Lies of an Unraveled Past
I’ve been thinking a lot about childhood abuse and it’s effects upon the psyche. Abuse does not limit itself to the immediate harm done in a moment. It leaves emotional scars. More to the point, it leaves emotional wounds, some of which never close over.
Here is what I now know. These wounds take the shape of a malevolent whisper that roots itself deep within one’s mind, always reminding one of how worthless s/he is. This whisper hides in plain sight by disguising itself as one’s true inner voice. This is quite effective, for a lie is more convincing when one trusts the liar.
If you’ve read this blog for a while, you will remember that I was abused by my childhood peers for not fitting into society’s gender expectations. I was teased, ostracized, and physically abused rather mercilessly. It lasted for the better part of seven years, starting with first grade. This is an amazingly vulnerable time for a child… a time when one’s sense of self and one’s place in the world is only just forming.
What if your peers tell you, on a daily basis, that you are nothing more than a living, breathing dung heap? What if you are exposed to this message for seven long years, between the ages of five and twelve? What if the adults in your life pretend not to notice? What if those adults imply that the problem is actually your own fault? Sissies bring shame upon themselves. Either man up or suffer. You will either grow stronger from this abuse or you will not. If you fail to grow stronger, then you deserve your fate. In a world where men are supposedly made of steel, copper plating will never do.
At so early an age, the prejudices and malevolent perceptions of one’s abusers are easily believed—especially when those messages are so persistent. In time, these messages are internalized into one’s psyche. They take on the shape and texture of the real. They take on the aura of common sense, of logical claims. They take on the sound of your own voice. To this very day, I am sometimes unable to discern where the voice of my abusers ends and my own voice begins. I have internalized the falsehoods of my abusers and I have been poisoned by them. I am infected with the malice of others’ prejudice. I am corrupted by a hatred expressed by past adversaries.
And yet, all of these things are lies. I tell myself the lies of my abusers. Sometimes, in my deepest moments of vulnerability, I fully believe them. Deep down, in the core of my emotions, where logic holds no influence, I believe them.
These are some of the lies that this hateful simulacrum of self tells me:
1. I do not matter.
2. I am incompetent.
3. I am a failure.
4. I can not trust others for I am not worthy of others’ esteem.
5. I am unloved.
6. I am unworthy of love.
7. I am untrustworthy.
8. I am doomed to an empty, pain-filled life.
9. I deserve the scorn and ill regard of others.
10. Life will only grow more unbearable with time.
11. Loved ones secretly view me as annoying, loathsome, and expendable.
12. I am defective.
13. I am incapable of truly being a decent, caring person.
14. Showing love toward others will only drive people away.
15. I am awkward, foolish, and borish.
16. I am ugly.
17. I dress terribly.
18. I am slow witted.
19. All people should be feared and no one can be trusted.
20. People will reject me once they truly know me.
When I read the above statements, I am astounded by how horrible they sound. To some, these words will betray me as someone who is completely unhinged… and yet, I am not. I have been told that I seem so calm and even tempered. The full effects of my abuse-laden past hide away, even from those who are closest to me. I go about my daily life, seemingly normal and mundane in all of it’s boring details, while I quietly suffer inside.
I write these words to remind myself that these ill statements are nothing more than vile, putrid lies fabricated by the influence of ignorance and prejudice. They are echoes of the unjust, violent treatment of a child growing up in a world of fucked up adults with fucked up values, raising fucked up children.
When I consider the reality of my abuse, I feel a growing anger. To think that a child can go through this without the adults in her/his life realizing the truth of the matter… or simply not caring… or accepting this abuse as normal and good… I want to break something. I want to scream. I want to hurt someone. These things should never happen. Never. This is completely and utterly wrong.
When I consider that I am not alone—that so many children have gone through what I have suffered—I hope for a better world in which to raise children. I hope for a world in which children are taught not to hate; a world in which children are guided away from prejudice rather than toward. I hope for a time when children are taught about the ways we are all connected rather than divided. I hold hope for a world in which adults actually have the wisdom required to raise children thoughtfully and lovingly.
I imagine a future where children grow up without being taught to hate themselves.
It is this hope that keeps me alive, sane, and moving forward. Some say that such sentiments are nothing more than empty, fanciful wishes. I insist on seeing them as something more…
May the lies of past adversaries fall upon deaf ears.
~ by timberwraith on July 24, 2010.
Posted in Abuse, Bullying, Childhood, Childhood Abuse, Children, Gender, Gender Variant, Gender Variant Children, Internalized Oppression, LGBT, Parenting, Parents, People Who Don't Get It, Queer, Self-Hatred, Sissies, Sissy, Transgender, Violence
Tags: Abuse, Bullying, Childhood, Childhood Abuse, Children, Gender, Gender Variant, Gender Variant Children, Internalized Oppression, LGBT, Parenting, Parents, People Who Don't Get It, Queer, Self-Hatred, Sissies, Sissy, Transgender, Violence
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