As part of the series on Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), physical abuse seems to be a common complaint. I would say that the severity can go on a scale from spanking to child murder. It seems that most abusers repeat patterns they learned from their own childhood or they have a mental illness driving their hurtful actions. Hurt people hurt people, as they say in recovery.
Here is my ACE:2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured? Most definitely yes.
Here is my resilience:14. I believed that life is what you make it.
The primary physical abusers in my life were both women. The most severe trauma happened at the hands of a guardian my sister and I lived with for about 18 months. I'm left with lasting emotional scars and Post Traumatic Stress because of this person tasked with taking care of me.
Skip this part if you cannot handle knowing what my guardian did to a 6 and 7 year old kid. I'll leave a marker to jump to.
I'll just list what I remember:
Beating with Hot Wheel race tracks
Hitting while eating and being force fed
Random slapping and punching
Picked up and thrown into a sink, head first.
Required to stand still after a beating (passing out I cut open my chin once on a drawer knob and woke up in a puddle of blood)
Though these are emotionally abusive actions, they highlighted the climate of fear that I lived inside:
Intentional destruction of my belongings.
Policing bathroom habits in public
Encouraged abuse of other children
Policing play with abuse as a consequence to not following her random weird rules
Calling me all kinds of names, but the one that I remember most is "Unmanageable child."
My mother did these things to me:
Pulled me around the house by the hair
Smacked me with the hair brush until I refused to let her brush my hair
Refused medical care when I got injured playing outside (I hope that if any of these had been life threatening, she would have sought treatment, but I don't know for sure.)
There are far too many emotional abuses to list. Suffice to say that my mother didn't want me around.
Though both my mother and the guardian specifically targeted me, for some reason I didn't believe it was all about me. My daddy helped by before I lived with the guardian, he showed me lots of love. Mom was there, but I didn't bond to her. I did bond to my oldest sister. She was as good to me as she was capable of. I have no memory of her abusing me physically.
I used things like my friend's home life and the Brady Bunch as examples. They taught me that people can be reasonable with each other. Places where parents didn't yell or hit each other or drank to excess showed me a whole new way of life.
I tried to have conversations with my sisters and even my mother about the abuse. I didn't know at the time that my mother at least couldn't help me heal. As I grew up and got out into the world, I found counseling and support that took only a few consistent meetings to set some major things straight.
I even bought a book on parenting myself, and others on having a good relationship with your spouse. Unfortunately, I picked a first spouse that didn't respond to my efforts.
I decided from as far back as I can remember, no one will ever hit me again. As I grew, I added to my list of "no one will ever..." and even added a few "must have" items to my list.
I made my life and continue to make things better with learning and exploring about myself. Though I cry easily and often, it's from awareness more than grief. I don't just BELIEVE life is what you make it, I MAKE IT SO!
Kind comments encouraged.