If you’re a survivor of childhood abuse, you’ve already overcome incredible odds just to make it into adulthood. Seemingly insurmountable circumstances have stood in your way for as long as you can remember. You spent a good portion of your life living in fear, wondering why the people who you should have been able to trust weren’t there for you. Why those who were supposed to protect you never came to your rescue.
Perhaps, if you are a survivor of abuse, yours came in the form of sexual abuse, or physical abuse. Or maybe, instead it wasn’t so much the physical acts, but more so the covert, psychological tactics that had you questioning how you would go on each day, and those memories still haunt you long after the abuse has ended. Being a survivor of trauma, any type of trauma, is a life long journey of healing. It’s learning to overcome the hand that’s been dealt, through no fault of our own, and finding a way to live life and thrive; not being defined by our past. My good friend, Laura Corbeth, embodies that resilient spirit and unwaivering mindset of not staying silent.
For my guest on this episode of the podcast, Laura shares some of her story about one woman’s struggle to overcome a childhood of abuse at the hands of her cruel, bullying brother. Laura is an author and survivor, currently living in Ontario, Canada with her husband of twenty-two years, her twenty-year old son and two rescued dogs. She is a successful entrepreneur, and passionate about her business and an avid animal lover.
When I was first contacted by Laura about coming on the show, I checked out her website, MyCourageToTell.com, and was immediately interested in learning more about this amazing survivor and her book, My Courage to Tell, Facing My Childhood Bully and Reclaiming My Inner Child. Her story is exactly what the podcast is all about, talking with people who’ve overcome incredibly difficult circumstances and are now using their story to help inspire others.
Laura shares with us her inspiration for deciding to end her silence and write about her personal story; memories of this abuse remain deeply buried until an aunt dies in Manhattan, leaving an estate that Laura must settle with her estranged brother. As she tries to administer the estate, she is plagued by symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Suppressed memories start to rise to the surface as Laura begins to remember, and she now realizes that she has to face a childhood of psychological and physical abuse.
As you’ll learn, her brother was cruel and manipulative, no cuts, no bruises, no scratches, he was sly, constraining her to spit in her face, lick her or perform tickle torture. He took pleasure in dominating her and playing on her fears – relishing his control over his younger sibling. His lies and manipulations terrified her. Witnessing his torture of animals, left no doubt in Laura’s mind that her tormentor would follow through on his threat that he would kill her if she told.
Laura also realizes that her brother was not the only one who as involved. Where were her parents?
As you’ll learn, there wasn’t the rescue, or even any type of validation that she so wanted and deserved, from those who were supposed to be her protectors. Laura shares how her parents were complicit by not only ignoring her pleas for help, but how they also laughed and shrugged off her claims as nothing more than “kids just being kids” and typical sibling rivalry. It’s a case of…
What You Ignore, You Empower – as Laura mentions so passionately; even if they weren’t directly abusing her, they were complicit by ignoring and doing nothing to help. A child alone and helpless, with nowhere to go, nowhere to turn.
Getting out of the house and going to school offered little in the way of solace for Laura, because she was routinely bullied there as well. So not only were her classmates making fun of the way she looked and talked, but she then she had to come home to a place of invalidation that caused her to shut down, alienate herself, sleep in a closet, and feel completely alone in life. It wasn’t until she was able to confide in a school teacher that someone finally listened to her and believed her. It was finally a step in the right direction.
In time, Laura began to realize that she was suffering from effects from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and because her abuse happened repeatedly over a long period of time, Complex Trauma as well (C-PTSD), It was then that she decided to seek the help of a professional to begin working through her past and start taking her life back.
Through this experience she realized that she could no longer stay silent. She immersed herself in research, talking to other survivors and professionals, and began writing her book, My Courage to Tell, to give hope to others who have suffered a similar fate, and to give hope to others that flow of abuse can be stopped and that healing can take place.
- Lack of empathy from the abuser.
- Covert or sneaky behavior.
- Sending out others to do their dirty work, causing you feel bad and to try to make the abuser out to be the victim instead of you (Flying Monkey’s).
- Threats to you, your family, or pets.
- The ability to charm and compliment you and then instantly switch to tearing you down emotionally.
- Blaming you or other victims for their circumstances.
- Minimizing your concerns, making you feel like you are blowing everything out of proportion.
- Easily manipulate the truth and turn around any situation into them being the victim instead of you.
- Silent treatment and/or completely ignoring and neglecting you for as long as they wish.
Sound a lot like narcissistic behavior? You bet it does!
I encourage you to consider seeking help of a professional counselor or coach if you feel that you may be the victim now or a past victim of psychological abuse. You are worth not staying silent. You are worth speaking up.
You own everything that happened to you. You own the right to tell your story the way that you want to tell it, with the truth. If the people in your life want you to write warmly about them, they should have treated you better. It’s as simple as that my friends…refuse to stay silent. You never know how many people you can help but coming out of the darkness of silence and into the light of healing.
Laura and I cover all these and additional topics much more in-depth on the show, so be sure and check our chat on Spreaker, SoundCloud, iTunes, or your favorite podcasting app. Thank you again Laura Corbeth for joining me on the podcast. I’m grateful to call you a friend and fellow advocate. Your story is so important and I’m honored to help you share it!
Be sure and check out MyCourageToTell.com, and pick up your copy of, My Courage to Tell: Facing a Childhood Bully and Reclaiming My Inner Child, on Amazon!
For more information on Laura, you can also check out her YouTube channel where she’s started a series of puppet videos to help tell her story!
– Matthew Pappas, CLC
If you’d like more information on working with a certified life coach, or if you have questions about how working with a life coach might be right for you… go for it and schedule your free intro session! Always remember, You Are Worth It, and there is hope for moving forward from what holds you back.
This post and podcast is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.