Given the kind of material I’ve been writing about recently, I thought I’d make note of these stories that I found on the website Child Abuse Effects. None of the three are exactly revelatory, but they do highlight issues I’ve had in my own experiences, and they acutely remind one that one is not alone in this situation.
This story details the victim’s experience of abuse when she was a child, and the fact that most of it was dissociated until well into her adulthood – her 40s, in fact. It was only at this juncture that memories of the abuse began to return with clarity, thus exemplifying the effect of repressed memories pretty well. Perhaps I do not have False Memory Syndrome after all; dissociative amnesia in circumstances like these is a very real psychological phenomenon indeed.
This one details one woman’s experience of sexual abuse at the hands of her brother when she was nine. What I found most ‘interesting’ about this was the sad fact that the girl’s parents both refused to believe her, thus adding to her trauma. Clearly parental denial is not uncommon either, then. The author details a path of destruction that she found herself on, all thanks to abuse and the fact that no one trusted her to have told the truth.
Finally, this article discusses the victim’s three abusers, including her GP. What is telling about this terrible story is how manipulative molesters can be, and how they can mould their prey into doing exactly what they want.
The above stories are very sad to read, and – I’ll warn you – potentially triggering. Nevertheless, the website is a good resource as it provides reassurances to those that post there, and reminds the rest of us that we’re not alone. I hope it draws attention to the fact that child abuse is sadly very widespread.
The following article from the excellent Psychology Today asks just what is a mental disorder. As far as I can tell, “normal” mental health and severe mental illness exist at far ends of a continuum; we all have foibles, idiosyncrasies, bad days, stressful experiences – it’s just a case of measuring at which point those things stray away from the path of general societal norms.
The central tenet of the argument in this piece, written by Dr Stephen Diamond, is the severity of clinical impairments caused by mental illness. He does acknowledge, though, that those experiencing some conditions may not be suffering themselves – but the chances are someone in their life is. I suppose one example is someone in a manic or other psychotic episode who thinks they’re the Messiah or suchlike – I’ve never experienced anything like this, but I’d imagine the euphoria you feel is pretty significant. Your family and friends are highly likely to be stressed by this, however.
The argument makes sense; however, I find myself wondering if this is universally applicable. Someone with Schizoid PD, for example, is clearly outside the usual interpretations of social normality – yet, because he or she is genuinely uninterested in relationships, does anyone really suffer owing to this disorder? On the other hand, because SPD is quite uncommon in clinical settings, it maybe hard to determine the answer to that.
It’s either a famine or a feast in writing AotW; last week I found nothing of interest, this week there was loads. However, I’m sure the above is enough to be getting on with.