Posted by: Marie | June 6, 2011

(559) My child voice

Post #559
[Private journal entry written on Saturday, December 18, 2010]

In the few days since my last therapy session, I’ve being getting hit with a flood of childhood memories . . .

The memories mainly focus on the times my dad would punish me . . . I am remembering the fear . . . I am remembering the anger and frustration at not being able to speak out and defend myself . . .

I am remembering my dad explaining to me that hitting me hurt him more than it hurt me . . . and not believing a word of it . . . knowing in my soul that being hit was not “right” . . . knowing that being hit should not be happening . . .

I am remembering how he used his large physical presence – standing over me – looking fiercely into my eyes so I would know there was no room for me to resist . . . he said this was right and good – ordered by God, as a matter of fact – how could I argue with that? If God said it, if the Bible said it – then, it must be true. I must be wrong – the feeling in my soul must be wrong – I must be such a bad person because the devil was able to trick me into believing this was wrong . . .

Photo by Martin Chen

I have this mental image of my external body parts reaching into the internal part of my body and beating up my soul for not getting it right, for being bad and wrong – my own external body parts shut down my own voice.

I am remembering my internal voice screaming, “This is not right!’ I had forgotten what that voice sounded like – but I can hear it now. I keep hearing my voice, screaming over and over . . . and I keep seeing my own self beating my own internal voice into submission.

I’m sure that part of my surviving was convincing myself it really wasn’t that bad. I am still carrying that message, but I’m finally starting to believe it was that bad and that I’m not so irresponsible for thinking it was that bad. Part of the reason I’m able to start changing my beliefs about it is because I’m witnessing Edward’s outrage and the outrage demonstrated by the people who read and comment on my blog.

I haven’t allowed myself to acknowledge and honor my pain because I have not felt justified . . . if my parents didn’t cause me pain on purpose, I have no right to feel pain about it . . . but, now, I’m starting to believe my pain is justified and it is right for me to ask for the time and space to heal the pain.

So, now, today . . . there is something I do for myself . . . I can stop beating up myself . . . I can validate my child voice . . . I can honor that voice . . . I can speak my child words aloud and let their truth be recognized – it was really that bad.

It is interesting to me to notice my reactions to the two main sources of trauma. I clearly remember the abuse perpetrated by my parents. Yet, I struggle to feel justified in feeling pain about that . . . and I struggle to see it as “that bad”.

And, on the other hand, I struggle to remember the details of the sexual abuse. I struggle to even believe it happened. And, yet, on the days I do trust the few fleeting memories I have, I clearly understand that it was really bad – and my pain around it feels justified.

I’m not sure what value that observation has for me, but it is interesting, nevertheless.

I struggle to accept the fact that the abuse done by my parents was really “bad enough” to justify the great effort required to heal from it. One of the reasons I think this is true is because . . . I think I’m waiting for enough people, or maybe the right people – the right authorities – to tell me that it was that bad and that my pain is legitimate and valid.

I have all these people on my blog giving me that validation. I’ve had three therapists who had assured me it was that bad and that my pain is valid. Yet, it is not enough.

I guess I’m waiting for my dad to tell me that. But, that is not going to happen because he is dead. And, it is not going to happen with my mom because I’m not going to tell her. And, even if I did tell her, I think she would be so detached from it that she wouldn’t be able to tell me what I need to hear. And, I’m not going to hear it from my siblings.

So, I guess I have to stop waiting and just decide for myself that that is the case. Which, I have already, by the way . . . I’m just working to get all parts of me to really buy into that conclusion.

Maybe if I redirect my anger from God to dad, that might allow me to heal my relationship with God – you know, get the “dad” crap out of the way and put it where it should be – instead of being mad at God, be mad at dad. That might open up the possibility of a healing of my relationship with God.


  1. That re- direction could be quite a big thing I think.

    • I agree . . . I think figuring out specifically at whom I am angry, and for what reason, will help me process it all!

  2. Dear Marie,
    I am really appreciating your method of letting a time elapse between the journal entry and the blog. It allows for much reflection and integration and make for a better experience for the reader.

    I did a similar thing when I waited six years after my healing journey began, and then began writing my memoir, The River of Forgetting. As I wrote it, going back over my experiences, things came together still more.

    In today’s post, the part about “I struggle to accept the fact that the abuse done by my parents was really “bad enough” to justify the great effort required to heal from it” really rang bells for me. It’s especially confusing because my parents were loving most of the time. What I’ll say is “YES, it was that bad. We know it because of the long, hard work we have to do to heal.”

    I’ll be posting here as a guest later this month, I think on the topic of Love, Abuse and Forgiveness–I appreciate your work and the chance to interact with you.
    Jane Rowan

    • Hi, Jane –

      It is good to hear from you!

      Concerning the time delay . . . I find it interesting to post months after the fact because it’s like I’m living through each healing moment twice . . . once when it really happened and once when I prepare it for publication. I am reminded of what I learned the first time through!

      I am really looking forward to your upcoming post . . . and thanks for providing a bit about your book!

      – Marie

  3. Hi Marie,

    I am so glad you are learning to listen to and honor that child’s voice. Children are smart. They know when something isn’t fair or is just flat out wrong, and what your dad did to you *was* wrong. May you continue in peace on your healing path!

    Debra Stang

    • Hi, Debra –

      It amazes me how we have been given an innate ability to figure out what is right and wrong . . . and how powerful it is when we learn to set aside what the world has taught us and return to our child’s wisdom!

      Thanks for calling our attention to this fact!

      – Marie

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