Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 944377

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Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases

Posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 14:23:34

This is something all of my T's have pointed out about me and something I have noticed with others who have experienced some of the same things as me in their childhoods, as to the role of intelligence and it's affect on resiliency.

For me I do have PTSD from childhood abuse but yet I never internalized the negative things my mom would say about me because I felt she didn't know what she was talking about. I saw other mom's and knew there was something wrong with her. I tried to stay out of her way as a child by hiding in the woods during summer break until my dad would come home, I buried my medals in the woods so she wouldn't see them, I changed my grades on my report card so they looked lower and I did many things like this in order not to trigger her to abuse me for various of reasons.

My T's said I used my intelligence to avoid more abuse in a situation I had very little control over. My brother was partially brain damaged (due to abuse) and wasn't as resourceful, in fact he fought back. He died a couple of years ago when he was 36 due to the abuse he suffered as a child.

I am told many children who have been through the levels of abuse and torture I have experienced, do not fair well in most cases. They go down the road my brother did when they got older. But the one thing that was different was the level of intelligence a child had as to how resilient or how they live mainly functional lives as an adult. (high IQ's and life survival skills) Not to say they don't have problems, they do, but not as extreme it seems in the people I know. They are more likely to get professional help too when needed and it seems like they go on to have non abusive families and stop the cycle of abuse. These are things I have noticed and my various T's too with the people I have met.

One thing that also seems to help children in situations like this, is to have an adult who generously cares about them and helps them when they are little. I had my grandma (from my dad's side) and various of teachers who made a huge impact on me as a child, people I bonded to who were safe. I don't think my teachers know just how much I treasure what they have given me, even if they just noticed me or sent me to the cafeteria because I had no breakfast. ( a lot of times)
Now abuse is bad no matter what but I was wondering why I don't seem to be A-typical comparable to the norm of child abuse victims. I do have big issues to work out in therapy, mainly desensitization of the trauma. I have been married for over 17 years, have 2 teenagers who are doing very well and who have never been abused, I am back in college, deans list and getting published for recent talents I had no idea that existed in art and creative writing. I have friends who I care about who offer me support when I need it. I am in a way transcending myself from the horrible things that have happened to me. This just isn't typical and I realize this, my T thinks about this on why am I different. I don't know if I will ever know. But I do know I want to take the experiences I have had to help others- so many need help.

 

**child abuse triggers above** (nm)

Posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 14:35:46

In reply to Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases, posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 14:23:34

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases BabyToes

Posted by fleeting flutterby on April 21, 2010, at 16:56:09

In reply to Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases, posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 14:23:34

I think your post makes a lot of sense. The child that can "out wit" the abuse is more likely to come out of it less damaged. With that said-- I also think it has A LOT to do with the child having a "bond" with a SAFE adult. Like you talked about your grandmother and a few teachers. I think that can give the child hope and a connection to the "healthy" way relationships can be.
I wonder if your poor dear brother didn't have that kind of adult-bond??

I grew up with abuse/neglect and experienced life threatening trauma...have been diagnosed with complex PTSD and many other things. I have chosen a partner much like the relationships I grew up with (abusive/neglectful) and my children have been struggling as I lack in exhibiting mental health and healthy relationships. I haven't a single friend (IRL).
-- But-- I could easily get straight A's in school if I cared to-- and was in the top ten of my class every year.
I think for me and many that don't function to the level you do-- it's not so much the intelligence(I've been asked by every therapist I've seen why I'm not an addict, or homeless, due to the childhood I had-- I knew inside myself that such behavior would just make my life even worse than it already was)
but----

the key difference, I'd venture to guess is, I hadn't a single adult in my childhood that took me under their wing.(grandparents deceased, abusive aunts) I was subject to some adults that added to the abuse/neglect even. I learned that humans aren't safe and pain will result.

I think you are very fortunate to have had the intelligence AND the bonding that was so important to make it out less damaged than so many others. I can imagine-- even still, it wasn't easy for you. My heart is with you.

take care

flutterby

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases

Posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 22:04:47

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases BabyToes, posted by fleeting flutterby on April 21, 2010, at 16:56:09

> I think your post makes a lot of sense. The child that can "out wit" the abuse is more likely to come out of it less damaged. With that said-- I also think it has A LOT to do with the child having a "bond" with a SAFE adult. Like you talked about your grandmother and a few teachers. I think that can give the child hope and a connection to the "healthy" way relationships can be.
Flutterby,
I agree both are important and maybe just one of those things makes a big enough difference.

