What I learned from Everything Everything: Child Abuse & Independence

Why do we read books (for my book lovers)?

Here are some reasons I think we read:

  • We want to understand ourselves and the world we live in through stories.
  • Entertainment
  • Escape from reality
  • Experience another life or world
  • Knowledge

I learn something from every book I read. I recently read Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. It has overall great reviews. The teen first love romance is touching. Here is a great synopsis of the book by Teenreads.com.

In EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon, Madeline suffers from a rare and famous disease called SCID. She calls it ‘bubble baby disease’ because she lives in a metaphorical bubble; she’s not allowed to leave her house. The only people she socializes with are her mother and her nurse, Carla. Her days are a dull repetition of virtual school, Phonetic Scrabble and conversations about books with Carla.

However, everything changes when she sees her new neighbor, Olly, for the first time. All of a sudden, she finds herself talking to him through IM, emails and quirky messages written on their windows with marker. Madeline opens up to him about concerns and feelings that she’s never able been able to talk about because of her lack of interaction with people her age. In fact, Olly prompts her to feel something she’s never felt before: love.

This all sounds cute, but the book touches on two major topics that I want to expand on: child abuse and independence.

Child Abuse

Olly is abused by his father. His abuse is mostly emotional, but it leads to some physical.

Why would any parent (or step-parent) (or caretaker) abuse innocent children who can’t defend themselves?

On the Family Resource Center website, there is great information for causes of child abuse.

  1. Intergenerational Transmission of Violence
  2. Social Stress
  3. Social Isolation and Low Community Involvement
  4. Family Structure

I’m not going to go into detail with the four reasons listed above because you can read it in the article if you are interested. I want to point out that nowhere in the reasons shown above do you read “it is the child’s fault.” It is never the childn’s fault.

As a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, I worked in a Pediatric Emergency Unit and specialized in sexual abuse and child abuse scans. I had to read many research articles to understand why anyone would abuse children, as well as the ill effects abuse, can have on these children. I am also a survivor of child abuse. That’s never easy to admit. No one wants you to feel sorry for them. But if I can help anyone else in the same/similar situation, then it’s worth being open and honest. Additionally, many of you readers have opened up to me. It’s touched my heart and made me want to do the same.

In Everything Everything, Olly’s father struggled to provide for his family. This caused stress ➡️ which caused drinking ➡️ which caused physical and emotional abuse to his family. These are all issues that Olly’s father needs to work on. Unfortunately, his lack of logically coping with stress and life trickles down to affect his family. Innocent people in the situation.

What can Olly do and what can you do?

There is no perfect answer. Some children are taken away from homes and placed in foster situations that aren’t much better. Additionally, children have limited resources. That’s reality. Regardless, know that your childhood doesn’t have to predict your future. Here are some recommendations for children in abusive homes.

  1. Write in a journal.
  2. Talk to a teacher or trusted adult.
  3. Call a helpline: 0808 800 5000.

If you suspect child abuse, NSPCC has some recommendations. You can report it on the helpline.

In abusive situations, self-esteem is important to consider. Being physically or emotionally abused can make one feel not worthy to be loved or to deserve a bright future. Both of these are far from the truth. Olly did nothing to be in his situation. I did nothing to be in my situation. Olly couldn’t control his father. I couldn’t control the abuse in my house. What Olly and I could control were our future.

Everything Everything didn’t cover Olly’s future, but in my imagination, I hope that Olly attends college and heals from the wounds he received in his home. We don’t have to carry those scars with us forever. We can create a good future for ourselves and live in peace and happiness that we all deserve.

As for me, I went to college with zero support from my family. I graduated with my PhD in Nursing. I’m married with four wonderful children. I overcame many odds to get where I am today. I survived a rough childhood, and I fought for my future. What got me through it all were two things: not letting my soul get crushed and feeling the love of God carry me through my trials. I never felt alone. Additionally, I seized every opportunity I could.

Forgive. It’s important to forgive the abuser to help with healing. It doesn’t mean you have to forget, but focus your energy on the positive in your life. That will help you the most in the end.

(I have a good relationship with my abuser. She has changed as she has gotten older. Not holding resentment or anger has helped a lot.)

Independence

Madeline believed everything her mother told her. But one day, she wanted to find the answers about the world and life for herself. We all come to a point in our lives where we cross this bridge. It’s scary! You question yourself. Every choice can change the path you walk. This is all part of learning and growing in this world. Embrace it. Each step will mold and change you, but the beautiful thing is you are in control not your circumstances.

What about you?

Have you made a decision in your life that changed the course of your future?

Did you overcome a rough childhood? Are you a fighter and a survivor?

Are you going through something now and need help?

I love this quote by Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham-Lincoln-the-best-way-to-predict-your-future
Photo credit: Karolzielinski.com

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Everything-Everything-Nicola-Yoon
Photo credit: Goodreads

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19 thoughts on “What I learned from Everything Everything: Child Abuse & Independence

  1. Everytime I see your blog, I always expect to learn something new, a new dimension of life! Child abuse, a practice we humans have been promoting for some years now. The main problem here is that we don’t see each other fellow humans. Children are God’s gifts and abusing them is equivalent to abusing God. And like mentioned here, it’s never the child’s fault. The guidelines given by you along with your own life’s examples, as a reader I can’t ask for more. And all this was beautifully concluded by Abraham Lincoln’s words! ….. And ma’am, I am very bad at reading books, I hope I develop that habit soon! Have a glorious day ma’am.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s good you put this information out there. Not only does it bring awareness to a horrible problem but it show how you can get help, how and where. Some people might not know how to get out, or that there is a way out. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Soulfood101! It can be a vicious cycle. Children who are abused may abuse their children or be in an abusive relationship. Child abuse or abuse in general is a hard topic to talk about and many shy from it. Sometimes it’s important to put it out there, so others may not feel alone and may know there is help. Thank you for your wonderful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve got tears in my eyes. As I have revealed this subject is a part of me now and until the day I take my last breath. But it is what I have done with my life between childhood and now that makes all the difference. Bless you for reaching out and giving information so many need to know. There is no excuse for child abuse and for those of us who wear the battle scars, we can attest that regardless of how much we improve our lives, those scars remain. Much Love to you this day! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. AmyRose,
      Well said. What we’ve done with our lives has made all the difference. Thank you very much. You’ve allowed me to open up a bit. The scars will remain, but we are strong! ❤️​ Much love to you today as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Just Ruminating and commented:
    Another blogger I recently added to my essentials, Ipuna not only has excellent content (for example: culture, parenting, inspiration), her blog is lovely to look at. You will enjoy her posts tremendously; I think she is an exceptional blogger worthy of your attention!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing, your post was informative and educational and sorry to hear your childhood was also abusive. Mine was mainly psychological/ emotional rather than physical but it leaves it’s scars too and takes time to heal. It is true that you need to learn to forgive as that is the best way to move on. Holding onto anger or resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It took me a long time to forgive but my life is much better for it too. It also took me a long time to love myself and again, my life is much better since then too. Peace and blessings 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words. Any type of abuse definitely leaves scars. I’m sorry you went through that as well. Great analogy on the poison. So true. I’m so glad you were able to forgive. It makes all the difference in your wellness and future. I needed time to realize I was worth loving. Glad I healed from that, and it sounds like you did too! ❤️​ My life is much better right now too. Peace and blessings to you too!

      Like

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