Every day is hard but how much harder can it get. Living in the world of trauma I am already waiting for that next kick in the pants. Waiting for the next person to let me down. Waiting to be hurt once again. I have no idea what it is like to get up every morning without fear. My abuse ended physically over 20 years ago but every day I relive parts of it. This can be waking up and reliving the nightmare I just had. It could be a simple thing triggering me into a flashback. You know when it is the hardest, those days when your husband comes up behinds you and hugs you or kiss you and you flinch. Knowing that my flinch causes my husband hurt is the worse thing to endure. I hate knowing there are people around me that judge me when I react in situations in a negative way.
I hate that a small situation can make me defensive and I react before I think. Usually this means I react in anger. I completely shut down and the only thing I can do is go into protection mode. I know people don’t get why I react the way I do in those situation, Hell I don’t always understand why I do. I want what most people want, that is to feel that the people around you are able to support you even when they are not able to understand.
Vulnerability is the worse thing for me. I hate to ever let anyone know they have hurt me. I tend to push people away so they don’t have the chance to hurt me. However, when they finally do leave me, I experience that abandonment feeling. The most embarrassing thing is when I show people I fear losing them, that I come off as needy and always needing reassurances. What I hope is that one day I can have normal friendships and normal reactions to them. For now I at least keep trying and working on myself. Big thanks to the people in my life that I know 100% always are trying their best to understand me and support me. One day I will be able to have a healthy interaction when things throw me off balance. Like always thanks for listening to my ramble!
I was lucky earlier this week I spent some time with an amazing 17 year old. This experience ended up being an awaking for me. This 17 year old was a reminder of me at 17 and how crazy life could be at that time. Here was I realized during the evening we spent together. I have continued to put all the blame on myself for allowing my abuse to continue well past the time I felt that I should have been able to stop it. This particular kid reminded me how fragile life is at 17 and how confusing things can be. How can I continue to blame my 17 year old self? I was just trying to survive! Of course I didn’t want to be rejected, ignored, not loved. This is every persons basic need. He broke me and made me live every day of my life wondering when I will be free. When will someone want me for me?
I have spend most of my adult life continuing to believe all the shit I was told. No one would ever want me. I couldn’t survive without him in my life. Now I wonder how I was able to be the person I am today. I wonder why I was lucky enough to find a man who loves me and truly wants me. Even though I have all of that I still question his motives everyday. Maybe he is not still here because he loves me, maybe he is here because it is easier then starting over. I hate that my abusers have me second guess the one person in my life that wants me and loves me. Now I need to figure out how to completely take back my power. I need to shut off the voices that tell me I can’t survive without him. I need to stop hearing my abuser every day try to break down my confidence. I make a promise to myself I will find away to shut their fucking voices down in my head. I will continue to survive. I will continue to be the woman I want to be. This is my time all my time! One day I will be able to tell him to fuck off!
Let’s go back a little ways to when I was a child. Imagine being 7 years old the first time a person who is suppose to take care of you violates not just your body but your mind and soul. How does a child of 7 deal with that? How is adult who was that child suppose to deal with that? Well if you have not dealt with this type of trauma let me tell you how we deal with that! First we avoid anyone as a child and as a adult who could cause the same shame and degrading feelings that stay with you. For me, I just isolated myself. If I never left the house no one could get to me, no one could be allowed to hurt me. Well this worked amazingly well for many years. Then one day at 32 you have no option but to stop the isolation and get out into the scary fucked up world. Now what am I suppose to do. I look over my shoulder, I make sure I am always in a position to get away fast. That gets exhausting after awhile and it becomes harder to feel safe. All I wanted to do was go home and close and lock that door, but that is no longer an option. So shit what’s next how do I keep going? I kept going by taking a lot of meds for anxiety and depression but they only helped to a point. I needed to find away out of the darkness that has been so safe for me. The more meds I took and the more I had to leave my house I started to get angry! I was angry with myself. I would say, “Jen stop being a baby stop whining your an adult act like one!” Easier to say then actually do. So I need to make my next step. How do I move into the world and out of my house? Well I decided to just go for it and went back to school. OMG the first few months were the hardest thing I have ever done! It also became the one thing that saved me. I finally would have a purpose!!
So I recently had therapy and over the last few days shame and vulnerability have been on my mind. Many people look at these two words and they think they are the same or at least very similar. I am learning that this is not so. For many years I always put these two words in the same context but as I have been working through my trauma and learning more I realize I have been very wrong. I also have been thinking about how shame and vulnerability have affected the way I have dealt with my trauma. Don’t get me wrong I have not worked completely through this but at least it gives me pause before I let the shame take over my day.