> I wonder if your poor dear brother didn't have that kind of adult-bond??

My brother did have a bond with a few teachers, me and of my grandma. He was also very smart but due to brain damage he couldn't read or write above a 2nd grade level, couldn't graduate. Because he couldn't read, it really damaged his self esteem especially when my mom would tell him he was too stupid to "be anything, he believed it" He felt trapped. The seizures he had also caused a lot of memory loss which was it was hard for him to learn. I am not sure when shaken baby syndrome becomes something else when a child is older.
>
> I grew up with abuse/neglect and experienced life threatening trauma...have been diagnosed with complex PTSD and many other things.

I have had those experiences too and have been DX with complex PTSD too. It sure sucks, doesn't it?

I have chosen a partner much like the relationships I grew up with (abusive/neglectful) and my children have been struggling as I lack in exhibiting mental health and healthy relationships. I haven't a single friend (IRL).

Are your kids ok, or have they been abused too? My kids I believe had to deal with me and my ways too, going through therapy is rough for me and it did affect them, probably in good ways and bad too. But I do try my best. I hate the fact they have to deal with death threats made on our family from my mom. It isn't fair to them.

> -- But-- I could easily get straight A's in school if I cared to-- and was in the top ten of my class every year.
> I think for me and many that don't function to the level you do-- it's not so much the intelligence(I've been asked by every therapist I've seen why I'm not an addict, or homeless, due to the childhood I had-- I knew inside myself that such behavior would just make my life even worse than it already was)

My life is far from perfect, believe me, but I am a survivor and keep kicking! My T's also are amazed that I am not addict or severely dysfunctional. But I have much more work to do.

But the part that you wrote: "I knew inside myself that such behavior would just make my life even worse than it already was" shows me your intellect to know the difference. Many do not even realize this or can. I think knowing this myself as a child, is what helped me get through my life and not make as bad as mistakes if I didn't believe this.

> but----
>
> the key difference, I'd venture to guess is, I hadn't a single adult in my childhood that took me under their wing.(grandparents deceased, abusive aunts) I was subject to some adults that added to the abuse/neglect even. I learned that humans aren't safe and pain will result.

I had a few people that helped me, but it wasn't something constant. In fact more people have hurt me in my life than helped, including an unethical therapist. Learning to trust fully is new to me, I learned it through therapy with my 2nd T and really with current T. My real friendship are new this school year too. I am 41, and it took that long and with a ton of therapy to get to that point.

Are you in therapy? (sorry I haven't been around in a long time here) I have a long way to go to heal my past, but I believe that with the right help it is possible. I am so thankful for my T, she has made a huge difference in my life than my other 2 therapists put together and I have only worked with her a little over 1 1/2 years.

The friends I have made IRL have suffered the same as me as a child and just talking with them, heals us both. But I didn't have that two years ago.
Thanks for responding, please don't ever give up hope. :-)

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases

Posted by obsidian on April 21, 2010, at 22:59:48

In reply to Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases, posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 14:23:34

I do relate to this in some ways. I experienced a lot of neglect, and I have managed to get by in a number of ways, just because I figured it out. I sometimes imagine I was raised by wolves.
and there was a lot of violence and a lot of really inappropriate behaviors, and I by no means functioned well, but I did manage somehow to keep it together to some degree.

I'd wander around for miles when I was a kid. I was into art and other things. I learned how to be alone. I actually like being alone to some degree.
As far as the abuse, well that came into play a lot when the alcohol was involved. I have seen domestic violence that no child should see.

but I have done ok in school (when I wanted to). I was good at learning(when I wanted to be).
some people think I'm smart, I just know I'm not stupid.

If I weren't, I don't know what would have happened to me. Emotionally I was so screwed up. I still am to some degree. Which is why therapy is important. I can figure out a lot of stuff, but that's not what it's about for me. I need to really work on the way I relate to people, my freaking mood, my freaking anxiety. My goodness...it's just too much sometimes.

I bonded to my sister, and to a lesser extent my brother. She needed me too, and she is incredibly kind.

I've done a lot of things, but I feel stretched too thin, and not too stable. I think I'm going down, I'm going to get worse before I get better.

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases obsidian

Posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 23:15:05

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases, posted by obsidian on April 21, 2010, at 22:59:48

Ob,

What you described is exactly what I am trying to talk about here. You had escapes (even though I know you couldn't escape it all, you were just a child) but you figured a way to survive through it.

