For adult survivors of child abuse; it is not an uncommon thing for them to have buried and forgotten their abuse. It is one of our defense mechanisms for survival. Many may never recall the abuse. While others may not remember until they are middle-aged, or older. The repression of child abuse memories is called “Trauma Amnesia.”
Others in your life may ask you, “Why bring all this up now?” It is not an uncommon question you may be asked now that you’ve decided to fight and get your life back to the fullest extent possible. Most people do not realize the lasting impact of child abuse. It touches every aspect of your being across your life. We were robbed of our childhoods; it has affected every relationship we have ever been in; it has destroyed our self-esteem and confidence; some of the damage will never be repaired; the abuse effects present day relationships and those to come; we will never live up to our full potential; no one ever gets use to going hungry; those of us who went without food will never be as intelligent as we might have been had we received the proper nutrition to grow our brains—just to name a few. That is why we bring this up now!
Being a mother myself, I have never been able to wrap my head around how any mother could let her child go hungry. But, for whatever reason—there are mothers who let their children go hungry and be abused and do nothing. One of the reasons that so many survivors have serious eating disorders. It is a part of abuse that most will never forget, or get over.
I spent considerable time in therapy trying to answer the question, “Why didn’t my mother save me? She knew about the abuse and did nothing.” This aspect has been one of my more difficult ones to deal with and try to come to peace with. After being a mother with a child born with a serious heart disease; and fighting so hard for that child to live—left me aghast as to why my mother would let the abuse and neglect continue. With the help of my therapist, we came up with a possible scenario. My mother only had a seventh-grade education and was likely abused herself. I believe she married my father to get out of the house and away from her own abuse. My father moved us two hours away from her family. He was an alcoholic, a womanizer, and a pedophile. She had no social, or viable working skills to earn a living. So, it was easier for her to turn her head to the abuse and neglect; than to get out of it. Going back to her home was not an opinion for her. Therefore, she sacrificed me as well as my sisters to the horrors of abuse and neglect. She saw and treated me like “the other woman” in my father’s life! As far back as my memory goes; I was only four or five years old when the abuse began. Then, she blamed me and physically abused me because the abuse was my fault. I wondered throughout my life why I had no memories of my mother hugging me, or being nurturing to me. The first time I recall her hugging me was when I returned from the vacation where my husband drowned—I was thirty-two. I still cannot say to this day that I have fully forgiven her.