Abort! That was probably the first word that came out of my fathers mouth after he found out that my mom is pregnant. Does it bother me know? Not really, I do however find myself wondering from time to time what impact did it have on me at that moment. They say a child can feel the emotions of its mother while it’s in her womb and can pick out everything from its closest surroundings. I would imagine that it did have an effect on me then, a negative one that is. I’ve been pushing my mom lately to tell me some things about my early childhood, since I regressed with my emotional trauma to my first two years of existence and I cannot go farther back with my conscious memory. As I find out more, things are starting to fall into place. I now know where I get the feeling off total abandonment when I walk the empty city streets at night as that is something I picked up when my mother was walking around the town for weeks with me in a stroller, looking for a place to stay as my dad went off to work out off town and her parents left for the summer vacations. Being left off all alone with a very disturbed parent certainly was not a good way to start off my upbringing. From that point things were just going to get worst.
The very first memory that I can recall is a dream, a dream where I am left all alone in the house. I hear a doorbell so I walk out off my crib, go out into the hall and try to reach the door viewer. I am to small so I grab a chair and before I get back to the door I sense something is not right. There is danger behind that door. I take a peek through the hole and there she was, pure evil as if the devil himself came to visit me. As I am writing this today, 35 years later I can still feel it as if it happened to me last night. In that dream was a witch, and that little kid back then was already going through his own nightmare being raised by a narcissistic, sadistic, psychologically abusive grandmother. A women who spared no one and was of no support for that little helpless child. She was mean and cold, I do not recall any hugs or signs of love that you would expect from a grandmother taking care of her grandson. Instead it was all about bringing me down, I still get shivers just by looking at this picture even though it has been 10 years since she’s gone.
Sabotage or actually self-sabotage is something that I am just to much use to. It hit me one day not so long ago why is it that I always end up wrecking myself on whatever it is that I get involved in. Whether it would be working on something in my charity, trying to get something accomplished in my small company, doing an exposition, having fun with my son or just going out with some friends, I would always somehow come to a point where I would mess things up immensely. I now know, that I was repeating over and over again the program that has been put into my head from the earliest days of my childhood. The program called “don’t make grandma envious”, because you see, it use to be that every time I did something well, like bringing a good grade from school or accomplishing an achievement at a sports event, being rewarded for getting involved in a project and dozens of others things, I would be punished for this. Now as crazy as it sounds that is how things went on in my house for years. Now the punishment I am talking about is not that regular “you are grounded for a week for picking on jimmy” type of thing. It was something worse, it was the silent treatment and that mean look she would give and the rejection that I would get to experience with it. She didn’t have to say anything I could just see it in her eyes and I could feel it in the air, the disregard and no respect for a child that I was. The only way to survive was to make myself vulnerable and to free myself from this atonement I would have to deliberately do things below my capabilities. Growing up in a narcissistic family has another thing hidden within. On the outside things must look just perfectly. The world cannot even have a slightest hint that something could be wrong on the inside. As I was around ten years old I developed very bad acne. I mean the worst kind where I would get pimples like crazy. So what did my grandmother figure out then? Instead of taking me to the dermatologist she decided to take me to the beautician. That was the most horrific and painful experience that I could remember. It was as if somebody took a grinder and just went on at it, while I was praying for them not to take my face away. The result from that “beauty salon’ left my face scarred for life.
