Looking through the eyes of love: Abuse through a child’s eyes.

I must admit I thought twice about publishing this article. It’s heart-wrenching… but then I realized that looking at abuse through a child’s eyes may be just what those who bully need to read.
Abuse through a child's eyes can have horrendous consequences..

Looking at abuse through a child’s eyes.

by Alexa Keating

He was barely fourteen now; he stood staring at the rocks below, at the water that streamed over them and into the pools that formed just under the dam. He had spent a lot of time here, some just to think, some to fish and most times, to escape.

His mind drifted back, back to find the earliest memory he had of being alive. He had an uncanny ability to recall things accurately that had happened when he was only two. People were surprised by this; Riley thought everyone did it so he never understood the reaction he received.

Vaguely there seemed to be a time filled with innocent joy. He almost remembered seeing his mother’s face when he woke in the mornings and after naps, seeing her smile and hearing her comforting words. Life was good then. He was sure of it.

Suddenly the memories shifted; his mother’s new boyfriend moved in; he was three by then. Things changed swiftly. Somehow the man seemed to find him repulsive; every comment he made was intended to help his mother see why her little son had no value, how much the child interfered with their life together, how much he wanted Riley gone.

He could feel the change in his mother; could see the way her eyes looked away from him now, could hear the constant criticism of his every move. She wanted her little son to be perfect so he would not anger her boyfriend, yet nothing seemed to change his mind.

There was no outward indication that she noticed that her son had not changed at all, but that she had changed everything for her boyfriend. The little child was angered by his mother’s disapproval and withdrawal from him. He rebelled by lashing out and misbehaving. This only made things worse. Riley’s beautiful life had become a nightmare.

He entered school when he was barely five. Gone were the giggles and whispers and shared laughter between Riley and his mother. She held his hand tightly, scolding him for tripping, seeming not to notice that his eyes were staring downward almost all of the time. There was no longer any joy in his life. It had become a string of criticism, punishments, name calling and angry shouts of why he was such a failure and caused so much trouble.

Her boyfriend beat him if he talked back; Riley retreated into an angry silence. A closer look would have revealed the pain that had settled deep into his heart and shone in his eyes. His spirit had long ago been broken.

There had been a time when he woke up hoping his mother’s boyfriend had left as he had promised to do in every fight. That was followed by the horror of knowing his mother would rather see him gone than her boyfriend. She had somehow begun to believe all the terrible things he shouted at her young son. “Riley was a worthless kid from the day he was born.” Riley believed it now. He fought back the bitter tears that were always ready to fall across his cheeks. Nobody cared. Nobody, nobody, nobody cared… Riley knew those awful words were true.

Maybe because his eyes were downcast, maybe because his mother warned the teacher that he was “a handful’ and not to spare the rod, Riley entered school and was immediately labeled as a problem child. The teachers treated him differently; the bullies found him an easy target. He was practiced at being a victim. By first grade, his life had become a continuous fight to survive the bullying at school and abuse at home.

It was an oddity that Riley managed to make really good grades, turn in is homework, join in the school sports and catch the attention of several girls. It was difficult to know whether they were attracted to his ‘bad boy’ image or his striking good looks. Yet none of this was enough to stop the bullying, name calling or the fights he barely escaped from.

Riley was old even while he was really young. The disappointment he had swallowed about his mother was very painful He wondered why she couldn’t love him. He tried so hard.

He looked into the eyes of the students, boys and girls alike, who had been calling him names and shouting jeers and taunts for years. He knew he had everything in common with them and nothing at all to create the extreme bullying.

He stared at the teachers, the principal’s, and the minister at church and wondered why they never once, not once, spoke the truth about what was happening to him. Not a single person had ever stood up and made any effort to talk about it or to stop it. They just watched it happen and turned their eyes away. And Riley swallowed more and more of the bitter tears, knowing it must all be true or they would have stopped it.

Riley was lonely, all the time. Even when he was playing on the team at school, even when he was in a crowd, he was lonely. He understood now that loneliness meant not being able to communicate how he felt to anyone and worse, not being able to find anyone who cared enough to listen. That is what real loneliness is he thought.

All the people who loved him, the people he should have been able to trust to protect him, all of them had let him down and turned a blind eye to what was happening to him. He stood silently, looking through the eyes of love that belonged to all these people. No one cared. And now, neither did Riley. He felt like a tired old man.

Riley died as he had lived; alone and making little noise as his broken body crashed into the rocks below. A simple two-line note was tied to his back pack. “I loved you so much Mom. I wish you could have loved me too.”

		Expert Author Alexa Keating
Article Source: Alexa Keating. 

Please join Alexa at http://www.arkconnect.com to preview available books on self empowerment and personal growth in relationships. 
photo credit: jinterwas via photopin cc

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