It Takes A Long Time To Heal

When I was a child, I had been caned (free style---me running around with the cane chasing me, landing on random part of my body, and then getting kicked if I fell on the ground), slapped on the face, cursed in all areas of my life, threatened by violence anytime anywhere, and yelled at day and night for years. I was constantly abused verbally. I never had real peace at home. When I found temporary sanctuary in school, the conditioning I got from family would follow me and eat me piece by piece. The poisonous effects would affect my non-family life all the time, and as a child I didn't realize that how my abuses impacted me and that it wasn't my faults that things didn't go well with me all the times because of the poisons. I was always guilty and fearful.

On Ep, I always give people encouraging words, and seldom mention my own abused past, because the wounds were pretty much healed (I thought), and I don't consider I am still being abused. However, I am still dealing with the consequences of what others did to me but I didn't realize how extensive the consequences were even just a while ago.

It took me years to heal. I went to University and it became a therapeutic facility for me. Other than study I played a lot of basketball, hung out with friends, joined Christian fellowship, and others. I used that time to seek spiritual insights for my life. All of these were hardworks, and came with their own shares of disappointments and challenges due to my past.

It haunted me. The flashbacks (not just the older memories, but of whatever latest emotional events because of the way my brain developed) came whenever I tried to study. My brain would bring back hurtful emotional memories when I tried to study with sound logic. It's like when you feel itchy in one place, but it's a wrong signal from the brain. The brain isn't supposed to work that way. It wasn't supposed to give you flashbacks whenever you try to study math. It's supposed to remain its focus on math.

My peers with similar intelligence were able to study with extensive hours, but I had to take frequent breaks from my mental torments---the flashbacks, the hurtful words, the loneliness, the insecurities, the depressions... I thought it was normal and everyone had similar issues, but they just somehow handled them better than me. I would ask them how they manage to focus so well, but they couldn't give me answers.

Now I know that when a child grew up with fear and anxiety, the architecture of the brain would be different than peers who lived a relatively unthreatened life. I don't mean reasonable physical discipline, but the emotional/phsycial/whatever abuses that kept a child in anxiety all the times. I only learned about that recently when I read a scientific study on child development. It says the brain wiring of a child would be different than others if he is frightened enough. The brains of tramatized kids would easily memorize emotional events and relive them over and over, instead of retaining non-threatening information such as math or textbook knowledge or work related info.

I had been in a state of fear and anxiety for 20 years due to my family, and when I left home, the pattern of fears and anxiety were dead set. I didn't realize how I brought the pattern with me into adulthood. Whatever challenge I faced, I used fears as the primary motivators to push myself to overcome it. It only made things worst everytime I did that (unconsciously). Or I would succeed in the short term, but eventually collapsed.

Fear based approach to anything was unsustainable. Needless to say, it hurts me and costs me so much in life. It puts a mental lock and cap to my intellectual potential, it sabotages my relationships, and it costs so much money too because I can't get good jobs that my true potential could reach due to the fear conditioning that prevents me from focusing on high-level works, and from interacting with others smoothly.

If not for my past, maybe I could have become an actuary by 26 or something. I could have a family, a house, a dog, and a car... debt free.

Being abused and having to take care of the consequences for so long come with a lot of disadvantages. For example, I get judged a lot, because my friends don't understand why I live under my potential financially and academically. They don't know why I sometime zone out. Some people get mad at me when I was locked in my own inner world and failed to respond to them. It can take me a few seconds to come back to reality when people call my name a few times.. Employers and workers don't understand why I am so absent-minded, slow, and clumsy. I have to worry about getting fired constantly (more fears reinforcement). I have manifested one self-fulfilling prophecy after another because of my fear based programming. I have had a lot of fears, and ironically my fears made the things I dreaded to come true. (it would take another story to explain how this works) I blamed myself for reliving every negative experience so many times, thinking I was unforgiving and bitter (self-abuse). I blamed myself for the lack of achievement. I felt disappointed at God for He never seem to take away my problems (now I learned were symptoms).

My mom think I am lazy and only love reading my Bible and pray, but she doesn't know God is the only reason I haven't committed suicide. I would have been dead long ago if not for my relationship with God. I thought I was just lazy too (guilt and bad self-esteem). I had to use a lot of willpower to start anything.