Please don’t go I must have thought at the time, but I do not remember it. Dad couldn’t stand the atmosphere in that house for long and left us when I was just over two years old. Gone off to a better life I guess, first Germany, then Canada. He promised my mom that he would send her hefty child support for me and we would never have to worry about a thing again. Somehow though I still seem to remember the hunger i felt going to sleep and those long cold winter nights. Mom couldn’t stand the “witch” anymore, so one day we moved out, just to find ourselves struggling as she was just not able to take care of herself and let alone me. I lost count of the different “uncles” that I got to meet during my childhood and with plenty of random man that went through my moms bedroom came lots of child neglect and very first signs of severe trauma. I was not spared from the view of my mother being sexually abused by men after heavy alcohol drinking that went on practically every night. I was forced to listen to the sounds of all the things that went on, when I had no choice but to be in that same room with them and on regular basis I became an audience in the activity of adults’s sick play. We have moved so many times that by the time I was seven I have been through more households that I could count. I do however remember this one situation. I must have been no more than four years old and we were living in this tenement house. It was around noon the weather was very nice and it was very bright inside our home. My mother was sleeping and I just can’t recall whether she was passed out from alcohol or was she just sleeping it of after a night shift. Either way I felt totally abandoned as I was walking through the room in shear panic. I felt that even though she was physically present there was no attachment or emotional bond between us. As I was looking through the room to find something to play with my eyes located a shiny object. It was a razor, an old type that in no way resents the current blades you get that are safely hidden inside this plastic head. I am talking raw blade that you sometimes get to see in a movie standing beside a shaving brush. So I took that razor and pretended I was shaving and as you might have imagined, that did not end up good. I cut my lip and went over to my mother to show her what I have done so she would fix me up. The only way she would take care of me was when I was in need of immediate attention. This time however I was out of luck and she did not help me, she did not even react so I lay by her as the blood ran down my chin.
The turmoil one goes through as a child brings some type of oddness with it. You happen to grow up very quickly, that is if you are fortunate of a soul to put the pieces together and figure the hell out that you gotta take care of not only yourself but the grown-ups around you in order to create a minimum of stability in the reality you happened to be in. The sixth sense I developed helped me to spot any upcoming danger so I could not only see but feel anything that was about to happen. The stream of alcohol that was pouring through our house was enormous. The first bottle that was put on the table meant one thing, that night was going to be long and hard. The level of anxiety I was going through was sky high and that put me in the defensive/alertness mode for hours to come. The result was pretty much always the same. There was screaming and shouting at the table and a lot of times plenty of violence. Now I must admit one thing, somehow I was never a victim of any beating and I was always spared from physical harm. However going through some therapy a few years back I found out, that victims of psychological abuse suffer no less than those who were abused physically. How sad for anyone having to go through this. So what is popping up in my memory right now as I am writing this and thinking of the past? Images of me as a five year old putting my mom to sleep and covering her with a blanket or putting her hair out off fire when she was to drunk to notice the candle as she was reaching over the table for another drink. And worst off it all was the laughter that came from her as if nothing has happened after I sprung up to pat her head at the same time feeling so ashamed of her. Now, out of all of this, one scene stands out the most that I believe had one of the biggest impacts on me. It was when we were still living with grandma, I am no more than three years old and I am searching through the house for mom. It is night and I can remember that it was so dark outside, as if hell came upon earth, that is how it felt for me at that moment. I enter the room, stand in the doorway and I freeze, I am literally paralyzed from what I see as there she is, laying on the couch passed out with her face towards the wall. I can sense that I will not get anything from her that day but still I am guileless enough to walk up to her, put my hand on her shoulder and ask “Mom, are you asleep?” In return all I hear is a quiet snore and as the familiar stench of alcohol hits me I realize that she is done for the night. As I walk out in a gullible hope of finding refuge in my grandmother’s arms I get the second blow of the night as she says: “See what your mother is all about? She’s no good”. I went of to sit in the corner wishing I could be dead.