You are trying to heal, you are seeing a T, all of this shows intelligence to me- a wish for things to get better. You are doing what you know you need to heal.

I think we all still will fall down at times, even people who haven't had pasts like us, but knowing how to get up... well that is what makes the difference.

I think it does feel so freaking hard to live life and do therapy at the same time- it does feel like we are stretched like one of those Stretch Armstrongs. (if you are old enough to remember)haha! But even that toy still stayed somewhat disfigured for awhile after it was released. But it bounced back eventually. (usually, unless one was like my brother who just had to know what was inside of it)

My T says that trauma if held in the same part of the brain they believe your creative side is in. After therapy, after I release some of that trauma, I get this creative surge to paint or write. It feels weird and I am just now recognizing that restless feeling as being when I need to create something. What does that feel like to you, when you need to create?

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases BabyToes

Posted by sassyfrancesca on April 22, 2010, at 15:14:59

In reply to Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases, posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 14:23:34

What you described (in your grandparents) is something Alice Miller calls a "helping witness" Someone who doesn't necessarily know what you are going thru (abuse), but loves you unconditonally. I had that in my grandmother.

Another excellent book is called The Transcendent Child by Lillian Rubin.....that describes all of us who were able to rise above the insanity, not get bogged down by THEIR insanity.

I've written my memoir: Ghost Child to Triumph (from a child with no voice to a woman who speaks up against injustice).

Not sure about the intelligence thing; but I think it goes a along way. I KNEW my mother was wrong, and made a vow to NEVER be like her. I kept that vow, and then married a man just like her...for31 years.....then got divorced.

Amazingly, i don't seem to have any emotional issues from a childhood of abuse (physical and verbal), being molested, living in poverty (phone phone, car, refrigerator, bathroom, snow which came in thru a crack in the wall and molested.

Yes you (and I) had a "helping witness."

You sound a lot like me. I went back to school at age 61 (won a scholarship---it wasn't academic, but what I wrote about my life). I wrote a 25-page paper for class which I just submitted to the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, and it is in the process of review (can't believe that); I joined the army right out of high school and have been "driven" ever since...to make a difference. I've written a book of poetry: Sanctuary of the Soul, and my endodrsements blow me away: Dr. Wayne Dyer, Elie Weisel, Alice Miller, Dr. Larry Dossey, Dr. Ellen Langer, Nikki Giovanni (14 in all). My passion is to get the message out there regarding verbal abuse; I've been on the radio 2 times and may be invited on FOX News.

I am SO proud of you; it just shows how transcendent we can be!

Hugs and Love and HUGE pats on the back, for being an overcomer (I call myself an over comer and wounded helaer)

Oh, I survived spiritual abuse also; my church voted me out of membership, with my name upon a big screen, followed by the words : "Conduct Unbecoming a Child of God." I was able to make someting positive ome out of THAT debacle also....my poetry site with over 17,605 hits.

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases

Posted by deerock on April 22, 2010, at 20:28:23

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases BabyToes, posted by sassyfrancesca on April 22, 2010, at 15:14:59

i dont think the helping witness has to be an adult.
i had a lot of childhood friends who were really great and were really close to me. my parents were animals. i think that i had the respect of my pals made me feel worth while. i also knew enough to recognize that my mother was a beast sometimes. so i called her every name in the book.

i also wonder though, when you describe, anyone on this list for that matter, being abused as a kid, was it all abuse, all the time? for me, my parents were brutal and violent and neglectful but they were also very loving at times.

so maybe for me the occasional love was enough to help me to function at a somewhat normal level.
if it was all abuse all the time im sure id still be hooked on drugs and all kindsa messy stuff. i might even be dead. but somehow, there is a spark to fight, to know that the pain isnt all their is and that something better can come about.

i never had an adult or a teacher take me under their wing. all my teachers thought i was an animal. but all the kids loved me. i had tons of friends. that pulled me through i think.

also, in terms of turning to drugs, i think addiction is a bad scene but i think if i didnt become addicted, id be worse off. i think my addiction was a huge outlet. sure it got a little outta hand and caused some problems but without it, i dont think i would have had anywhere to turn when the heat was real high at home. but who knows. maybe if i didnt get wacked outta my head everday through college i'da been a scholar of some kind.

the rock

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases BabyToes

Posted by obsidian on April 22, 2010, at 21:38:47

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases obsidian, posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 23:15:05

Well, when I make art it feels like trying to say something I can't really say in words.
I like to write too, I even go to a writing class.
I like it....but that's another way to say something that is hard to say.
It's company too, that art stuff, the journal, the guitar, whatever.
I don't know what to make art about right now.
but these days I don't get much of a chance. I signed up for an art class this summer. I am really interested in it.
It just feels like something I need to do because there is something I am trying to say, but can't.

