a little sad

Tom E.

Registrant
Today I saw a picture of a 13 y.o. kid sitting with his mother, with his arm around her.It saddened me a little. Wishing I had a picture of me at that age with an arm around my mom. No such picture exists. I wish I could go back and do over my boyhood without the trauma & stress & secrets I kept from my parents, of abuse and everything. Wish I could of been an average happy -go-lucky kid. No abuse, no bullying, no feeling different & left out. But I have to let that wish go. There is no do-over. Accept what was and live in the present with gratitude with what I have now. TRUTH.
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
Tom E.
I am so sorry to read of your pain, the wish to relive childhood. I can tell you I was not abused by my parents, it was a priest. It robbed me of any childhood joy, always feeling outside the norm. My parents were good and I could not accept because I was damaged. I know it is far different than what you lived. I use to wish I could relive my childhood and be that happy-go-lucky kid. It was not meant to be. I also wish I could have lived in environment as I was unraveling that was full of love and free of abuse. I know that can never be. Today all I know is I need to live in the present and enjoy and be grateful for the wonderful people in my life. I stopped looking back because it cannot be changed.

Kevin
 
Definitely painful to look back at what might have been, especially when what was led to so much despair and pain. I have a photo of a young family, father and mother who asked me to officiate at their wedding, which I did, and their two young children, a boy and girl. I walk past that photo every day, happy for my friends and their beautiful family, but also saddened because that was not the kind of family into which I was born. i've quoted the piece from the AA Promises before... "We'll not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and will know peace." So, we can't change the past but we still have the capacity to find serenity and peace for ourselves. That, of course, is what we're all doing here... no more shame, no more self-destructive acting out behavior... learning to put one foot in front of the other and simply live our lives. Yes, the past is a little sad, but the present can be joyful. I'm working for that...
 
What might you @Tom E. think about grieving that past in the present, with all the memories of what-if, is being present?

I don't have any idea if that makes sense, it's something in my mind.

What seems very uncertain, is whether the grief is infinite or finite?

And, then, is infinite really grieving?

Does it hurt me, or you to keep paying homage to what was lost?

In my strange mind, it seems OK, because if it were a loved one lost, in this case my childhood, I would visit the grave, or chosen site/memories to pay homage and grieve.
 
Today I saw a picture of a 13 y.o. kid sitting with his mother, with his arm around her.It saddened me a little. Wishing I had a picture of me at that age with an arm around my mom. No such picture exists. I wish I could go back and do over my boyhood without the trauma & stress & secrets I kept from my parents, of abuse and everything. Wish I could of been an average happy -go-lucky kid. No abuse, no bullying, no feeling different & left out. But I have to let that wish go. There is no do-over. Accept what was and live in the present with gratitude with what I have now. TRUTH.
I get this, Tom. My pictures are limited. And none with my mom holding me. Or me holding her. What I do have is a picture of me at three as a happy-go-lucky kid with my Raggedy Andy and a picture of the family at age five (step-father perp too) in which everyone is smiling but me. I have a vacant look on my face. I had started being abused the year before. Never a smile in a picture again.

No. There are no do-overs. And we will live with that pain until the day we die. So sorry you also experience this.
 
Definitely painful to look back at what might have been, especially when what was led to so much despair and pain.
It is. When I see little boys only a little older than me when I was abused and they are laughing and having fun, it is like a knife in the heart.
 
secrets I kept from my parents, of abuse and everything. Wish I could of been an average happy -go-lucky kid. No abuse, no bullying, no feeling different & left out. But I have to let that wish go. There is no do-over. Accept what was and live in the present with gratitude with what I have now. TRUTH.
Same here on this. Especially now with my mom just recovering from a stroke and me wishing I had a mother that emotionally was there for me.
I look back and all I see is a sad little boy and no one that cared. I so much wanted a relationship and the care of my parents, but sadly that will never be, not now and never.
 
I get this, Tom. My pictures are limited. And none with my mom holding me. Or me holding her. What I do have is a picture of me at three as a happy-go-lucky kid with my Raggedy Andy and a picture of the family at age five (step-father perp too) in which everyone is smiling but me. I have a vacant look on my face. I had started being abused the year before. Never a smile in a picture again.

