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#418701 - 12/10/12 02:31 PM child abuse victims - signs?
doubleL Offline

Registered: 12/10/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Illinois
Hi, I just joined, and you can hear a little about myself and my husband in Introductions. I wanted to ask about any signs, now in hindsight, that child abuse victims showed while or after they were being victimized. I feel angry towards my in-laws (especially my m-i-l because she was married to the abuser) that they never put "two and two" together that something seriously wrong happened to my husband as a child.

Things that I know about my husband's childhood and teenage years:

He was extremely disruptive in elementary school, and was eventually labeled with ADD.

He was heavily medicated to treat said ADD and at times was turned into a zombie. His parents even had him hospitalized a couple of times, but my husband doesn't go into detail about those experiences. (The most recent time we talked about the meds/hospitals was when he got really angry hearing that his dad put one of his siblings on ADD meds.)

Also when he was a kid, he was experiencing seizure-like episodes where his brain pretty much shut down. After exhausted testing, the doctors never figured out what was wrong with him. Perhaps psychosomatic symptoms?

He gained a lot of weight throughout his child and teen years, which is actually something I relate to because I've struggled with mine as well and also have felt some episodes of depression from time to time.

As a teenager, my husband smoked pot on a regular basis and got into fights at school. After his family moved and he changed schools, he withdrew into a depression and eventually dropped out.

After that is when he and I met and our friendship blossomed. He's managed to turn into a pretty great adult, but as I said in my introduction, he's buried his past. I always wonder if it's going to resurface (but that's a topic for another post).

-Edit: He also got into fights at home - fights with his father turned physical, and led to my husband almost walking out and becoming homeless. I've seen a few flashes of that rage (and had to patch holes because of it) but he says it was a lot worse before I came into the picture.

Edited by doubleL (12/10/12 02:42 PM)

#418721 - 12/10/12 05:59 PM Re: child abuse victims - signs? [Re: doubleL]
confusion4life Offline

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 109
Loc: Italy
child abuse is very evil and it has devastating results. we all know that. but there is no such list of what would happen and what would not. every child reacts different. signs are not even always there.
for a parent to concluse abuse is almost impossible unless the parent him or herself are abusive people.
if your mil or your fil never had abuse themselves, they would think of everything else but abuse. they obviously wanted to know what was wrong with him and took him to a psychologist or any other doc..thats how he got his medication on the ADD.
i understand you feel hatred towards them because now its a person whom you love who got so hurt and he must have trouble and therefore you too. but saying its the parents fault, not so sure if thats the right direction of your anger. its the abusers fault and only his or hers.
also the topic abuse has been talked more only for the past few years. before that noone had education on the topic abuse, surely also not his parents. and if you read statistics, most parents cant even believe it if the kid tells them directly in their face. there are parents who cant believe it, even if they SEE it with their own eyes.

the list of abuse reactions can be almost anything which is an indication of a later mental illness. it can be the biggest and the smallest thing. but the very same signs can also come from being bullied at school or even kindergarten, from a bad neighbor friend who is the age of the kid and hits, from a nasty teacher or from the psychological over the kid from the parents directly, which would mean they would have to critisize themselves by admitting their kid has a problem. i dont know if you have kids, but once you do, you will also know that you will have a hard time finding out everything your child does or goes thru when he/she is old enough to walk and starts kindergarten.

there is for example: twisting the hair with the fingers, ripping hair out
cutting the arms or legs or anything on the body to release the psychological pain
being aggressive to other kids
abusing other kids as a result of the learned sexuality
child or teen depression
drawing of sexual pictures
biting the nails till they bleed or wounds come up
being scared of people
being especially loud or especially quiet
looking around for danger and realizing everything around one including difficult directions, everything is remembered
having attachment issues
feeling shy about being nude at a very early age
wanting to be nude at a later age
gender identity problems
feeling gay or lesbian as a result of abuse
watching porn regularly as a teen
early masturbation as it was learned early (some at 5 already)
hidingly touching the mothers or the fathers genitals or breasts
( to confirm its ok)
telling lots of lies
being insecure generally
going bad at school and anything else that involves pressure of functioning due to expectations
being suicidal (sometimes they tell their friends)
wearing a lot of clothes layers
wearing extra sexy clothes thinking thats all they are worth
low self value
attachment problems to even trusted family members and everyone else
looking down when talking to others
trying to control a conversation by insisting on their opinion only and shouting as a result
feeling the need of glasses as the eye sight feels less powerful
drinking alcohol
taking drugs
crying a lot
trying never to cry and being brave even if someone dies
fantasizing about sexual things and other fantasies about being a superhero and so on
causing fires
flearing up angry on anyone or anything
running away from home
being the bully at school
being bullied at school
weight loss
weight gain
development problems and putting points down, having an own opinion
zoning out, being dissociative
raping others later when teens (acting out)
joining a gang which is dangerous and/or violent
choosing the wrong friends
being aggressive against trusted people
being over sensitive
being not sensitive at all (just looks like that)
and so on and so on....
as you see, anything can be, but nothing has to be.

there are kids who completely dont have any signs of abuse, even though they are abused by their own parent and they just decide they will function and not let the abuse destroy his/ her life. there are also kids who commit suicide when they are 12. there are also kids who kill their rapists and there are kids who keep on going back to the rapist to be raped again, because it takes them until adult age to find out that it is abuse and not normal.