So the reason I have been thinking more about this is because a little over a week ago I did something I have never done before and have always promised myself I would never do. I had a complete emotional break down at work. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had just done this in the privacy of my office but I was not alone! I spent at least 30 minutes blubbering and opening my soul to a coworker and my friend. While I value this person I was ashamed that I lost my composure and dumped on her. She was amazing and so supportive but the next day I struggled to look her in the eyes. I actually tried to avoid her. So when I talked to my therapist she pushed me to look at what I was really feeling. We talked about vulnerability and why I looked at this as shame instead. It is easier to feel the shame because at least then you don’t have to admit to yourself that you just exposed a new part of yourself to someone. My tribe looks at me like I am strong and put together and always has my shit together are at least that is my perspective. I feel that I can’t let anyone see that part of me because I am open to being hurt and falling back into the way I have always been, closed off so that I can’t have any reason to let anyone in.
So what about shame? Shame is the way that abusers keep their thumb on you and keeps you from telling anyone your secret. Shame is what the two abusers in my life used to assure that no one ever figured out how sick and fucked up they were. Instead I was the one that felt sick and fucked up. Hell I still feel that way 90% of the time. The funny thing is that 90% is an improvement as I have always felt 100% fucked up. It has been over 20 years since I was molested and groom by these sick people but they still have so much power over my life and I hate that. I have been working hard to take my power back but I do not feel that it is happening fast enough. HAHAHA the funny thing in all this is I am a therapist I do this for a living and I still don’t give myself any breaks. I can tell others that it gets easier and it is not their fault but I am a fraud because I have not gotten myself to believe my bullshit!!! So this post is going to be a reminder of a goal I am going to set for myself and I hope that by putting this hear my readers will remind me that I made this goal. My goal is that I am going to work hard to be more vulnerable and allow myself to feel what I feel without worrying that the people around me will not respect me. I also am going to use this format to write my whole story without a filter. I am going to stop hiding my secrets and start exposing my abusers secrets. I AM ENOUGH!!!
Groom what is it most people hear this term and really do not understand what it is and how it can affect a person. Grooming is how a person is able to control and manipulate a child or even an adult into doing what they want someone to do. I am going to explain groom in terms of my own abuse. Imagine being 13 years old, and in those short years already faced years of being molested by an adult who was suppose to love and care for you. That person is thankfully taken out of your life and you think for a minute that you are finally safe. That 13 year old was me. I was ready to be safe and happy and I was for a very short time. That ended when the next person came into my life and was able to see I was a broken soul and an easy child to manipulate for your own benefit. This person came into my life and told me I was safe and loved and that the rest of my life I would be ok. This is how the grooming started. Because this person was able to see I was broken and vulnerable this person knew just how to get me to believe that I was safe. This man was charming and loved by everyone that I trusted. He started to make me feel that I was the most important person in the world and that he was going to love and protect me forever. As a vulnerable 13 year old who has been hurt so completely this felt like the best thing in the world. Whenever I started to think about what this person was saying to me I would question myself but come on I was 13 years old what did I know. Everyone thought this man was amazing so I should also right? Things started so slowly that I was not able to see what was really happening until it was to late and I was under his spell. I write about this today because I have been reminded in my job that this is becoming more and more prevalent in our society and it scares the hell out of me. Groomers leave us feeling that we asked for this situation and that they are the only ones that know what is best for us. They also leave us with very little ways out. I have been triggered more and more lately and I want people to see how groomers are able to take over our lives and change the person we are right now. It is not our fault but the groomers but it is hard to see that in the minute. There is so much more to this story but I wanted to start here. Please realize that we can survive this but it is hell at the time and for a long time after. Don’t blame the person who has been manipulated it is not our fault and trust me we already blame ourselves. Try and understand without placing blame on the person who is just trying to survive.
If you know anything about trauma you know that the hardest thing to deal with is the triggers! I go a long time doing well and then one of those triggers will come up and hit me square in the face. It still catches me off guard the triggers that will set me off. When I think about how far I have come and the small things that can set me off I get so angry with myself. I cannot keep letting the men, if that is what they should be called, continue to have this much power over me. I think my biggest confusion is why do I continue to punish the 7 year old me. Why does she continue to be the one I blame? She is my shadow who is always with me and when I see her all I can see is a penis in her mouth. Logically I know that she should not be to blame but the irrational side of me continues to blame. I have realized over time that part of my issue with the 7 year old is she is the one that made me vulnerable to the continued abused that I face with the second abuser. This abuse left me an easy target to be groomed and made to feel that I was in a relationship but no really this person just knew I was an easy target. The hardest part of all of this for me is that I am left feeling shame and that some how I either asked for it or wanted it. I can hear my therapist in my head right now and I know what she would say but the feels are still there. When will I be able to let the 7 year old go and stop blaming myself for the horrible abuse I had to endure by two men who were selfish and played off my vulnerability.