No. There are no do-overs. And we will live with that pain until the day we die. So sorry you also experience this.
(((())))
 
Tom E.
I am so sorry to read of your pain, the wish to relive childhood. I can tell you I was not abused by my parents, it was a priest. It robbed me of any childhood joy, always feeling outside the norm. My parents were good and I could not accept because I was damaged. I know it is far different than what you lived. I use to wish I could relive my childhood and be that happy-go-lucky kid. It was not meant to be. I also wish I could have lived in environment as I was unraveling that was full of love and free of abuse. I know that can never be. Today all I know is I need to live in the present and enjoy and be grateful for the wonderful people in my life. I stopped looking back because it cannot be changed.

Kevin
Kevin, I’m envy of where you are at. My goal is to stop looking back and be grateful for what I have and live in the present. I believe there is a way there for me.MS has been a good step forward.
 

Brennan87

Registrant
Tom,
I feel your pain on this and this is something I think we all have wanted. A normal, healthy childhood. We grieve this so much. Have you (I'm not crazy, I promise) explored with your therapist your inner child? I ask, because I was forced to face that 10 year old version of me. The Psych community believes we are emotionally stunted at the age of trauma in our child hood. I got stunted at 10 because that was the first and only time I said "no" and it didn't matter. I then spent the next 30 years being guided by a 10 year old, who was in so much pain and anger. Once he surfaced (and it wasn't pretty), I had to gain his trust, nurture him and get him to give up control and allow me to be the adult in the situation. He was so angry with me for not allowing him to have a good childhood. Long story short, I had to do some pretty hilarious things for him (he called the shot). Find a bear online from my child hood and sleep with it for a month to sooth his wounded soul. Promise him a day at the amusement park (just he and I, as there was an element of trauma at that location as well). In the end/ he's fulling integrated back in, he is happy, healthy and wants little to do with my adult life now. Getting him to see none of this was his fault and helping him heal was one of the best things could have done. While the adult in me knows I can't go back and change it. He doesn't know this. He was stuck in 1978 and has had a chance to reclaim his childhood and all he does now is play, play, play, happily.
 
Brennan... I'm still sleeping with that teddy bear... :)

Definitely, making friends with the child we're still carrying inside is helpful. You say it well. I found working within Dick Schwartz' Internal Family System framework useful. One of the links in my signature line below is to a thread I started on that subject some months ago for anyone who is curious. It is powerful work, especially for abuse survivors.
 

Brennan87

Registrant
Visitor,

Thanks for communicating the link to the group in a different venue. Most helpful.

I'm glad you're still sleeping with your bear. Mine is in my home office in a childs chair in my direct line of sight.
 
I wish I could share a photo of where I'm sitting at the moment... pictures next to me on the top of a tansu at a few months, three and seven years old, the period the abuse was happening. Across from where I sit are three teddy bears... a tiny one who represents the inner child Richard Schwartz calls the "Exile" who needed to hide when the trauma happened. The two larger bears are what he calls "Protectors", one "Manager" the other a "Firefighter." The Protector smoothed over everything in the hope the inner child would remain safe. The Firefighter blew things up to create turmoil that distracted everyone enough the child would remain hidden. I'd actually encountered this trio thirty years ago in my first attempt at inner child work. At the time I characterized the older beings that showed up on their own as my inner teenagers. At the time I gave them the name of "suck butt" and "fuck you" which fits Schwartz's scheme perfectly. I think of them as watching me to see whether I will finally take care of them all... If I don't, they're prepared to do what they learned long ago to do. Thus far, I've been willing to be the grownup in the room...

Glad you're watching out for your inner child.
 

Shyshark

Registrant
Jax ...

I know what you mean when you see a child and it hurts.
I love babies and little kids.
Like you ... when I see a little boy running around and full of life it makes want to grab him and hug him and be happy with him.
Then ... my heart crushes when I think how quickly his little can change forever.
(the last baby I held just got her drivers licence) :(
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
Tom E.
I am so sorry to read of your pain, the wish to relive childhood. I can tell you I was not abused by my parents, it was a priest. It robbed me of any childhood joy, always feeling outside the norm. My parents were good and I could not accept because I was damaged. I know it is far different than what you lived. I use to wish I could relive my childhood and be that happy-go-lucky kid. It was not meant to be. I also wish I could have lived in environment as I was unraveling that was full of love and free of abuse. I know that can never be. Today all I know is I need to live in the present and enjoy and be grateful for the wonderful people in my life. I stopped looking back because it cannot be changed.

Kevin
Tom E.