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases deerock

Posted by BabyToes on April 22, 2010, at 22:55:25

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases, posted by deerock on April 22, 2010, at 20:28:23

> i dont think the helping witness has to be an adult.
> i had a lot of childhood friends who were really great and were really close to me.

It could be anyone at any age I think too. OR even a loving dog. I still love my dog is happy to see me when I wake up every morning or come home from school. :-)
>
> i also wonder though, when you describe, anyone on this list for that matter, being abused as a kid, was it all abuse, all the time? for me, my parents were brutal and violent and neglectful but they were also very loving at times.

For me, I lived in fear for my life most of my childhood and only felt safe when my dad was home. He was neglectful but he never physically hurt me compared to my mom. In fact my safe spot I used in trauma therapy, is a memory of being on the lake with my father.
>
> so maybe for me the occasional love was enough to help me to function at a somewhat normal level.

That is a good point, it must have gave you some strength and hope to "hang on" until things could feel better.

> if it was all abuse all the time im sure id still be hooked on drugs and all kindsa messy stuff. i might even be dead. but somehow, there is a spark to fight, to know that the pain isnt all their is and that something better can come about.

You knowing that the pain isn't all there is, is using your smarts as a child. I think some children have no outlet mentally or physically.
>
> i never had an adult or a teacher take me under their wing. all my teachers thought i was an animal. but all the kids loved me. i had tons of friends. that pulled me through i think.

I am happy to hear about that, I was too afraid to tell my friends. But I think their parents might have suspected it sometimes.
>
> also, in terms of turning to drugs, i think addiction is a bad scene but i think if i didnt become addicted, id be worse off. i think my addiction was a huge outlet. sure it got a little outta hand and caused some problems but without it, i dont think i would have had anywhere to turn when the heat was real high at home. but who knows. maybe if i didnt get wacked outta my head everday through college i'da been a scholar of some kind.
>
It was a form of escape, I am finding a lot of us had one form or another. Some cause more problems than others, but when in that situation, I think you just do what you know what to do as a child to cope. Thanks for your response, "the rock"
> the rock

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases obsidian

Posted by BabyToes on April 22, 2010, at 22:58:39

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases BabyToes, posted by obsidian on April 22, 2010, at 21:38:47

>
> It just feels like something I need to do because there is something I am trying to say, but can't.

I feel this way too, it is like it has to come out one way or another. I used to use music, but I am no longer playing anymore because I find painting and writing to be better accesses to my emotions.

What kind of art class are you going to take? I am taking pottery and printmaking in the fall.

 

Re: double double quotes sassyfrancesca

Posted by Dr. Bob on April 23, 2010, at 12:01:39

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases BabyToes, posted by sassyfrancesca on April 22, 2010, at 15:14:59

> Another excellent book is called The Transcendent Child by Lillian Rubin.....that describes all of us who were able to rise above the insanity, not get bogged down by THEIR insanity.

I'd just like to plug the double double quotes feature at this site:

http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/faq.html#amazon

The first time anyone refers to a book, a movie, or music without using this option, I post this to try to make sure he or she at least knows about it. It's just an option, though.

Thanks!

Bob

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases sassyfrancesca

Posted by BabyToes on April 23, 2010, at 13:40:17

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases BabyToes, posted by sassyfrancesca on April 22, 2010, at 15:14:59

Hey Sassy gurl!

