Adult survivors of emotional child abuse have only two life-choices: learn to self-reference or remain a victim. When your self-concept has been shredded, when you have been deeply injured and made to feel the injury was all your fault, when you look for approval to those who can not or will not provide it—you play the role assigned to you by your abusers.
It’s time to stop playing that role, time to write your own script. Victims of emotional abuse carry the cure in their own hearts and souls. Salvation means learning self-respect, earning the respect of others and making that respect the absolutely irreducible minimum requirement for all intimate relationships. For the emotionally abused child, healing does come down to “forgiveness”—forgiveness of yourself.
~ Andrew Vachss You Carry the Cure In Your Own Heart
I had a revelation yesterday, when I realized that I am still carrying around feelings and guilt and blame for what happened to me as a child.
I was a perceptive person, and I still am…but especially as a child, I had the ability to observe someone and tell you what was most likely going on in their heads…and most of the time, I was right (in a twisted series of events and a particular bout of bullying I ended up telling all of the taunters what was going through their heads, what their insecurities were…and it frightened them into stopping…but that is an entirely different story).
I think, part of the reason I developed this ability was because of the situation with my mother…there was no certainty, I never quite knew what was coming…some days it seemed as though I was going to have the fairy tale, a loving mother, and other days it was as though I had a monster not a mother.
But because I had developed this ability to perceive what was going on psychologically, I began to believe that if anything happened to bring out the monster, it must have been my fault…that I should just have behaved differently, said something else or not said something, or whatever…
And so it began, that I started creating a garden of guilt…of course, the fact that I was told “you are making me do this to you”, “this is all your fault”, “look, I don’t treat your sister like this and so it must be how you are behaving” encouraged that garden to grow and flourish.
But the truth that I have begun to realize is what happened to me was not my fault. My one therapist once made the remark that I was not responsible for what happened to me when I was a child and a teenager.
But I don’t think I have believed it until now.
And so I am officially forgiving myself. Writing down that I did nothing wrong. That what went down was not my fault.
When I had this revelation yesterday it was as though a physical weight was lifted off my shoulders.
And if someone had told me a couple of days ago that I am carrying around feelings of guilt I don’t know if I would have believed them…it was a truth that I had buried rather deeply.
But it is the truth, and it takes me closer towards being whole again.
Although, I am not convinced that it is correct to say “whole again”, because the truth is I am never going to be that person again. I am moving beyond being a victim…and I don’t know where I will end up.
But the person who was born in the dark cave of despair and desperation and who felt that there was no love in the universe for them…I am not that person any more.
I get to choose my own path, and it’s going to be an amazing journey filled with special people and beautiful views.