Child Abuse, Emotions, Friends

Comparisons

…Other kids may have had it worse but the truth is, you had it pretty damn bad!

I had an e-mail conversation with another survivor (who I’m also happy to call a friend) earlier in the week, and the above is something she wrote to me. I have a hard time acknowledging that what I grew up with was bad. I minimize it because there are so many other children who grew up in worse conditions than I did. I mean, I had a roof over my head, food on the table and clean clothes. So what in the world do I have to complain about?

I made it out alive. You hear about so many cases of kids who didn’t. I’m reasonably stable mentally. I have my good days and bad days, but I’m not locked in an institution.

Bah… I had so much more I want to say, but I can’t get the words out.

I’m going to go swear at Visual Studio some more. Oh is that a story…

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10 thoughts on “Comparisons”

  1. Nobody deserves to be abused no matter which way it’s done it’s just wrong and only the person who’s been abused knows how it feels and nobody could even try to feel that pain because its just down right impossible.

  2. The fact that someone else has or had it worse can put things in perspective… but it should never negate anything. A billion is bigger than a million, but a million is still pretty big. It’s also possible to be thankful for the good things without negating the bad things, and to recognize the bad things without negating the good things. Sure is hard, at least for those of us with that all or nothing black and white thinking.

  3. The above is all absolutely true, and given how wise the peeps who read and comment on your blog seem to be that doesn’t surprise me.

    I’m not sure I can add to the above to help you put things into a more accurate and objective perspective other than to repeat that just because you’ve had it ‘better’ than some other kids who got killed, or abused more serverely does not mean that you had it easy. Let me put it this way, you had a much worse time of it than I did – I never lived with my abusers and while my dad was abusive to my mum he never touched me. Yet I was still raped and abused as a kid and find it hard to live with today. Would you tell me that I didn’t have a case for believing what I went through was bad, just because you went through worse? No. Of course not. Because when you detatch yourself from the situation you can see more clearly how things really are…

    Best wishes,

    Tasha x

  4. any abuse no matter how great or seemingly less so is abuse and is bad. minimizing it is just what anyone who knew about it did, they minimized it, made it seem trivial so you were left thinking oh yeah i guess i have it pretty good. but you didn’t!
    you deserved to never be abused in any way, shape or form!

    peace and blessings

    keepers

  5. I do not mean to sound negative but surviving the abuse can sometimes feel like abuse itself. Working through it, talking about it, processing it can feel like abuse all over again. So, when a person survives abuse it “just means” their body didn’t give out under it. It says nothing for the shape the mind is in or how the mind was altered by such events.

    Surviving is one step towards freedom, the next step is thriving. I lived through a lot. My body didn’t give out under things other kids died from. Why? I don’t know but like the comments above, it doesn’t mean my abuse wasn’t as bad just because my body didn’t give out under the abuse. We can not measure our pain, our successes or failings by someone else’s ruler or we’ll always come up short.

    Austin

  6. Some things are worse than others. Is my life as bad as refugees in Darfur? No, not even close. Is my life worse than my roommates? Yeah it is. There’s a middle ground to pain, an extreme and a minimum. Most fall in the middle somewhere.

    I believe that when survivors minimize their experiences it is a way to handle the pain. If we ourselves can make the pain smaller by saying it wasn’t that bad then maybe we can get ourselves back on track, maybe we can stop feeling such pain inside. Denial is like a numbing drug for painful memories. Sometimes the drug serves us well but other times it keeps us held back. There is use for denial. It has it’s place but most of the time denial of experiences holds us back and prevents us from truly breaking free of our horrible experiences and the emotions that go with it.

    Basically, if I can minimize my experiences maybe I can minimize its affects on me too and get on with my life.

    Austin

  7. Just a “me too” comment: both with your post and the comments. One friend helps me get perspective like this: if someone breaks into your house and takes all your favorite stuff, you’re going to feel violated and pissed off. Being told that OTHER people’s houses burn all the way down or that that particular thief regularly robs other people’s houses too doesn’t change the fact that your stuff is still gone or make you feel that in that case, the robber was entitled to take your stuff, since he didn’t torch the place. This is a major mind-f*ck: “I don’t deserve to feel bad because OMG look at what other people are going through.” Maybe we can use it to increase compassion rather than getting into a competition about it?

  8. here here B-LineC!!!
    I like the analogy about the robber. Because all my stuff is gone but my house is still standing doesn’t make the crime of theft more palatable. I’m “better off” with my house still standing but I’m still reeling from his violation.

    I like the robber/arson example a lot.
    Austin

  9. I came here today becasue I was terrified by what I was feeling. I wasn’t minimizing ANYTHING. These postings grounded me and made me feel sane. Thank you.

  10. Thank you all. Your comments mean so much to me.

    I like the robber/arson example too. It makes sense. I have a hard time separating myself from my past. So sometimes a different context helps straiten me out.

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