What Was My Reward?

As I tell my story, I’m also listening to the stories of others. A common theme is the need for the abuser’s validation or some form of love that brings a sense of reconciliation.

I’m abhorred at that.

If God is involved in the situation, I can see His love coming in and helping the abuser but, to be very clear, that’s God’s job not mine.

What is my reward for staying close to someone so wretched? Does that seem unloving and harsh?

I don’t understand this need to protect the abusers in our lives. Well, that’s not true, I protected them for most of my years. But time (and recurring pain) taught me that there was nothing I gained during that time and there was nothing they gained, either.

Is it rebellion to move away from people who are so harmful? If I don’t stay by a wicked person who creates confusion and inflicts pain, why does that make me ungodly or bad?

Incest, particularly, makes this track a difficult one. The waters become muddied when it’s your family. So many of us want to change the story or soften the facts. This just shouldn’t be our goal.

Why do we burden ourselves with this?

I cooked dinners for my abusers, drew baths for them and sent letters offering my unconditional love. What good did it do me? What good did it do them? Sure, it was necessary for me to forgive – once, maybe twice. Not years and years of plowing the same hard, tough soil.

Why?

But, I did it. I spent way too much time needing something from them. Was it their love? Was it my desire for them to know love?

What was I longing to find with them?

A bond that brought a mutual pleasure to us? Was it familiarity I needed? Or did I have a wound that I thought only they could heal?

I’ve stopped looking to them for the answers. That seems like a fundamentally easy task but it took me years and years to get this one right.

When I had my first child, I went through the process without any form of medication. Raw and brutal was the pain of her birth. When it came time for my second child’s birth, I thought about the reward I received from not using any pain medication. It was a quick decision for me that this time around I would be using an epidural to provide a very effective pain relief throughout my second labor.

My point is this – I learned many lessons returning to my family trying to find peace, begging for some form of reconciliation.

What I learned was that people who would do such atrocities in the first place were not the kind of people who knew how to be civil, how to forgive or love! They did not have my best interest anywhere close to them.

There was and is no reward for me weakening my strength and dashing my peace for people who just don’t care.

I’m keeping my strength for myself.

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