Imagine: you’re living your life from the assumption you’re operating from free will. That you create your life yourself. That any and all obstacles on your path have manifested from being not strong enough, not determined enough, not clever or cute enough. So every time you encounter one, you try harder.
And you accomplish a lot, but still you keep having this nagging feeling that something isn’t right. That something is dragging you down. Something pulls you back everytime. Like going two steps forward and one backward. But you have no idea why.
The shadow of the past
Now, imagine that one day, you look back. You look behind you and see the real cause of your mysterious fatigue, your bouts of depression and derealisation. The bruises you don’t remember getting. The strange illnesses. You have been sexually abused all this time without knowing it. While being unconscious. By a member of your own family. Someone you should be able to trust.
It might sound crazy, and it is. The perpetrators of this kind of abuse have serious mental illnesses – which they know how to hide expertly. This particular kind of abuse may be somewhat rare, but it can go on for generations when it stays hidden. I’m writing this article to reveal the tactics and symptoms of this kind of abuse so survivors can put together the pieces of the puzzle as soon as possible, and help themselves – and their children.
Despite the fact that I have worked with survivors of abuse originating in this life and in past lives, I had never heard of this kind of hidden structural abuse before – until I uncovered it in practice. We are talking about the structural use of tactics to attack from behind, knock unconscious, drug or asphyxiate the victim so the abuser can abuse them in secret. Amnesia will take care of the rest: the abuser is never recognized as such and the victim doesn’t even know he or she is being abused. This can go on for decades – even generations.
When hidden abuse takes place in childhood, other members of the family such as mothers, grandmothers, siblings may also be drugged, hit or smothered so there are no witnesses and no-one knows what is really going on behind the scenes – and therefore no-one can intervene.
This tactic has a lot in common with the phenomenon of “date rape”: the target is knocked out by drugging his or her drink and raped in a semi-conscious state. Afterwards, the victim suffers symptoms such as amnesia, anxiety, depression, insomnia, sexual problems, etc. In fact, they suffer from post-traumatic stress without knowing it.
In this case, however we are talking about physical and sexual abuse in a state of unconsciousness within the family, over a long period of time, where the perpetrator can continue the abuse and operate within the intimate family circle because they are never recognized as such. The victim can’t even stand up for themselves, help themselves or fight back – because they do not know what’s going on.
The symptoms they suffer from because of the abuse are a lot like PTSD after sexual abuse – but are never recognized as such, not even by the victim themselves. So they start thinking of other explanations for their physical, emotional and mental complaints. Personality traits. Inborn weaknesses. Insecurity. Stress. High sensitivity. Even past life trauma.
Of course, there is a lot of overlap with these and other causes – because of abuse, your body and its immune system are weakened. You lose energy. You are more susceptible to infections. You are being filled with subconscious negative and detrimental messages by the abuser that will break down your self-image and motivation over time. The abuser may be someone you have known in past lives – or may resemble them and touch upon the same issues that originated there.
The type of abuser that will use this strategy of hit-and-run within the intimate circle is my experience extremely cowardly. They are not capable of attaining greatness in real life, so they will unleash their frustrations upon their unconscious victims. There is also a sadistic component in this type of abuse: the perpetrators enjoy the sense of false power they get from temporarily controlling their victim without them being able to fight back or stand up for themselves afterwards.
Characteristics of perpetrators of hidden structural abuse
Like most abusers these people are very manipulative. They have a hidden life in which they can unleash their unhealthy impulses: behind closed doors, within the family or another closed social network, abroad or on the internet. They have a lot in common with paedophiles, sexual fetishists, malignant narcissists and sociopaths or are even plain psychopaths. They find sadistic pleasure in torturing helpless people or animals because it gives them a false sense of power. In essence they are empty inside – and completely ruthless.
These perpetrators can get away with the hidden abuse for decades because they are able to put up a false front and pretend to be different than they really are. They can have superficial charm and use tricks to keep a false persona and false relationships in place: by using expressions they have learned from movies and books, or the internet for example. They will also quickly dust off their own victim stories when they are put under pressure and use them to gain sympathy: without ever having done anything to work on those so-called victim issues. They tell stories that completely confuse their family members, children and acquaintances (they never have real close friends) – and bafflingly enough often get away with it for their entire lives.
What’s wrong with me?