it always depends on the situation and on the surrounding of the child. what other input did the child have. was the child warned about abuse the right way or not. was the child sent to the abuser by the parents (e.g. a priest at church and the mother says you have to go even though the child doenst want...) or was the abuser a master manipulator (most are) and did it right in front of the parents at their own home or in their car on the backseat. all this counts and so much more counts on how the kid turns out and what the kid will show or not show.

if this were so easy, like following a list, then more parents would realize abuse happening nowadays, but sadly, hardly anyone realizes it, as its such a secret and hidden thing. the kids also cant tell, as the child is fully under the control of the abuser. and even if the child finally says something, then the parents hardly ever believe it. and say they do, then they mostly insist on it not getting out of the family as its a shameful act. hardly and perpetrator goes to jail because of that reason and almost noone if its a family member, despite the child having talked, which almost never happens. due to my experience on talking to people here, it needs an everage 20 yeares after the abuse stopped to talk about it. thats just an estimation of what i have experienced sofar. girls or women talk earlier than men. and talking to a partner about it, someone whom the survivor assumes to be left by if she/ he talks, is another topic all together again. every case is individual.

oh, and btw...all the points in the list can still be there in adult survivor because a survivor has to struggle for each and every point which was imprinted by a perpetrator for a lifetime.

the most important point for you as a partner is that he is honest with you, fully honest. survivors wear masks, they have to. its really hard for them to put that mask down. there is sexual fantasy which is not so easy to tell a partner. abuse is a devastating fact for all survivors and there are people here on this site, they had a great deal of this list and they came out as good people and really responsible people. there are also many who complete the circle of abuse because thats all they can do, all they can control. you need to see how many problems your partner has and how he deals with his rage and the fantasy and the masturbation and the addictions and the trust and especially the honesty.

i wish you really good luck and good healing. you will need information and books. schooling yourself intensly for a few months will help your partner to open up more to you and it will be also very essential for you. dont forget you also exist.


Edited by confusion4life (12/10/12 06:07 PM)
everything is always okay in the end, if it's not, then it's not the end

#418724 - 12/10/12 06:13 PM Re: child abuse victims - signs? [Re: doubleL]
doubleL Offline

Registered: 12/10/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Illinois

I wasn't asking for general signs but of specific signs that actually happened with users here or loved ones of users here (since I posted in the friends and family area). I also don't have hatred towards my husband's parents (I am in fact quite fond of them), but I do feel anger that I'm not allowed to express towards his mother because she actually befriended the abuser on facebook. I was hoping that maybe some of the "signs" that my husband showed were similar to other people here.

#418725 - 12/10/12 06:18 PM Re: child abuse victims - signs? [Re: doubleL]
confusion4life Offline

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 109
Loc: Italy
the signs your husband had are in the list. its not a general thing, this list is what people here went thru. i know this only from people here. the signs your husband faced or faces are very common, yes.

everything is always okay in the end, if it's not, then it's not the end

#418741 - 12/10/12 07:52 PM Re: child abuse victims - signs? [Re: doubleL]
Candu Offline

Registered: 07/01/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
It really is complicated. The list of issues is long and some experience a few and some many. Some to a larger degree and some less.

I my case how much of my problems were caused by the sexual abuse and how much because of the issues at home? Did I smoke pot as a result of the CSA or was it just oppertunity, the environment at the time, fun experimentation or a bunch of other things? Why did I completely blow grade 11 in high school? Was it the poor transition from middle school (as they call it now) that I had to repeat but after we moved to a different part of the city and a different school? How did the CSA effect my shyness and the lack ability to make friends? Or was being told we were lousy children a bigger factor? How much of what was vissible was just adolescence?

At what point does a behaviour become a "sign".

My abuse ended 40 years ago. Other than being single and the lack of friends there was nothing that you could count as a sign. It was only after a number of years of a lot of stress did things start to fall apart.

Thinking about it some more. How does the person feel about themself? How open are they to others? Do they trust? Those are signs.

Edited by Candu (12/10/12 08:00 PM)
Edit Reason: add last bit

#418742 - 12/10/12 08:39 PM Re: child abuse victims - signs? [Re: doubleL]
doubleL Offline

Registered: 12/10/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Illinois
Thanks, Candu. What you said makes sense. My husband is quite shy and slow to warm to people. I'm not sure about the trust thing. I know he trusts me, but he obviously doesn't feel safe letting out his "secret" to anyone else.

#418751 - 12/10/12 09:42 PM Re: child abuse victims - signs? [Re: doubleL]
Candu Offline

Registered: 07/01/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
You may think he trusts you. I hope you are right. But trust is a big problem with CSA survivors. And they are very good at hiding things. Many have had to in order to survive. And don't think that the way he is now is how he will stay.

I didn't think my CSA was that big a deal. I thought I was over it. It was both denial and ignorance. From your introduction post. He has no desire to seek professional counseling and feels that he is "over it." I say bullshit to being over it. He hasn't even touched it. He is just fooling himself if he believes that. Try to bury it maybe.

Search your local library for books on CSA. Read what you can.

I just picked a spot in F&F further in the past and picked out a couple of threads at semi-random. Read those and then work your way forward/back reading additional threads. There is a lot of information about what others have gone through. While you will get people responding to your posts it will only be a small fraction of those that have come and gone. Once you know more you may be able to ask.

#418778 - 12/11/12 06:36 AM Re: child abuse victims - signs? [Re: doubleL]
doubleL Offline

Registered: 12/10/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Illinois
I totally agree about it being BS with him being over it. He's buried it somewhere inside himself and I'm scared of when it'll resurface. I imagine it happens for some people when they become parents - a paranoid fear and desire to protect their children from the kinds of harm they experienced in their childhood.


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