One of the things I struggle with is wondering, does anyone care. I’ve fought that my whole life. In fact, growing up, there were several that did not care. If they did, they had no idea how to show it.
I remember at times running into my bedroom and crying my eyes out on my bed. My mom seemed to sense and know when things were getting too tough. She would come in there as if she already knew, but she wanted to support me and let me talk. In those cases, I would tell her that I didn’t think anyone cared. I didn’t think anyone loved me.
My parents looked at it as being a teenager, and my emotions were changing. The thing is, it was more than that to me. My siblings were always in trouble in one form or another or at least not following the rules of the family kingdom. So, in many ways they got more attention to help get them set on a better path. In one of the last letters I ever received from my mom, she indicated that this was true. They felt I could take care of myself and so they watched out for my siblings more than they did for me.
Now, my siblings may disagree, and most likely they would claim I was spoiled or had more attention given to me. It is so far removed from the truth. Yes, I know I figured things out and I managed to learn how to act among people. I didn’t get in trouble with my siblings. Lying was not my go-to reaction to everything in life.
There was another time I found myself asking, “does anyone care?” I don’t quite remember what took place , but when I was a small child, I heard the stories repeated. A babysitter who wanted to make her life easier locked my older brother and me in separate closets for the day. Specifics are not in my recollection, but I still know that if you trap me in an enclosed space, my reaction will not be good.
Then there was the time that my dad had an infectious case of hepatitis, and my mom had to choose between seeing me in the hospital or him. I’m not sure if this was when I was first born or a time after it. I cannot recall anything about it, but I sure feel it. For years I wondered, does anyone care? Growing up there was never a time I wanted to be separated from my mom. I would be hysterical and in tears, if I was apart from her.
There are so many times when I did wonder, does anyone care? It felt like most of my life I was useless garbage that entered the world. Sure, everyone thought we had a loving family. In fact, my dad would scream and demand that we all love and care for one another. The truth was, this was not reality.
When you’ve been abused and tortured as a child, it is hard to imagine that anyone does care. It feels more like the opposite. No matter what anyone tells me, it often does not feel like I matter. My family taught me how much I was of no concern. Sure, there have been times that others have come into my life and cared, but I’m always waiting for them to walk away.
Experiencing child abuse means there is no safety. The reality does not match what happened to you. The foundation of being able to trust is gone. Does anyone care in 2018, a moment when it is anything but easy to convince yourself that they do?
I write this to let others know that they’re not alone in the struggle. I have faced this in my own life. There is not a day that goes by that I wonder if everyone I know has ulterior motives. Asking “does anyone care” becomes an easy answer for me.
It is a painful part of healing and mental health to overcome. Some days it is easy to make progress, and at other times when my mind sends me in a whirlwind, it is a fight just to maintain control. I continue the struggle and the fight because I’m not ready to give up and let the monsters win. No, it isn’t easy, but when I am down, there are others out there waiting to catch me. My goal is to be able to notice that in these moments. The rest is a step-by-step process of healing. It is part of the mental health struggle that child abuse survivors face in life.
Does Anyone Care?