We all start out as little babies loved by all. Probably because we were not able to talk or walk. We just lay there looking so sweet and cute. Everyone just wanted to hold us and cuddle with us. But then we began to crawl, and as nature would have it, we became curious about everything. We watched the adults closely as they smiled and just loved us. Soon we began to walk and form words. We mimicked our parents and older siblings.
As toddlers, it seemed we were still cute to everyone. People smiled and became extremely loving and happy whenever we were around. And that is when we learned how simple it was to make people happy and nice. But then it begins to change. It is a slow process and we can’t even see when it happens. All through elementary school we just tried to make our parents proud of us and it was mainly to see how happy it made them. We had small parts in school plays, received awards for good grades and strived to do well. The parents were very proud of us and the whole family was happy.
Then reality strikes at home. The parents don’t even care if we are around them when they begin to argue with each other. The doors slam, cuss words are shouted back and forth, and they run away from each other leaving us sitting there in silence wondering what we should do to make them smile and be happy again. We wonder if it was our fault, did we make them angry? This happened over and over again and made us confused. At school as we became close to our friends, we began to share stories about our families and soon realized that other children shared the same concerns about their family.
Then enters another adult. It could be an old army buddy of your parents, or just a close friend of the parents, or even worse it could be a family member. At first this is a welcome distraction as the parents are no longer quarreling with each other. Just like before, they are happy and joking around with us. Yeah! We are told that this adult is going to spend a few weeks with us and we need to be on our best behavior. Okay, so we begin to like and trust this new person in our home and spend good times together.
But then the unspeakable happens, the adult betrays us which destroys our innocence. This adult tells us repeatedly that we cannot tell what they are doing to us or something terrible will happen to our parents. So we stay silent, fearing that our parents are in danger. We persevere though the pain as it continues every night. We are so thankful when that adult finally leaves. Although we are relieved, we are left feeling very shameful and guilty. For months following, it seems like the parents are back to their happy ways, smiling like before. We still cannot say anything about what the adult did to us for fear of what would happen.
Something feels very wrong with us and slowly we begin to change. Our grades in school begin to suffer, we stay to ourselves and quit talking to our friends. We discover a couple of friends that have experienced the same or similar experiences. And now it is the parents who are concerned about us. They are questioning what has made their sweet baby change so drastically. Especially now that the parents are getting along so well, we do not want to cause any trouble, we fear for them. So, we go through the motions of waking up, going to school (or work) and just keeping to ourselves. Unspoken Pain.
Meanwhile our pain is becoming intense, and we are inconsolable. Our friends are concerned and relentlessly ask us to go out with them just to loosen up and relax. Finally, we give in and go out with them for a couple of drinks. But we find that we are drinking too much, and we like the way it makes us feel. It numbs the pain and we continue to go out with friends and drink. This continues and even escalates to us wanting to stay numb. We begin to use pot and try various drugs. We think we are hiding our habits but the parents easily detect that something is wrong. They are beside themselves trying to figure out where they went wrong and wondering why we are acting like this. We know we can never tell them the truth.
But then the day comes when the parents invite their adult friend over for a gathering. We are expected to be polite but we cannot even stay in the same room as this person. Our parents are disappointed with us for being rude and disrespectful. We know that if we confide in the parents they may confront the perpetrator and lose their wonderful relationship, be hurt, or they may not even believe us. We remain silent and hurt, our parents remain confused, and the perpetrator remains confident in their threat.
Now, so many things are going through our minds. We hurt ourselves without thinking about the consequences. We cut ourselves, deprive our bodies of nourishment, tattoo or pierce our bodies, and just anesthetize ourselves with booze and drugs. We become inconsolable except to people who share our pain. We also begin to look very different than when we were that cute baby that everyone loved. We feel we are ugly and sickly looking and we need help from our parents. They are happy that we moved back with them and are happy to help nurse us back to health. Yes, they are happy, but we are not.
Can this ever be fixed? Parents, you need to love and listen to your children, your babies. Build trust so that they can come to you with any problem big or small. Maybe then parents can love and be happy with the children they created! The Unspoken Pain needs to be addressed and dealt with for future generations.