Guest Author - Marisa Seale
Denial of abuse by family and friends.
Denial of abuse by family and friends never ceases to amaze me. A child is being abused within the family and everyone knows it is happening, yet everyone is at the same time astounded that the child is behaving in certain ways. Worse yet; they are discussing it amongst themselves and even outsiders to gain insight into the situation. They send these children for all kinds of “help” to anyone and everyone. They soothe their consciences by paying for this “help” and actually draw more attention to themselves in the process.
I have heard it all in my support groups: she is like this because she was born premature; he avoids his parents as he is on drugs and this upsets them; his parents are working so hard that he may have all he desires yet his life is in tatters as he flits through school, friends and is continuously in trouble with the law for stealing; why she doesn’t want to kiss uncle Joe I cannot understand; her mom does drugs and alcohol but she would never let her child do that. In a family of drug users, promiscuity, alcohol and physical abuse I heard the best one yet: Why does she shame the family by getting locked up for fighting, running away and stealing all the time?
Friends that visit regularly notice the eldest daughter never leaves her younger sister’s side when her Mom’s boyfriend is near even if it causes one heck of a fight when the boyfriend wants the little girl to accompany him to the kitchen for ice. People, this is not normal behaviour! The mom sides with the boyfriend too; wanting to force the little girl to go with him. Why?
Denial because of financial benefits for some, for others it means they don’t have to satisfy a physical need they don’t want to, for some it is for fear of a beating themselves, for others it is simply too much effort to get involved in this messy business of abuse, especially if you survived it yourself. You know they can too.
Herein lays the problem. Denial of abuse keeps every generation in a family trapped unless it is stopped by someone. When family and friends deny the abuse amongst themselves; they are forcing the child deeper into an unreal world he or she needs to create in order to survive. This is why so many people that have been abused come across as lying terribly when talking about everyday things. They bring their make believe world into their real world because to them they are one and the same. They truly cannot differentiate between the two.
In my family I was the 3rd generation to be abused as far as I know. I decided it stops with me and will not flow over into my children. It caused a great deal of upheaval in my family and actually still does! The fact that I now openly discuss and write about abuse has been healing for me, but for my family; I think they would have preferred it if I had kept quiet and we could all have kept on pretending like it never happened.
I will share more on this in the future and hope this article will make you realize how important it is to lift the secrecy of abuse in your family or friend circles.