When I think of disconnect, it means there are people who admit to being abused, do nothing about it, and will say things like, "Yeah, it happened, but it didn’t affect me."
Three days before I wrote this, I received a phone call from a man who fit that description. He was crying because he said he'd finally figured out that what his mother did to him was sexual molestation. He treated his wife shamefully—not sexually assaulting—but humiliating and yelling at her, and occasionally striking in anger.
He told me that he hadn't made a connection until his wife finally said, "I've had enough. You're just like your mother!" (She referred to the brutal, angry behavior.)
"I felt like she had hit me with a jackhammer," the man said. He's 41 years old and it was the first time he had connected his unresolved childhood pain to his own abuse.
I understand. His mother sexually assaulted him; he physically beat his wife. But his irrational conduct came from his mother's actions. Because what he did to his wife wasn't the same as what was done to him, he made no connection.
We're changed by our abusive childhood, and it doesn't mean we copy what was done to us. We may never sexually assault another person, but the molestation changes in form. Until we resolve our many issues, we exhibit behavior that may seem to have no similarity to our past. But it often does.
Part of healing is to recognize that.