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How Childhood Abuse Becomes Self-Abuse


All of us have probably acted against our own self-interest at some point in our lives. For some people, it’s feeling sick after eating a bag of candy or drinking too much, while for others it’s self-mutilation and mental self-erasure.

The concept of abuse is complicated. It’s simple on an abstract theoretical level: abuse is a type of behavior that is harmful. But it’s much more complicated on a psychoemotional level because people tend to justify or minimize the horrible experiences that they either went through themselves or caused for others.

10 Comments to
How Childhood Abuse Becomes Self-Abuse

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  1. My favorite lame excuse from a parent for being a real rancid human being towards their kid is, “I just didn’t know what else to do.” Really? You didn’t know telling your 8 year old child he’s a selfish rat was somehow not good for the him? Enjoy your old age and loneliness, you old prick.

    • My dad told me when I just about 8 that I was “the most selfish person he had ever met.” It doesn’t matter why, but that stuck with me so much, I can still feel the panic, shame, and humiliation of that moment clearly. I forgot a lot of other stuff from back then, but I never forgot that. Glad to know that I wasn’t the only selfish 8 year running around…

      • I wish I’d been raised by our neighbors.

  2. I am doing work on me. I can relate to your article. It is very hard to acknowledge where I am wrong if I continue to blame or excuse, nothing changes. Silence kills. Ownership hurts and is hard. I must break the cycle. When I know better I do better.

  3. The only relief I’ll get is when I die. No more therapy. No more pouring it out to ppl who can’t possibly understand. I don’t believe there is anything that can fix it. It’s a lifelong curse. Period.

  4. I can relate to a lot of things that you wrote. I barely have any memories of my childhood nowadays,I’ve even forgotten huge chunks of my teen years, but that’s because good memories became sour after something traumatizing that happened three years ago that I’m currently dealing with. I have a lot of repressed memories. But I remember some things, like the fact that I was bullied at school, and I complained to my family several times about it and most of the time their answer was, “It’s because you are a bad kid at home, bad things are happening at school so you pay for your bad behavior.” Those ideas have carried along with me… I became socially stumped, I can make friends but I try to keep them at a safe distance from me because I feel like I could hurt them. For the same reason (and also because I’m gay and it’s hard to find people to date when you live in a homophobic country that has very few safe spaces), I’ve never been in a relationship with anyone. I truly believe I’m a terrible person. I wasn’t really a trouble maker or anything, though I can’t know how bad I used to be because I don’t remember much of my childhood, but I know I used to cry a lot and it was seen as a bad thing at home, so now I find it hard to cry most of the time. And I’ve been working very hard on making myself think the opposite but it’s been hard, specially since i put most of my self worth in my “work” (which is currently only schoolwork) and I struggle with depression and anxiety (and possibly ADHD and Autisim. If I’m not wrong it was confirmed I was autistic as a child but, even if my mom did make the effort to raise me and help me with homework, she was adamant to tell me I had autism, and I’ve always been expected to act as normal as possible. That’s another thing, my grandparents constantly remind me of my failures, they blame me for things that aren’t really my fault, and point out how abnormal I act. But the list of what’s wrong with me could take me forever to write so I’ll leave it here.) Do you have any concrete tips on how to deal with this kind negative thinking? I’m currently working on my graduation project and my horrible self esteem and anxiety are depriving me from achieving my goals.

  5. I feel like a failure for not recovering, and am too old for anyone to care. Pretending is the only thing I can do now if I want people to want my company. Once again, in submission.

  6. I’m giving up. Behave myself into supposed wellness worked for a while, but I’m slipping back. If I want loved ones to choose my company, I have to pretend, so that’s my fate. Too old for anyone to care, and too unable to heal.

  7. I.m an anxious person all my life…fear has stopped me from success…from doing something significant in my life…all the time i,ve lived in my comfort zone..at the same time I feel frustrated in life for not having succeded in anything.THat internal fear is all the time so paralyzing .Feeling frustrated in life also takes me to judge myself.I believe that I deserve to suffer for being a mediocre person…sometimes I thing I deserve the worst in life.There is no self-steem in me.All that counts is the negative things I did in life.Anything positive don’t count, is just a lucky accident…Any difficult situation even the smallest one overwhelsme …drags me all the way along….thats why in any sign of perceived danger in any situation I run away…I feel I’m a worthless person because I made so many mistakes and failures in my life..There is no something interesting in my life…I live because I have to…feeling bad about myself all the time…I see life in a dark way……

  8. I had a dad who was very verbally,emotionally,some physical abusive.
    Ive been in therapy for 5 years. Struggle with self hatred, especially towards my inner child..she holds all the emotions that make me vulnerable.

 

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