Proof? You Ask For Proof?

by | May 11, 2023 | It's Complex...PTSD | 0 comments

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Proof is Here

what is your proof of abuse?What is your proof of abuse? I was asked that question over and over again by the adults in my life as I tried so desperately to get help.

Over and over again, it was the same thing. Any evidence of the abuse from my father was long gone (I had showered since then, many times). And my mother was careful never to lay a hand on me.

All of the proof of abuse is held within my brain and body.

Abuse Changes the Brain

I didn’t need to read the research articles to know that part of the proof of my childhood abuse is in the development of my brain. I can feel it when I react to something in a way that is perhaps not as functional, like my hypervigilance.

Hypervigilance is my amygdala being constantly on guard for any and all dangers. That is definitely not a functional way of living. Actually, it’s quite exhausting.

Also, my hearing is minimized, like the volume is turned down when I am in a stressful environment with a lot of noise. It’s almost like I hear things underwater. Again, that directly resulted from my brain’s development in a verbally and emotionally abusive environment.

“Childhood trauma physically damages the brain by triggering toxic stress. Strong, frequent, and prolonged, toxic stress rewires several parts of the brain, altering their activity and influence over emotions and the body.” From

Physical Signs and Responses

I don’t seem to have the health issues that other survivors have later in life (yet). But the statistics I found on are quite sobering.

“…scientific investigation supports the hypothesis that the effects of abuse “get under the skin” to produce physiological changes, including dysfunction in the systems that regulate the body’s response to stress.”

“… Investigators highlighted that adult survivors of childhood abuse exhibit abnormal cortisol levels in response to stressors, and chronically high cortisol levels can lead to persistent health problems…”

“…their likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer, migraine, or debilitating chronic pain was over 50 percent greater. Their odds of arthritis later in life were 33 percent higher.”

As I wrote this blog post, a poem came bounding out of my head and onto the page. Here is that poem.

Proof Enough For Me

No proof, you say?

Do the night terrors

not count?

Do the anxiety attacks that cause my heart

to race, my breathing labored

as I lie in bed

not count?

Does me trying to stay awake for hours,

until my eyes become too heavy and sleep overcomes me

not count?

Does the disassociation of leaving my present

space and body when

I am startled by the sudden appearance or touch

of another person

not count?

What proof do you need?

It is all right here,

before you,

in my reactions,

interactions, and thoughts about

the dark danger of the world I exist within.

My brain wasn’t meant to be like this,

I know it wasn’t.

And if it wasn’t, imagine how

I would be,

how much I would truly be


Me without all that proof.

I don’t have complete memories but my brain remembers and reacts to the world from a place of trauma response. It isn’t a way to live, and I think it is what causes many of the health issues in childhood abuse survivors. But you can change the way your brain processes information. Please reach out to a therapist.

I recommend Online-Therapy.*

Check Out My Other Writing

The Slow Descent to Sobriety

It’s Just One Night

You can also check out my recent poetry:

What Happened to All of My Words?

What Can I Do?

* I receive compensation from Online-Therapy when you use my referral link. I only recommend products and services when I believe in them.

Sharing this helps others realize they are not alone


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