The Definition of Silence is Silence; prohibits or prevents forms of speaking.
If you are reading this blog, you likely landed on this page in your search for answers regarding their exposure to some form of child/sexual abuse.
Today I want to share another story...
Back in the busy and crazy times in my corporate days, I traveled a lot locally (US) mostly. My travels as a "seasoned" Project Manager leading relatively highly visible projects surely kept me busy this also led to my being somewhat of a workaholic (keeping my mind off busy) My point in sharing how busy mind, this also shaped and molded a patten of not addressing my personal problems, care, and health challenges! I also would like to introduce a thought we'll dive deeper into our journey. And this is, a busy mind and life does not lead to developing healthy and Christ-centered lives.
During one short trip in North Bay, California a fellow man I worked for decided to interrupt my "flow" and rideshare with me during a lunch run. I write "interrupt me" because I was caught off guard and well, I like my space (background, I am structured and private, highly guarded person) for reasons that you probably can understand based on my childhood trauma share in past posts.
Moving on, a few co-workers and I - my boss and his boss "The Rock Star Team “decided to head to lunch during a project break. As we made our way to our respective cars, I scurried to my car happily solo, Knowing, I'd play my music, decompress after a long morning and tech talks So, during the parking lot breakout there was one less seat and a and many open seats in my car. Perhaps this man thought oh” bummers she is riding alone, again".
However, in my mind things were exactly the way I wanted them to be. Alone and perfect.
With alerted ears, I hear a voice outside my car "I'm riding with her" looking curiously up, the voice was familiar, and my mind quickly processed, wait a minute, that is me! Wide eyed and heart pacing my mind signaled a security breached! As I looked through my window, I felt a cringe of terror as this "friendly intruder" jumped in the passenger seat!
"Hello" he said, and I respond politely (trying to stay cool and in control) adjusting by masking my emotional adjustments. But he was astute enough to pick up on my body language with a forcefield going up. To lighten the moment, he looked at me with this smile, then side grin on his face and asked a random question locking eyes with me half chuckling and half serious "what happened to you!"
I quickly responded shirking him off, erasing any evidence of trauma as if I was the key leader In Cold Case sweep. I replied, what are you talking about? I'm fine!
So, I positioned my chin up, took the wheel and laughed as if his comment unfazed me. Case closed.
Echoes of Silent Pain:
During lunch and on the ride home "what happened to you" continue to ring in my mind like a sad melodic echo. It was four hours confusion and a few dry tears as I could not answer or respond to such a simple question "what happened to you" would be a marking milestone in asking for answers.
The Voice of a Little Girl
Have you ever laughed at the thought of someone saying, I am hearing voices in my head? While the world is alluding to some sort of disorder. I tend to think, we all have and hear those childhood voices and reminisce about things of the past. What voice would take me down memory lane? A sweet innocent little girls voice saying, "here I am" can you please come find me? I can't say that when this happens a literal doo is unlocked. However, I can share that is a similar example of one that provided a snapshot to thousands of flashing painful memories to events I could not "fully" recall over decades.
At first glimpse saw, and quickly stuffed the pain deep down- it was instinct.
As I developed the courage over time i meeting that little girl within.
I asked, the question "can you tell me what happened?" and if you do, will it hurt?
If you are a survivor of any abuse -can you relate?
Well, as we know this beautiful little child, you’re a grown woman now. But she has created a false fort, brick walls and veins of chains that is unable to speak, shed's dry tears and had a titanium mask of protection.
What silences us?
Yes, I stated a list too...
- Our abusers preyed on us and threatened to harm us if we spoke up.
- Next, shame. We feel ashamed and responsible. Due to the grooming, the led to undesired outcomes, learned behaviors manifested from the perpetrator or in my case perpetrators.
- The abuser or abusers kept us silent and conditioned us misapply love.
- The abuse played on our emotions, and to add insult to this- we felt a strong obligation to protect them (sad face) sorry, there is no sad face emoji for this feeling.
- We are waiting for someone to step in, notice, and protect us.
- No one came.
- We are wounded and hurt so badly, out the pure need to survive we buried it.
- Still, no one came.
While this list is short, it a list I compiled after working through my own trauma.
Spoiler alert. It's not easy and is pretty darn painful.
I often asked myself. "Self," how could you forget something so horrific?
Reply to self: Did I forget?
Next reply: Maybe I literally I lost my mind?
Next reply: How can I heal from this?
Last thought: Why me? Will the nightmare ever end?
Processing & Protecting:
I don't really think I forgot all the details in life being told that I am very attractive face with an hourglass figure sometimes men do and say the darndest things.
In it all, brick wall and snipper approach position worked. But, when cornered, at the time I would strike back and protect, I would vaguely remember that little girl's trauma.
When this would happen, I'd somehow manage o lock away, shut things down.
