To all of the adults who harmed me when I was a child: I see you.
You wanted me to stay quiet. You NEEDED me to stay quiet.
As new babies, we are given parents so that they can raise us, love us, show us how to take on the world, and care for us. We hopefully learn to trust them. So for those of us who are left to navigate multiple levels of physical, sexual and emotional abuse on our own…where does this leave us? This is the kind of thing faced by a person who has grown up largely unprotected, not listened to, and gaslighted. It can leave us raw, broken, and aimless, grasping and defeated…with tremendous physical illnesses that manifest as a result of all we have been submitted to… when they saw me starting to take care of myself in my early twenties, when I began some therapy while in college to break free of the abuse and trauma of my first twenty or so years, they basically pointed and laughed. Folks tend to get pretty angry when they see you figuring out that you don’t need to accept their abuse any longer, and that you actually possess the strength and power to take your life back. They like to tell you that only weak people seek help and therapy. This is so you don’t tell anyone about the dark secrets of the family and expose them. You do NOT have to continue those sick patterns, and will find all the ways to ensure that it never, ever happens. It stops with you. You will protect your children, and they will never know a reality remotely similar to yours.
When you are the scapegoat of the family, those who hurt you don’t imagine that one day you might decide to take your life back. I let their guilt upset me for so long. I actually felt guilty for MAKING MY ABUSERS UPSET. It took me many years to realize that what they did to me was due to the fact that none of them ever chose to seek help for their own trauma filled pasts. They were also minimized, not heard or listened to, and endured untold levels of abuse. BUT. Their traumas are not mine to heal from. That does NOT make it okay. They can decide to overcome, or not. I chose to take back my life, and I no longer accept anything less than support and love. From anyone.
So, now I’m an adult, who is a solid twenty years into doing the tough work to learn how to be the person God created me to be, after enduring so much chaos and abuse, that it seemed to be like a never-ending, torturous marathon. I cannot count all of the people, actual “adults”, people that I trusted, and tried to talk to about what was happening to me when I was a child, and not a single one of those people helped me. A child. Who was being abused. Unthinkable, right? Apparently in the circles of our small midwestern town, you don’t talk about the hard stuff, and you don’t get involved with other people’s family business, even when a child’s life is at stake. Okay. So, through all of the intense work I have done to recover, I have come to the conclusion that one of the best things to do for my healing in order to be able to stop giving this garbage any power in my life, is to bring it all out into the light. Because when things remain sheltered in the dark closet of repression, it kills. It causes disease. It slowly decimates your soul. I want to encourage others who have been through similar that they can take back their power, too. They can love themselves and do the tough work and actually figure out that the negative voice in their head- the one holding them back- is not their own…but rather, it is the voice of all of those who abused you, ignored you, and did not protect you when you were a child, when your brain was developing. At the most crucial time of your life, when all you needed and deserved was love, protection, and guidance. God still has a plan for you, and because of all that you endured- you are poised to become some of the strongest, most amazing, empathetic souls around.
I was a little girl who loved to draw, loved cats, loved my stuffed animals and my mommy, my grandma, and all of her friends. I loved my friends at church, and did so well in grade school, because I loved my teachers! I was of course a people pleaser and learning how to be a perfectionist (not a good thing,) I had not yet learned to be fearful, because the crux of the abuse didn’t happen until adolescence. I played outdoors with my friends, and we were young and free and happy. Well, most of the time, until really bad things started to happen, and I started to realize that they were not normal. Not every other child was going through the same.
So, guess what, all you miserable souls who took advantage of an innocent child? I SEE YOU, and I am calling you out. Let’s shine a great, big, loud flashlight on you….
To my trusted older relative who fondled my adolescent breasts in the back seat of the car with EVERYONE IN IT (three other adults actively ignoring what was happening- HOW IS THIS EVEN A THING?) as tears streamed down my hot, red, embarrassed and ashamed face, while whispering in my ear, “you know you like it,” -if only you knew how you devastated me. Not that you would care. Well, I CARE. To those who refused to confront him, or tell his wife, because it “would upset her so much…” and then when he died MADE ME GO TO HIS FUNERAL, AND STAND THERE AND SMILE and endure that day, I SEE YOU. You are in the glaring, bright light now. You look sick and broken, you look ugly and mean and cruel. That little, precious, innocent girl deserved so much better. We all see you.
