Sunday, October 18, 2020

I have a six-month-old grandson. I look in his eyes and he's so trusting and loving to me. I realize I too must have been like that at some point. But when a child looks at someone older and bigger and is completely helpless and they are let down, I suspect it begins right then. 

The child must trust the adults or older ones in their life for safety, love, and all their care early on. But what happens when they no longer, even for a few minutes feel safe? Or what happens when they become fearful of their caretakers? Or when they no longer feel they are loved and valued? 

I suspect it's at that instant they begin to lose some of their innocence and the sudden reality of how helpless and vulnerable they are at that moment hits them. That must be a terrible feeling especially to the very young. 

I'm not sure exactly when it happened to me. But at some point I realized, probably on some primal inarticulate level, I'm on my own right now. I do remember one evening I was about 14. I was talking to mom while she was doing dishes about how strained I and my father's relationship was. It got quiet for a few seconds and I decided to tell her why I no longer respected him. I can't remember the exact words but she must have known what was coming and immediately changed the subject. 

As I stood there looking at her back and realizing she had just shut me down, I got this sinking, heavy feeling in my chest and realized she didn't want to hear what I was about to say. I was on my own. 

Thankfully for me, as a Christian, I was never alone and never would be in a spiritual sense and that helped ease the blow that night. For many though, that sudden realization, whenever it happens can be tragic and devastating even if they can't articulate it. 

Just my thoughts

7 comments:

Zale Dowlen, Attorney, MBA said...

Good job! "A fish doesn't know it's wet." I am still "unpacking" how incredibly unsafe and unsupporting my family was. I believe that "looking like the Cleavers", was the only concern.

Roger Mann said...

Since my father was a pastor and evangelist, looking like the Cleavers was definitely "encouraged".

jhoenshell said...

I'm like you. I don't know when it happened in my childhood (other than that my "nightmare of sexual abuse" had started around age 5, I think. And continued through my 1st year of college!), but I began to recognize early in my adult years how high my expectation of others had grown, and the inevitable "crash" I'd experience when someone had truly let me down personally.

As a youngster (age 7 or 8?) I can remember feeling so unloved that I would accuse others of literally not loving me -- or at least actually resist attention, at a time when I craved it most. My dad was out of the picture when I reached age 10, but it took years to understand how grievous was that loss. At any rate, confusion reigned supreme in my heart & mind about whom to trust for DECADES!

The Lord has certainly performed miraculous transformation in my life, some of which has transpired within the last 15 yrs, as Ive really finally dealt with my past history. But I'll admit that I still have moments of disappointment when my latest "hero" reveals he/she has flaws just like mine! Maintaining a purely Biblical perspective in this area is one of my personal goals. Oh, to be satisfied with Christ alone!

Jeff

Roger Mann said...

"Oh, to be satisfied with Christ alone!"

That has been a longing in my heart for a long, long time. Thanks for sharing your life and heart with me.

jhoenshell said...

Roger __
I'm not on here daily, but I covet your musings on your journey! Thank you for allowing us a platform to reflect. It helps to SEE through writing what the Lord both allowed me to endure & how He has been orchestrating my "rescue"! I can't thank Him enough!

Jeff

Unknown said...

It's hard to recognize the protective coping mechanism that I have had since then. The trust issues that can come up, and the reality that I don't always open up and trust my brothers in Christ bc of the sexual abuse. Vulnerability can be awesome, yet oh so scary when you get down to the nitty gritty. I struggle with that. Can I share, and be heard or will someone change the subject bc they have no idea what to say or it's too uncomfortable. Be prepared that you all may be put in the situation where someone needs to talk.

Roger Mann said...

" Be prepared that you all may be put in the situation where someone needs to talk."

Indeed, and the indications may be subtle. I suspect the ratio of 1 in 6 that is so often quoted is low due to men and boys being so reluctant to admit to such experiences. The effects are pretty obvious when you know what to look for. I've engaged others I suspected by opening up even in vague ways about my experiences and found some eager to tell their stories. Others may take some time to feel comfortable but there are a lot of us out there.

On a side note, I watched Deadpool in a theater not knowing what the movie was about. While many others were laughing and certain revelations by the hero about being abused I found it uncomfortable and I spotted others in the audience that were not amused either. Made me wonder just how alone I was with the feelings. Very disappointed in Ryan Renolds for that.

Just my thoughts