Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Philip Mirci, Ed.D.

Committee Members

Chris Hunt, Ed.D.

Ron Williams


social sciences; psychology; education; abuse; autoethnography; children; maltreatment


Criminology | Developmental Psychology | Educational Leadership | Educational Sociology


News reports through the last decade have been full of terrifying accounts of young men and women who were engaged in criminal actions, gang activities, and horrible violence. Upon investigations and interviews, many of these young people have asserted that they acted out in crime as a means of "earning respect." In many of these cases, the child came from an abusive and unhealthy home life.

Having lived as one of these "troubled teens," I, the researcher, yearned to discover why some children have been able to break free of the tyranny and bondage they served under as children and become contributing members of society, while others have not. Having grown up in a highly abusive environment as a child and having participated in highly immoral and dangerous crimes, this autoethnography was designed to seek out some reasons and answers as to why I (the researcher) was able to overcome my past and become successful in life.

The theoretical lens used in this study was Robert Marzano's (1998) Five Stages of the Self System. The purpose of this study was for the researcher to gain insight from analyzing his own childhood using Marzano's concept of the self-system, to help define the needs of abused children in self-liberation. By writing an autoethnography, I was able to gain insights into the phenomena of being a terrorized victim of childhood physical and mental abuse, how my experiences related to my definitions of self and others, and how I found liberation so that my capacity to be self-determining was increased. This autoethnography documented accounts from the researcher's childhood and analyzed them in effort of finding why he was able to break free of his past. These findings were meant to be available for helping future children who come from similar abusive backgrounds.

This study was written to help put a stop to physical, emotional, and sexual abuses of children by helping to understand these victims and their struggles better. This autoethnography was meant to become a significant contribution to the existing literature on abused children and their needs in the developments of their liberation.


© 2014 Jason Powell

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781321658958