CHAPTER 12 – Signs and Effects of Abuse
The long term effects of abuse are hell to live through. Abuse does affect every facet of the survivor’s life. Trust and relationship issues should be at the top of the list. Abusing a child teaches them that they cannot trust anyone but themselves. The child can grow to be so scared of being abused or controlled they simply can’t maintain a relationship. On the other end of the spectrum the survivor will often join into abusive relationships because it’s all they know. They don’t know what it is to be treated like a worthy human being.1
Or they could end up like I did and have issues on both ends of the spectrum. I tend to make people prove to me that they are trustworthy. Often this takes at least a year. I don’t trust easy and I never will. It keeps me safe. Unfortunately this is not conducive to long lasting relationships because invariably men get tired of being tested and nagged at about various things like who they’re talking to, where they’re going, how long they’re going to be and will they be having sex with whomever they’re with. It also drives friends nuts.
The sense of self-worth one acquires while being abused affects things like employment. According to Child Help feelings of worthlessness and being damaged goods are quite common in victims of abuse. Many people hold themselves back in life. They take menial jobs and disallow themselves the opportunities higher education offer because the victim has it engrained in their brain that they can’t go past blue collar jobs and they would fail in school. Child Help also goes on to say survivors of sexual abuse find it particularly difficult to get past feeling “damaged”.2
I’m living proof of this. I’m also living proof that it can be overcome. At times I still feel that I don’t belong in college, that I’m wasting my time and I’m still going to end up slinging burgers when I’m done achieving my degrees. There are several days when I think I should just give up on college and settle for the steady paycheck the prison offers. That’s bullshit thinking. It’s the type of demon that calls out Legion XIV and Legion XX to lay down some whoopass on unacceptable thinking patterns. I will finish college. I will attain several doctorates. I will enjoy my future, even if the present is difficult. I don’t honestly give a shit who you are or where you come from, you are worthy enough to follow your dreams. If people try to talk you out of it and hold you into something below you, get rid of them. They’re toxic. They’re traitors to your crown.
Damaged is an interesting quotation since that’s how I’ve often described myself in long conversations with my most trusted friend. I often feel that I am indeed damaged goods. I feel that I drag far too much emotional and psychological baggage with me to be of any use in any sort of relationship. My innocence had been stolen from me. I was deflowered not for love, but for a sex crazed Neanderthal who couldn’t honestly give two shits less about me or what he was doing. I ran into the same abusive situations over and over again whether it be my parents, cousins, boyfriends or teachers. It feels like a big slice of me as a human is not there, like it died and is floating above my head watching me struggle with life.
Child Help goes on to list difficulties in emotional regulation as a long term effect of abuse. When you’re being abused you cannot have emotions. If you do you’re putting yourself at risk of being subjected to further abuse. As a result children learn to push their emotions deep down. Unfortunately these emotions tend to come out at the wrong times and in the wrong ways, like me bashing my head against the wall trying to knock myself unconscious. Adults tend to suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders and can be prone to anger.3
This is where the bipolar does not help me at all. I feel guilty for every emotion I have (and the’re all felt to indescribable extremes). This means love, lust, anger and joy. I definitely exhibit social anxiety. I hate talking to new people. I’d prefer hang out on the wall watching everyone else have a good time while looking for people who could potentially cause me problems. If I’m alone in the hall at college and I suddenly become surrounded by other students minding their own business waiting for class to start, I freak out. I start having problems breathing, my pulse races and I need to go outside until I can calm down.
Depression, well depression just sucks… especially bipolar depression because it can literally hit at any second. I can be at a high manic, talking myself to death – and the poor people who have to listen to me to deafness – feeling like I’m the queen of my domain and suddenly I’m reduced to tears, wanting to run away from everyone, fighting the urge to cut and if it’s really bad, the urge to commit suicide.
As much as I hate it, I am quite prone to anger, especially when I feel I’ve been wronged or challenged. I just cannot let it slip by. I often feel I have nothing to lose, so when someone hits one of my hot buttons, such as making fun of mentally challenged people, the rabid wolverine within me begins to make her appearance. If I catch someone in the act of abusing their significant other, especially if they’re cowering and half their size I’ll become so pissed that I can barely hold myself from giving them a concrete facial. I do have trivial, unwarranted rages as well; some careless person hits me with their book bag, someone continues to stand in my way when I’ve said excuse me, I feel someone is invading my personal space, some asshole says “I’ve already gone through my Hot Topic phase” when I show up wearing my new Tripp NYC Bondage pants two days after my mother’s death and I had just received a compliment on them by the person I was there to see, and Mom liked the pants. Stupid shit that pisses me off to the point of I want to head butt people into unconsciousness and removes the perpetrator of stupidity from ever getting off of my “twatwaffle” list because they have proven to me that they are douchebags.