In Peter Levine’s book, “Waking the Tiger” he speaks of understanding abuse, as you had to be there, that in order to truly understand the full impact, you had to be there.
We use that in humorous situations, that sometimes the humor is lost in translation, same goes for abuse.
What is so insidious about the abuse is that the abuse mountain of emotions that are too big for a young child to handle is now you.
And the little child of you is lost behind all the swirling rolling twisting contorting emotions, a river of terror, it is like standing behind a waterfall, unable to get out in front of those falling currents of emotions.
It is like swimming in a stream up a waterfall for we are brought back to being a young child feeling what we failed to feel, we are being brought back to the scene of the crime to simply feel.
Simply feel what was so horrendous that we left our self behind.
You had to be there, means we have to walk through our abuse to be there, to own it and live it and know its impact, and then and only then can we be reunited with the child self we left behind.
It is amazing how you can live a life and not be there, not be conscious of not being there, to be missing and not even know it.
The crime of abuse is that we grow up without a self, we leave behind in a secure place our wonderful beautiful self, and go forth without that.
We don’t want to soil and put garbage on our self, we want to retain our perfection and we believe we can by simply not acknowledging abuse. Yet we don’t live beautiful and wonderful, we live as abuse.
And somehow we feel that we made ourselves dirty, soiled and feeling like garbage. Yet it is not our self we feel, we feel the contents of abuse.
To make the separation between what is abuse and what is the child is to see abuse as the painful waterfall that came down on the child.
The waterfall of abuse is not the child. It is what happened to the child.
It is my experience that once you understand that the abuse is not you, but something that happened to you, that you are not responsible for the waterfall of abuse, you can then retrieve the child back.
Seeing the innocent child waiting behind the waterfall allows you to let go of the shame and the blame and the guilt. It allows you to see clearly the separation between the abuse and the child.
The child didn’t create the waterfall of abuse, but instead intuitively retreated to get out of the pain.
In my case, no adult ever came along to rescue the child.
I walked backwards to find myself.