Much of my childhood and adolescence was about surviving. Surviving the best I could given the circumstances. In some ways, I still feel like I’m in survival mode.
First let me say I was not physically abandoned by my family. This is true despite it being threatened with being taken to an orphanage and left there. But developmentally, psychologically… I was abandoned at an early age.
It was often threatened to be driven to the orphanage when I was young. On more than one occasion, I was put in the car and was driven around. All the while, I was being belittled and told that nobody would want me. I lived in fear of those car rides.
But more than that, I was abandoned when my mother looked the other way. She knew what my father was doing. She did nothing to stop it. She looked the other way. I had no one to protect me. My grandmother looked the other way too. In some ways it didn’t seem as sinister as my mother. I think she had almost no power when it came to my grandfather.
My parents were simultaneously over-involved and under-involved in school. On the one hand, bad grades were severely punished and usually involved a message to the teacher asking what happened. But good grades (what I usually brought home) were ignored.
Abandonment is a tough issue for me. I’ve learned to rely only on myself. Not having someone who cared enough to stop blatant abuse scarred me for life. And trust… Well that’s a tricky one too. It all goes down to not having someone who cared and left me to my own devices.
Child abuse leaves scars. Both seen and unseen. Both large and small. Both chronic and acute. Yet they are all scars.
I think that everyone carries some scars. Nobody has a perfect life. But the scars that abuse survivors carry are more extreme. They impact daily living for so many survivors.
I try to hide the scars I have. I was “lucky” that my parents tried to minimize leaving marks. My mom was a guidance counselor and knew the things that CPS looked for. I was a cutter for many years, and thankfully, I didn’t scar a lot. Those are the seen scars. The unseen ones are still there, though.
There are times when those scars get ripped open again. Flashbacks, physical memories, panic attacks. All are our mind’s way of reminding us of what happened.
My scars make me who I am. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I can’t get rid of my scars. As physical scars are permanent, so are psychological ones.