Sunday, February 19, 2006

How It Was done

Walking along the road. A man and his son. Every now and then, the man would hit his son across the head.

'Walk properly! Stupid!

The boy tried to walk properly, wanted his father's approval. He could see the shame in his father's eyes and hear the disgust in his voice.

No one ever told the boy how to walk properly, or even what it meant to walk properly. He had no idea how he walked and why it was wrong. Why was he different from other 9 year olds? He didn't know. He knew his father was disgusted by him and had always known it.

The boy is sitting on the floor, surrounded by his colouring books, filling in the pictures with vivid colour.

'Put it away, now.' His father demanded.

'Just a minute,' the boy replied.

He looked up just in time to see a small suitcase flying through the air at him.
He had no time to move. The case hit him in the side of his head with such force it smashed the other side of his head into the teak coffee table leg which had a carved bird head right at the spot where his temple hit.
He sat there, stunned. No tears. He stared at his father whose face was contorted with rage and hate.

His mother, laid the boy out on the couch, soothing his head with a cold wet cloth.

'See if you did as you were told, this wouldn't happen'

With these words, the boy knew he was on his own.

Later at bedtime he kissed his mother goodnight. He said goodnight to his father but did not kiss him. He never did again.

His father was proud his son did not kiss him. He was becoming a man.
The boy knew otherwise and whilst he lacked the maturity to understand what it was he sensed, he saw his father for what he was.

He also saw his mother for what she was.

In bed, he lay in the dark, afraid and wondering how he would survive. He knew his parents didn't love him. He felt the deepest shame and wondered why he was being punished so and why God hated him. He knew he was going to Hell, just as the Nuns had told him. Not even his parents loved him so God certainly didn't.

He couldn't think what he had done wrong. He just knew he was no good.
Something about him filled his father with shame and disgust and he knew that his mother wanted him to be diffferent too.

Of course, he didn't know how to be diffferent or what needed to be different. He just knew he wasn't acceptable.

In his mind, unknown to himself, he started to become whatever people wanted him to be. He shut himself, his real self, tightly away and spent his time trying to please. He acted whatever he thought others wanted.
Trouble was he never knew what that was. And with this ignorance, his fear grew. He knew that if he wasn't good and wasn't liked, he would be hurt, killed even. He already knew that could happen. He hadn't really been a child for years already but had no one to help him be an adult.
No comfort or peace was to be found.

Until the day he discovered that eating lost of sugary starchy foods stopped the fear.

And he could carry on appearing to be the happy cheeky chappy most people thought he was.


Anonymous said...

Hi Colin

I came to this site from a link on my knitting machine group -- just wanted to check out your handiwork, and instead was stopped dead by the headline "How It Was Done". It send me spinning back to being 11 years old and my older brother treating my younger (who was 3 at the time) in exactly this manner. And it went on for years, until we each left home, at too early an age. I still carry the burden of not being able to help my little brother -- and not being able to help myself in the process either. The elder brother was equally abusive with me. You stopped me dead in my tracks this morning, and I don't know what to do with this pain, I thought I had gotten over it. Thank you for posting this on your blog.

Unknown said...

Thank you for commenting and for sharing your experience. I know reliving the pain is not pleasant, not by miles, but it is an opportunity for you to grow and change. Now you know you are carrying this, you can begin to heal it. You can heal it, and you don't have to forgive to heal it. You do have eventually to let go of any hatred though as this only sours you.
It wasn't your fault. perhaps thi sjolt will enable to look at your family of origin and deal with the pain from that. You'sd be amazed at 1. how you are affected and 2. how free you can be once you can work thru it.

FuguesStateKnits said...

Hi Colin - Joan again. You tell this so well from the child's point of view - it becomes so understandable. This cannot be easy for you and I am all the more grateful for that. I keep what I read on your blog with me when I meet with my clients - try my best to listen, REALLY listen to them.
Thank you and god bless you!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is "WOW"! Love your dogs and your sweater too. Tracy

FiberQat said...

Very powerful. It brought back to me the verbal abuse I received as a child from my peers, especially the eating of foods stopping the fear. It took a lot of self-coaching to make me confident in myself in the face of the abuse. Thank you for sharing.