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Archive for March 3rd, 2008

Skull (c) Lynda Bernhardt

+++ trigger warning – I discuss specific forms of severe emotional abuse +++

In my post Which Type of Child Abuse is the Worst?, I stated that I believe that emotional abuse is the hardest type of abuse to overcome. All forms of child abuse include emotional abuse.

When I wrote that post, I thought about which incident of child abuse I would erase from my mind if I had the power to remove just one. I quickly narrowed it down to two incidents.

The runner up was a particularly savage gang rape. It is not the gang rape itself that plagues me so much as the resulting phobia, which came from the emotional aspects of the abuse. My abusers held up Russian nesting dolls that were all stored inside of the largest doll. The leader told me that I was going to die that night. He dramatically opened doll after doll, and I knew that something horrible was going to happen when he got to the smallest doll. While they (obviously) did not kill me, I would have preferred death to what they put me through that night. To this day, I get a severe headache whenever I come across a Russian nesting doll. Even writing this is making me lightheaded from dissociation.

However, I prefer that memory to another one. My abusers told me they were going to kill my sister, but I could choose a substitute to die in her place. Of course, I said I would choose anyone else. That is when they brought out my beloved dog and slaughtered her right in front of me. Then, they threw her body on the bonfire, so I could smell her cooking flesh. Next, they cut up her body and forced me to eat a piece of it. I still have not fully healed from that trauma, and I can feel the tears welling up inside as I write this. The pain runs so deep that I still have trouble shedding tears over it, even though I know that shedding tears would bring me an enormous amount of relief.

In this incident – my most painful – I did not experience any physical or sexual abuse. However, I find that memory significantly more painful that any other trauma I suffered. For me, emotional abuse has been the most damaging.

In my next post, I will discuss other forms of severe emotional abuse.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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