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Posts Tagged ‘sickness and child abuse’

Woman holding bottle (c) Lynda BernhardtOne thing that triggers me about being sick is the fear of not being believed. Even though I am pushing forty years old, I feel like a little kid when I go in to see the doctor. I just know that he is going to accuse me of “faking” my illness and send me along my way. While the adult part of myself knows that this is not going to happen, there is still a wounded inner child part of myself that fears that I will not be believed.

This happened when I went to see the doctor about this sinus infection. I did not know what was wrong with me. I feared that it might be the flu or some sort of severe cold. I was sleeping 16+ hours a day, which is clearly not normal.

The doctor checked my throat first and said that must be the secondary symptom, which I heard as “I caught you faking your first symptom.” He then looked in my ear and saw fluid but no infection, which I heard as “You are overreacting to this, too.” Then, he looked in my nose and said, “Oh, yeah. You have a sinus infection. Let’s talk antibiotics.” Then, I knew that he believed me.

It doesn’t help that hub gets really stressed out whenever I get sick. Any time I tell him that I am getting sick, he says, “No, you’re not,” as if I cannot identify a cold in my own body. I know that is just about his own junk and has nothing to do with what is going on today with me, but it feeds my insecurities about not being believed. Until I start canceling commitments, hub does not even believe me when I say that I am sick.

I know that all of these issues are about me and not about hub. I am the one who still has all sorts of issues arising out of being under the weather. It never ceases to amaze me the degree to which child abuse permeates every area of your life.

Related Topic:

Trauma Tuesday: Traumatized Children and Frequent or Inconvenient Illnesses

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Child in cabin (c) Lynda BernhardtWhen I was a child, I rarely got sick. It was a good thing because there was nobody to nurse me back to health, anyhow. However, as an adult, as I moved toward facing my history of child abuse, I became sick a lot.

I used to have one serious illness after another. I would get the flu, which would go into bronchitis. I had multiple sinus infections. I stayed sick, which drove my husband absolutely up the wall. (He is hardly a nurturer.)

I would get extremely ill each time I started a new job. I used to joke that I was allergic to first days because I would get very ill. I started one new job with a stomach virus. I had bronchitis for the start of two others. You really cannot call in sick for the first day of work, but you also cannot be vomiting all over the person who is training you, either. It was a terrible situation.

I would sometimes break out into hives for no apparent reason, especially if it was the worst possible time, such as the day of a test. I would break out into eczema rashes in the most difficult places, and it would not clear up for months on end.

When I was finally ready to enter into therapy, I lost my voice – not once but five times. My therapist said it was a fitting metaphor because for most of my life, I had no voice.

My therapist recommended that I read the book Compassion and Self Hate by Theodore I. Rubin. I was shocked to learn that my own self-hate was fueling all of this illness. The book drove home that extreme self-hate can manifest as physical illness. I did not realize just how much self-hatred I harbored until making that connection.

Since I have chosen to love myself, I rarely get sick anymore. In fact, this sinus infection has been my first illness this cold & flu season (I mean in the season that has already ended). Even when hub got one strain of the flu and my son got the other, I stayed healthy. It is amazing how deeply our minds and bodies are connected.

Related topic:

Trauma Tuesday: Traumatized Children and Frequent or Inconvenient Illnesses

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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