Wednesday Evening Open House for Individuals or Group Studio Visits
 
 

PERSONAL COSTS OF ABUSE

Loss of "ME," my spirit, who I am and who I could have been.

Loss of connection with physical self, loss of sexuality, physical manifestations of emotional pain, loss of health, physical damage including self-inflicted pain. "My parts don't work, I can't feel them."

Loss of memory and memories -- moment to moment, day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year. Then you realize you've lost your life.

What is choice? In the interest of self protection you believe it’s best to stay hidden and not assert yourself. Choice implies you are asserting yourself, and when you have no self, choice has no meaning. You are afraid to make choices because you’re afraid to assert yourself. You believe you need to keep yourself hidden and invisible.

Partners and children of survivors often feel like they are dancing to music they cannot hear and are living with ghosts with whom they are unfamiliar. Individual and family plans, dreams, and careers often take second place to the turmoil caused by the survivor's emotional wounds.

Some partners say, "For a long time, there are three people in the relationship; you, someone else, and the abuse."

The ability to trust anyone, including self, is severely crippled. You feel that you can't trust others, society, community, authority, self.

...and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Some people think they were not abused as children because they were never hospitalized, it only happened once, their parents didn't mean it, or didn't know better, or other people had it much worse. Abuse of any kind: verbal, physical, sexual, emotional or neglect, affects children. The after effects can show up immediately or later in life.

Elana Gil, Ph.D.

Only Five Not Alive

Only five -not alive.
Made me cry - want to die.
A black hole without light.
Will I give up this fight?
How many years to go to peace?
Will I be alive?

Margaret

 

 

WHY

Why did this happen it’s so unfair
I feel so broken, do you even care?

You have left me fearful, afraid and sad
How could you do this, you were my Dad.

I’m picking up the pieces of my shattered soul
My healing has begun, I want to be whole.

 

 

THE POWER OF TOUCH

In the longing of my soul a touch runs deep.
I feel your cold, calculated cruelty.
Knowing well the pain of degradation,
My "Self" is lost.

Not able to cope with the loss,
I pretend your hurtful touch never happened.
Your touch stops me from feeling,
- from living.

Years pass by; the reality of your touch
Steals my childhood,
Robs me of life's opportunities,
Imprisons me in shame.

Unable to be real, unable to BE,
I become a robot. I act;
I say and do the socially appropriate;
Unaware of the emptiness within.

The power of your touch stays with me.
Suicide, self inflicted wounds, mutilation, and depression
All rear their ugly heads.
Your control is complete.

In the abyss of terror, unable to move forward,
Another TOUCH reaches my soul.
The unseen touch of a stranger sends energizing warmth throughout me,
I feel stronger, I sense an inner joy,
A will to live, a desire to BE.

Ruth

 

 

QUESTIONS

Have you even been happy?
Have you ever thought that you were important?
Have you ever had a child?
Have you ever had a child tell you that they love you?
Have you ever had someone look up to you?
Has anyone around you died and you didn't know what to do so you just cried because you thought that was the right thing to do.
Do you know what love is?
Have you ever been in love?
Or, do you feel that love is just a word people use so they can feel like they belong?
Why I'm asking is because I don't know myself.

S. (Age 17)

 

 

LIKE THE OTHERS

She looks and acts as a woman
Like the others.
She has a partner, makes love, gives birth
Like the others.
But secretly she searches
For a childhood never known
So that she might laugh, play, be free
Like the others.

Barbara

 

 

THROUGH DARKNESS AND THORNS

Young baby, playing in the grass
Oblivious to the blood, the horror, the tormented past.
Young toddler, playing in the sand
behind the betrayal, the guilt, the forgotten land.
Running, running not to yield
to the pain, the torture, the haunted calls.
Young woman, lost in a maze of uncertainty
lonely, confused, in pain;
not believing in tomorrow
nor that anything from life could be gained.

