daughtersofnormabates











{July 29, 2012}   You’re Not Alone

If you like to read biographies, you will discover that there are well-known and talented musicians, artists, writers and actors who suffered child abuse. One of the most striking is the story of Grammy Award winner Sinead O’Connor. Here is an excerpt from an interview she granted with Bob Guccione. You can read the entire interview at www.wallofsilence.com.

What do you advice people who have been abused?

SINÉAD: The first thing I would tell those people is that I have felt exactly like them as they are feeling now. In the first place you have to admit to yourself that it has affected you and that it is your full right to say that you have been abused and that it is unfair and bad. Many times I had the feeling, when I was talking about the abuse, that I was exaggerating tremendously, but that’s of course nonsense. You think you don’t have the right to such feelings, because they have told you that your whole life. So therefore you try to build another personality, so that everyone will love you. I would tell them: go to the 12-step groups or read the books by John Bradshaw and Alice Miller. They defend the child-adult syndrome, which means literally this: when a child experiences something very shocking or traumatic, it doesn’t allow itself to experience it consciously, it secludes itself from it. The brain turns itself off because it’s too shocking, so those kids only experience it in their subconscious. They don’t feel. The child can be afraid of it, but it doesn’t understand what it feels. And those feelings are piling up, more and more, the older you get. You have been standing still literally in your development from that point on. You’re 3 years old, but you walk around in a body of 55. The world is lead by adult children. It’s literally so that you live here (pointing at her chest) and that you’re so small and you are inside an adult body. When I was 21, I had temper fits, I behaved like a 3-year-old child. I had no idea of what I was doing. I looked at myself then and said: ‘What in god’s name are you doing?’, even at the moment when I had such outburst. Screaming and being confused and not being able to leave your bed, crying the entire day, just being so damned angry and being an ass to people. Then I couldn’t control myself. You are being controlled by the child inside of you. That is pulling all the ropes. And you have to make contact with it, to help it develop. It’s scared to death.

What were your individual experiences?

SINÉAD: I’ve experienced abuse of every kind you can image. My mother was very unhappy and used a lot of violence. She couldn’t handle life, of course because of her own experiences of her childhood. I’ve been beaten with all things with which you can beat a child. I didn’t get food, I was locked up for days in my room, without food and without clothes. I had to sleep in the garden at night. An entire summer I slept in my home’s garden.

How old were you then?

SINÉAD: Then I was about 12. But before that I already had to sleep in the garden with my brothers and my little sister and didn’t get food. I was also abused psychologically, because I was always told that I wasn’t all right, that I was a piece of s**t, that it was my fault that my parents had separated. That I was filthy, that I was dirty, that I was crazy. I was mostly a piece of s**t because I was a girl and because I never did anything right.

Were you the oldest?

SINÉAD: No, my brother was the oldest. I was beaten every day and so were the others. Very, very badly. My whole life I was always terrified. Just the sound of my mother’s footsteps on the stairs was enough to let us tremble of fear. We were neglected, we were beaten and we were psychologically and emotionally abused.

When did it stop?

SINÉAD: I was 13 when I left my mother.

Would you wish you could talk with your mother now? Do you wish she was right here?

SINÉAD: No, because it’s better for her and for me that she’s dead. Now that she’s dead, I have a better relationship with her than when she was still alive. I remember that I talked about it before she passed away and I said: ‘Why did you hit us?’ And she said: ‘I’ve never done you anything.’ She believed that she had done nothing, because it was too shocking for her to deal with it. Now I’m very sure that she was very sad when she had hit us, because my father has told me that afterwards she was always completely upset. I think that she – and my father thinks the same by the way – was destined to be unhappy. She had in her life all possibilities to be happy, all circumstances were there for her. Just like with me. But she couldn’t be happy. She couldn’t express herself, she couldn’t give love. She had to be abused as a child, one way or another. She really couldn’t show love. She just couldn’t handle it. I love my mother. I’ve always loved my mother. I’ve always understood that she didn’t mean it that way, even when she hit me. I’ve never hated her; I’ve never had a grudge against her. I’ve always understood that she suffered herself and that she didn’t know what she was doing.

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