The village we moved to when I was about five years old was a start of the next chapter in my life. I got to find out what it’s like to live in a house with no bathroom or a toilet and your only choice was to either to do your thing in a bucket or go outside into the privy. Take my word for it, there is no fun in it when the temperatures drop below the freezing point. Speaking of temperatures, old houses like that do not come with a central heating system and instead all we had was a coal stove that was set in the corner of the room. There was something about that stove that kept me at it for hours. I loved to start the fire in it and make sure that it would not go out. Now since my mother did not have a steady job, the income she was making was below minimum existential levels and we were literally living in poverty. The stove was meant to run on coal but from what I can recall it was only once when we actually had coal, apart from that was just wood. There is a story behind the wood and as I am writing this right now I can see flashbacks of images popping into my head. I gotta take a break, go and make myself tea and see what will develop in my mind within the next few minutes. So I am back, let me go on. One day I came back home after being away for a few days and I do not remember exactly why I was gone but it doesn’t matter for the story. The house was cold and I could just feel that something was not right. I opened up my drawer and paused in shock. “Where are my toys mom? I had a military helmet I use to wear for play, and a teddy bear, and a space rocket. Where is my cowboy six shooter?” She looked at me and said “I burned them Pawel. I burned all of your toys because I had no wood for the stove and it was cold in the house”. She didn’t look me straight in the eye and I know she was full of shame and to cover it up, to make her ego feel good about herself she said it in a peculiar way. She said it with anger, as if it was my fault that there was no wood in the house. I was left standing all alone speechless in the middle of the room as she just went off doing her things. Now what did I do after this? What could I do after this? Having been brought up in a way where emotions of pain and suffering were not allowed I sucked it up, took a jute sack and went off to the forest to pick up some wood. Even though I was burning up on the inside from pain and felt once again abandoned and simply betrayed by her I still did not let a single cry out. Even when I was all alone in the woods I was to afraid that somebody would see this and do something to me for showing my emotions.
Ghosts are somethings kids are very much afraid off, that is of course when they are kids. The experience I went through however gives me the goosebumps to this day. Let me share with you quick three short stories that had me completely frozen with fear. One night a loud noise woke everybody up in the household. It was definitely coming from my room and it sounded like as if something got smashed against the ground. I run out of my room and stayed with my mom till the morning as I was not able to spend the night alone any longer. The next day we went back to my room to find nothing, nothing except for a shoe print that was located on a cupboard about head high off the ground. I am far from jumping to a conclusion, but to this day I found no explanation neither for that sound from the night before or that mark on that cupboard. My next episode in that room went on like this. One day my “uncle” picked me up from kindergarten sooner then usually. We went home to my room to see my hamster that had it’s cage located underneath the window. It was in the middle of the day as we walked in got to the cage and heard a snap. Behind us, a straw lamp fell down ripping the screw out off the ceiling and was dangling by the cable a meter above the ground. That lamp must have weighted no more then half a kilogram and still it fell just a few seconds later after we passed underneath it. I don’t know which was more of a shock to us, the fact that it was virtually impossible for it to fall as it was fastened in a sturdy way and was just to light to pull that screw out or the fact that it fell missing us just by a bit. After that happened my mom started asking questions and talked to some other people that were also living in that house if they also witnessed anything out of the ordinary. What she found out had her make a decision to immediately have us moved out off there. It was brought to her attention, that several years ago the son of the landlord took his own life in that house, in that room I was occupying, by hanging himself. Once again I have to mention that I do not like jumping to any conclusions, but if there was something in that house, in that room it’s a good thing we decided to move. Before we moved there is a third story that I got to tell you, one that in my opinion had the biggest influence on me. One day when I was about six years of age I was left home alone as my mother went off to the city shopping and because it was late fall it got dark, to dark and to quickly for me. I was in my mothers room and I was to afraid to go to my what I believed at the time haunted room. As I was sitting on a couch waiting on her return I was to frightened to even move, to make a sound or even breath. I do not know how long it lasted but for me it felt like it was going on for hours. I was so afraid that I kept still in the same position until I heard her familiar footsteps outside the door. I was so tired from anxiety that I lost memory how I reacted to her coming back.
