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J. K. Chenevert, BSCJ, CPS
~ Preface ~
The Boy Who Lives at The End of The Hall
Upon entering, at first encounter, the hallway, dark and forbidding in its’ seemingly endless depth, would initially appear warm and welcoming to the casual visitor, with its deep, rich, highly-polished, mahogany wood, soothing amber lighting and air of serenity and calmness. The walls are covered in royal purple and gold LeMay fabric and the carpet, a deep burgundy, almost blood-like in color, runs the hallways’ indiscernible length and into its engulfing darkness. As one would move down the corridor, they would encounter a multitude of doors, doors lining each side, of the now darkening hallway—doors in various states of condition and disrepair. Further down, there are grey streaks of black across the walls as noxious mold continuously forms from decades of toxic and intoxicating environments. The antique, disused wooden furniture, so regal and elegant upon first entering the hallway, is now rotting; stained with a myriad of lethal constituents and elements, while the purple and gold LeMay wall covering hangs limp, peeling and eaten away by insects and vermin. The hallway, at this point, to anyone intrepid enough to travel thus far, would feel dead still, near silent, ominous, heavy with expectation and foreboding, the air, thick and stifling… and then suddenly, inexplicably, dread would overcome them, as they instantly realize, they are not alone, as the sounds of creeping lifeforms creak across worn wooden floorboards behind those decaying, uninviting doors… and… on occasion… they may become the unfortunate individual who, inadvertently or with malice, causes one of those doors to fly open abruptly and cause whatever is inside, to come out. Behind one such door, a badly scarred, barricaded door that looks as if someone had tried many times to stop something inexplicably horrible from getting out is the “The boy who lives at the end of the hall.”
~ Disclaimer ~
Whereas some of the events described in this book are actual and historical, as best recalled by the author, who personally experienced them; some of the last names of the people contained within this books of actual persons, deceased or otherwise, have been omitted, changed or otherwise altered; for all confidential intents and purposes and to ensure the continued safety of the author, his family and any other innocent party whose life may be affected or impacted by the revelation of any of the details contained within the pages that follow.
~ Dedication ~
While I dedicate this work to every person who has ever fallen prey to physical and/or psychological abuse at the hands of another, I would like to especially dedicate this to those devastatingly helpless victims who have encountered, experienced and endured a level of depravity, brutality and neglect of such magnitude that one would not normally associate it with the term “child abuse.” It is for these individuals, all survivors like them and for those of us who have had to live a life attempting to recover from severe physical child abuse, that I now tell this story…
And for the rare few who have tried to walk along-side me, throughout this tumultuous journey and still tried to call me friend regardless, I admire your spirit, your tenacity, your humanity and I would like you all to know, I profoundly understand, only too well now, why you are all gone…I love you all none the less…
From a tranquil, secluded inlet on the Puget Sound
July 11, 2017
To Rainy and Jayson…
There are no words to describe the immense depth of the love I feel for you both nor just how remarkably grateful I am for the privilege of being able to do so…I hope our best chapters have yet to be written...
~ Introduction ~
“The foundation of all mental illness
is the unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering.”
Planet Earth. The “rock” we all call “home.” A rock, spinning on its axis at 700 mph, all while hurling through space at 66 thousand miles per hour…or so they say. This, occurring, mind you, with a plethora of other “rocks,” of various shapes, sizes and density, all doing pretty much the same thing… “Rocks,” who, on occasion, tend to slam into each other at great velocities. Rocks fly into solar systems, wreak havoc and then go along their merry way. Sort of like pool balls on a pool table…AND as if THAT alone isn’t precarious and worrisome enough to keep one up on the occasional night, down here on the “rock” we all call home, what ensues as “life on planet Earth,” is far more precarious than the random chance of one of those other “rocks,” slamming into our bright blue, little ball of a planet. Indeed, things occur on this world, quite often, with high degrees of strangeness, peculiarity, illogicality and outright inhumanity.
Personally, when this story all began, I hadn’t yet been afforded the opportunity to make a conscious decision to become one thing or the other. It just fuckin’ happened to me. Each inexplicable, mind and soul shattering event were a catalyst for what developed next, for “who” came after and for the sum of the “person” you have before you presently. Listen, it’s kind of ironic to me, I guess, to come to realize, so much later in life; that none of “them” ever got out or went away. You know, that inquisitive child, the gregarious teenager and the inspired and motivated young adult you were, at that time of being those things, well, “they” are all still in there with you and they never leave. They are carried around with you wherever you go; adapting, assimilating and accommodating your developing ‘self’, your “person,” your ego and your view of the world; into each new experience, each new situation, each new set of circumstances and every single relationship encountered and formed throughout your lifetime… Pretty amazing shit, if you ask me.
So, as it were. If, each of the "persons" YOU became, throughout the various stages of YOUR early development, was nurtured and loved within a healthy, enriching, stimulating, non-stressed environment by emotionally available and psychologically attuned parent/caregivers and YOU were allowed to form a healthy view of YOUR “self.” Thus, healthy attachments, bonds and relationships with others throughout that experience such as a “person’s” transition to their next stage of development or the next “person” he or she is to become, is typically a seamless metamorphosis that sometimes passes un-noticed. As the people we become through each of our developmental stages eventually and inevitably melds into a single, whole, “well-balanced individual.” Indeed, sans interruption or disruption, most times, these developmental transitions are so mundane, they are hardly even noticed.
