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#442077 - 07/25/13 03:54 AM so vulnerable
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4284
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
we visited a family that had an 11-yr old son. that was the age when the worst abuse happened to me. it was kind of shocking to me. i couldn't take my eyes off him. his dad was kind of rough with him. i cringed at every harsh word. he was so vulnerable. you could tell he wanted his dad's approval more than anything. but the dad didn't seem to be aware of it - or if he was - he didn't care. from things another family member told us - the poor kid is always in hot water - can't do anything right, no matter what. i was feeling it all the time along with the boy. had a hard time following the conversation and could barely hold back the tears. i knew exactly how he felt. i was bigger than him at that age - but no less fragile and sensitive. i just can't understand how anyone can be so cruel to helpless, trusting, little kids. but when i think back on that age, i have always pictured myself almost as i was when fully grown - more like a 15-16-yr-old. it was a big surprise to see the difference. and i am sure i was also more emotionally immature, too. it really drove it home how seriously what happened back then must have impacted me at the time.

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#442085 - 07/25/13 04:50 AM Re: so vulnerable [Re: traveler]
victor-victim Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 6387
Loc: 𝒪 𝒦anada
you have evoked some powerful emotions in me.
this happens to me time and again. those thoughts exactly.
just sitting here staring, reading this again and again.
it hurts. it's a kind of helpless feeling.
but i am not afraid to read it again.
i need to know why.


#442112 - 07/25/13 02:16 PM Re: so vulnerable [Re: traveler]
Rich1967 Offline

Registered: 07/18/13
Posts: 678
Loc: PA
The hardest part of my Therapy (2nd round) was bringing a picture of me around the age of when the abuse started. Boy did I cry!

I miss that kid. He got hurt pretty badly and he did what he had to do to survive and I hate him sometime for that, but mostly now I love him for doing the best that he could at his age. I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for him. He still comes out once in a while to protect me when he thinks I'm going to get hurt and I get angry at him for that, but I got to love him for trying to protect me.

Traveler - If I had been in your shoes I know that would have shaken me too.
"Me too"-I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.
My Story

#442116 - 07/25/13 03:18 PM Re: so vulnerable [Re: traveler]
mattheal Offline

Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 142
Loc: Ohio

I really understand what you are saying. It seems impossible for me to imagine myself at the age of abuse without all of my current faculties. And I am reminded everyday how innocent, nave, and totally dependent upon others I surely was when the abuse started. One day, when my Son is an adult I will tell him how grateful I am that I could learn that through his eyes.

This past week I saw another child having a really rough time during one of my Son's practices. And I sat there wanting to cry, and wishing I could take that his pain away.

Right there with you Lee.
It's okay to find the faith to saunter forward
With no fear of shadows spreading where you stand
And you'll breathe easier just knowing
that the worst is all behind you
And the waves that tossed the raft all night
have set you on dry land
- The Mountain Goats - "Never Quite Free"

#442117 - 07/25/13 03:20 PM Re: so vulnerable [Re: traveler]
bodyguard8367 Offline

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""

Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/27/14 11:22 PM)

#442121 - 07/25/13 03:27 PM Re: so vulnerable [Re: traveler]
txb Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 416
This is so true. I have an 11 year old cousin. 11 was probably the age when things were worst for me. I imagined myself at 11 as being older too, but spending time with him showed me I clearly wasn't. His dad is really kind of, shouty and impatient with him. The dad is a nice enough guy but he sucks with kids. I hate hearing him get in trouble. Especially when it's for something that's really not important. He also has a name where there is a girl version and a boy version, and his dad calls him by the girl version a lot. It bothers me a lot, but I don't know if it bothers my cousin too much though. I guess it just seems normal to him because that's what he's grown up with.

Spending time with him also helped me a lot with blaming myself. When I think mean things about the kid I was back then, I think about my cousin, if it was him would I say that same stuff to him, or tell him it was all his fault? Of course not. It's not like I was some kind of superhuman kid that should have been able to stop the abuse or know what to do, or fight this guy off. So I shouldn't really blame myself. Ok I still do a bit, but I know that I shouldn't.

#442125 - 07/25/13 03:46 PM Re: so vulnerable [Re: traveler]
unhappycamper Offline

Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 756
Loc: VA
All of the above: agree. Children are powerful triggers. I think what brought the roof down on me (flashbacks) was becoming a Dad and seeing my kids and their school mates when they were small. And once my mental scabs had been ripped away, just about any kid could set it off--a child crossing the street holding his parent's hand, a news photo of a child found dead or rescued from an abuser, even a question at work about appointing a guardian for an abused boy on an Indian reservation.