Remember the time I cut my lip in order to get my moms attention? If you thought that was child neglect at its worst I guess you I wouldn’t see what was to come next and neither did I at the time. One day I was playing outside with some friends and since it was winter with plenty of snow we were out on a nearby hill sledding down it like crazy. We had loads of fun and didn’t pay much attention to anything around us. Well I was soon to find out the hard way what a mistake that was. One minute I was standing and laughing and two seconds later I was laying on the ground. Unfortunately instinctively I tried to protect myself and wanted to stop the fall with my arm which resulted in me hitting the ground wrist first. As I felt the pain I run home in tears. So you’re probably thinking, a broken arm or perhaps a sprained wrist at best? I am too. Why? Because I was never taken to the hospital. I came home, told my mom what happened, showed her where it hurts me and… that is it. No reaction. For three straight days that wrist did not let me forget about itself as I barely could sleep because of it. I guess I could consider it a miracle that no complication came from this and my hand today is fine. That experience and like this other time when my only toy car broke and was taken to a repair shop, never for me to be seen again left me feeling with one thing – being unworthy. To this day I struggle as deep inside I still have this hidden shame and the feeling of not deserving anything whether it be financially or in relationships.
Empathy, judging from the dictionary it is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner. I had a few breakdowns in my life that were initiated by what could be at first hard to believe, empathy and compassion for another human being. Since I was born and raised in Poland which was the battleground for a lot of the fighting that went on in World War II I had access to a lot of the people that could relate to those times and remember the atrocities that went on back then. One day my grandfather told me about his friend from school. They were both around the age of twelve when they went off to the forest to play. Only one of them came back home that day. The other one, a kid that was at the time the age that my son is today was killed by a landmine that he was to unfortunate to step on. He was blown away to bits and killed on the spot. Now when I heard that story it did not get to me at first, I was not able to comprehend it fully first, but when it got to me a couple of days later, boy was I about to go for an emotional ride of my life. I felt so sorry for that boy and I was so full of empathy and compassion for him that I cried my eyes out for an hour or so. I remember very clearly what I was thinking at the time, how much life was ahead of him and now he is gone. I was thinking of the bike rides that he missed and how he would not get a chance to play with his friends, pet animals, watch TV or just read a book. Believe it or not, but I had those thoughts going through my mind when I was just six years old. Just like it is defined in the dictionary, I experienced and sensed the emotions of a person and I did it to the fullest extent. I was being so affected by those feelings that I was laying on the floor screaming in tears, asking my mother who was sitting in her chair why did he have to die? She just looked at me without an expression on her face and did not say a word. When it was all over for me I went back to my room.
First day of school, what an excitement that must have been for a seven year old. That is if you are a regular seven year old living with a regular family. When I was about to go to first grade my mom decided that she will no longer take care off me and she sent me off to live with my grandmother. I did however spend a rather nice last summer vacation with my mother and like her 10th cohabitant. At that point we were still living out of the city in that small village and even though I went through so many bad things there, I still like to go back from time to time for a bike trip or just to walk around in the close by forest I am so familiar with. So going back to my story, September 3rd 1990 was the day I went to live with my grandma full time and that was the day I went to school for the very first time. What I can recall from that day is a state of total panic I was in. My mind was so havocked from the years of trauma, that I was just paranoid about everything that was happening around me. I did not know what I could expect from that first day at school and my mind was just telling me one thing, that since every new experience to that day was mostly a bad one, this one is probably something not to look forward to. As the anxiety grew and the stress levels went through the roof I was walking back and forth trying to munch on that sandwich I had for breakfast. I think it is the expectations that were put onto me were so devastating for me. I always had to be on the up and up, being put into this role of a mascot that my grandma could brag about on the outside and than when no one was looking discipline me for being better than her. A few years later I was going to my first communion and by that time I was so emotionally devastated that my first day of school felt like a walk in the park. I couldn’t even eat my breakfast and before we went to church for the ceremony I ended up vomiting a couple of times.