However, for some individuals; their life experience throughout their early and later development has been wrought with adversity, overwhelming conflict, unmitigated stress, untenable terror, insurmountable violence, abject fear and willful, horrendous neglect. For some of these unfortunate individuals, each of the “persons” THEY became throughout their individual developmental processes; the terrorized, abused child, the rage filled adolescent and the violently twisted, young adult, as it were, instead of developing into a healthy, single “whole person,” each of these personalities fractured and broke off from the “whole” in an attempt to protect itself from further trauma and harm, taking up residence within its’ own little compartment of the individuals’ psyche; secreted away behind a closed door, down the long, blackened corridor of their experiences; forever to lurk, poised to be ‘triggered’ and prepared for the very necessity of circumventing or lashing out at all those who pose the potential for additional and further harm…real, perceived or otherwise.
This is a story of that latter group I speak of. A story of one individual and the twisting carousel of life shaping events and experiences that wove its way through five and a half decades of trauma, brutality, drug abuse, criminality and chronic mental illness. Certainly, while this is a story of human victimization and trauma; it is also just as much of a story of a boundless, unfulfilled, personal quest of this author, to discover, understand and come to terms with who and what he is amid such prolonged, deranging madness. Ultimately, however, and rather sadly, it is a story of a wounded, shattered child who must believe it is possible to somehow “listen” a person’s soul back into existence…my soul.
Moreover, and as I much as I would like to, I wish I could tell you there is some profound reason for writing this book, other than what I just stated. Indeed, there may not be any magical answers or philosophical words of wisdom found in the pages to follow. Only a telling of what I have experienced and how I came to survive it all to this point, while trying desperately to remain human. In posterity, I believe this book will be left to those with much larger brains than mine, if anyone ever cares enough to try and figure it all out. As to myself, all I can impart to you; in wisdom, I think; is a small caveat; if I may be so permitted… I have survived the story you are about to hear thus far but if you are looking for a warm, fuzzy “and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after” kind of ending, triumphing the endurance and resiliency of the human spirit you may want to close this book now. I do not think my story ends that way… In fact, statistically, the majority of such stories don’t. Most stories, like the one you are about to read, simply just end one day, rather badly from the human perspective by yourself... alone, angry, bitter, in despair, destitute, gripped in insanity.
However, there is, I believe, another caveat in order here, if I dare to be so bold, even if just for the briefest of moments, lest I get my hopes too high. Here I am telling you this story now, literally decades after some of these events I am about to share occurred; lucid, cogent, compassionate, empathetic, momentarily in recovery and not doing a life sentence; so, one never knows; maybe the last chapter has yet to be written and there are still things yet to be discovered. Long ago, buried deep in isolation in Walpole State prison’s notorious and forbidding Departmental Segregation Unit or “10 Block,” as it was called, I read some amazingly simple but powerful words, written in an old Readers Digest, by author Dale E. Turner and like a drowning man in a raging, tumultuous sea, I grabbed on to these words like a damn life-preserver, “Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born...”
More recently, I came across this, in the writings of Dr. Gabor Maté,
“Not every story has a happy ending... but the discoveries of science, the teachings of the heart, and the revelations of the soul all assure us that no human being is ever beyond redemption. The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists…” Well, amazingly enough, I am still alive.
If there is a “definitive” reason for why I write this book, it is found within these glaring statistics…In 2015 alone, 876,569 substantiated cases of physical child abuse and neglect were documented across 50 states. Per the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, approximately 84 percent of these cases involved abuse and neglect by a parent (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], 2017). Of these cases, 19 percent (approximately 210,601 children) were related to severe physical abuse.
Overall, research conducted by the National Institute of Justice in 2016 has shown that 86 percent of the all incarcerated adult male felons in the U.S. report some form of early childhood victimization before age 12, with the most common form of victimization being physical abuse and neglect. Using a measure of “very severe violence,” researchers here found that approximately 47.5 percent of the sample reported to being subjected to "severe physical child abuse."
Among the most frequently discussed topics, with regards to the long-term consequences of severe physical child abuse are criminal, violent behavior and substance abuse. Researchers in New Zealand, when comparing a sample of validated cases of severe physical child abuse and neglect (identified by child protection agencies 20 years earlier) to a sample of non-abused, non-neglected cohorts (identified by evaluating court, probation and parole records), established that the subjects in the abused-neglected group had a much higher likelihood and prevalence of arrests for delinquency, drug use, adult criminality, and violent criminal behavior than those in the non-abused-neglected group. This is only one such study. There are many. This study and others will be discussed in various detail within this work.
Experts in the fields of the social sciences, education, medicine and law enforcement, as well as, many others, are extremely concerned about the long-term effects of severe physical child abuse has on our communities, our culture and on our society. Researchers have examined and categorized the effects of severe physical child abuse, from birth to old age, along various domains and dimensions, to include onset of abuse, the type of abuse, severity of outcomes, the duration and the effect of the trauma experienced and have found repeatedly and consistently that the negative consequences of pervasive and persistent severe physical child abuse during the developmental stages of early childhood, childhood and adolescence significantly affects and impacts greatly, a broad array of areas of human functioning in very profound, very maladaptive ways, to include; physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral and social function. What is to follow is a story that shines a very bright light on these, stark and significant conclusions...
End of Part One