Why Us?

When I was a small child, I used to get very angry at God for the life I was living. I didn’t understand why I had to be born to a woman who hated me so much and who seemed to get off on physically and mentally abusing me. I didn’t understand why I would pray so hard on my knees at night for a good day the next day and pray not to get beaten, just to wake up to Mom’s sneer and her boots kicking my sides. I didn’t understand what was so wrong with me and what I had done so wrong to deserve the life I was living.

We all feel the same way don’t we, those of us who have survived or are currently living with abuse? We torture ourselves trying to figure out what is wrong with us and what we have done wrong to deserve such inhumane treatment. We self-harm, isolate, chew our nails down to stubs, and push everyone around us away because we only see ourselves through the eyes of our abuser. We feel angry, helpless, and out of control; and alone. Very, very alone.

Some of us pray for help, and feel defeated when that help never seems to come. Some of us take a chance and turn to an outside source like a counselor or friend for help; and then want to crawl into a hole and die when police, Child Protection Services, and school officials get involved. And all of us have sat at one point and stared off into space wondering, “Why?”, and getting no answers. It’s a very lonely world and nearly impossible to fathom that anyone else has it as bad as we do.

But then you find a book, or read a newspaper article, or hear a story on the news about someone that has it just as bad or maybe a bit worse than us. I remember the first time I picked up “A Child Called It” by David Pelzer; it was life-changing. For the first time in my life, I had found some tangible hope to latch onto. I found another person who had a Mom like mine; another person who was abused and hurt terribly by the one person in the world who was supposed to protect them the most. Our stories weren’t exactly the same; but they were close enough for me to realize that I wasn’t alone. I had found a real hero and my first example of a survivor.

It wasn’t until many years later and I became a mother that it hit me; I’m a survivor. I didn’t do anything wrong or deserve to be treated like a dog for the first half of my life; that was my Mom’s issue not mine. Why was I wasting so much time knocking myself down and blaming myself for the actions of a grown woman? I look in the eyes of my two beautiful sons and I can’t imagine treating them the way I was treated. My sons made me realize that I had broken the cycle of abuse and that I had survived to make them and their lives wonderful. It was as simple as that.

You are all survivors whether you realize it or not. You don’t need a book or a hero to look up to for inspiration; all you need to do is look in the mirror. There is your survivor, there is your hero. Congratulations – you made it and now you can leave the past where it belongs.

Why Us?

Sarah Burleton NY Times bestselling author

Victoria Gigante Writes For Psych CentralSarah Burleton was born in a little town in Illinois to a very emotionally disturbed woman. Her first book, her child abuse memoir "Why Me," spent 26 weeks on the New York Times and the print version is endorsed by David Pelzer, author of "A Child Called It." Sarah is now realizing her goal in becoming an ambassador for abused children and adult survivors and is currently conducting workshops and seminars throughout the state. Her message of strength over adversity and her story will help counselors, teachers, and other professionals identify signs of abuse and learn ways to establish trust with an abused child.

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APA Reference
, . (2015). Why Us?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 May 2015
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