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The Impact of Childhood Abuse on Women’s Adult Relationships

 

Children who have been victims of maltreatment can develop emotion regulation problems that affect many areas of their lives. Some survivors of abuse can experience symptoms of posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depression throughout life. Coping and relational skills learned in childhood form the foundation from which future behaviors evolve. It has been hypothesized that women who survived maltreatment, in the form of physical or sexual abuse or neglect, will have sexual challenges in adult relationships. To test this theory, Alessandra H. Rellini of the Department of Psychology at the University of Vermont conducted a study involving 192 women ranging in age from 18 to 25.

The study focused on how emotional regulation, childhood maltreatment, sexual expression, sexual satisfaction, and relationship intimacy were associated in the context of committed adult relationships. The women in the study completed online surveys describing the type of abuse they experienced and their level of intimacy, affectionate expression, and sexual satisfaction in their current relationships. Rellini found that the more severe the childhood abuse was that the women experienced, the more unsatisfied they were in their adult relationships. This was true with respect to general and sexual relationship satisfaction. The severity of abuse also directly predicted the severity of emotional regulation impairment, which could be indirectly influential of satisfaction.

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In contrast to Rellini’s predictions, however, the findings did not demonstrate any association between emotional regulation impairment and intimacy or emotional expression. This was rather surprising, as previous research has suggested that abuse survivors tend to have challenges sustaining emotionally healthy sexual relationships. One factor that may have contributed to these results is the broad categorization of abuse used in this study. Specifically, this study did not examine sexual abuse separately from emotional or physical abuse to determine each type of abuse’s independent effect on emotional regulation. Despite this limitation, Rellini believes her findings provide evidence of unique correlations between childhood maltreatment and adult relationships for women, but more work needs to be done. “Research is now needed to explore the stability of such findings over time in order to determine the time course and sequencing of change between the studied variables,” she said.

Reference:
Rellini, Alessandra H., Anka A. Vujanovic, Myani Gilbert, and Michael J. Svolensky. Childhood maltreatment and difficulties in emotion regulation: Associations with sexual and relationship satisfaction among young adult women. Journal of Sex Research 49.5 (2012): 434-42. Print.

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Comments
  • belinda September 25th, 2012 at 3:17 PM #1

    It is kind of hard to believe this new research given that for so long we have all been told how much damage this does to us in our later years. I have always attributed my inability to remain in a loving and committed relationship due to the fears that I have because of the abuse that I suffered. Have I been wrong all this time? Have I been using this as my crutch, my excuse for not wanting to get close to anyone, without this really being the problem at all?

  • Heidi September 25th, 2012 at 4:16 PM #2

    A child’s mind is like soft clay.Any touch will have an effect on it and if an unwanted touch is not rectified,the unintended shape remains.Various studies have now shown negative experiences and abuse during one’s childhood definitely affect the person in various aspects later on.

    And Belinda,crutch or not,your aim should be to try and get out of the rut,to try and work towards a meaningful relationship.Don’t be afraid,you can overcome your fears.You could seek help of a professional if needed.

  • Miss Louise September 25th, 2012 at 4:20 PM #3

    Very interesting. :)!!

  • Gerrard September 25th, 2012 at 11:49 PM #4

    Although childhood abuse and especially sexual abuse can dent someone’s relationships in their adult lives,it can be especially hard for women because they tend to relate sexual relations with feelings and emotions more than men and an experience such as this could scare them away from having even healthy sexual relations later on in their lives.

  • Brian hollister September 26th, 2012 at 3:43 AM #5

    Believe me, if you were abused as a child, then no matter how strong and resilient you are this is going to have an effect on you and your adult relationships.
    When you are a child and place so much trust in the adults in your life, then their actions will play very heavily into how you process life and the way theat you subsequently handle your own relationships as you grow into an adult.
    To excuse their behavior against you if it was abusive and to conclude that you are free from it is so wrong. Their actions have consequences and unfortunately most of this will come out against you.

