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I’m starting to feel a little crazy, just one email and a few lines of words have set me off. What are the words? “…sorry to say but dad is out of town….  Sparing the details why would these words bother me so much? Because they tell me what I’ve known but still struggle to come to grips with since I was a child that my father doesn’t know how to love me. That hurts to write but it’s the truth and I still don’t always know what to do about it or with it. It is the one damn thing in my life that I allow the power to turn me into a nervous wreck. But I’m aware of it. And at times I feel unable to do anything about it. In the past it has caused psychological challenges related to fear of abandonment, low self-worth, limited self-confidence and confusion over love of self.  

Follow over the fold

For all that the years have gifted me, there is still a child inside crying because she has been punched, slapped, yanked or whipped again, and doesn’t understand why the people who are supposed to cherish her the most are hurting her. She is a child who just wants to be held and loved by her parents. How do you get a child like that to understand that it will never ever, ever, ever, happen? You can’t and then what happens? Well she grows into a woman with a crying child inside who won’t stop hurting. So what’s the solution, let go let God, live and let live, turn it over, acceptance? Meditation? Prayer? Success? Counseling? Becoming a more loving parent? These do help, and the more they are practiced the more they help I know, but sometimes it seems not enough. The key is to accept this as it is, accept that the inner child will always hurt.  

I know that I can psychologically and spiritually hold her and tell her that I love her and that I’m proud of her but I also know that it will never be enough.  This is the direct result of feeling the pain, of not numbing the pain of allowing the pain to be what it is - painful, humiliating, and sometimes shameful.  

When the pain starts I just want to do something with it I want to sit it somewhere out of the way like a stack of boring paperwork, or dirty laundry, or dirty dishes, or garbage but with all of those tasks I eventually turn back to them and deal with them, I do the paperwork, I take care of the laundry, I wash the dishes, get rid of the garbage but I can’t get rid of the damn pain, I can’t wash it, clean it, pay it or dump it out no matter where I put it, it just sits there waiting for me to pick it up again. The pain, the child, and I work together, she picks it up when I’ve put it down, and the pain waits patiently knowing that I will try to deal with it for the umpteenth time. Each time it hurts a little less but its not going anywhere anytime soon.  

Some say "feel the pain", others say "don’t wallow in the pain", some say "accept the pain", some say "ignore the pain" and some say I have no pain.  Some days I feel the pain stronger than on others especially if it’s been triggered like today and sometimes I accept the pain and then sometimes I let go of it but I never numb the pain or pretend it’s something that it’s not and it always returns.  And maybe that’s part of the process too, allowing it to revisit, to be aware of it and to explore it, like now.  It gets easier to manage the pain with time, that’s my hope and my experience. I can only work on my own pain and change myself.  I can’t change anyone else, I can work on changing the way I think and spend time soothing the inner child in healthy ways when she needs it. It’s been many years now and I think it has gotten easier but then on a day like today I’m thrown for a loop again. At times the past tries to fool me into thinking that the abuse I experienced was not such a big deal. That all that was a long time ago, that it doesn’t matter anymore oh and worst of all, that maybe it wasn’t so bad.  NO! It was bad and sad. And sometimes I realize that years ago very briefly, disarmingly, unpredictably and frighteningly I was glad to be a child.  

Love your children hold them dear - you have amazing powers to influence their lives. I know.

If you know of a child that may be being abused please report it to your local child protective services and/or law enforcement agency. I wish that someone would have intervened on my behalf. If you are an adult and have been abused as a child, counseling will go a long way in helping to improve the quality of your life, it did for me.

I've started 501(c)(3) charity for women, including women veterans who suffer from chemical dependency and posttraumatic stress disorder in addition to other mental health disorders, if you would like to make a tax deductible donation or help please go to our website.

thank you for letting me share.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have no wisdom to offer (5+ / 0-)

    only acknowledgement of your pain. ((((Marina))))

  •  I keep clicking on this diary, and wanting to (10+ / 0-)

    comment but chickening out. So finally, YES. I think I know how you feel. My father pounded me in bed at age six, for being frightened and unable to sleep because of a widely publicized local kidnap/murder of a young girl. He pounded me in the bathtub at 14, ostensibly for not opening the door fast enough when my sister wanted to use the toilet. And there were plenty of minor poundings and face-slaps and knocking-to-the-grounds and kickings and surly mockings etc in between, yet I wasn't the child he abused the worst. Even when I was 50 and an accomplished physician, he couldn't stop twisting what I said, calling me stupid and a liar and brainwashed and every other name in the book. (Proof of the abuse? It took me that long to recognize it for what it was.)
    I sense that you realize your feelings are common in people with such a background. There will always be moments when the past bursts into the present. It may not feel temporary at the time, but it is, or can be.
    Do you find that these moments of greater vulnerability and sensitivity happen more often during Presidential elections? I certainly do. All the mean Republican daddies without a shred of empathy, getting so much air time -- too many echoes of childhood. Probably I should just stick my head in the sand and ignore the whole thing, but I can't: I MUST see them defeated. This vulnerability will recede after a week, when we no longer have the Karl Roves blaming the messenger (like your father no doubt blamed you for "needing" to be punched, slapped, yanked etc) and denying responsibility for his egregious failings.
    I don't know if anything I've said helps. I do know there's often comfort in shared company. Please hang in there! You didn't deserve to be treated that way as a child, and you don't deserve it now.

    "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom." -- Thomas Jefferson

    by pianogramma on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 12:07:03 PM PST

  •  We had to make that decision to call & we did. n/t (4+ / 0-)
  •  I've been back and forth to this diary several (5+ / 0-)

    times, wondering if I should make a comment.
    I decided that I will.  I've never written this before.  

