I feel like something is broken

Farm medic

Registrant
Inside of all of us, there is a “family” shaped hole. This is where we are supposed to “honor our father and mother.” Where we store our feelings for cousins and siblings and grandparents. While many of those on this forum have had that hole filled with terrible things, I am not one of them. I wasn’t abused by anyone in my family. I was abused by an opportunistic stranger who abused his trusted position as medical overwatch to prey on naive boys. And yet I feel broken when it comes to family. My T suggested that I somehow blame them for allowing me to be abused. It’s simply a fact that they couldn’t do anything to protect me. I was away at BSA Summer Camp. Hell, I was a camp councilor. They/we trusted that the BSA would look out for us. They failed and as far as I know, he never got held accountable.
I, on the other hand, was left with a terrible emptiness that everyone else fills with their family. And that emptiness has grown over the interceding decades. My parents are old and still married. My sister is a phone call away. And yet I don’t feel like that matters. I love them. But I don’t like them. I see cousins once a year yet have no genuine relationship with them. I don’t really REALLY know them. If I never saw them again I wouldn’t care. If they all died tomorrow, I wouldn’t shed a tear. I know that my parents won’t be around much longer. But I have no active desire to see them. I only talk to my mother on the phone because if I don’t reach out to her regularly, the guilt trip is unrelenting (she’s a devout catholic).
Nearly 15 years in the medical wor, 10 in active duty with Fire/EMS had blunted my fear of death, mine and everyone else’s. I carted enough elders to yet another pointless doctor’s appointment to know how so many of them are simply waiting for the end, a release. And I’ve watched grown ass adults sob like children, begging for mom dad grandma to recover. “SAVE HIM!!” they shriek. Which almost never happened at the time. No one ever survives, not eventually. No one ever has. They ALL die. We all will. Rich poor brown pink all die.
So here’s the thing, I see the way the people around me relate to their families and feel none of it. “Oh, my great aunt died so I’ll need a few days off work for her funeral blah blah blah.” I don’t see it. They’re strangers to me. They don’t reach out to me, and never have.
I know it’s not healthy. I recognize that I’m broken but so what? At this point (I’m 51) , does it really matter?
So I guess my question is, is this part of being a “normal” CSA survivor? Or is it less/more common than that? I just don’t know
 

Guss

Registrant
You feel the normal brokenness inside of not only CSA survivors but of people from dysfunctional families. My family did not love me, and I didn't feel sad that my parents died. I don't visit with siblings, and won't feel sad when they die.
I have recovered enough that I feel sad when friends die. I feel sad when dogs die.
 
Inside of all of us, there is a “family” shaped hole. This is where we are supposed to “honor our father and mother.” Where we store our feelings for cousins and siblings and grandparents. While many of those on this forum have had that hole filled with terrible things, I am not one of them. I wasn’t abused by anyone in my family. I was abused by an opportunistic stranger who abused his trusted position as medical overwatch to prey on naive boys. And yet I feel broken when it comes to family. My T suggested that I somehow blame them for allowing me to be abused. It’s simply a fact that they couldn’t do anything to protect me. I was away at BSA Summer Camp. Hell, I was a camp councilor. They/we trusted that the BSA would look out for us. They failed and as far as I know, he never got held accountable.
I, on the other hand, was left with a terrible emptiness that everyone else fills with their family. And that emptiness has grown over the interceding decades. My parents are old and still married. My sister is a phone call away. And yet I don’t feel like that matters. I love them. But I don’t like them. I see cousins once a year yet have no genuine relationship with them. I don’t really REALLY know them. If I never saw them again I wouldn’t care. If they all died tomorrow, I wouldn’t shed a tear. I know that my parents won’t be around much longer. But I have no active desire to see them. I only talk to my mother on the phone because if I don’t reach out to her regularly, the guilt trip is unrelenting (she’s a devout catholic).
Nearly 15 years in the medical wor, 10 in active duty with Fire/EMS had blunted my fear of death, mine and everyone else’s. I carted enough elders to yet another pointless doctor’s appointment to know how so many of them are simply waiting for the end, a release. And I’ve watched grown ass adults sob like children, begging for mom dad grandma to recover. “SAVE HIM!!” they shriek. Which almost never happened at the time. No one ever survives, not eventually. No one ever has. They ALL die. We all will. Rich poor brown pink all die.
So here’s the thing, I see the way the people around me relate to their families and feel none of it. “Oh, my great aunt died so I’ll need a few days off work for her funeral blah blah blah.” I don’t see it. They’re strangers to me. They don’t reach out to me, and never have.
I know it’s not healthy. I recognize that I’m broken but so what? At this point (I’m 51) , does it really matter?
So I guess my question is, is this part of being a “normal” CSA survivor? Or is it less/more common than that? I just don’t know
It sure sounds like it matters to you that you don't feel close to your family. How do you want to feel about them? How do you imagine you would feel about them if you were "normal"?

