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Breaking free of abuse — 14 Comments

  1. Thank you for this article, Truthspeak. The words of wisdom in here about breaking out of abusive relationships is so authentic when it is from someone who has “been there” and seen the consequences to the children and to themselves.

    It is NEVER OKAY to stay in a relationship with an abusive person. It doesn’t matter if the abuse is from a spouse or from a child that we loved and did our best to nurture. It is impossible to “fix” a relationship with an abusive spouse, the ONLY option is to GET OUT while you are alive. Susan Powell is a perfect example of someone who stayed too long. With men like Josh Powell, though, they will stalk and hurt you if you do try to leave so exceptional measures must be taken.

    It is UNBELIEVABLE to me that the court ordered visitation with this man who was strongly suspected of killing his wife. I hope the judge that was responsible for the death of those two children can not sleep at night for the rest of his life.

    The social worker who advised you to leave your sons with Victor that he would “tire” of them and they would come to you is also on the list of people I hope can never sleep at night as long as they live for such advice.

    I applaud you for going No Contact with your son Mike, and I pray for your son Bob that he can come to healing from the abuse from both his father and his brother. I am also glad that you are on the healing road and in recovery from the abuse you endured for way too long, as many of us have done, me included. It is ONLY when we recognize the abuse and get away from it that we can really start to heal. God bless.

  2. Truthspeak,

    What you and your children endured is incredible. Like the rest of us, you have suffered. I’m sorry for the abuse that you and your children experienced. We are the walking wounded. Peace to you.

  3. Bluejay, “walking wounded” we may have been but we can choose to be the “walking survivors” as well, but as long as we continue to allow abuse in our lives we will be the CONTINUALLY WOUNDED. It is only when we cut off contact with these people as much as possible that we can heal.

    People who share children with the offenders are sometimes not able to cut off 100% of contact with the offender as the court orders visitation, etc. but we can keep that contact too a BARE MINIMUM.

  4. Truthspeak,
    I’m so sorry you went through that.
    You’ve come through the biggest hurdle: denial. At least you are no longer in denial of the abuse. You see other people’s actions for what they are and that’s a huge step.

    Thank you for sharing the story of your journey. It does make it just a little bit easier when we let the truth out into the light. It takes some of the power away from the abuse. They say light is a disinfectant.

  5. Sky, I went through the same processes that we all did when realizing that we were involved with spaths or, at the very least, toxic people. Denial, false hope, enabling, etc….and, my situation is TYPICAL of what others out there are still living in. It’s a statistical fact hat 80% of all child abuse and neglect is experienced in what counselors term an “intact” family – both parents are present. There’s a reason for this fact: the children are simply tools of torment, and not viewed as human vessels for fragile souls.

    I made it out and I went from the fire into the frying pan because I did not take time to heal myself of my experiences. More on that, at another time.

    The cycle of DV&A is at epidemic proportions, and I truly don’t see any hope to even quell this pandemic. Getting the word out is fine, but it’s not good enough. Family Laws must be altered and amended, as well as “no fault” divorce – punitive damages MUST be awarded to survivors of abusers because it’s the ONLY thing that these people understand. Hitting someone in their wallet or purse seems to be the ONLY thing that gets their attention, even if it’s temporary.

  6. Truthy, I totally agree that the family courts and child protection agencies must be revamped and especially the courts in that Judges need to be EDUCATED about violence toward spouses and children.

    As you well know I am rabid toward child molesters….having known several personally….and in two of them I “knew” something was off with them, I didn’t like them, but I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I never suspected that they were pedophiles until after their arrests. One of the guys I knew I never suspected and I also liked him and his wife.

    It is the same with people who abuse their spouses, I know several men right now that I suspect are abusers behind closed doors.

    I get your point on the “No fault” divorce, but there are benefits to being able to get a NO fault divorce, not having to prove adultery etc. I think it is the COMMUNITY PROPERTY part that is at times unfair and there should be some kind of way that could be altered in cases where one spouse has ripped the other one off. I don’t see this as happening any time soon. At the time the community property laws were put into place it was a benefit to most women, especially those that stayed home to raise kids while he “made all the money” so a wife would not get a fair share if she stayed home, and the community property laws were enacted to help her. They didn’t help me because he LIED AND HID PROPERTY…and I got short shift, but I did collect child support for years that sort of made up for part of what I got ripped off on.

    Many women get no child support and must somehow survive with their children in utter poverty. But even that is better than being abused on a daily basis.

  7. Truthy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your heartbreaking story. I know it must have been hard for you to write. Sometimes when I attempt to put everything down in writing, it is like having to relive it all over again.

