Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: deep fried candy bars, panic disorder, roller coaster, safety, survivor of child sexual abuse
I started this blog as a way of documenting every effect that surviving child sexual abuse has had on my life. While it would be impossible to document every single flashback, intrusive thought, nightmare, anxious feeling, etc., I am at least trying to document each new time that getting fucked as a kid has fucked me as an adult.
So this weekend, the ex and I took the baby to the Fair. He just turned 5 and he’s the perfect age to enjoy the Fair. He tried his first deep fried candy bar and loved it. He also went on a kiddie roller coaster and loved it. A few years ago, he tried a kiddie ride with my ex sitting next to him but he hated it and cried. But it’s been a few years and he is my big five year old boy now, so he asked to go on it. It was with much hesitation that I said yes. He absolutely loved it, and when I watched him enjoying himself on a ride I’ve always been too chickenshit to enjoy myself, I cried. I stood there at the Fair crying behind my sunglasses, partly in happiness for my son who was able to enjoy something I never could, and partly in grief because I’ve never felt safe enough to do fairly safe things, let alone scary things like roller coasters.
Developmentally, as children grow, they veer a little away from their parents and assess how safe it is at that distance. When they start feeling unsafe, they run back to their parents. They establish their safety in that way. Then the next time, emboldened by their safety, they try again, veering a little farther away. A few years ago he tried the roller coaster and didn’t like it. Today he felt safe enough to ride a roller coaster again and loved it. He is doing exactly what he should be doing to learn and achieve safety. He is learning and achieving safety in a way I never could. And I pray he continues to always achieve safety.
Meanwhile I have been working with the therapist every single week on how to feel safe. One of the exercises we have been working on to fight my agoraphobia is for me to stand by the back door to my own home. I don’t even have to open the door, I just have to stand by there. After trying numerous times, I never achieved that goal. Finally we had to give up that goal and start another one instead.
Clearly, I have never learned or achieved safety. Just standing by my own back door in my own house feels unsafe to me. That is why you shouldn’t fuck kids. When kids get abused by one person, the whole world of people becomes terribly unsafe. I can’t trust that there’s not someone on the other side of that door just waiting for me to have my defenses down to take that opportunity to hurt me. Is it ridiculous? Of course it is. It’s crazy and pathetic and ridiculous. And that’s the secret part of surviving child sexual abuse. We all have ways that we have formed to make ourselves feel safer in a terribly unsafe world. But we don’t talk about those effects of surviving in our workplaces or with our acquaintances. Only the people closest to us know, and even then we don’t tell them the whole story because we know it makes us look nuts. But we’re not nuts. We are merely people who have survived traumatic things, and this is what surviving a traumatic thing actually looks like.
I have never learned or achieved safety. But please G-d, maybe my son will.
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