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Overcoming childhood abuse - Dhamma Wheel

Overcoming childhood abuse

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
f10ona
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:41 pm

Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby f10ona » Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:48 pm

I hope you can give me some advice.... it's a complicated one I'm afraid :thinking:

I have been a Buddhist for a long time, and I had thought I had dealt with the childhood abuse and forgiven my father.
However a year and a half ago I had a baby boy, and my protective instincts really kicked in.
I was nolonger able to tolerate him and suddenly finding his visits, impulsive negative comments, and occasional inappropraite touching of my son unbareably stressful.
I asked him in a letter to acknowledge his sexual inappropriateness towards my sister and I in our childhood, and to take steps to understand his own actions.
He didn't reply for 4 months, and then finally wrote saying he was sorry, that he thinks we should move on with our lives without him. (in his words; "because he can only be a negative influence and cause us depression").

Yesterday he called me, and I picked up by mistake and was forced into a conversation with him. I was polite and I think I made it clear that we need him to understand "Why" he did what he did to us, maybe to get some therapy.

TBH honest I think I'm handling this in the right way... mindfully and carefully... But I am finding it sooooo stressful. I feel sick when I think of him or think of seeing him or talking to him any time soon. I don't know how to find compassion for him.

I know many people come to religion, and Buddhism to overcome massive difficulties in their lives... I'm kind of hoping someone here might be able to share how they overcame an issue such as this.

Thanks

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:27 pm

Hello

I'm sorry that you and your sister had to go through this.

You should be aware that pedophilia has no cure. Even if he gets therapy, he'll never be cured. I think your father was right when he said that you should go on with your life without him, even if it's only for the sake of your own son. When compassion is not possible, equanimity should be developed.

Metta
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

Luke
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:53 pm

Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Luke » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:52 pm

Hi f10ona,

You have nothing to apologize for. Compassion doesn't always mean simply smiling and letting people do whatever they want. Sometimes compassion means taking a hard, firm stance for what is right, and doing whatever necessary to protect your son is definitely right. Given the circumstances, I think you've been remarkably civil to your father.

It's possible that in the future you could have compassionate thoughts for your father even if you never or rarely see him. Taking away the opportunity for your father to do something terrible is the compassionate thing to do, in my opinion, so I agree with Modus Ponens.

I'm no expert on these things, but I think that being a good parent to your son is probably the best therapy, as well as Buddhism in general. And the fact that you are being protective of your son shows that you are already thinking like a good parent.

I wish you and your family the best of luck.

Luke

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Viscid
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Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Viscid » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:23 pm

"What holds attention determines action." - William James

Individual
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Individual » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:29 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Phra Chuntawongso
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Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:50 pm

And crawling on the planets face,some insects called the human race.
Lost in time
Lost in space
And meaning

f10ona
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:41 pm

Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby f10ona » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:52 pm

Thank you so much for your supportive replies. I've been thinking and thinking of ways of trying to reconcile the situation, but I know now that I feel happiest when I am not in contact him. I've always felt a guilty obligation to be in contact with him, but plagued by nasty dreams and night terrors. Breaking contact with him will be a big step, and I will always be concerned for his wellbeing... at least we have made the right steps towards that now...

Thank you everyone, much appreciated xxx

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Dan74
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Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Dan74 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:55 pm

Dear f10ona,

Coming to terms with child abuse and the abuser is indeed a very very challenging thing, even for a very seasoned practitioner.

I once asked Ajahn Thanasanti, a well known bhikkhuni, about this very matter and she said much the same thing. Sit with it, allow whatever arises to arise, "weather the storm" so to speak, and consider carefully if a therapeutic relationship with a therapist who deals with victims of abuse, would be helpful.

Be careful not to shut off other significant people in your life.

These matters arise and will keep arising probably all through one's life. But if one faces them, deal with them, works through them, allows them to work through one, it can also be enriching just as it may be overwhelming and stressful.

May you be well!
_/|\_

f10ona
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:41 pm

Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby f10ona » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:59 pm

I've just written and posted a letter to him. Its actually his 60th birthday this weekend, and I feel kind of bad that we're not able to celebrate it. But as I pointed out in the letter I feel on the verge of a panic attack even thinking of talking with him right now.

How can I find a practice to deal with this? I don't want to off load it onto my nearest and dearest, and at my Dharma centre they are super busy. I go to a Karuna therapist who helps me handle it some, but I can't afford to see her every week.
I've been making daily water offerings on my shrine and doing some sitting meditation, reciting some Tara texts and mantras. I'm trying to focus on Buddha nature being free of aversions. But when I try and generate compassion for him, I just feel guilty for putting him through this... and infact I should feel right for taking care of me finally and my child and boyfriend.

I just want to be free of this stress, and not feel bad for expressing my true feelings to my father.

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andre9999
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Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby andre9999 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:23 am

Developing compassion towards someone does not require allowing people to hurt you. To oversimplify, by trying to reduce the suffering of your father, you're increasing the suffering of yourself, probably your boyfriend, and especially your son. That's not a very good ratio.

Take care of yourself and your son at all costs. When you realize that not only is doing so okay, but that it's the most important thing you can do, you'll find that everything else will fall into place nicely.

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Tex
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Location: Austin, TX, USA

Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Tex » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:44 am

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -- Heraclitus

Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:43 am

The best things in life aren't things.


Luke
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:53 pm

Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Luke » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:06 pm


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Spiny O'Norman
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Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:19 pm


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Hanzze
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Location: Cambodia

Re: Overcoming childhood abuse

Postby Hanzze » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:47 am

Dear f10ona,

it may looks different to Buddhism, but it is not that you need to forgive only your father. More difficult is it to respect one self and forgive one self. Hellinger is very practical working with trauma. I guess there are some places in your area as well:

maybe the original is better

Disentangle is the way Buddha taught to get freedom. Bert Hellinger does it in a nonreligious way.
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_


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