a day in my shoes, and i will be forever in your debt.

#210622 - 03/14/08 10:49 AM Re: The age we become 'stuck'? [Re: Mark P]
sabata Offline

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1950
been stuck my whole life------------------at times i see myself with 2 personilitys----------------------depending who is running the show-------------------the adult me--or that hurt child-------------------i am slowley beginning to se this in myself----------------------but when the hurt child is so present-----------------------i cant seem to get out of that and move on-------------------------my body shakes-------------i look for a place to hide---------------i see everyone as the enemy------------------------------they allare out to get me------------------------------such fear------------------------------------------------and yet others see a adult man----------------------------------maintaining the adult and hurt child in every day stuff--------------------------is trumatic in itself--------------------------------when does one become---------------------------------whole one in themselves--------------------???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????steve

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