The longing for a mother’s affection

What many people do not realize is that the majority of child abuse happens in the child’s own home and more often than not either involves a family member or where the family member are complicit in the abuse.

And while the numbers are lower than where there is a male abuser a significant number of mothers abuse their children with a much higher number complicit in that they know and do nothing or even help the abuser.

The damage, physically but in this case more importantly psychological this causes is tremendous, the child learns that even home isn’t a safe place, that even his family rather than care and love him and make him feel safe actively want to harm him. Add in the emotional and psychological manipulation, gaslighting used to control the child, to minimize and even deny the abuse and it is no surprise that these children, and the adults they grow into, have often sever mental health issues.

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Everyday Triggers and Survivors

Many survivors, including myself, finds it difficult to manage their emotions.  That may sound a little strange manging your emotions don’t they just happen after all? Don’t we just experience them?

Well yes and no. You see most people live within a fairly tight emotional boundary, usually not to happy or too sad, too excited or too bored. These everyday emotions can it seems often even go unnoticed until somebody else mentions them, the “you look a bit down today, is everything OK” type conversation

The majority of people have learnt, in very much the same way people learn to walk or to talk, buy living the experience, as children, in an environment that allows them to both experience the emotions in a safe space but also one the by its nature helps to moderate the emotional swings. Parents calm the scared child and excide the bored one.

For survivors of childhood abuse, particularly those where the abuse happened within the family setting, the story is sadly very different. Often, we never felt that safe guiding hand, the calming voice or touch so in alter life emotional responses can be far from regulated.

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A letter to my inner child during the Corona Lockdown

Dear Steven

I know that in the past couple of weeks you have been feeling very scared, and perhaps wanting to either retreat back into your safe space of no being, of locking away feeling or to lashing out, to pushng your fear up to me.

I understand and there is no blame, no thought of punishment. I understand.

Being alone, having love and inclusion in the family taken away, being held safe inside the bonds of parental love denied was something that was used as a threat, a way to control you, to make you feel scared of not abusing to the demands of those who had hurt you. And I understand that today, when we are being both coerced and made to feel scared by authorities so far beyond us that it feels exactly the same.

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Psychological Interventions

One of the biggest predictors of mental health issues in later life is childhood trauma. Childhood sexual abuse being one of the biggest of all.

The go to Interventions recommended, and proscribed, to survivors are the sort of psychological interventions typified by CBT. These are all based ok the idea that we can change what and how we think by changes inour conscious thoughts and behaviours.

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Can you mourn what you never had?

That feeling of emptiness, of something missing, of there being a dark hole, a void where something once was.

Mourning involves loss, traditionally the loss of another person in your life and the more important that person was, the closer the relationship with that person the deeper and larger the hole, the darker the void when we loose her, him.

People instinctively understand the how damaging, how traumatic the loss of a parent can be to a child. How that trauma can follow him or her. People understand that even as an adult that loss is never far away.
People instinctively understand that grief is a very normal reaction in these circumstances. They understand the damage loss can cause the pain that fills the void left behind.

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The Superhero inside

Popular culture is full of superheroes and all of them have one th8ng in common, they all obtain their superhero status by helping others. Save the world, save the person in danger save the day.

And, of course, everybody loves them for it. Survivors know all about that only they / we call it people pleasing. Society seems to need these outward displays of heroism, apparently selfless actions to justify them awarding somebody the title “hero”. Make it a big, spectator action and you may be awarded the “Superhero” badge.

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Where can you stand if your foundations are broken?

One of the things I have been asked to do recently is to try and identify what emotions accompany the emotional storms.  Some of you may ask what is an emotional storm, if so don’t worry I suspect this blog post isn’t for you.

I found the task surprisingly difficult, In the throws of the storm it is almost impossible to actually identify the dominant emotion and put a name to it, or it is at least for me. The storm feels just like a super enhanced version of how I normally feel so trying to identify an emotion driving the storm is a bit like trying to find a needle that’s 10 times the normal size in a haystack that is also 10 x the normal size. The needle might be ten times as long and ten times as wide but so is the haystack so its actually 100 times a big! I was simply swamped with the size of the emotion that even a needle ten times the size was way too small to ever find.

But eventually, but repeatedly letting my self go to the edge, to the place where I stop being me, A few episodes of self-harm to bring myself back again, I think I found the key emotion. Fear

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A letter to my Inner Child

To Steven

I know you are scared and that you haven’t told me everything but I know enough, I think, to tell you some things.
First of all, please believe me when I tell you how I am proud of the things you survived, to have been through even the bits that you have allowed me to remember and still be fighting is a magical thing.

I know you feel bad about that happened, and that you feel that you were to blame in some way for what was done to you and what happened to Dad but it was not your fault. I know that you done believe this but it is true, it wasn’t your fault.

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Self-care, Why Sometimes its Difficult

More and more we are being exhorted to ensure we maintain a good level of self-care, to consider our needs and to respond to stresses in our lives.

This isn’t about being selfish or not being concerned with others but making sure that we do not neglect ourselves.

This is particularly important, and emphasised, when you are struggling with mental health issues. therapists, peer group facilitators and Online chat moderators all emphasise the need for self-care. This is particularly true when a difficult or ‘triggering’ topic is being approached.

But many people find it difficult to ‘self-care’, to focus on their own needs and requirements and to make sure they are, and remain, safe. I count myself amongst these people.

So, what is it that makes Self-Care so difficult for some?

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