My first memory of neglect was in the cot screaming for my mother to come, but she deliberately stayed away. She didn't know how to meet her own needs, so meeting mine triggered often uncontrollable anger towards me. Her idea of keeping me safe was to distance herself so she stayed away in case she hurt me. She could be loving one minute and in meltdown the next. I felt so sorry for her because I knew she did not mean it. I learned to subvert my own needs to meet hers. My first memory of abuse was at my friend's house at the hands of her very manipulative father. In my lifetime I have suffered sexual abuse and rape at the hands of four different men. I internalised it all. I thought no one would believe this all happened to one person. Who would I tell anyway? I was so ashamed and wanted to forget. Some memories I had pushed so far down in my own mind that I didn't remember until I was much older and had support. The police in those days tended to blame and mistrust the victim, I tried telling them once. I know policies and procedures have changed but it is still very difficult to admit such horrible things.
I am an adult now, at 51 to some I may be considered middle aged. I am healthy and have Spirit family in different parts of the world who really see and support me in my life's journey. Getting here has not been easy. Trauma has a big impact on how I have viewed myself and my right to be loved, seen or heard. How do we build security from within when we have been violated, when those we have trusted have manipulated or groomed us to believe we are powerless or voiceless?
For many years I thought my fears, my anxiety my hypervigilance and lack of self-confidence was just unique to me and my life circumstances. When I found out that what I feel and experience is common for those who have been neglected or abused, I felt liberated. I felt I had a chance to rebuild my inner world, be safer in expressing my abilities, and lastly the momentum to stay out of the story or victimhood of my circumstances but instead change my response to it all.
Facing the emotional and sometimes somatic (feelings in the body) has been the hardest thing. Somedays I have just been flooded with grief, shock, overwhelming sadness or a sense of being frozen. Luckily I have good professional and spiritual support both in counselling and in bodywork. I have been able to become a witness to my traumatised child self rather than being stuck viewing the world from that place.
When I look around me, I see so many women who have also been sexually abused, discriminated against because of social economic circumstances beyond their control or because of, race, gender, colour sexual orientation or just because they are vulnerable and unprotected in their family of origin. It would be so easy to despair, but I know we have the ability to change the patterning in ourselves and to change the intergenerational trauma from continuing down the line. When we really dive in with courage to heal ourselves we are actually healing generations, and that's what feeds my hope, that it ends with me. It is sacred work, our past Ancestors benefit as do our future ones. I truly believe this. For so long I felt alone, isolated, unloved, unseen. I had to change it or this world would have been too cold for me to stay in.
I have a clearer view of myself now, sitting in my own seat and making my own decisions that are not so clouded by these traumatised parts. I have some hope