Even now, when I am doing job search and looking at job postings that I am not qualified to get because of my past, I would think about how easy my peers were able to land in good jobs, and how much they have accomplished already by now, and I would get depressed. There are so much tears and long hours of disabling sleeplessness/inactions/torments/depressions everytime I tried to resume my quest on job searching and professional license exams.

I couldn't breath and my eyes visions turn bad whenever I engaged in crucial tasks such as doing work, job searching, and studying because of my wounds/fear-associations/conditionings. I cannot tell my parents this, because them knowing that I have depressions would only make them angry because they would think I blame them for my struggles. I feel that they would only use it against me instead of reconsidering how they handled things.

They kind of knew. I know somehow they sensed that they have destroyed me. It must have hurt my dad a lot because it was a pleasant surprise for him that I grew up to become a man that he never thought I could become, but somehow this man is being destroyed constantly despite of his potentials and efforts. The power of the curses that they had spoken over me were showing their effects despite my short-lived breakthoughs in life.

I have chosen to forgive and forget. I have even asked for forgiveness from my abusers. There have been healings, but everytime I thought the healing was almost completed, I would later find out more aftermaths from my past that I have to deal with.

Excellency Excellency
26-30, M
6 Responses Jun 8, 2011

Honestly, it sounds like you have come a long way. I mean, you recognise how it affects you, and holds you back. You're very self aware. But I don't think this is as good as it can be for you. I would suggest getting a therapist as the next step. Not because I believe medicine will magic cure or anything bs. But because I think you've gone as far as you can on your own. But with someone who's trained to untangle emotions and bad memories and trained to deal with the psychological links that have formed. I think they would be (maybe the only thing) that would help you recover further. Because, like you said, it gets in the way of employment and opportunities. If there's a way, by working with a trained therapist, you could gain some more independence and healing from your bad childhood. I think it would be worth its weight in gold. Having been to a therapist myself, I know that there's a difference made when there's two heads working on it instead of just one. They help you see what you don't see on your own. Which is helpful when you're trying to form new connections between things mentally. <br />
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From my own experience that's what I would suggest. You've come a long way, it would be a shame to stop here. And best of luck to you. It's inspiring to hear about someone else overcoming things like this. It's never completely easy, but you can never have too many sources of support when it comes to changes and healing. Again, wishing you the best!

I do have good helps. They are my Christian friends (only a few are helpful though) and God himself. He has been quite helpful in guiding my therapy.

Had I been seeing a therapist, I could have taken anti-depressant presciptions such as Prozac, and I heard it could make people suicide. I already had heavy suicide idealation regularly, so if the drug loosen my last defense I could be gone by now. So luckily I never trusted a therapist.

And thank you for your comment. I seldom get comments from guys on EP

@frostmaiden<br />
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Thanks for the thoughtful comment! :)<br />
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"but then there came a time in my life when i did get to go out into the world and meet several kinds of ppl both good and bad at my own will, do stuff, confess, be honest, hang out, fight, argue, forgive etc."<br />
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That's right. I have met tons of people in the last 10 years, and there were some significant progress and healing, but this story was my latest finding about my condition, which means there is still a lot of stuff that are sitting right before my nose and I haven't noticed how they impacted my life. <br />
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And when you finally have the power to leave your family, you probably reach 25-30 yrs old, and then the spouse you choose has a lot to do with your upbring usually. He or she is either the very thing that you craved because you didn't want the spouse to be anything like your family, or he or she turns out to be the very same thing that you feared. The shadow seems to be everywhere, waiting to creep back into your life. <br />
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Even if a person in my shoe is very smart and spiritual and reach full healing, by that time at least 30 years are passed, and he or she would have to start from there, while healthy people start from way earlier. That means 1/2 to 1/3 of her or his life went to tormentors. It's a invisible prison. <br />
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And if I see a good partner material, I tend to project a lot of fears and shadows into her unknowingly. She would trigger a lot of fears and pains inside me. I didn't understand much then, but now I would carefully re-condition my moods and thoughts when such a person is present. <br />
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Who knows, I might soon become a master of relaxation because of my own healing experience. :D