    I share memories of a similar nature.  Hair pulling, slapping, punching with fist and feet, coat hangers, hairbrush, canes, straps, belts or anything within reach.  I have an older brother who got the same treatment.  So did my mother. At the time I had two younger brothers, that I tried to run interferance on.  I did poorly in school and can remember for every math problem I didn't understand during homework time, it was a slap across the face. My eyes were so full of tears the paper was a blur.  I got slapped a lot.  

    For additional pain when I went to school as a poor student the teacher (Mr Ruhl) actually brought in a box that a refridgerator came in. My desk was in that box.  He also delighted in pulling the hair on the nap of my neck.  I failed 6th grade. I got caught stealing once and my father had to come and get me.  Along with the beating I stayed in a closet for the summer. Many nights I lay awake thinking, was I a bad kid.  Was this love?  

    When my parents split up, my older brother decided he was the new man of the house and beat me and my brothers.  Then one day, a car pulled up and we were told to get in.  I was told we were going to visit a new school.  Turns out when pulling into a driveway to the school I noticed barbed wire around the top of the fence.  I remember thinking, this can't be good.  
    We became wards of the state.  This school had a military program. (had to march everywhere)  I never saw my house again, never got to say good by to friends or have anything from the house that I called mine.  That void stays with me to this day.  I was in that school from 1964-1970.  I maybe saw my mother a dozen times, she became very religious and is to this day.  My father never came to visit, didn't even know where he was.  After about two weeks I found an envelope with the schools return address label on.  The name of the school with these words.

     "A man is what happens to a boy".  

    Those words changed my life.  Over the years I came to realise that my parents were bad parents and a direct result of how they were raised.  That's important.  You could say now that " An adult is what happens to a child".  

    I vowed if I ever had kids I would never hit them.  I vowed that I would break that chain.  The love that I was looking for as with you would never be.  Not like other families.

    The love I share with my kids and grand kids today more than makes up for what I went through.  

    That's how I do it, I know the chain of abuse is broken with my kids and take great pleasure in knowing that their generation and those that follow are surely changed for the better.  I see that in how I watch my son with his kids. (two daughters)

    That is what frees me.  Knowing the chain is broken..  

    I wish you the very best life has to offer.  You deserve it,

    asburyhouse sounds like a wonderful orginization that will make a difference in lives troubled, and I will keep in mind where I can send a few extra in the future.  Take care,  

    •  It took me an hour... (6+ / 0-)

      ... to write the few lines I just posted below.  I think I have it together, and then find out that old pain is still there.   Although, now it is more the memory of pain, and not actual pain, if that makes sense.

      Like you, I broke the chain and set things right again.  My kid told me I was the best possible mom she could have wished for.  Her saying that was the greatest gift anyone could give.

      Blessings, thomask.

    •  Thank you for your kind words and for sharing! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, thomask

      Yes you did break the cycle as I did with my children too! When one of my daughters was little she used to proudly tell people that her mother broke the cycle:-) She didn't quite know at the time what that meant but she knew it was something to be proud of. Congratulations to you too for breaking the cycle and offering your children and grandchildren a safer and healthier life. You too deserved to have been loved and care for as you today are giving of your love and of yourself to your family.  One of my greatest treasures today is the love I receive from my own children and grandchildren.

  •  I knew when I was four years old ... (5+ / 0-)

    ...  that my parents did not love me.  Even with all that came after that, what stands out is the pain of knowing I wasn’t loved.  As an adult, I realized the truth about my parents – they were stunted, incomplete people who were so limited that they were not capable of love.  

    How to deal with growing up like you and I did?  Time helps - it really does get better.   Let yourself love and be loved.  For me, nurturing equanimity through a spiritual practice is also helpful.  

    I hope you find the way to peace.  Blessings, dear Marina.

  •  I've started a longer reply several times. (4+ / 0-)

    It ain't happening tonight.  Really all I can say right now is that I know where you're coming from.  I was twenty-seven and childless when I decided to have a vasectomy.  I just wasn't going to chance parenting as I was parented.

    Now, pushing 60, I get it.  Joy of Fishes could be describing my parents:  emotionally stunted, incomplete people.  I don't really know how - maybe it was just coming to understand the childhood each of my parents had - but I've lost the anger and resentment I felt toward them.  I'm sad at some of the things I missed out on, and at some of the things that were done, but in the end I "escaped."  My parents never could escape, nor could my brother - he committed suicide when he was 40.  His fourteen year-old son did the same a couple of months later.  This makes me saddest of all.

    Abuse can last for generations.  Throw in poverty,  lack of opportunity, and limited exposure to "normal" relationships and it's pretty easy to see why.

    I am so sorry, Marina.  

    •  IndieGuy & Others ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thomask, IndieGuy

      IndieGuy, please accept my condolences on the loss of your brother and nephew.  May they rest safely in the peace that eluded had them.  

      For you and for all others who come this way, I invite you to follow or join the House of LIGHTS group (If I recall correctly, the acronym is for Loving Inspiration Giving Healing to Survivors).  You will find survivors and thrivers* who experienced childhood abuse/trauma.  An advantage to joining is to be able to reach out to the group through kosmail.  

      * From Victim to Survivor to Thriver.

    •  Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, thomask, IndieGuy

      I am just amazed at the strength and resiliency that has echoed in the replies to my post. I'm sorry too about your brother and nephew, some of us sadly don't survive due to the conditions we were raised in.  You made some brave decisions. It has taken years of counseling to get to the point where I am today as I chose to have children and worked very hard to break the cycle. But I too have siblings who followed in my parents footsteps and have not been as fortunate as I have.  Your response helped me in my continued journey of healing.

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