As children and young adults, we look to our elders for guidance, comfort and support. Think back to when you were a child, so trusting in the process as you moved forward from day to day. For some it was like a swan dance floating along effortlessly making great strides with a strong foundation, family and friends, but for many (far too many) it was like a dance into the abyss of dysfunction fumbling along waiting for the next shoe to drop.
A long-term effect of this type of dysfunction is called “Hypervigilance” – which is a common and debilitating complex-PTSD symptom from long term abuse. This leaves abuse survivors feeling perpetually on edge, never knowing what will happen next, living in a constant world of anxiety, fearing the unknown.
A child’s mind is like a sponge absorbing all the information set before them and categorizing it like an internal library. The old fashion saying, “Children live what they learn”, remains true in this new age of living in the fast lane.
So, imagine this, a young child living the daily grind of abuse, being told repeatedly that it is ok to do things that are taboo. The adult taking the lead grooming and guiding the child with kindness, secretly creating the double edge sword of betrayal, using prizes, gifts and promises of fun times with happy hopes of positive attention that all children crave. As their spirits are brought up so high like they won the lottery, they are ultimately deceived in the end. The price their innocence the ultimate prize for an abuse/perpetrator.
Most of us have heard of the term “the grooming process”, and many thinks that term comes with force, violence or the mental and emotional beat down. Yes, those are true, but what is not discussed quite often is “the kindness affect”.
The Kindness Affect –
Gaining trust and control over the victim through promises, gifts and kindness as they trick the innocent into succumbing to them leaving the child/young adult feeling confusion and guilt like it was their own idea or fault. This twisted process emotionally lets the abuser off the hook. It is a great game of cat and mouse, as the abuser is fast on their feet playing the game with ulterior motives, which are to get away with abuse never to be caught. They relish in the ultimate satisfaction that goes way beyond the sexual/physical act.
Recently, I had this discussion with a few abuse survivors that are still dealing with the confusion of kindness vs abuse. The damage that is caused to the child’s mind seeps into the adult world, and it can take years to undo with a lot of self-help, therapy and support.
The confusion about the kindness factor is interesting because we try to process the “normalcy” of what happened. This is the brain trying to rationalize all the data that is has collected over the years.
Questions that come up frequently are:
Was I really abused because I did not fight it or dispute it?
I agreed to it because it was my daily routine does that make me wrong?
My abuser showed me love and isn’t that OK?
The BIG answer to all these questions comes down to this. When you are a child/young adult seeking guidance and you are misled, this is NOT your fault. As children we have that innocent trust factor, and the Abuser takes advantage of that innocence, brainwashing one into thinking it is “NORMAL” or “OK”!
The bottom line is that there is nothing normal about physical or sexual abuse and it is NOT your fault – I Repeat that statement for many reasons! The abuse survivor needs to hear those words out loud.
The abuser plays their cards, seeking their victims one by one, calculating every move. The grooming process comes in all shapes and sizes, as the abuser feels like they are not doing anything wrong because the exhibit kindness.
It is so important to understand that this trickery is deliberate and calculating. As a survivor of abuse, you need to retrain your mind, so you can see it from a new angle. This is quite difficult because the mind has been compromised and regimented to think one certain way, beaten down daily until you are a trained performer doing the dirty dance as the ringmaster takes the lead.
It is time to take back the control and acknowledge that the abuser was in the wrong NOT you. Most of the time, the abuser will not claim what they created, but if you (the survivor) can clearly distinguish the difference you are on your way towards healing.
For many of us who have been there, we do not get the satisfaction of our abuser saying “YES” I did it, but when we can process it and put it in its rightful place with a clean perspective, we can journey towards healing.
I want people to understand that those who have been abused did not ask for it or encourage it. There are many twisted people out there waiting for the next victim as the sickness inside them has taken control. Nobody wakes up one day and says, “Yes, please abuse me”, especially children!
This is such an important topic to talk about because there are countless abuse survivor silently suffering because they may not realize the difference. That state of confusion clouds the mind in so many ways. As we reach adulthood the damage remains as you are still trying to place “normalcy” on a dysfunctional situation.
I encourage all that are struggling at this time, please seek help and support, because I know you can get past this. You can live a more complete life once you find peace and healing in your mind, body and spirit.
I encourage you the reader to continue to educate yourself on these strong subjects and use your voice to help others. We can make a difference one person at a time.
Embrace the Journey.
Author/Child & Mental Health Advocate/Public Speaker/Blogger/Inspirationalist
The Unspoken Truth A Memoir – A child’s story – An adults Journey towards Healing