Though I am half-way through Akua Agyekumwaa‘s Hurt People, Hurt People: Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Abuse, this is what I have to say already about the book:
Interspersed with stories of abuse, Akua Agyekumwaa explains in layman’s understanding the nature and consequences of abuse, and provides remedies for tackling abuse, pain and depression in whatever form they appear. The stories assure any victim of abuse that they are not alone in their plight and that healing is possible.
Until I started reading Akua’s book, I never knew that what I experienced as a child was the reason for my prolonged dislike for my dad and my low self-esteem during my senior high school days.
I once innocently lighted a paper with a match stick in our bedroom. As a young boy, it never occurred to me that the place could have caught fire. When my dad returned from work to learn about the incident, he got angry and for the first time (which will also be the last), I was given six painful strokes of the Nigerian cane.
The other experience involved my mum. I used to wet the bed a lot and so my mum decided that I sleep on a mat on the floor while my younger brother slept comfortably on the bed. Severally, she will scold me in front of him. Until my bed-wetting ceased, this was my plight. And as a way of ‘curing’ what my grandma termed as a ‘spiritual disease’, I was butted with an unripe finger of plantain by a ‘specialist’.
For many years after these experiences, I felt that I had been adopted or that either my dad or mum was a step-parent. I decided to look for evidence. One day when my parents were away from home, I searched through their belongings and found their marriage certificate. I verified the dates and found that my claims were false. Since then, I was assured that I was my parents’ child.
However, it still never occurred to me that I had felt this way because of the childhood experiences I have described above. After I confirmed that I was a biological son, I tried to understand why I had felt that way. I never got answers and so I settled for a spiritual reason. I told myself it was the devil putting ideas in my mind.
But after reading Akua Agyekumwaa’s book,“Hurt People, Hurt People”, I have gained an understanding of why I felt I wasn’t a biological son of my parents. It was the abuse (physical and verbal, but more psychological) that I experienced as a child.
Many people conceive of abuse as something physical and visible. People may want to see a mark, a scar, blood, etc. before they consider an action as abuse. But psychological abuse is so deadly that it can lead one to commit suicide. Akua opens our eyes to see how not only physical abuse is a problem, but also how psychological abuse is deadly.
As Akua notes, healing is possible and it is in the chapters on healing that you see Akua’s inspirational gift wrapped up in her writing. I am glad that as Akua touches on healing, she declares that Jesus is the Ultimate Healer. I recommend this book without any reservation.