I have 3 biological children and they are each unique. There is 1 who is similar to his father, 1 who is similar to me, and 1 who is a combination of the two of us.
I look at my family of origin and I see the differences between the 4 of us; I see the ways we are similar and different to each parent.
As a parent I know that it is easier to deal with some of my children; more difficult with others.
As a recovering abuse victim, I clearly see that some are scapegoats, and others are not. I know that I was a scapegoat as a child, and, in an effort to stay in my comfort zone, I re-upped that role in my marriage.
As I write this I’m watching the 20/20 show about Bill Cosby and the women who have accused him of rape, and I see similarities. (this is not meant to diminish the horror of rape, which I have been through).
In both situations, the following hold true:
- Certain people are targeted. Emphatic, trusting people are chosen.
- Our trust in the inherent goodness of people makes it less likely we’ll complain.
- Our trust and open hearts leave us open to the idea that we are to blame. Our abusers are good people, so we must be to blame.
- We end up Confused. We trust, we love, we are open – then we are hurt.
- We can’t fathom hurting a person the way we’ve been hurt, so no one else would deliberately hurt us, right? And, if they did, there had to be one of 2 explanations: 1) we deserved it or 2) we misunderstood.
It has taken me a life time to understand this, and honestly, I struggle with it every day. I can not fathom deliberately hurting another person; there can’t possibly be people out there who can.
Unfortunately, there are. Maybe they are damaged, maybe they are fragile, maybe they are evil. I don’t know why, I just know that they are out there.
And I’m afraid, because they look like me, or you, or some of my best friends. How am I supposed to protect myself if I can’t see them? How can I be safe if I struggle to believe that bad people actually exist?
Keeping everyone at arms length, minimizing my attachments and spending more time alone that with others have been my go-to defenses. Which is fine, if I’m not here for the long haul. What if though, I survive the cancer, the divorce and the abuse, and live for 20 more years? What then?
How long can I keep everyone at arms length, just to avoid those who are evil; damaged; ill-intention ed?