Reasons You Shouldn’t Fuck Kids

Reason #325: The Man in the Closet in the Hotel Room
September 16, 2014, 3:19 pm
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I had to go away to a conference again, and this time I went with someone from my new job. A new friend who seems very nice, but kind of plays her cards close to the chest. I have told her a tiny bit about my childhood, opened up a little bit to share my world. She has been safe to confide in so far. I haven’t ever said anything about my PTSD though, because it’s work and I don’t want work people to know that I am so fucked up because then they will think I can’t do my job, and so far I have been able to do my job no matter what. If anything, my job has always been the only place in my life where I have experienced success.

So anyway, we had to stay in a hotel for this conference. Remember how I had to stay in a hotel for that conference a few years ago with the woman who used to cut herself, and I got scared of the imaginary man behind the curtains?

So this time I remembered to check the fucking curtains. We settled into the hotel room, we both got changed for bed, talked for a long time, and by midnight we laid down in our respective beds. We turned the lights out except for the bathroom light. You know, now that I think about it, my friend was the one who left the bathroom light on and the door opened. I wonder if she doesn’t like sleeping in the dark too? Or I wonder if it was her way of being kind to me?

So I laid down in my bed and I went through a mental checklist. I had already made sure that the door was locked in every possible way, and I checked behind the curtains. We were on the first floor, which is inherently unsafe, but I couldn’t control that. I didn’t check under the beds. I shifted in the bed so I could see under her bed. It was way too low to fit a human being under there. THE CLOSET. I didn’t check the fucking closet. I started panicking. He could be in there right now, waiting for us to fall asleep so that he can rape us by surprise.

I tried to talk to myself in a soothing way. There’s no one in there, Butterfly. There’s no one in the closet. I had such a strong vision of a man hovering over me in bed, breathing on me, me paralyzed with fear. He’s here. He’s waiting for me to relax and lose my attention on him and then he will pounce on me. I can’t. I can’t go to sleep like this, knowing he is in there. I just can’t. I leap out of bed and check the closet. I am breathing heavy and scared, and I hurriedly open the closet door. There’s no one in there, thank G-d.

I walk back to my bed and I see that my friend is staring at me with a WTF expression on her face. I am too tired to make something up. I explain that I have to check the closet or I wouldn’t sleep all night. Her face changes a little bit, but it’s an unreadable expression, and I can’t tell what she thinks. It almost seems to confirm something for her, but I can’t be sure. I don’t care.  I am just so grateful that I was able to check the closet and that no one was in there and that I can go to sleep already.

This kind of humiliating shit is why you shouldn’t fuck kids.

Reason #301: My Son Went on the Roller Coaster

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.

Reason #300: We are not as productive in the workforce as we could be

I have mentioned before that the epidemic of child sexual abuse leads to adults who choose certain jobs over others, and also forces a situation where it literally affects the Gross National Product (i.e., the economy of the nation) because we get physically/emotionally sick and skip work.

Today was one of those days for me.  I woke up pretty early, around 5:30AM, with a migraine.  I first wrote about my migraines here, and then they came back strong after my husband discovered she was transgendered.  The ex and I have worked out a shower schedule where she will shower first and thus I can wake up later and shower around 7:30.  I usually appreciate the extra sleep.  Today I got up at 5:30, took some ibuprofen, and felt too panicked to lay back down.  Instead, I sat up, surfed the net and watched tv.

I started thinking about the parking lot where I work.  Again.  I always obsess about this parking lot, because I find it so difficult to get from my car into the building.  Usually I talk myself into going.  Sometimes I make the decision to work from home instead, when I just can’t face that parking lot.  Today I double-whammied myself by thinking not only about the parking lot, but also about the new janitor at work.  He creeps me out something fierce.  I don’t like how he looks or how he looks at me.  Something about him is just totally creepy, and it freaks me out to be in the building with him.

The parking lot and the janitor were too much for me, as was the shower.  My panic rose so high, I called into work.  I called into fucking work because I am afraid of a parking lot.

