Abusers are Thieves

I had this very thought as I got myself together for an appointment with my mechanic.  Not that what they stole from me had much to do with my car. I’ve just been thinking about them a lot lately.

And there in lies my point right there in that example. They steal your mind and your thoughts so that your mind is preoccupied with them and what they did.

They steal self esteem and self confidence.

The steal the life that could’ve and should’ve been.

Just think of all the abused adult children walking around in learned helplessness because they have no faith in themselves.

Now think about all they could’ve done, all the differences they could’ve made in the world, no matter how small (because ripple effect) if we’d all been nurtured according to our talents and loved simply because we existed.

 

Going Back

I have a fantasy of going back and doing it all over but knowing what I know now. I could add to the fantasy I guess and say if I had the chance to do it again, I’d do it with more nurturing parents. I mean it’s a fantasy so I can do what I want with my imagination.

But tbh: I think it would be much more interesting and even a bit more fun to do it with the same parents in their same state. But me? I’d be wiser because I’d be conscious of what happened before and that I was getting a do-over.

So the first question is: At what age would I rewind to? Hm, Well, it would be fun to go back and see all my childhood friends in this super-conscious state so going back to four years of age when I started Kindergarten would be a good age.

By then my father had already started abusing me and in fact slapped me across the face when I was three for lying to him about something I was afraid of getting in trouble for. Ironic as fuck I know.  At that age I had no clue he’d been watching exactly what I did that I then lied about.

The fact that he asked a three year old as a test to be honest or lie was outright despicable. And then when I lied to protect myself…a six foot one grown ass man, smacking a toddler across the face? The fucker should’ve been arrested.

I don’t remember it though. My father told me.

I had gone to him, maybe about 10 years ago at this point, to tell him something I was feeling awful about. Something I wanted comfort for. Something I had done at around 10 years old I think it was.

Instead of hearing me out, he interrupted me to make his own little confession. And the story above was what he told me.

That act of his was his biggest betrayal concerning me and probably fucked up any trust of him I had left despite the emotional/psychological abuse I’d already been enduring up to that point.

I remember there was a point in time when I started to scream bloody murder when he’d go to put me on his shoulders, when previously I had no problem with it. In fact I loved it. But I’d bet that smack in the face destroyed the trust so much that I didn’t trust him not to let me fall from his shoulders as well.

I didn’t have the words obviously back then to say this or even understand it completely. I just knew that I felt absolutely terrified about sitting on that man’s shoulders after a certain age and I was still quite small.

I was afraid of him throughout my childhood and into adulthood. He never hit me again, to my recollection, but he didn’t have to. His deep, booming voice was enough to make me jump out of my skin.

I’m still thinking about what age I want to start with in my fantasy. I keep thinking about the age of 13. I think that will be a good place to start…

Father’s Day?!

It’s 2 pm here on Sunday June 18 and I just realized it’s fathers’ day. Thank you google.

Happy fathers’ day to those fathers out there who are breaking and have broken a cycle of abuse and any and all who were never caught up in one. And any other fathers struggling for their children daily.

I’m in need of remembering that not all fathers are bad dads. I read and hear about such horrid experiences from learning about my own, it helps me feel better to know that there are people…specifically referring to men today…who genuinely love their kids and understands what that even means. That it’s more than making the statement, “I love you.”

My father said it all the time but many of his actions and some of his behavior contradicted those words.

My father also used to tell me I could do anything I set my mind to do, referring to earning a living. But there was no guidance or nurturing of any talent or skill.

I was searching YT for a video to post in honor of good fathers and I kept worrying about posting something too upsetting. Even in the funny ones something may come across as abusive to someone.

One series of videos I came across though was something ABC did in 2009 (?) on breaking the cycle of abuse. It features more than just fathers and shows abuse taking place in homes where the parents and guardians agreed to have cameras put in their homes.

It’s hard to watch and precisely the reason I’m not posting the actual video(s)here, but my point is that the admittance of the abuse is the first step in stopping the cycle. These people were able to see and admit that something was very wrong.

One father had been abused by his father as a child and wanted to do the right thing but of course didn’t know what that was since he didn’t have a proper model.

See how it’s a cycle. I know it’s easy to get angry at each abuser but each one learned it somewhere.

