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Child Abuse Memories & Media

 
 
Chumly
 
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 10:22 am
I really like Law & Order on the tube, however I was physical and emotionally abused by my parents (and to a lesser degree my brother) when I was young, so the show elicits excruciatingly painful memories (especially Law and Oder SVU).

We’re talking an alcoholic mom, being chased with knives by my mother, punched in the head repeatedly by my mother's female live-in "friend", bitten on the head by my father's aggressively trained German Shepard and needing to be hospitalized, yelled at, sleep deprived, the list goes on and on.

Not only that, but in elementary school the principle and vice-principle were both violent and punitive and thus gave out the strap for (what would now be considered the least of violations) such things as talking out of turn, or needing to go to the bathroom in the middle of class.

It was very traumatic and I ended up on the street and alone and essentially homeless at the age of 15. This was years before the types of support services for youth that are now common, so there were very few people who understood and cared for my plight.

It was not until my late 20's that I came to fully realize my painful unhealthy youth was not in any way a product of my own making, and it was years later before I could (to some reasonable degree) put it behind me and forgive.

So, as much as like Law & Order, it tends to resurface old pains (especially Law and Oder SVU).

I'm not going to watch it anymore and thus the memories will tend to be submerge and disperse (I would expect and hope).

Anyone else have similar responses to certain media?
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 10:31 am
S'cuse the typos, it was tough to write this.
0 Replies
 
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 11:20 am
Chumly,
My heart goes out to you.

You are certainly a survivor. Any less of a person would be a real mess now - perhaps even an abuser. You have broken the chain.

I hope that you will get in a safe place (therapy?) and allow yourself to bring up these feelings so you can examine them, nuture them into calmness and forgiveness, and let them subside.

Both of my parents were alcoholic. Kind of like drunken June and Ward Cleaver. no one would have guessed that was going on in our home. I seemed to have survived; (neurotic mess, but getting by) but my 63 year old brother has always been screwed up. He is alone and alcoholic and of course, wants to beat up everyone when he gets drunk. Like his father did.

I wish I could put my arms around you and tell you that you are safe and no one will ever hurt you again.
Chumly
 
  2  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 11:48 am
@sullyfish6,
You're most kind and I've given thought to therapy, however I have read a lot of respectable studies indicating a sizable portion of patients fair worse not better after therapy, so I do not feel the risk is worth the reward.

I can't see the net benefit of watching TV shows that remind of this, just as in a similar manner I can see the risks of going to therapy to be reminded of it.

Both my parents are dead, I never see my brother, I have a great wife, a great home, a great job, decent enough health, and good friends. Overall I am happy, even though I do not look at the world with anything approaching rose colored glasses.

What anger and frustration and grief I have left oftentimes emanates as empathy for others (like yourself and some of my students that may have had similar experiences).

Nonetheless - sometimes - late at night - alone - my eyes fill with tears - just the same as many years ago.

I officially, in person, verbally, forgave both my parents many years ago.
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chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 12:03 pm
Ralph Cramden yelling and screaming on the Honeymooners always reminds me of my father.
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 12:08 pm
@chai2,
I guess there are worse fates; but you did manage to tie in "Child Abuse Memories & Media" so who am I to complain?
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 12:22 pm
@Chumly,
Lady Diane also experienced much trauma as a child and she too avoids watching Law Order SVU for pretty much the same reason as you mention (she watches all the other Law and Order shows. I avoid war movies/programs (I've seen one film) but I don't experience anything but distaste and perfer shows such as House because I relate to the various personalities and not all that interested in the plots.
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 12:58 pm
@dyslexia,
Makes sense.

Even though I am well aware of the dark side of human nature, I still find myself being disappointed and surprised at how much pure stupidity, ignorance and aggression is focused toward children from both their parents and early schooling.

Well at the least I don't have to watch media that reminds me of it all, as I am not at sure it's cathartic in any way.

