You can take or leave this post, whatever you want. But this is my life, has been for the last 72 hours.
Once, my kids had a puzzle they liked, so they kept it well past it’s time. And by past it’s time I mean that one of the pieces had been torn so when they put the puzzle together, there was this ripped piece and a hole right in the middle. The piece was irreparable, not even tape could help because the other part had long since been destroyed.
If life around me is a puzzle, I am that ripped piece.
When I first left, I thought that one day, finally away from all the abuse, I would be able to be whole, be normal, be able to fit in with other people, be one of those people who had friends and actually had to make a decision with what to do with their Saturday night. Hey, I’m an extrovert, that’s the sort of thing that sounds fun to me.
A few weeks ago a read an article that explained to me one of the reasons this will probably never happen.
See, when everyone else’s mom and dad were teaching them to say “Please,” and “Thank You,” mine were beating the crap out of me because I had spilled something on the table. When everyone else’s mom and dad were teaching them how to listen to others and have respect of them, mine were screaming at me for messing up their plans. When other moms and dads were teaching their kids love and purity, mine were having affairs, sleeping around in front of me, and (in the case of my father) exposing me to porn and dressing me up in skimpy clothing so he could ogle me.
I’ve written before that my earliest memory of my mother is of her breaking a toy on my head. She was screaming and yelling and she picked up the toy from the foot of my bed and threw it so hard it broke on the top of my head when I ducked away. The toy was a little brown bear with a music box inside. It hit me so hard the part that turned the music box so it would play, broke off. I was about two or three.
When you go through that sort of thing, when you live that day in and day out, when you are surrounded by evil, and, when the church condones it and defends it, you will never be whole. Because, while all your counterparts were developing the ability to relate to each other and to have interpersonal relationships, you were just trying to live another day.
I’m not the only one. I have spoken with others from abusive backgrounds, I have observed them, and while some do better than others, most of us have a screw lose somewhere. That part of us was never developed.
We’re like a kid I saw on Real People when I was younger. His arms had never developed while in the womb so he had these two little nubs where his arms should be. To compensate, he did everything with his feet. And, while he compensated well, it looked wrong and it definitely wasn’t normal.
When you never have a chance to develop the normal emotional range, you can cover it up all you want, but eventually you’re going to do something not normal, and people are going to notice, and people are going to pull away. It’s inevitable.
When you are emotionally messed up, people keep you at arms length. It’s one of the reasons when I first learned about so-called boundaries, I hated them. I assumed that people were keeping me at arms length because I was a horrible person. Now, though, I see it is just that I have no idea how to respond like a normal person to normal, or abnormal, circumstances. I have been attacked so many times, by family, friends, church pastors and pastor’s wives, elders, deacons, etc, my immediate response to most conversations has always been defensive, waiting for that person to attack me either physically or verbally.
I have grown less defensive since I left, that is one improvement. But I really don’t see a day ever when I don’t assume the worst, at least assume that one day that person who seems to like me today, will tire of me. Because, as my mother told me, God created me for a life of complete and utter loneliness.
There are days I believe I will pull myself out of this mire. There are days I think that somehow God will use all this for something. But there are days when I have to be realistic and know that, no matter how much I try to work it out, at some level, this crap will always be with me.
There are days when I have to live through the levels of hell because the people who actually belong there are still here, still unrepentant, still accepted by the church. While those of us who lived it, those of us whose spirits were crushed and whose lives were destroyed, are told to sit down and be quiet because we make the nice people nervous.
In Dantes Inferno, traitors occupy the 9th level of Hell, closest to the center. Paul Gustave Doré (1832-1883) depicted Dante visiting with traitors trapped in ice.