You know me, but maybe not under this name. (twin gurl) But I just wanted to warn you of this in case you didn't know. Your name can be revealed very easily by searching under your books and this site is searchable (or was) by Google. So your T can search your name and come to this site and others and read what you have shared with all of us. ( I don't know if that concerns you or not)
Plus if you become a T, you might not want all of this information available to future clients. Dr. Bob keeps a searchable archive FOR YEARS here and as far as I know will not remove your posts if you ask.
It is fine to advertise your books and stuff, but be careful about where and under what posting name. It is a matter of safety and privacy. Here is a good source for you if you would like to connect to other women writers..http://www.shewrites.com/ IT is a valuable resource and support for writers and it gives you good info on how to advertise your books. You know my name, so friend me if you become a member! :-)

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases

Posted by rnny on April 24, 2010, at 0:01:38

In reply to Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases, posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 14:23:34

I am of above average intelligence but I do not think in my case it helped me one iota with the childhood trauma. The traumatic events started in infancy really and continued through my teens. I was like a fragile little flower or little tiny stuffed animal that was in a constant state of being crushed. I couldn't really come up for air because there was something always about to happen. Domestic violence in the home, moving around from house to house, state to state, alcoholism, sexual abuse, criminal behavior in the home and so on. The list is endless. It was a non-stop torture chamber to be sure. So I have PTSD and can see why! My intelligence I do not believe helped me as a child. If it has come into play at all, I would say more as an adult. But even as an adult I have made some very stupid mistakes and used poor judgement. I am in the legal profession but have actually broken the law many times when it could have been avoided. So that is one example right there. I have a clean "record" but I have come pretty darn close to really getting in legal trouble a couple of times. So as far as I am concerned, I am as guilty as the person who did get convicted because I have done some of the same things! I was actually a gifted child in terms of grades but like I said, it didn't help me. I was very passive and did nothing to fight back. My way of dealing with being in a living nightmare was to be as agreeable as possible. I made friends with my enemies who happened to be my parents rather than turn against them. If I was to be taken hostage, I would be the person who would be 'really nice' to my captors. That is what I used to survive my childhood. Being ultra sweet and not a difficult child. But personally, I don't think it helped me, not really. It was the path of least resistance. It was what worked best for me. I was sweet, very compliant, not rebellious and did everything I was told. But by no means did it win me any affection from my parents. It protected me from what could have been worse abuse! I made them feel they were great and I thought the world of them as they tortured me. I knew in my heart that the human spirit has some capacity for empathy and I tried very hard to tap into their empathetic sides. But it didn't work. It didn't stop the abuse. I think it just helped make it not as bad.

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases rnny

Posted by BabyToes on April 24, 2010, at 12:08:46

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases, posted by rnny on April 24, 2010, at 0:01:38

Rnny
I am sorry to hear about your abusive childhood, it reminds me of mine somewhat. I too took the path of resistance, I hid from my abuser all the time when I could. But to me, that is using your intelligence because you are still alive. You did what you had to in order to survive and making it not as bad is something astonishing to me. (not everyone even would know how to do that, like my brother) I guess that is what I am getting at.

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases

Posted by rnny on April 24, 2010, at 16:55:26

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases rnny, posted by BabyToes on April 24, 2010, at 12:08:46

Thank you Baby Toes. We both did what worked for us. And we made it. We are alive. :)

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse c

Posted by floatingbridge on April 25, 2010, at 1:44:19

In reply to Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases, posted by BabyToes on April 21, 2010, at 14:23:34

Intelligence, bonding, birth order, GENETICS. No one knows why one person gets ptsd and someone else does not. This is a hot topic of research. Why do some of the smartest most talented people become addicts? Or do the most destructive things? (Like run military dictatorships.) Intelligence is one key. Emotional intelligence (a popular word) is another--that one has the sense to follow the instinct to hide. For some, even that 'sense to follow their instinct' has been broken by abuse. Frankly, I just consider myself darn lucky. Maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit--and my therapist would say I'm not--he asks me, too, how I managed to survive.

Lucky. I just remembered that is the name of the 'rape' memoir by Alice Sebald or Seward, or something. She also wrote The Lovely Bones.

 

Re: double double quotes floatingbridge

Posted by Dr. Bob on April 25, 2010, at 9:23:30

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse c, posted by floatingbridge on April 25, 2010, at 1:44:19

> Lucky. I just remembered that is the name of the 'rape' memoir by Alice Sebald or Seward, or something. She also wrote The Lovely Bones.

I'd just like to plug the double double quotes feature at this site:

http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/faq.html#amazon

The first time anyone refers to a book, a movie, or music without using this option, I post this to try to make sure he or she at least knows about it. It's just an option, though.

Thanks!

Bob

 

Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases BabyToes

Posted by sassyfrancesca on May 5, 2010, at 12:42:01

In reply to Re: Intelligence and bonding in childhood abuse cases sassyfrancesca, posted by BabyToes on April 23, 2010, at 13:40:17

Thankyou dear twin!!

Hugs, Sassy


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