  • delayna September 26th, 2012 at 7:04 AM #6

    I do not understand how anyone could hurt a child in this way, especially given what we now know about the impact that abuse consistently has on their adult lives. Shame on those who say that they are just “punishing” the child. This inflicts far more lasting harm that simple punishment ever could or should.

  • Reyna September 26th, 2012 at 2:26 PM #7

    “the more severe the childhood abuse was that the women experienced, the more unsatisfied they were in their adult relationships.”

    Not to undermine those that have experienced less severe abuse,but I believe it is so very necessary to have very severely affected individuals treated differently than the former group.That is because I think the needs of the two groups would be different.Like the former group would have some trouble in relationships but would be able to manage with a little bit of help but the latter group would need more focused help and treatment.

  • Charles A. Francis September 26th, 2012 at 2:34 PM #8

    I agree that childhood emotional abuse can impact our relationships in adulthood. Those who are abused as children often treat their children the same way, because they grow up learning that kind of behavior is normal—and so the cycle continues. So the question now becomes: What can we do about it?

    Mary Sovran recently wrote an article for us, “Healing Childhood Emotional Abuse with Mindfulness Meditation.” As the title suggests, it incorporates mindfulness meditation to help the healing process.

    She also describes an exercise called writing meditation, which she says dramatically changes the way we feel toward our abusers. She said that mindfulness meditation and the writing meditation enabled her to overcome the wounds from her childhood, and have more fulfilling relationships.

    Charles A. Francis
    The Mindfulness Meditation Institute

  • Helen September 26th, 2012 at 2:45 PM #9

    I propose that you would find that if this research had been split and you looked solely at the implications that arose from sexual abuse you would see that there are a lot of serious issues that come from withstanding this type of abuse. I find that many women I work with who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a mate or a parent or really anyone, they have been scarred for life by this kind of mistreatment. Please don’t take this that they have faced too lightly, or else it could make them feel even worse. Already many of these women think that it is their fault that this happened to them- they don’t need any more negativity than that which they have already experienced.

  • Jasper September 26th, 2012 at 11:57 PM #10

    I’d love to see some stats and numbers on how the relationships are affected for those who received immediate attention and care compared to those who did not.I am certain the former would be better at their relationships and such results will show people just why seeking help and at an early stage is just so important!

  • Leighton September 27th, 2012 at 4:08 AM #11

    I don’t see any way possible that you could determine that there are some ways that childhood abuse does not impact fture relationships and emotional capabilities. I was abused, and over the course of a few years have met many others who have experienced the same things that I have.

    All of us can name numerous ways in which our lives have been damaged by the abuse that we were the victims of at a young age. It was positively stunting for many of us, something that no amount of counseling could ever help us to get past.

    I think that to imply that there are people who have no issues with this at all is being fairly irresponsible and non-understanding of those of us who still suffer as past victims.

  • olaf September 27th, 2012 at 5:47 AM #12

    the only positive I see here is that if someone shows up at the doctor’s office with issues such as these then talking about the abuse in the past could help the diagnosis and an effective treatment method.

  • laura watson September 27th, 2012 at 3:51 PM #13

    Women and men both who have been abused in their childhoods are typically going to either seek out others on whom they can rely or they will do the opposite and push everyone away. So I really think that this could go both ways. I hope that there are many abuse survivors who have sought help for moving past all of that pain that was laid upon them at such an early age. That is an awful lot for anyone to have to manage. It becomes especially difficult when you want to get close to someone in your life but are having a hard time breaking through all of that pain that you experienced before. I sincerely hope that articles like this will give more of us hope that recovery does not have to seem so unattainable, that it has become a reality for many survivors of abuse and it is possible to get through that journey healthy and whole.

  • LeslieAnne September 28th, 2012 at 2:14 PM #14

    How about looking at an older group of women next time? The 18-25s might still be able to shake some things off, but the older women have been carrying this around with them for a lomg time, and well, they could have been haunted by this for all this time.

  • Miss T September 29th, 2012 at 12:14 PM #15

    I was abused by men in my life, and it affected me throughout my entire life. I’m in my 30s now, happily married, but its so hard to trust men. What happened to me made me wanna guard myself and I do. Maybe too much?

