Gosh it’s been a while, sorry but I’ve been poorly again with ongoing infections etc. And there I was thinking that when I started this blog I would be boring you all with endless writings every week! Anyway here I am, unable to sleep and thought I would share with you a rather unpleasant experience regarding some feedback I received from a woman in France who had read my book.
Recently I received these awful messages from her via social media site Facebook :
“ You are a prostitute and it would be better if you were dead”
“Your mother was right to have left you, you are a disgrace to your poor mother”
“You should have died when you took the overdose.”
The messages continued in the same vein for a few hours until after a while I contacted the woman to ask where all this hatred came from. Her reply was that I should never have kept running back to my father when I was a child and that I should have reported him to the police. As politely as I could muster I sent her a long message explaining that I never returned to my dad because I wanted him to abuse me, I returned to him because I loved him and wanted him to be my dad. I also explained that many people stay or return to abusive relationships because they love that person and live in hope that they will change. Couldn’t she at least try to understand that I just wanted him to love me like a normal dad should love their daughter? I was a child I should have been able to trust him not to hurt me. I also explained that I had reported him to the police many times, but that they hadn’t pressed charges. But she wasn’t having any of it and the hatred from her continued, so after a while of trying to defend and justify myself to her, I deleted and blocked her.
But it got me wondering why some people find it so hard to understand why people continue to stay in abusive situations. Gosh if there is one thing I wanted to achieve from writing my books that was it! Of course it is much more complex in adult relationships but in general I’m sure it’s not really that difficult for us all to relate to.
We all do things we don’t want to from time to time. We stay in jobs we hate for all sorts of reasons. We tolerate annoying behaviour from loved ones that drive us mad sometimes. Parent’s, spouses, siblings, in laws, etc can moan at us and say things that we would never accept from anyone else. Children can stretch our patience to the limit even the dog can have us pulling our hair out! The truth is we make all sorts of excuses and reasons to tolerate other people’s behaviour, never more so than we love them. We don’t take the dog to the dog shelter the first time he pees on the carpet. We don’t put our children in care the first time they disobey us and hopefully we don’t stop talking to our family and friends even after a fight. Only we know when we have had enough and when it’s time to call it a day. As adults it can be a difficult decision, how much does your best friend have to let you down before she stops being your best friend?
I’m not trying to belittle the horror of child abuse, of course a child should be removed from any abusive situation. What I am saying is that when a child is abused by a parent, they don’t automatically start hating them. Their need for love, care and nurture hasn’t disappeared and their dependence on that parent hasn’t gone away either, their home is still their home and that is why they will want to return. When a child is abused, their childhood is stolen and they are called upon to understand things even adults cannot. Innocence, is gone, confusion reigns supreme, guilt and shame overwhelms them and all they want is for things to go back to ‘normal.’ More than ever they need to be loved and comforted and who else would they turn to but their parent? How can they be blamed for wanting what should be theirs anyway, don’t they have a right to trust their parents?
The Facebook messages were unsettling for a while, I had been looking after my precious granddaughter and it had been such a lovely day with her but was so cruelly spoiled by a few hurtful words from a complete stranger in another country. The internet is an amazing resource but this was a harsh reminder of its power as those cruel words appeared on my laptop in the privacy of my home. I wonder if she knew the effect her words would have. Was that what she wanted? Why? I kept asking myself, why so hateful, why so venomous? She wasn’t a ‘troll’ her profile was there for all the world to see. Why would someone read a book they hated? Surely people only read books they like or interest them. Maybe there was history of abuse or prostitution in her family? I don’t know and probably never will. Whatever her reasons, I have come to forgive her and pray that whatever it was that motivated her to contact me like that, will be lifted from her and that she would be at peace.
In the 6 years since my books were published I have received thousands of messages of love and support from around the world. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers I will probably never meet and overwhelmed by the impact my books have had on so many people. My books have recently been translated and published in France, that’s 4 languages now! Unfortunately there will always be a down side to writing about such controversial matters such as child abuse and prostitution but as for the haters, they have been few and far between and for that I am extremely grateful.