A lot of things come to mind when I think of the word cruelty. Dogs chained starving in junkyards. Kids beaten beyond recognition. Serial killers toying with their prey until they give up and beg for them to kill them. Those all take a certain cruelty. What doesn’t come to mind is family. That is unless you live in mine. The more I think about and replay events in my head, the more I see it for what it is. I have been manipulated and hurt for so many years. My life an endless list of failures and mistreatment. All I ever wanted was to be loved and cared for. To have someone there for me. Not to be there with some leash attached. To dangle some financial carrot for me to walk thru fire to get to. There is something very wrong with this family. To be treated with such disrespect and cruelty only makes this life a living hell. How am I to be expected to thrive when someone is there to cut me off at the knees, over and over again.
This past week was an example of just how terrible it can be. For the better part of a year I have struggled under the weight of the impending foreclosure. I have endured stress beyond anything I have ever experienced. I looked for answers. I tried to come up with ways to solve our problems. I suffered more deeply than ever. I looked and looked, but found nothing to save us. I gave up. I lost my way. I settled amongst the most destructive of thoughts. I chose to find a different way out. I grasped a future without me in it. I found my way back, and fought to regain my footing. Then in the final hour, they say the money is there. I was so dumbstruck, the reality of it did not hit me. Instead of relief, I felt a bone crushing pain. It was as if someone had taken my heart and threw it out like refuse. I found myself again on my knees, trying to make sense of this suffering. In my exhaustion I could not see it. I could not make sense of it. Instead, I questioned all the work I have done. All the years spent trying to piece my life together again. I was overcome with rage. Not just anger, but an all-consuming desire to walk away from every one of them. To be so blinded should well have warned me just how deep this nerve went. So deep within my make up, something that had shaped my very being. It took years to do that. This was not just one time, this was years and years of systemic mistreatment. They had done this.
As I sat in session today, I started to put the pieces together. I saw it for what it was. It was cruel. It was unconscionable. To make it all that much worse, it was at the hands of people who love me. How can you love someone and treat them like that? How can you watch someone suffer and idly stand by. I cannot even fathom it. It is crushing and incomprehensible. It isn’t just this week. It has been a lifetime of this. I have grown up fed by this poisonous treatment. It has shaped me. Some might argue it defines me. I don’t want this to be who I am. I cannot sit by and watch this happen. No, not any more. I have a choice now. I may not have for years, as a child. Followed by years lost in my own suffering. So blinded I could not even see the treatment for what injury it caused. That is different now. I do not have to take this.
There is no life lesson in torturing someone. How can one possibly be expected to learn under such duress? You know what life lesson I learned through years of this treatment. I learned to think I was small. A meaningless piece of shit, with no abilities to speak of. I learned to be dependent. I learned to give up and give in. Does that make you feel big? Does it make you feel better about yourself? You know what that makes you? It makes you heartless and cruel. The worst thing about all of it, you did it out of love. I never would have thought love could be so misguided. Sadly, love is often misguided. It is so powerful. It puts blinders on our conscious, and allows us to harm the people closest to us.
I only wanted to be loved. I learned that being loved comes at great cost. For me the cost was almost my life. I knew so little about the damage done to my spirit, and the harm brought to my soul. I see it now, plain as day. The reality is beyond my ability to put words on it. I can only find hope in my ability to heal. But most of all, I can pray that I have not ever repeated this behavior, as it was so clearly used on me. Love should never be a weapon wielded with the intent of crushing another’s soul, in hope of controlling them.