Hi! My name is Shauna and I am an Overcomer in Christ. I am a survivor of childhood physical, emotional and verbal abuse. I am a survivor of physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse in a previous marriage. I am an overcomer of food addiction, love and relationship addiction, rage and anger mismanagement, kleptomania, co-dependency and people pleasing.
And this is MY story.
My behavior issues were noticed by the school administration. I was quickly labeled as a “problem child”.
I don’t know about you, but the picture that comes to mind when someone says “problem child” is a student that adamantly refuses to follow instruction, rude, often disrespectful, highly disruptive, sometimes violent, possibly even destructive in nature and basically makes the school classroom unmanageable for the teacher.
I have no issues in admitting that I was not an easy student, but at this age, I was in NO way that kind of problem child.
However, the school continued to claim that I was a major disruption and that there must be something going on at home. And my parents continued to maintain that it must be something happening at school because at home there were no indications of the behavior the school claimed to be dealing with.
At the time I had no idea what was going on, my mother did not reveal the schools accusations to me until I was well into high school. Once she did, a lot of what happened that year made sense.
On more than one occasion I was called into the principal’s office to have a “talk” with the principal, two counselors and two other people who I did not know. I can only assume now that they were some sort of school board or state people.
I was questioned at length during these interviews about life at home. I was repeatedly asked if my parents were “hurting” me. On more than one occasion I was asked to strip so that the “officials” could document bruises, cuts and scrapes. These interviews were never done with my parents present and at the age of 7 I had NO idea that this was not okay. All I remember is wondering what I had done wrong, why they were asking me so many questions. I felt vulnerable and scared. When I was asked to take off my clothing, I felt dirty and broken. I just knew in my heart that I was a horrible monster and there must be something very, very wrong with me. If there wasn’t, why wouldn’t they just leave me alone?
After one particular “interview”, after filling my brain with plenty of suggestive material, I must have finally said what they wanted me to say. The state showed up at our house to do a thorough search and determine whether or not I was a victim of child abuse. Needless to say, nothing at all was found to support this evidence, because it didn’t exist.
Things continued to decline for me at school. ADHD was not yet on the radar, but I was labeled as hyperactive and it was suggested that my diet be restricted of foods that might escalate this behavior. So anything with caffeine was strictly forbidden and sugar was drastically reduced. In today’s world, children are restricted from all sorts of foods due to allergens and there are a lot of options available, including sugar-free for those with diabetes. In the late ’80’s this was not the case. Not only that, I did not suffer any adverse reactions to eating these foods, such as a stomach ache, headache, or hives, so there was not external motivation to stick to this diet. Needless to say, at school, I did not follow orders.
I made my own lunches with the approved snacks and such, but once I got to school, I usually didn’t eat it. Suffice it to say that I was very creative in getting my hands on the goodies I was not supposed to have. But I would do not so smart things and I would stuff the wrappers in my bag or pockets so the teachers wouldn’t see me throwing it away. Of course, the attention span and memory of a 7-year-old quickly kicked in and I forgot. Once I got home, the evidence was discovered and I was busted.
One thing led to another and the teachers were fairly successful in keeping me away from the sweets. I eventually began stealing from the other students lunches. I was quite good at it too, which did not help matters at all. Needless to say, I had been in an environment that for the last two years I was told I was not good at anything, that everything I did was wrong. I was constantly under ridicule and being demeaned for speaking out of turn, refusing to conform to the rules and being a “know-it-all”. When I was able to steal without being caught, it excited me. There were quite a few times I was caught, but not often enough to deter me from doing it again and again. The immediate gratification appealed to my short attention spanned nature and I was unable to use logic to stop this behavior.
I can look back now and see this series of events as the seeds for my addiction to this behavior being planted by the enemy. As an adult, I have little to no memory of the thefts. I remember eating the goodies, I remember a few instances of consequences. One of those is very distinct. I can see myself and my mother standing in the grocery aisle. I am supposed to be picking out the replacement of a sweet I stole from another child. I remember her explaining to me that I needed to replace what I had stolen, and an extra to show that I was sorry for what I had done. I can very clearly remember not feeling sorry. It’s kind of creepy as an adult to go back through that and have no memory of feeling remorse.
Another memory I have is of stealing candy from the grocery store bins. Our store had several plastic bins stacked atop one another, a lot like the ones at the Candy Factory in the mall. This loose candy was just too tempting for me and I pulled several pieces out and put them in my pocket. When my mother discovered I had done this, she made me go back in and return the candy and apologize. Again, I felt no remorse for my actions, I was numb and unaware of how damaging my decisions were. I had no clue the vicious cycle that was being created in me. The enemy was working in me, and over the next five years, he would have me tightly bound in these chains of kleptomania.