This, of course, is a sensitive issue. People don’t talk about it, thus the reason I wanted to blog about it. I created a survival look of learning to live with sexual abuse like college courses, because really… it is a life long learning process.
Introduction to Sexual Abuse 101
Getting Through Sexual Abuse 102
Working with Emotions After Sexual Abuse 201
Learning to Trust Other People Again 301
Learning to Trust Yourself Again 401
This blog is about what happens when the child has grown up, and has her own children. It’s the graduate course on childhood trauma, thus 501. (Anyone else been to graduate school, knows that the first few classes are there to weed you out. The tough classes. To see if you can hack the program. Well, I’m working my way through this lifetime long course).
What the heck could I mean by this? Now that I am a new mommy, I have had some major issues resurface about what happened when I was kid. The main issue: I trust NO ONE to take care of my daughter. (Obviously, not as well as I do of course. But I just have a major trust issue resurfacing).
Back Story: I grew up with a father and grandfather that were both pedophiles. Both spent time in state penitentiaries for child abuse. Not a happy thing to admit, but that is the story. I, unfortunately, was also a victim of their sickness. Yes, I do believe it is an illness. My theory, my grandfather and father repeated what was done to them. It is a loss of control over their lives. It is fearful and scary. Learned at a young age, they continued the acts onto others to gain some of that control back. To do unto others what was done to them, and ingrained into them was the appropriate way to handle such emotions. It was totally NOT OKAY to do to others, by any means, but I have an idea why they did it. It has taken me a friggin’ long time to come to terms with this.
So, after years of therapy, anger issues, and all that crap, I have found a safe haven for myself. I have worked through a lot of the painful emotions that surfaced as I grew up. How I relearned to trust others. Learned to trust my fiance who became my husband. (Talk about flashbacks I got with intimacy. Poor man has really been there for me through it all). I learned to trust myself, and my own instincts in seeing others. I have an amazing intuition when it comes to people who may not be “safe” with my emotions, with my heart, and with my physical being. Since having Sunshine, feelings have resurfaced and that trusted intuition is all over the place and has scared me greatly.
I trust the DOH (Dear ‘Ole Hubby) to take good care of Sunshine. He is as scared as I am of her coming to harm, and we both enjoy her so much that we rarely want to go out anywhere. I was watching him with her at first, but have worked through this. I had to prepare myself for how to take care of Sunshine “hygienically speaking,” and that it was okay and the right thing to do. Secretly I carried this fear that that would be inappropriate of me, and that I would be doing what was done to me. I’m still afraid. My history and life experience has affected me and my husband. How screwed up is that?! So, yeah. I’ve got issues I’ve been working on. I also have been scared to let others care for Sunshine for the same reasons. However, I am trying to push myself to let others take care of her. This is incredibly hard because although I may trust some of the people to watch over her, in the back of my mind I’m screaming “What If!”
Here is a situation: Sunshine has been cared for by my parents (mom and stepfather). I still have major issues there because my mother knew what was happening to me when I was kid. She knew that my grandfather was a pedophile, yet she still had him care for me a couple days a week. She had told herself that he would never do the things he did to family members (when he had done it to his own son, and others). She left me with him. (Talk about abandonment issues). I believe this will take me years to work through. I love my mother, we are the greatest of friends and are closer than ever, but this will always haunt me. My mind comes back with “What is to stop her from letting someone get to Sunshine?” Somewhere, in the back of my mind, just roars up and yells when I walk out the door and leave her. Even if it is only for a trip to the grocery store. If I can’t really feel all that warm and fuzzy leaving Sunshine with my own mother, than what makes people think I will feel that great leaving her with people I am not as familiar with?
For instance, there is a friend of mine. Love her to pieces. I had her watch Sunshine for me for about an hour so I could go get some items at Costco. I went as fast as I could and raced to get back… not thinking to call because I figured I would catch anything going on if they didn’t know I would be coming back so soon. I didn’t even realize this was what I was thinking until later. This is what I think with my parents, and one other who has cared for Sunshine. What the heck am I doing?!! This person, people, have been close friends for years and years. Yet I don’t feel comfortable in my own shoes leaving Sunshine with someone that I obviously care for and trust.
Yet, that is the way it goes. I am now working on my “self-talk” to recognize what I am feeling. Acknowledge it. Understand it. This is NOT an irrational fear. It is extremely rational for me. I like to think about it this way:
If something bad had happened to me leaving a movie theater at night, would this stop me from seeing movies ever again? From going out at night altogether? I would miss out on all these opportunities if I let these issues take over. Sunshine would miss out on opportunities to get to know different people. If she senses my mistrust of others, she will learn to mistrust too. I don’t want that for her. Instead, I have to learn to cope with said emotion. Figure out what are the rational fears, what are just over-sensitivities to the situation.
So, I have a choir concert coming up. I would love my parents and hubby to attend. I have chosen another friend, that I know a little bit, to watch over Sunshine. This person has done such a superb job in the past with our other friends kids, and she is just an all-around nice gal. Do I have an overwhelming sense of trust, no. But I am trying to let go of that. Has nothing to do with her. Has to do with me.
Although I know caregivers are not me, they won’t care for Sunshine like I will, I have to learn to let go a little, right? And I certainly can’t send every person to get a polygraph test, or background check for 2 hours of childcare. Or can I?
Yeah, I know. This is the graduate course. This is where the abused child became a mother. Now said mother has to learn all over how to trust. I don’t want Sunshine to learn to distrust others. However, I have great support from the DOH and he reminds me, “You need to give attention to the red flags that pop up for you. They aren’t unjustified. You’re the mama bear now. You have to protect your cub, especially when your mental health is a key component for our families whole well-being.” Well said, hubby. Well said.