    Only through stories such as yours will the education, the understanding and the help come.

    I hope don’t mind me asking, and I only ask because I want to educate myself, you said you put Mike on Ritalin for his ADHD and wished you hadn’t, what are your reasons? I ask because my grandson has been on Adderall for almost 7 years. I KNOW it helps his hyperactivity, but I constantly wonder if it isn’t at the cost of something else. He can become angry and hard to get through to when he is like that, I wonder if it is the the meds. This is a constant question on my mind and would appreciate hearing your views. Both his parents are high in the spath traits, although at 12, I see so many genuine, empathetic, considerate, loving traits in him. Most of the “trouble” he gets into is due to impulsive behavior, speaking and acting BEFORE engaging his brain.

    Thanks again

    MiLo

    • MiLo, I am not in the medical or psych fields. Having typed that, research has reflected that children who were prescribed Ritalin (specifically) typically required subsequent treatment with antidepressants once they passed puberty.

      My personal belief is that these medications alter a child’s brain in such a way that they become 100% dependent upon pharmaceuticals in order to function. They may SEEM as if their hyperactivity is being managed, but we are just beginning to see the ramifications in the people who are approaching or are IN their 30’s from long-term use of these medications. Brain functions are permanently altered, IMHO. We simply do not know enough about HOW the brain functions and it is a very specific organ with endless nuances that human beings are tinkering with. My personal belief is that parents couldn’t be bothered with managing a normally inquisitive and active child and people opted to give their children drugs to keep them QUIET as a management technique.

      Scenario: two parents working full-time jobs don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to DEAL with a hyperactive and inquisitive child of 5, so they rush to the doctor and beg for help in the form of a chemical instead of sitting down with their child, playing games with them, reading to them, singing with them, and ENGAGING with them. Doctors have prescribed these drugs to children because they CAN – children on these drugs must maintain a constant update with the prescribing physician which translates into Office Visits which makes the following equation a fact: child + ADHD + drugs = Trip To Cancun.

      When I was a child, I was unruly and hyperactive. I was unable to focus and began to simply NOT care about completing homework assignments, projects, etc. I had been told, over and over, that I was a “problem child” and that I was “never going to amount to anything” BECAUSE I couldn’t control my own impulsivity. So, why bother? My grades were horrendous and I spent 3 summers in summer-school because I simply could not, and WOULD not focus. At some point in my junior year of high school, I became weary of being told what a pain in the azz I was and I began to sort out my own techniques of focusing, memorization, and so forth. And, no, it wasn’t easy, but I taught myself ways to manage, alone, and without the assistance of any other person.

      Adderal is some powerful stuff, MiLo, and for a 12 year old child to have been taking this medication for 7 years means that his parents put him on this drug at the age of 5. ALL 5 year old kids are SUPPOSED to be active, inquisitive, and pushing their boundaries, for crying out loud. “Impulsivity” can be a powerful teacher for a child with ADD/ADHD. I’m one of those people who does not learn unless I experience it, and sometimes, I miss the lesson, even then to this very day. But, we cannot “learn” unless we push the edge of that proverbial envelope. Sometimes, the lesson can be pretty painful and result in some serious consequences, but the consequences are the BEST teachers and there is no medication that can replace a consequence for impulsivity.

      Again, IMHO, there are very rare situations where pharmaceuticals are necessary for a child. For millennia, human being have experienced attention disorders, but they were NOT being infused with high-fructose corn syrup in the form of sodas, fast-foods, and overstimulation like they are, today. Energy drinks, audio-visual overstimulation, and general lack of understanding that a child is a soul and requires nurturing, not medicating all contributes to the over-diagnosis of ADD/ADHD as a means of management.

      In the late ’70’s, there was a hilarious parody of an advertisement for pharmaceuticals that went something like this, “Feeling tired, TAKE A PILL! Feeling hungry, TAKE A PILL!! Feeling angry, TAKE A PILL!!!” What’s sad is that is precisely the path that humanity has taken. Everything, including normal grief and grief response, is approached with pharmaceuticals.

      Sorry for the lengthy response, but I have a very strong opinion about medicating children, especially when we really have no more understanding of how and why the brain functions. The more that we learn about this subject, the more we realize that we don’t really “know” as much as we think we do.

      • Truthy and Milo,

        Truthy said: ” Having typed that, research has reflected that children who were prescribed Ritalin (specifically) typically required subsequent treatment with antidepressants once they passed puberty.”

        The fact that these children require anti-depressant meds after puberty doesn’t mean that ritalin CAUSED that depression, only that it is connected with the depression.

