The Conflicting Emotions of an Abused Child


Shirley J. Davis

In my travels down the road less taken, I’ve had to deal with emotions that I denied as a child. I’ve not done so because I wanted to, they were just been so overwhelming that I chose unconsciously to hide from them.

One of the worse emotions I think I had to face as a young child, was the tremendously overwhelming confusion I felt toward my abusers.

It must be understood that I, like almost all children, deeply loved my abusers. Such is the nature of children. To have someone you dearly love do horrible things to you causes a lot of emotions that a child simply cannot reconcile. Not only this but these conflicting emotions are made even more complex because a child can’t leave, can’t retaliate, and cannot admit to themselves that this person who hurts them doesn’t love them back. To do so is paramount to emotional suicide.

There was an incident that I have been thinking of recently, which occurred when I was only ten years old. I will not relate the specifics, as I have made a vow never to give triggering details on my blog. Suffice it to say, it was something one of my abusers did to me that was beyond cruel, and it involved small animals. I was forced to watch this act of cruelty, having been told it was my fault he was doing it. While I stood there watching the horror before me, I was very conflicted in my emotions. I loved the man doing the cruel deed, and I also loved the animals being harmed. I was also faced with the reality that this person I loved very much was doing a horrendous task, and he was blaming me for having to it. I cannot relate just how horribly conflicting and confusing the emotions were that filled my mind.

The little girl who was finally allowed to return to the house that day, did not return alone. My ten-year old self Katie, was so overwhelmed that she couldn’t cope, so another child joined her and it was she who walked calmly into the house, sat down, and began to quietly and calmly color in a coloring book. She could do this because she didn’t remember what has just transpired in the backyard and thus didn’t have any knowledge that the person she so dearly loved was in fact a treacherous and abusive son of a bitch.

When I finally told on my main abuser, I was disowned by all but one relative on that side of the family. I can’t even begin to relate the emotions that such cruel behavior brought to my fifteen-year old soul. Suddenly, I was no longer allowed to call them, and they ignored me at Christmas and on my birthdays. I had been a favorite of this relative, or so it seemed, and suddenly I was cut off and I was devastated. I cried many tears and felt a lot of anguish because of this treatment. One can only imagine what it feels like to have a whole set of people whom you love simply discard you like yesterday’s garbage. These family members said it was because I had told lies about this male relative, but their own actions prove that I was telling the truth. Instead of trying to help me, like a normal family would someone whom they believed had gone around the bend and was making up stories, they threw me away and wouldn’t even acknowledge my existence. I was even written out of my relative’s will that very week. I was so outcast, that when the wife of this relative was killed in a car accident one morning, I didn’t find out until that night when I was watching the ten o’clock news. I felt like an utter outcast at her funeral, and was ignored by all but one cousin.

I’ve only just begun to come to terms with how hurtful those people were in my life, and how the pain of what my abuser and family perpetrated against me still lingers even forty-two years later. The sad part is that after almost three decades, those relatives decided they wanted to have a relationship with me. I have made the decision though, that I am going to protect myself and my inner children and never speak to them again. I’m not disowning them, I’m denying them a chance to harm me.

What is the purpose of this piece?

I believe it is to say this. Don’t waste time loving people who are detrimental to your emotional health. If they are vindictive and/or hateful, then leave them behind in a trail of dust. Life is much too short to spend trying to love folks who will not or cannot return that love. I’m not advocating getting revenge, I am however, advocating self-love and protection. You and I are too valuable to the world to allow hateful and hurtful people to vent their sick drama onto us. We deserve peaceful and joyful relationships. Go out and seek people who will love and respect you for the wonderful and beautiful person you are, and always remember to love others as you would want to be loved.

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