Do you believe that someone from a severely dysfunctional family can grow up to be a normal, productive member of society?

**possible trigger warning**
I've been through a lot of crap in my life that I'd rather like to forget (haven't we all after a few decades, though?). As a very young child I began to suffer physical and emotional abuse at the hands of my own family. My older brother, who was supposed to be my protector, beat me every day from the time I was 6 until I was 15. I'm not talking about hair-pulling and teasing. I'm talking about countless black eyes, busted lips, bruises everywhere, a dislocated jaw (3 times), and several occurances of pissing blood. It was so bad that everyday was a waking nightmare spent in fear of the next time a fist comes hurtling down into my face or stomach or back. No one gave a damn. My parents were never there and when they were they were beating my a** as well (belts, wire coat hangers, extension cords and one very memorable experience of having a skateboard flung at my head). They were supposed to protect me and didn't seem to see a problem with having a child that's face is constantly black and blue. At 12 I suffered year long sexual abuse (rape, sodomy) from a family friend that was living with us. I was screwed up. I didn't even know for a long time that this wasn't how all families acted. When I got away at 15 I had such a hard time dealing with it all that I tried to commit suicide and was institutionalized for a little while to keep from hurting myself. But that was a long time ago. About 16 years, anyway. I still suffer from PTSD and major trust issues but my life is better than it ever has been. I have a family (husband, kids) and they are my life. They saved me from myself, in a way.
I heard recently (from an in-law) that people who go through things like that are damaged and basically worthless. That we all end up as drug addicts or prostitutes or abusers ourselves. It made me very upset because I am none of these things. I've tried very hard to be a decent person and leave my past in the past.
Do you think that I am an exception to this? Is it really that impossible to be a good person after all of that? Anything you'd have to say, I'd like to hear. Any comments will be much appreciated.

  • I believe that people can still be 'normal' after years of abuse.
    Vote A
  • I do not believe that people can still be 'normal' after years of abuse.
    Vote B
  • I don't have a clue either way.
    Vote C
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Most Helpful Guy

  • Can yes, but it is way more unlikely. Though if they overcome this, they surely are a lot stronger as a person. So it can go into both extremes easily.


Most Helpful Girl

  • I think moving on from your experiences and living your own life and starting your own family shows that you're strong from your past but if you're suffering from ptsd you may want to talk to a psychologist. I too suffered through emotional and sexual abuse growing up and in addition to my supportive family and wonderful boyfriend I was put through counseling for a while which helped.

    • I went to counseling when I was younger but it didn't help me that much, sad to say. They threw a lot of pills at me that actually made things worse. I was labeled as 'resistant to treatment'. My PTSD is 'complex', they said, and people like me often are that way. I'd try counseling again but I'm afraid they'd just throw more meds at me that won't work.

    • Counsellors in a lot of ways are like clothing, you need one that fits you. The ones you had didn't seem like they were good fits for you. When I went to counseling I had a wonderful counselor who cared and listened and didn't care if we got off topic as long as I was comfortable. Then she left and the second counselor was distant, hardly friendly and was obviously just there for a paycheck. If you want to try again for the ptsd it's up to you but it seems to me that you have your own support system that's been helping you out just as well as counseling would.

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What Guys Said 1

  • Not normal, but they can be productive.


What Girls Said 0

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