The people on the show got the help they needed in learning how to cope with the unpleasant behaviors of their children, prevent them from escalating and learned the proper way of teaching them right from wrong other than spanking, threatening, etc.

As I said, it was hard to watch in parts, but it was also good to see awareness from those who know they are causing pain, acknowledging it and doing something about it.

Anyway, happy fathers’ day.

Why Do Some Get Bullied and Others Don’t

Question on humanWhy does it seem that the majority of those abused at home as children are abused and bullied outside the  home too? I’m not talking about later in life when we’re drawn to those who abuse us or some who were abused as kids become abusers themselves. I’m talking about when we’re still kids being beaten up in every way imaginable made to feel like we don’t matter because we’re dismissed, at home, only to go out into the world and be bullied by others.

I remember being called a cry baby by a few other kids when I’d cry in kindergarten . These were probably the kids eating paste, but they weren’t crying and they were laughing at those who were, so they must be cool. I was 4 when I started kindergarten.

Later, I remember being made fun of because I wasn’t good at kick ball in gym class. I was among the last picked for teams and never chosen as a team captain. In elementary school and middle school age, I was a blundering idiot AT school, because I was always nervous about getting the wrong answer, not doing well at whatever it was. My self confidence was really shaky.  The boys had a nickname for me that depicted stupid-ness. (I know ‘stupid-ness isn’t a word.) So every time they called me the name it was the same as calling me stupid. The boys thought it was hilarious. No one stood up for me. Not even teachers.

In my school (a Catholic school) it was ‘cool’ to be smart. It was not cool to be one of the kids called on and not be paying attention.

It was not cool to be getting  Ds.

In the public school system that didn’t matter all that much in the realm of bullying. If you were too “brainy” you’d get made fun of. But it didn’t work that way on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I don’t know every detail of the dynamic is public elementary school or even junior high because I went to Catholic school until the end of 9th grade. But I knew public school kids and most of my friends were public school kids from my neighborhood.

The only good thing about Catholic school was all the days off we had. I did have a couple friends in school. But one of those ‘friends’ actually bullied me a few times. Her name was Donna.

I used to walk to school in first grade and Donna’s house was on the way so I’d stop and knock on her door for someone to walk with. Many times, she and her older brother would have left already. I found out many years later, by Donna herself, that they used to try to get out of the house before I showed up.  And when they were there, her brother Steve would bring scary masks to school and put them on to scare me. Then they’d both run ahead of me and laugh. I don’t know or remember if I was scared of the masks. I was a huge fan of Halloween. But I would cry. And I think it had more to do with the girl I wanted to like me, running away, laughing and making fun of me.

But I kept going back for more.

The nun I had in first grade was physically abusive so I was terrified of her. I was paralyzed really. If I did my homework I was afraid she’d find something wrong with it. If I didn’t, I was guaranteed a hair or an ear pull.

I was bullied in the neighborhood I lived in, particularly early on after moving there. Two girls, one of which I had taken to and thought of as a friend, rode their bikes up past my house one day while I was out front of my house. I was actually pulling weeds for my mother. I remember feeling like I’d offered myself up on a platter. I mean, how much better (or worse for me) could that timing be. And what were the odds really of them being around to do such a thing.

When I was 12, I became friends with a girl named Lisa, who’d moved recently a couple blocks over from me. She’d already lived in my town before that, went to the public school and had been friends with someone in my neighborhood. And that’s how I met her.

After we’d been friends for a while, I introduced her to Donna…yes I stayed friends with one of my bullies.

{In fact one of the girls on her bike I wrote about above is on my friend list on FB. It’s twisted. This topic is a post or three all on their own. “What bullies and abusers of mine I stayed friends with just to be liked.” Ugh…it makes me sick.}

After Lisa and Donna met each other, they apparently became closer behind the scenes and likely talked shit about me behind my back. I was later bullied by the two of them, basically just for fun. That’s a story on it’s own with some telling detail about my mother too, so that’s another post. In fact I wrote about it before so I’ll have to find it.

Rewind back to being younger and playing with the kids in the neighborhood. Despite the bullies on their bikes, that shit calmed down. In fact after that incident they left me alone. In fact they told me in the midst of calling me nasty names that one of the girls, Annie, wanted me to leave her alone.

I was like, “Done!” Just leave me the fuck alone.

