Keith John - Behind the Child Abuse by Ben - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.

Our Personality.

I believe everyone has a built in curiosity, a desire to understand how things work and why

things happen. It helps us to grow and mature in our minds. Nevertheless our childhood

experiences determine how we respond to this natural instinct. Being abused physically or

emotionally can alter that instinct, as fear becomes our driving force. Being constantly

threatened creates a fear where we become withdrawn and afraid to ask questions, even if our

own health is at stake. The last thing we want to do is provoke our abuser.

The truth about mankind is that all people have a curiosity, and as a result we all make

assumptions. A healthy person will use their assumptions as a guide towards their request for

information. But those who fear asking questions will instead only think and ponder before

using their assumptions as the answer.

When I was growing up, that was definitely the case with most of my family, particularly my

oldest sister who would harass me even more than all my other siblings. At about seven, my

seventeen year-old sister made a comment that shocked me so much, it has stayed with me all

my life. She said to me, very angrily, ‘you will never turn out like your father’.

She was not making a prediction about my future, she was threatening me. She planned to

mould and shape me so that I would understand women better than my older chauvinistic

brothers. To some degree it has worked. Although her intentions were honourable, her

methods were not. I did learn to respect women, just not her.

Because of her, and others like her, I grew up drawing my own conclusions since I was too

afraid to ask questions. Any question I had, be it to her or my older brothers, was usually met

with the same response, to mind my own business! After spending ten or twelve years in the

real world, I became more aware that my family was different, and not in a good way. I’m

not sure whether I’ve always been analytical or whether I became it, but I learnt later in life

to seek and ask, not just for answers, but for the truth. I learnt that assumptions are healthy

when used correctly, such as imagining scenarios to problem sole, and then ask the questions

to fill in the gaps in our limited information. Using assumptions for answers, never gave me

the best results.

I was about thirty when I realised that I had not only grown up in a family of liars and

manipulators, but I had been irresponsible all of my life. I also learnt that being irresponsible

was a family tradition. I realised what I was taught to be the truth was nothing more than the

deception of older family members, so that they could either get their own way, or seem

smarter than they really were. That means that my father, mother, brothers and sisters, all

taught me that breaking some rules are acceptable as long as you don’t get caught, or that you

can justify them.

Prior to turning thirty I had always accepted what I was told. And why not, I was always

taught that to challenge what I was told brought conflict and consequence. I can still

remember the vivid comments of, 'just shut up and do as your told'.

Just because I can’t ask questions doesn’t mean I can’t observe. I had noticed that my dad had

tools in his shed that were marked with an army symbol. In conclusion, it meant that my dad

had stolen them from the army, which taught me to believe that stealing is acceptable,

providing you keep it small.

As one of the youngest in my family, I did not have much contact with my father growing up

as he was away with the Army or at the pub winding down. In fact, I never really got to know

him until later in life. It was my brothers and sisters who passed on his legacy. My father’s

unwritten rules were well imbedded in my mind, thanks to the older children whom he had

trained to obey his rules. I can only describe myself as a conformist; I was unmindful to the

real world. I use the words ‘clueless’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘oblivious’, to describe how I was then,

however it saddens me when I realise I am describing myself. More recently, one of my

sisters reminded me of some advice that I had given her when I first found out about the

trauma that she had been through at the hands of my father. It was that old useless saying that

I had learnt from my brothers; ‘just get over it’. I would never say that to anyone now, plus I

hate it when people give it as advice to others, let alone me. Even though the comment may

work for a few people, it does not fit my personality style, or about eighty percent of


I liken my upbringing to the blind guidance of a five-year-old. It was my parents who had the

mindset of children and the morality of adolescents. These were my role models growing up;

and consequently, they were unable to teach me about real life. Somewhere or somehow we

are all supposed to mature in our minds, not just our body. I have found that if a child asks

you ‘why’, it is because they have some impression as to what is happening around them. If

they don’t get answers, then it stunts their growth and child development. I believe my

parents were restricted as children, just as much as they were restricting our development.

Thirty was a huge turning point for me, although it would be another six years before I found

religion. I feel to share some relevant description that I was taught by the church before I

share my thirties.

The Bible, and some clever church people, taught me that people have different personalities,

and the different personality types as well as our order of birth in the family will also dictate

how we usually behave in certain circumstances.

A general breakdown of the personalities can be put into four categories, Choleric,

Melancholy, Sanguine and Phlegmatic.

The Choleric are usually honest, direct and plain, but because they believe they are always

right, they are experts at blaming. And like my oldest brother they like control but don’t pick

up hints or subtlety.

The Melancholy seems to dwell in self-pity, they know their problems and would like to

change, but find it overwhelming; it’s just too hard. And like my mother, they rely on others

to carry their burdens.

The Sanguine live life for fun. They are not analytical and only recognise there is a problem

when the fun has stopped. They are the kind of people who don’t hold grudges, but will make

the same mistakes over and over. And like my oldest sister, will generally mean what they

say, but when a different emotion is in control will genuinely mean the opposite to a previous


And finally, the Phlegmatic. Their motto is ‘Peace at all cost’. Their comfort and peace are

the most important. They don’t like to be analysed and prefer to be spectators. They make

good liars in the attempt to avoid conflict. Even if they are confronted, they will adequately

justify their actions. They are the ultimate procrastinators.

Believe it or not, the Phlegmatic is my favourite brother, and I believe it’s because he has an

exception to the rule. He will procrastinate about most things, that is true, but not sports. He

has always been my role model in this area, and has always been there for me for over forty-

five years. We have clashed considerably when I analyse him, but I have learnt not to

confront him with issues; I just bring things up casually in conversation, but never more than

one problem at a time. That way I am non-threatening to his life style, and I can slowly

satisfy my need to resolve conflict.

Family background also plays a huge role in who we are because we all have different

influences. Our birth order plays a major role in dictating our personality. My oldest sister is

a lot more regimental than I am because her role models were adults. She spent all her life

trying to be like the adults who were educating her. As for me, my role models were many

but also closer to my own age as my brothers and sisters spent more time with me than my

parents. It was easier to achieve the goals set by my siblings, than for my oldest sister to

achieve the goals set by her parents. For example, she had to learn to read, I did not. As the

youngest boy, my life was more fun than my oldest sisters. I have to admit by the time she

was thirty, she was better educated than I was at thirty, and financially, she is better off for it.

But since then I think the world is our teacher and I have been a more willing participant than


I also believe that God designed the family as a learning curve for life, both good and bad. I

have noticed that children from one or two child families have poorer negotiation skill than

children from larger families. Our family influences our learning and shapes our personality.

And although every family is dysfunctional, not every family has the same dysfunction.

No-one is perfect and most parents learn as they go along. Becoming a parent has some

natural instinctive qualities such as nurturing; nevertheless the concept of parenting is

different in each person, just because each person’s personality is different and we apply

what our parents did for us.

~ 3 ~