Does being abused as a child damage your soul?
I was adopted as a baby and raised by two very abusive parents. They were abusive in every way, except I was not sexually abused, nor was I neglected. I actually lived a life of material privilege. On the surface, my parents seemed wonderful. In private, they were horrors.
I was removed from my home and put into protective custody, and after that into a group home. Therapy was mandatory. Once “in the system”, everyone treated me like I was irreparably damaged. It was the first time I’d ever been regarded that way. Growing up, I was a star: a gifted student, athlete, ballerina. I was the one with a bright future.
I had never considered myself to be damaged. I always felt my parents were the damaged ones. I was quite shocked to be told in so many ways, either directly or by the way people treated me, that I was broken in ways that were deep and irreversible. In therapy I was continually coaxed to look for this damage. I received poor reports from the therapist because I continued to assert that this was not my reality. I was told I obviously didn’t know my own reality. I was, to them, in denial. Making no progress. Going through therapy was horrible. It was akin to a kind of brainwashing. If I gave in to it, I would have received lots of praise and approval. I would have been a “good patient”.
But I stuck with my reality. They made sure it was a hard and unpleasant road. They had a world view that was as sacred and irrefutable as any religious dogma. There could be no exceptions. I was a heretic.
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