Parenting-An Unexpected Trigger
On Tuesday, Dawn courageously shared a part of her story with us. You may have noticed that she touched briefly on a project she and a fellow survivor, mother, and blogger are starting to support others who no longer want to feel alone, who want to find a community where there are others who understand completely what they are living with day in and day out.
This is exactly the kind of project the Sisterwives get behind wholeheartedly. Not one of us needs to feel alone, no matter the trauma we have endured. If you are a survivor or know someone who is, please read Dawn’s second post here today and consider contributing to this incredible anthology project or sharing the opportunity.
Together we are stronger. ~ The Sisterwives
People may ask, why open up old wounds by talking about abuse that happened to you in childhood? I’d say childhood abuse is a kill-shot, not a wound. It penetrates your soul, preventing your life from ever following the path it once did. So why wouldn’t we “open up the wound”, permitting ourselves to process and learn from the damage done. How else can one do that except to discuss, evaluate and re-evaluate the effects of the abuse, as they play out in to adulthood.
Telling the truth is what makes people aware. True awareness is comprehending that only 1-10% of child molestation cases are ever reported to the police and two-thirds to ninety percent of sexual abuse victims never tell anyone. This is a population of men and women who never received justice for what was done to them, and are left walking around with a secret festering in side of them. It’s a poison that you are foolish not to believe seeps in to how we feel, how we think, how we act and how we parent.
The fear of someone I trust abusing my children, breastfeeding, bathing, diapering, experiencing genuine love, tender moments at bedtime, disciplining – these are all new triggers I came up against as a new mom. The sadness and fury I felt when I searched and searched for books, articles, posts, anything that would help me feel less alone, didn’t settle well with me. I had to get what I was feeling out of me.
I started to put my own fears, thoughts and reactions to all this on paper – unfiltered. The result was a heavily carved article about what it is like to raise a daughter as a survivor. The relief I felt and the response I received was a game changer for me. It re-fueled the drive I once had to work on my own recovery and support others in theirs.
Joyelle Brandt, a fellow momma survivor, and I began working on building a community for parenting survivors. A connection that so many survivors are looking for, to defy the loneliness and shame. For the sake of ourselves, the generation we are raising and other survivors, we feel like we have to talk about what helps us move through the struggles we face.
Despite the joy I feel in creating new connections with people through my writing, I’m disheartened by a pattern I am starting to notice. Posts in which I share about being a survivor and advocate for others, receive unprecedented hits for my blog. However, engagement and even likes are far and few in between. What does that say about the fear this topic evokes in survivors. I believe it says two things – survivors learning that they are not alone in what they experience is something that is craved, yet associating oneself with even a “like”, linking him or herself to the stigma of being damaged by abuse, is a very difficult thing to do.
I am a college educated, resilient woman. I have an easy going personality and I’m funny as hell, sometimes. I don’t know what people picture when they think of someone that would dare admit that she was molested as a child, but I don’t think it is me. Nor do I believe it is the face of the several female and male friends of mine, that are also survivors living “normal” lives. I have no desire to sit and cry about what happened to me as a child; however, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel entitled to talk about what was done to me, and the effects that linger and intervene in my life because of it.
I am not an incapable parent because I admit that caring for my children, in the most basic of ways, can trigger me. I’m just a survivor that is sick to death of watching childhood abuse manifest as physical and mental symptoms both in myself and those around me. I just want to give my kids a better life than I had. The only way I know how to do that is by telling the truth about what exactly fuels abusive cycles, from the survivor’s point of view.
If you are a parenting survivor, or want to learn more about what it is like for someone you care about that is, join our Facebook community. I hope you will consider contributing to our upcoming anthology, Trigger Points: An Abuse Survivors Experience of Parenting, as well. Everything you need to know about submitting a piece is on the Facebook page. I’m so incredibly passionate about this project. The next time a mother or father goes searching for support in stories that confirm he or she is not alone, I want them to find our stories, empowering them to tell their own.
Dawn is a thirty-something wife and Momma to two. She blogs at W.T.F. words thoughts feelings, where some of her writing reflects being a survivor of too many ugly events in her life, but a desire to incorporate them into something that makes the pain and dysfunction worth something. She is co-editor of the upcoming anthology Trigger Points: Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting. Dawn can be found on Facebook and Twitter.