The other night I saw a story on the news about a ten year old boy from Nicaragua left at the border by his fellow travelers. The news showed the little boy in tears, distraught as he was being helped by a border patrol guard. This got me to thinking about something my ex-husband had told me about his childhood.
He told me when he was about the same age as the boy in the news story - if I remember correctly - that his father took him and two of his other brothers to a hotel in the upper peninsula of Michigan, they lived near Detroit, and left them in a hotel by themselves telling them they were on their own, that no one would ever find them, and then left. I can’t imagine knowing their income level that it was anything less than a seedy hotel. My ex related to me that it took about two days for their Grandfather to figure out where they were left and to go get them. Three boys left alone in a hotel room, with no money, no nothing to fend for themselves.
It took me till seeing this news story to understand the damage that does to the child. My ex showed almost no emotion and had no empathy for anyone. He prided himself on his poker face that he honed to perfection to never let anyone know what he was thinking or feeling. In hearing this story from him, and seeing no emotion, I never put the pieces together. I was slo lost in my own hell, I just didn't see it.
When he would say things to hurt me - which happened a lot - I would try to give him a “word story” he could relate to so he could see how he made me feel. Like when he told me I was fat and he was no longer attracted to me. I told him could he ever forget if I had ridiculed his manhood when we first were intimate. He said it would not have bothered him in the slightest. That should have told me right there, that he was disconnected from his emotions. Any normal person would be hurt by their loved one saying something so painful and personal and hateful.
I should have realized that the poker face, combined with the cut off emotions, were the defense system of that little boy who was left so callously by their parent. No matter how much he said none of that affected him, you know as a human being it would have a profound effect ones emotional growth and health. It could manifest as someone with deep abandonment issues, security issues, and emotionally stunt their growth. In essence, they are emotionally arrested, and stuck at the age of that deep wound.
Had I not been so terribly damaged myself at the time, perhaps I would have seen this and understood exactly what I was getting into by falling in love with this wounded soul. It took till hearing this news story the other night, over three years after the damage he did to my heart and soul, to find compassion in my heart for him.
When our souls meet up again on the other side, I hope he is open to a soul hug from me. If it would not damage own healing, I would love to reach out to him and let him know I am no longer angry at him, but as he is, it would fall on deaf ears and be used against me at a later time.
Compassion from a distance. I guess that is a good place to land with this.