Reasons You Shouldn’t Fuck Kids

Reason #320: The sexual abuse defines me
March 11, 2014, 5:39 pm
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My therapist once told my Mom, about me: “The sexual abuse doesn’t define her.”

My therapist has been right about a great many things in my life so far, but she was way off on this one. I think the whole problem with me is that the sexual abuse DOES define me. It’s why I keep a blog detailing the reasons you shouldn’t fuck kids. It has defined every fucking thing about me so far, from my choice of jobs to my choice of husbands to the way I don’t leave the house to every other fucking detail. Right down to the dream I had the other night about being in a room with serial rapists.

It’s almost as if it were wishful thinking. If we say “it doesn’t define her”, maybe it won’t define her. But it did before she said it, and it still does afterwards too.

I think the goal of therapy is to get to the point where it DOESN’T define me. Where I am no longer the victim, but the victor. Where I didn’t merely survive it, but thrived in spite of it.

I would like to get there, but I don’t know how. I am 40 fucking years old, and I need to sleep with the lights on because I am afraid of the dark. Her saying that it doesn’t define me is like me saying I don’t like to curse. It’s nice to hear but in the end it’s complete bullshit.

As my longtime readers know, my husband became a woman and my marriage ended. We still live together. We live like sisters and raise our son. It is safe.

My job is coming to an end, and I have a choice about what kinds of jobs to take next. The safe choice is to stay here and take the job that allows me to stay here. The risky choice is to apply for jobs elsewhere and leave safety.

I wish I had the courage to leave safety, but I don’t. This. This is why you shouldn’t fuck kids.

Reason #311: My ex is my mother now?
April 17, 2013, 7:33 pm
Filed under: fear, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Recently, during two different lunches with two different divorced friends, both friends asked me when I was thinking about physically separating from my ex. In each instance, I immediately felt that same knot of fear I always feel whenever I think about us physically separating from each other. I told them both “I think when it’s time to move out, I will know.” I say that so they will shut the fuck up already.

The pressure is getting to me though, so I talked about it with my therapist.  I said “The thing is, neither of them know about my sex abuse past, or my CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) present. No one knows what it’s like to live in my head with me, with my constant fear, or what happens to me when I am alone. They have no idea what it’s like to have your heart beating in your chest so loud, or listen constantly for signs of intrusion, etc.”

My therapist said “Plus, you’re getting advice from two women who hate their husbands and who feel completely whole and secure on their own. That’s not where you are right now.”

I agreed, and said “For me, the whole thing boils down to safety.  I am 39 years old, and this is the first time in my whole life I have ever felt safe. And it’s only been in the last few months that I have been able to even acknowledge that I might be safe here.  Why the fuck would I leave this situation that I finally feel safe in? I mean, like last night, we both went outside and sat down, and neighbors came by and chatted with us.  I went outside.  I WENT OUTSIDE.  I felt safe enough to leave my home and sit outside.”

She agreed, and said “To be honest, what I keep thinking is “attachment”, the developmental stage of attachment.  You never felt safe with your mom, because she was never able to ensure your safety.  So you created all these fears and rituals and phobias in an attempt at keeping yourself safe.  But now you have found a situation where you have safely attached to someone, and she is providing you with the kind of safety you hadn’t experienced before.”

I said “Wait, so you mean that my ex is kind of a mother figure to me now?” (The funny thing about this statement is that I have always joked that I married my mother.  I just didn’t mean it in this way!)

She said “Kind of, yes. It’s not a bad thing.  It’s actually a good thing.  You are exploring safety the way a toddler explores safety.  A toddler ventures a few feet away from their mom, sees it is safe, and inches away a little bit. That’s where you are.  Now that you realize you are safe, you are exploring your surroundings. Since you never learned safety as a child, you are learning it now as an adult, in a healthy safe way.”

This whole conversation blew my mind.  The thing is, she’s right.

I said “So it’s okay for me to stay exactly where I am right now?”

