Abuse

TOUCHED

I walked into my brother’s shop after class.  I was an adult “non-traditional” student in my early 30s at the local university.  I remember riding in the back seat of our family car as a young girl, and while the campus was a fixture in our small town, it seemed a world away.  I wondered what it would be like, to be one of the young women there and yet miraculously for me,  I   became one of them.

My brother asked “how was class,’ and we exchanged small talk when he began discussing the difficulties his son was having in school:

“You know, Dad and I were talking the other day, and we agreed you and Daniel have a touch of the same thing…”

I was shocked. I didn’t respond verbally.  Silence is my usual response.

Now I can see that even then, I had a lot to prove, though education was for my own sake, for my own desire for learning.  But simultaneously there was a tab to pay, a peg to move one step ahead in effort find myself on home base. Obviously, I am not even in the game, or at least, that is how I felt in that moment.  His words hit a nerve- for all my learning, for all I have overcome, his view of me was incredulous.  Not only that, he and my dad seemed to agree on the fact.

I’ve always admired my brother.  If he had self-doubt, he didn’t show it.  He was always of good humor, level-headed, an intelligent, straight A student and when we were kids, engrossed in sports.  I thought he had the better of things  being a boy, and for a short time, I dressed like him, wanted to play on his ball teams- even one summer I practiced catching ball thinking I would join his all-boys team.   I wanted the acceptance, admiration and success he had. I tried to model myself after him, and he never knew.  We had many fun times together.

(Did he really say that?)

“You know, Dad and I were talking the other day, and we agreed you and Daniel have a touch of the same thing…”

A touch.

A little thing resulting in a great divide.

I am sure he was referring not only to our similar learning difficulties, but also our personalities and behaviors to some degree.  When I was around my nephew’s age, I experienced what the family jokingly refers now as “the dark years.”

I can laugh at that most of the time, but they truly were dark, and back then it wasn’t very funny.  I think his ability to classify it in such creative, dramatic terms is the kicker.  Most of the time I laughed, but one time I responded, saying they actually were very dark and I wasn’t in the mood to laugh about it.

Get Over It

“Just get over it…”

 

That’s usually the goal, isn’t it?

 

It’s happened to all of us: You un-wrap a fastfood burger- the one you’ve been looking forward to all day long- the one you custom ordered; but lusty indulgence soon turns into disappointment as you realize there’s mayo, the mayo you specifically requested they leave off.  That’s not really something to get uptight over, unless you have some sort of food allergy.  But it’s a dissapointment nonetheless.  Do you let it spoil your day, or do you “get over it?”  Hopefully the latter.

For those who have a history of abuse, or experienced any sort of tragic event- hearing someone say “just get over it” usually has a rather opposite effect. 

Most people are well-meaning when they say it.  Sometimes when we are wallowing in trivial matters, we need that trusted friend to give us a swift kick in the hind end.  Sometimes we need encouragement to move past the heavier issues in our lives.  There are those who try to get us over the hump, who want us to “get over it” because they love us, and want  to see a victorious person resurrect out of the clay-heap of victimization:

 No more stagnant lives wasted on the past, no more reference to what’s fallen behind; Keep your view straight ahead with your eye on the prize!

 

I can think of so many more clichés I’ve heard over the years- not that they are all bad, or even false. 

It’s just that in order to “get over it,” You must first acknowledge  and have some understanding of what you are “getting over.”  Then there’s the process of grief, of anger, of fear…

 In my opinion, defining this experience, and the time needed  for healing varies with each individual, depending on (here’s that word again)- Worldview. 

 

When a person has been abused, they need acknowledgement, a safe place for honesty and expression of thoughts and feelings – raw emotion without judgment.  Guidance would probably fit better.  We need to set it out there and let it be what it is.  Don’t be surprised if this makes others uncomfortable.  Some may believe there’s just no sense it that, just pack that ugly stuff away and get on with the day.  But this just shortchanges one from true healing.  It works for the outsider, not for the one holding the bag.

Conversations

ON THE SKIDS

Every now and then, Sirius Satellite Radio will tease me with free service.  I always tune in to  Dr. Laura on my way home from work.  She captivates yet sometimes angers me, but I can’t bring myself to turn the channel.  One day a caller sought advice on how to deal with an abusive family and asked how to keep the doors of communication open.

Dr. Laura responded (my paraphrase):

“Why would you want to keep the doors open?  They have abused children.  I don’t deal with idiots.  They are like the skid marks in underwear.  I don’t waste my time with Skid marks on underwear.”

While scanning Radio stations, another DJ Host said:

“”Whatever we engross ourselves in, invest our energy in- whatever we fill our minds with- we will eventually practice and become.”