Now all in all school was one of the best things that happened to me to date. Everyday that I went there I felt that I am freeing myself from this cocoon of misery. I had many friends, did a lot of activities and somehow things were starting to get better for me. For the first three years of primary school I was voted in as the class host and I was an honor student. I even got to perform on stage in front of the entire school one day. However, when your subconsciousness keeps telling you that you can’t be that good because somebody is going to get jealous I slowly went back to my old “sabotage me” routine. When I went to forth grade I was never to be voted for a class host or never to be an honor student again. I felt like a beaten dog that just could not go through the day without having somebody whip it again. That is a program, that;s something stuck in your head so deep that you just cannot take it when things are going good, it just doesn’t seem normal. So I started getting bad grades and I brought home that occasional school note about my misbehavior. Something that started of as a sporadic thing soon became a daily routine and everyday as I was coming back home from school I felt fear and anxiety building up as I was waiting for that next dose of punishment. Worst of it all is that it was not your usual no TV for the day or stay in your room for two hours type of thing. It was that unbearable silence treatment mixed with the evil glance that she would throw at me. That was the time when I started to develop first physical signs of my disorder as I started to chew on my fingers to the point that they would bleed for hours. Things were beginning to look very grim for me again.
Where was my mother in the meantime? She was here and there, picking me up every Friday to take me away for the weekend. Those Friday afternoons I always found myself standing in the window looking at every oncoming bus to see if that is the one she will get off of. However, there was also something that I was specifically looking out for. It was her walk and the way that she moved, her steps would reveal to me if she was in the state of sobriety or not. Every time it was a lottery for me. One day she would come pick me up sober as a child which could then go on for weeks and when I thought things were finally starting to get better the next weekend she would come pick me up completely wasted. I didn’t know which was worst, the feeling of shame as I had to go through the entire city with a woman who in no way resembled a caring and loving mother or was it standing at that window and waiting for her while trying to predict her level of consciousness that day. Today, from times perspective I can say that the anticipation of what was to come next, was the biggest agony. What else came with spending those weekends with mom and her boyfriend? One thing stands out the most. Not a weekend went by without them having a fight about something. There was lots of screaming and shouting and that horrible door slamming. All I could do is just watch, watch and pray. But that was not your regular prayer that you say before going to sleep. It was as if I was on this deeper level making a connection with them trying to bring them together, as if I was bonding them just through my mind. “Working” with them like that brought me into a state of total bliss. The feeling of ecstasy that I got from that was just out of this world and every time they would make up I would just feel the biggest pleasure and joy. That unfortunately also came at a high price. One time my cousins invited me for a weekend sleepover. and Instead of going to my moms I went over to their place. Not for long. As night came and my anxiety grew higher I burst into tears and demanded that my uncle drives me over to my mothers house. Now obviously that was not me missing my mom. That was just fear of losing control of what would happen if I was not there, because if not me who would be there to take on the role of the peacemaker?
Pawel! A man shouted at me in the street and run straight for me as I was on my way to school. I paused for a moment, looked at him closely and I asked. Yes? He stopped right in front of me with a big smile. It’s me your dad! I was so shocked that I could not believe it. My father took a flight from Canada to Poland for a short break and went through the trouble of keeping it a secret to give me the biggest surprise of my life that morning! Now I did get letters with his pictures from him and the occasional package for Christmas and my birthday but at that moment I just did not recognize him. I guess that was something so out of this world for me, that I could have not even imagined such a scenario was ever possible. We walked back home and sat in the living room. I am sorry but I have to correct this, we run straight for it as I was overwhelmed with such strong emotions of joy and happiness that even before I went through the door I yelled. Grandma, you are not going to believe this, dad is here! She smiled and all of us went to the living room where me and my dad sat on the couch and she sat across the table in her favorite armchair. He asked me about the school, my friends and we just had a very nice time talking. However, one thing was out of the ordinary, there was something odd in that situation. I can remember what I felt at the moment but it took me years to realize what it was exactly. I felt that the bond between me and my father was disrupted and that I had this heavy clinging towards my grandmother. I was so much under her control that I was completely dominated by her and I felt as if I am betraying her by showing my emotions towards my dad. She was watching me very closely as if she was trying to betray the message – now remember that it is me that you have to obey. And obey I did as I was allowed only to skip my first class and after a very short half an hour I was back on my way to school again. So I got to spend some time with my dad later on as we met