I was four times, but I was abused far more often as I lived with the constant stressor of social and sexual deviance in my home life.
Then the pedophile used my body repeatedly, rendering me psychologically injured and scared. When he stopped assaulting me the fourth time, he terrified me so much that I never told a soul until I was in college seeing my first counselor. I used to count 4 instances of abuse on one hand, but have since been able to see that abuse is more than just the assault itself.
He has helped me understand that violence encompasses neglect, emotional harm, and sexual abuse even when it is “nice”.
I see now that conceptualizing abuse and violence in this way was a coping mechanism that I was using to survive. It became commonplace, the very definition of a “chronic stressor”.
Abuse is so far-reaching, permeating the air in the room, the times between assaults, all the way to the perimeter of that relationship one has with the deviant. In my case, abuse took many forms, and I had more than one abuser: emotional abuse as manipulation, spiritual abuse as coercion to stay quiet to ensure my salvation, and physical abuse as hitting, slapping, and physical intimidation.
Violence As I tried to make sense of what was happening to my body, I dismissed the actions of the pedophile as a violent act.
Abusers are found in any demographic, and are not able to be predicted by socio-economic status, race, or other factors. Don’t tell survivors how to feel, what to do, how their timetable of healing should look. Also, if you know someone who was abused, help them find a trauma or violence counselor or therapist in your area.
I had trouble sleeping, staying asleep, and I developed headaches and muscle tightness in my body from the stress.We idealize unattainable, airbrushed versions of beautiful people, striving for something that doesn’t even exist in reality.Using the one-size-fits-all model of “calories in, calories out” gym = health doesn’t always work. But the chronic stressors of my childhood have taken their toll. Abuse is uncomfortable for us to acknowledge as a society.PTSD generally has features that range from hypervigilance to recurring dreams to amnesia.You can see the DSM-IV criteria here to see if you have any or all symptoms.