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My Thoughts On "Outgrowing the Pain" by Eliana Gil, Ph.D. - Abadoss' Mind
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Mon, Feb. 23rd, 2004 05:06 pm
My Thoughts On "Outgrowing the Pain" by Eliana Gil, Ph.D.

My counselor suggested that I read this book called "Outgrowing the Pain: A Book for and About Adults Abused as Children" by Eliana Gil, Ph.D. because of my past and how I had essentially witnessed my sister's abuse as a child.

One thing that i will immediately note is that I didn't not appreciate the informality of the book. I often felt that it was trying to put words into my mouth or recreate memories and emotions that did not exist. While I can understand that for some people, these are very real and apply in an accurate manner, for me, it doesn't work as well. Personally, I don't know if I was abused as a child, I just don't have that memory, but I felt that the book was too easily trying to fill that gap with something that wasn't necessarily there.

Once it got past telling me what kind of abuse I'd been through [/sarcasm], I started to appreciate more of what it had to say. It started to go through the kinds of things an adult has to go through in order to deal with their abuse. It was during this section that I wondered if peer abuse could be another cause for these kinds of symptoms. I mean, if it's possible for parents to abuse and it's possible for strangers to as well, why would it not be possible for peer groups through elementary and what not could be considered as a source of abuse as well?

Going back to my past, I remember that I would constantly try to find reasons not to go to school and to avoid being put in a position where I would be ridiculed and ostricized. I agree with the book in that we've today expanded our definition of abuse, but I'm willing to bet that we've not expanded it far enough. I think that as a child we are far more vunerable to our environments, as a whole, more so than just in the home.

Here comes the dilemma: How do you protect your child from abuse if it occurs within the peer group? In all honesty, I don't think I could answer that. I could give all kinds of advice about how to avoid this and that, but ultimately there's nothing I could say that would keep a child from experiencing that. I would say that I experienced it worse than most would (or that when I experienced it, it was coupled with many other issues), but I can't say I know of anyone that hasn't gone through some form or another of abuse by peers.

Getting back to the book, it later goes on to describe various methods of breaking free of coping methods or survival techniques. However, many of the methods they describe, I consider to be coping methods in themselves. An example would be anger control. They suggest finding alternative and appropriate ways of channelling your anger. I already do that through personal meditation, but it's more a crutch to me than a help. I find myself blocking off more than just anger, but the rest of my emotions as well.

I'm not going to say that the book had no value. Had I not read the book, I wouldn't have come up with the idea that perhaps social abuse is just as destructive as parental abuse. Also there were other things in the book that I was able to identify with and some things which I had necessarily not been conscience of. Most of the value I found in the book was through identification of certain areas where I lack, such as social relationships and my concerns about future parenting.

I think that this book probably is more helpful to those who specifically fall under the catagories of abuse considered in the book. For me, because I feel that I have a slightly different situation, it's harder to make use of it. Whether or not that, in itself, is a coping mechanism is beyond me at this point, but I think that it's accuate to say that I fall under an only slightly different catagory.

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