Posted by: Judy | November 29, 2011

I am an Abuse Survivor 2

This is about physical abuse. Abuse does not necessarily have to happen to the person. Sometimes, it’s about what a person has seen.

I remember being spanked, with a sibling allowed to watch, adding to the shame. It was painful physically and emotionally. My mother scolded me for crying. Then she told me she was going to keep spanking me until I stopped crying. As young as I was, I remembering thinking that was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard.

There was the day one brother was baiting the other. Not an uncommon occurrence in most families. The brother doing the baiting was holding a chair, while the one being baited wielded a knife, a large, chef’s knife. I was sure one was going to kill the other, and my sister agreed. My mother excused it, “Boys will be boys.”

The fights between my younger brother and I often escalated to physical hitting and kicking. I’m not proud of it. It did give me insight into the behavior. I felt helpless. I didn’t have the words to express my frustration. I also knew he was my mother’s favorite. If I hurt him, I hurt her. Fortunately, I grew out of that. But I do remember that I was the one who was punished, even if he started it, “because you’re older and should know better.” I really hate that last phrase, but that’s in tomorrow’s post.

Some people never seem to grow out of that need to hurt others. I don’t care what the reason is. I really don’t. Funny-odd how much easier it’s been to walk away from people who physically hurt me as compared to how difficult it is to walk away from people who hurt me emotionally, despite the fact that those nasty verbal jabs are usually more painful, and pointed.

Part of my reason for adopting a dog was that I knew my potential for following in the footsteps of my abusers. My love of animals meant old habits and training had to be changed, because hurting an animal tears at my heart. It worked. I learned to make different choices.

It’s important to note that rarely is there only one type of abuse. Abuse is multifaceted. There are usually at least two forms of abuse going on, and usually more than that.


  1. When I changed counselors I was asked why kind of abuse affected my life. I told him it was a clean sweep, I had them all. Purposely choosing to end the insanity is amazing and wonderful. You are one of the world’s chain breakers. I am so proud of you.

    • ((Ruth)) I’d have been trapped in many of the lies, if you hadn’t been willing to face the truth, and share it. I hadn’t ever acknowledge how much seeing the abuse affected me. Living in that constant fear of when it would turn on me, because it happened often enough to assure me it would happen. It was only a matter of time.

  2. Thank you for posting this very important point of view. So often people will say: “Well, if it didn’t HAPPEN to you…” as if viewing abuse heaped on someone else (and often on animal companions) is not traumatic. It’s horrible. It’s why children who come from homes where their is spousal abuse are scarred. No one comes out of a violent (sexual, physical, emotional of all three) home unharmed. And often children prepetuate the violence they see (and sometiimes even violence unseen but sensed) on other sibiings. No level of abuse or brutality is acceptable. Ever.

    And thank you for being so brave to talk about this.

    • Thanks ((Mary Ann))

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