Time and healing bring the goodness to life. I never thought possible. Sometimes we live in environments that do not allow us to see the present and future. This view is often compounded by our own inability to look beyond our past which we let shape us. I NOW know as I unraveled without support, love and subjected to triggers I would never heal. For love, compassion is what a survivor needs. It took me 57 years to find those people who would pull, love and support me. I can tell you, my father asked me one time as I took him home from dialysis as he told his story. The story was coffee he had with men from my hometown. One man told of his son and his abuse at the church, two sons served as altar boys. Only after these boys suffered addictions and divorce did they divulge the secret of their pain--abuse by a priest. My father knew I was an altar boy at this time. He asked me if anything happened, I shrugged it off and he said to me if it did he was here for me. I was not ready. When my mother was dying, she was in assisted living, and lying nonresponsive an aid from prior came. When she met me she said you are Kevin, your mother worried and felt so bad what happened to me. I guess my father told her his thoughts of that day. I know they would have been there for me. I thought marriage and children would have brought the same. I learned we all have issues and suffer in our own way. The children have not acknowledged my abuse, despite knowing of the abuse. I witnessed abuse in their mother's family--which they deny and I will never forget it for I saw it. They deny spitting, locking a survivor, stalking of a survivor has devastating effects on a survivor. I know what I lived and my emotions during those times. Someone called the Diocese trying to protect the truth of what was done to me. So I learned people are people and truth is often denied to protect the truth of being perfect, ideal or like survivors to bury the pain. Denial once practiced to hide truth is difficult to change and influences how one sees abuse and themselves. I am a prime example, I denied or attempted to hide my abuse, look how it negatively impacted my life and the perception I held of myself. I think how it caused pain to me and others and the physical and psychological impacts from neurocardiogenic syncope, nightmares, flashbacks and so much more. I know there was abuse in my family, which I do not deny and never have. Honesty and believing in yourself will help you on your journey.

I am not perfect, I made many mistakes, I buried the abuse and suffered and others suffered because I could not face the abuse. At the same time I suffered because others could not face what they did. I forgive them, the abuser not so. Sadly, many think the being sorry is only from me and not them. I have forgiven myself for the abuse because it was not my fault. This was a tough journey, pain and hurt, denial, dissociation. I still struggle but I have true unconditional love in my life.

I wish you well, reach out anytime. Remember families are complicated.

Kevin
 
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Well said Kevin. There are no easy answers to how and why, no easy treatments to move beyond what we experienced. It has taken me a lifetime to come to terms with it all and I'm probably one of the older men in this conversation at 78. It has only been this year that the pieces finally came together for me in a way that the shame that has been a constant companion released its grip on me. That is perhaps the reason I'm now able to open the deepest wound, the abuse by my mother when I was an infant, and face the terror that has been at the core of my being. So it isn't easy to tell the truth, to even recognize what happened or how it affected us... we stumble around in the dark trying to patch together a life, running away when its too hard, trying to make relationships work when fear makes that nearly impossible. But we find our way and some of us even found our way here where we learn from other men how healing happens. We're not alone any longer, which makes all the difference. Thanks to everyone here. No we can't change the past, but we can claim our aliveness right now.
 

KMCINVA

Registrant
I thought of all the survivors yesterday during a class I was attending for work. The topic of confirmation bias was explored. I was reminded it is a concept my T had talked about when describing the environment I was living in and how it negatively influenced my healing. It involves people who surround themselves with people who confirm their beliefs so as not to face the empirical evidence to the contrary. The class mentioned children and how parents influence their children to confirm beliefs that are contrary to fact. They used the example, your parents say it did not happen and no one is to know, the child or even adult slowly begins to assimilate this false belief into their mind. I think everyone in the room could relate. The instructor spoke of how innocent people are convicted because of confirmation bias, they hear from investigators over and over as to what happened and slowly begin to see it as truth. Someone mentioned their own traumatic event and how they reshaped the event into something less painful. In the end unless we are aware of this bias we hurt ourselves and others to protect from the truth.

I started to dig deep in my mind and I too was guilty of confirmation bias. I realized fear of society's reaction to the abuse influenced me to bury or even attempt to deny the abuse. It took its toll on me. I denied other abuses which I found shameful. Why others around denied these abuses and saw no harm and even accepted the behavior without admitting what happened.

We all have these biases and these biases impact how we view ourselves and others. Unfortunately, many times these biases are damaging to people. I perpetuated the damage to myself. I learned most biases are learned from environment. The purpose of the exercise was to show how our biases impact how we perform in business and to reflect on these biases so as not to let them define how we move forward.
 
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