Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cone of Silence

It was the way things were.  Nobody thought anything of it.  Nobody talked about it, least of all the ones who were the most affected.  And everyone thought that their situation was the same as everyone else's.  We all used the same language when we talked about (or was it around) it - each knew his or her own reality but sadly, nobody else's.  If we'd known, maybe we'd have figured out that something was wrong.  But nobody said a word.  There was a cone of silence around the topic.  We got together, we played catch, we skated on the pond - and we each assumed that the others' lives were just the same as ours.

That's how it went on for so long before the truth came out.

The truth was, someone (and maybe a lot of someones) in our number was a victim of child abuse.  Someone's parent was unable to control his or her anger, and took it out on his or her child.  Often.  And not just physically, but verbally, emotionally. Maybe there was even sexual abuse happening.  The home - supposedly a haven of rest and safety in a scary, mixed-up world - was in fact a war zone.  Except that the enemy lived under the same roof.  And the victim never knew when he or she would be targeted again.  Every time, he or she vowed to him or herself (whether consciously or subconsciously) that once free of this place, nobody would ever be able to push him or her around again. That things would be different. 

Ruled by fear - or anger - or both - the child became an adult and moved out. But the pain, the fear, the anger - these reactions were constantly in the driver's seat.  They controlled the person's behavior so he or she pushed people away or smothered them with either need or caretaking, whichever the case, and the misery never ended.  Like soldiers with PTSD, this child (now an adult) was always on "red alert." The danger was past - but not on the inside.  Relationships were not a safe place.  There was no "off" switch.
Here's the link for this photo

Abuse.  It's an ugly subject, made all the more subjective because of the pain and the stigma associated with it.  Fingers point - more point back.  Children live in denial all their lives and honestly believe they deserved it.  

Nobody deserves it.

And the pain can stop.  But it takes honesty.  Brutal honesty with one's self.  Not just about the self but about the past.  The truth really does set free.  The trick is in untangling the lies and separating their roots, untangling those tendrils of shame from things as they really were.  The cone of silence MUST come off.  Healing can't happen until we start talking about it, exposing it to the light.  If it stays in the dark, it thrives like the monster it is, and gets bigger.  Buried perhaps, but stronger and stronger. The light of truth does dispel the darkness of that network of lies.

That takes time. A LOT of time.  And a lot of help from someone else, someone who's been through it before, someone flesh and blood who can walk alongside as the one who's recovering works through those things.  More importantly, it takes a lot of help from a Power far greater than any human can give.  

I know.  I was one of those kids who played ball and thought everyone's life sucked just like mine.  

And I got help.

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