Sunday, February 19, 2017

Healing From Family Estrangement- Finding a place for my pain

I have always thought that with enough time and healthy coping skills a person would be able to somehow "get over" or feel free from an abusive childhood. I don't think the term "get over" is quite right here. Maybe find a good space for one's past to fit into, and move on from there in a healthy manner is a better description than "get over".  I thought that negative feelings surrounding the subject of my childhood, and my estranged family would eventually cease to affect me if I just worked hard enough at being a healthy person.

I am beginning to think that my previously held beliefs are wrong.

Since I am estranged from my family the opportunities for new painful incidents are rare. Notice that I did not say impossible. Things are still possible to happen that can affect me of which are unavoidable, such as deaths in the family. Of course since I am not in contact with my family they don't consider me family anymore, and I am not informed, or invited to attend services of close family members deaths. It's these exclusions that shake me up on the inside. They are very purposeful. They're meant to hurt. They're meant to punish. I feel like a child again. Emotionally, I am raw, and unable to conceive of the world in any other way but one against me. I feel completely knocked down when these things happen. Anxiety becomes an almost constant state, as I become too vigilant, about what, I don't know. I just feel scared, and unable to defend myself. The feelings of depression that are spawned from the heavy shame that one naturally seems to acquire from living with so much mental abuse growing up overcomes me.

At first I don't even notice it. I think I am fine, and I work it all out logically in my head. It all seems okay. I'm not worried, but those feelings creep up ever so slowly until I'm engulfed in them. I thought I had it under control. I logically know this is how my parents are. Why would it bother me? I guess knowing something, and feeling it is two different things.

I also think that I just want to not be bothered by these feelings so much that I convince myself that I'm  not. I convince myself that they're not worth the energy to get upset. Of course they're not. Again, that is a logical statement. I'm not upset for their benefit. I feel triggered into an insecure panic induced depression not for them, but for the child within me that never had her needs met. It's a perfectly normal, and reasonable response to the situation.

I used to live within this dynamic often with minor things setting me off into this anxious space. Gradually, with a lot of work I was able to start lessening the triggers. I lived less within the space of my own pain, and the perception of my reality that I saw as I looked through it, and more over it into a more positive reality. As time went on, I have learned various techniques to center myself, and learned to stop reacting to the constant feelings of anxiety, and fear that I lived with, and would apply to many situations in my life. I have learned that the way others behave is more about them, and less about us, and how we view it is more about us than it is about them. We all view situations through a colored lens that is unique to only us. We're only privy to our lived experiences, and knowledge gained. There isn't anyone else that knows exactly what you know, and have experienced life exactly the same way, so we will always view situations from different vantage points from others.

But, what happens when there is a major glitch in the system? Like, when these lived experiences as a child were often traumatizing, and perhaps maybe still are even as an adult by the same people? As I was saying in the beginning of the post, do you, can you heal from that?

I think the answer is not definitive. It does depend on what a person might mean by healing. It also might depend on the person, as I said, we are all unique, and so many factors can come into play. For myself, I think it heals like a slow wound of grief. Something like how you feel when you lose someone close to you. You never really get over it, but over time the pain does dull a bit, and it finds it's place. That's where I am at now. I'm finding a place for my pain, and feeling okay that it will probably remain there forever.


  1. Do you notice those of us on the spectrum are quite vulnerable to abuse? I too was abused and at 47 am still struggling to heal. It's especially hard for me as a gentle person, but also as an intelligence person who has pain imprinted on my considerable brain. Also, do you link chronic pain with the abuse [re previous post]? I do. My rheumatoid arthritis is definitely linked with trauma.
    Okay, so we aren't "perfect" and "healed" yet - but we are trying and doing our best!!!!!
    Thanks and love,
    Full Spectrum Mama

    1. Yes, I have noticed that a significant portion of autistic adults I have "met" have come from abusive backgrounds. I don't know why that is, myself. I think it goes beyond what would be considered just a strange child that was misunderstood, and thus mistreated, because so much of what I have heard goes far beyond that. One of the things that I have wondered is if autism isn't partly linked to some of the same genes that cause other disorders that would cause a person to possibly behave in an imbalanced fashion, thus parents who have some sort of disorder (or were raised by someone who did, thus were quite damaged) might have a greater chance of having an autistic child.

      It's just a theory I've thought about, so I hope no one shows up with links, and pitchforks to let me know how offended they are, ect.. lol

      And, yes I have seen studies that certain types of chronic pain is linked to childhood abuse. I do think that RA may have been one. I have interstitial cystitis, and that was one of them. It's unfortunate that it would carry on into our adult lives like this, but every day I have to remind myself that I can build a better life now, and I am! I think you have done a great job at that, as well. Raising children, and just being a good person despite the tragedy. :)


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