Sometimes we get confused about how we got abused, we put this page up because our clients told us it helped. If it helps you please let us know.
Abusers are clever and manipulative – paedophiles often talk about ‘grooming’ children for abuse, training them to be abused without resisting or telling. The techniques used by abusers have long-term impacts upon their victims – everyone who survives abuse does so through coping mechanisms, (Essentially dissociation and ultimately DID are coping mechanisms) some of which are self-destructive.
The reasons for many of the survival strategies often lie in the way the abuse was perpetrated.
The abuser says the abuse is a punishment, so the child feels bad/evil and worthless.
The abuser tells the child this is ‘normal’ and they will be laughed at if they disclose.
The abuser says the abuse is a special kind of love, so the child feels different and special.
The abuser encourages the child to collude in keeping secrets, e.g. ‘Don’t tell your Mum I gave you these sweets’, so that they feel trapped into silence when the abuse begins.
The abuser tells the child that they must have enjoyed it as they didn’t tell anyone.
The abuser tells the child no one will believe them because they are too important (common with abuse by people with a responsible position in society such as a religious leader, teacher, social worker or police officer).
The abuser tells the child hey will be put into care if they tell.
The abuser tells the child their mother/important caregiver will hate them if they ever say anything about the abuse.
The abuser threatens to kill a pet if the child discloses.
The abuser threatens to hurt a sibling or caregiver if the child resists.
The abuser threatens to kill the child if they disclose.
The abuser tells the child that it is children, not adults, that go to prison when the authorities find out a child has touched an adult.
As abused children grow up, we often experience increasing guilt about our abuse as we learn more about the world and become more aware abuse is not ‘normal’. As we age the power gap between us and our abusing adults decreased as we become adults ourselves. As we had more power some of us got confused, blaming ourselves for our abuse believing we should be more able to stop the abuse happening. If the abuse continues as we get older, the guilt at this perceived failure can be very disempowering.
At I et al we believe the stress of keeping the secret of abuse is the most psychologically damaging aspect of abuse, especially when families conspire to help the child to keep the abuse secret.
Please remember to forgive the child you were. You survived an impossible situation the best way you could. Think about children you know of the age you were then and ask yourself if they could be expected to cope with your experience. This does not mean every other child of that age…..except you. This means every child of that age including you.