        My son Andrew is also not only ADHD and is ALSO depressed, and at times so deeply depressed that I despaired he would kill himself. Even ADHD kids that never had a ritalin tab have depression issues, or BI-POLAR, and frankly I am not convinced that Andrew is not somewhat bi-polar, with the ADHD it is very difficult to diagnose Bi-polar unless the swings from up to down are VERY wild or sudden or frequent.

        I only had Andrew on the drug for less than a week, so I don;’t believe that CAUSED his depression. (or bi-polar if that is the case too)

        The genetics of ADHD are fairly well known and there is at least 4 generations of it in my father’s family that I know of, Andrew being the 4th generation, me being the 3rd. There are various levels of it as well.

        ADHD and Bi-polar are frequently found in the same individual as well as personality disorders like “anti-social” (psychopathic) personality disorder.

        Truthy, looking at your story of Victor and your son Mike, I would say that both of them are high on the psychopathic trait list, and that Mike’s problems are somewhat genetic as well as environmental (he got the double whammy, genetics and environmental!) So it is my opinion that nothing you could have done, even if you had left Victor before Mike was born, that would have made much difference in Mike’s outcome, any more than I could have with Patrick.

        Genetics are stronger in some individuals than in others, and my father’s genetics helped create one of my half sibs (out of 4 of us) into a clone of his abusive self, as well as contributing to Patrick’s genetics. Patrick also had high P-traits on his father’s side as well.

        Research is going on right now to try to determine which genes contribute to anti-social behavior in individuals so that early interventions may be able to help these individuals. Dr. Liane Leedom is doing a project now on people who have psychopaths as parents and I participated in the first phase of the study. We are also seeking people who have psychopathic children and hope to get enough signed up to get a reasonable number for a study of those people.

        Of course the research is slow but it is ongoing so maybe in another generation they will know much more than they do now.

        In working with these kids who were very problematic in an inpatient as well as outpatient settings, frankly there wasn’t a lot of therapy that helped, even very intense therapy once these kids started acting out at 8-10, or even after puberty. with your description of Mike acting out very early, I think he had a large genetic input.

        There is also some indication that puberty and the hormones at that stage in development fuel the genetic turn on like it did with Patrick, but in HIND SIGHT I can see some early signs of problems in Patrick, not as much as Mike, but there none-the-less.

        I agree that many parents want to simply give the kid a pill to adjust the behavior issues and I also think many normal kids are medicated just for the parents or teachers, rather than parenting or teaching being done. For those children who are truly problematic, it takes a lot of therapy, parenting and teaching and many don’t get it soon enough or heavy enough. There is still lots to learn, but please be assured, you did not “cause” Mike’s problems by ritalin or by any failures on your part. Even if you had left early, there are chances that Mike would still be Mike as he is today.

        • ps..Truthy, Milo’s Grandson has many more problems than “just” hyperactivity, and she is raising him because his mother is an in and out of jail, living on the street Borderline Personality Disorder (at least) substance abuser etc and his sperm donor was also a prison inmate, so this child got the double whammy but Milo and her husband have had him since age 2 and have had him in therapy, working with the school etc. Grand is also very smart and makes all A’s but struggles with impulsivity Without Milo and her husband the child would most likely be in foster care or worse.

          Milo is No Contact with her daughter and recently Grand went no contact with his “egg donor” (you can’t call her a “mother” because she has never nurtured her children.)

          I have no doubt that her grandson had genetic problems, and maybe drugs while in his egg donor’s belly, and early neglect and abuse, so factor all those together, and he is doing REMARKABLY well with nurturing and caring PARENTS who are Grand!!!

          While he has some impulse control issues, over all he is developing a conscience and empathy and that’s gonna go a long way for him in this world, and that he is able to make the decision at 12 to cease contact with his egg donor is I think pretty good thinking for a kid that age. He is no longer fooled by her or trying to seek her “love” and attention.

          • Joyce, I remember MiLo’s situation and I cannot imagine how difficult it is for her.

            My feelings are that the majority of the children-now-adults that were placed on Ritalin were done so as a management technique. I remember when the State of Connecticut Teacher’s Union was attempting to push legislation that would have allowed preschool teachers to “diagnose” and medicate preschool children with Ritalin if the children presented inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and other “symptoms.” Luckily, professionals from the medical and mental health communities put the kiabosh on this outrageous notion before it ever even hit the State House & Senate.

            I do believe that there are individuals who benefit from medical treatment, certainly. But, given that MiLo’s grandson has two parents who exhibit high spath traits, he’s got an uphill battle, regardless of a diagnosis. And, I know that MiLo is doing everything humanly possible to help her grandson – she is doing everything that she can.