As time went on, I met other kids. And there was a long common driveway for the houses that some of those kids lived in, including one of the bullies on the bike, named Ginny. I even became friends with the other three kids in her family. Ha!

I am using ‘friend’ quite loosely here because in actuality these people would not qualify for the meaning of friend now that I know better. But at least they weren’t beating me up or calling me nasty names.

In the summer time and when the weather and sun permitted after school, we’d play kick ball or four square in that long driveway, otherwise known as the alley on 6th street. We had to distinguish it because there was an ‘alley’ behind the houses we lived in too.

As opposed to how I felt and behaved in gym class in school though,  I kicked ass in kickball and four square in the neighborhood. I was so good that people did want me on their team.

Basketball was a different story though. There were two nets in the neighborhood and it was an unspoken thing that even though they belonged to other families, anyone could use them.

I sucked at B-ball no matter where I played it. But I tried anyway, and was even on the team for my school for like a year, maybe two.  For some reason I enjoyed it. But in the neighborhood, I put up with the bullying from the boys who played regularly.  They really made fun of me.

There was a net at the end of our alley and a net at the end of the alley on 6th. The one in our alley was easier because it was shorter. The other one was not much fun because of how tall it was. Plus the part of the alley it was in, behind this guy’s house, was all jagged so the ball would bounce all wonky much more than when playing at the other net.

Thing was, though, the taller net was usually free of bullying…most of the time.

So back to my question…what is it about those abused at home that also get abused out among their activities in life?

Do these other kids sense that we can easily be bullied? Do they see a sign on our foreheads that says, “Bully me, I won’t defend myself? And then I’ll still want you to be my friend anyway.”

Besides most of the kids doing the bullying don’t care if we try to defend ourselves anyway, because even if we were to defend ourselves, the kids doing the bullying are generally a whole lot bigger. But they don’t pick on every single child who’s smaller than them, just a select few. And there is no way every single bully can know first hand the kids’ lives at home whom they are bullying.

Do bullies… even the ones who don’t know us, see an aura when they see us, even if all we’re doing is walking down the street, weeding the front lawn for our mom or sitting in an ice cream shop, eating an ice cream cone?

What the fuck is the damn deal?

Mothers, Tell Your Children…or Maybe Not

In the song “In the House of the Rising Sun” there’s a line that says, “Mothers, tell your children, not to do what I have done.”

When I heard this line yesterday while listening to the song, I couldn’t help but think about abusive parents.

Honestly, kids are not going to not do what you tell them not to do in most cases. Kids learn from parents and other adults for the most part. Yea, they get peer pressured and have bad judgment as children.

But I’d be more inclined to tell mothers and fathers to lead by example and don’t do yourself, what you don’t want them to do.

Most importantly, don’t abuse or neglect them. Abused and neglected kids grow up to feel inadequate and will turn to those things you tell them not to do, in order to ease the pain of that unworthy feeling. It numbs, and takes away the issues, if only for a few hours. And someone in this kind of pain will chase that numbness once they get a taste of the relief it provides.

Verbal communication is important but your actions speak much louder and the tone of voice you use does too.

Our bodies physically react to abuse and neglect, and it also harms our brain, which effects our judgment all through life, which drives our decisions, which forms our days, months, years, which adds up to a life.

People say, “Don’t you tell me how to raise my kids. How dare you. Mind your own business.”

Well, abuse is everyone’s business and not everything that happens at home should stay at home.

I haven’t personally experienced someone telling me not to tell them how to raise their kids, as far as I can remember. But I’ve heard people say it about someone else. There certainly is a line and I suppose it can get confusing, because discipline is necessary for kids. But there’s a line to that too. And I understand that there may be children being taken from their parents when they don’t deserve it. I’m not talking about them in this post.

Children as well as adults deserve respect. They are human beings who are influenced and effected easily.

If you want to have adult children…

Who grow up lost and confused about relationships, about life in general, about who they are…

Who grow up to be afraid of the reactions of others

Who grow up without thoughts and opinions of their own

Who grow up raging and taking their anger out on those who don’t deserve it

Who grow up to marry an abusive partner

Who grow up to hate themselves

Who grow up to develop eating disorders, addictions and toxic friends

Who grow up to sever ties and never speak to you again

Who end up dependent on someone else

…then abuse your kids.

But my advice will always be to parents: Do not do what my parents did, because the odds of your kids ending up like me or possibly worse, is really high.