Can nobody hear me?

I regularly make excuses for the poor behavior of others in my life, especially when their behavior directly affects me.

I excused my father’s part in my abuse because I told myself my mother made him do it (as if she held a gun to his head). I excused my coworker’s behavior a few weeks ago when he called me a bitch several times, telling myself he didn’t know any better because he was raised to treat women that way. I excuse a close person’s consistently offensive behavior, telling myself she just can’t help the way she acts.

I do this not as a way to defend these people, but to defend myself. If I didn’t excuse them, that means I would end up angry. And I don’t want to be angry.

But making excuses only works superficially, because on an intellectual level, I know that my excuses aren’t viable, that these behaviors were/are wrong, and that I really should be able to feel angry and hurt and however else I want to feel. Eventually, my feelings come to the surface, and I can only push them back down so many times before they come out full force.

Last therapy session, I couldn’t push my anger down any more. We were discussing the aftereffects of the letter, about how it made me feel sad. Then my therapist asked what else I was feeling, because it seemed like more than just sadness. Without thinking, I said “I’m angry. All of those fucking idiots, why didn’t they do anything to help?”

I immediately felt bad for what I had said, and apologized to my therapist. When she asked why I was apologizing, I told her I shouldn’t have used those bad words. I said, “it’s not their fault. They didn’t know. I wasn’t their problem. I shouldn’t be angry.”

“Why don’t you want to be angry?”

“Because if I’m angry that means I’m like her, like my mother.”

“Anger isn’t the same as abuse. What your mother did to you, she didn’t do because of anger. Anger is something that everyone feels, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re going to abuse. It’s okay to be angry.”

I sat there for a minute, still trying to push down what was trying to come out. I looked around the room, trying to think of something else to talk about.

“No, no, I can’t do it.”

“Yes you can. It’s okay to be angry. Anger makes you human.”

I repeated what my therapist told me to myself a few times. Anger doesn’t make me like her. Anger doesn’t make an abuser. Anger is okay.

And then it erupted. Through tears and clenched fists, I let it all out.

I don’t understand. I don’t understand why nobody helped me. I never wanted to go home after school, I tried to stay with the teachers but then the teachers sent a note home and said I couldn’t anymore and then I got in trouble. None of them ever asked why I didn’t want to go home. None of them asked why I wore so many layers of clothing to school, why I was always covering up. No one questioned why a six-year-old girl tried to drown herself. Children don’t just try to kill themselves out of curiosity. No one wondered why a girl would scratch off her own skin. No one questioned my injuries. How many times could a child walk into walls? I wasn’t clumsy. But nobody did anything! They just nodded their heads and moved on!

There it was. My anger. Finally free and out in the open. The anger that was rightfully mine to have. I was a child who had no other way to communicate. A child who was threatened never to tell. And I didn’t. So I tried every other way to speak without using my words.

I could see just by looking at my therapist’s face that she understood. She got it. And she was okay with my anger, and my hurt. “There were all these red flags, all these ways you tried to ask people for help…”

“And they still didn’t hear me!”

There were so many red flags in my childhood. So many. Yet no one wanted to see them. I could have set those flags on fire and waved them an inch away from their faces, and they would have just stood there and talked about the weather.

I am angry. I am angry that these people just perpetuated my hell by not intervening. I am angry that I spent my childhood thinking that it was just normal to be hurt like this, thinking that no one is hearing my cries so this all must just be normal. No one should ever believe that abuse is normal. It should have never had to be my normal.

It’s an anger I am not sure will ever go away.

9 thoughts on “Can nobody hear me?

  1. I can’t get my anger out. I’m so sorry no one helped you. No one helped me either. I don’t understand how they look away. You are right. NO ONE deserves to be abused and should never think it is normal. EVER. It took me years to figure out that it wasn’t. I am sorry for what you have endured.

    Like

    1. I’m sorry no one helped you.

      When I did figure out it wasn’t normal, I was so angry at myself for not realizing it sooner, instead of being angry at the people who abused me. But that’s also a part of how abuse works, shifting the blame in all the wrong places. It’s a horrible thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve walked away from one of my abusers, my parents, but yet I still feel chained to them and like I’m doing something horribly wrong g to me. The conditioning runs DEEP. I recognize it, but it’s still there.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your T is right that anger does not equal abusive. Finding that voice for anger is difficult, I can feel my own there, bubbling under a layer of “but they didn’t mean to” and other excuses I give for them. I’m sorry nobody helped you, and you have every right to your anger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s difficult for me because my abusers always associated their ‘anger’ with the abuse, so as a child (and apparently as an adult) I automatically connected the two. It’s been a tough connection to break.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. HI KJ,

    Precisely. This is the cognitive dissonance in our society. WE pay the price of their willful ignorance. We are the casualties of the truths they refuse to acknowledge because it would, Heaven forbid, d disrupt their fucking comfortable little lives. Anger lets us know something’s wrong and puts us in touch with injustice as well. You matter and deserve to be treated well. sl

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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