Trigger Warning: This was written a couple weeks ago directly after a training session on child abuse. It’s completely raw, unedited and was written during the 20 minutes I had stepped away from my desk. It’s what I wrote to process my feelings and centre myself again as memories filled my mind. Writing this was profound in itself – realizing how much I have changed and turned towards writing and processing in healthy ways instead of eating my feelings like I used to do.
If you can’t handle reading a story of child abuse – don’t read this.
After living this, I’ll understand if you can’t bear to read it.
I just finished a training session at work on child abuse and broke down several times. Any time I’m reminded about my childhood and forced to sit down, be present, and listen to all the warning signs of abuse, I can’t handle it. Mostly because I can sit there and tick every box. Almost every line that is on the PowerPoint slides brings back awful memories.
People often associate physical signs of neglect as malnourishment, but in my case it was obesity. I ate my feelings and honestly sometimes still do. I’ve just learned how to control it better.
For some, information and training like this is pretty easy to get through, maybe a little cold and clinical and without feelings. Others empathise but don’t understand and then there are those of us who lived it. It makes your blood boil with anger and hurt, or it makes you tremble with the fear you felt as a child when you knew in your heart that this situation wasn’t right.
One of the memories that flashed through my mind was a time when I lost something small in our barn that I was supposed to hold onto. I was around 10 years old. My stepfather looked at me incredulously when I said I thought I had lost it, and flew into a rage (as was normal for him). He screamed at me calling me a little cocksucker and grabbed my neck. He pushed me down onto the muddy dirt floor of the barn and told me to start looking. I dug around in the dirt on my hands and knees for hours, crying, searching for this small thing.
Dinner time came and went. He went to eat and wouldn’t let me come inside until I found the object I had lost. He would come by every now and then to swear at me and threaten me. I crawled around in the dirt until late at night when I think my mom finally was able to convince him to let me come inside. The sun had long gone down, I was incredibly tired, and I had sobbed so many tears that I was completely numb.
I hate this. I hate thinking about it. This is one and only one of the memories that flashes through my mind in moments like these and I am so overwhelmed by the feelings. I can’t always quickly pack it all into my little box of emotions and lock it back up. Eventually I manage to do just that until the next time they all break free.
I am so grateful for the life I have now. Last night my wife had bought some stocking hooks for our mantle and when she hung our stockings, she gleefully bounded over to me with excitement in her eyes stating that this is a lifelong dream she had always had (to have stockings hanging from a fireplace).
For me however, my lifelong dream was the happiness and joy that she exuded as she was bouncing over to me. That’s what I always wanted throughout my life and I am so grateful to her for helping me build that for myself after living the childhood that I did.