@perserverer<br />
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Thanks! I didn't understand a lot of what I just wrote in this story until recently, which made me the biggest self-abuser because I didn't like a lot of the things that were going on in me. I thought it was me and I used the same fear-ba<x>sed condemnation to motivate myself to change. I didn't realize it. I thought I know how to love myself, but was not. It's good that I discover what I just discovered. Oh and abused persons tend to attact abusers into their life, so I am dealing with this reality right now, and hopefully I will no longer be an abusers magnet soon. <br />
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@ Kitgamesanddads<br />
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God really is the only thing that keeps this world surviving, given the amount of evils going on. If you and I didn't become followers of Christ, we would likely not forgive our abusers and would become abusers (or abusers magnets) ourselves. It's good to hear that another person's destiny is redeemed because of God. <br />
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I like how you praise God in the morning. Praises are powerful. The godly messages in the hymns and songs dissipate darkness and brings pieces of heaven into earth. Thanks for making this world a better place by praising God. I also began to intercede for others in mid-night ( i don't sleep until early in the morning) by doing prayer walk (I have to take long walk each day) , and I believe that this will resist whatever evils going on in my nation and city. I pray for other nations as well. <br />
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I pray that more previous victims will become powerful enemies of Satan. His plan would backfire as more victims transform their scars into big motivators to godly things such as intercession, praises, and prayers. Since we don't function well in normal activities, we can use the extra times to attack his kingdom of darkness by doing these things (instead of wasting the times to wallow in pains and disability). I am sure he would regret damaging us and making us the most intense people. We turns our intensity back on him.

Very interesting post and also very interesting replies.I had similar problems and received my first hiding when I was 3 weeks old.Was bruised for a week,my mother said.Later in life under my father's rule I suppose I got mostly what I deserved but it included also being knocked over and kicked on the ground.Or being hit with a motor car fan belt because I was 5 minutes late for dinner.<br />
But OK,I have forgiven him all that just as God has forgiven me.(actually it works the other way around).<br />
What I find helps a lot is to say to myself :'I don't have to".Whenever I get into a tense situation eg before public speaking,I'd say that to myself up to the very last second before I get up and speak.<br />
Just one of thjose things I really do not understand but it works.<br />
And in the morning I praise God for 30 minutes in my bed before getting up.That has helped me a lot over a long period of time..<br />

Excellency, I admire the degree of self knowledge and understanding you have of the way your abusive past has affected you in the present. You have explored things that have helped you and you have strategies in place that make a difference. Acceptance that this is part of your life is a huge factor in making it work for you and you are well on the way. Acceptance, and forgiveness are giants of victory in the face of abusive people. God is tender to his wounded sheep and will pick you up and carry you on His shoulders in the rough times.

thanks Christyna,<br />
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The ptsd effect was so ingrained that I didn't even understand many parts of my anormality for a long time until recently. They have been parts of me for so long, but yet its effect was subtle. I would take long walks so often and now I understand the underlying reasons a bit more. Also when I do work, my back and shoulder get stiff easily and now I know why. I realize that I get tense easily and thought it was normal. <br />
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But for the most part I can still operate without depression, unless I provoke it by trying to focus on high level math work, or multi-tasking demanding environment. It used to be depressing often, but prayers, reflection, and other God-ba<x>sed therapies have been helping for a long time, so now I can operate for the most part.<br />
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So as long as I avoid flashback by taking long walk and doing pleasant things I am okay. <br />
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But I am trying to go back to some high level work now. I want to apply what I learn from writing articles and basketball/martial art (demanding but not depressing, so I noticed that I have developed a good pathways/mindsets/habits/conditioning for the writing and b-ball activities somehow) to math and job situation.<br />
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For some activities I was okay. For a time, my dad used to encourage me to do sports, and he did it positively, and I read a very good comic series on B-ball, so I guess I wasn't conditioned negatively by abuses in sports. I was able to enjoy and have fun, and made good progress in those arts as a result. <br />
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So now I am trying to sooth my inner child by telling my subconscious to think positive things whenever I stop breathing during high level work or studies. Each time a flashback of hurtful events come I would tell myself "it's okay you are safe" "make it fun" "you can have all the time you need, be on your own pace" "take a walk if you need it, we can think about this math question during the walk, no big deal" etc. It takes so much times, but I no longer condemn myself for taking so long in these activities (I was my own abuser too since I internalized the abuses). I tried to be my B-ball self--- encouraging, child-like, curious, having funs...