So many people give their love freely. Without giving the other person a chance to earn it. Those of us who believe in treating others the way we want to be treated- doesn’t always work out.
Some of us have so much love to give- we become excited for a chance to show someone else that love. Many of us who love to “easily” or “freely” have not yet accepted that although love is a beautiful thing and we want so badly do badly to give it. Often, this desire to resolve or earn the love of an emotionally available or abusive person harkens back to childhood, when we desperately wanted love but our parents didn’t give love,
Sometimes parents are too busy, but most of the time (in my opinion) that love from a parent will ever come. Not when you’re 4, 14, 24 or 40 years old, that person will never love, nor will they make amends. Usually by this time- a person who grew up with an abusive parent will do one of two things. They will either distance themselves from that abusive parent or subconsciously seek a way to heal by futilely abandon the idea of ever being loved by an abusive parent and try to heal their wounds elsewhere- and that is where the problem lies.
We are desperate for the approval and kindness that our parent (or parents) never showed us and we go out looking for a similar person to heal that trauma. “If I just keep my mouth closed and never ask for anything- I will “earn” that love back. The love that was missing as a child.
I’m not talking about a parent who loved some of the time but was busy. I’m talking about the parent that actively abused that child. Abuse comes in many forms – but being abused by a primary caretaker is one of the worst. And there is a spectrum of abuse. There’s the occasional put down and there’s the name calling (which is most harmful in my opinion) and there is the physical abuse. When a child suffers this from their primary caretaker, often a mother, it is devastating,
The child has two choices- if they have enough support outside of an abusive family- they may come to realize that they are not indeed “worthless” and deserving of what is being done to them. I knew- knew completely somehow that my mother was wrong. I chose to retread to books, writing and avoidance as soon as I was able to.
This is called the “resilient child”. This child succeeded despite all stumbling blocks in her way. She literally and figuratively leaves the dynamic. She looks for support elsewhere. She finds validation in “adoptive mothers” and sees that she should not be ashamed for how she was treated for as long as she can remember. She develops coping mechanisms. She has already given up any hope that her parent not only doesn’t love her, but actively tries to destroy her.
The other way a child may cope with abuse is by identifying with the abuser, whether consciously or not. This response is what perpetuates an inter generational of abuse, within which not only is the child, who will eventually reach adulthood/ but the dynamic continues- passed on emotionally from parent to child to parent.
The resilient child may seem strong, independent and insightful- but there will always be that little girl huddled in the corner while her parent beats her mercilessly while telling her she has no friends, is undeserving of life itself. That little girl will always be there mourning the loss of a parent or both parents.
When children witness domestic violence/ they tend to identify with either the abuser or the victim. I identified with the victim. Because he was kinder to me. He held me while I cried but unfortunately, he couldn’t take the abuse either and spent days or weeks away from the home leaving his small children to fend for themselves. In every which way. An abuser tends to abuse. The form is usually not as significant as it’s effect.
However, as an adult with children of my own now- I don’t see how anyone could starve their children, break them down every way and at every turn. I thought that having my own kids and showing them the love I never had would somehow heal me, also. But I was only partly successful.
Abuse of children is particularly insidious because their brains are still growing. They (we) may believe that we have done all the healing. Which isn’t true. A child that had been severely abused will often retreat into a shell. Constantly on guard and looking for closure that will never come. We reenact these dynamics, most often with intimate relationships. The validation we seek never comes from another person. If anything, we seek those who repeat the abuse.
And the abuser who may seem so inoculate to their actions knows exactly what they’re doing. Because they have an axe to grind like the rest of us, only their axes come in forms of “concern”, “care” and accusations of “overreacting” on your part of course. God forbid they have any culpability. No way.
We are simply the vessels that they choose to enact their wrath. The wrath of the abuser that they swore they would never become. Yet the “love” they give is as conditional as the weather. You obey, you maybe get rewarded with a semblance of love. Confront them and prepare for the worst. Yelling, name calling, invalidation and basically being treated like a prisoner of war.
These disturbed people may be able to justify their behavior on a surface level. But they know- they know- that surely it is wrong to treat a loved one as a traitor to be tortured until their partner is reduced to an anxious shell of their former selves.
These people rub their enemies down like stripping bark from a tree. Layer upon layer of confidence, they strip you down to an exposed and raw object only to be used for the sadistic pleasure of their tormentors.
Until one day, it becomes too much. People who have many supportive friends find themselves confronted by dozens or even hundreds of friends begging them to return to their former glory. These are the lucky ones. The ones who have established a support system that cannot be shaken. Their friends are a network of sometimes nationally people of influence.
And those friends- they are the key to the survival of the victim of antagonism. Sometimes, if the victim is a friend of those in “high places”, they get support from everyone from government officials to police chiefs to sheriffs to state governors. The victims reputation was impeccable previously. A lapse in judgement holds little weight in these cases. They may even be lucky enough to have the full support of an entire political party and their affiliates.
These are the lucky victims. The ones who really have a chance to recover. Their reputations far exceed the reputation of some nobody from nowhere. All the victim has to do is call her influential friends and the perpetrator is identified and ostracized.
However; most victims will not resort to this measure.