Here’s a quote I stumbled across when reading “Into the Wild,” by John Krakauer. It’s not actually from that book, but it’s in the perspective of a man reflecting on a son’s estranged relationship with his father. For me, it sums up nicely (if it’s really possible to use that word in this type of situation) the true feelings that come with being abused:
“He is mad about being small when you were big, but no, that’s not it, he is mad about being helpless when you were powerful, but no, not that either, he is mad about being contingent when you were necessary, not quite it, he is insane because when he loved you, you didn’t notice.” (From “The Dead Father”).
It’s not the fact that his father was in control, powerful. It’s the fact that the father didn’t care, didn’t even notice or take note of the suffering that he was causing his child. It is this lack of true attention, the lack of kind attention, that is the hardest for me to come to terms with in my own story of abuse. I just wanted someone to notice that I was being hurt, someone to validate me, someone to look at me with kindness and to forgive the broken creature that they found in me.
Ignoring life, ignoring the truth, ignoring the suffering of others, is one of the most dangerous and heartbreaking aspects of humanity. Or at least in my life.