Hero Child

Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
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the Jew in the family

at the beginning of my therapy
I talked often about the Jews and the Nazis
until my therapist suggested—you felt like a Jew in your family
from then on I began to talk about myself

I felt understood because so often a feeling overwhelmed me
I am the cause for all the problems in the world

only children were blamed and punished
only they seemed to make mistakes
only children had to constantly say—I am sorry
and ask for forgiveness
only children were made feel guilty and responsible
for the problems in their lives—and even for those
that occurred around them

as a child—and after the incest—and after the car accident
I had as the scapegoat, as the person to blame
for the horrible things that happened to me
only myself

I was trained to believe that parents were always right—infallible
like gods—who could do no wrong
a child was nothing but a dumping ground for guilt and blame

I am the cause for all the problems in the world
I believed and felt like that for most of my life
because the child was treated as the cause for every problem
blamed and pronounced guilty day in and day out
preached to zealously, condemned and accused relentlessly

any problem that occurred in my life or around me
used to terrify me and send me to a state of such petrified fear
that it made me incapable of thinking about solutions
my brain collapsed as if short-circuited
my mind circled hopelessly—like a broken record—
between the problem and my guilt that had brought it on

I felt like a desperate insane person rocking in mental anguish

endlessly I tried to find a way out—which I never did
no one helped me find it
problems or conflict were nothing but opportunities
to blame and to punish
to make a show of parental power and might

they never were chances to help and support a child
to teach her how to approach and resolve a problem
to strengthen her confidence and skills

as body and brain trembled with chaotic terror
the child’s system broke down
mired in fear and hopelessness

to be the cause for all the problems in the world
is that what being a Jew
in the hell of anti-semitism
feels like?

© Barbara Rogers

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Screams from Childhood