The other night my wife and I watched Sleepers and then proceeded to have an interesting conversation. She made the comment at the end of the movie that it wasn’t really the happy ending you thought you were getting by the time they reviewed what happened to the characters in the future. My response to that was that was why I found the movie realistic. After being abused like that as a child, there is no happy ending. There’s no amount of revenge that can make everything alright again. It’s part of you, and it always will be part of you.
As I think about that though, and about the people I run into on account of this site, it occurs to me that, on some level, maybe it’s the expectation of a “happy ending” that frustrates survivors. Not that survivors don’t experience happiness, and joy, but I really feel like the expecttion that there’s going to be a day when everything is just suddenly better, like it is in the movies, keeps us from understanding that healing from abuse is a longtime journey, and in some ways it’s a never-ending journey.
Again, it’s not that being a survivor means we’re just doomed to be unhappy and unable to enjoy life at all, rather the happiness and joy comes more from learning to live with what happened, learning to accept the permanent changes that abuse has made in our personalities, and most of all, learning how to make healthy decisions for ourselves. It doesn’t come from beating yourself up because you can’t get to that magical “better” today. There is no magical “better”.
Or maybe none of this makes sense… 😉