  • Wrick October 6th, 2012 at 6:42 AM #16

    Hi,
    I am dating a girl for over 2 years. We argue and fight over many things just like many other couple. I have realized she loses temper much often than necessary. She calms down after sometime. Becaosue of this temper it has been difficult in her professional life. So many times she has tried to break away from relationship. I have persuaded her to stay with me. I know that she needs loving company all the time around. At this point I also think she should also visit some kind of therapy just so that she knows herself more, just so that she is self aware. If anyone has similar experience or know someone who had neglected childhood , foster parents and childhood abuse and have got help through therapy please ping me. I am interested in trying to find the right therapist for her. I just don’t know where to do this search.

  • sw October 8th, 2012 at 9:18 PM #17

    I have been reading all of your posts. I have to add to this, I have lived through abuse as a child, due to an alcoholic father. I have seen and heard things that no one, at any age, should go through. After the alcohol stopped, it was just…an anger…I, to this day, cannot trust anyone. None of my relationships have ever been…open. I have hidden sooo much inside, its too painful to relive, or even to tell my whole story to anyone, once you tell someone your fears, they can show it to you at any time. I feel like I am alone in this, anxiety all the time, panic attacks, social awkwardness, don’t have or even want close friends. I once brought home a letter from a friend from school,when my parents found it, I had the crap beat outta me. I wasnt allowed to share my feelings, when I looked upset or worried they assumed I was on drugs. I was sheltered my whole childhood, never had a date till I was 20, never got to go to prom, or homecoming, never been to a game or a concert, I m now 37, and traveling more than 30 miles from my home puts me in a panic. I need a rock, some sort of stability, a safe place, will I ever find it??????

  • Brooke October 10th, 2012 at 2:15 AM #18

    Exactly Brian. Childhood abuse in all its forms, is minimized these days due due to the lack of funding and knowledge of the true effect it has on a child’s development. The difficulty of educating parents to what is considered child abuse and what is not is not to simple as others think. Parents sometimes don’t ‘plan’ to hurt their child but consciously do. That’s is still considered child abuse. Arguably, it is an social problem that effects every single person.

    Google Harville Hendrix as he has some very interesting books on why we need to overcome our childhood issues to find true happiness.

    There are also many blogs out there where you can follow people blogging about living with childhood abuse.

  • Brooke October 10th, 2012 at 3:49 PM #19

    Wrick, I’m sad to hear about you’re girlfriends although you’re story sounds nostalgically familiar.

    I have been abused as a child and months ago was in relationship with a guy who pretty much gave me an ultamatm. If need to go see a psychoologist (myself or with him) promptly or the relationship is over. I didnt end up seeing one, until we broke up. The day after!

    People need to understand therapy isn’t a socially accepted term, yet. It is a sensitive topic that needs to be treated with the most utter respect. Some people are very defensive and even get angry when you suggest that they may need therapy. Knowing how to approach a person with this topic is essential to be effective in getting your loved one to seek help.

    Wrick, from personal experience, it is somewhat difficult getting someone to seek help if they don’t realise or want to admit they have a problem. I never sought help as my ex-partner harassed me about it because I didn’t think there was anything wrong wit me. I was also ashamed of seeking help, and honestly only did it the day after we broke up to try and win him back. (Although I’ve stuck wit it and been seeing a therapist for the last 10 months)

    If after carefully approaching the topic with her, with utter most sensitivity, (you can also use that YOU would find it beneficial if she went with you to therapy, as people would rather do things to help others than themselves), she refuses you can borrow/buy books for her to read, to improver her knowledge and self-awarness. This has actually helped me more than therapy. Although it was my therapist who lent me one of Harville Hendrix’s books, and I bought it off her and bough other books off eBay after.

    I recommend the above mentioned books as a starting point in your relationship. There are alot of other books out there. See which one you like and find useful.

    All the very best.

