How does one rebuild after a war, when there is so much desolation and deprivation in the land? How do you rebuild and begin again, when you look around and there are constant reminders of the battle you fought. The victims of war vary in ages, for war doesn’t care how young or old one may be. How do you explain to the innocent casualties of war, the children – that they will be okay? That the reign of terror has ceased and that there is now peace in the land. That they have won, and that they were not defeated by the giants in the land.
I am a silent victim of such a war, and I want to tell you my story about what I saw and how I survived. Everyone overlooks the children of war. The focus is usually on our parent’s story, not ours. But I was there, I know the ugly truth. I know what went on behind closed doors, and I the screams that awakened me at night are still fresh in my mind. Although we have moved forward and one parent has gone his or her own way, the scars still remain with me. These scars that I carry inside me just didn’t appear over night, they were etched into my soul over time, years that seemed to go on forever.
The innocent now live to tell the tale, to narrate how they survived being prisoners of war in their parent’s hostile worldly marriage. Because even though they can now breathe again, and know they are safe – there is still the hidden story that remains – the unseen scars they carry within their soul. You see, no one knows this side of the story, because they were just an innocent bystander in the midst of a war. A war of two people who bought them here to be victims in a land they should have never known.
As a child, you keep wondering if your parent, the one you ended up with – is stupid or just plain crazy? Why not leave or pack us up and run away? I could never figure out why you stayed. Parents love to use children as the excuse to stay in a relationship. But you didn’t stay for me, you stayed for yourself! As a young adult I now wonder if was it the sex, or the auguring, or maybe even the beatings? Something in it was working for you, if not, you would have left long before it got so bad. What made you love me less than you loved yourself? It was all about you, your needs, your wants – not mine. If I was important to you and if you truly loved me, you would have left after the first blow. I often question and ask myself is this love, is this what marriage all about? Am I to be disrespected and abused by another person? Is that how you show that you love someone? Because sadly, this is the only example of love that I have. So in time, will I myself become the silent beaten victim?
Yes, I am a victim. And like all victims I strive to regain some sort of normalcy in my life. I don’t recognize my self-worth, because in the midst of all the turmoil I sat in silence and wondered if this horror story I was watching was love. Is this really what I have to look forward to? Will I be another young girl who marries young to escape from home, who becomes pregnant and marries someone just like my father? Will I be the women who is constantly seeking love, who is in and out of so many relationships because she is forever seeking yet never finding true unconditional love? The love I didn’t receive growing up because the two people who should have loved me the most had checked out. They were too busy fighting and arguing to care about me and my brothers and sisters. We were the silent victims, we didn’t matter.
Who gives a damn about us anyway. Our voices go unheard, for in the midst of their war – we were just pawns used in the battle. If we didn’t agree with the parent who was the Colonel or General, then we’d pay the price later – after all it’s war. It’s a never ending struggle trying to be perfect and struggling to pretend to be happy so no one will ask you what’s going on. To dwell in a home where two people are at war you become very good at playing charades. You know exactly how to pretend to be happy, and not to cry, when someone questions you about your life at home – you learn how to lie. You become a very good liar. And for all of this I have my parents to thank – they taught me very well.
A girl should never see her dad hit her mom or her mom verbally demean and abuse her father. That is not the image of love. Love often comes at a cost, and sometime there are sacrifices, but children should never be one of the weapons used in a game of war. Parents think that she or he doesn’t know what’s going on. That they don’t hear the bickering and see the bruises that each of them tried to hide. What a parent doesn’t realize is that we do know, and it hurts. In fact the wounds are so deep that you will never know the true extent of the damage that you have caused the ones you say you love. And as hard as you try, pretending to care and telling others that you tried to protect us – there was no shield, we were not protected at all – and now the damage has been done.
There are small pieces of my soul that are forever damaged. Because every negative remark about one parent to the other is an attack against me. When Daddy says that Mommy is a whore, then that makes part of me think that I am too. When Mommy says that Daddy is no good, well them I am no good as well. As a result, deep inside there are parts of our spirit that feel we aren’t worth anything. We don’t know our value because the two people who claim to love us, have not only failed to protect us – they are the one’s that have wounded us! And so these child victims go out into the world as damaged people. Some get married at an early age to escape a home with an overbearing parent. Some seek love and acceptance in all the wrong places. And all of this is the aftermath of a war that they didn’t ask to be a part of, never!
Picture if you can, a war zone where there are innocent children in the midst of rubble. These children are innocent victims of the war. They didn’t ask for war to come into the land but it did. They don’t know where to turn, or who to run to – because there is no safe place to hide. For in a very real sense – both parents have now become the enemy. Mommy says it was all Daddy’s fault, Daddy says it was all Mom’s. But the truth is that it was both of them. So I walk through the rubbish trying to find my way, trying to find some peace with the cards that life has dealt me. As a child growing up not knowing love, only hate – you often wonder if you are to blame for their unhappiness. Because these people who proclaim to love you also proclaim to have once loved each other. So if that’s true, it makes you wonder if you had not been born would their story not have been different.
