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Deborah Leigh Alexander's "A Wounded Daughter's Survival"

Updated on July 26, 2017
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Deborah L. Alexander is an author, business woman, wife to Doug for almost 40 years, a mother of three adult children & a grandmother of 4.

A Damaged Life Healed by Hope and Truth

In this true story, a wounded daughter shows how emotional abuse damages lives. It tells of survival, discovery, forgiveness, and healing, giving hope that a functional future is possible.

I share my story hoping to bring awareness to childhood emotional abuse. In my research, I have discovered that emotional damage in childhood is more of an epidemic in our society than a rarity. The only way to stop the pain is to bring understanding to the true circumstance. Also more times than not, the emotional abuse is due to generational dysfunction and is perpetually passed from parents to children when healing is not allowed to end the cycle. Telling about the abuse and my parent's failures is not my purpose in writing. Getting even or being vengeful for pain my parents inflicted in my childhood is not my goal. I have forgiven them. I also do not share my damaging childhood experiences to gain sympathy. I tell of the pain to relate what I survived and to provide hope that overcoming a damaging past is indeed possible.

I want to share encouragement that suffering from emotional damage is no reason to live in failure. I found hope and truth to overcome and live a successful, happy life in spite of emotional abuse in my childhood. Blaming does no good but choosing to rise above a dysfunctional past is healthy. By discovering positive ways to deal with the pain, I chose to break free of the damage. And rather than giving in to the pain of my beginnings in life, I found positive change which benefited my husband and my three children as well as myself. My life was set up for failure but instead I have a functional, productive life free of the turmoil. My story of survival provides hope.

The Storm

Chapter Two (Excerpt from "A Wounded Daughter's Survival")

A storm hits randomly, without warning. An environment that was calm and peaceful only minutes before is overcome by uproar and danger. A safe place becomes one of insecurity. The weather minutes earlier was calm and peaceful but now is radically demanding that you seek shelter and protection from its violent force. You cower and cover your head to shield yourself from whatever may go sailing by to assault and wound. Your heart pounds anxiously because your safety is violated. You are unsure if you will remain unharmed as the wind gusts, the rain torrentially slices through the air, and the hail pounds down. You even wonder if something more harmful, such as a tornado, will come sweeping and spinning through to blow you out of this world and out of existence as you sit huddled in its path. You are afraid, and your universe is in chaos. Your only hope is that whatever happens will not hurt too badly. You focus on survival. Then, after a damaging storm blows through, there is usually a path of destruction that requires repair and healing. The damage must be acknowledged and fixed before life can continue on.

Most people can relate to the feelings experienced by those living through a destructive storm, which can bring great harm in an instant. I relate that feeling of helplessness to a child forced to live through endless, random bouts of parental anger raging out of control. My first memory of this parental anger was at age three, and my world thereafter was insecure, violated, and compromised. My mother could go from calm and peaceable to a raging force of upheaval and trauma at the drop of a hat.

It seemed my mother's temper could be set off with the slightest provocation. She would rage and yell loudly, verbalizing her anger with arms flying. Many times, objects in her path would be destroyed, trashed, or stomped. Although never officially diagnosed with anything, my mother displayed irrational outbursts on a regular basis and an overall inability to cope with everyday life. This was all magnified by Dad's extreme narcissistic tendencies and lack of interest in helping out with family demands.

This destructive behavior would be explained away as a family trait-my mother was born with a temper, just like her dad. The type of anger they displayed was unbiblical and destructive. It damaged family, relationships, security, and any hope of living in peace. It was unproductive anger with no purpose but to harm. The Bible says, "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20). My mother's behavior in this area surely shook the very foundation of security in my world. Experiencing such things from my mother, the one person in the world a three-year-old should always be able to count on, damaged me. A mother is supposed to bring comfort, not anxiety and fear.

These angry episodes brought trauma into my life, which in turn damaged my own coping methods. I went into a survival mode of acting invisible and apologizing for my existence in the world. I was helpless against the traumatic storms my mother regularly caused me to endure throughout childhood. I could only sit trembling, waiting for the storm to blow over.

In working through my past, I have learned there are reasons why both my parents acted the way they did. Both of them had trauma in their own pasts that had molded them and caused them to react to life the way they did. Since neither of them faced their pain or found healing, the dysfunction of the past was ever present to be inherited by their children. It became the legacy passed on from one generation to the next.

Without healing after emotional trauma, people go on living with the damage it causes. They do not acknowledge their injuries. Theirs becomes a life with a distorted view of reality, seeing the behaviors and reactions of others toward them in a false way. This leads to a compromised state of being. Those who are emotionally damaged routinely display irrational, out-of-control feelings. Their life becomes abnormal-moody and angry, with ups and downs, very much like a roller-coaster ride. Living in denial leads to a lifetime of compensating that inevitably leads to more problems. It is not possible to repress the pain of emotional damage; it will surface in many hurtful ways.

Poll of Parenting Style - Source of emotional health or emotional damage?

Children have basic emotional needs and having these needs met allows them to grow into productive, functional adults. These basic emotional needs include a sense of belonging, feeling worthy, and feeling competent. When these needs are met it leads to feelings of acceptance, love, and security. Many times parents are incapable of understanding and meeting these basic emotional needs because of emotional damage they have personally experienced in their life. With this situation, the parent is more likely to seek their own significance and be unaware of the damage they impose on their child. This damage manifests in many forms such as anger, abandonment, control, and indifference to name a few.

