“DYSFUNCTION”

Many of us have said at some point in our lives, “I’m suffering from some dysfunction lately.”

What does this statement initiate in your thoughts? I can tell you that for the many millions who live as survivors of abuse, or if you are dealing with some type of abuse, this statement carries an entirely different level of meaning.

If you are one of the relatively happy, safe, people of our society, you might first think, “I can’t focus.” – “I’m losing my head lately.” – If you have shared either of these online you may have even put a cute little, “LOL” at the end. ugggghhhh…….!!!!!

From my many years of personally living in different aspects of disastrous dysfunction, I will tell you this has a completely different impact for someone living as a survivor of abuse or trauma.

The actual meaning of this word: “Dysfunction” – failure to show the characteristics or fulfil the purposes accepted as normal or beneficial. (Dictionary.com)

To a survivor this word can mean that you are sitting huddled tight in a small, safe place; arms wrapped tightly around your legs; pulling them close and holding your pieces together so tightly that your knuckles are turning white.

I’ve shared on our Dreamcatchers Blog Talk Radio about how often we feel like we are exploding into pieces when we suffer and cannot flee from the attack. Dysfunction is the moment that you are overwhelmed and completely distraught by the horrible memories of terror, disgust and ugliness of Sexual Abuse, especially Child Sexual Abuse. I say especially related to “child” because a child cannot fight back. A grown woman or man, has the ABILITY to fight back or try to flee the attack on some level; a child and even an older teen with a dependence upon the person attacking them, cannot battle these attacks, mentally or physically.

Dysfunction can be the hole sucking you back down the drain to the very pit of depression filled with fear. There are many of us that cannot even manage to succeed in school, be a part of a stable work force or be a productive member of society.When you look at the reality of what it is costing our society to try to mend the damage of this evil against our children and to help protect them, you can understand why it is necessary to bring stricter punishments for these crimes to our court systems. On average, according to Prevent Child Abuse America, it was reported in April 2012, our country spends $220 Million EVERY DAY!!!

http://www.preventchildabuse.org/downloads/PCAA_Cost_Report_2012_Gelles_Perlman_final.pdf

When you view the different aspects collected in this daily cost,  prevention, education, intervention, legal, medical exams & care, mental health services, medications and more; we have to ask ourselves how we can help make a difference right now? Starting today at the moment you read this, become more aware of the facts and care about those in your daily circle of life; be it family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and even strangers!!!

As a society we have a responsibility to listen to their voices. Try to hear that person who is screaming out for help. Don’t you believe that if your most personal sense of safety had been violated, perhaps by the person you trusted most, that you too would have those times of falling apart and into the roller coaster of dysfunction and depression? Believe me when I tell you, “Only those who know this nightmare can truly understand the momentum and the depth of the many down swings that creep into our lives.”

Think if you will for a moment, about the thousands who take their own lives each year because of the madness, loneliness and fear of being in this place of dysfunction. Do you know that as I tried to search the world-wide web for statistics on Suicides due to Child Abuse – there are no statistics that directly reflect that number? I did however find this awesome article from Psychology Today …… “while the CDC may not count the number of child abuse induced suicides that occur in emerging adulthood, it’s easy to argue that the count would not be ‘1.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/becoming-adult/201101/suicide-age-27-death-due-child-abuse

Please take another moment to say a prayer (in whatever process you pray) for not only those incredibly courageous Eight Men who have testified to convict Jerry Sandusky and all others who have found their voice, but also for those who are still trapped within the secrets.

As a strong note of encouragement to anyone who is a survivor, I want to give you the very positive assurance that it will get better!! There is a lot of personal effort that is required to get past this darkness, but it is possible. Don’t be ashamed if you need to call a stranger on a hot line number. Don’t think you’re crazy if you go into the woods and beat the crap out of a few trees, although I would suggest using something other than your own body for this. Don’t freak out if you start screaming at the top of your lungs. Whatever you need to do in order to release the emotions that have been buried for so long, this will always be a good thing. I beg you to believe in this because I am a living truth of this now and I use my story and my voice to share this with others each day. Please, reach out and do not harm yourself for what another has done to in an attempt to destroy you. You cannot give them that power over you any longer. You must stand to protect your life and achieve what they have tried to rob from you.

As you go through the various stages of healing and what may be triggered by all that has been in the news lately, please hang on to these few notes of empowerment and reach out to just one person.

1) YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG

2) THIS IS A CRIME AGAINST YOU – not a crime that you have committed

3) THERE IS NO SHAME OR BLAME THAT IS YOURS TO CARRY

4) DO NOT STRUGGLE TO MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS WITH THOSE WHO CHOOSE NOT TO BELIEVE YOU OR TURN AGAINST YOU

5) BUILD A POSITIVE SUPPORT SYSTEM WITH THOSE YOU TRUST

Always know that you are a beautiful rose waiting to bloom!!!

(c)Patricia A. McKnight

Author; “My Justice” – ISBN #978-1-45207-170-1

http://www.facebook.com/triciagirl62

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10 thoughts on ““DYSFUNCTION”

  1. Oddly enough – for I am ‘odd’ even for a survivor – the sexual abuse was amongst the ‘least’ of abuse; in some ways it held me together. Part of that comes from the “groomed child syndrome” where the child learns to tie love and sex together – so there is no ‘rape’; sex is not forced upon you. Instead you are coaxed and coerced into doing it – *wanting* it. This is not something I’ve seen many survivors go through – that breech of trust where a young child associates expressions of deep love (or like) with ‘sex’. Instead of ‘being raped’ I begged for it – and as a result had to bear that ‘shame’ for many years. (I am now over it, BTW.)

    People often assume sexual abuse is the worst thing you can do to a child, and I know it is under certain conditions – but that does not hold true for me. I’ve heard from the few and rare survivors of ‘groomed sex’ – we are often the outcasts among the survivors because we don’t express the same outrage; yet the lack of trust is the same – and some of the effects run way deeper. I was broken more by the LACK of love, the constant shuffling around by my parents, the beatings, the moving around. In some senses the sex saved me – for it was the one and only place I felt ‘loved’. Very hard for people to comprehend that it could ‘save a child’ then – only to destroy him later on when he found society’s views were , and viewed all had done with shame. THAT was much more damaging than the sex was.

    I know my experience was a rare one – never forced, never ‘raped’ – though the adult should have said “NO” when I asked. But sometimes I wish folks would realize: it’s not ALWAYS ‘bad’ – and that sometimes we need to recognize what a child will do for love (even while recognizing it is ‘wrong’). It kept me feeling warm and safe sometimes in a harsh reality and world where safety was an issue, every moment, every time.

    I’m not invalidating anyone’s ‘pain’ here, nor do I want to. Rape is horrible and bad. I just wanted to throw my two cents in from across the fence,. While everyone seems to think “sex with a child is bad” – in some ways it saved me back then. Not that it was right, but it was the only love I had.

    • I am so sorry that you have been feeling shut out by other survivors!!! There is no reason for that to happen, we are all survivors. Yes we can love our abusers, even need them, need them to touch us so we feel something inside and know we are human. You have my hugs and my support. Jeff it will be alright and you have grown into a beautiful soul!!!

    • So sorry Nippercat that you are struggling. It can be so difficult to be trapped in that darkness. A trick my therapist used for me was first of course breathe!!!! Think of a happy time or place, think of the positives around you now and list them on a sticky note. Keep it handy and when the darkness threatens to take you in, think of those positives, focus on that happy time & place – with practice it really does make a difference, or at least it did for me.
      Blessings of peace for you,
      trish

  2. Tricia,
    This is a very well written blog post and very useful. I was mentally unstable for many years until I went through therapy and it is only recently that I found out my symptoms were those of PTSD. I had no idea. More knowledge and more people speaking out.
    Thanks,
    Tim

    • Tim, thank you so much. You words are taken as a great compliment. I know those dark days of madness. Know that others are speaking out now and that soon our numbers will be counted. My blessings as you continue to grow in your new world of healing.
      Cheers & Light your way
      trish

      • No worries Trish. I know that many people out there must be suffering in silence and it is my mission to break that silence. Too many people are silent and men are the worst culprits. I was raped and left for dead many years ago but I told nobody because of the stigma of being a man and being seen as weak or even ‘wanting it’. I did what I had to just to live. I spent 16 years in silence but this left me mentally scarred and suicidal. I only learned recently whilst writing my book that I had been suffering from ptsd all those years.
        I implore more people to open up and men to allow themselves to be vulnerable, it is a huge sign of strength to show your emotions and share your truth.
        thanks,
        Tim

      • Tim, what you have shared is huge. I am so proud of you 🙂 Hopefully more men will feel that they too can reach out, speak the nightmares, share their empowerment with others.
        Blessings & ty 🙂

    • Glad to have you checking in, also thanks for the comments on the article shared. We must question how the dysfunction of being a survivor effects our world. ty 🙂

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