To the one who threatened to kill me around that same time, with a gun, after a tumultuous night of drinking and whatever it was you were going through, and then took me out to see a movie the next day and then explained to me in the car that you did nothing wrong, and told me how you were not an alcoholic because, “alcoholics wake up in the morning and drink and then drink all day until they pass out,” yes, I was always terrified of you, BUT I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING DIFFERENT. I trusted you! Even though you continually gave me every reason not to. You used to drive around with me in your car while you were drunk. Thank you God for your constant protection.
To the one who touched me inappropriately with your arms around me, and that evil smile on your face, while your fiancee -my relative- was in the other room for a moment. You made me feel so small, so unimportant, so like a piece of meat. I don’t accept that, even though I did at that time. I accepted it at that time because as a child who had already been through so much, I couldn’t actually believe that something of this nature was happening again, and I completely froze, shut down, and left my body. That is what many people who have experienced multiple traumas do- it is a protective mechanism that God has given us, so that we can hopefully just GET THROUGH. One thing to keep in mind is if you have a relative that has stopped coming around the family nearly as often or at all, you may want to consider what somebody within the family has done to them. Generally, under the watchful eye of the other family members who are a part of the abusive patterns. They are all in on the sickness of ignoring the abuse… the scapegoat can handle it… why should they intervene?
Would you want your child to be around someone who did something like this to her ever again? Would that be okay with you? If you say yes, I suggest you get yourself to a therapist or counselor YESTERDAY, because that is just all kinds of wrong. Those who willingly submit their children to abuse, or expect them to remain in the presence of one who has abused them before, are very, very much in need of serious help themselves. This is how horrific family patterns perpetuate- nobody speaks up, and so nobody helps. But guess what, just as I have spoken about before in many of my blog posts, we are not expected to do this life alone, and figure everything out without assistance. SO many of us were raised with guilt and shame, and that ends up feeling safe to many, as dysfunctional as it may be- and so to break away from that, and speak out and say that you need help is seen as a betrayal to the abusive family of origin. So, it all remains in the dark, for the next generation to fall victim to the abuse as well. The sickness and the illness continue. Well, it stops with me. It ends right here, folks. And it can stop with you as well. Be brave with your life…those who harmed you don’t get to win one more day of your precious one life.
One of the places I was raised in for years as a very small child was full of pornography and satan worship, courtesy of two of the people who also lived there. I cannot even go into the details. I was raised going to church. These people took me to church as well. How does that work? Sick, incredible narcissism is at the core of this. And then there was this stuff, at their house. Suffice to say, no child deserves to spend any time in a place like that. It was confusing and endlessly frightening to me, and that is a gross understatement. I left my little body repeatedly in order to try and protect my heart and my soul as best as I could.
There were several other incidents that I will not write about here.
When you live through this sort of thing, repeatedly, for years on end, no matter how much work you do to try to overcome it, it never leaves your memory. To those who endured the unthinkable, instead of being protected when you were a child, I grieve with you. To those who have told me to “just get over it,” I’d like to see you try to just get over it. You have to walk directly through it, repeatedly, because that is how the processing of trauma works. Until eventually, it has less of a hold on your life. It stops waking you up at night. I hope that now as an adult, you see and understand that none of it was your fault. I pray that you, like me, have had wonderful support as an adult, an incredibly loving spouse, and some intuitive and loving therapists. I hope that you understand that you are worth healing, and also that you get just how important it is that you heal for the sake of the next generation. We were asked (well, actually, told…) for so long to keep everything quiet, because not only would nobody be interested, but nobody would believe us. Please know that those of us who have been through similar- we see you, we hear you, and we believe you. You are safe and you are a child of God, created to be loved and to love. You are not your family. You are your own person, and you get to create your life. You can get to a point even where you can be brave with your life.
One of the saddest parts of what we endured is how the majority of the time, these perpetrators and pedophiles were never brought to justice, because no adult in your family or friend circle spoke up for you. A big hallmark of these types of families is a tremendous need to “keep up appearances.” SO, the ones who are being abused repeatedly are used as the scapegoats of the family, and the hurts, illnesses and junk of the sick members of the family are heaped upon their shoulders, because they are seen as the strong ones who can handle it, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because we were feistier or smarter or savvier, or just randomly chosen. We know that when these perpetrators die, they will be judged harshly. Thank you Jesus. While we are on this side, we will continue to be a bright light shining in the darkness, and no longer allowing perpetrators and abusers and self-loathing child haters to remain protected in the silence. You cannot stop us any longer. We have overcome. And we will never be quiet again.
Matthew 10:26-31 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
In peace and healing,
The Mint Pixie