The Cruelest Abuse

Families are more interested in their reputation than the child sexually attacked. Be quiet and love your attacker.

To expect a child to swallow all that terrifying trauma and go on instead of intervening and assisting the child to process it causes life-long injury. At 64, my highly reactive startle reflex has not improved along with many other things. Some challenges increase as years pass. One does not ‘get over it,’ heal, or move on because no one came to help. All that trauma went inside causing more damage. The bleeding never stops.

Sexual attacks to a child are as horrific as being hit by a locomotive. In that case all come to help. She is allowed to talk about it as long as she needs to with incoming sympathy, compassion and condolences. Processing trauma helps heal the brain and all other systems. Without that processing the brain is injured and she is affected on all levels, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

But a child is hushed up because of the fear of how their reputations will be affected. The pretense of caring is put forth but no real care is given. People hurdle together to protect themselves.

Will one person stand up, bear witness, possess character and say this is wrong, and put a protective arm around her shoulder? The attacker needs to repent and beg forgiveness with true sorrow. That is what the family needs to focus on, not hushing her up.

Going along with the pretense of family in order to have one kept me from myself where home has been found, and truth resides with authenticity. 

 

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CONNECT

photos by Patricia

Dig deep below the chatter, deeper, settle into your being to whatever is there. Because what is there sustains with strength unyielding…through despair, depression, anxiety, and life’s ever changing moments.

There is where you find the steady light within the storm. There is where you find her. Love her, cherish her, and hold her till she warms you whole.

In the Moment

I feel such peace and stillness. There has not been a time when I’ve felt such calm nor connectedness within my being. I cherish this reprieve, this period of quiet happiness.

The unusual heat was swept away with the wind as leaves swirled. The walk near the creek crunches heavily as the thick carpet of newly fallen leaves crackles under the weight of my feet. Capris are replaced by sweat pants as the temperature dips from 90 to 60 and the change brings relief even though the clouds hide the sun.

The air is full of sweet earthy composting as the fruits of summer decay, the scent going straight to my core. Snapping back to Now, my eyes feast on the rusts, golds, and yellows as the lush greens wither and die. Soon the trees will be bare but there are other delights to be enjoyed as each season brings its unique smorgasbord of treats if one is aware enough to take it in.

Often during the day my tendency to be ahead of where I am causes me to internally speak, slow down. Be with what you are doing in this moment. Because I’m always rushing ahead of where I am to the destination, but then there is another. Now is the destination. What you are doing at this moment is where you need to be.

ONLY CHILD

The fantasy of being an only child sometimes arises. Four remaining siblings cling together in the pretense of family including the last of the abusers. My assertion that each not speak to me about him, along with hearing that I wrote a memoir seemed to cast me out and draw them tighter.

This is a great gift allowing for spaciousness, freedom and vast personal growth. This period in my life has offered peace, stillness and happiness never known before. Feelings of wholeness filled within after speaking my truth and asserting my needs. Live and let live. Live and let die. You have a right to live your life as I do mine. 

The Family Pull

photos by Patricia

A sister-in-law I have never been close sent a link about their travels cross-country in a camper. She touts how they all gather at Tom’s. His real name is John. Since reading it I cannot wash him off lying awake thinking of the life-time of his psychological abuse. Feelings of being left out is a wound never quite healed and needs tending again.

After making it known to three siblings that I wrote a book nothing was said. One completely cut off ties. I need more and it isn’t there. The failure to offer compassion, alliance or acknowledgment erects a barrier.

Any interaction is like pouring water over rock. The lack of profundity for the truth makes interaction intolerable. Not one stands up and says THIS WAS WRONG. Instead they cling to each other and the abuser.

What happens in families of origin when a sexual abuse survivor comes forward seems a common theme. Don’t talk or speak of it or you’re out. It has nothing to do with the survivor yet has everything to do with her. The ‘family’ cleaves to the natural order of clan instinctively banning together no matter what.

It looks like family but is powered by weak character and lack of strength. Each has their own agenda. I am outcast to have spoken. Yet I must speak and need to belong.

Cherish the family I have built. The more space I have the better I feel. But my shoulders slump walking the meadow. Beauty in the day has dimmed. Lift them up and feel who you are, not what they say you are, or what you think they say to make themselves feel better. 

RIGHTEOUSNESS IN NUMBERS

foggy sunrise-photo by Patricia

Being a child sexually abused by a family member is a special kind of hell. Family will turn against her clinging to each other if she speaks of it. And that is for life. They gather round the abuser exalting him. At least it seems that way to the child now woman.

Some may find support from family, but many must fend for themselves and make their own family. She returns time and again hoping. She is alone and in her aloneness finds freedom. Eventually the reality holds memories without pain.

The Hole

Help from others in the past brought solace. Leaning on others when the empty hole yawned like an endless cavern threatening to devour my sanity eased me through difficulty. It did not sustain adequately as the empty hole to run from remained. Others were asked for input on how I felt and what I thought because connection internally had not occurred. I was perpetually lost.

How to find that place when trauma kept me from it, when resting in the nectar of the soul is impossible because it is on fire not freshly swelling with honey? The lessons learned in childhood were that I was unlovable, unworthy and not capable. I yearned to belong and fit in. Help from the origin family came with conditions. Eventually those conditions were not possible. 

The pull to the clan is a basic instinct. To be rejected from the tribe means sure death. Once connections began within myself the origin family became poison. They are poisonous still. 

Everything that I knew as a child was stripped away, shattered and stolen. When sexually attacked by those I loved and trusted much was taken, much was lost— trust, innocence, the ownership of my own body, the feeling of belonging, the feeling I even had a right to be here, a sense of self, my sexuality…the list goes on. Challenges intensified as years passed and life’s responsibilities increased.     

The child that was disappeared. Who she became changed. Sadness permeated my being once the running stopped and acceptance came for what was done. The craving for acceptance into the fold kept me returning repeatedly with hope. There comes a time to stop looking for what will never come.

There are many paths to that place within that is home. Fleeing from it throughout life was the norm. With spirit, determination, and a dogged persistence it becomes possible to stay with what is. Instead of a dark scary place the hole became a bright lively room with doors to more rooms. Eventually the rooms open to each other. With excitement the exploration goes on.  

At times panic sets in but a voice, perhaps god speaks. She says, “You have everything that you need.” 

The panic abates. Peace soothes as answers come. It is imperative to connect to ones being. Yet it is only late in life that this miracle has opened up such possibilities. Expansion occurs each new day. The gaping painful hole became home.