In some ways, I do not feel I should write this post because I have never really been through severe physical or sexual or even emotional abuse. The abuse I have suffered has been minimal and mostly observational, but it has still had an effect on me.
So I write this post not only to explain that effect, but also to show that you don’t have to go through something dramatic to suffer the effects of abuse. I will not describe what I suffered in this post, but I will describe how it influenced my train of thought.
I believe in justice. I believe that when you do something wrong you deserve to be punished. I believe that doing something wrong can include little things like forgetting something or not doing something you were asked to do.
I have punished myself before. I have tortured myself for my weaknesses, mistakes, and failure to comply with demands. When I could not torture myself physically, I often tortured myself mentally or emotionally. I feel pain with others when I see or think of their suffering. I have used this sympathetic pain to torture myself.
I am not proud of what I have done to myself. I have felt like I deserved to die because I did torture myself when there are people going through real torture from others. At times I have made myself sick with the physical and mental anguish over my faults.
That is the effect abuse has had on me. Some may say it did it’s job in getting me to fear disappointment, mistakes, and doing something wrong. Maybe they are right, but I question the cost.
I have mostly stopped my mental and physical torture. I have mostly stopped thinking that doing something wrong should result in punishment. But I still struggle with justice. I still struggle with the thoughts that people should get what they deserve, which is always at least some sort of reprimand because no one is perfect.
And I am slowly starting to believe in mercy and that it is possible to be forgiven without the suffering of justice.