The original newsletter (pdf)
- ASCA Meeting Ongoing Education Moment: Guideline #2: ASCA meetings are exclusively for survivors of physical, sexual or emotional childhood abuse.
- Possible ASCA Meeting Topic for October: Control: A Paradox
1. ASCA Meeting Ongoing Education Moment:
Guideline #2: ASCA meetings are exclusively for survivors of physical, sexual or emotional childhood abuse.
ASCA—Adult Survivors of Child Abuse—is a support program for adult survivors of physical, sexual, or emotional childhood abuse or neglect. One of our prerequisites for attendance at ASCA meetings is self-identification as a survivor of childhood abuse. Family, partners, and friends who support us are not permitted to attend ASCA meetings, unless they are also survivors of childhood abuse. Occasionally, however, a local ASCA meeting might decide to hold a special informational ASCA meeting to which family, partners, friends, or other interested individuals are invited.
Sometimes a new ASCA attendee might question whether s/he is truly a survivor of childhood abuse. This might transpire when the person does not have clear recollections of being sexually or physically abused. Many people only refer to childhood abuse as physical or sexual abuse and forget about emotional abuse. However, many people can readily identify patterns of childhood emotional abuse when they stop and examine their childhood history. Many people who suspect that they may have been abused sexually and/or physically begin with what they remember—a pattern of emotional abuse. Some of these people later recall being sexually and/or physically abused.
As described in our Survivor to Thriver manual on page 46, emotional abuse is defined as “a pattern of psychologically destructive interactions with a child that is characterized by five types of behaviors: rejecting, isolating, terrorizing, ignoring, and corrupting. Emotional abuse involves the use of words as weapons….” When a present or prospective ASCA participant is questioning whether or not they are a survivor of child abuse, reviewing chapter three in our Survivor to Thriver manual would probably be a helpful tool to assist in clarifying their situation.
2. Possible ASCA Meeting Topic for October:
Control: A Paradox
For many of us survivors of child abuse, control, being in control, and having control over our environment and life circumstances seem important to many of us child abuse survivors. When we were children, when we were being abused physically, sexually, and/or emotionally, we were not in control of our environment and our life circumstances. Ironically, our perpetrators were not in control either. Rather, they were out-of-control.
To be in control is to possess influence and authority. Control is to regulate, manage, and direct. It also implies restraint and proportionality. But what does it mean to have control over our environment and life circumstances? If control is an illusion, as some would say, then what do we really crave concerning control and being in control?
Two images come to mind. The first is the image of a horse, buggy, and driver. The driver loosely holds the reins to influence, manage, and direct the horse. The reins are relaxed with sufficient play in the driver’s palm. The secret to having authority over the horse and buggy is restraint and proportionality. When needing to turn the buggy, the driver gently adjusts the reins in hand ever so slightly and lightly, thus directing the horse to turn in the desired direction.
The second image reveals a parent who is blue in the face from trying to control a 2-year-old child or a 16-year-old teenager. The parent is all worked up and exasperated, and their body is tight, straining, rigid, driven and locked in a battle of egos and wills—influence and authority, regulating, managing, and directing seem impossible. The qualities of restraint and proportionality seem missing from the equations and the interactions.
Being in control and having control over our environment and life circumstances seems to require restraint and proportionality above anything else. There seems to be an equation whereby the more energy and exertion we expend in a situation, the less control we actually possess. The paradox of control seems to imply that restraint and proportionality are two primary keys to healthy control in reference to our environment and life circumstances.
- What does it mean for me to be in control of my environment and life circumstances?
- In trying to control a situation, what do I really want?
- How can I promote a sense of restraint and proportionality within my daily life?