together again on a few more occasions and one of which stood out the most. One day he decided to visit me at my moms place, in the village where I was staying with her for the weekends. I had my own room there, that is if you could say that an attic with a small window is a room at all. However you would like to call, it I had a bed in there and that was pretty much it, except for a box or two. He came in and announced that I will not be living in such conditions and that the following day we will go to the store to pick out and buy some furniture for me. So the next day came and the one after that and another one only for me to find out that he is packing his things and leaving for the airport That furniture that I did not get didn’t mean much but that broken promise meant a world to me. Oh. It is starting to get deep as this heavy feeling of abandonment is going throughout my entire body as I just finished writing that last sentence. Today I know that that is something that you have to sit with. When it hits you, you just gotta sit with it. Do not judge, do not try to run away. Just sit it through. The energy will pass. Hell what I even try to do at times is enhance that feeling on purpose so that I can walk through that experience to the maximum, letting it go in the end. The next time it comes back it is weaker. Because you see, when we are traumatized as children what happens is that we get stuck in that particular situation and even as we age, we are anchored to that moment. When we grow up and then we come across similar situations in life that resemble those from our childhood, we recreate that feeling we had many years ago. Our perception gets distorted and panic kicks in. Today we all have a choice to choose and let go of that. Consciously. Oh and when it comes to those packages coming from abroad, I did not have the courtesy to open them up myself even though they were sent in my name. Instead I could just watch through the chink in the door as she would go on lurking through the box at night and taking things out. In the end I would get “gifts” which I thought were from her while in reality they were bought for me by my dad.
Getting the positive emotions towards me from my grandmother was possible under one circumstance and one circumstance only. It is when I was sick that I could count on her true attention. As soon as I developed even the smallest signs of the flu she would rush to me to tend to my needs with some aspirin and a cough syrup. As soon as I had even the slightest temperature variation she would immediately take me to the doctor to get me some prescription medicine. That was the only time when I actually felt loved and taken care of and the illness didn’t even bother me. Actually I was very happy from every cold that I got because that meant one thing, a couple of days off misery and some compassion for me. She would hug me and kiss me and she would tell me that I would soon be alright. She would let me watch TV a little longer then usually and she would even tuck me to bed at night while reading me a bedtime story. However as things come and go the good times couldn’t last forever. Every time I got sick again her affections towards me grew less and less so I soon had to figure out ways to bring it to the next level. One time I got myself to a point where I got such a high fever that I was raving in bed and boy, was it worth it. She stayed by my side for hours and I even remember the moment she wanted to call an ambulance. The care that she was showing me was overwhelming and how sad that those were the only times I could get those scraps of love from her. As time moved on and I was being emotionally abandoned for months I couldn’t take it much longer. One day during a lunch break at school me and some of my friends were running down the halls like crazy not worrying about a thing. One moment I felt that something was about to happen as I was running through the corridor. I thought that my friend was going to jump from around the corner and I look away. The next thing I knew was that I slipped and fell onto the wall hitting it with my arm and then delivering a blow to it with my head. I opened my eyes and felt as if I was not taking part in what I was seeing, as if I was watching a movie I was disconnected from my feelings. My arm broke at a ninety degree angel and I was just lucky that the bone did not penetrate my flesh and that the school nurse was in her office. As she was putting bandage over it I was pretty calm and I was asking her in a calm manner if it is broken. My grandfather got to school within minutes of receiving the phone call about what has happened. The ambulance came and soon I was on my way to the hospital and I knew then, that for a couple of weeks I would be safe again. A few months later my grandmother came to my room and handed me over the equivalent of approximately ten us dollars. I was surprised and didn’t know what it was for and she explained to me that it was from my insurance. Later on I found out from my mother that the insurance company actually paid about a hundred dollars for my accident, but my grandma decided to take most of it, explaining to my mom that at least that will cover her taking care of me during that time. So let me tell you, growing up in an environment where I had to always give into everything, developed the lowest sense of self esteem imaginable. I had to suck it up and keep quiet. When things became unbearable I went to my old routine, running down the hall and smashing my head against the window which resulted in another visit to the hospital where I had to get stitches put in my forehead. I didn’t even ask about the insurance as I was just in survival mode trying to get through the days. I was focusing my attention on figuring out the next way to bring down my misery by inflicting myself with more physical harm. Today I know that back then unconsciously I was doing those things in some deliberately for the purpose of being taken care of.
