Time to Foster Change

Nothing Normal About Abuse

There are hundreds of millions of us, past and present, that would consider ourselves abuse survivors. Myself included. I’m sure if you took a look around at the people in your everyday life, you will most likely find someone you know who has suffered or continues to suffer from some form of abuse. Maybe that person is you.

Abuse occurs when one individual inflicts harm upon another by means of violent, cruel, neglectful, demeaning and/or invasive behavior. There are so many different variants of abuse that it can find anyone, anywhere, anytime. There is physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, neglect/abandonment, discriminatory, domestic violence, human trafficking, financial and organizational abuses committed everyday. How can this world not be affected?

If there are millions upon millions of abuse victims and survivors, then of course there will also be millions upon millions of abusers. On top of that we have millions more who witnessed the abuse and chose to deny, avoid, and/or ignore it or help aid, support, and/or show love when it was most needed. The rippling waves of abuse touch upon us all in some form or fashion. I certainly hope we haven’t gotten to the point where it has become all too familiar that we have started to normalize what occurs to the unfortunate ones that suffer from its poison.

Last week I was following a Facebook thread that dealt with at-risk children. At one point in the discussion a therapist said that the foster care system, and the world in general, needs to stop pathologizing children in foster care (otherwise known as victims of abuse). I was kind of taken aback by the statement because what this person was actually stating was that victims/survivors of abuse are just reacting with normal human behaviors and emotions. That in their opinion, as an expert in the field, there is nothing abnormal or altered about these wounded individuals.

What?? Really??  Well, this world may have normalized abuse because it’s an everyday reality for most of the world’s population, but as a survivor myself, I would just like to share that there is absolutely nothing “NORMAL” about any part of an abuse scenario. It is a complete game changer. A life altering event that will stay with you in some way or another as you struggle to become your true self. I’m not going to get into the various degrees of abuse because, in my opinion, any amount of any kind can leave everlasting effects.

Lives can be entirely altered at the hands of abuse and for someone to say there is nothing atypical that occurs within these individuals is very misguided. You become a very different person after the damage than the one you were before. Even if the abuse occured at a fairly young age. You were somebody on your way until someone else decided to upend your life instead of dealing with their own dysfunctional selves.

Normal went out the window when someone else chose to be cruel, manipulative, violent, selfish, negligent, or just plain stupid. Abuse requires years, decades and sometimes even entire lifetimes to process and deal with the trauma. How can anyone call that normal?

On the road to healing you often wonder if the person you are at any moment in time is the same person you would have been if it hadn’t been for the abuse. As a middle aged woman, I can honestly say that it has taken me decades to get to the point of where I am today. Finally transitioning myself not just into the person I want to be, but the person I know I was meant to be.

Abuse equals trauma and trauma takes more than “normal” human behaviors, feelings, and emotions to deal with it. It requires a lot of time, effort, and will to come out the other end. Some of us get there, some of us don’t. So, let me say it again. There is nothing normal about abuse.