Orphan Survival Stories Index |
LEARNING FROM THE PAST
As I write my stories and can sometimes look back into my past, occasionally I get a glimpse of what I felt as a little boy. I can see myself clearly as a little boy and remember almost everything that happened to me during my first 10 years on this earth. What is difficult for me to see and understand is why the terror I felt as a young child still lives inside of me today, even though I am a full-grown man.
Because of all the physical and mental abuse that I suffered as a child, I can now look back today and picture myself as a little boy being afraid of every single adult I met - the matrons, school teachers, therapists, preachers, police officers, judges, the court system, the army and even my first mother-in-law. It was like I had been totally convinced as a child that no adult would ever like me. No matter what I did, I was going to get into some kind of trouble. No matter how hard I tried to be good, they were going to scold me, physically abuse or verbally beat me. I could not just be myself, because I had no idea who or what that was.
There was no 'individual' living inside of me. That part of me (the individual) was still being formed. All I knew to do was follow the rules and try to mold myself to every different type of situation that arose and then hope for the best.
If your teacher praises you in school for having drawn a beautiful picture and then you show that same picture to the matron at the orphanage and she tells you that "it looks like a piece of shit," you become totally confused. How can one adult say that something looks nice and another tells you it does not? "Your shoes are tied right" or "your shoes are tied wrong." "The picture is good" or "the picture is bad." "You are smart" or "you are a dumb idiot." Which is it?
When you are a small child, nothing makes sense to you. A child looks to the adults in his or her life to show them the correct way to do things. As these grown-ups teach children, they (the children) learn and store these positives occurrences in their minds along with some of the negative things. The natural reaction is for the child to use the positive things repeatedly. These are the things that most lead to praise, and help build self-esteem and pride.
After being abused through the formative years, I found that even after I grew up, I was still afraid that I would fail at anything and everything I did in life. Some people may look at me and see that I am a published author, have six books in five countries and live an average lifestyle. How can this be, if I feel that I have failed at everything I ever tried to do?
It is not that I failed at everything I had ever done or accomplished; it is the ‘feeling’ that I am a failure that I cannot shake - the same feeling I had as a child.
I won a court case one time in Modesto, California. Though I am not an attorney, I did study law for three years. I was very good at what I did. I could see many things that the law itself took for granted about human nature and I used that to present my case. This particular case could not be won by anyone so the District Attorney told us. Even the court appointed attorney told me that we did not have a prayer. I took on the case and within several hours, I won it. I had changed the judge's mind, as well as the mind of the District Attorney. I remember walking out of the courtroom with tears of joy in my eyes, yet as I walked through the double courtroom doors I thought, "Roger Dean Kiser, you are one phony son-of-a-bitch!"
I knew that I had accomplished the impossible, yet I could not take credit for a job well done and I do not know why. It has been that way my entire life. I do not think it was the physical child abuse I suffered that was the problem. The mind, together with laws, rules and regulations can make one override that type of abuse and the individual can become devoid of feelings, yet still lead a productive life in society.
I personally think it was all the years of not being allowed to find out who ‘I’ was as a person and then to build from there. Being so afraid all the time and at every turn, until a young mind just finally shuts itself down, the robot automatically takes over and it goes along with the required program. After a while, even the robot does not know the difference between emotional, spiritual and physical feelings.
I have heard that there are people who lost an arm or a leg, yet they can still feel the missing appendage, as if it were still fully connected to them. No matter how much they look and no matter how much they feel, that arm or leg is not going to appear, even though they can physically feel it. That is how I feel about the abuse I suffered as a little child. I know that it is in the past and that no one can hurt me any more.
I look around every day and see that the abuse is nowhere to be found yet I can feel it as if it were still there. It is an invisible thing, a feeling that hurts way down deep inside of me all the time. That deep down hurt: that is ‘ME.’ It is who I really am as a person. That is why I have never been able to find out or become who I really am, because that is who I am.
I guess sometimes, we just have to make the best of what we are given. However, it sure would have been awfully good to know ‘what it felt like’ to have been good at something just one time.