Isolation cells at Fremantle Prison, Australia, Author Gnangarra (CC-BY-2.5-AU)
WARNING: Graphic Images
“And Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear!’ ” (Gen. 4: 13).
Though there are some hideous punishments inflicted on children, I will not be focusing on those here. I want instead to talk about the punishment we inflict on ourselves. The two are linked.
As abuse victims, we come to believe ourselves deficient, sinful, unworthy of love.
We may be told this directly by curses, blows, and cigarette burns, or indirectly by food, warmth, and shelter denied; by affection, comfort, and encouragement withheld; by the absence of laughter, except at our expense; by the absence of protection from sexual predation; and, above all, by the absence of hope.
Whatever the details in our case, we come to see ourselves as guilty. We may not be able to name the…