Child Abuse Recovery Journal

The new home of Suite101's Child Abuse & Recovery Feature Writer, Susan Maree Jeavons. Susan is a child abuse survivor who provides articles, commentary, poetry, support, and information on topics related to child abuse.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Getting Stronger

"Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold." -Zelda Fitzgerald

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts." -Rachel Carson

Those two quotes made me think of all that I have been through in my life, and all that I have conquered. As a child, I always felt unloved. I actually have no memories of my mother ever holding me, hugging me, reading me stories, or telling me how proud she was of me. I look back and I believe that she was jealous of me; jealous of the attention my father gave to me and not to her or my brother. She adored my older brother. But my father always found a reason to abuse him verbally and physically.

No matter how hard I tried to be good, Mama never noticed; or maybe she did and just ignored me. But my father noticed. He became the monster in my room at night. He treated me like a princess during the day. At night, I became his victim. I grew up searching for someone to protect me from the "monsters" of the night. But no one ever came to protect me. Instead, I learn to fear, to be hypervigilant, to hide myself in plain site.

I am 63-years-old now, and I have come a long, long way from being a victim. My heart has been broken and mended too many times. My scars are still there, but I am stronger. The wounds are healing. I prayed about it for many years. With the help of God, my mother and Father and I made our amends since then. I have forgiven both of them. Before I did that, the past was destroying me.I was filled with rage, bitterness and self-pity.

I very recently lost my mother. May she rest in peace. She suffered for years with heart problems and arthritis. She and my father were married for 65 years. I never understood why she stayed with him, and I probably never will. I do know that in their own way, they loved eachother. My father is still alive. He is 85 and suffers from Alzheimer's. He has good days and bad days. He and I talk a few times a week. He misses Mom. Sometimes he knows who I am, and sometimes he doesn't. I live 3 hours from where he lives. That's how it has to be. Although I forgave him, we have never been close like fathers and daughters should be. But I still love him. That may be hard for some to understand. I love him, but I don't like what he did. I don't like what he stole from me. I don't like that he robbed me of a normal, loving relationship with him and my mother.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Someday, when I meet my Heavenly father, maybe he will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant," And I will at last know how it feels to have a loving father.