just desserts

man with gun

I remember the time I disclosed to a friend (an older man, retired, who had developed a successful law practice) that I had taken an interest in helping a pair of parricide brothers. He was an extremely conservative man, and what he said surprised me. “The father probably deserved it.”

At the time, I was still learning the ropes of this strange realm, I was still unsure of how I felt about so many things, and you could have bowled me over. But it is now nine years later, and my friend’s reaction has proved true in case after case. The state of parenting—the state of humanity—is simply appalling.

I can never understand how a parent can inflict such lifelong damage on their children through abuse. The childhood years are so formative, it takes years (if ever) to get over it. But the abuser is so selfish, controlling, self-absorbed, and addled by alcoholism or personal perversions, he or she probably never seriously considers it.

Because of my involvement with juvenile parricides, a surprising number of adults confide in me that they experienced horrendous sexual, emotional, and physical abuse when they were children. Most have never gotten over it.

A couple of veterans told me that the military offered the only alternative they could think of at the time to killing their abuser. Besides, the military offered freedom, guns, and the opportunity to release their rage by killing people and getting away with it.

Was this the best choice for them? Given the lifetime of pain and addiction they have experienced at the hands of the VA, I’d have to respond probably not.

One friend kept telling me that he was a “scary guy” who needed to be handled carefully. I was never afraid of him. Yet I was shocked when he offered to practice his craft as a sniper on someone who was suing me at the time. Our friendship was sealed by the offer, but I responded “No Thanks.” There wasn’t anything for the plaintiff to get for his efforts, even if he’d won his lawsuit. Anyway, I wasn’t that angry.

No one I loved had ever abused me as a child.

kid with handgun 2


Groove of the Day

Listen to The Pretty Reckless performing “Kill Me”


3 Responses to “just desserts”

  1. 1 anonymouse
    August 2, 2014 at 7:04 am

    “Most have never gotten over it.” It is a random sentence in your blog, a scene in a TV program, a harsh word between parent and child in the market, or perhaps just a photo of a boy recoiling from an adult holding a belt in a threatening manner; that’s all it takes to drag our memories back through decades of healing and/or suffering. So we seek to understand ourselves and our reactions to such triggers, in hopes that one day such things won’t bother us so much. And for some of us, we try to share what we have learned with those who are not as far along the journey as we.

    “And a woman spoke, saying, “Tell us of Pain.” And he said: Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief. Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
    Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility. – The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran

  2. 2 Gotham
    August 5, 2014 at 12:46 am

    I agree with your thoughts, but it bothers me when other seemingly well-meaning adults try to put an exclamation point on the horrific nature of child abuse, by saying things like how it “utterly destroys” the child’s future, No way! Only if you let it do so.

    I know many survivors where the healing process is a day by day journey that they may never reach the end of, but their lives were far from “destroyed” by their abuser. In fact, it is through their success in adult life that they manage give a big middle finger to the person who did them harm as children.

    The constant barrage of adults who after the abuse is revealed, talk about how their future life has been destroyed, can only lead to self-doubt that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    • 3 anonymouse
      August 5, 2014 at 11:11 am

      A Nietzsche fan, eh? “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I would tend to agree, and knew growing up and as a young adult, that I owed much of my success to having survived my childhood. But like an old soldier, with time and a slower pace of life comes the opportunity for the focused mind to wander, and that opens the doors to memories I had thought long gone. Not all of the kids of RP were driven by abuse to commit their crimes, but they are all experiencing a great trauma due to the consequences of their actions. If we can share the lessons we have learned, growing up in dysfunctional families and focusing our adversity on becoming successful adults, then perhaps we can make a difference in their lives.

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