Still, I would argue it's a story that needs to be told, so I am fine with SVU and its ilk being on the air.
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chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 01:33 pm
@Chumly,
well, there's others, but that was the first one that came to mind.

put yourself in the shoes of a 4-5 year old, with this fat puss in your face every day, after he had 5 or 6 manhattens.

http://roflrazzi.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/celebrity-pictures-gleason-meadows-spousal-abuse.jpg
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 01:48 pm
@chai2,
I can see that.
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Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 03:14 pm
@Chumly,
Chumly wrote:
Anyone else have similar responses to certain media?


Yeah, I remember how hard it was to sleep with folks harassing you when you are homeless (yeah, throw your beer bottles at the guy with nowhere else to sleep but the bench, that's a great idea). Scenes where people abuse homeless people bother me. When it's fiction, like the scene in Clockwork Orange where they beat the bum, it touches a nerve but when stuff like the Bum Fights videos came out, and stories and videos of teenagers beating homeless people became more common it took it to an altogether different level.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 03:34 pm
Plenty of us are in that boat, Chumly.
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BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 04:09 pm
@Chumly,
Heh, we're a lot alike: abused young, long before we had any kind of protection from society, and believing it was "our fault" until we were in our 20's.

I don't watch TV & don't have cable. I applaud your decision to not watch any shows that upset you. Heck, that's what I do.
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sullyfish6
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 10:09 am
I never like the Rosanne show - it struck some nerves with me.
Yeah, House does not entertain me, either.
I get upset about stories where the mother does not protect the children from tyrant husbands/boyfriends.
Then again, the daily news is pretty upsetting, too.

I think it is healthy to not water some "seeds" in us that need to lay dormant. As adults, we have the power to put bad memories from childhood to rest.

0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 01:29 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Chumly wrote:
Anyone else have similar responses to certain media?


Yeah, I remember how hard it was to sleep with folks harassing you when you are homeless (yeah, throw your beer bottles at the guy with nowhere else to sleep but the bench, that's a great idea). Scenes where people abuse homeless people bother me. When it's fiction, like the scene in Clockwork Orange where they beat the bum, it touches a nerve but when stuff like the Bum Fights videos came out, and stories and videos of teenagers beating homeless people became more common it took it to an altogether different level.

The three protagonists of Tokyo Godfathers are homeless living together in a cardboard hut in Japan. In one dramatic scene, Gin and a stranger he helped from the cold get beaten by teenagers. It's indeed a very difficult scene to watch.
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Chumly
 
  2  
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 10:59 am
Although I am in no way pro media-censorship, I'm happy to report that even though I have only stopped watching Law & Order SVU for a short bit, there has been a marked reduction in my gloomy memory-factor.
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mm25075
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 03:17 pm
The movie "Slingblade" really caused a lot of stir in me when I watched it. My ex was a bit worried about me at the end of it when I was rooting for the stepfather figure to be slain. Yeah...whenever I see the actor in other roles now, it still brings back the same sensations...

I don't have a TV at the moment, but when I did have one I stayed away from news and other sad subjects like Law and Order because they tended to stir up a lot of feelings that I don't need to remember.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 05:31 pm
I could not watch The Shining, because Jack Nicholson stirred memories of my step father. What I did see of the film makes it likely I would not have liked it anyway.
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 06:06 pm
I had a fucked up childhood as well but I evetually learned to use the anger to override any feelings of fear or inadequacy.

I have been left with serious trust issues and a hard time controlling my temper when confronted in an adversarial manner.
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msolga
 
  2  
Reply Mon 8 Feb, 2010 06:09 pm
@Chumly,
Hi Chumly

I've had nothing like the reactions you've had (though I can understand perfectly well why you've had those reactions.)

Me, it's worked the other way: I've become permanently fixated on anything to do with families! Books, films, tv, you name it ...

I just wanna know how the functioning families actually do it. What's the secret? Smile
And as for the wretched, unhappy families, I can relate like mad. Home territory!
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