I walked a thin and long tight rope as a child created by a patchwork of mental health and bonding issues my siblings had from life prior to adoption. Being much younger than my siblings, I was an easy target for emotional and physical abuse. While other middle schoolers were trying to hit puberty gracefully, I had a court date to testify against my sister for the need of a restraining order for my Mom and me.
When my sister moved out I blocked out the years of abuse I experienced too. I remember walking through the house and feeling something I don't remember feeling before and the words "this is peace" touched my heart.
I grew up with a desperate need for God in my life trying to keep that peace there. When I acknowledged what had happened in college God answered my prayers and gave me great comfort. When I went to counseling, God gave me the reassurance that I was doing something to bring peace to my life. When I was at a place where my grieving was manageable, I began learning that empathy is a spiritual gift that God can only give us through experience.
I still have anxiety, I still grieve when I realize how lonely it is to emotionally be an only child, but I have learned the more I serve others the better I feel and I feel strong knowing that the cycle of abuse ended with me.