I know I am not the only one who does this though.  There are many of us.  Many of us adults who were fucked as kids end up with severe panic disorder that severely limits their work abilities.  There’s other shit too though, like the migraines.  Some kids get backaches, stomache-aches, etc.  So many people get shit like this that the medical community has a name for it.  Somatic problems.  Somatic problems are when you have a physical ailment that cannot be explained by any physical reason.  If there’s no physical reason for your tummy to ache, but you keep getting tummy aches, it’s considered a somatic ailment.  Remember when my vagina was hot for days (see here and here), and I couldn’t figure it out?

Anyhow, my point is, this is why you shouldn’t fuck kids.  Everyone gets fucked when kids get fucked.  The whole economy suffers as a result, and so many survivors are on social security disability (a form of public assistance).  If you don’t like paying for other people to be alive, stop fucking kids.  Or stop allowing kids to get fucked (I’m looking at you, Dottie Sandusky).

Reason #295: Acting Like I’m Not Scared

I can’t even count how many times in one day that I act like I’m not scared when really I’m shaking inside.

My son sleeps in the dark, and I pray that he always sleeps in the dark. I am so afraid of the dark. But at night sometimes he asks for a drink of water, so I walk into his dark room like it doesn’t bother me at all, and I’ll hand him his cup of water.

I don’t want him to learn fear from me, so I act like I am completely fine being in a dark room. I learned fear when I was his age, in a terrible way.

Trying to give my son a drink of water at night when he asks for it. Yet another perfectly normal thing that has been fucked up for me, all because people sexually abused me when I was a child. That’s why you shouldn’t fuck kids.

Reason #294: The Man in the Hotel Room

You remember that friend I talked about in Reason #152, the one who used to cut herself? The same friend who doesn’t like to go to certain buildings alone. This last weekend, we had to go to a work conference together. We stayed in the same hotel room.  We’re not very close, but we get along.

The reasons she cut herself were similar to my reasons. In her case, she was raped by her then-boyfriend (when she was 15).  In my case, three people used my body for their own sexual pleasure and power, during my childhood.

Anyway, so we were at the hotel this weekend. Knowing that she has a history of trauma, I wondered if she was all fucked up the way I am fucked up.  No one would really know just how fucked up I am if they don’t know me.  I mean, since I succeed at work, people think I am okay everywhere else too.  They are wrong, of course.

The hotel room that we stayed in had two big beds.  When it was time for us to go to sleep, we turned out most of the lights.  She said she liked a little bit of light.  I appreciated that, obviously, and I took it as a hint that maybe her trauma affected her too. (I thought maybe she is afraid of the dark too.)  It looked like she fell asleep fairly quickly, but I couldn’t.  I started panicking at the thought that there might be an intruder in our hotel room with us, hiding behind the curtains.  I couldn’t summon the courage to get up and look, but I also couldn’t get past my fear that he was there.  I laid there huddled under the covers, shaking, for about a half hour.  Finally, I used some positive self-talk to get myself through it. I assured myself that there was no way anyone could have gotten into my room, and I also assured myself that I had been right near that window when I adjusted the curtains.  The self-talk seemed to work, and I finally fell asleep.

The next morning I told her that I had trouble falling asleep because I was afraid there was a man behind the curtains.  I figured if I divulged a secret fear of mine, then she would admit that she had panic as well.  But no, nothing.  She remarked how weird that was, and didn’t say anything after that.  It was quite the “Don’t Share Your Pain With Fools” moment. Then later on though, she said she couldn’t sleep either and had to put in headphones with rock music just to fall asleep.

This whole weekend was so difficult for me.  She and I used to be fat together, but she is now thin.  She is not only thin, she runs outside alone, and has been doing that for a while now. It was like this whole weekend highlighted my fatness and her thinness. I spent the whole weekend comparing myself to her, and it was such a stupid thing to do.  No one is ever going to win that type of competition. But I didn’t realize I was doing it until after the weekend was over.

I just don’t understand.  How is it that she can survive rape and now she goes running.  Alone.  And yet I survived child sexual abuse and can’t step foot outside my house alone without it being a big major decision that scares the shit out of me.