When you see how vulnerable and how naturally trusting little kids are, it really highlights the evil and depravity of the perpetrators of child abuse.


#442133 - 07/25/13 04:45 PM Re: so vulnerable [Re: bodyguard8367]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: bodyguard8367

I have empathy and understanding for a youngster in crisis today,

but in looking back through my past, I don't really have that level of empathy for myself. I tend to expect much more from my inner self, I tend to judge more harshly what I "should" have been able to do.

It was a "tipping point" for me to understand that I needed to compare my inner child with other children I see in crisis. I needed to have a lot more compassion for myself, and lower my expectations about what I expected an 8 yr old to 15 yr old self to be able to handle.

It was this focus, this ability to empathize and feel compassion for my inner self that motivated me to attack recovery. I then began to imagine going back through a mirror, traveling time and defending my self. I walk back trough my mind to the frozen moments where my child self is in crisis.

It is those moments where I become strong, powerful, courageous, fearless, and Tough. I lend my inner child my strength, I lend him my voice and I quell the fear in his heart. I stand up to the bullies and the oppressive figures that seek to destroy him and strike fear into the hearts of those who would subdue Him/US. We walk from the ruin of my childhood stepping carefully to avoid the blasted ground. He leads me gingerly as children will do, and sometimes I carry him.

This imagery is my refuge, my solace, and my comfort. It speaks to my self esteem and my worth.

I advocate for myself. I will continue to do so.

thank you for this. I needed it today.


Thanks for this thread. I respond affirmatively to all the messages so far.

I think I will try to do what Geoff is talking about.

I have in the past used movies with boys to bring out my emotional self (I've had did and still have it). There is a tendency for people to view me suspiciously for this and it upsets me. But I can't always hide like a dung beetle under a rock.

DID actually means loss of identity. It's an identity disorder. It's linked in me with depersonalization. Depersonalization is exemplified by the slave who was beaten and looks up at his master with eyes pleading, asking, when are you going to give me another swipe? It's as though I'm eternally condemned to casting about, looking for my identity: Who am I?

Some of the movies to help me:
The Education of Little Tree
Flight of the Innocent
Where Eskimos Live

Now I've come to a bunch of books which seem to indicate that I was actually used in experimentation. This will seem hard to believe. The real evidence has been suppressed. But there are now several books about this:

A Nation Betrayed: Secret Cold War Experiments Performed on our Children and Other Innocent People, by Carol Rutz

In her story, she was sold to the clandestine service by her grandfather.

Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America, by Allen W. Hornblum.

A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror, by Alfred McCoy

Now I am wondering if my father was given money to allow me to be "experimented on" at the summercamp, or if he was required to do so by his army affiliation.

I haven't posted much about it, but 15 months after the camp experience I had a "tonsillectomy" after which I was "changed" and lost my voice. I've thought it might have been part of an experimental process. Why? because my healing process has been so long and intractable and because the abuser seems to have been at the root of these clandestine activities. It's as though I was "programmed" to resist divulging the truth. Sorry. I know this is weird.

Sorry this post is so long. I needed to say some of this.


Edited by pufferfish (07/25/13 04:46 PM)

#442138 - 07/25/13 05:30 PM Re: so vulnerable [Re: traveler]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
You remember things in an adult "voice," so it can be very startling to realize how much you WEREN'T an adult, that you are translating a child's experience through an adult's frame of reference.

Actually seeing how small and needy and vulnerable they are can be a shock - especially when there's direct age-of-experience overlap. After I started facing my CSA I was very on-edge and sad when around my favorite cousins (15, 14, 10), and other people's kids - because at that age they're still capable of being complete kids, not "grown up," not "cool," and not in the least "independent." And when I saw the 14yo especially it hurt me because that was me during the time of having to follow every pervy demand and order from the boy down the street who was "protecting" me from bullies. Thinking of my cousin having to go through any of that just made me want to wither and die.

Not looking forward to when my son turns 8 (the year of my major incident) either.... frown

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#442140 - 07/25/13 06:36 PM Re: so vulnerable [Re: SoccerStar]
unhappycamper Offline

Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 756
Loc: VA
It's true, a lot of survivors' current problems come from anger and frustration that we didn't respond to the abuser at age 6, 7, 10 or 15 the way we would respond now, with our adult knowledge and strength. We've all read the occasional news stories about grown men who attack the child abuser they met--these survivors obviously are continuing where the childhood episode left off.


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