Today, at 45 years old, that word brings as much peace as it does painful memories.
I remember, as a child, craving solitude…peace…away from other people. Away from the rest of the world around me. I was so afraid to even look at another person. I was afraid of anger. I was afraid of doing ‘something’ wrong. Of being hurt in some way. I remember walking in the midst of the rest of humanity, feeling horrendously exposed. I would try to sink inside myself as tightly as I could, as a measure of protection. I loved and cared about people. That wasn’t reciprocated, and I was prepared at ALL times, though not arming myself…but holing up in my own mental, psychological fox-hole. At my first opportunity, I would find a peaceful place to go…usually with whatever pet would go with me.
I had a favorite old stump I would sit on to watch the birds. I would study the weeds in the back acreage, notice how the trees smelled in the heat of the day, and pet the animals. There were goats that LOVED it when I would take them for a ‘walk’. My dog was always with me. When I was in tears, my dog stayed closer to me. It could be 100 degrees out, and my dog would still lay his head on my lap.
Silence and solitude is a much-needed thing in our lives. In healthy people’s lives, it’s a way to take a minute and reflect on a stressful day. We need that break to keep from ‘losing it’, and becoming so overwhelmed that we can’t function in a productive manner. In this respect, silence is a necessary, positive thing that allows us to remain internally, emotionally and spiritually, whole. Happier, functional human beings.
Silence. That word also conjures up a few negatives.
Any abuser, whether that be a pedophile, narcissist, psychopath or someone who resorts to violence in the home, requires and DEMANDS their victim to be silent. Especially while away from the abuser. After all, if the victim talks to anyone about what is happening, it means that the abuser will be exposed. The abuse will be known.
The pedophile in my life, learned of my fears of anger and hurting others’ feelings. He used that against me, in order to continue the abuse. I was 7, I think, when the abuse started. He would cry tears, when talking to me about what would happen if I told anyone. He didn’t threaten bodily harm. He said (and showed) I wouldn’t be allowed to come over anymore. He expressed his ‘love’ for me. What I saw and heard? I would hurt HIS feelings if I told anyone about it. I had an internal battle that I remember to this day. “How would I like it if someone hurt my feelings?” Forget about the abuse. I would have been ‘bad’ if I told anyone. To think I caused that grown man to cry, made me feel very guilty. The result? The abuse continued for YEARS, until my family and I moved to a neighboring town. It was there that I told my pastor, who in turn told my parents.
For whatever reason, I have always placed my wants and needs on the back-burner, in order to protect MYSELF from hearing anger, hurting feelings or feeling guilt because of it all. It was easier to allow myself to be the sacrifice, for the betterment of everyone around me. It wasn’t as painful as experiencing someone’s anger, or feeling like I was being ‘bad’ or ‘selfish’. For whatever reason, I didn’t matter. My needs never mattered. Well, they did I suppose, but I learned that enduring abuse was the easier road.
Silence. The enabler of abuser to continue abusing.
You would think that at my age, I would have gotten a handle on this.
My life with the Monster proved to be a continuance of everything. I recognize my fears of anger, violence, and the like. I’ve been conditioned to remain silent when someone around me is angry. My X-monster also knew this, and used it against me. One of the first things he tested me for were any weaknesses. He found them. My one major one is the ability to manipulate me by using anger and guilt. I also recognize this, yet I am still powerless to change it. I know I’m not ‘powerless’, as my life is my OWN to guide and live. I just don’t know how to change it. I’m naturally inclined…conditioned…to react a certain way to particular stimulus.
Then, the anger… He would GRILL me about who I’ve talked to, what was said, and made absolutely sure that I wasn’t talking about HIM or our relationship. Just a thought about whether I’d been talking to anyone, sparked a verbal onslaught that I was neither prepared for, nor was I able to protect myself from it when it happened.
What did I do? I remained silent, both during the tirade and in my interpersonal relationships.
What did this cause? The furthering of the abuse. I willingly ‘fed’ the psychopath his daily caloric intake of ‘ego boost’.
I’m 45, yet still a child in some regards.
I’d much rather have silence and peace residing together in my life, at my own choosing, in a balanced and happy way.
As each day has become since my exodus…This too shall pass. I will learn and be stronger for the lesson.