The Respect Dare, Day 2 – Childhood Scars
Childhood Scars – I have to admit I got a knot as soon as I read this title. My childhood was so black and full of abuse. I want to tackle it as much as I want to run fast and far from it.
“We all have wounds and scars from our childhood. None of us had perfect parents – even those whose parents were strong Christians. All of us, as children, were able to misinterpret situations or words from our parents and end up with a skewed view of God, God’s Word, ourselves or others. And for those who suffered physical, emotional, mental or sexual abuse as children – the scars and wounds are incalculable. What they did, how they responded to each other and to us, how they spoke to each other and to us, their temperments, their priorities, their faith, their beliefs, their personalities were powerful forces in molding us to become the adults we are today. It will come very naturally and feel comfortable to us. The problem is – not all of it was healthy. Not all of it was accurate or true. Our parents didn’t completely represent God and marriage perfectly to us. If we don’t examine ourselves and our experiences as children, we will not understand where things got off track and what needs to be corrected now that we are adults who can decide what we believe, how we want to live and how to understand God and His Word for ourselves.”
Jesus can heal our wounds, scars, pain and fears that we acquired during our childhood! He is COMPLETELY ABLE!
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Take a few moments and write down or type out your answers to some of these questions. You may do this privately, or you may share with everyone if you would like to:
– What were the biggest events in your childhood that greatly impacted your view of yourself, of marriage or of God?
– How did your parents interact with each other?
– Was there unconditional love for everyone in the home?
– Was there unconditional respect for everyone in the home?
– Were there healthy boundaries in your home or were people controlling?
– What are the deepest scars and wounds of your childhood?
– In what ways were you “programmed” by your experiences to incorrectly view God, yourself and/or marriage?
When I was about 18 months old my sister, who was 3 years old, had an accident. It was bad. I am not sure where my mother was, she said she was changing my baby brother’s diaper, but something always gave me doubt when I heard that. I hid behind a chair and watched my sister get hurt and scream. I also remember the fear. My parents took my sister and brother and went to NYC for specialized treatment for my sister. We lived several states away; I was left for months with grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends… I remember being empty, alone, scared, abandoned, unwanted, and unaccepted. My grandparents were too tired for a toddler, the others weren’t family. I just wanted my family back; they were all taken away because this horrible thing happened to my sister. I was physically and sexually abused; I was left in a playpen for hours, alone and ignored. I felt, even then, if I was just really good that I would be treated alright. I was quiet, and began a pattern of behavior that I carry to this day, a pattern of adapting my behavior to the situation to be accepted. I also began thinking if I was sick or hurt I would be loved and get attention; my mother suffered Munchausen By Proxy, so this thought process became further sealed as I got older. My mother also had a significant drinking problem and told me it was my fault my sister acciddent and it should have been me. She also blamed me for being born a girl and having been born during a snow storm that nearly caused my grandparents to have a fatal car accident on the way to the hospital. I do not know all the details, but my father had issues with alcohol and subsequently issues with keeping a job. We moved a lot and I went to several different schools. I was very shy in social situations and continued my early learned adapting behavior to be accepted. Despite this I was picked on a lot, I was the new kid in school yearly and sometimes twice a year. My mother told the teachers I was not to have sugar and would send cheese as my snack; I got cheese even when a child brought cupcakes for a birthday and at holiday parties. This made for further grounds for being picked on. My clothes were homemade and outdated patterns. I can laugh now, but it was really a sorry situation back then. All in all God used it for my advantage, I am becoming strong and I have empathy for others. My mother lived in the past, this also affected us all. She lost 4 babies to SIDS before any of us were born. My mother talked of these prized children as if they had just passed away and horribly missed every day. I say prized because there were times she just could not enjoy our achievements without bringing up my dead sisters. I had to compete with the dead who I never met, if they had not died I would have not been born, was that what my mom hoped for? Mom also talked about my father’s past girlfriend Carla and my mom’s past boyfriend Jimmy (“who still loves me and whose parents adored me”) and acted very jealous of Carla, even though my dad dumped Carla before he met my mom. I think my grandparents preferred Carla; they certainly did not like my mother. My mother’s parents did not like my father either. For decades I didn’t like either of my parents either! My mother was cruel, her tongue was worse than a serpent bite, it was fatal and killed my spirit, my sense of belonging, my sense of feeling like a good person. I was a failure from the start and could do nothing right. I was told how ugly I was, stupid, I was branded a liar, if anything went wrong I was blamed, if anything went missing I was blamed. It was so bad that I doubted everything I said or did. I felt suicidal from a young age, but did not want to go to hell. In school the teachers loved me, I was convinced that when anyone was nice to me that my parents paid them to be nice. Birthdays and holidays are still an issue. My birthday was close to Christmas; my parents would forget my birthday and say they would make up for it at Christmas. At Christmas I sat and watched everyone open gift as I was forgotten; my treat was being hit and told to stop being selfish as I had gotten double for my birthday already. You would think I would have gotten used to being forgotten, but it still brings tears to my eyes. My father, along with the other males in the family, was abusive. The abuse ranged from child molestation, physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse, deprivation, and just cruel cruel behavior. I have a cigar burn on my arm to remind me not to squeal, and carry the voice of my uncle in my head not to tell what he was doing to me or my family would die. I could be smiling and get beat, I could be walking by my father and get hit. I was told “This is for what I didn’t catch you doing.” Oh heck, I was too frightened to be bad to begin with. I still have occasional panic attacks around 2 am, when my father would visit my bed from a very young age. Bath time was a “joy”, even as a teen my father would have to use the toilet during my shower time, he would sit and watch me. Our bedroom doors had no locks, and at times were bed sheets. My father was reconstructing the house we lived in when I was a teen, the outer walls were torn down and for a couple months my bedroom wall, which faced the street, was a clear plastic sheet. Yes, I was expected to sleep in that room. My parents constant fighting was horrible; there was no peace, ever! They fought over everything, both belittling each other and tearing each other to pieces. I was raised weird catholic; my mother convinced us God was this angry overlord who condemned us all to hell with no hope of redemption. Every tiny minute action was a sin and Satan was ready to snatch us at any second, all the bad that happened to us, we caused ourselves and deserved. Loss of people and rejection are big parts of my life. The frequent moves and loss of friends and schools, changes of houses, and family feuds where my grandparents were not allowed to see us or talk to us, we never knew why. It was horrible never knowing when those we loved would be banned from our lives. We were hugging them one day then told to hate them the next. I guess to answer the question; my life is one big message: I am a failure, I am no good, I am unwanted, I need to adapt my behavior to be liked, marriage is misery, sickness is good, and life is a long torture with no hope of Heaven at the end because God is vengeful. When I was 19 I married the first guy who promised to take care of me, his family life was also a mess, so I thought he would live up to his promise. We struggled through 30 years of a broken messed up marriage where we both tore each other to pieces, but I am not sure either of us knew it could be better, until we divorced and are both now in good relationships. I pray God will bless my marriage so that my children and my husband’s children will see what a God blessed marriage should be, and they will find peace earlier on than we did.
I pray that You might open our eyes to see the events and thoughts that have warped or skewed our understanding of You, ourselves and marriage. Expose any lies that we have believed. Let us embrace Your truth alone. Heal our hearts. Help us to learn the truth about You, about ourselves and about Your beautiful design for marriage.
In the Name and power of Christ,
Bold, italicized, quoted, underlined text from http://peacefulwife.com The Respect Dare