Becoming the Monster – A Hideous Repercussion of Childhood Abuse

(The following is a personal essay and does not by any means categorize everyone who was abused as a child as an abuser themselves.  Some, unfortunately, are doomed to repeat the horror of their own youth.)

I’ve often wondered what turns a former victim into a victimizer themselves, after they’ve suffered through years of physical and emotional abuse.  When does that flicker of hope eventually get snuffed out and replaced by an inferno of enmity?  How often did their pleading cries go unheeded until they decided that no one gave a damn about them?  And if they were to survive into adulthood, they would have to fend for themselves; literally shutting down all emotions.  They no longer had the luxury of having any feelings.

At what point did they transform into the monster that had instilled so much terror into their own young lives?     Their fragile and bruised psyche so damaged  and burned out from the constant onslaught of verbal and physical abuse, they began to wonder if it would ever cease.  Would they ever be free from this pain and helplessness?     The bitter realization slowly dawning upon the child that they were on their own, and that no one was coming to their rescue had them feeling deserted in their greatest hour of need:  someone to tell them that they were loved nd cared about.  They were not just some random cosmic mistake.  

They began to see themselves and their life as having no value.  Why were they still alive?  Children look up to their parents with trusting eyes filled with unconditional love for the two people who brought them into the world.  But if the parent is abusive, how can a helpless child react except with intense hurt and confusion, wondering what they had done wrong.   Their young, impressionable minds can only tolerate so much before their self-confidence  begins to crack and slowly chip away. 

Children are a gift.  They are to be treasured.  I’m sure that as adults they do not want to repeat the cycle of abuse that they had lived through.  Prisons are probably filled with those once innocent children.  Is society’s lack of empathy for others partially to blame?  Are we overwhelmed by a huge sense of apathy?  What is the answer to this then?   What can we do as individuals to solve this human ill?  I wish that I had the answer, but I do not.  All that we can do is do our best in loving those around us.  To respect all life.  To see each person as a unique gift to the world. 

One person = one changed life.  


Loving the Mirror

When I was attending junior high school, I began going through a serious identity crisis.  I didn’t like who I was or what I was becoming.  My body was awkwardly changing, and I felt cursed by a raging case of acne.  I thought that I was the ugliest girl alive and that I’d never find someone to marry me.  My fellow classmates didn’t help matters either.  I became bitter and angry.  And suicidal.  I didn’t see any worth within myself.  I felt that my looks and my life would never improve.  But fortunately, they did.

As I grew older and matured, my acne disappeared and I met and married a wonderful man.  It’s a shame how young people, particularly girls, view themselves in the mirror.  If only they could see their worth through the eyes of the Creator.  God does not make junk.  Created in His image, we are a genetic mix of our parents’ DNA.  God sees us as beautiful, as we should also.  And along with that we should not be so harsh in the judgement of others either.  They are who they are.

All teens go through the “I-hate-the-way-I-look” phase.  And it is only that, a phase.  Girls need to be more forgiving of themselves during these formative years.  Trust me, things will get better.  Sadly, though, many girls go through serious addictions due to their distorted images of themselves.  Eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and even cutting themselves to help relieve the pain that they are experiencing.  And the pain that they feel is real.  Especially painful if they do not have a loving and trusted parent or adult in their life that they can turn to for counsel.  

I want you to know that you are beautiful just as you are.  Looks do change as you get older.  Do not be so hard on yourselves.  There is a light at the end of this tunnel called ‘teenage angst’.  You do need to accept yourself  just as you are even if others do not.  There is nothing you can do about that anyway.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made, to quote scripture.  You can either be your own biggest cheerleader or your harshest critic.  Choose wisely, friends.

Parenthood – The real oldest profession in the world

Parenting is not for the faint-hearted.  It is not a job to be taken on lightly.  It is a lifetime commitment – there’s never any time-card to punch out at the end of the day.  Face it, you are on-duty 24/7, like it or not.  Parenting can be a mind-numbing, insomnia-producing, hand-wringing job.  Always worrying if you are doing something wrong.  Does my child’s fever warrant a doctor’s visit?  Why are they crying, fussing, sleeping too much, or not enough?  Why is my little angel projectile vomiting, and me waiting for the head to start spinning around?  And how does such a tiny, fragile creature create so much poop?