You’re going to Canada Pawel. – Great, with who? – I asked – and when? – You will be traveling there by yourself and you will be living there from now on with your father – grandma said. That ladies and gentlemen I did not expect. I just turned twelve years old and summer holidays was about to start. I was however nowhere near feeling the pleasure of the upcoming time off. The two months passed in no time and you know how when we were kids and as the summer was about to be over we started to feel a little nervous because school was about to begin? Well for me it was like waiting for a death sentence without even having the possibility of appeal. I was not even asked if I wanted to go. I was being literally ripped out of my entire world, friends, family, my city, my country and everything I mean every single even the smallest thing in my life was about to change even the language I spoke. Why? Because grandma did not feel like taking care of a soon to be teenager and my mom, well she just said that she has no means of raising me. So off I went. On September 20th 1995 I was taken to the international airport in Warsaw Poland, where my mother together with my grandmother and my grandfather put me on a plane, waved goodbye and sent me off half the way across the world to my father whom I barely knew at the time. How did it go on from there? Downhill again. The very next day, like the next morning I went to new school. I don’t know how to explain this, but when you are in school with all your friends and its Wednesday, on Thursday you fly off to a different country and on Friday you are in a different school in a different country, that does collapse ones world and it sure did mine. As few days passed dad decided to have a man to man talk with me. I don’t remember much from it, but I sure as hell will never forget this one sentence that he said. Why are you even here? A child’s place is by his mothers side. You should be in Poland with her. So now, how do you respond to that? When you are being put on a guilt trip all your life do you even fight back? No. I let my head down and felt sorry for taking up his space.
Let me tell you how I found peace, stability and calmness after going through all of this, as I hope it might be helpful for many of you going through your own things. At first I thought it was the process of forgiveness that I went through that helped me the most, but I do not like the use of this word. You see when you forgive someone that means three things. First of all you put yourself in a position that you have been victimized, secondly you present yourself as somebody better than the one you are forgiving and thirdly you stick to a belief that what was done unto you was done purposely. I do not like the idea of the fact, that people are bad and have evil lurking within them. I like to view them as people who are just performing to the maximum level of their capability based on their level of consciousness that they were in at the time. So what is it that gave me the relief I was looking for for so long? It is the acceptance, a pure admission to the fact, that things just were the way they were and I was in no position as a little child to make them any different. I had to go beyond searching for revenge and vengeance and just give in. I do not mean give up and I do not mean forget, but with giving in and surrendering to the reality, comes the biggest relief. I also learned to understand that my past does not define my destiny and that I can be fully in charge of my life as a grown man. Looking back I can see that I never had any real hatred inside of me towards any of those people who happened to behave the way they did. When I came back to Poland from Canada I was the one who visited my grandmother most often. I was the one who came to her every weekend with my son so she could enjoy her great grandson’s presence. When she got sick and was dying of cancer I was the one who drove her back and forth between the different hospitals and when she passed away I took care of her funeral all on my own. I had the feeling back then and I still have the same feeling today that that was the right thing to do and If I was to turn away from her in the last months of her life, in a way I would be abandoning myself. You do not fix evil with evil, please remember that the next time you want to pay somebody back. And that picture I showed you of her at the beginning of my story, I did not put it there for you to condemn her but I felt I had to show you as my readers what I was facing at that time.
The ultimate salvation comes with understanding that for every bad deed that is done by an adult, comes a hurt child that is screaming in pain within that person. People that are not suffering do not do bad things to others. When I reached for the pictures of my mother and my grandmother when they were approximately my age when I was put under the most torment, that is when I fully understood that they also went through affliction of their own and what they did to me they just were not able to comprehend. I pay tribute and give them my full compassion for the hell that they went through.