Rule #3: Know When You're Beat
No one expects it to happen to them and then when it does, an overwhelming amount of shame and disgrace takes hold. I struggled for a long time, wondering whether to tell my story. I’m a published author and I hope to write more and a find an audience that will wait with bated breath for my next book. I struggled sharing this because I don’t want my readers to view me as a damaged or broken or crying out for attention.
Know when you’re beat. It conjures up images of boxing rings or failed presidential candidates who take another swing at the ball or athletes who hold on a little too long to their careers or poker games. Or in my case, actually beat. Living, bearing the scars of a life lived too long under an abuser’s roof. It’s important to know when you’re beat. It’s important to be self-aware enough to understand what has happened to you. I was beat, emotionally and physically by a woman that should have been there for me when everyone else left. She was supposed to be the rock in my life, in my sisters’ lives, that we could rely on and call in the middle of the day when we just need a chat.
I know I’ve been beat. I know that child abuse comes in so many different forms that it’s exceptionally difficult to find. But beyond feeling my scars, inside and out, and accepting that they exist, I must move on. I must not be beaten. I must rise from the ashes of a failed childhood, ashes of my mother’s fire, and somehow start again. Yes, I was beat and for a time I allowed myself to beat. I let the facade she had created continue and a tried to have a relationship with her. I was following in her footsteps without even realizing it.
I said goodbye. I cut her off. I caught flack from people who didn’t even know my story who thought I was wrong to do so, who preached forgiveness and second chances. I believe in forgiveness. I believe grudges are ‘holding a hot coal and hoping to burn the other person.’ I have forgiven her. But I have myself and my family and my precious daughter to think about. I refuse to lay under her heel, to force my daughter to do the same, and let the beatings continue. My daughter’s life matters. My marriage matters. My LIFE matters.
I was beat, once upon a time.
But I stood up and I left the table.
The final installment on the Rules of Child Abuse coming Sunday