            And, I agree that Mike would have developed into what he is, regardless, just as his brother Bob would have. Even if genetic information weren’t a factor, the dynamics in which they were both raised would have guaranteed damage on every level. AND, since I believe that abusers are high in spath/ppath traits, it’s doom from conception.

            My concern is that prescriptions are being distributed to children and adults with the belief that these medications are going to somehow “cure” specific issues, and they just don’t. In some cases, these medications may help, but they aren’t the sole answer. In conjunction with the meds, I believe that strong and sensible counseling therapy should be required, as well as meeting with nutritionists and spiritual advisors.

            Of course, all of the good intentions and suggestions aren’t worth a fart in a Missouri windstorm if the parents choose medication as the ONLY facet of treatment. And, in many cases like Mike’s and Patrick’s, no amount of conscientious parenting will prevent the inevitable.

            In my situation, I chose to reproduce with an abusive sociopath. And, I have no business even thinking that the outcome could have somehow been prevented, whether Ritalin or counseling were a factor.

            When we want to produce strong and healthy livestock, we do extensive research of sires and dams to determine what match will produce the most desirable offspring. When I chose to marry the abusive exspath, no such thought was given to the union, the exspath’s family dynamics, etc. he exspath GAVE me the information that I needed to make a good decision (abusive family dynamics, estrangement from HIS direct and extended family), and YET……..and, yet, I believe that my love, support, and encouragement would help this “abandoned puppy” reach his true potential – if I just loved him enough, he’d be compelled to make changes and better himself. WOW………..what an ego I had, right? LOL

  8. Milo, I tried my son Andrew on Ritalin at age 7, and took him off of it as it made him a zombie….I tried the Feingold diet, which is rigid, no artificial colors or flavors, and many foods prohibited. I told Andrew that it was for his allergies, and believe it or not it cleaned up his allergy problem and prior to the diet he always had a SNOTTY nose, ugly stuff.

    Anyway, you can google the feingold diet and research is NOW, 36 YEARS LATER, validating that the diet does work. It takes about 8 weeks of a prohibited diet to get the toxins out of their system, then they must stay on the diet rigidly. I did see a BIG difference once when he drank a glass of koolaid at a neighbor’s house and it took him a month to slow down again. He is STILL ADHD but much easier to focus and calm down.

    The docs at the time told me I was crazy but I thought I’d give it a try and NOT tell Andrew what it was for and see how it worked. It apparently works well with some kids and not at all with others. as old as your grand is though you might want to tell him to get his cooperation.

    That diet is how I ended up with dairy goats because cow milk effects Andrew and he is a milk-a-holic.

    Adderal works differently than Ritalin does and I’ve seen it help kids a lot. If he would cooperate with the diet, maybe you could wean him off the adderal and see how he does.

    Andrew is a middle aged man now and mainstreamed, though still ADHD, and not perfect by a long shot, but he functions in society and has a good work ethic.

  9. Joyce, I am intrigued by the role that contemporary nutrition plays in human physiology, particularly children. In order for a parent or guardian to alter a child’s nutritional intake, they have to be of stern focus and discipline – they have to CARE enough to ignore the inconveniences of a strict regimen and make changes that will benefit everyone, especially their children.

    The inn where I briefly worked is owned by a young couple in their late 20’s to early 30’s. When I began working there, their son had just turned 3. This child was fed all manner of “easy” foods and beverages that were (IMHO) grossly inappropriate. This child was given cans of soda on an hourly basis – I never saw him drink anything else like water, or even cow’s milk. He was fed pies and cakes because they didn’t require his chef father to be distracted from his guests’ orders. The mother couldn’t be bothered to prepare anything for him, either – she was too busy being the Innkeeper.

    The little boy was basically ignored and staff members were expected to manage this child while the parents ran their bed and breakfast business. This child literally (no exaggeration) ran through the guest areas, pub, and dining room, screaming while guests were dining and wait staff tried desperately to avoid tripping over him. In the commercial kitchen, this 3-year-old also dashed around the ovens, grills, and deep fryers. He would delve into food supplies and either eat what was laying around OR he would begin throwing food across the kitchen.

    The last time I saw this little boy, he was standing on the outside second-storey landing to the innkeeper’s apartment, naked, screaming, and in the middle of December. After roughly ten minutes of this, the mother eventually located her screaming offspring and asked him, “What are you doing out here with no clothes on?” The child answered with a stream of screaming that would have cause me (as a guest at this very expensive inn) to pack my bags, demand a refund, and leave. The mother ushered this naked, freezing child into the apartment while calling for one of the staff members to come “Get him dressed,” and (apparently) occupy him until it was time for his “nap.” I was beyond feeling shocked. I was disgusted because these “parents” had produced this child and gave not a single WHIT about the fact that they weren’t raising him, even though he was living in the facility that was their sole source of business and income.

