(Here is the place to put a graphic picture of sexual abuse; but that might be considered child pornography.)
I am talking about the abuser, not the victim. The chances are extremely high they will offend again and probably had committed other offenses before they got caught. Also offenses tend to escalate over time as it takes more and more of a thrill to “get off”. Some people protect and support offenders because they think they deserve a chance and they would like to believe that the offenders have reformed.
It takes extreme vigilance to protect potential victims from these offenders. You and any other responsible adult who know about the offender should attempt to shadow the offender and keep them from being alone with potential victims. To do this, you have to think like an offender.
The sexual abuse often reflects the offenders’ full time commitment to getting access to potential victims and to collect information that would help them do this. A sexual offender never says to a responsible caretaker I will watch your child for you while you go to the grocery store and while you are there, I will get your child to undress and play a “fun” game with me from which I will get sexual pleasure.
Should you believe me? Yes! I have conducted interviews with many victims of sexual abuse, often by play therapy and by using drawings, One thing I have been careful not to do is implant an idea in a child’s mind where one didn’t exist and to try not to commit further trauma. The child may be frightened and somehow feel guilty. These are ways that the abuser knows to keep the victim from talking about the abuse with anyone.
When abuse occurs, children do many things in an attempt to help them handle it. They may learn not to trust their feelings and/or intuition. They might put a lot of it out of their mind as it is too hot to handle. But the unconscious usually retains the memories of sexual abuse somewhere and also the feelings associated with it. It is like a splinter. It may hurt a little if you leave it alone but it might hurt a lot when you take it out. Then the pain can go away.
Possible consequences of sexual abuse are confusion about sexual identity, decreased or even absent libido, and a sense of inferiority that never goes away. Don’t wait for someone else to do something about it! The sexual abuser counts on this.
How do you define yourself? By what others tell you? By what you think you should be? By what you really are?
Most of us grow up learning to define ourselves by the first two ways given? Thus we may never learn who we really are! Often we reach middle age or our golden years, not knowing who we are! Then we feel we have lost valuable time actually we could have been being ourselves in our lifetimes.
Who are you? In our society, we are subject to many outside influences trying to control who we are. We are unique human beings (one of a kind) who are shaped by varying outside influences and by inborn internal constraints.
Even identical twins are not entirely identical. In their bodies in some ways, they are mirror, rather than identical, images of each other and, of course, inevitably they are not treated exactly alike by other people and have experiences that are not exactly alike.
Yes, we inherit certain abilities and disabilities from our ancestors; but not always in the way that our family is happy with. Because that is so, many parents and grandparents are unhappy with their children and grandchildren who are unable to follow in their footsteps.
Even if we find idols other than our parents or grandparents to follow after, we might still not be qualified to do so. My parents were not college graduates so when I went to college something that my parents had not had the opportunity to do), I chose to become a psychologist, something that no one in my family had ever done.
I ignored some of my creative artistic and musical inclinations to become a knowledgeable scientist who would successfully do research to prove certain principles in the science of psychology. I felt had to do this to become what I was interested in being a practicing therapist and intuitive diagnostician and this was a preliminary step!
Actually, I was really interested in helping ordinary people before their problems became serious which is something I am doing now by writing this blog. I have also discovered that instinctively I have a good singing and speaking voice and artistic sense. That led me to rethink my past interests in projective drawings and hypnosis and other forms of altered states as an aid in therapy. I had briefly become involved in these things and then rejected them because they did not represent mainline scientific psychology and because I thought I was not talented enough in these areas.
So who are YOU really?
As much as we would sometimes like to, rotely learning material does not automatically generate people who can use the material. Rote learning is good for learning things that we must be able to recall quickly and what is learned rotely is different from person to person depending on what they do and what kind of information they need to have on hand. A simple example is memorizing words and their meanings to give a person a good vocabulary that they will use every day. This is true of what we call knowledge.
