July 2019

Imprisonment

When we think about the word imprisonment we naturally feel it represents incarceration, but that is not the only way that we can be within a space of imprisonment. A place where we are still held within its walls that are completely invisible to an onlooker. I’m talking here about a place where there will never be a daring break out staged, where there is no parole or any early release for good behaviour. A place where there was never any crime committed by that individual, but still it seems, it was their fate as abused children which holds them within that imprisonment for a lifetime.

An adult child abuse survivor knows that place well because it’s within them and to remove themselves from that incarceration will take time. They will need to endure the pain that can’t help but accompany them on their journey on that road to recovery, and so the question is asked, is it not far less painful to stay within that imposed Imprisonment? It’s so very difficult to break down the walls surrounding them and it may take many attempts. They are fully aware more than anyone just what they will need to encounter once that breakout is attempted. It will never really matter in totality others offering the sledgehammer in which to do so, they are the only ones able to take that deep breath within and take that swing.

The one thing that we know with complete certainty is that each one of them has lived within the horrors of sexual child abuse. It’s an impossible task for us to sit within another’s child abuse experience, in all truth, our involvement should be in guidance alone simply because we aren’t able to take this journey to its conclusion. On this, they stand alone.

So let’s just think about the tormented mass of abuse within that has always dominated their memory, the walls have been built so high they will seem impossible for them to climb. But what we need to remember here those walls were constructed by themselves to contain the past, and many years have passed for them to do so. The child abuse they suffered was inserted into the mind of that trusting innocent child by another, and the walls were a necessity to live life in any way that felt normal. So breaking them down? Well, we can see that there would be more than a little resistance. It would seem preferable to them not to disturb those walls and why wouldn’t it?

To be imprisoned from within there is just no escape just how you can you run from yourself? To be able to look towards the result of controlling the memory of their abuse and its effect? The walls at this moment in time for them they feel are still standing fast, even if with great difficulty and their input daily for it to be contained. But at least they are there they feel familiar and the work required to contain their abuse has become part of their life. Why invite that in which could proportionately undo that which took them so long to build? During the daylight hours, it’s somewhat achievable to hide behind these walls. But during the feared darkness of the night within those twilight hours, it’s a very different story. The abuse takes over within their subconscious and it becomes a place where all control is lost, its where the fight is always lost to them regardless. To be imprisoned within is unparalleled and surrender during the darkness of the night seems to be the only thing possible.

Here we find a space where nothing seems as if it fits overlapping with confusion and still there is no escape. The night sweats and the terror of thrashing around without any feeling of movement and always accompanied with the inability to awaken, its where they relive the pain of each abusive touch but somehow as if they are paralysed. Asking for it to stop becomes an endless loop within an echo in the distance as if it was being asked by another, the words ricocheting from wall to wall as every request returns to them unanswered and hollow. Incarceration, when measured against this torture, will seem like a preferred option. There is no mandatory time away from that cell or the giving of access to the exercise yard where they can at least feel the suns ray on their back. There is nothing remotely resembling my words above within the mind of an adult recovering from child abuse. It’s always dark whilst within the sun has no access their freedom just doesn’t exist

There is never any code of conduct that has to be followed by those implementing their incarceration, if it were ever so they would think that they have somehow entered fairyland. For an adult child abuse survivor, everything they encounter will be far less accommodating, there were no written rules their abuser had a free hand to tear their lives apart at will.

To live life within that dark imprisonment was never as a result of their actions and to experience this isolation is devastating. To look for that key enabling them any access to see the way out is achievable but for them its a huge undertaking. So do they take a sledgehammer to those walls? or stay within the maximum-security within and that cell eagerly waiting for their return. Somehow as if it was aware that leaving the cell behind them had never been a possibility.

Their liberty was taken without any wrongful deed and for that, there can never be any justification…….

Memories good or bad

Our memories bring us to pleasure fond remembrance and joy to state but a few, but on the other side of life, they can bring us to pain a feeling of desertion and deep isolation. Either way, neither will ever be able to aid us with the gift to predict the future and as for the past? Well, that can never be altered because it’s somewhat set in stone. The past is set to stay with us as we journey through life, and we can only ever make the best of that situation in which we are able. This journey is one that all of us need to make because within the acceptance of life it needs to be lived. So we endeavour to take the bad along with the good, as we continue to experience, the ride on the roller coaster called life. If we are lucky the good will always outweigh the bad, which in turn, gives us the strength when required to shoulder the bad as and when it arrives.

But what if we were to turn that statement on its head where the bad has always outweighed the good? What if finding any good has never seemed possible? Well, we are then destined to travel a completely different journey, on the roller coaster into hell. Where the downs are always present and the ups seem to be impossible to reach. They just don’t seem to have any influence or contribute at all within that ride into the dark side of life.

For a child abuse recovering adult, the paragraph I’ve written above is no great mystery. In fact, all that I have achieved whilst writing that paragraph was to randomly tear a page from within their book of life. So let’s stay with that analogy and I will endeavour to use it to emphasise my meaning.

If we were to think of life as being much like a book, we pick it up at birth where every book begins on that first page beneath its front cover. Then there is the intrigue of what may lay within each chapter which sits between both covers. Its where we really don’t know where we will be taken as we plough our way through the pages towards its conclusion, At times, we may have already somewhat guessed its ending, but that doesn’t deter us from continually turning to the next page with enthusiasm. On reaching its conclusion we reflect upon its content and mull over the story and any effect it may have left upon us.