    Will this little boy have a chance to develop into a healthy and productive adult? I believe that caring parents or guardians MIGHT be able to help him. But, with parents who care no more about their own child than they would for a goldfish, this kid doesn’t have a chance. And………the whole point……….these people COULD be providing the very best of nutrition and environment for this child to develop, and they simply aren’t interested.

  10. Truthy, waaaaay too many kids in my opinion are “raised” by the TV and computers and video games not parents who are WAAAAY too busy making money to buy these toys to spend time with their kid.

    Many people actually do not know how to cook. I saw an ad on tv the other night for KFC chicken and it was to have a “family dinner” you picked up a box of that and all sat around the dining room table. That was a “homemade meal” WTF???

    When I was in the rural health care clinics and seeing patients for family medicine, I was shocked at the diets of many young mothers, the children were starved for nutrition before they were born. Sodas and junk food.

    It was a LOT OF WORK to keep andrew on that diet, I had to make everything from scratch pretty much. It was worth it though, and once I got the hang of it, he even went away to summer camp and I took his goat milk frozen, talked to the cook, and he ate fried egg sandwiches for a week 3 x a day. LOL but it worked and he cooperated. Of course now he is off the diet, and drinks cows milk, but he’s an adult and can do what he pleases.

    I cook 99% of everything we eat here now from scratch and search and find items that I don’t raise that are no salt, and the organic when I can find it. It is a lot of trouble, but I value nutrition highly so I do it and will as long as I am able.

    It really makes me feel good that the Feingold diet has been VALIDATED by research lately, as the docs in those days acted like Ii was using burned chicken feathers to treat his problem.

    They are also finding that there is a DIRECT genetic link in ADHD, and also that there are similar links in personality disorders and in aggression and violence, so some ADHD kids get the ADHD link + the violence link and without the impulse control to slow them down, the violence comes out. Many times these kids become offenders and end up in prison as a result.

    The question now becomes “if it is genetic, should they be given a pass for their behaviors like someone who hears voices from “god” telling them to kill?” The criminally insane are incarcerated not for punishment but for the safety of society and for their own safety.

    The difference between the “criminally insane” and the ADHD/violent offender is that the latter KNOWS RIGHT FROM WRONG, but chooses not to abide by it.

    If you factor in some substance abuse with the other genetic problems, you now have a very dangerous individual. Recent research also shows that these (mostly) men are quick to take offense and engage in violence as a result of the “offense.” Their “warrior” status is also somewhat geneticly determined. But DNA is NOT DESTINY, and we as a society can not allow violent men and women who cause injury and death to others to remain at large. Unfortunately, the way our criminal justice system (and I think that term is an oxymoron) 99% of all these offenders will be released from incarceration at some time in their lives.

    While they may not be as physically aggressive as old persons, they are still what they were when they were young, they don’t suddenly grow a conscience or moral compasses.

    Sociology has ruled the thinking, that environment, poverty, neglect etc cause people to become offenders, but the pendulum is swinging in the other direction now as DNA research and brain and other research is showing that Genetics plays a big part in violent behavior, which in western culture is not okay.

    In some cultures violence is the norm, for example the men who blew up the twin towers on 9/11, they thought they were doing RIGHT by what they did. So this old world is a big mess and our only option is to get as far away from people who are violent, parasitic, abusers, users, and others who have repeatedly broken the laws of our society.

    Trying to “love” and “support” these people who are unwilling or unable (it doesn’t matter which) to change for the better isn’t going to do a bit of good. I found out the hard way, and so did you, Truthy.At some point we must “throw in the towel” and give up and GET AWAY from these people.

    I realize that I had the genes for ADHD and other genes that were not “expressed” in me for violence and I passed them on to my son Patrick. His father also had controlling and abusive men in his family, though he was not abusive himself, he did have a mental illness and also allowed his controlling father to control him, so Patrick got “bad genes”: from all sides of his family. If I had known what I know now, Ii would never have had children.

    Many offenders have many short term relationships and produce children from many women. On an evolutionary scope this is “success” but unfortunately the women who are left to raise these offspring have a great deal to cope with. Even if they are good parents, or if the child is adopted out to a “good” family, the DNA may overpower the environment of even the best nurturing parent.

    With your son Mike, Truthy, there is probably NOTHING you could have done to have changed his outcome.

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