Surviving Child Abuse

January 30, 2011 Holly Gray

SS-027-0104"My life was quite unbearable ... I tried ending my life several times at 8 years old," says Paula of surviving child abuse at the hands of her mother, who had Dissociative Identity Disorder. Perplexed by her mother's erratic swings from extreme violence to utter confusion to gentle kindness, Paula didn't understand her mom until she saw the movie Sybil.

"Who knows who I could have been had this all not happened to me," Paula wonders. She tells her heartbreaking story of surviving child abuse, her mother's Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the damage she still lives with today on this week's edition of the HealthyPlace Mental Health Radio Show.

Listen to "Raised By An Abusive Mom with Dissociative Identity Disorder"

For more information about verbal and emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, visit the HealthyPlace Abuse Issues Community.

Share Your Child Abuse Experiences

Did you grow up in an abusive home? We invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experiences and insights on surviving child abuse. (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.

APA Reference
Gray, H. (2011, January 30). Surviving Child Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Holly Gray

Chris Stewart
January, 17 2013 at 4:11 am

Paula, thank you for opening up your life and pain to people like me. I too was abused by my mentally ill mother. My therapy only started after 53 years when I began to write my story. In some ways I am still troubled but now about the damage abuse causes to others TODAY. Mine happened many years ago before lots of mental health issues were defined. Mother just dissapeeared for months and we were farmed out to relatives. A blessing at the time to live in a normal family. My pain was relived whilst I remembered and wrote about it but am now very aware that my story has helped others. WELL worth the pain. Keep on keeping on, strong lady. We and those suffering in silence right now need your strength. Thank you. Chris Stewart, author 'A bird in a cage and a tin of paint'

Effects of Child Abuse Impact Adult Survivors | HealthyPlace TV
March, 14 2012 at 4:10 pm

[...] of Child Abuse Impact Adult SurvivorsPosted on February 16, 2011 by Holly GrayIf you’re a child abuse survivor you’ve no doubt heard “get over it” on more than one occasion. But I hope no one [...]

May, 20 2011 at 8:47 am

Dear Paula, I hope you get it all written down, out of your head, and out of your heart. I hope you find healing as you get rid of each of your memories. Please, don't wait to find someone who will publish your book and stuff... just start writing as quickly as you can... you've carried all the poison long enough. You are indeed a strong lady, for having carried it all without utterly destoying yourself. I hope you find all the help you need, the support, the acceptance, the kindness and the care and the love that you deserve. Blessings. vino.

March, 20 2011 at 2:13 pm

I know how she feels because I also have several times to commit suicide because of what my step-father did to me and my brother and older sister. I am still some problems with this because there no help for back in the 1960 and 70's. this when our abuses happened to us. My birth mother has several mental problems. She had them when she was a child even. My step father tried to kill us slowly multi, muitl times. He used to throw across the room or down the stairs. He used to beat us and have sex with us a lot until we were taken. I have been diagnosised with several disorders like: Dissassocitative, Panic,PTSD(Post traumatic stress), ADD(attention defecit ), and one more I can remember. Sorry about misspelled words. This what we lived thru growing up. My foster family was good to us, but we still had problems there also. We did not know how to do ANYTHING for ourselves, I mean nothing.

Paula Alias
February, 28 2011 at 10:00 am

I am Paula and I would like to assure Indigo that my interview was not aimed at a personal attack on people who suffer from DID, nor was it meant to be a stereotype in any way. It was an iota of my story of my experience I had. My mothers fragmenting happened to have stemmed by some horrific experiences from her mother when she was a child. This certainly did not mean to imply of anyone else's circumstances. My goal in partaking in that interview was simply trying to find an author who might be interested in assisting me with writing my book for me on my story. It is very involved and full of daily accounts of personal horrors that I feel will remain with me until I can let them go. My mother has 1 of 6 personalities who happened to hate me because I reminded her of her mother. That is the one who attempted to kill me on numerous occasions. My story and situation is just that. Mine. Not to be confused or mistaken with anyone else. I hope my explanation assisted in the misunderstanding. Paula

February, 6 2011 at 10:42 am

I'm concerned that this perpetuates the stereotypes about people with DID. We are the VICTIMS of child abuse. Yes, the cycle of violence can continue if we don't get treatment. But the stigma about it makes it that much harder to get it.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Holly Gray
February, 6 2011 at 10:39 pm

Hi Indigo,
Thanks for your comment.
I agree that the stereotypes surrounding DID make it harder for those living with it to get treatment and support, but I'd also say that the belief that everyone with Dissociative Identity Disorder is a victim of child abuse is a stereotype in and of itself. DID is caused by a myriad of things, including childhood trauma. That trauma most often comes in the form of child abuse, but not always.
If you haven't already, I encourage you to listen to the interview in full. Ultimately, this is a story of surviving child abuse ... something many people with DID can relate to.

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