My family was pretty dysfunctional and I blamed that for a lot of my problems and my lack of closeness with them. I saw so many families that seemed broken to me that I pretty much dismissed the idea that families were important. But I have had to reevaluate a lot of that now in the light of my remembered abuse. My family sucked in many ways, but after I was raped I just went into a general emotional shutdown and pushed everyone away because I didn't want to NEED ANYONE. Thinking about it now, it was surely a lot easier for me to blame my mom and dad for how I felt and be angry at them than it was to face what really happened to me. It really hurts to admit that much of my coldness towards them might have had nothing to do with them at all... I don't know if any of that helps or not, but I really do feel for what you're going through and know how confusing it can be to just not feel the same way about things as "normal" people, or not feel at all.

Take care!
 

WeekendNachos00

Registrant
Inside of all of us, there is a “family” shaped hole. This is where we are supposed to “honor our father and mother.” Where we store our feelings for cousins and siblings and grandparents. While many of those on this forum have had that hole filled with terrible things, I am not one of them. I wasn’t abused by anyone in my family. I was abused by an opportunistic stranger who abused his trusted position as medical overwatch to prey on naive boys. And yet I feel broken when it comes to family. My T suggested that I somehow blame them for allowing me to be abused. It’s simply a fact that they couldn’t do anything to protect me. I was away at BSA Summer Camp. Hell, I was a camp councilor. They/we trusted that the BSA would look out for us. They failed and as far as I know, he never got held accountable.
I, on the other hand, was left with a terrible emptiness that everyone else fills with their family. And that emptiness has grown over the interceding decades. My parents are old and still married. My sister is a phone call away. And yet I don’t feel like that matters. I love them. But I don’t like them. I see cousins once a year yet have no genuine relationship with them. I don’t really REALLY know them. If I never saw them again I wouldn’t care. If they all died tomorrow, I wouldn’t shed a tear. I know that my parents won’t be around much longer. But I have no active desire to see them. I only talk to my mother on the phone because if I don’t reach out to her regularly, the guilt trip is unrelenting (she’s a devout catholic).
Nearly 15 years in the medical wor, 10 in active duty with Fire/EMS had blunted my fear of death, mine and everyone else’s. I carted enough elders to yet another pointless doctor’s appointment to know how so many of them are simply waiting for the end, a release. And I’ve watched grown ass adults sob like children, begging for mom dad grandma to recover. “SAVE HIM!!” they shriek. Which almost never happened at the time. No one ever survives, not eventually. No one ever has. They ALL die. We all will. Rich poor brown pink all die.
So here’s the thing, I see the way the people around me relate to their families and feel none of it. “Oh, my great aunt died so I’ll need a few days off work for her funeral blah blah blah.” I don’t see it. They’re strangers to me. They don’t reach out to me, and never have.
I know it’s not healthy. I recognize that I’m broken but so what? At this point (I’m 51) , does it really matter?
So I guess my question is, is this part of being a “normal” CSA survivor? Or is it less/more common than that? I just don’t know
Although I was abused by someone in my family, I do understand this. I've struggled for a long time knowing that there's something I'm missing when it comes to the family experience, that friends of mine feel a closeness to their parents or their siblings and, although there is a love and affection there, I mostly see roommates and acquaintances. I'm no expert on this stuff but I imagine the abuse we suffer as children changes our brain at a fundamental level, forming new neural pathways and forcing us into a place of deep distrust for those around us, particularly those with some position of authority. I don't think it's a flaw in us, I think it's a defense mechanism, a learned behavior to prevent further abuse. And now as an adult I'm trying to grapple with this and see if I can change, but at this point I don't know if I can, or if I want to. I think we all have to decide that for ourselves. But, sincerely, I don't think you're broken. I don't think any of us are.
 

Steve12rb

Registrant
I don’t think you’re broken, but my guess this is a normal reaction to the stresses in your life.

There are times when I feel ‘flat’ with regards to my family, not anger or sadness or fear, just ‘nothing’ other than a feeling that I ‘should’ feel something. This comes more during periods where I’m working myself a lot, have a lot of stress from work, not am taking time to relax and recharge. It’s due to me being overtired and needing to take a break more. It’s not directly tied to my abuse, other than my stress & depression from abuse also mean I need to take more time for myself. If I don’t take regular time for myself, the pain from my abuse can start to mix with the negative emotions from other parts of my life and all start to feel the same, leading to this ‘flat’ and empty feeling.

Not sure if that’s similar to what you’re experiencing, but I hope it helps. I don’t think you’re broken.
 

TJ jeff

Moderator
Staff member
Farm medic,

I "hear" you man - I started a similar post myself just the other day - looking back at the dysfunction that I grew up in

Steve says it really well with the "flat feelings" - my mother passed away last year - I have yet to shed a tear even though I know i should

I don't think we are broken - we are just different - different because of our past experiences
 

After Nine

Registrant
Am in the group where family is neither helpful or hurtful regarding my abuse. They just seem to have this don't ask don't tell ostrich head in the sand about the matter. Pretty sure they don't even glimpse a fraction of how hugely it impacted me. As a teen I was shuffled off to ineffective counseling for "troubled teens" All they were doing was trying to fix some symptoms and ignore root cause. All it basically did was turn me off to therapy for years afterward.
 

After Nine

Registrant
Steve says it really well with the "flat feelings" -
Can relate to this myself, had a young family member pass away tragically due to an overdose death. I'm so skilled at compartmentilzing that was able to pretty much carry on while others were just losing grip.
 
Top