  • Wrick October 15th, 2012 at 3:29 PM #20

    Hi Brooke,

    Thanks for the note and the book offers. I am researching these books.

    In summary she has been physically abused and one time perhaps sexually approached by her step father.

    If I say that I think it would be beneficial if she goes to therapists I am sure she would think that I somehow think she is not complete person and trying to find fault at her. She is extremely sensitive at this. Any small hint at her that she might be wrong will completely flare her up. This has reached such a stage that I would simply prefer to keep quiet and not talk at all. And this will keep on getting worse. And I would opt for ways out.
    And to be honest she would be right many times or most of the times but the way she would react to any suggestion she might wrong is with lot of animosity ( to say it politely)
    After sometime I would feel bad and then again talk to her and the cycle would repeat. This won’t take the relationship anywhere and frankly speaking I am more worried about her.

    Can some more people come out and discussed how did they overcome their issues ( of course anonymously).
    I am curious to know about the following items:
    1. How was your relationship with friends. Were you successful in having/retaining many friends? Did you have to lie to your friends.
    2. How did it affect your relationship? Did your boy friend or husband had to do anything special or more understanding. If you give some specific examples
    3. Did you go to therapists at all and if yes what point of time you went.
    4. What kind of therapists did you go? Is there any kind of specialized therapist? How do we find the one who is right for you.
    I hoping more people will respond or point me to right discussion forum.

  • Pat October 17th, 2012 at 8:11 AM #21

    SW, your story breaks my heart and sounds so familiar to me. Sadly, I have no answers for you (or for myself) that will help us get over our trust issues and move forward. I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone in feeling this way, you sound like you have phenomenal courage, and wherever you are, I’m sending you a huge hug. I’ll remember you in my prayers.

  • Vee October 29th, 2012 at 6:54 PM #22

    In 2006, my ex-wife withheld my daughters passport in prevented me from taking here to the United States. An individual that lacked any since for child caring what so ever; after a Midwifrey at John R. Radcliffe fell to get you’re the nurse her own child. From the time I left England; my daughter live in filthy home ex-wife parents; domestic violence against myself the father and child, child not receiving immunization shot-overdue twice, hair just destroyed, corn and calluses on her feet, beetings, drugs around her etc…I have the Hague Convention violation, domestic assault, attempted kidnapping, child endangerment, lying under oath, not paying child support and stealing government property. Let not go into this gender crap. It is time to put things back in order; no mother or father has the right to remove neither parent from the child life. Judges have given our children to women based action of women like my grandmother. They took care of children and didn’t abuse them. It wasn’t about themselves and money which women uses children today. Note; like my grandmother and not my mother. My father raised me, like most men has for decades. Let’s not forget those fathers which raised your bastard children you had while sleeping around. It you whom used the continuous cry, “fathers not wanting to be a part or raising their children” are nothing but propaganda. Propaganda used to promote both civil rights violations and equal rights under the law in the right to ones child. Children in America are in trouble from being killed by mothers, their boyfriends, other children and the Judicial System. No one in America especially women should be proud of the problems our children faces today. Eventually, men will make a stand and put an end to it all; in order to save our children. Get off you high horses, Women have not done the job; “Little Girls are trying to be Little Boys” and “Little Boys are trying to be Little Girls.” This is what happens when you remove that male figure from the life of a child. American spend more time trying to make themselves look good to the World but if the World only knew how we look behind closed doors. People around the World looked up and toward America as a country to believe in and a place to go and get way from oppression. We live in an oppressed nation; we do it to ourselves and repeat it to our children. Support what is right for the children only and not for gender discrimination. This action needs to be put in place immediately in order to save our children from total destruction.

  • Michelle Carter-Douglass November 27th, 2012 at 10:12 PM #23

    Tonight my heart beats for all in this world.
    My heart beats for you tonight.
    I am praying for those in pain this night.
    I am praying for those that have been told lies.

    Reader, Friend and those of the world, The Lord hears your cries.
    Sigh . . .

    I know what it means to love and to hate.
    I understand what it means to be cold day and night.
    If I could shelter you,
    I would do it with pure love.

