Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Bumps in the Road

Last night as I tried to fall asleep, I was haunted by thoughts about the 1,460, almost 1,500, children who are murdered in the USA by their parents every year.  I realized that 31 years have passed since Sweden became the first country in the world to pass a law liberating its children from all forms of parental child abuse in 1979.  In those 31 years, some 45,260 children in the USA have been murdered by their parents.   ¾ of these innocent victims, or nearly 33,500 victims, are completely defenseless children under the age of 4.  No doubt a significant proportion of these helpless children are babies under 1 year old. 

I was reflecting with deep feelings of revulsion and rage about the sinister fact that in the USA, the parents’ right to batter their children takes precedence over saving the lives of innocent and defenseless children.  And I further think that these children are murdered each year because we as a society allow it to happen.  We may shake our heads in outrage every time we read or hear on the news about an infant or young child murdered by their parents.  We may even join web sites protesting the obscene verdict that allowed Casey Anthony to get away with murdering her two year old daughter Caylee.  But if we were genuinely committing to protecting the right of every infant and child to life and safety, then we would pass a law to ban parents from hitting their children under any circumstances.  We would also ban schools from hitting children as well.  I began throwing up and experiencing painful burning in my stomach as I thought about this situation. 

Today I spent the day reading and responding to half of the wonderful textbook for the Freedom Programme. The book is called Living with the Dominator –and I highly recommend this book to any woman who has left an abusive partner or parent.  The book is part of a free curriculum that is available in the UK for 12 weeks for women living in shelters.  Although the book is focused on the abusive partner and is primarily designed for women recovering from domestic violence, I found it extremely helpful and insightful to me as a survivor of severe emotional child abuse from both my parents and from my grandmother.  The curriculum is supposed to take twelve weeks, but I was able to read through it faster because I am familiar with many of these topics from my previous reading and sadly from my whole life experience until I left my abusers behind six weeks ago.  I recognized my dad in the book as the Bully and the Head Worker, or the emotional abuser.  I want to share my reflections on this book in a much longer post tomorrow or soon because the amount of self-analysis is so long that it could take up a whole book in and of itself.  I should note that I haven’t yet touched the associated work book only because I am still processing the vast amounts of information and perspective contained in the textbook. 

I want to say again how moved and touched I am by the love and support I am receiving from this shelter.  I have a hard time allowing people to love me because my father has so severely battered me that I often think I am not worthy of love.  And also my mother’s participation in this abuse and my grandmother’s active condoning of it makes things all the more painful for me.  I am so grateful to Julia, Gisel, and Marie for your love and support and also to Bev, Kristin, C, and R for their support as well.  It is nice to have you all confirming something that deep down inside I think I always knew: my family of origin has always been wrong about me.  My family of origin is wrong to reject me for who I am and to terrorize me for refusing and being unable to conform to their expectations for me.  It is hard for me to let love in because my dad made me feel so brutalized inside.  But slowly I am healing from the inner knowledge that I deserve love and that a lot of people love me for who I am and are not trying to force me to change or conform or fit in at any cost.  I am coming to slowly recognize that I am worthy of love and that I deserve to be treated with love, honor, dignity, and respect. 

The extent of my family’s brutality is really hard to imagine for anyone who has not been there and not been forced to endure it for so many years.  My best friend in particular, who loves me dearly but comes from a loving home, really has a hard time understanding where I am coming from on these issues.  This is only because she is lucky to have grown up in a loving home and so she takes for granted things that I have never experienced, like parents who actually love me and want me to succeed in life and want what is best for me.  I am glad that she and her husband are giving their adopted son the love that my parents intentionally denied me.  And I really can’t describe the joy I felt when my best friend confirmed to me that she would never hit her son.   I could only mourn for the fact that my parents terrorized me psychologically on a consistent and deliberate basis and hit me occasionally too.    

I am so sorry to hear that A, the lovely young woman who had stayed here with her two young children with us briefly, is in such danger along with her children.  She allowed her ex to manipulate her into permitting him to take the children with him for a few days.  Now he flew back to Arizona – and took the children with him.  This is a serious federal crime –for the non-custodial parent to kidnap the children and take them across state lines in an attempt to illegally and forcibly gain control of the children.  Unfortunately it is also known as international child abduction when the non-custodial parent illegally takes the children to a foreign country. 

I remember urging A to get a restraining order against him and warning her that he could still pose a danger to her even if he was in Arizona and not in Florida.  I remember her dismissing my warnings and telling me she didn’t need a restraining order. Then later C told me that A had gotten the restraining order against her ex at Julia’s insistence.   C added that A had flown to Arizona to get her children back.  But Julia told me her ex now filed for emergency custody hearing in Arizona.  I hope for the sake of A and her mother and her two young children most of all that this matter is resolved quickly in her favor.   I hope that A gets full custody of her children back – with no visitation rights for her ex.  I hope that A's ex goes to jail for several years for child abduction across state lines.  And I hope A learns from this horrendous experience never to trust her ex with her children again. 

I woke up with a cough today and rested for a while.  I also got my period today.  This made me laugh because I have bought so many extra sanitary napkins that I have enough to last me for 5 months.  I bought the 36 pads from Always TWICE.  And I have enough scattered napkins from other packages to last me for at least this period.  So one thing is for sure – I won’t be running out of sanitary napkins any time soon.

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