And once the child become fully locomotive, forget about ever relaxing again.  And showering?  Well, just get used to spritzing on quite a bit of body spray.  I’m sure that no one will notice.  (Why are those people moving away from me?)  And don’t forget the constant changing of diapers, washing tiny outfits that your little one quickly outgrows, and need to purchase bigger sizes.  And someone please tell me how such tiny outfits and shoes cost so much money?

But the rewards are there.  Your child’s first toothless grin, how their eyes light up whenever you enter the room, and those tiny arms wrapped snugly around your neck, and their first “I-love-you”‘s.  Ah, that is worth the price of admission alone.  And let’s face it, the making of the child was the easy part, and quite honestly the most enjoyable part.  After that it’s all work and no play(well, at least for dad anyway).  But don’t worry men, it gets better for you too.

Then come the school years:  instruments yearning to be played, parent-teacher conferences, holiday concerts, plays, class parties, teacher gifts, and the projects that need to be handed in TOMORROW.  And oh let’s not forget those memorable teen years.  First date, first job, first car.  Endless arguments over curfews, when to go to bed, when to wake up in the morning, when to do homework.  And don’t even count how many “I-hate-you”‘s you get in one day.  Suddenly, you are the mean one, strict one, uncool one, not-understanding one:  it seems like such a thankless time during those years.  But hang in there, mom and dad, it does get better.

And yes, I would do it all over again.  Why, you may ask?  Because I’m crazy…about my children.  They are my life, my love, my pride and joy, and though there isn’t any monetary payment, I am thankful for the opportunity to raise my children.  Each day is an adventure, whatever stage of life they are in.  One more thing, don’t get me started on teaching them how to drive….that’s another story in itself!

Death of a Loved One

Death is an agonizing and a tear-stained mystery.  Some believe that when we die we are transported to Heaven or to some other dimension, while others believe that death is the end to our existence.  I stand in the former category.  But when you stare death in the face, sitting at the bedside of a loved one, it is only the fact that you are about to lose someone that you care about that truly matters at that moment.

My father-in-law, Stan, died back in July.  We were shocked when we received the call that he was taken to the hospital on the Fourth of July.  Not thinking it was anything major, only due to the extreme heat that we have been having in the Chicagoland area, we thought that he would perhaps spend a few days in the hospital and then return home to continue treatment.

But it was his heart.  Damaged beyond repair.  The doctors at first wanted to operate, but then decided that option had to be taken off the table since my father-in-law probably would not even survive that.  Being at his bedside, a blurred mix of emotions, along with tubes down his throat, IV’s sticking out of his arm, beeping machines, we were numb.

My husband’s one joy and comfort at that time was having the foresight to have us visit him the previous weekend, which would prove to be the final time we got to see him awake and talking.  It would have been devastating if my husband had not listened to that small voice telling him to go and see his dad.

But if you have never seen anyone die before, it is a very unsettling experience.  This was my first time beside a dying loved one’s side.  And the memory of that will remain with me forever.  When the doctors had to remove the balloons that was keeping his blood pumping throughout his weakening body, with my husband’s consent(something he had to wrestle fiercely with, not wanted to let his father go), and would be any time now that he would be taken from this life.

It was the gurgling, the eyes rolled to the back of his head; the way my father-in-law struggled for precious air, that will haunt me.  But as my husband read from the Bible to his father, he could see the Lord take his father to be with him.  And then his heart stopped beating.  In numbed disbelief we watched as the monitors flat-lined.  My father-in-law had passed from this life into the next.  But I take heart, as does the rest of my family.  For we know in our hearts that, yes, we will see him again.  And that gives us lasting comfort for the months of grief ahead.


Dad and his boys

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