It is amazing how complex our mind works and, in many cases, trauma can manifest into so lanes of pain -those lanes can lead to lessons learned and an hyperactive responses that can literally lead to unhealthy emotions and a long list of illnesses (your learn in future writings).
A Little Education About Childhood Trauma:
Childhood trauma ripples in our lives in ways that can rock anyone's world!
I am almost certain you have read through forums, posts, self-help books, and whatever you could get your hands on to learn about the "effects of childhood trauma and how it may impact the adult survivor's health, behaviors, and relationship outcomes and serious issues.
According to childtrauma.org, one out of three females in the U.S., and one out of five males, have been victims of sexual abuse before age 18. And according to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress (AAETS), 30% of all men children are molested in some way, compared to 40% of females.
What is the aftermath of Sexual abuse?
The most common diagnosis is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Symptoms that can extend far into adulthood.
Specific symptoms of sexual abuse
(from the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress)
- Withdrawal and mistrust of adults
- Difficulty relating to others except in sexual or seductive ways
- Unusual interest in or avoidance of all things sexual or physical
- Sleep problems, nightmares, fears of going to bed
- Frequent accidents or self-injurious behaviors
- Refusal to go to school, or the doctor, or home
- Secretiveness or unusual aggressiveness
- Sexual components to drawings and games
- Neurotic reactions (obsessions, compulsiveness, phobias)
- Habit disorders (biting, rocking)
- Unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
- Forcing sexual acts on other children
- Extreme fear of being touched
- Unwillingness to submit to physical examination
In my counseling sessions (there were many) I just could not connect with people.
I even shifted to a Christian Professional Counselor for years a seasoned doctor in her filed.
While she was not terrible. I just think she was more concerned about "how not to making things worse" since as my trauma was to fragile and complex. While the health care system and insurance companies "claimed" they were here for me as my world was falling apart. My healthy and wellness claims became another thing I had to fight for! What as shame and shamble of a Health Care and Insurance system we have in the USA. Note to self, write about how to advocate, navigate and overcome for mental health services to include coverage in the Biblical Counseling space.
God Came to My Rescue:
When I came across a church with Biblical Counseling with the Lord in the forefront and Biblical Counseling principles coupled with the love, support, and prayers of my husband the work and healing started. Did I doubt? Absolutely! Did I wonder if it was possible to breathe again with some measure or normalcy? What is that? I sure did! But God came to my rescue, and in it all, all I am doing is trusting Him day-by-day.
The Road to Recovery Takes Time:
In 2015 after an episode with my stepfather my memories and that painful door was opened. The stepfathers (this is what we called him) touches ignited the road to seeing that hurt little girl.
A whisper that would resonate in my mind would become louder
"The Babysitters son" my quest, who was he? Well, guess what, let the investigation begin!
Secretes and The Silence Blown Open:
2016, My stepfather passed in February 3d and my mother tragically passed on March 25th as her death bed a I would scream like no other time for the first time - this cry was not simply because my mother passed -is was because for the first time I was allowed to freely cry out. Shortly, after my little wounded girl would reveal herself. Thee she was, she remembered.
As I pen this the trauma from the Babysitter's son and the mounts of men, he trafficked me to, the rape, the sexual abuse, the stench of sin I was forced and groomed to experience.
Allow me to share this, I am still standing and breathing.
Look back, I was asked by the Christian Counselor/doctor pedigree an odd question in
one of our sessions.
Marcia, how did you overcome it all? I've heard a lot, and your stories, but yours is tragic and yet to look at you now - you seem so strong and well "normal" with such a different outcome them others? How?
I can point to three things:
1. My faith, the prayers are given, and the supernatural peace that I found in Jesus and
I found hope, love and peach He gave me.
2. My darling husband.
3. The love and support of my immediate family and next my home church family.
Reopening Doors and bringing closure:
I pray that my needing to bring closure helps me. What does this look like?
A. Calling out the sin and crimes committed against me and asking God to intercede.
B. Allowing the Lord to use me, my story, my gifts to help survivors of all forms childhood
C. Advocating for change and being a voice for those that still cannot speak.
More Than Social Justice
Through it all I thank God. In this there is roaring lion that understand and is educated in the matters of Spiritual Warfare, Justice and a servanthood for others those that can't speak or simply need supportive measures.
Action - He Loves Me More Than Anything:
The closure of holding the crimes committed against those abuse is nothing short of a blessing to me. I am not guilty, I not ashamed nor am I compelled to even expect God to remove them from the world. I do pray for them and the opportunity for justice served along with a a level of repentance they may even lead them to Christ? Yes, I still believe that God can restore anyone, from anything at any time. Remember, the Apostle Paul.
However, I am no longer hiding in the shadows, my lips are not sealed - but my heart is not heavy.
To be continued with more to come and share!