    To anyone that has been hurt,
    Physically,
    Mentally,
    And emotionally—may God build you up spiritually.

    Father God,
    The tears from my soul begin to flow.
    In this poem, I can heal my soul.

    King Paper,
    On this table have laid you down.

    Father God,
    The tears from my soul oh how they flow.
    In this poem, I can heal my soul.

    Queen Paper,
    In my hand I hold you close.

    I know what it means to love and to hate.
    I understand what it means to be cold day and night.
    If I could shelter you,
    I would do it with pure love.

    To anyone that has been hurt,
    Physically,
    Mentally,
    And emotionally—may God build you up spiritually.

    A story in my class,
    I so empathize.
    To all the good mothers . . .
    I give this shout!
    Hold your babies close tonight.
    Know I am doing the same.

    A movie from my class,
    I so empathize.
    To all the great fathers . . .
    I give this round of applause!
    Hold your babies close tonight.
    Know I am doing the same.

    I know what it means to love and to hate.
    I understand what it means to be cold day and night.
    If I could shelter you,
    I would do it with pure love.

    To anyone that has been hurt,
    Physically,
    Mentally,
    And emotionally—may God build you up spiritually.

    King Paper, Queen Pen and my Almighty God,
    Let it flow,
    Let it flow,
    Let it flow.
    Shelter all that are hungry, hurt and cold.
    Heal the hearts of those in anger and in lust.

    My eyes now come to a close.
    Pause.
    In Jesus Christ’s name Amen!!!

    I know what it means to love and to hate.
    I understand what it means to be cold day and night.
    If I could shelter you,
    I would do it with pure love.

    To anyone that has been hurt,
    Physically,
    Mentally,
    And emotionally—may God build you up spiritually.

    Father God, in our Lord and Savior’s Name,
    Jesus Christ builds them up!!!
    Amen

  • vicanne December 1st, 2012 at 5:52 PM #24

    SW, I’m just realizing that my sabotaging of my relationships is not simply bc i am messed up, but bc of a lot of physical and emotional abuse that I witnessed and experienced as a child and teen. I am now in a wonderful relationship with someone who recognizes that I have an issue (beyond my knowledge even) and has encouraged me to seek help. He loves and supports me and because of him I will finally, at 30 years old, address whatever issues I have been afraid to acknowledge. If I found this person, so will you. We have to take responsibility for our mistakes, but all need to understand that there may be things beyond us at work. You will find the person you love, and who loves you, and who understands that what you experienced as a child is not you fault. Pls contact me if anything. You deserve the love you want.

  • Ayo December 10th, 2012 at 11:43 PM #25

    To SW, try god, u may find the answer there.

  • CP July 5th, 2013 at 6:50 AM #26

    I thought I was strong all these years and now I find out that I am BPD because of the abuse in my life. When I was 7 years old my dad locked me in a trailer and set it on fire. At 30 I am getting nightmares … Mine was an extreme but lot’s of people go through worse and don’t come out with this disorder. It’s very difficult to have to endure a positive life after wards.

  • css October 11th, 2013 at 2:42 PM #27

    I am currently heartbroken at age fifty my partner is at breaking point he is disabled and says he can’t take any more “trauma stories” he has even said he has begun to hate me due to what has happened to me- I represent misery to him. This all compounded by my making bad choices through my physical mental emotional and (minor sexual abuse too, I felt terrible because I could not prevent my sisters abuse by an old man) neglect dreadful abuse by my druggy alcohol fueled mother, numerous boyfriends and then bombshell – my daughters (one my stepdaughter) were both abused and I found out during my relationship with my partner that my birth daughter had been too and kept it to herself for 9 years… age 8/9 by my brothers best friend- plus raped at the funfair age 14 on her first “grownup” outing with her female friends 600 yards from our home. My anxiety and lack of motivation and ambition has made him feel like he is going crazy… I think I may not be able to save this relationship and I so desperately want to, I am a talented artist and singer and so many other things too but I just find it so hard he has started saying very mean things- I also had glandular fever last year too but he has done so much for my family but now says he cant deal with “your lot” my sister had a double mastectomy, his Mother an amazing woman (from an alcoholic family) died of cancer 5 years ago.. I am in therapy and the therapist thinks he is being very mean to me.. I can see both sides, and why with nerve damage he is finding it dreadful…wow I so feel like finding my daughters abusers and getting revenge but I know that would do no good. great ruining another relationship thanks abusers, thanks Mum!

