Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Love Shouldn't HurtšŸš©

For some people who have felt the deep scars of inadequacy after being battered, whether spiritually, physically, verbally or mentally it may take longer to heal and recover, but the truth is when you love or are loved, it should never hurt.  This truth took me many years to figure out.

Being abused as a child leaves open wounds that can take years to remove, and in many cases there open wounds never completely heal, as years pass and abuse continues the victim often times molds into the life they've been accustomed to. In other words, it becomes NORMAL,  the perpetrator is successful, he/she wins the battle.

Constant hyper critical words can totally invalidate or erase the occasional words of affirmation the victim may hear.

EXAMPLE:  I was told I was ugly, too skinny, too stupid and ignored when trying so desperately to be heard and acknowledged as a child/teenager.  As a result of this I went to school everyday believing it was true--So I really was not that great of a student.

I remember a couple of times being validated by teachers I will never forget:
In 1st grade (yes I remember this far back) Mrs. Davis told me the winter tree I had drawn was the "Best" she'd ever seen--
another example was Mrs. Fish, she was my 2nd grade teacher.  We were given a project to draw an insect and label the parts, the anatomy.  I spent hours on it, Mrs. Fish loved it so much she asked if she could keep it and use it for future students to see, she actually wanted to frame it and hang it in her room.  I will never forget that moment.  Those 2 compliments got me through elementary school.

One time in middle school I can remember my mom telling me one day "Monya, you have the great ability to forgive, forget and move on" I really don't remember why, or the context of the entire conversation, all I remember is how it made me feel, she noticed me, something about me she liked.
I remember this so vividly, exactly where I was standing in our living room, and even what I was wearing.  Those words of affirmation, although brief, validated me.  Those words have stayed with me for life.  I absolutely do not blame my mother, now as an adult I realize she was doing the best she could do, and who am I to decide what another person's "best" is?

Even though I never once heard the words "I Love You" until I met Eric, I believe those 3 little words are worthless unless you are able to show it.  So, even if I had heard those words as a child, I think it would of messed me up even more.  A person who smacks their wife or kids around one day, then the next day says "I Love You" does not know what LOVE is, this behavior is painful and confusing..LOVE DOESN'T HURT.

I can truly confess that I can't remember loving myself until I started my cancer journey.  The chronic betrayal I endured for years forced me to stop loving and trusting myself.  Irreversible damage was done---I am a typical "text book" victim of abuse, it is typical for the victims to feel unnecessarily guilty.  My main concern as a child was my mom, if I told her what was happening when she was not home, one of two things could happen:

1. she'd leave him and be forced to suffer through another divorce
2. He would kill her, me or my sisters (the textbook threats of a perpetrator)

either way, both of these choices were not an option for me because I would of caused this awful pain my mother would have to endure. I can't believe I actually thought this, as most victims of abuse do.

My biological father Colby, was indulged in drugs and alcohol in the 60's.  My mom was so young and "in love" they were high school sweethearts, his family loved her, he seemed to be "in love" with her and they married at a very young age.  One night in a drunken/drugged rage he hit me up side the head, broke my eardrum and then passed out on the sofa.  When my mother came home from work, she found her 3 years old little  blonde headed girl, sobbing, holding my ear blood running down my arm and she immediately took me to the ER.  From that point on throughout my childhood years I endured many, many surgeries trying to repair the damage, to this day I am deaf in my right ear.   My mother divorced Colby, it was devastating on him and on his family.  They were a large family and loved my mother so much, my aunt told me it was like having a death in the family.  Over the years they tried their hardest to keep a relationship with my sisters and I, but it was  difficult years.  Colby went to prison and remained there until I was at least 18, so honestly I didn't really remember him growing up.  I just remember about the time I was 14 thinking "where is he? why is he not protecting me?" When I was 18 he came back into my life--he scattered those connections with me for years a part, finally one day when I was visiting my grandmother  (his mom) in Eagar Arizona I decided to go visit him in the jail he was in--I drove to see him, and I told him exactly what I thought of him, it was not a pretty sight, anyone within ears distance of a 1/2 mile or so could hear, when I finished it felt to good--It was like I had finally released every negative thought I ever had of him, interesting enough, the issue of my deafness and my ear problem never came up--I was way past all that, it was part of my life and I really was so young I didn't know any difference.  What I did find out, was no matter how much I told him I had forgiven him for that one act of violence, he could never forgive himself for what he had done.  He was a sensitive man when it came to "his girls"  I truly believe he tried so hard to become sober, but when he did, he would call me and the wounds would open up again for him and the drinking would start all over again--sometimes forgiving ourselves is the hardest part of the Atonement of Christ.  It was a difficult process to watch him go through, up to the day he took his last breath he was worried about me and the pain he had caused me--having the knowledge of our Saviors Atonement tells me that he has been forgiven, and has now moved on to dwell in a better place than he did while he was on earth.
In respect to this post, do I think he loved me? Yes, I do, his behavior was random and not perpetual, the drug and alcohol abuse were more powerful, and controlled him to the point of not being physically able to raise three children and be an effective dad.  BIGGEST REGRET OF HIS LIFE.

I know this may sound like a contradiction to everything I just posted about "love not hurting" but there is a difference.  Although, Colby was unable to be an active responsible father in my life, he recognized his faults and asked for forgiveness, admitted to his wrong behavior and yes, he loved me.

The bottom line for me, is that families, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents we all say things that HURT--I've have most definitely done it as a mother and wife.  Does this mean I don't love my children or husband? Of course not, however, words can leave a scar that will not wound.  When this happens put your arms around that person tell them you are so sorry, that you love them and would never want to hurt them, and move on.  This is not chronic abusive behavior, this is family life--and not always at it's finest moments--I will never blame my childhood on the mother I am today, I am old enough to know right from wrong and I take responsibility for my own actions.
I am grateful for those lifetime experiences that brought me to where I am today, boy I have so much more to learn, all I can hope is that the next generation will be better than I was.