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The Abuse Survivor's Tightrope Walk - Health & Wellness

The Abuse Survivor’s Tightrope Walk – Health & Wellness

only the walls of my room had a voice, they would attest to the hours of tears
I’ve shed behind closed doors.

If only my voicemail said the
truth, it would tell you that I don’t mean to ignore you; I simply don’t have
the emotional energy to talk.

If only the ambulance that just
passed my house would come to me instead, and fill the deep void within me.

If only my medicine chest could
talk, it would tell you how many medications I’ve tried.

If only my emotional wounds
presented physically, I would be acknowledged and cared for so much more.

If only my pillow could speak, it
would tell of the countless times I’ve
soaked it with my bitter tears.

If only my legs could speak, they
would explain how much effort it takes to drag my body out into the world each
and every morning.

But they don’t talk. They can’t.
They have no voice and I struggle alone. Yes, I have a small support system,
but when the pain becomes too much to bear, I need more than that.

If you look at me, you will see a
clean-cut father and husband. A business owner. A happy-looking guy. But right
beneath the very thin facade I put on each morning lies so much pain inflicted
on me over years of sexual and emotional abuse. If you look into my eyes, you
will see suffering. I see it when I look in the mirror. I feel it in my soul. I
feel it in my legs when I need to drag myself out the door each morning.

I feel like I’m walking a
tightrope. The balancing pole in my hands is my wife and children who motivate
me to cross the abyss below. They are the only reason I take that walk every

Some days the winds are calm and I
cross relatively easily. Yet there are days—and sometimes weeks—when the winds
blow unceasingly in all directions, trying mercilessly to knock me down. On
those days, I hold on to my balancing pole for dear life and use all my
strength to stay on that thin tightrope.

The painful contrast between myself
and a true tightrope walker is that he has crowds cheering him on. He knows
that when he gets to the finish line, he’ll be a star. He will feel so
accomplished and awesome. Yet in my case, there is no cheering. No crowds. No
clapping from far down below. This makes my world so much darker; so much more
lonely and painful.

I can’t look down because it pains
me to see the absence of the crowds. It makes me feel too alone. I can’t look
straight ahead, because it seems too daunting to cross the entire length of the
rope. I’m forced to look upwards, to G‑d in heaven. I’m way above the ground
and I’m closer to G‑d.

So looking up, I call out to Him
and ask Him to help me along my journey. I ask Him to give me the strength and
resilience that it takes to walk this tightrope every day again. I beg Him to
light up my world. I plead with Him to show me His love and care. I ask Him to
shower me with love, just like I shower my own children with love. I’ve endured
so much trauma and abuse in my life, yet I have never let go of G‑d. I ask Him
to please, in turn, never let go of me.