  • Debra January 2nd, 2014 at 9:28 PM #28

    There is no amount of therapy that can heal what so many of us have been through. I’ve spent years in therapy. It’s done nothing to help me heal and be able to form a true connection with someone. You can’t tell someone everything you’ve been through and even expect them to stay around. In fact I’ve found the only ones who stay are the other sick people who in the end use and abuse you also. They throw back all that you’ve told them back in your face and use it against you. I’m almost 48 years old and still wake up screaming and fighting in my sleep. The abuser left but the abuse in my mind goes on and on and on. I CAN’T ESCAPE the night terrors where I relive my past. It’s a cancer that has been eating away at me since the day I left my parents house at 18. Child abuse is an incureable cancer you give to a child. It eats away at your mind your soul your heart. No one but us(the abused) will ever really understand the everlasting effects. No one! I thought at 18 when I left my parents home that I would be free. But there is NO FREEDOM. I can’t escape the jail they put me in. It just never goes away. I’m stuck. I will stay stuck until I draw my last breath on this earth.

  • Debra January 3rd, 2014 at 9:25 AM #29

    No Belinda, it’s not a crutch. Whatever abuse you went through can cripple you and all your future relationships. Most of us try very hard to move forward and desire greatly a partnership with someone who will actually love us. But too often the demons of our past hold us back from getting what we most desire. I’ve read books and stories about people who have been able to heal and move forward so I suppose it’s possible. But it’s my belief that the damage so many of us suffered started at such a young age and was long-lasting and severe, that the emotional bonds that we were supposed to form never did and it changes us forever. The early years of a child’s life are where we learn to trust and we learn that we are protected. Sadly for most of us here, the people who we were supposed to be protected by and be able to trust were our abusers. So it’s not a crutch. We all have had to find ways of coping without the tools we so desperately needed. When we don’t have those coping tools, we reach for something, anything, to hold us up and keep going on. Sadly the things we try don’t work and so we try to live life by numbing out the memories through drugs or alcohol or inappropriate sexual behavior. There are no easy answers for us. I wish you all the best, and hope you find some peace at some point in your life.

  • GoodTherapy.org Support January 3rd, 2014 at 12:15 PM #30

    Thank you for your comment, Debra. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Mignon January 11th, 2014 at 4:05 AM #31

    Hey Debra, I get what your saying.

  • Nicola February 1st, 2014 at 7:31 AM #32

    I am 40 and was molested by my father between the ages of 12 and 14. I tried to tell my mother after the first time it happened but she believed him then he punished me for lieing by taking a belt to my bare backside 24 times and then he continued molesting and belting me for 2 years until i told my mum again and she believed me. I havent seen him since. I have never had a good relationship. I have a teenage son and was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship with his father. Since then i haven’t had a serious relationship although i would love a partner i bail out after 2 dates at the most. I had counselling in my mid thirties and i think it did help as i no longer dwell on the abuse and i have slightly more confidence i am just incapable of a relationship although i crave one!

