I’ve never considered myself an abuse victim. Well, definitely verbally/emotionally, but physically… not really. Although there have been experiences that probably crossed that threshold, compared to my mother and the majority of my women friends, no. I haven’t suffered bruises, bloody noses, molestation, rape. I consider myself lucky that I got off so easily.
My earliest memories include violence. My father physically abused my mother. My mother had been molested as a child by her uncle. I was essentially raised by a misogynistic, physically and emotionally abusive father and victim(ized), narcissistic, emotionally abusive mother. My sister has memories that involve me that I’ve blocked. I don’t remember most of my childhood, except for the violence. For years I was hard-pressed to come up with positive memories to share. As I become older, wiser and healthier, I can now access them without much trouble.
To be honest, I’m not sure why I’m sharing this story. While it informed my relationship decisions (my ex-husbands are a combination of both parents, without the physical abuse), none of it impacts me anymore. I’ve forgiven my parents and have unconditional love and compassion for both of them. I’ve forgiven myself for choosing my ex-husbands and their role in helping me along my path. I’ve let go of the story. So much, in fact, that starting and ending this post is a struggle because I don’t know what to say.
Perhaps the compulsion to tell my tale is because there seems to be more women who have lived through abuse than not. This is deeply disturbing to me and compels me to do something to change this reality. Maybe it’s to let women know that they can recover, although it takes hard work and the help of a good therapist. That forgiveness doesn’t mean the abuse is okay. That unconditional love and compassion for self stops abuse because the victim identity doesn’t survive under those conditions. That healing and healthy relationships aren’t just possible, but a reality.
Although my “story” helped shape me, and I’m surrounded by women who have been physically abused in some form, I don’t own any of it. I’m not a victim. I’m a wild woman.