“Child abuse damages a person for life and that damage is in no way diminished by the ignorance of the perpetrator. It is only with the uncovering of the complete truth as it affects all those involved that a genuinely viable solution can be found to the dangers of child abuse”. Alice Miller ~ Banished Knowledge ~ facing childhood injuries
Lately I have been writing a lot on the subject of dysfunctional family systems. I feel like I am just getting started when it comes to sharing about some of the things that were so dysfunctional in my own family. The dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship I had with my abusive mother was only one part of it. I had an emotionally unavailable father as well; there were sexual and physical abuse. I was not heard or even seen as a child, as though I was not really a person yet. And that “non person” fact seems to be at the root of everything; the discounted voice and disregarded feelings of a child. We live in a whole world of adults who have not been valued as children but who are expected to function properly in spite of that.
When I was “in the fog”, which means not understanding exactly why some of the details about these situations were wrong, but having this “feeling” or suspicion that they were, I could never put all these “facts” together and therefore I was never able to see the real truth. When I first started this blog “Emerging from Broken” I was afraid to share too much, I thought it would turn people off. I am afraid that I would be seen as a whiner, "stuck in the past", unable to "get over it" and being deficient in putting the past behind me; that was despite the fact that I ALREADY knew the way that I recovered was by facing the past, realizing the lies versus the truth and changing my false belief system. I was still scared of rejection, being unheard and misunderstood. (because that was ALL I knew!) I was afraid that I was “wrong” even though this truth was what set me free. I was especially afraid to talk about the dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship and dysfunctional family issues.
I was also afraid that people would write comments sticking up for the abusers and controllers. I lived in that world for such a long time where the abusers were protected and the victims blamed, it was long before I could sort it all out. Kids like me were raised with an “unquestioning respect” for authority. Half the problem with my recovery was that one issue! I could not go against that deeply ingrained teaching especially when it came to my parents. I still feared the same consequences that I feared when I was a child. I feared that I would die if they rejected me.
I was pretty confused initially, but now I no longer believe that abusers SHOULD be protected and I no longer discount myself. I do not acknowledge that false system anymore. It is backwards and I am not afraid to speak out against it.
There is no excuse for devaluing a child; there is no excuse for mistreatment, there is no excuse for abuse. And respecting authority that is causing harm against children and causing them lifelong damage, is insane. I don’t want to live in that insanity anymore.
The world has to realize that children are born totally innocent with equal value and human rights. The damage done to them is NOT imagined. Even if the child blocks it out, the damage is still there, lurking and festering; it will cause all sorts of problems and struggles to the victim. It is not okay because it happened “in the past”. It is not excusable. The abusers ARE the ones who are accountable for that damage; the guilt and the shame belong to them. The only way to overcome this perverted belief system for an adult child who grew up with abuse is to first realize that first of all, it really happened regardless of how we are told that it is a dream or that it was exaggerated. Secondly, to understand that as a child, we were powerless and have NO responsibility for what happened.
That wasn't all, I needed to talk about it and I needed to be heard; of course not by the abusers. I had no idea that the more I shared about this kind of family system dysfunction and confusion; the more popular my blog would become.
My mother-daughter dysfunctional relationship articles have been read thousands of times. They rank very high in search engines and are among the most read blog posts here in EFB. I found that millions of people struggling with depression, addictions, post traumatic stress, self harming issues, dissociative identity disorder and many other issues also struggle with this same confusion around the dysfunctional family system. They are also led to believe that the accepted protection and "respect" for the "authority" are the perpetrator of abuse which happens often; yet these are the very people who caused them the emotional mistreatment instead of having regards for the child victim.
But WE were those child victims…and we still need to
Darlene Ouimet is a prolific writer and blogger, sharing her real life experience growing up with an uncaring mother and an absent father. Her pain of being subjected to a dysfunctional family system is well-written in this topic. Her experiences provide invaluable reference in dealing with children who have or are going through similar circumstances.