MAYHEM – Keep Your Inner Temple in Tact: Surviving Abuse

1. the crime of willfully inflicting an injury on another so as to cripple or mutilate.
2. random or deliberate violence or damage.
3. rowdy disorder.

How many times has some created Mayhem in your life?

It starts when we are kids.  The cruelty of others crushes us from the inside out.  Buries us in self-doubt and a childhood depression that can break us into a million pieces.

Childhood cruelty rears its ugly head in many forms.  Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment or neglect of a child. The horrific things that one can suffer at the hands of someone who we are supposed to respect and honour leave us mentally and sometimes physically scared for life.  It could take place in our own homes or at the hands of someone who comes to care for us while our parents work.  Or even at the hands of a neighbour who lures us with candy, pop and video games.  We are touched in places we shouldn’t even know about at such young ages and see body parts on adults that really we should not yet be seeing.  We are beaten, whipped with leather belts or other objects, spat on and have things thrown at us.  We are called names, told we are worthless, that they wish we were never born, that we are dumb and will never amount to anything.

Did you know that until recently, children had very few rights in regard to protection from violence by their parents, and still continue to do so in many parts of the world.  Historically, fathers had almost unlimited rights in regard to their children and how they chose to discipline them.

I would know, my mother abandoned we on my father’s doorstep when i was only 7  years old.  She didn’t even stick around to make sure he was home.  Just stood my brother and I there and knocked on the door and ran down the stairs leaving us standing there, bewildered.  Leaving us to be raised by my abusive father became the worst years of my life.

Abuse and its many forms

The four main types are physical, sexual, psychological, and neglect.

Physical abuse – involves physical aggression directed at a child by an adult.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied.

Injuries from physical child abuse may be the result of Beating, slapping, or hitting.
Pushing, shaking, kicking, or throwing.Pinching, biting, choking, or hair-pulling.
Burning with cigarettes, scalding water, or other hot objects.Severe physical punishment.

For some reason I think my being a girl and looking very much like my mother cause my father to hate me.  He seemed to take all his anger towards her out on me.  Remember this man nearly beat my mother to death when I was five.  ( I refer you to The Birth of A True Angel of Grue  via @RealJillyG ).  Because I missed my mother so much I developed childhood depression followed by bulimia, an eating disorder.  Which led to the school noticing something was wrong with me and telling my father I needed help.  His version of help was take me to a shrink and then tell the shrink I was making everything up for attention.  Then at home when I had an upset stomach he would do the Heimlich- manuever on me until I threw up.  This bruised my rib cage and made it very painful for me to breathe.

Whips from his leather belt left my forearms and legs bruised and bleeding.

I started to cut myself in my teen years out of frustration.

Sexual Abuse – a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation.

Sexual abuse of a child is any sexual act between an adult and a child, including penetration, intercourse, incest, rape, oral sex, and sodomy, fondling – Touching or kissing a child’s genitals, making a child fondle an adult’s genitals.

These are all Violations of bodily privacy – Forcing a child to undress, spying on a child in the bathroom or bedroom.
Exposing children to adult sexuality – Performing sexual acts in front of a child, exposing genitals, telling “dirty” stories, showing pornography to a child. Commercial exploitation – Sexual exploitation through child prostitution or child pornography.
Regardless of the child’s behaviour or reactions, it is the responsibility of the adult not to engage in sexual acts with children. Sexual abuse is never the child’s fault. Sexual child abusers can be Fathers, mothers, siblings, or other relatives, Childcare professionals or babysitters, Clergy, teachers, or athletic coaches, Foster parents or host families of foreign-exchange students, Neighbours or friends, Strangers.

For my little brother and I it was the man across the hall.  He lured us with giant chocolate bars , cans of pop, pizza and video games.  He even sat us on his lap and let us drive his car,  But you see this is when he fondled us and pressed himself into us.  The very thought of it makes me sick to my stomach.

Let me tell you the Effects of child sexual abuse include guilt and self-blame, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia,fear of things associated with the abuse (including objects, smells, places, doctor’s visits, etc.), self-esteem issues, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain, addiction, self-injury, suicidal tendencies, somatic complaints, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder,anxiety, other mental illnesses including borderline personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder,propensity to re-victimization in adulthood, bulimia, physical injury to the child, among other problems.

Having suffered several of these I can tell you, it is a wonder I am still here.

Psychological/Emotional Abuse – Emotional abuse is defined as the production of psychological and social deficits in the growth of a child as a result of behaviour such as loud yelling, coarse and rude attitude, inattention, harsh criticism, and denigration of the child’s personality.
Other examples include name-calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, torture or killing of a pet, excessive criticism, inappropriate or excessive demands, withholding communication, and routine labelling or humiliation.

My own trauma found me marrying a drunk abusive man the first time around and I put up with it and stayed for 20 years.  The damage he did will take years to heal yet.  I am a work in progress and heal more each day that goes by.

Neglect – Child neglect is an ongoing failure to give the right care and attention to a child’s needs,
including food and a safe environment, or to a child’s emotional needs including warmth, security and love.
A lack of these things are likely to result in serious damage to the child’s health or development.

Neglect can lead to some obvious physical symptoms though often it can take years for emotional and psychological
symptoms to become clear.  Some of the possible indicators could include the following, though they may also be
symptoms of poverty and deprivation, not child neglect often going hungry, often having to go to school in
dirty clothes, not being taken to the doctor when they’re ill, regularly having to look after themselves at home
alone under the age of 16, being abandoned or deserted,living in dangerous conditions ie. around drugs, alcohol or
violence finding it difficult to adapt to school children who are often angry, aggressive or self harm children who
find it difficult to socialize with other children.

My bother and I were what you call latch-key kids.  For those of you who don’t know, A latchkey kid or latchkey child is a child who returns from school to an empty home because his or her parent or parents are away at work, or a child who is often left at home with little or no parental supervision.  So in other words at 7 I became the Mommy to my 4 1/2-year-old brother.  This went on for 4 years.  And the whole time I was also being bullied at school, chased home and beaten every day.

But I survived because I learned how to cope.  I learned how to get stronger.

No matter what we have been through in our lives we find I way to survive.  We find friends who understand us, who love us unconditionally, who don’t judge us, who support us.  We share our stories.  We learn to get stronger.  We live to find a way to support others.

We have looked to Mayhem of life in the face and defeated it.




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