Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Not to beat the proverbial dead horse, but I have a few things to add to the previous Nutcase story.
I was merely one of four children that suffered from child abuse in our house. There. I said it. My parents were child abusers. By admitting it, I dispel the shame. POOF! BEGONE, YE DEMONS!
Our story is fairly mild compared to some I have heard. My girlhood friend was sexually abused by her father from age 12. (That explains a LOT!) Someone else moved out of her house at 17 and lived on the streets to escape an abusive home - and she continued high school to graduation. Another woman was struck by her father and tossed from a moving car one morning when she was about 10. She woke up that afternoon and walked home.
This kind of shit is all around us and nothing is new under the sun. The degree of abuse doesn't matter. All I know, and I can only speak for myself, is that I thought I was a bad child and if only I did better in school, if only I were better behaved, if only I prayed hard enough, then the abuse would stop. God said, "HA!" (I know. I stole that line from Julia Sweeney.) I attempted perfection for so long, not really knowing why at the time - hindsight and all that, don't ya know. When I could, I freakishly controlled my environment. (There was so much time spent not being able control anything.) Like being the shop manager Nazi at the costume shop. (Hi, Judy!) Now, I understand.
These are some of the symptoms of my abuse, which was mostly verbal but always with the implied threat of violence:
Alcohol and drug abuse.
Anger and rage.
Self destructive behavior.
Emotional detachment aka disassociation.
Hello! I know you all only too well!
Some kids grow up to be fairly sane and able to cope. Others, especially sensitive kids, are haunted by their experiences. By writing about these things in a public forum, I hope I can just get past some of the pain. Being able to say that I was abused as a child is a step toward sanity. Being able to name the amorphous fear that floats around me takes away some of that fear.
Also, I do try to remember that my parents were mere mortals with their own baggage and pain. We just happened to be there when they went out of control. It wasn't us, it was them.
Also, I try not to use this "victimization" as an excuse for purposeful bad behavior. Everyone has problems and baggage. I'm just trying to understand my own.