Image: Grant Cochrane /

Which best describes your childhood experience?

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Emotional Damage is Universal

Find empathy and understanding for your struggles. Many have read my book and felt as though they were reading about themselves.

Childhood Emotional Abuse Poll

Take the poll to see how common childhood emotional abuse is -

Have you personally experienced childhood emotional abuse?

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Your Comments are Welcome Here

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    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 3 years ago

      @SavioC: Thank you for visiting and your wise comment.

    • SavioC profile image

      SavioC 3 years ago

      Thank You for sharing about your childhood. It takes courage to do so. Often when we go through a bad experience as a child we try to see that our kids do not go through it. I am sure many people will relate to your experiences and can take hope from you.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 3 years ago

      @smine27: Thank you for visiting and your comment. I wish you healing too.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Thanks so much for sharing your story Deborah. I also have experienced lots of emotional as well as physical abuse as a child so I can totally relate.

    • profile image

      amal-jose-37 4 years ago

      love the extract

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 4 years ago

      It's wonderful that you can share your story with others who have been through the same thing. :)

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Love the extract

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for sharing your story, Deborah. I'm sure it will bring awareness to childhood emotional abuse. We didn't have a perfect family, but I appreciate that we never went through emotional or physical abuse as children. Stay blessed!

    • profile image

      gods_grace_notes 5 years ago

      Thank-you for this lens... I'm looking forward to reading more of your work. Childhood abuse is such a misunderstood topic, and I'm delighted to see you addressing it with such candor and openness. All God's best to you! Connie

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      Just got the Kindle edition of your book. I put it on my "Controlling People" lens too.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Returned to *Bless* and feature. Hugs

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      May there be much healing redeemed from your experience...and may the angels sing over you with joy....blessed...

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      An all too common occurrence and children who are abused emotionally often have dysfunctional families of their own. Featured this on Child Abuse Child Murder. Hugs

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      thank you for sharing your experiences. it may be difficult to talk about it but it is a relief to free your soul.

    • CamelliaPenny profile image

      Perrin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      God bless you for taking your experiences and using them selflessly for others' betterment. I am sure many who read this lens and your book will be able to come to grips with their own pasts and move forward into light.

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

      It is so praiseworthy that you did not give in to your "fate" - you made a conscious choice to change the way your life was going to turn out. Congratulations on this week's front page!

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 5 years ago

      I truly appreciate all your input and encouragement ... it is extremely helpful. Thank you.

    • profile image

      NidhiRajat 5 years ago

      courageous lens

    • Northwestphotos profile image

      Northwestphotos 5 years ago

      It takes courage to come forth with these types of issues. Thank you for sharing.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Very interesting lens. Very good of you to come forward with your own experiences.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would have to say that I am a pretty lucky person, my mother has a bit of a Victorian attitude but that was how she grew up, I tease her about it now and we have a good laugh, things are so different now. Thank you for sharing

    • profile image

      mistersquidoo_here 5 years ago

      thanks for sharing a good lens

    • profile image

      DesignZeal 5 years ago

      Thank you for this book, Deborah, and the lens about it. It is an invaluable guide to healing emotional wounds from childhood.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I hope that writing about your traumatic childhood might help you through residual feelings from that time. Writing about memories is so important and powerful. Best of luck with your book.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 6 years ago

      @RuthMadison: Thank you for your interest. That information is included in my 1st lens "A Wounded Daughter's Survival". This lens is the 2nd I wrote about my book. The 1st lens also includes the foreword and a list of all 61 chapters. The book covers my life from birth to present time and tells how I survived a dysfunctional, damaging childhood and went on to make a functional, successful life in spite of the abnormal beginnings. Thanks again for your comment :)

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Tipi ... good to hear from you again :) Yes it did take a lot of inner strength to write the book, in fact I wrote a page on the ways that God kept prodding me along. My book begins with the damage in my life as a child but continues on with my life up to now. I married my high school sweetheart at age 18 and we have been married now for almost 34 years. We have 3 very successful, functional adult children. I give credit to God for how my life is.

      I forgive my parents; the problem is generational dysfunction. But I chose with God's help to stop the pain and that is what prompted my story. And thankfully, it is more of a celebration because of God guiding my life. To sum it up, after marriage is a 180 from the beginning. And that is a miracle to be thankful for.

      I know you are thankful for your parents. That is a blessing and I am happy for you. There is nothing better than to be raised in a Christian home without all the dysfunction that damages children. I hope by telling my story that some of the abnormality and dysfunction can be avoided. Children definitely tug at my heart, especially any in an abusive home.

      I will be looking forward to communicating with you much more in the future. Thank you for your comment and the squid angel blessings :)

    • RuthMadison profile image

      RuthMadison 6 years ago

      Looks very interesting. Do you have a descriptive blurb? I would put that in the introduction, since I'm curious to know exactly what story the book tells.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      It must have taken a lot of inner strength to write this and to write a book about emotional abuse. Good on you! ~ I suffered from minor abuses from other kids at times, but was brought up in a very loving home, where my parents hardly ever even raised their voices. They decided they wanted to raise a family with Christian values, and they did a very fine job of raising us kids. ~ I have often heard of other people's younger years, and feel blessed. ~ God bless you!

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 6 years ago

      @bikerministry: Thank you for your support :)

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 6 years ago

      Thank you for posting this. Going to Amazon to order it now.