by Elia Wise
For adults who were treated badly as children
For children who were broken, it is very hard to mend……
Our pain was rarely spoken and we hid the truth from friends.
Our parents said they loved us, but they didn’t act that way.
They broke our hearts and stole our worth, with the things that they would say.
We wanted them to love us.
We didn’t know what we did to make them yell at us and hit us, and wish we weren’t their kid.
They’d beat us up and scream at us and blame us for their lives. Then they’d hold us close inside their arms and tell us confusing lies of how they really loved us — even though we were BAD, and how it was OUR fault they hit us, OUR fault that they were mad.
When days were just beginning we sometimes prayed for them to end, and when the pain kept coming, we learned to just pretend that we were good and so were they and this was just one of those days … tomorrow we’d be friends.
We had to believe it so. We had nowhere else to go.
Each day that we pretended, we replaced reality with lies, or dreams, or angry schemes, in search of dignity …. until our lies got bigger than the truth, and we had no one real to be.
Our bodies were forsaken. With no safe place to hide, we learned to stop hearing and feeling what they did to our outsides.
We tried to make them love us, till we hated ourselves instead, and couldn’t see a way out, and wished that they were dead.
We scared ourselves by thinking that and scared ourselves to know, that we were acting just like them –and might ever more be so.
To be half the size of a grown- up and trapped inside their pain…. To every day lose everything with no savior or refrain… To wonder how it is possible that God could so forget the worthy child you knew you were, when you had not been damaged yet … To figure on your fingers the years till you’d be grown enough to leave the torment and survive away from home, were more than you could count to, or more than you could bear, was the reality we lived in and we knew it wasn’t fair.
We who grew up broken are somewhat out of time, struggling to mend our childhood, when our peers are in their prime.
Where others find love and contentment, we still often have to strive to remember we are worthy, and heroes just to be alive.
Some of us are healing. Some of us are stealing. Most are passing the anger on.
Some give their lives away to drugs, or the promise of life beyond. Some still hide from society.
Some struggle to belong. But all of us are wishing the past would not hold on so long.
There’s a lot of digging down to do to find the child within, to love away the ugly pain and feel innocence again.
There is forgiveness worthy of angel’s wings for remembering those at all, who abused our sacred childhood and programmed us to fall.
To seek to understand them, and how their pain became our own, is to risk the ground we stand on to climb the mountain home.
The journey is not so lonely as in the past it has been … More of us are strong enough to let the growth begin.
But while we’re trekking up the mountain we need everything we’ve got, to face the adults we have become, and all that we are not.
So when you see us weary from the day’s internal climb … When we find fault with your best efforts, or treat imperfection as purposeful crime … When you see our quick defenses, our efforts to control, our readiness to form a plan of unrealistic goals … When we run into a conflict and fight to the bitter end, remember …. We think that winning means we won’t be hurt again.
When we abandon OUR thoughts and feelings, to be what we believe YOU want us to, or look at trouble we’re having, and want to blame it all on you… When life calls for new beginnings, and we fear they are doomed to end, remember… Wounded trust is like a wounded knee– It is very hard to bend.
Please remember this when we are out of sorts. Tell us the truth, and be our friend. For children who were broken… it is very hard to mend.
Child abuse leaves permanent physical and emotional scars for a lifetime.
Please, if you see a child that looks like they aren’t being treated right: dirty, timid, pronounced startle reflex, skinny, bruises scratches or burns in various stages of healing, PLEASE call your local child abuse hotline, you could save a child.
Please call Childhelp USA, 800-4-A-Child or your local Child Protective Service agency or Department of Human Services, whichever agency in your state and county accept reports of alleged child abuse to investigate.
All states require certain professionals and institutions to report suspected child abuse, including health care providers and facilities of all types, mental health care providers of all types, teachers and other school personnel, social workers, day care providers and law enforcement personnel. Many states require film developers to report.