When I was pregnant, I read a lot online, more than I should have, actually. I saw a lot of posts that gave me hope, that becoming a parent made you have sympathy for the crappy upbringing you may have experienced. I suppose it meant that being in the parenting role gave you more of an understanding why decisions were made (or not made).
However, now that I’m in that role, I have no sympathy. I don’t want to hear “it was the way things were done at the time” because unless we were being raise on the wild frontier, then there’s no excuse for a lot of what went on in my childhood home. I read about how a major football player’s two year old son was horribly beaten to death by the mother’s boyfriend. It made me incredibly sad for the child. But the rage I feel is new. How could the mother subject her baby to this man?
I almost began to feel bitter by comparison, but then I recalled being beaten myself at a very young age. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I remember clearly being drug from hiding places and beaten with objects like hairbrushes and belts for things I didn’t understand. I recall being pinned down and shouted at in my tiny face. I remember the rage in my father’s face. I remember the indignant look on my mother’s face, as though I deserved whatever was happening to me. I remember the smell of alcohol. I remember being helpless, scared and alone.
There comes a day when, if you survive an abusive life, you become the adult. You get to make the decisions. You get to choose who can be near you and who cannot. By then, the strong, angry and cruel people who harmed you as a child are now sad, weak, and alone. There is no enjoyment in watching them suffer the consequences of their actions, which are likely long forgotten because of alcohol and time and convenient memory. There is only your truth, forged in your young mind, and bound to the tiny promise that you made your weaker self that someday, you’d make them stop.