A question you may have asked yourself many times over. Do you take control of your own life or blame others for how you live and behave? Do you walk the road of blame for the way you have turned out? Should you shout on high say with Au-gusto that you were abused so you abuse? Transfer your guilt if or even when it arises for the actions you have taken – It’s easy right? Quite simply you just pass it back through the years, believing vehemently that the pain you are inflicting is neither by choice nor of your making. Do you convince yourself of that? Live your life with no compassion after all none was ever shown to you. There’s that bubble you climb inside where you feel that all is justified, a safe haven, one in which you feel that you will not be condemned. What could you do about it anyway; the apple never falls very far from the tree does it? That one I can vouch for because it was burned so deeply within me by my abuser since childhood. Just like my father before me I walk the road of the fallen. You’ve been conditioned that way how do you fight genetic inheritance? Told from such an early age it’s OK that no one needs know. It was just their way of showing you that they loved you. It was a secret – a bond that only you and your abuser shared. It was special others would not understand the love you both shared, Jealousy would spoil everything – so what’s the harm? You are only trying to repeat that bond a generation further.
OK: let’s rewind – can we even take any of the above justifications seriously? But the above scenarios are being put out there so often by those that abuse. Let’s be quite clear here there is nor could there be any justification for abuse whatsoever. When it comes to people making excuses for their abusive actions there are none. The words above quite frankly, even now, whilst typing, I can still conjure up a ball of fire ready to explode within me – so deep at times that it still reminds me of the rage I felt whilst trying to understand my own abuser. At that time there were days when the rage I felt was likened to a nuclear explosion. The impact of sexual abuse varies from child to child for many the damage is enormous, with the impact still being felt into adulthood affecting all aspects of their life. But this does not give anyone an open door to walk through to serve their own abusive damage. In a nut shell to all those abusers out there – being abused does not give you any god-given right to abuse. You may be wondering why I made that statement during this piece, so I’ll share with you. Those that are or have been abused are not the only ones that come here to read. I often hear the words of an abuser. I live daily with the hope that, for them just being here, it signals their first step toward change.
Working through the memories of childhood abuse is painstaking work, it will never happen overnight. But if we are ever going to be tested in our lives then this is one of the biggest tests of all. We find a way of working through, which in no shape or form puts others on that road to hell. It takes strength to cast aside the legacy we feel we were left with after abuse. No doubt this is the harder road to walk. But this is your life isn’t it? You alone make the decisions that determine your future. We can’t live in the past but equally we can’t bury it either; it has to be faced.
Some would say that we have even lost our souls during those turbulent years; loss is not a word that comes to my mouth easily. To my mind it was never lost: it was stolen; recovering that part of you is paramount. Once we lose our soul we also lose our identity; we have just become just another static within the realms of abuse. We feel that we are no more than a faceless number; in truth we don’t even want to remember who we are. Along with this, we find ourselves with selective memories. We continue pouring on an avalanche of rock to hold down the part of us we just can’t face. We feel dead within still breathing whilst hopelessly hoping there is no tomorrow. But tomorrow will arrive and face it we must.
Within you is the strength you need to do so it’s just waiting there to be tapped into. Once you take that leap of faith you will find that deep down inside there is small flame still burning; we just need to move the rock.
The above excuses at the start of this piece are spoken so often by those that abuse, that I’m guessing they seem to alleviate their consciences. Clearly the blame rests elsewhere. But for everyone that chooses that easy road of denial there are two more that choose to take that hard road. They make the choice to be different ever ready to stand tall and alone if needed. They are the ones that I try to reach out to within my every waking hour.
There is a way through abuse to recovery that does not involve taking others on that downward-spiralling staircase of abuse. For each of us its different there is no yard stick to measure our progress. We learn to process the memoires that we remember as and when we can, because those traumatizing memories are not always remembered all at once on a conscious level. In truth it’s your mind that is protecting you from confronting all those painful memories all at once. You will remember more when you are ready and able. With remembrance and time you find that you are working towards and able to see that positive outcome that can be yours. This is the right way – the one where you say to all that you alone stopped abuse in its tracks.
