11 Truths You Need to Know If You Grew Up Experiencing Childhood Abuse
When you’ve survived childhood abuse, it’s common to carry emotional baggage with you into adulthood. And it makes sense — if the only messaging you received in your upbringing was abusive, it’s no wonder children who were abused grow up to have greater struggles with self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and mental health.
In addition to carrying harmful memories, abused children will often internalize lies about themselves that end up hurting them long into their adult lives. We know how difficult it can be to process painful and abusive memories from childhood, so to support you in your recovery, we turned to our Mighty community to share some truths they wish they knew as children when they experienced abuse. We hope these truths can be an encouraging reminder that you are never alone, and there is hope for recovery.
Here’s what our community shared with us:
1. It wasn’t your fault.
”It’s not your fault. They will blame you for things you didn’t do and you will be yelled at for being who you are. Find a good outlet for all the anger you feel and just be you. You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are loved. Keep your head up high and things will get better one day, I promise” — Heather P.
2. You didn’t deserve what happened to you.
“It wasn’t normal. It wasn’t OK. I didn’t need to learn to live with it.” — Desirae W.
3. Your feelings are real and valid.
“I wish I knew I wasn’t being overly dramatic. My feelings were completely valid and being hurt by the way I was treated was to be expected since it was abuse, not normal behavior like I was brainwashed into thinking.” — Kacey K.
“You’re allowed to be angry and you’re allowed to cry.” — Abagail B.
4. You are more than enough.
“I would tell my younger self that I wasn’t the cause of the abuse because I was ‘too stupid’ or ‘too ugly’ or ‘too unworthy’ of love. I always thought I was the cause of everything because I made mom upset somehow. I now know I did nothing to cause any of the abuse. I didn’t deserve it. I was a child who needed love, understanding and guidance from someone who wasn’t able to provide that. That wasn’t my fault…” — Cheryl O.
5. It wasn’t your job to be “the adult” as a kid.
”It’s not your job to protect all the grown ups. It’s their job to protect you.” — Monika S.
“I wish I understood… it was not my responsibility to fix them or carry their burden for them, but to understand and know it was not me.” — Ellie Q.
6. If you didn’t recognize you were being abused, you’re not alone.
“I wish I understood that I was being abused so that I would tell someone. I always thought I just had super strict parents that would yell at me and that it was normal for them to take their feelings out on me.” — Liz T.
“I wish I had known when I was younger also that I was being abused in the first place. When it is all you have ever known, you often don’t recognize it’s even happening in the first place. For me, it wasn’t until I got older that I understood and even more recently truly accepted it.” — Christina S.
7. You aren’t a sexual object.
“I am a good person, and not the worthless mistake I was told I was… I didn’t deserve to be treated like a sexual object by the people who treated me like one.” — Dawn C.
8. You deserve to talk about it.
“It’s OK to talk about it. It’s not your fault and it never was. Talking about it helps with the pain and shame you may feel or they projected onto you. Don’t hide your feelings because you didn’t do anything wrong. Talk about it.” — Shannon M.
9. You are worthy of love.
“You are lovable!… All of the lies [you heard growing up] are just that — lies. You are so lovable, so worthy of love and so strong.” — Danielle L.
10. You can stop the cycle of abuse.
“I wish my younger self knew that it wasn’t my fault and that abuse isn’t normal and to grow up seeking relationships with people who won’t abuse you. If you do that, you will be stopping the cycle of abuse and that is very possible. You don’t have to live your life the way you were treated.” — Suewanda B.
11. You are strong and recovery is possible.
“You are strong. You are beautiful. You are a warrior. Don’t let anyone or anything tell you otherwise.” — Christi L.
What “truth” do you wish your younger self knew if you grew up experiencing abuse?