Brick by brick the walls were built
from fear, from pain, torture in the night.
Higher and stronger the fortress grew,
until hundreds of faces were hidden from view.
Then one day it happened,
a Brick
fell…
loosened by a kindly voice,
guided by a gentle hand,
closets opened slowly in the dark recesses of our mind,
exposing carefully bound parcels
held behind locked doors.
A single tear
dropped…
Guilt and terror fell like rain,
memories came in torrents,
feelings not far behind
so new, so raw, not yet dulled by years outside.
The hand guided us gently thru the mazes of our mind,
others leading blindly or following close behind.
Slowly we learnt to trust,
leave old, seek new ways to live.

At times the road seems endless,
stumbling blindly thru darkness and thorns,
crashing waves of uncertainty, pain and fear,
wanting so badly at times to just leave, go to the “other side”…
But through the darkness glows an amber held deep within our soul,
lit by survival, fueled by hope, kindled by friendship…
Candles burn brightly in the corridors or our world,
lighting forth the journey of healing,
pulling together the pieces of our mind.

 

 

Discussion - Personal Costs of Abuse

Personal costs include a crippling of self confidence, learning and retention, the ability to create and maintain personal relationships, problem solving skills and a loss of physical, mental and emotional health. Career choices are affected.

There is a ripple effect, causing losses of an individual’s identity, self and independence. Many people experience significant financial losses. Depression is common.

The loss of “me” (There is no me. Who am I? Who could I have been? Where would I go? I should be what everyone else wants me to be.) is symptomatic of an individual’s disconnection from the whole human spirit.

Survivors often experience a distorted image of their body, a loss of sexuality, a loss of feeling feminine. They become disassociated from all feelings, and have no sense of what is good or bad. There is a constant masking of their true feelings. They believe “sex is love."

There is often a numbing affect (“I lost my body, I couldn’t even tell if I was cold”), and a loss of judgement, the ability to choose, and the ability to perceive.

For the survivor, choices are dangerous and life threatening because to assert oneself is unknown. Survivors then drift through life, since invisibility and always pleasing others is imperative in order to survive.

One survivor remarked that “I feel out of it, crippled by society’s ideas about setting goals, making a commitment to meet those goals, which means risking failure, because I don’t even know who I am.” For many, choice implies that they are asserting themselves, but if you have no self, choice has no meaning.

The fear of the unknown, the loss of connectedness that goes with personal relationships, an inability to trust, feelings of guilt and shame are common to survivors. As well, survivors of abuse sometimes lose their sense of time (past, present and future), experiencing a terror of the past and future and living moment to moment, forgetting each moment quickly.

They may experience a loss of memory and time lines, especially short term. Comprehension and retention are affected. Survivors may avoid situations, places and/or conversations, since many will trigger memories of the abuse which they experienced or witnessed.

Sometimes positive effects occur. For example, families are more aware of the issues and are able to be more open and educated about abuse. However, sometimes other people claim to be supportive, while saying that the abuse was the survivor’s fault.

Support is often hard to accept, appearing scary and intrusive. Survivors are sometimes evasive about accepting support, their lack of trust making them wonder “what do they want?”

For survivors of abuse, maintaining connections is difficult, and if a survivor can connect, it is hard for he or she not to become abusive. A partner in a relationship often becomes abused in the process by the survivor.

Survivors may isolate themselves. As one survivor said “I feel that life is shit, and anyone who comes in contact with me will become shit.” Some survivors become self abusive, taking the hurt they feel for others and inflicting it on themselves.

“You can’t take intellectual knowledge and apply it to help yourself. You can’t parent yourself, but you can parent your children.”

 

 

REFERENCES ON PERSONAL COSTS OF ABUSE:

Bochner, Sally, Wolf Koenig and Colin Neale. Listen to Us Series. Film series, directed by Wolf Koenig and Sally Bochner. Canada: Distributed by the National Film Board, 148 min. 45 sec., 1992.

Bower, Bruce. “Survivor Syndrome: Childhood Sexual abuse Leaves a Controversial Trail of Aftereffects. pt.2.” Science News (US), September 25, 1993, vol. 144 no. 13, p. 202-4.

