Friday, September 26, 2008

The Empath

“I don’t want to leave because of the kids”. This is an excuse that most persons in abusive relationships use. This justification not to act and leave is wearing thin though. Many persons have died using it. Granted, children naturally want their parents to stay together no matter what. They feel broken inside when the two halves of who they are, are separated. But imagine how broken a child feels each time they witness the abuse. Imagine for a moment how broken a child will be when they are burying one parent and the other is locked away in prison for their murder.

Most adults feel a degree of empathy for others but children are natural empaths. They are extraordinarily sensitive to everything that goes on around them, especially when it comes to someone they love dearly. Unknown to my father, I felt all of my mother’s pain. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen my father beat my mother to a pulp in front of me. It didn’t matter how much she tried to fight back, he would over power her with heavy punches as if he was beating a man.
My father had the habit of pretending to hug my mother ( in a head lock) in front of me and with a smile on his face, he would watch me and give her upper cuts to the gut and ribs as if I didn’t have two eyes to see. Every time he punched her, he was punching me. Every time he kicked her, he was kicking me. Every time he slapped her around, called her derogatory names and told her she was worthless, it felt as though he was doing all of these things to me. I remember in the Bible that God essentially said, if you touch one of these, meaning his followers whom he loved dearly, you are touching my eyeball. That’s how sensitive I was to my mother’s pain. (As an adult, I find that I am highly aware of most people's emotions who I come in contact with, but that's another episode).
After a beating, to add more insult to injury, my father would look at me and say in front of mom, “Don’t be like your mother you hear.” I would watch my mother walk away with her head down, ashamed. The physical pain was nothing compared to the worthlessness and utter self hatred she felt. Although I started out life chipper and full of energy and confidence, my diabolical family life made sure that I soon became shy and introverted. Like my mother, I developed a self-loathing. By the time I was about 10 years of age, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I thought I was ugly and disgusting. I remember banging my reflection in the mirror once because I hated myself so. I wanted to break it but I knew I would get in trouble, so I didn’t.

I had my first “emotional breakdown” when I was 7 or 8 while watching a bout of ‘Round 298’ (I will talk about that in detail another time). So people, what I really want to bring home is that it’s an excuse to say that you will not leave your abuser because of the children. You are doing your children and yourself a disservice by staying. Children are empaths who feel everything. You are in danger of losing your children emotionally and your children are in danger of losing you if you stay.

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