A person does a lot of learning when they are still little. They generate theories with resulting hypotheses that they test out probably before they can talk. Most adults reason with words, but children start learning how things work before they can talk. I am sure science will find out just how this is done with or without words someday or may be studying it even now.
They also learn usually through rewards and punishments what ideas that they have about things work or don’t work. Even animals learn this way although we used to think that animals had inborn instincts that determined what they would do or not do. Instincts are definitely inborn probably because most animals have to be able to do some things for themselves at birth.
Everyone is an individual even before birth. Their inborn DNA determines many of the strengths and weaknesses they might have. Thus no child is exactly like one of their parents. The problem is that sometimes one of the parents wants a child to do what they like to do; but the child was not born with the same abilities, the same brain, and/or bodies. Thus such a desire can be doomed to failure and the child may receive the blame for not being able or wanting to do what the parent would like the child to do. The child then often grows up to feel worthless in their parent’s eyes and to fail to develop as his or her individual self.
For example, my mother was the youngest of two girls (no boys) and while her older sister got to help with chores in the house, her father expected her to help him outside at the farm. He wasn’t unreasonable but she was afraid of horses and while she was young everything was still done with horses.
Children are thinking and reasoning and planning for themselves long before their parents even know it. Children can recognize different tones of voice, and facial expressions and body postures and how people react to determine if it is safe to do or not do something. Sometimes the parents may say one thing and mean another. How about telling a child to go give someone a kiss when the child can tell that either that person does not like them or their parent does not like the person. Double bind? Say one thing and do another?
We can learn not only from our own experiences we can also learn from other people’s experiences. But sometimes other peoples conclusions or theories from these experiences may not fit into our understanding of things. Eventually most parents want children to think for themselves and to be able to make good decisions so they can be independent (parents usually die before children) and require less and less supervision.
Ultimately children should be able to think for themselves and to be able to evaluate what they have learned and experienced and change their bodies of knowledge some learned through the experiences of others and their theories about how the world works to fit new information. Sometimes the information instead is changed or rejected because it doesn’t fit their theory.
Wisdom comes with time and having learned to be able to think for oneself as you have accumulated knowledge and experience. Strange or new information can be frightening and it might be easier to reject it, but the cost, in the long run, is greater than if the person had worked it through even if it was scary or painful to do so. Many people do this with physical problems and sometimes if they do do something, it can be too late. Yes, we all have the right to make mistakes and sometimes we can learn from them; but fear of change or possible consequences can keep us from even trying to do it.
Colleges and universities used to be places where you could learn new things and try new ideas out. It was supposed to be a safe place where things could be discussed freely and new ideas often tried out safely. Professors could have different ideas about the way things should be; but there was open debate encouraged in classes. Yes, you may have been expected to learn certain things especially in certain areas of work or professions because you were expected to know these tings to graduate and go on in your field or the college was not doing the job they were getting paid for.
Wisdom is usually obtained over time and there are things that are not learned through study or only by experiences in universities or medical or law schools. Wisdom is also flavored by individuality and people’s individual tastes. It never hurts to try something even though you think you might not like it. I have had experiences that I might not been completely ready for that gave me strengths that I might not have been able to develop any other way.
You are never ready to do anything, but at some point you have to go ahead and do it because the time when you are completely ready might never come. Wisdom truly comes from these experiences. I didn’t truly understand grief until my best friend, her unborn child, and her young daughter were killed in a traffic accident.
I may be older than you; but I might be wiser than you in many ways that is one of the reasons I write this blog. Do I expect you to believe or learn from everything I write, no. But it might it expose you to some information that would spur you to do or think differently in a way that would benefit you.
I also am a teacher and I have learned that students are all different especially in terms of the knowledge and experiences they come into class with. They are also different in terms of their mindsets about learning. This is especially true when it comes grade time.
Think for yourself. Evaluate what you have learned just don’t accept something without thinking about it or testing it if possible in real life. There is a reason that all science classes includes laboratory sessions so the students can have experiences that they can relate to the material being presented in lectures. This called critical thinking and it is something dictators don’t want people to do.