The paradox of abuse

Those incidents on Christmas Eve and on Ascension Day had far-reaching consequences for me. They were not isolated incidents but served to put the spotlight on our family’s everyday interactions that were riddled with drama. There would be further big incidents interspersed by a whole lot of smaller ones.

Scorn, ridicule, derisive laughter, indignities, the instilling of fear and feelings of guilt became the daily tools that were used to exert power and abusiveness. As were the conscious and deliberate instigation of highly challenging mental overloads and the inevitable fear of failure that would go hand in hand with this.

The perpetrator’s sole goal was:

To get a kick out of the suffering endured by other family members – suffering that he himself had precipitated. It would give him a sense of power and superiority and of course the desired attention.

These were actions that I experienced as child abuse, as confirmed by the therapist treating me today.

(wording according to the settlement deal dated 18 January 2012, Schorndorf District Court, Germany)

Over time and with the abuse continuing on an ongoing basis the victims lose their sense of self-worth to such an extent that they become convinced that they did not deserve any better and were justifiably treated like that. In other words, you are to blame because it is your entire fault!

The victims feel ashamed, feel guilty, keep silent thus protecting the perpetrator who can continue his acts unchallenged. Even as an adult, this imprint won’t change, neither for the perpetrator nor for the victim.

The stigmatisation of secondary illness only serves to strengthen this outcome. You feel guilty and are ashamed not only of the act at the hands of which you suffered, but also about the health consequences and the extensive treatment and therapy requirements associated with these.

It is for this reason that the whole system of abuse is so “successful” making it enormously difficult for victims to opt out.

But abuse victims are neither guilty nor should they be ashamed of what has happened to them. On the contrary they should be credited for having gotten a grip on their lives somehow despite this burden that they are carrying.

Instilling guilt and shame, that is the perpetrator’s job especially if the victim happens to be his/her own child.

It is highly unlikely that the perpetrator will take responsibility for his/her actions, but that is not the issue at hand at this point in time.

What is important is that victims free themselves from this unnecessary burden of guilt and shame. With this the need to remain silent and thereby strengthening the perpetrator’s power, is also no longer necessary. To break the silence is not only within your rights but it is your duty to do so, as would be the case in resolving any criminal offence.

My intention with this website is to give all those personally affected individuals the courage to free themselves from the unnecessary burden of guilt and shame, so that they too can break their silence. Combined with the hope that countless acts of abuse can thereby be prevented. After all, ultimately it is not simply about ticking off a “terrible childhood” that you simply write off as an adult. The consequences remain with you a lifetime.