Chapter 3 – Assessing Child Abuse

The next step in your recovery journey is learning some general definitions and statistics about the three types of child abuse. It is important to know this in order to compare your own experience with what is generally known about child abuse. A critical part of recovering from child abuse is learning to distinguish what really happened to you and whether it constituted child abuse. In this next section, we will be facing the reality of child abuse frankly. The purpose of this review is not to deny the past but to illuminate it; not to indict your parents/abusers, but to hold them responsible; and finally, not to blame yourself, but to develop a new understanding of your experience. Your ability to understand the complexity of factors involved in your abuse will serve you well in making the past less overwhelming and threatening.

Reading this may be painful for you, and you may not want to proceed until you feel prepared to experience whatever feelings may surface. You may want to read this chapter in sections, allowing yourself plenty of time to digest each one before moving on. You can read it with a friend and discuss your reactions with members of your support network ASCA or therapist. Remember that you are an adult now, but the feelings that come up may be those of a child.

The section on child abuse is followed by a general discussion of some of the ways in which child abuse can impact survivors' adult lives. You probably will recognize many of the behavioral patterns described in this section, since you are already involved in the recovery process. Meant to highlight some of the key problem areas, the discussion is far from comprehensive, and you should remember that persons who were not abused may have the same behaviors and problems. In other words, difficulties in adult living can be caused by a number of environmental and social factors, only one of which is child abuse.

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Survivor to Thriver, Page 34
© 2007 THE MORRIS CENTER, Revised 11/06