Archive for November 14th, 2008

On my blog entry entitled Unmet Needs after Child Abuse: Birth to Age One, a reader posted the following comment:

This is where it begins: at the very beginning. These unmet needs damaged us from the moment we were born. How do you undo damage that began that early? How do you heal pain that began from the moment you entered this world? How do you counter a lesson that was instilled from birth? The lesson that I am worthless was the first one I learned. It was reinforced over and over, moment by moment. It was communicated by word, by look, by action, by lack of action and neglect. How do you unlearn a belief like that?? What do you do with a pain that runs that deep?? Sometimes it seems like an insurmountable task. Sometimes it seems impossible and hopeless. But… I carry on.

I, too, have wrestled with these questions. My abuse began at the hand of my own mother. When you were betrayed by the first person you ever loved (from when you were still in the womb), how do you ever move past that? How do you ever learn to love and trust after that kind of betrayal?

If being abused was the very beginning of my existence, then I believe the answer would be that I could not move past it. If we assume that we are born into this world as empty slates, and then all of the messages that were written on that empty slate were that I was worthless, then how would it be possible for me ever to move past this?

And yet, children are not born as empty slates. They exhibit their own personalities from birth forward, and no amount of parenting rights or wrongs can change who the child was meant to be. Despite being silenced as a child, I grew into a chatty adult. Nothing that any of my abusers ever did to me had the power to change who I was at my core.

Why not?

I believe the answer is that birth is not the beginning of who we are. I believe that we exist before we are born and that we continue to exist after we die. In short, I believe in reincarnation.

I believe that, when we are between physical lifetimes, we are basking in unending love. I believe that my spirit was filled with this deep love when it entered into the body growing in my mother’s womb. I believe this explains how, after a childhood filled with severe abuse, I could still be a compassionate child and grow into a compassionate adult.

I also believe that we have access to this unending love throughout our lifetimes. I do this through meditation. I use yoga to help silence my mind, and then I use meditation so my spirit can tap back into that unending source of love. I no longer believe that the love available to me on this earth is limited. I can access deep, rich love anytime I need it.

I also feel this unending love all around me – in the beautiful fall foliage, in the colors of the sky as the sun sets, and in the beauty of the water lilies on the pond near my house. We are surrounded by love if we know where to look for it. By being surrounded by love, I am never alone.

My abusers tried to break me, but they failed. They might have shaped much of who I thought I was, but, ultimately, who I am is timeless and cannot be stunted by the evil actions of others. Who I am transcends the abuse and even this lifetime. This is how I know that I can meet those unmet needs.

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Photo credit: Rosanne Mooney

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