Just like you can't teach the unabused what abuse is and how damaging it really is. I've been having a really tough week, not as a mother, but as a human and a damaged adult. There was an incident I read about, involving two family members of an online friend and the friend. The incident is not mine to tell but what resulted from it was an explosion was verbal abuse directed at a teenage boy. It had been said that the father of the boy had a military mindset and I say "bullshit". Mac is a military man and he'd never talk to Nixon like that.
As I sat on the floor of our living room, trying to tell Mac of the whole thing, I felt the tears welling up and I knew, this was striking too close to home for me. I shut down and walked away.
Parents are supposed to build their children up. They are supposed to be a constant source of love and support, an unwaivering cheering section to an almost embarrassing level. Not the ones who destroy the child's self-worth and self-esteem. A parent shouldn't tell a child he/she is stupid or worthless or call him/her a mistake or worse. And believe me, there are far worse things a parent can tell a child.
It's especially hard to explain this to someone who's never heard a negative word from a parents lips directed to them. How do you tell someone who was told "I love you" by his/her mother and father every day, what it was like to be called a piece of shit for no reason daily by the person who gave you life? How do you make that same person see that those words hurt more than the actual physical abuse and that those words left more scars than the physical abuse?
I tried to help the boy in this scenario this week. I tried to help the friend dealing with him, by giving her tips for talking to him after the incident, as an abused adult survivor. It fell on deaf ears and it broke my heart because she, like lots of other people when faced with situations like the one she was faced with, wanted to believe it was a one time thing and it couldn't possibly be as bad as what I went through. Because no one ever wants it to be as bad as what someone else admits it was for them.
Even now, my family members say they wished they had known how bad it was. Yeah, me too.
I think I may have found a passion though. I may actually want to work for some kind of abused child support group. I'm not sure how to work at finding one, but I'm sure military bases have a large need for one. All I wanted to do was tell this kid, a boy I've never met, and most likely will never meet, it's okay his dad is wrong and he is not worthless. His dad is messed up and has issues and the only way he can feel good about himself is to make everyone around him feel less about themselves. It's not right but its doesn't mean he has to believe anything his dad is saying to him to be true. I wanted to cry for the damage that's already been done to this kid and all the years of trust issues he has ahead of himself, because of his dad's hateful angry words! It made me want to verbally rip his dad a new asshole, because oh yeah the one thing most verbally abused kids learn how to do is to use words to hurt other people, trust me I'm pretty damned spectacular at it when I need to be, but it will NEVER be directed at Nixon. In fact, I aim to never do it in front of Nixon because I don't want him to ever think it's acceptable to verbally hurt people, its just another form of bullying and bullying is wrong in any form.
This friend said it's okay, it was a one time thing and quick no thought reaction to the situation and the dad apologized and even said "i love you", so everything is okay now. See that's the thing. I always got the "i love you" too. I stopped believing the words, they meant nothing, they were just the words that began to follow "I'm sorry". And I always wanted to believe it when he said it'd never happen again, but it always did. I never dared tell anyone the truth though, because then I'd be the reason my family was broken and ruined. It was bad enough I was the reason he did and said those things to me, did I really want to break apart my family too?
See that?? That's the thought process I had and went through every time someone asked me if I was okay. Even if it was undeniably NOT okay the answer had to be something close to yes or sure because otherwise my dad was right and I would be responsible for ruining my family. Sucks right? You have no idea. Unless you've been there in which case, you do have an idea and you too would know what it feels like to recognize the signs of a less the good situation, try to help and then be rebuffed because "dad" says its nothing and it was the first time it ever happened. But that's the trick. The reaction that happens when someone doesn't "think" is usually the most common reaction.
I have no scientific proof to back it up, only my own experiences.