Came, Barry and Danylo Hawaleshka. “Scandal and Suicide: A Tragic Death Darkens the Gardens’ Sordid Tale.” Maclean’s, November 10, 1997, vol. 110 no. 45 p.28.

Caulfield, Paul and Don Haig. Mirus Films, Film Arts Limited, Co-producers. Finding Out: Incest and Family Sexual Abuse. Film, directed by Susan Murgatroyd. Canada: National Film Board. 25 min. 1984.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Abused Men. Film. Canada: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 min.

Fennell, Tom. “Grim Tales From The Gardens: The Sex Scandal At the Hockey Mecca Keeps Growing.” Maclean’s, March 10, 1997, vol. 110 no. 10 p.14-15.

Fisher, Niki. “Breaking the Silence: Notes of a Victim and Therapist of Child Sexual Abuse.” Canadian Woman Studies, fall 1991, vol. 12 no. 1, p. 98-9.

Hawaleshka, Danylo. “Tearful Farewell: Family and Friends Say Goodbye to a Hero (Martin Kruze)”. Maclean’s, November 17, 1997, vol. 110 no. 46 p.30, 32.

Keeler, Helen. “Too Painful to Forget”. Canadian Living, November 1997, vol. 22 no. 11, p.37.

Lindsay, Darshan. “Pervert of Doukhobor Messiah? Decades-old Tales of Sexual Abuse Shook a West Kootenay Religious Community.” BC Report, January 19, 1998, vol. 9 no. 20, p.28.

Mallam, Teresa. “Their Mother Married a Molester: A Former Pastor is Convicted of Sexually Abusing His Stepdaughters.” BC Report, November 6, 1995, vol. 7 no. 10, p.22-3.

McLean, Candis. “How a Predator Can Gain a Family’s Trust.” Alberta Report, September 14 1998, vol. 25 no. 39, p. 27.

Ontario Educational Communications. Child Abuse: A Twisted Love. Film, directed by Eric Jordan and Paul Stephens, written by Eric Jordan and Paul Stevens. Canada: Distributed by OECA, 30 min. 1980.

Ouston, Rick. “Nobody Messes With My Kids: What Would You Do If You Discovered the Man You Loved Had Sexually Abused Your Daughters.” Canadian Living, July 1993, vol. 18 no. 7, p.52-4.

Reid, Jennifer. “God Understands and Feels My Pain.” Compass: A Jesuit Journal, May-June 1995 p.35.

TV Ontario. Child Abuse 1 Film. Canada: Distributed by TV Ontario. 27 min. 1992.

Van Gijseghem, Hubert and Marie-Chantal Gauthier. “Links Between Sexual Abuse In Childhood and Behavioural Disorders in Adolescent Girls: A Multivariate Approach.” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, July 1994, vol. 26 no. 3, p. 339-52.



Child Abuse: "I sentence you to a life of torment inside your mind!"
Julie Atwood
Archive

 

 


Big or Small,
Don't Fall,
The Pain is Worse
On the Inside.
Dawn

 

 


“Please”
It happened when
I was 10…
now I’m 31…
And still feel it
as if it happened
yesterday!
STOP
Kim.

 

 


If we don't speak out
no one knows that
something is wrong!
Believe me.
Hear me.
See me.
I need help from U!

 

 


Be strong in the telling.

 

 


Hands coming together
to help each other.
Coming together to help
each other heal…

 

 


I can!
I can!
I can!
I did Survive.
To my loving husband,
Mark, who always
believes in me....

 

 


Abused at age 10,
still suffering.
Please help
STOP child abuse.
Tye, age 27

 

 


With time -
everything heals.
Be strong for yourself
always.
Love yourself!!
Take one day at a time.

 

 


Child abuse affects
peoples Mental and
physical health.
STOP IT
Tarah, age 10

 

 


STOP
When you abuse
your child you
hut them
physically and mentally.
Heba, age 16

 

 


Children are our future
keep their
bodies and minds
healthy.

 

 


Put your self in
someones
shoes that has been
abused.
You would not like it.
So help stop child
abuse.
Ruby, age 10

- Home


*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)


*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)