  • Karen February 6th, 2014 at 6:44 AM #33

    I can totally relate to you Debra. My father was abusing me and my sister(half sister from my mother’s side) from the beginning. My parents divorced when I was 3 and I was in foster homes until I was 6 and then he returned to take me to meet my new mother, it was just him and I on the trip from Oregon to Texas and that first night in the hotel room he started with the abuse again and it continued until I was 12 years old. Then to top it off my stepmother would beat me, she would hit me wherever she could grabbing my wrist and digging her nails into them, I still have scars to this day and I’m in my 50′s. My half sister (this one from my stepmother) was never abused (or so she claims) but we were often locked up in our rooms and one time it was up to a year, only allowed out to go to school. We never said anything to anyone because we were ashamed and thought it was our fault. As an adult though I soon learned to never tell anyone about what happened, I made the mistake of telling my first husband and he never was the same towards me and we divorced a few years later, I’ve never been able to have a good relationship with men and I’m single right now and I don’t date or go out. I stay at home and keep to myself. My abuser died this last November and I feel nothing for him and yet people in my life say things like “well he was human and it is kind of sad”, they think I should feel sad that he died and that I should show him more respect? I can’t do that. I could write a huge book of all the abuses I went through, just not enough room here to do that but this is just a little bit of it. I want you to know there are a lot of us out there and it’s true that only someone who has gone through the same thing can understand.

  • Stephen February 9th, 2014 at 6:39 AM #34

    Debra

    Your story is very sad and i feel for you being a husband whos wife was abused as a child. As a husband my wife fails to open up to her truama and seek help and in the end her pain is reflected back to me and my children. For someone like me who has experienced it in my relationship we do want to help. I dont beleive your comments that the ones who stick around are the sick people that abuse you infact they are the ones that truely love you. You need to understand also how difficult it is to live with someone you love who lives daily with this past truama. The depression, anxiety, abuse and rage that have also impacted my children.
    As a husband i dont have solution but to continue to love and support my wife however there will come a time that i will need to protect myself and my family.

  • Stephen February 9th, 2014 at 6:48 AM #35

    Debra

    Also you can openely tell someone what you have been through especially in a married relationship afterall they love you and want to help! Its your insecurity that tells you they will throw it back in your face. Weare all humanbeings with empathy and understand it is difficult fo you but is it worth losing they people that really love you and care. Dont bring this to your death bed embrace it and seek help and allow loved ones to help.

  • Sheltzy February 23rd, 2014 at 2:14 PM #36

    Reading all of your comments makes me wonder if any of you have any thoughts about how raising children has affected you. I was raised by two parents who were from abusive childhoods. Dad was psychologically tormented by a drunk and physically abused. Mom was sexually, verbally, physically abused. No one ever owned up to it but the family fights were rampant all growing up. The first generation of cousins were around back then, we remember it. Most of the after effects were coming from my mom’s side of the family. My dad’s side just continued the manipulation, so we just stayed away, made up, stayed away, made up. That pattern also happened a lot on my mom’s side but the fighting was what I remember the most. My mom was in therapy for most of my life. I was raised while she was on it. She suffered physically from the tremendous amount of stress with headaches and panic attacks. I was in rounds of therapy and in school counseling. My brother and two of my cousins were also abused sexually by one of my uncles. I was never touched. I was saved. That was my mom’s plan. I look back now and never blamed her and look at her as incredibly strong! She can’t find it in herself to see that strength. She married a man who holds her past as a way to control her. He has a very controlling nature and uses his Will to control the family much like his dad did in his later years. But I realize my dad is a victim of his childhood, too. I can’t imagine how hard it is to raise kids, not trusting yourself after what was done to you and praying to God that they turn out ok. God bless all of you! Sincerely!

  • Brandi February 25th, 2014 at 6:40 PM #37

    I have been going through mental & physical abuse as long as I can remember. I’m 21 years old, and I live with my dad right now, and he’s the one that’s doing this. I don’t think that I could ever leave him. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve just lost hope.

  • Stephen February 28th, 2014 at 12:36 AM #38

    Shetzy

    The key in a realtionship where you are supporting a survivor is openeness not denial of the past childhood abuse. I was unfortunate my partner told me after we had children and then just shut it down. I wanted to help so much but she would never open up or work through therapy. Instead when her truama triggered later in life she mainfested me as her abuser and in end we all became the victims of her truama.

    Brandi i have just read your comments and my advise is to leave gain support through friends, family or services in your area. You need to get out get help and heal there is no shame and always remember it is not YOUR FAULT.

