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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What Did I Do?

I look back now, to this point where God has led me, and I know I did nothing wrong. I will, however,never forget the words. Growing up, a small little girl learned early, that nothing she did would ever be good enough. I was an only adopted child, and my mother's displeasure terrified me. She never hurt me physically, aside from the normal spankings, but it was her words that hurt.

The words cut deep into a tender heart, but she didn't understand. She wanted perfection in everything. A perfect house, perfect meals, perfect appearance, perfect husband, perfect child. I was only seven, when she tried to teach me to peel fruit for canning. I managed to get more fruit than skin. Mother got upset, and said I was hopeless, useless, and told me to try harder. "Why can't you ever do anything right," she told me over and over. 

Abuse is abuse, whether emotional, verbal, psychological, or physical. There was never anything I did that pleased her. My friends were lacking, because their fathers weren't important business men. Why couldn't I make friends with rich and influential people. My friends were ordinary, and plain, just like me.
She made me feel inferior and stupid my whole life. 

Her friends children were all smarter, prettier, and would amount to successful adults. "Why can't you be like them?"  I had no idea why. I tried hard to be what she wanted, yet always fell short. My value was diminished. I grew up thinking I was not worthy, not loveable, not important.  Even in a group, she never let me express myself. She talked for me, telling others what I liked and didn't like. Never once did she understand what I liked, or even who I was. She wanted a perfect daughter, a clone of herself. Nothing else would do.

I became very shy, very withdrawn around her. When I was away from her, I could be "imperfect me." My self esteem was smashed and broken. I made things for her in school;she barely acknowledged them. The gifts found their way into a drawer or closet, never to be seen again. Do you know how that hurts a sensitive, little girl. Never did I hear the words I longed for, "good job, I love it!" I learned early to cry out the hurt in private. 

Tears were never tolerated. If I cried because of harshness and hurt feelings, I was told to stop crying. "You are acting like a baby!" When you already hurt, that heaps more hurt on top. Much as that hurt, the silent treatment hurt worse. If she really was displeased with me, she shut me out, and refused to talk. She did it when I was little, and she did it when I was a grown, married, adult. Sometimes it would last a day or two, sometimes several weeks. Only after, I apologized, and begged, did she start talking to me again. 

While growing up, I did not know this was a form of abuse. The scars I bore were on the inside. I retreated to a fantasy world whenever I could.  My bruised heart could soar, and be happy, in a made up world. No one knew how she was, not even my Dad. He gave her everything, and went to work. In public, she was so nice.  God has since shown me that she was insecure, scared she would fail, and very unhappy. Just as her scars shaped who she was, so did mine.

In most relationships, I took the blame for anything wrong.  When you are told over and over you are incompetent and no good, it becomes a part of you. In my mind I had no value. It may not seem like a big deal, but a child who never hears a positive, but only negative it will leave scars that in turn shape who you are.

When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, and let Him take over my life, He began to heal me. He brought everything out in the open, and then helped me deal with it, and forgive. He also gave me back my birth family. At last I had a family that accepted me just as I was, and loved me and valued me. He led me to face the pain of rejection and belittling, and to see my mother as she was. A scared unhappy woman. She could only lift herself up, by tearing others down. I don't think she ever knew, and I became part of the fall out. I forgave her right before she died, but I don't know if she even understood.

Scars heal in time with prayer, and trusting God with it. The scars fade and become your badge of survival. Scars grow us, shape us, and healing begins. God uses my scars to be filled with His compassion and empathy for others who hurt. I am thankful, I am a survivor.