Where Is the Line? Post 2

In my search for healing, I have had to learn not to blame myself for what happened when I was a child. I wasn’t responsible for another person’s actions. I didn’t make them hurt me. I didn’t deserve abuse. No one does. I had to learn that I don’t need to be ashamed of what was done to me. I’ve learned that I have no reason to feel guilty. I’m not the one who committed a wrong even though that is what I was told.

On the other hand, I need to try to remember that the abusers came from an abused childhood themselves. That doesn’t excuse their behavior. Nothing does. It does enable me to find a small bit of compassion — however I will still continue to treat this person as cautiously as I would a poisonous snake.

A poisonous snake strikes out of either appetite (hunger) or fear (perceived need to defend). I don’t know what the latest studies say as to a rattlesnake’s capacity for revenge. I know that cats and dogs are capable of revenge (having lived with them for many years), but a snake? I don’t know. How much of a snake’s action is purely reflex? I don’t know that either.

This is one of those places where a human being is supposed to be different. We are supposed to be able to separate out many reflex actions from planned actions. Not all people seem to have this ability and much of that seems to be tied up in how much damage has been done to them, especially as a child.

For many people who are abused as children, there can be an appetite for pain. No matter how sick it sounds, it’s familiar to them. It’s what they are used to and in a strange way, it’s comfortable. Another key symptom is the rage. Bottled up, suppressed for self-protection — it has to go somewhere and usually goes into either self-destruction or hurting others or, sometimes, both.

I was self-destructive. I can’t say I’m entirely free of this, nor can I say that I always avoid hurting others. I have been known to strike out verbally at others. But I have no appetite for hurting children. I never have and I am very grateful for this.

So, what is justice for someone who gives back what they themselves have received? I don’t know. I chose to find healing and to pass on what I have learned to others who wish to heal. In order to do this, I have had to face what was done to me. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Until four years ago, I had no memory of most of the abuse and I still have very little. So, one can say that I have not faced it entirely. I’m working on it. I am healing and I choose not to pursue revenge.

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