I watched a short video by Prof Terry Hargrave about the roots of our pain. He theorizes that often what hurts in marriage (or in relationship) is truly a deep childhood wound, masking itself in our present.
It is not the first time I’ve heard this, Milan and Kay Yerkovich’s book, “How We Love” has a similar premise.
I am cognizant that my childhood experiences weren’t easy. My memory is very fragmented. I have very limited memories.
But what I do know is that:
Mom left when I was 4. We reunited when I was 7.
Dad left when I was 1. We reunited when I was 24.
Stepdad left when I was 16. He came back a year later.
I sexually acted out with female cousins when I was 6, it was my initiation. Where did I learned this behavior? I saw my auntie/uncle have sex when I was 5/6. It was not a pretty picture.
I remember being left alone a lot with my boy cousin (who was just one year older between the ages of 5-7). I recall him asking me to get naked so he could get on top of me. He would threaten me to physically hurt me if I didn’t comply and obey.
So I grew up with a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, neglect and feelings that I am worth leaving and that there’s always something better than me (I am replaceable, not special, worth leaving).
When I moved to the US and reunited with my mother, she had a new relationship. I grew up with a hyper-critical stepfather who pointed out all my flaws, screamed at me continually, and called me names (inutil and pasmada were the ones he used the most which means ‘stupid/useless and slow/stupid’) while hitting me with his knuckles on my head. I remember as a little girl retreating to my room and crying myself to sleep or hiding my tears as I showered. I grew up with a strong desire to run away and be rescued by someone.
And to a huge extent, this are still the battles of my heart. I struggle with fear. I struggle with anxiety. I struggle with feeling not special. That hurting girl lives inside of me and she still cries herself to sleep and hides her tears in the shower.
I was blessed that Someone did come to my rescue. I became a Bible reader at the age of 16 and in God I found the perfect Father my heart longed for (Psalm 68:4). I firmly believe that God intervened in my life when I needed Someone the most. I was very depressed and contemplated suicide. God and His Church, I’ve come to believe, saved my life.
But the hurts of the past can still feel like demons. Marriage have waken these ghosts with such a force. I sometimes wish I could kill them with one blow. My soul aches. My throat hurts because of the emotional pain…that sometimes feels stuck in my heart and mind.
And they get triggered when I am neglected. When I don’t feel special. When I feel taken for granted. When I feel ignored/dismissed. When I don’t feel protected.
I came across this resource recently, Recovery from Childhood Trauma, and I hope it can help me process in another and deeper way the hurts of the past.