Even if it was so very far-fetched and off the scale we still accept that it was only trying to reach within our imagination. If it was distasteful within its content, well, then we could have easily chosen to put it down. If it was a love story then we are washed away within the romance and for most, the girl always gets her guy, or clearly, she was not destined to be with him. There was no one standing above influencing our choice of whether to read on or not to do so, as we choose to pick it up or put it down at our leisure. Whatever the above triggers within you they are still very much scenarios of choice by their very nature they can be no other.

But if we were to pick up the book of life of a child abuse recovering adult none of the above relates. There is no beginning that they remember, there are no chapters that they can recall within totally recall, in truth, it’s just far too muddled. Most certainly there has never been an end in sight even if the book’s author has now departed. Indeed there is no conclusion that can be made on this now unfinished unedited manuscript. If we were able to pick up each and every one of the books I’ve described above tear them into tiny pieces, before once rearranging them without care. They would still make more sense combined that way than the book of life for a child within abuse. They were given no other choice other than to read on whilst holding on to their emerging book of life alone terrified confused and controlled.

The front and the back covers, well, they were always open on demand with a force that unless you have experienced child abuse is impossible to understand. There was never any second guessing its ending because there was no end to be seen, at times, they can’t even remember its arrival it just seems as if it has always been there. Controlled by discipline and by exterior elements, and the content of the continuing chapters was always written in another’s hand. There was no foreword page outlining the story and their abuser as sure as hell did not want any recognition for their work. Or ever contemplate another’s contribution to the book of life they were heinously destroying. That abused child would have been the only one to ever glimpse within its open pages, although completely, without the art of understanding or being able to read from the devil’s pen.

In all truth, our memories are the foundation for the book of life that will form from within us as we grow, it just hasn’t as yet reached its end until the end comes to us all naturally. We could say that on birth all of our pages are just blank just waiting for the input of life where we start to accrue our memories. As they arrive they are mentally jotted down within our memory because we are a manuscript in progress. The content within the chapters has many years in which to formulate our story and its unavoidable that the end will at some point arrive.

But for a child abuse recovering adult, those chapters between the covers from beginning to end will have no distinction, they are all within the same unaltered and extended manuscript. Scrambled, confused with no access to the oncoming yet unwritten pages. As they rapidly and continually turn over each day without any real sense to be made, without compassion and without any aid from any direction. Their book of life experience could never be put aside or discarded there was never any finality, even if many years may have now past them by.

As I have stated above the past can never be rewritten, but let us hope beyond hope, that in time they can at least begin to edit those already written pages within. Enabling them the ability to at last pick up that tarnished book unaided, and start to rewrite their future within recovery for the first time in their life. Choices that was never theirs before are now in full view and on there arrival it will take some getting used to. In its entirety choices will need to be made, and oddly for the first time, they may feel that they are completely alone. That is quite easy to understand when abuse has always been an integral part of who they were, they now have the real challenge of acceptance of the past which will never mean to forget. They will need to really look inside to find the answer to so many of their questions but at least they now have some idea of just where to look.

Change brings with it so many obstacles in which to encounter and the view from their standpoint can all on its own can bring chaos, it’s not surprising because the work required at times will be extremely painful. Getting to know who they really are is an odious task when the trauma of abuse is unearthed and encountered, in a way in which they have never needed to hold their abuse before. When face to face with that abuse the image can be less than pretty but now at least it’s honest. Looking in the mirror for all of us is not always pretty.

For a child abuse recovering adult, the image they are faced with is something that they have never seen, and for it to be overcome it will always take immense strength of their character and without the act of self-judgement. Honesty at times for all of us is not always favourable but to ourselves, we can never lie. For a child abuse recovering adult honesty has never been theirs so just how can they judge? The answer for that now recovering adult is within time and practise. For that child who is within every one of them embroiled within so much pain and deceit, have they not yet earned that privilege? The answer to that question should be on the tip of your tongue without the need of adding my own.

There is a book inside of us all just waiting to be written and each and every one of them are more than able……

Footnote

I don’t normally add or share more here other than where each of my pieces take me whilst writing. But I shall do so today. I was requested to be a guest last night on live radio as the expected guest was unwell. In this situation you are never armed with any answers to the questions, neither do you know the questions you may be presented with its a case of holding on to your seat.

A lady caller rang into the show to ask me how she could outrun her past abuse and be able to feel as being whole and good, she continued, trying to outrun her abusive past was just too difficult for her and she would never be able to find any acceptance.

That question really wasn’t very long but sometimes they hit a nerve and this time was one of them. I took a moment to digest her words because they really touched me. My reply could only ever be given from my own child abuse experience, whilst moving into the position of a recovering adult myself. The answer may seem to be a simple one but on reflection, it felt huge and so extremely personal. I had to re-enter that place within me and seek an honest answer and when it came it was met by silence but hopefully it was still heard.

Today, it’s so very clear to me, that I was never able to outrun my abuse, I was always trying to outrun myself which is an impossible task, I can only hope, that by sharing a part of me the light had been shone upon her but I’ll never really know…….