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Childhood trauma and its consequences
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:51 am 
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Im wondering why after many adult children finally say ok thats enough Im done and then they walk away and have little or nothing to do with the abusive parent after that but they continue to or begin abusive relationships with others I know a woman who refused to speak with her dad because he molested her but then started dating a man who was very mean to her and treated her like she was nothing He used her for sex just like her father did and abandoned her and then would come back just to hurt her After I stopped seeing my mother I became very friendly with a very mean woman who screamed at me when she got drunk I also dated a man who was mean and acted pretty much like my mother Sandy


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:36 pm 
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Hi Sandy,
Isn’t that something to do with trying to relive a past experience, like trying to get in to the same sort of situation again but to try and act differently this time? Like getting another chance to act differently so this time it all works out good?…
I don’t think it’s a conscious decision to do it but a subconscious/unconscious thing us humans do sometimes to try and resolve past trauma. I certainly don’t think that people consciously and deliberately try and find abusive people to be around.
The thing is that even if you do set up a similar situation and “fix” it this time so it all works out brilliantly, its not going to change the original experience one little bit, that situation is still going to of happened no matter what.
It doesn’t sound like a productive thing to do to me and I’m sure its possible to deal with past trauma or abuse in much more productive ways than that..
A far better idea is to avoid people who would abuse you or treat you badly and to find the nicest people you can to be around.
At least you’ve recognized that you have been doing something like that, that means you can do (or already have done)something about it and stop letting those sorts of people in to your life! A lot of people don’t recognize it and keep doing the same thing throughout their lives, which is a very big shame because there’s no need for it at all.
I not a psychologist so I don’t really know what I’m talking about, I think I read or heard something like that once though…

Cheers,
Lloyd.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 12:43 am 
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Good questions, Sandy! I think it's vital in healing to confront your parents, but you cannot force another person to do that. And it's not your current parents you need to confront (dead or alive) but the parents (and parent figures) in your childhood. We still carry these fears and pains inside of us and continue to respond the way we were taught (which was by punishment, threats, isolation, etc.) And because we were never allowed to see and recognize the brutality of our parents' actions, we blame ourselves, one way or the other, amplified by the accusing language of the parents. We literally act with a child's consciousness, a piece that never developed any further.

How do you get rid of pain that comes from your childhood? I believe that by feeling that pain, it gets integrated and eventually isn't there anymore. But this is of course the hard part: how to get to that pain and this is where therapists separate from each other. First you lived a childhood in which you and your body did everything you could to suppress it or repress it, and as an adult, you have to do the opposite. Reading the books by Alice Miller, Arthur Janov, Susan Forward is a good step, but ultimately no one can feel the pain for you. I don't remember who said it, but every step forward comes from courage, and nothing else.

I used to be attracted to a woman who was depressed, unreachable, miserable, and pushed me away and pulled me back, just like my own mother was and did. Even reading these books, didn't change the way I felt about this woman and how I suffered because of it. It wasn't until the 4th time of rejection that I placed the pain in the child I once was, who longed after an understanding, loving, caring mother. After feeling this (which brought me to the edge of insanity), I no longer felt the attraction, and moved on with my life, which resulted in tremendously improved relationships. After some years, this woman contacted me again, and wanted me back in her life, which I wisely declined, because I honestly felt that I didn't need such abusive people in my life anymore.

But there were many defenses I had to recognize in myself and to break down. I wrote a whole novel about it inspired by those events in my life. I never thought about a 'cure' because I didn't feel ill and I didn't think it was about feeling better, but about feeling real. That's the biggest difference with how I felt then, that what I feel now is real.

Lloyd, true that people tend to re-create past abuse, in the hope that the outcome would be better now. And that people are indeed seldom aware of it. For me, I found it very difficult to be around nice people. I couldn't stand them and considered them fake and I was suspicious of their motives. I used to say to myself: the more people that hate me, the better I feel. I could deal with hatred. I couldn't deal with love. Love was threatening and my response to that was to avoid all loving gestures.

Sandi, you can read about the Harlow monkeys at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Harlow

Dennis

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