The family members they abuse will live their lives with the vague feeling there is something terribly wrong. In their confusion, and because of the negative messages they have been filled with, they will draw the conclusion something is wrong with them because they aren’t able to have a real relationship (or even real contact) with their father, brother, uncle, nephew. That their father etc. aren’t really nice at all, and only feign sympathy only gets clear much, much later, if at all: by putting the deeds and words of perpetrators next to each other, for example. By listening to intuition, instinct and the signals of their own body and subconscious.
Growth of awareness and consciousness
Hidden abuse will come up in people who are on the path of growing awareness and consciousness, and listen to the signals of their body, their subconscious, their intuition. Because hidden abuse takes place during times of unconsciousness, because of a blow to the head, asphyxia, or the forced intake of drugs the brain doesn’t store it in long-term memory well. The body, subtle energy bodies and subconscious however have their own memory – and so does the soul.
Through processes that stimulate awareness and consciousness such as mediation, all kinds of therapy such as regression therapy, body work, dreamwork, etc. the truth can finally be revealed, step by step. The subconscious usually paces the revelation of shocking truths and does not give you all at once – and it’s best not to force the issue. Your complete childhood and past, your family relationships, your self-image, even your sense of reality are being completely overturned.
When you suspect you might be the victim of hidden abuse, it’s best to take it slow. Take your time to do some serious soul-searching, therapy and take care of your self and your needs. Find a reliable therapist who has knowledge of abuse and serious mental illnesses such as malignant and hidden narcissism and sociopathy. By all means do move yourself out of reach of the suspected perpetrator(s) immediately. If the relationship is already dysfunctional – and it will be – all the more reason to protect yourself and take your distance.
Symptoms that might be indicative of hidden abuse
These symptoms might have other causes, especially when manifesting apart from each other. However, if you recognize all of the symptoms, it might be advisable to check of you might be a victim of hidden abuse:
–PTSD-like symptoms without a plausible cause such as: chronic insomnia, nightmares, anxiety attacks, inexplicable fears, for instance for small spaces you can’t get out of, an exaggerated response at sudden touches, sounds, movements etc., fear of medical interventions, fear of loss of control and helplessness
-In particular: symptoms that point towards sexual abuse without a clear cause (please note: these can also stem from past lives or ancestral memory)
-Gaps in long-term memory
-Gaps in childhood memory, only fragments without continuity
-Often having bruises or cuts without remembering how you got them
-Strange physical complaints such as aches and pains, cramps, stabbing pains, irritation or pain in the genital area
-Often being sick, feeling tired and weak without a clear reason (always consult a physician),
-Inexplicable dips in self-esteem, self-confidence, self-image, and having strange negative beliefs about yourself and the world without knowing where these stem from,
-Not doing well in school or job despite intelligence, ambition or talents,
-Problems in realising your goals and passions without identifiable reasons,
-Sexual problems without clear causes
-Problems with trust in other people
-Difficulty in attracting a trustworthy, loving partner
A few characteristics of perpetrators of hidden abuse
They have hidden nasty fantasies and impulses you only catch a glimpse of every once in a while: because of their web surfing behaviour for instance (extreme sadistic porn) of nasty sexist “jokes” and comments
They can suddenly lash out and make extremely mean comments
They can’t resist making nasty sadistic or derogatory comments about you, especially when no-one else is listening
They can’t resist attacking you verbally, or anyone else who they deem is more succesfulk or respected then they are
They don’t engage in a real relationship with you, yet they want to maintain contact
They try and maintain the “relationship” by keeping you dependant on them: by buying you things, doing things for you, or by working on your sense of responsibility and guilt by needy behaviour
They are not capable of real relationships despite superficial charm or needy victim-like behaviour
They can explode in sudden fits of rage, especially when they don’t get their way
You feel that deep down, you are afraid of them and can’t trust them.
Tips when you suspect ongoing hidden abuse
Make sure the suspected abuser has no keys to your home. Change the locks if need be. Never just open the door. Never meet them in private, without witnesses. Never sit or stand with your back to them. Never eat or drink anything they give you.
In cases when you can’t yet leave, you might want to place hidden cameras to obtain proof, for instance in the bedroom or baby room.
Always have a flight plan. Always make sure you have someone you can trust, who knows of your concerns. Depending on your country or state, there are organisations that can help you. Make sure you have their number on speed dial and have a “flight kit” ready with all your important things: passport, car key, important papers and certificates, phone, phone numbers, cash, credit cards etc. Don’t be afraid to call for help and be ready to get out.
© Wendy Gillissen, M.A. 2018
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