Psych Central

Issues from Abuse, Neglect

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am coming to this site for a few reasons. My roommate and good friend is a psychology student. He fears that I may have some psychological issues that stem from a wide variety of childhood abuse I endured at a young age. Since I’m young and on my own, I can’t really afford professional help, but I don’t want to scare myself with information on the internet that doesn’t cater to my exact situation.

As a young child, I was sexually and physically abused by my father on a regular basis. My mother was also physically abusive towards me, but was in prison the majority of my childhood. My father abandoned me and I was left with my maternal grandparents when I was 9. They kind of let me do whatever, and weren’t abusive, but didn’t always see that my needs were met.

I never thought that in later years, these things would come back to haunt me. Through much of my teenage years I brushed off the negative feelings I had as “teen angst” and assumed it would eventually go away. Since the age of ten however, I have self-harmed, had issues with my body appearance, and even attempted suicide. I am always anxious, and more recently, I have began to have awful night terrors that wake me up in a sweat. It has been almost a decade, and these problems are taking a huge toll on me in my attempt to lead a normal adult life.

I’m not sure how to handle the pain I go through on a daily basis. I’m not sure whether any psychological problems could be the result of the abuse I endured either. I have told myself time and time again “I’ll get over it” or I felt stupid for feeling this way over things that happened over a decade ago. I never honestly thought it was a big deal. But with my roommate insisting that my childhood could be the cause of these symptoms I’m having, I thought I would ask a professional for help.

A. There is a good chance that the problems you are currently experiencing stem from your abusive childhood. Your childhood was characterized by abuse, neglect and abandonment. The very people who were supposed to love, care and protect you harmed you and abandoned you. Thankfully you had your grandparents who did the best they could but still fell short.

You stated that you feel “stupid” for feeling the way you do but you shouldn’t. What happened to you was not your fault. No one easily “gets over” an abusive childhood. Your formative years were damaged by your parents. Having had an abusive childhood does not mean that you are irreparably damaged. There is damage from childhood for many people, if not most. The degree of damage varies but nonetheless the damage must be corrected. Therapy is a corrective process.

If you’re in college, then in all likelihood you can receive free psychological services through the counseling center. It would be advantageous for you to see a therapist to deal with the psychological pain that is degrading your life. It would be ill-advised to ignore your psychological pain or attempt to deal with it on your own. Psychotherapists are trained to deal with the very problems with which you struggle. Seeking professional psychological help would be the most efficient way to deal with this problem. Many people who are in counseling are dealing with issues that stem from childhood. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Mar 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Issues from Abuse, Neglect. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/03/08/issues-from-abuse-neglect/

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