How could anyone do that to children?

I’m having one of those “holy crap” realisation moments. For a long time now I’ve been consciously well aware of what myself and the children in the ring went through. This morning it’s hitting me properly, and I’m left stunned, bewildered and so sad that anyone could and did put children through that. How could they? What possesses a fully grown adult to inflict such fear and pain onto children? I don’t understand… and I still don’t know what was worse; the physical torture we went through, or the fact everything they did was simply to try and terrify us and hurt us, and make us into their toys…

For the last few days some of my younger alters have been in terror mode, nervous of the world around them and unsure who to trust, and so locking themselves in the burden of fear and silence. Several other alters have tried to persuade them to seek comfort, and I was too ill over the weekend to help. Yesterday, feeling a bit better, we tried a different tactic. When I was in the ring, the only way I ever properly managed to soothe and calm the children down was by singing. There was something universally calming about singing softly, rather than just telling them that it was okay. At night I’d sit on the side of their beds, sing gently, and run my fingers through their hair so they fell asleep knowing I was right next to them. For whatever reason, this worked significantly better on all the children than me just saying it. There’s something about singing, which I don’t fully understand, but which works wonders. Like lullabies.

So yesterday I tried this tactic. Despite fractured finger I discovered I can play the piano if I do so slowly. I had been non-stop all day and was feeling wrecked, so welcomed the idea of singing anyway as a method of calming myself down.

My alter, Lady, had commented on how much “older” I looked. Before sitting at the piano, I’d been in the bathroom and just staring at the mirror with my head in my hands. She said “you look about twice your age, at least, suddenly.” But it wasn’t an older alter taking over. For whatever reason I just looked wearied. She said “this type of sadness does this to you, I’ve noticed.” I didn’t know what she meant by this type of sadness, but she explained this morning – “when you’re sad for yourself or something that happened to you, you are far easier to overwhelm and send into hysterical sobs, which are needed and right. When there are children hurt and afraid, you are sad differently. You don’t cry. You just seem to age in front of me, look and feel very weary, and yeah…that type of sadness just affects you differently. You seem to go almost very resigned, focussing all of your energy onto the children and dismissing the rest of the world…” Apparently this is even the case when dealing with tiny alter-children personalities…

So anyway. I sat at the piano, certainly feeling weary and sad, and older somehow. And she was right, I had dismissed the rest of the world at this point. My priority was only the children, and suddenly everything else whirring around my head disappeared. I rested my head on the piano, closed my eyes, and wrote a song…eyes still closed. I played around with chords, trying to get the children’s attention, and then I started humming. It was a song far different to my usual style; slow and peaceful rather than somewhat frantic and emotional. All I wanted to do was reassure them, so the words were relatively easy to find. And suddenly, there was a song. I sang it over and over, quietly and softly, and gradually the little ones relaxed, came out, let us soothe them, allowed themselves to cry for what had happened to them, and finally let someone cradle them in their arms and sing them to sleep…

Sensing their fear is what’s got me in this current frame of mind, however – “how could anyone do that to children?” I realise in ‘reality’ I was singing to and soothing my frightened inner child/ren who still believe themselves to be trapped in the abuse. I recognised that fear and knew it was my own, too, that had been locked away. I felt yet another type of sadness wash over me. Not overwhelming, not painful, just a realisation type of sadness. I felt that fear because the people who should have been protecting me were abusing me terribly…I felt that fear because I had nobody to trust, even at the age of 2 and a half. I felt that fear rightfully, but had to dissociate from it in order to survive. I wasn’t even able to feel fear because it was so horrific what has happening to me. I felt that fear because nobody came when I cried, and they only laughed when I screamed. How could anyone do that to a child?

And now I’m thinking of all the other children; how they screamed in pain. I remember being tied to a bed in one room and hearing some children howling as they were raped and beaten. I remember straining against the ties on my wrists, screaming as loud as I thought possible, in total desperation. I felt utterly powerless and I wanted to fight the men off and hold the poor children. Now, as a young adult, I’m even more thrown by what happened in that place. How could anyone not instinctively want to protect a child in pain? How could anyone laugh as a child’s eyes stream with tears, and their screams choke them? How? I don’t understand. Will I ever? Do I want to?

I wish now I could hold each child and soothe them for what they went through, as I was able somehow to soothe the child personalities last night. That sense of closure is unachievable. I will never see those children again and be able to hold them, as an adult, and show them that not all adults are monsters…

That powerlessness as I heard their desperate screams is haunting me. The emotions from that single event are back, and I just want to completely break down and cry for what we all went through. Even me being tied up and powerless was part of the abuse, just part of the emotional abuse. Of course they loved the fact I was ridden with guilt for the fact I’d not managed to escape. When they let me into the room with the children…them trembling and curled up, crying…I just remember now my legs wanting to collapse, with some level of grief or heartache of some kind. I remember crying with them, for the bitter cruelty of it all. For the senselessness of it all. I think I continue to tear myself to pieces so that I don’t have to fully realise that, actually, me being punished brutally for no reason is evil of the highest kind…and was just to hurt me and the others.

Now this is hitting me and I feel so desperately sad. Often I’ll go “those poor children” and somehow cut myself out. But I was as hurt as the rest of them. We fought, and we laughed, and we loved…but we were treated with so much cruelty for no good reason, and now it’s hitting me. We were children, were supposed to be protected and loved, and instead we were abused horrifically. Our pain was their fuel. If you’ve spent a lifetime knowing that crying out in pain is what everyone around you wants, then how do you learn to cry for help now? Now I understand why I still try to cope on my own… They were monsters.

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