Survivor syndrome affects people who have faced a real threat of death and have a slim chance of surviving. It also affects children from families where abortions have taken place. These are children who discovered at some point in their lives that their parents had killed their siblings or had considered suicide. Continuing to live is associated with enormous emotional strain, remorse, and significantly increased levels of anxiety for someone like this. It affects people who have faced a real threat of death; their chances of survival are slim, and others in similar situations have died.
Agata Rusak psychotherapist, trainer, and supervisor an interview with Agnieszka Porzezińska host of a programme on TVP notes that:
“It is very possible that we are living among a large number of people who have an excessive fear of life or for life, as well as the many other difficult consequences of having the freedom to choose whether or not to have a child. A person who was not going to be born felt the uncertainty of their existence as a person, as a specific girl or boy. A person who has chosen to live among other siblings frequently feels guilty about being alive, about how they live. The sanctioned and veiled loss of children added to the stigma of war losses.”
People suffering from survivor syndrome frequently fail to recognize that their abortion experience is the source of their lack of joy in life, sadness, or existential impotence. The more a child—or later, an adult—realises that his parents killed a sibling or were willing to kill him as well, the more emotional shock he feels. The ramifications of discovering that my parents murdered my siblings or considered murdering me are enormous.
- “Is the survivor syndrome detectable by any psychologist, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist?”.
Agata replies: “Obviously not. Some sufferers hide behind a sense of helplessness and blame their problems on their parents. The stigma of rejection is not a visible mark on the skin; it occurs deep within humanity. At the same time, the quality of family relationships in a child’s later years of life heavily influences the development of individual spheres. – In what sense? I have only mentioned a few of the many other symptoms of survivor syndrome.”
The sufferer views his life as a random event rather than a precious gift worth cherishing. He rebels against God, authorities, and life because he believes he must deserve the life that has been bestowed upon him. The survivor’s syndrome can also be seen in the fact that the child—and later the adult—does not trust his parents and, as a result, cannot trust sincere people or by contrast is naive to anyone that seems to offer him a little bit of what he had missed at home. In consequence this affects his image of God, as an unpredictable Entity (even not Person), who cannot be trusted.
Agata continues: “If a child grows up hearing that he or she is unwanted, a nuisance, bad, that there is trouble at home because of him or her, that he or she is a failure, that he or she will not be able to cope with life, and at the same time experiences bad family ties, he or she will be shaped as an insecure, anxious person with a low sense of value, frequently neglecting his or her own needs. Survivorship can manifest itself in a wide range of effects in life. Many people are sceptical of the existence of a distinct survivor syndrome. A child who is also an abortion survivor and grows up in a home where relationships are cared for in some way, for better or worse, will be psychologically healthier and will cope better with the world.
- Why is it so difficult for people who have had abortions to form positive relationships with their living children?”
“Many people who spoke to me directly about abortion said they felt like bad parents to their living children. They have trouble showing tenderness, so they overprotect and control the child’s health, behaviour, and academic performance. When kids want to talk about their feelings, they’re impatient and don’t listen. Such a difficulty or inability is understandable since every biologically conceived child is already in the mother’s mind, emotionally. She’s becoming a mother. Even without children, she is a mother. If she has other children, her abortion gives the born child double the care, control, and expectations of the mother. The survivor becomes a child “under a lamp” who must be polite, capable, best in class, and perfect. The adoption of a survivor is viewed by the mother and father as a form of atonement and reparation for the deaths of other children. Young and adult survivors frequently have a strained relationship with their parents.”
“The surviving children are deeply lonely and have a difficult time forming the warm, trusting bonds that they crave. Rather than a unique, separate being developing at his or her own pace, a product of a wounded ‘Psyche’ (ENG: ‘Soul’ – redaction note). Some survivors of abortion fail to recognise that their distress is being caused by their abortion experience. (…)From the child’s point of view, every person with survivor syndrome requires a general life review that addresses the whole person, not just the individual broken parts.”
A specific therapy for this syndrome would be ineffective because each person’s constellation of the effects of abortion on the family evolves over the course of a lifetime. What is required is a broad examination of life as a whole, rather than just the individual broken pieces. Abortion, or the intention to have one, is not the fault of a single person. Many people contribute to this drama, including those who did not instil in the woman the courage to become a mother, those who encouraged abortion, and those who, through passivity and silence, did not stop the woman. We are all responsible for the life that exists within and around us.