“The tragedy of a life is what dies inside a man while he still lives.”
Amen. Thank you, Albert Einstein.
I have been asked quite a few times over the years by clients, colleagues and people in the media what my take is on childhood TRAGEDIES. Horrific stories are being reported on increasingly these days on the evening news revealing childhood sexual-abuse scandals.
So often these upsetting crimes are perpetrated by trusted public figures, and as in my case, trusted private figures.
I have also been questioned about what I believe is just for the sentencing for these perpetrators that commit TRAGIC crimes on the young and innocent.
Having grown up as a little girl amid two sexually violent predators that threatened to kill me if I ever told anyone … I’ve done many years in therapy shaking with rage, calling them every obscene name under the sun I could think of.
I now understand firsthand that as we process our grief once the fog and shock of childhood disbelief lifts, many of us commence to self-medicate. The horror of the TRAGEDY is just too immense to begin to deal with on our own, let alone share with another. Most of us blame ourselves for our perpetrators teach us that it is our fault. We of course believe them.
Once our weapons of mass distraction are removed in adult life (booze, drugs, food, sex, workaholism, etc.) what naturally follows our denial is anger and rage. It would be unhealthy to not be angered at TRAGIC crimes such as childhood abuse. Anger is a natural stage of GRIEF to process, as I have previously shared.
Anger for those who have never experienced personally anything like this TRAGIC dehumanising act is healthy and natural. To hear about it on the news will invoke humanitarian anger in most emotionally connected, concerned adults. However, rage is often experienced for those like myself, who have faced varying degrees of sexual violence firsthand. Rage is also a natural occurrence for any parent, sibling or spouse to experience when finding out the TRAGIC event of sexual or physical abuse has occurred and that someone they love has been violated.
When I hear all the name calling, rage and anger directed at perpetrators ousted in the media from some in our community I empathise and understand only too well how they feel. However, there are some who’ve processed their anger and rage then fall in a heap in despair, depression and feel like they will drown in their sadness. That is also a natural and healthy response as we process grieve and heal our heart from this TRAGEDY.
I have cried oceans for the innocent little girl I once was aged four. The photo of the little girl with the bow in her hair that I have included in this post is actually me, at age 4 being a brave girl, putting on a smile for the world, for her survival. This is what a child amidst abuse looks like, just like any other child taught to behave, smile for the camera, not utter a word and keep up appearances.
I would often lie underneath the lemon tree after two sexual assaults in one evening. This usually happened on my birthday as excessive alcohol was consumed on this date as other elders had birthdays that were also on the same day. As a result I was often babysat by the pedophile next-door on my birthday.
My small bruised and throbbing body climbed into its Avatar pod under my favourite lemon tree the day after my birthday. In that sacred space my daydreams transported me to another land where fairies rode on sparrow’s backs wearing glittering butterfly gowns. So at four years of age I learnt birthdays, Christmases and any biological tribal event where excessive alcohol was consumed were always the worst days of the year for me.
My elders would often put on a birthday party for me in the pedophile’s garage next door because it was big and under shelter. No need to go into details, but let us just summarise as the day progressed I would be pulled consistently onto his lap and chastised for not smiling and being an ungrateful child.
My elders would then go out to celebrate the adult’s birthday dinner. This meant leaving me to be babysat next-door with more TRAGIC situations arising for my little body as I was left in his care. Being carried and put back into my bed by a second predator at the close of the evening left me feeling a suicidal child long before I even started kindergarten.
I have been working on my own Emotional Fitness healing wounds since 1995. As I have shared previously, I stopped abusing emotional anesthetics like booze, pills and drugs in 1995.
Since then I have made the U-turn and long journey home to my heart, healing each wound as I progressed.
Too many go on living as the walking wounded, enraged and so very, very sad that those they love and trusted betrayed them and vandalised their innocence. If that is you or someone you care about I am living proof healing and a wonderful life is possible, with some work.
The birthing of my two books in 2000 had a domino effect leading to my desire to create The Emotional Fitness Foundation in 2004. Helping others in my present instead of blaming and shaming those in my past has been transformative and healed my once untrusting fearful heart.
Over the past 21 years I have worked in jails and drug and alcohol rehabs however, these days it is mostly in mainstream society.
I think a pivotal point for me has been working face-to-face with sex offenders and learning about (without rage and fear dominating my heart) with genuine interest this TRAGIC human issue.
I needed to understand what was going on with these two men I loved dearly yet feared with dread throughout my childhood. I knew my healing was robust when a young well-dressed corporate client dropped into our inner city Emotional Fitness centre a few years back.
He worked for a big law firm, was incredibly handsome, well dressed and obviously highly intelligent in the way he articulated himself in our daily Emotional Fitness groups. After attending E.F. groups for a few months, he knew my story as I led the groups and shared often. One day he asked for a private session. In this session he started by stating …
“If I tell you this, Cynthia, I’ll understand if you never want me to come back or ever lay your eyes on me again.” He was shaking and could not make eye contact.
He was perhaps 25 years old.
“I’ve never admitted this to anyone, ever, and perhaps shouldn’t now.” He put his head in his hands and sobbed. I asked if I could touch him. He didn’t respond, just curled into a deeper fetal ball and silently wept, he seemed inconsolable. I rubbed his back as I would if one of my sons was upset.
“Just cry it out, I’ll help if I can, and if it’s any consolation there are not many TRAGIC stories I haven’t heard before.” I said doing my utmost to reassure him I would not add to his pain.
More silence, more sobbing. At least 30 minutes passed.
I lit a gentle scented candle and just held the space for him. He eventually started to speak very quietly but clearly …
“I haven’t acted on anything, I promise you. I promise you I’ve never had sex with anyone. I’m too terrified of my sexual urges. I’m still a virgin.” I remained silent and he continued.
“Cynthia I hang around playgrounds, I think terrible thoughts. I’m so scared of myself. Please don’t hate me, please don’t hate me, please …” All I could see was his courage to be asking for help.
I felt no desire to call this tormented soul names nor shame him in any way.
“I’m going to help you. We will make an appointment here and now for you to speak to a specialist that can and will help you. Do you trust me; can I make this call, now?” He nodded.
I had been doing a great deal of voluntary work with a variety of charities as an Ambassador, so I’d been working with some of Australia’s leading specialists in this area. I phoned a skilled psychiatrist I had been working with. I explained the situation and we made an appointment for him later that day.
He went. He was immediately hospitalised.
You may not agree with my approach and I absolutely defend your right to disagree with me. I do, however, know through my own experiences and through being exposed to leading experts, teachers and ambassadors of love and compassion that TRAGEDY can absolutely be an amazing platform for TRIUMPH.
Maybe the TRAGEDY of what happened to me as a small child in the past, on this day I potentially prevented from ever occurring to other innocent, unsuspecting children. If this is the case, for me I put this down to the very best kind of TRIUMPH my heart could ever hope to retrieve from the emotional rubble of my past.
I just wanted to unpack this complex issue for us all to consider with a little less fear and perhaps a little more humanitarian insight.
I sincerely hope my sharing this event might be helpful in some way at some time.
It is my deepest wish that you or others are able to commence to put right any kind of TRAGIC wrongs that may have occurred in your past.
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™
This Word Vitamin is an excerpt from my latest bookset “The Four Seasons of the Heart”. If you would like to order your own full set of Daily Word Vitamins one for each day of the year, in book form for yourself or as a gift just click on the SHOP tab and place your order.