When I used to be in an incest survivors’ group, the group facilitators told us we shouldn’t compare abuses.  They said that everyone’s pain is painful, and comparing is stupid.  They were right, of course, but I still find myself comparing. I think what we were trying to do in the incest group, and what I was trying to do this weekend with my friend, was figure out a way that we are not as alone as we feel. Surviving incest is lonely.  It feels like I am the only one in the world who experienced it, and the only one who is so fucked up from it. And I think the instinct to compare is actually the instinct to see if other people share the commonality of traumatic experience.

Panicking about an imaginary man in my hotel room during a business trip.  That’s why you shouldn’t fuck kids.

Reason #290: We Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Last night, I was sitting with my ex, and we began talking about the time before we were married.  We dated for a year before we got engaged, and then we were engaged for a year.  My ex-spouse said “Do you remember how you used to test me all the time?”  I said yes.

I used to ask all my potential suitors this question: “Why does the caged bird sing?”  If they knew the answer, then I would file that answer away under “Men who may understand my history of child sex abuse”.  If they didn’t know the answer, I would take it as a warning that they had not known or understood suffering.

Pretty ridiculous, huh?  I know that now. After working with my therapist, I now also understand that many of my ways of categorizing people are just as stupid. Like for instance, how I categorize people into ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’ based on their name. I understand now that this is an illusory attempt at safety. (For the most part. I still categorize people that way, but I tell myself that this is my own shit, and possibly not real.)

My ex-spouse knew the answer to the caged bird question, and I filed that away under ‘safer people to get to know better”.  But as you know, I got my heart broken anyway and the romantic relationship ended. It turns out that my ex knew the answer to the question because he/she was living in her own cage.

Survivors of incest and child sexual abuse are like caged birds, singing for our freedom, singing because we have to, singing because it is our only way of staying sane within a terrible cage.  People who love us will learn about our cages and try to help us find our freedom.  I think that what I have learned is that it’s not necessary for someone to know the answer to the question right away, as long as they are willing to learn the answer.

An excerpt from the poem:  Sympathy

by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906)

“I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —
I know why the caged bird sings”

Reason #286: Can She Hurt Us Now?

I was talking to my therapist about the babysitter, and how I think a lot of my general anxiety/phobia has to do with her.  Since I don’t have conscious memory of her, I am basing this on circumstantial evidence.  All my fears started after she babysat us, but before my brother ever touched me.

Lately, we have been drilling down through a bunch of shit to get to the real issue: the babysitter and her effects on me. I told the therapist that a part of me almost feels like I made a childhood pact with my brother to keep silent about everything, and that if I tell, I am breaking that pact.  It’s an odd thing, because he later became one of my abusers. But we were SO young when she fucked us, and it’s almost like surviving a war together.  In actual adult combat wars, soldiers call each other “battle buddies”.  I guess that’s what we were – battle buddies – before he became my next battle.

The therapist said that whether or not there was an actual pact, there was certainly an air of implicit silence.  Then I told her that I think we were both afraid she would hurt us in some way if we told.  (Truth be told, I am afraid even as I write this.) She reminded me that I am an adult, and no longer a child.

I looked at the therapist and said “Can she hurt us?”  The therapist said “How do you mean?”  I said, “I mean, now, can she hurt us?  Can she find us and hurt us?”

She said no. I said “How do you know?”  She said that the babysitter was only interested in fucking kids, she doesn’t want adults.  She reminded me again that I am an adult, and that I have the power.

I know that logically it doesn’t make sense to wonder if the babysitter could hurt us now. I understand that. But in all honesty, where is the logic in any of this?  It isn’t logical to fuck kids, but that happened to me.  It also isn’t logical for a brother to use a sister in a sexual way, or for a father to look at his daughter as a wife, but those things happened to me too.  So why should ‘logic’ be the dictating rule here?? Why should I be operating from a ‘logical’ standpoint when none of the originating actions were logical to begin with?

So who knows if she can hurt us now?  Why is that fear any less real than anything else?  The therapist said that when I think about her, I am using a child/adult dynamic with her, and that I revert to my young self.  I’m sure she is right about that.

Can she hurt us now?  I have no idea.  But it sure is scary to think about, and it makes it hard to think about telling too.

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