I only lived through it.
The thing that people who have never "gone through it" don't understand is that in the middle of it all - while it's happening year after year - you are not often of the mind to even consider survival. You just want it to stop. When your parent is going batshit whacko on you with the buckle end of the belt, you're not thinking "Golly Gee Wilikers, now how do I deal with this?" You're thinking things like, "Ow!" and "I hope she doesn't hit me in the eye." and "Did my tooth just get knocked out?" Or "Fuck! That hurt!" (And yes, I thought "Fuck!" at the age of eight.)
Surviving comes later. As an adult. Surviving comes in (re)learning how to live like a normal human being. How to fuck something up and not cringe and flinch because you'll no longer be beaten within an inch of your life for it. Surviving comes much later in a million different ways you never expected. In discovering what it feels like to be loved in return. In learning the joy of being wanted. In belonging for the first time - EVER. In waking up unbattered and not having to worry about how to hide it from Mrs. Gulledge.
For me, I am only now beginning to survive it. To pick up the pieces that became my life. Survivorship is dependent on forgiveness - and that can often be far more difficult to endure that a disclocated shoulder or a bruised trachea. The real wounds are on they inside and they bleed freely.
As a kid, I survived only because they didn't kill me first. It was only physical. It was all I knew.
As an adult, I am surviving by rebuilding. By learning all the things I was never afforded in my black and blue childhood. Love. Acceptance. Peace. It is a list I hope grows with time.
I am surviving by closing doors.
And kicking out windows.
And letting go.
And moving on.
And moving on.