On my blog entry entitled Adapting as Part of Surviving and Healing from Child Abuse, readers posted the following comments:
I still wish that my parents had killed me while they were abusing me back then. And as bad as I KNOW this is going to sound, I sometimes envy the kids that don’t survive this hell! ~iwannadie
There’s this “if you’re alive you’ve got nothing to complain about” attitude. Sometimes I feel like I exist in a place between life and death, or at least I did as a child. I can fight to hold onto the life inside me, and to help it grow, but that doesn’t make me wholly alive. Death seems very close, and not by suicide, strangely. As a child, one of the reasons I didn’t commit suicide was that I had this weird, but very strong, feeling that I was going to die soon anyway, just spontaneously. I still get that sometimes.
You know what I think? Motivations-wise, abuse is murder, but without the inconvenience of a body to dispose of. ~ Jan
I am not shocked by these comments because I, too, have felt that way. I do believe that child abuse is a form of murder. Recovering the memory of the first time I saw my mother abuse my baby sister was particularly traumatizing. I was three years old, and my sister was a toddler. I experienced that event as my baby sister’s “death” because she was never the same person after that. Something in her spirit “died” that day and never came back.
Many times during the early years of therapy I wished I had just died as a child, and I envied those who did (or who I thought did). My abusers came close and threatened me with death more times than I could count. The only thing that kept me fighting was my love for my sister – the threat was always to kill **her**, and I could not bear that. Death would have been a welcome relief from the pain.
Now that I have been healing for a long time and have had the opportunity to experience joy, I am grateful that I did not die. I completely agree that being alive and living are not the same thing. I was physically alive for most of my life but did not “live” – I “existed,” which is very different.
I have had slivers of time when I felt truly alive, and they have been wonderful! I will sometimes feel like I have been beamed into my life and am truly a part of it, not just a passive observer. The trees around me become a brilliant green, and I experience deep peace in my very core. So far, those moments don’t last too terribly long, but they continue to get longer gradually as I allow myself to stay present.
I have told my therapist numerous times that I want the end result of therapy to have balance – for my life to be as “good” now as it was “bad” then, etc. He says that is an unrealistic goal. Instead, I need to embrace the joy and the good I have around me now and ride out the pain as it comes.
The other thing that helps me is finding purpose and value from my experiences, which I do here on this blog. If I had died from the child abuse, this blog would not exist, and all of the good that has come out of this blog would not have happened. No, I would not **choose** to have been through what I have, but I do find value and purpose in turning those lemons into sweet lemonade.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt