Trigger Warning: Violence, Abuse
Editor’s Note: This month, that is October 2020, FII’s #MoodOfTheMonth is Childhood and Relationship With Parents and Family,where we invite various articles to highlight the different experiences that we all have experienced in some form or the other in our birth or chosen families and have been negotiating with them everyday. If you’d like to share your article, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abuse cannot be equated to violence. It is basically condoning the spirit to the core. It is the repulsion of the soul. It is the brutalisation of trust. It is the cascade of emotions which most probably never see the light of forgetting the catastrophic experience, or experiences.
A person can never see the light of the day once the person has been exposed to abuse of any form. The person is bound to feel incomplete, incompetent and insufficient. The seeds of such abuse are sown right in the beginning which is during childhood. Childhood is the age of innocence, experimentation and vigilance. Any degree of abuse can never be forgiven by the victim (the child), no matter how hard one does try to do so!
So, one always wonders, why it is so difficult to just forgive and move on rather than moving past abuse?
Let’s put things in perspective. Recount or account for the one place in which you must feel the safest. It is your very home! How about a child who feels the most unsafe and threatened at his/her home…Is that an experience which can ever be forgotten followed by forgiven?
The most brutalised act of occurrence is childhood abuse and the after effects of the same are smeared for life in the child’s memory. The abuser is never affected that adversely as he/she has found an outlet to conveniently dispose off of the weaknesses that consists of frustration, incompetence and lack of control. All of which is directed towards himself/herself. Ironically, it is the one who is abused who has to tackle the bearings of such drastic scenarios for life.
In such complex situations, experiences do give rise to a broken family/household that can never be amalgamated into a wholesome ground of living as both the abuser and abused know that something is wrong! Whether the abuse is physical, mental, sexual or even psychological the outcome of such abuse is always skewed towards deterioration and detriment of a family life. A wholesome family life is never experienced by such people in this vicious net of abuser (parent) and abused (child).
People foolishly equate discipline and meeting up to expectation to be forfeited with the tool for abuse. They feel having control over someone else for their apparent betterment has to be instilled with fear, exploitation and ruthlessness. In such volatile homes, one can never understand or comprehend what it is to be loved! The only thing that a person can equate to are targets! The hit and miss target of control encased in fear. The feeling resonates in the child that, “I better follow what is told”—rather ordered—else I will be penalised, becomes default behaviour.
In such perpetual situations of hostility, the child starts to feel that being penalised is the only way forward as the child is the one who is wrong, dirty, naughty and bad, and hence being abused! This becomes the child’s way of looking at things after every encounter of abuse. This makes the entire atmosphere at home full of chaos, negativity, distrust and brutality. There is never a smile on any one’s face and there is never peace in any one’s mind. The heart is badgered with bruises which will take eons to heal!
A parent’s duty does not end after the child is born in nine months…In fact, it is after that the duty starts. This duty has so much power to make a person or break a person of the future. The child is very much like raw clay that a parent is moulding. If the very moulding which equates to the core foundation is wrong there can be so many issues going forward with the child. This foundation is what determines the unseen future of the child. This entails an upbringing, cultural values, qualities, nourishment, ethics, structural advancement and overall personality. The core personality that propagates towards faith, hope and belief however struggles with understanding of the same.
When a child is living very long in a violent environment, it is very difficult to let go of any feelings of resentment which showcase abandonment even if one does see that one is not abandoned in physicality but is abandoned in nurture! Whichever be the form of abuse/ type of abuse the degree of decay is always equivalent. Also, more so because the forms of abuses combine themselves and are not restricted to one form only!
Let us keep this in mind that any form of abuse is not a way of life to make the abused better and reform for good. In fact, it is the only form that makes the abused suffer so much that, after that the same child grows up to be a mentally ill person, a super violent person, severely under-confident person, a lonely person or a untrustworthy person or a unaccomplished person.
There are rare miracles which do take place in which the person becomes an ultimate fighter, rules out all the shortcomings and emerges as the rise of the phoenix. We can take note of several people who are big names and solid inspirations. The ones who have done exemplary work and led fabulous lives even after being abused in childhood!
However, the majority are always undergoing and suffering in that horrible vicious cycle of abuse. They are always looking for validity outside their home even if the only thing that they can find validity is in them! But that validity has been blocked by the parents by telling them that they are good for nothing by repetitive forms of abuse and then following it up with sugar coated guilt love and then abuse …and so on.
The key factor is not to end this vicious cycle but to not start the abuse at all. Parents please make a note of this that, when you abuse, it does not showcase your strength but only showcases your maximum weakness. You are abusing someone only because you are so emotionally weak. You are responsible for your own actions and the outcome of such actions becomes your own child! So, in order to make a conductive, nourishing and wholesome environment at home fill it up with love, integrity, hope, nourishment, prayer and etiquette. Do not use the force of fear, power and control to drive and evolve a home.
As this horrendous experience of violence at home does not make it a ‘home’ but a funeral of a child in which the child dies every day and after a point in time, there is nothing left in the child anymore but to just exist and stop living!
So do showcase quality, endurance and strength in parenting to make your child the most lovable, attractive, intelligent and happy child. The one who does not have to take birth twice is one being on his or her birth date and the next being the day on which he or she finds his or her purpose leading towards the pursuit of happiness or loses all meaning of life and becomes completely disoriented from happiness and solace. Most of the time it is the hard-hitting latter!
How you make the child feel at home determines how you feel at home. It is always a two-way street whether you like it or not! So be more aware, more together, more advanced and more emotionally strong to take up the pious responsibility of being a parent which in turn equates to the duty of godliness by making a home a place of belonging and not a place of terror!
Trishna Patnaik, a BSc (in Life Sciences) and MBA (in Marketing) by qualification but an artist by choice. A self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practising art for over 14 years. After she had a professional stint in various reputed corporates, she realised that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion that is painting. Trishna is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. She says, “It’s a road less travelled but a journey that I look forward to everyday.” Trishna also conducts painting workshops across Mumbai and other metropolitan cities of India. Trishna is an art therapist and healer. She works with clients on a one on one basis in Mumbai. Trishna fancies the art of creative writing and is dappling her hands in that too, to soak in the experience and have an engagement with readers, wanderers and thinkers.