Sometimes there are patterns to the way we interact with life. I’m not sure how much is our genetic predisposition, the families and cultures we’re born into, or our own happenstance. But for me, as long as I can remember, the pattern has been ‘traumatic’! Or at least it feels like that from my vantage point.
So far in my lifetime, I have had 2 major car accidents, and over 10 orthopedic injuries, resulting in numerous implanted devices, plates, screws, and casts. I’m a walking titanium unit!
The trauma started early–we had parents who routinely administered various form of verbal abuse and physical punishment–scalding water, fire (from the gas stove), whippings (with a creatively constructed cat-o-nine-tails), and beatings with brooms, kitchen utensils, pots and pans, ropes, scissors, or their fists. They also referred to all of us (among other unrepeatable expletives) as ‘stupid’, ‘lazy’ ‘worthless’ parasites, and my mother’s favorite word, ‘trollops.’ I used to joke that I was 16 yrs old before I knew my name wasn’t “s.o.b.”
In addition to the daylight episodes, my mother would regularly awake from what was probably a tortured dream and pull one of us out of bed to beat us. Overall it was a ‘traumatic’ time for us kids.
But for reasons I don’t fully understand, in adulthood, I have also continued to experience more physical trauma than anyone else in my family, with the possible exception of my brother, Paul.
The cool thing is that most of my sisters and my brother do not beat their own kids. Our own trauma has made all of us sensitive to the suffering of other people and hesitant to inflict violence on anyone else. The name-calling and verbal abuse, however, continue.
It took me a long time, even after I became a full-time Christian, to understand that calling people names, or projecting evil labels onto their behavior, was tantamount to leveling a curse on their lives.
Personally, I notice that I’ve become aggressively resistant to bullies, abusers, and violence coming at me from anyone else. The experience is wearing on me.
I have come to shun overnight stays in hospitals, violent and abusive relationships, encounters with folks given to gossip, backbiting, name-calling, and condemning other people, and committee meeting with those same type of folks that turn into passive-aggressive pissing matches.
The result is that I’m spending a whole lot more time alone than is good for me–I need some of this trauma to stop and to heal–please Lord?