How Deep are the Scars of Abuse?

A number of people have contacted me  over the past few months, wanting to talk about their victimization. These emails describe a wide range of feelings, reactions and heartbreak. For adults who were abused as children, the emotional outcome is as varied as people are. There are no hard and fast outcomes – there is only your outcome and it’s as perfect as perfect can be. It is always normal.  And it is always healthy. So...

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4 Stages of Healing from Childhood Abuse

Over the years, I have worked with many victims of abuse, women or men who were abused in childhood (I do not work with children).  Sometimes the abuse consisted of neglect; often it was physical, and emotional.  For many, it was sexual.  I find it interesting that in my practice, the men who were sexually abused as children were abused by someone outside of the family. the girls were all victimized by their fathers. (That is not the...

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The Last 3 Characteristics of Adult Children

We have reached the last 3 characteristics of adults raised in emotionally barren families. 1. Are super responsible or super irresponsible. 2. Are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved. 3. Are impulsive. They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. The first characteristic is visible and obvious for heroes and...

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From 4 Roles to 3 Rules

Parents are emotionally unavailable because of an issue in their life which the spouse wants resolved.  For example, a mother works full time plus.  She is successful in her job but works nienty hours a week.  Everyone wants to see more of Mom.  If she’d just work less, everything would be better. A parent may be mentally ill and unable to provide the emotional nurturing and caring needed by the children. If the other parent does not...

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The Mascot: Using Humor to Cover Pain

The last of the four roles is the Mascot.  As mentioned, this learned behavior uses humor and fun to offset the stress of the family situation.  It looks like fun but all is not happiness and roses, for the humor is used to cover a dark side. The mascot lives in buried fear.  The child living this role is afraid that the family problems are going to be identified.  They are afraid that their shortcomings will be seen.  They are afraid that...

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Rebels and Scapegoats: How do They Heal?

The second role in this discussion is the rebel, discussed in some detail here.  But there is another point of view about the role of this troubled child and that is that they play the scapegoat for the family. From this perspective, this child takes on the family’s problems and acts them out, to ensure that the family secret is held tightly within the family.  Obviously this is not a situation of a parent working too much, but it might...

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