When we become adults, we often wonder if we will repeat our parent’s mistakes? Will I be more like her or will I be more like him? I’m hoping neither. Will I marry someone just like him, or just be another bitter angry woman with relationship issues – blaming all men just because of one man? I ask myself will I forever have post traumatic stress disorder from the battle I endured, or one day will I be set free? This war that you two included me in, has left wounds in me that fester below the skin. And these unseen scars, that you two caused – can’t be fixed by either of you. And what makes matters worse, you both would talk about God and make me pray – but why didn’t He answer my prayers and deliver me from the two of you?! I didn’t deserve this, I didn’t ask to be born in a nation where we had to deal with bums masquerading as parents and with the minefields they laid inside my own home. So many days I suffered in silence. Because whether or not there was peace in the land that day, depended on who was winning. But regardless, you come to realize that the sun will rise again, and that you will survive the terror of yet another raid in your home that night. So often, peace does come in the morning.
I feel as if my childhood was destroyed by the war, all my memories aren’t the happy memories that most children my age have of a normal family. I lived through so much destruction and pain. I could hear you both yelling and screaming, and it was like the sound of thunder and lightening throughout the house. I remember hugging Mommy saying, “You’ll be okay, don’t cry”. Or saying to Daddy, “I’m sorry Mommy hurt you”. I’ve even dodged glasses being thrown by one or the other. These are things that children should never have to experience. I have lived in war so long that the idea of being normal is just an idea. I see my friends with two parents who actually love them and act normal. And when we talk, I pretend to understand, but I really have no concept of what it’s like to live in a house where people love one another.
We’ve become experts at lying – my siblings and I. We’ve learned that the ‘family business’, is just that – and we don’t share the secrets that go on behind closed doors with anyone. When other adults ask how we are, we have learned to smother our emotions and say, “Oh just fine” – even though we aren’t, because on the inside we are all torn up. I never asked for this, I didn’t choose this, but this is my life. When Grandma or Papa ask how we are, we immediately put on a happy face and say something cheerful, because if we don’t – well lets just say that the victims of war are severely punished for telling the truth. Who knew that free will and speaking the truth, the latter which is supposed to set you free, is not free at all – because it has consequences and comes at a cost. So even though the war is now over, and I can’t wait to escape off to school, my fear is that my sisters and brothers may not be able to survive the aftermath. Because the war we lived through has caused damage to all of us that is pretty severe. So I pray that there is a God, and that He will save them. And hopefully save me too.
As you look out to see if the land is now safe, you wonder and ponder over many things. You wonder if there is a God and why does He allow bad things to happen to good people, especially children? You never knew about sin, you’re just a kid – so all you feel is that you’re being unfairly punished. I feel as if I have lived in hell, because there sure wasn’t any peace on earth in my house. I often question God as to why I was born into this family with these people? A family who doesn’t know how to show love or communicate in a loving manner. A house where there is only anger and abuse. I ask why me, and God’s answer is, “That was not my desire for you, nor my perfect will for your life. But I gave your parents ‘Free Will’ as I have given you. So hopefully you will make better choices and treat your kids better than your parents did when you grow up.” And then I realized that there is a lesson in the middle of all this despair – and it is to trust GOD.
He then said to me, “My beloved child, before the foundation of the earth was formed, I knew your story. You are the fingerprint of Me in the flesh. This war you were in is just the beginning of a story. It does not define who you are or who you are going to be. I know the ending of your story. And even through all the tears and the pain, you are still Mine. The scars that you carry in your spirit and soul are only temporary reminders of this time. But soon all will be forgotten. I chose you for this journey because I knew you were strong enough to endure the battle. You were never a mistake, for before you were even formed, I had already knew the map of your life – from beginning to end. Your parents were just vessels that will propel you into your destiny. Your story will be a happy one filled with love. But first I must heal all the broken places inside you created by the war. And I need to show you what love is and what it means to be loved.
My child lay your head upon my chest and allow me to carry you and show you your life. You see those moments when you didn’t think I existed, I was protecting you and your siblings, I put a shield around you so that you couldn’t see the worst of times. And those dreams you had about your future, they weren’t the typical make-believe dreams – they were from Me – because I needed to show you what the future held. But before we can move forward My beloved, I need you to forgive your parents. I know it’s hard and that you are angry with them. But don’t blame them, they didn’t know Me and did the best they could. You see, the enemy wants to destroy them – and you! But I have better plans for you, but you need to forgive them so that you can teach others who I Am – and help them heal as well. You are my beloved, whom I love. Trust Me, for you are truly well loved. So close your eyes and rest now, the war is over.
” I was stunned when He had finished speaking to me, but felt at peace, and for the first time in my life I felt safe, and I felt loved. At first I wasn’t sure what to do next, but then I knew – I needed to pray, to talk to my Heaven Father. “God, thank you for protecting us in the midst of that war, thank You for ending the battle and bringing peace to the land. Thank You for saving us and protecting us. We witnessed so much violence and sorrow, but in the midst of it all – You were there to shield us and prevent us from being destroyed. You protected us from more than we will ever know. Heavenly Father, please touch our hearts as well as our souls – renew our minds and teach us what real love is. Heal us from all the experiences that bought shame and guilt and confusion. Surround me with Your light Jesus, and penetrate the very depths of my being with that light. Let no areas of darkness remain in me nor in my sisters or brothers, but transform our whole being with the healing light of Your love. Open me completely to receive Your love Jesus, in Your precious name I pray, Amen.”