Let’s explore the above heading a little together. You could be forgiven to think that surly this is something no one would ever do. What would be the point? Clearly I am not talking here about the act of lying; I’m sure that we have all been a little guilty of a white lie or two. If we really get into it here I am talking about living in a state of limbo. Unable to deal with the realms of the true you, because you feel if you were to do so you would never be able to deal with the emotions it would evoke. Some of the examples that may be given if we were to go take a look in a dictionary may read a little like this.
To live in a way that is dishonest because you are pretending to be something that you are not to yourself or to other people.
To spend your life as someone else
Faking or pretending
Letting sleeping dogs lie
Holding you cards very close to your chest
An outward show to the world of being the clown whilst so acutely aware that it’s all just an act
Fingers crossed we will be believed. After all, we are the only persons aware of the turmoil going on deep inside of us. And we are getting pretty good at ignoring that. Why did it even matter that the outward face you are showing to the world was so far from the truth? They believed that’s all you cared about right? The words rattling around in your head . . . It works for me. If we are ever challenged with regard to this falsehood we defend it venomously. But undoubtedly if you have ever even versed those words – it works for me – then clearly it isn’t or it doesn’t or it would never have been detectable by the person doing the questioning. The unequivocal truth is that it’s right there for all to see like a beacon hovering above our heads. The trouble with this train of thought is that you cannot allow yourself time to think. Consideration or attention cannot be given at all cost. But that is an easy thing to deal with; we just don’t give ourselves the time. So we charge along the road of space-filling. Never spend too much time alone far too dangerous by half. For sure it would be an easy thing to do; there was work, evenings out, and holidays to arrange. You even start planning things way in to the future. Nothing could be left to chance. The worst thing that could happen would be to find you were all alone for more than a few hours, where you and the suppressed you are the only two people in the room. That you can’t deal with. An invitation for them to creep up behind us unnoticed. So once more we are back on the tread mill because no matter what they needed to stay put. We busy ourselves with someone else’s problems finding that easier to deal with then our own. Another space filled. As with so many of the issues I find myself writing about time crops up so often as being the enemy. All the above is something I recognise distinctly. It’s true to say that the many radio shows that I have been a guest on; the same has been echoed to me time after time.
So how do you deny you? Seems an odd thing to say but a statement I have heard many times. I have myself witnessed this in the not too distant past, but sadly I was unable to alter the circumstance surrounding that person at that time. The best I can hope for is that at some time in their future they embrace their past with courage. If we choose not to deal with our demons as we think of them they will only ever be one step behind us.
I was to find out many years later that, in fact, my act had never been believed. At that time in my life maybe that didn’t matter, so was it just that I had to think it was believable? These questions and many more were the reason that for so long I just denied me. Sleep always evaded me because in the dark the real you just won’t leave you alone. I would not sleep for days and then crash from sleep deprivation. I am so very lucky to have now found myself in a place where I know the real me is all I have to be – my past, my memories and all warts included. That same outcome for you is only a step towards faith away.
Many things are to be contributed to this situation, but in my experience it’s our past that keeps us in that loop of non-acceptance. Acceptance really is the one thing we need to strive for, but it needs to be the acceptance of who we are. Far more importantly, it needs to be acceptance of where we have been, along with acceptance of the journey we should never have been made to take. We really need to understand that unless these issues are dealt with, we will carry them all through our lives. They will continue to affect so many things within our lives. We can’t just ditch our past – just how easy would that be! There is hard work to be done. Strive for those nights where you are happy to find yourself alone. Embrace all that you are because that’s enough. In doing so we have to believe that could be your very first tentative steps on the road to recovery, they don’t have to be strides just moving forward.
Crossing your fingers will never be as effective as moving on in your life with an open hand . . .