  • Liz S April 2nd, 2014 at 7:26 PM #39

    I’m 30 now. My dad abused me since i was at least 6 years old. He passed away when I was 24. I’m in therapy now and am so happy he’s dead. He always tried controlling me even after I moved onto other things with my life. My mom was controlled by him as well even after the divorce… which took place when I was between 5 and 8.
    My mom allowed me to be sexually assaulted by a man 35 or so Years older than me.
    Until therapy, I never could objectively see how my life was. Brain spotting or EMDR has been a great tool and I recommend it to anyone.
    Anyways I’m writing today to say after years of abuse by parents, the many rapes I had been thru, the violence, etc. Things can change but you gotta be strong.
    Somehow I’ve met a wonderful loving man who is kind and open enough to help me thru this. I only wish others can believe things can change for them. I never thought this sort of thing existed, but so happy I found it.
    Much love and light to you all..

  • fred April 3rd, 2014 at 11:31 AM #40

    I’ve just read these and it breaks my heart. I suffered abuse until I left home at 18. I married a woman that had been raped as a 7yr old girl. She had sex with over 20 men before I met her. She refused to believe that the rape actually happened. After 28yrs of marriage. She started cheating with other men. She blamed me for everything that was wrong with her. She labeled me as her abuser. Before I read this page. I hated her and what she has done. Now, I pray that she gets the help she needs to confront her problems. And I still love her.

  • Dee April 10th, 2014 at 11:36 PM #41

    Reading your post caused me so much pain. I’m crying because your story was my story. I’m married now and I don’t know how to explain to people what it was like growing up with the psychosis you witness with growing up with alcoholics. The mind games were the worst. Being blamed for things that weren’t my fault. It was torture. I can honestly say I went threw more pin than a haulocast victim. There were so many days I wish I died. If haulocast victims were given such beautiful way out why not me? Tomorrow I must start my perfect life all over again. I’ve got a great husband and beautiful child yet there my mightmarish memories than I carry with me like my second skin. I would do anything to have these memories erased. Anything.

  • Amy April 11th, 2014 at 6:34 AM #42

    The thing is… I come from abuse…its hard to tell someone. Hard to tell your lover or partner. Many people don’t want to deal with it, and will leave you. Its vulnerable to open up like that because the sad reality is most people will just look at you and your wounds and be disgusted and walk away which adds more damage.

  • Amy April 11th, 2014 at 6:44 AM #43

    I hear ya girl.I hear you.

  • Amy April 11th, 2014 at 7:25 AM #44

    My father was my abuser. Many people ask me why don’t you get along with your dad? Oh just try hrs your father…they think im holding some petty grudge or im being immature. Until I was 30 I felt obligated to have ties with him. I realized these people don’t have a clue. My 6 year old at the time, and his dad thought I was being mean and didn’t know why I didn’t. Like Grampa. that was until that was until he came to visit unaccounted or invited and he had a complete episode. , getting physically violent with us in public. When it was over my 6 year old put his arm around me and said “I understand now what it was like growing up with your dad” he has never ever asked about my dad again. He stopped calling him grandpa and calls him by his first name. Wants nothing to do with him
    my son’s father has not ever once said anything either, and no longer sees me as holding a grudge but rather protecting us from an unhealthy man. When people start in with the guilt trips they place on me that are really about their family issues and say “was it really that bad?” “Why dont you forgive and talk to your dad”? I tell them a little reality. Well would you forgive a man that knocked your tooth out by slamming you into a bed post or tossed you down a flight of stairs? How about one that hit you upside the head constantly…pulled your hair out,…or touched you in your sleep. Where you learned how to get dressed with not getting naked or wore a bathing suite in the shower as the only defense to a man who was mentally ill sick and twisted and demanded he watch you change??? They shut up pretty quick and that’s the end of it. Im thankful that this abuse happened between 7-14 then the state took custody away. Before I was with healthy grandparents. I know that what I went through wasn’t nearly as bad as what others endured. Its painful and hard to deal with…be strong. Its okay to not care, or feel anything toward your abuser. .you dont owe them anything ever. No matter what.

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