Tag Archives: emotional abuse

An unspoken secret

18 year old me

I have a secret.

This may not be a surprise to you if you know anything about my past.

But its not what you think.

This secret has created meaning in the events that followed. The secret has eaten away at me.

You see, it’s not what happens to us that causes us a problem. It’s the meaning we assign to it. It’s the meaning that triggers a protective state. It’s the meaning that causes hurt.

There’s a catch though. We interpret and attribute meaning to events, well before our brain is developed enough to understand.

The prefrontal cortex, the rational and analytical part of you brain, is not fully developed until you are at least 19 years old.

At least 19 years old before you can understand what happens to you

And before you are 16 you have learnt all the important lessons that you need to stay safe as an adult

This is the catch.

And so I have a memory from when I was 9 years old, and it had meaning. It was the unspoken thing.

I think we all have them, those moments that we carry, that we don’t want anyone else to know of, for whatever reason. Sometimes, they rest, untouched, with very little impact on our day to day lives. Other times the gnaw away, answering with silent words in our head.

They are not big, traumatic moments, but they are moments that form our sense of self. They might be loaded with shame, or guilt or something else.

They are unspoken.

My moment? I walked in on my stepfather when he was having a shower. I was 9. I pointed to his private parts, and touching it accidentally, asked what that was. He angrily told me that I should never touch that.

I thought that I made him think about me as a sexual object. I thought it was my fault that he abused me. I thought I was his partner, not a young child who was abused.

I never, ever spoke the secret.

And it meant everything was my fault. Who was I to cry victim when I created the problem?

This unspoken secret meant I planted the idea. It meant I was complicit. It meant I was not a victim. It meant I was a participant in the abuse, not a victim of it.

Because it was my fault.

I knew about my secret. But I didn’t ever speak about it. Or even tell anyone I had it.

I didn’t want them to know that all these things I spoke about were my fault. But I was sure they were.

And so I hated myself and my body for the role it played. I hated it for being involved in what happened. I felt guilty. I felt ashamed. I felt like a fraud for letting everyone else believe I had been abused, when actually I had created the problem.

And then thanks to the help of my amazing therapist friend, I spoke the unspoken and the spell was broken.

And now I see that there was nothing I could do. I was a young child. I was abused. That is never a child’s fault.

My body is not to blame. I am not to blame.

Speaking the unspoken changes it.

What is your unspoken thing? Who do you trust to tell that thing to?

You deserve freedom from the unspoken.

Why people get away with being bullies

Lady C calls Duncan Bannatyne a 'vain old goat' and Brian Friedman 'full of sh*t'

She was an endearing old lady that everyone protected when she first entered the jungle as part of the TV show “I’m a Celebrity, Get me out of here”. They found her amusing and quirky. From the outset she clearly marched to the beat of her own drum but, initially, everyone pandered to it. She was older. She was a lady. Lady Colin Campbell was typical of unknowns that end up on the programme.

Before anyone realised what was happening, looking after her turned in to being emotionally manipulated. Up to a point it seemed reasonable to protect an older person who didn’t seem to share the same life experience of everyone else due to her privileged lifestyle.

Then she refused a trial because it triggered issues for her. Seemed reasonable, and yet it resulted in all 12 people going without dinner. And the programme usually makes people exempt from trials if there are medical reasons why they can’t do it.

Again, it seemed unfair but understandable.

And then she won a trial that resulted in her and two fellow campmates going to a bush spa for the night. They got to choose 2 people to wait on them as a chambermaid and servant. She chose Tony and Georgie but Tony refused. He didn’t want to wait on her. Also reasonable.

But Lady C was not used to being refused and her true colours came out. Gone was the subtle manipulation and out came the bullying nastiness. Once the aggressive and abusive behaviour had begun, it didn’t stop. All because someone didn’t do what she wanted. It was targeted at Tony Hadley who dared to refuse her and then Duncan Banatyne who stood up to her along with Tony.

“I don’t need any input from you. You are a hypocritical pretentious a******e. I’ve had enough of you. It’s none of your f*****g business, a******e.”

“You’re a chippy oik with a mouth of diarrhoea. My opinion of you is that you are the lowest of the low, a bore. Let me tell you something, boy, you are of no significance to me. You’re so used to creeps and dollybirds, tarts. You don’t even have a good voice. I don’t want to speak to you,”

‘Not only do you have verbal diarrhoea, you are so full of sh*t that if you ever took an enema you would disappear off the face of the earth without trace.’

‘Be careful who you take on dear baby boy, some people actually have sharper tongues than you, self-important little runt. Desperate for attention and can’t get any.’

“That’s part of the problem, you are desperate for the limelight you vain old goat.’

If it was a male in the camp saying these things and acting in this way, it would not be tolerated. They would be removed quickly. And yet because it’s a woman nothing was done. She continued to bully everyone except a couple of close friends. Even they couldn’t accept her behaviour but by then everyone was too scared to stand up to her.

And this is how it goes with bullies isn’t it? They seem so reasonable at first. They fool those around them. People make excuses for them. We start to question ourselves.

We all live in our own unique reality bubble. When someone lives in such a warped reality, anyone who lives in close proximity to them soon gets drawn in. And once you are in someone else’s reality you lose sight of the fact that a different one exists. This is why people in domestic abuse situations can’t leave – they can only see the world from the perspective of their abuser.

She has now left the jungle on medical grounds and I can go back to enjoying watching a genuinely interesting group of people.

I don’t find it disturbing that people like Lady C exist – we are all different. What I do find disturbing is how easily we all accept that behaviour.

I can help you see a different reality. If you think you are in a controlled situation either with emotional abuse or physical and sexual abuse, think about who you are. Have you always been the way you are now? Or was there a time where you wouldn’t have accepted this? What would you tell a friend? What do your friends say to you?

If you need help, get in touch dawn@thinkitchangeit.com

All abuse is emotional

I read many articles about abuse. Horrific stuff. Domestic violence. Sexual abuse. Neglect.

It resonates. A lot of it resonates. My own experiences through childhood tick many of the boxes of abuse.

So what is it that makes it abuse? It is not age. Domestic violence is abuse. Neglect is abuse. Sexual exploitation is abuse. 

The silence around abuse is not, in my opinion, driven by the acts. The silence is driven by guilt, shame, a belief that you deserve it, a belief that no one would believe you. The thing that drives the silence, in my opinion, is the common element in all forms of abuse – the emotional abuse. The silence around abuse is created by your reality being contained within the reality of your abuser

All abuse is emotional.

I often used to wish that I had been beaten to the point where I bled. At least then there would be something outside my head to show for it. Someone else would be able to see the reason I was hurting.

When I tried to make sense of what happened to me the only context I had was those people who raised me. And those people were my abusers. I wasn’t in my right mind. I was under their power. My world was defined by their thinking.

That applies to domestic violence too. People ask why someone doesn’t just leave when it is obvious that their partner will continue to be abusive. That assumes that they can think with the clarity that you have. When they go back to someone again and again because they believe it will be different this time – that belief is created by their abusers reality.

All abuse is emotional abuse. When in an abusive situation your world is defined by their world. Your thoughts are shaped by their manipulation of you.

We can endure the most horrific things through childhood and as adults. It is not the physical things that cause the real problem – it is the emotional consequence of those. Bodies heal. Time passes and whatever is happening has to stop at some point. But long after the physical stuff stops, the emotional stuff remains in your head.

This is not all doom and gloom though. Because if it’s in the head it can be changed. I can help you change it. I have moved on from the reality created by my abusers. I can help you move on too. Just drop me an email to dawn@thinkitchangeit.com