She said “More than okay.  That’s exactly what I would advise you to do. You’re not ready to leave yet, so why are you allowing others to pressure you to do so?”

I said “Well, they think that it’s unhealthy for a divorcing couple to live with each other.”

She said “It would be unhealthy for them to stay with their exes, because they hate them.  But you and your ex love each other, treat each other with respect and love, and co-parent your child together. When it’s time to leave, you’ll know.”

I said “How will I know?  Won’t I always want safety over anything else?”

She said “Well, toddlers grow up and when they reach teenagehood, they begin to rebel.  They want to leave, they want to explore boundaries, they want to see the rest of the world. So eventually you will actually want to go. But right now, this whole safety thing is so new for you, you are exploring that.  Once you feel totally and completely safe, you will want to see what else is out there.”

I think she is exactly right.  Right now, the idea of leaving this safe place is so fucking scary that I can barely think about it without panicking.  But maybe it won’t always be so; maybe one day I will want to explore further than my own backyard. I can’t imagine it right now, but maybe one day it will be so.

And if one day it isn’t so, then shit, where I am isn’t so bad either.  I grew up in a world of shit, of unsafe shit. And now I have at least achieved safety.  So I figure, okay, if my ex is now a mother figure to me, then I am grateful to have found that kind of safety and love at this point in my life.  I will learn what I need to from this situation in order to grow into an independent person.  My goal will be to eventually learn safety enough to be able to learn how to understand safety independent of my ex. (Panic rising in my throat just as I write that sentence.) Maybe that day will come in one year, ten years, or never.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I also never thought I would feel safe and I achieved that, so who knows! The sky’s the limit now. 🙂

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 #291: Creating safety

When you go to therapy, do you ever try to edge away from the tough stuff and talk about fluff instead?  It’s kind of stupid to do that, but I do that sometimes.  The reason it’s stupid is that I am paying this person to work with me through my tough stuff.  But then shit gets scary and I spend the next few sessions talking about my job or some shit.  Then a few weeks later we’ll get back to the sex abuse.

Yesterday I asked her if there are child sex abuse survivors out there who come out of this okay.  She said that some are more okay than others, but no one comes away from an abusive experience unscathed.  So then I said “Why am I so afraid then?  It seems like I am more fucked up with the fear and phobia than any other survivor I know.”

She explained that I was never safe.  She said that I lived in a house with a mom who was, for whatever reasons, unable to keep me safe.  I lived with two of my perpetrators (brother and father), and mom hired a babysitter that molested us (unbeknownst to her). Since mom lived in her own little world, she was unable to fathom my abused life and was also unable to protect me and create safety for me.  Consequently, I had to create safety for myself.

As a child, my means for making safety was a child’s way.  I became afraid of the dark in an attempt to create safety.  I put the covers over my head to sleep at night.  I used three blankets in winter, with the thought process being that if someone stabbed me in the back, the knife wouldn’t make it through all those layers. I used to get so hot and sweaty under all those blankets, but I refused to use less blankets. I became afraid of my windows, afraid someone out there in the dark was watching me.  Et cetera. All of these things were attempts at creating safety for myself.

I guess the problem is that I never feel like I have achieved true actual safety.  And all these childhood coping mechanisms stayed with me through adulthood. I still have all those coping mechanisms and I have added some over the years.  Like my OCD rituals, or deciding people are good or bad based on their names. Or adding layers of fat onto my body to insulate myself and become unattractive to men.

This is why you shouldn’t fuck kids.  We create our version of safety, but all it really does is keep people out. We become like turtles, insulating ourselves from the world by hiding inside ourselves.

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 # 273: “This is an attempt at safety”

So, in my last post, I talked about my session with my therapist and how she explained to me that all my OCD rituals/beliefs were really an attempt at safety.  I still think I am right about the bad name/good name thing, but shit, every part of life has shocked the shit out of me, so what the fuck do I know.  My point is, I am willing to question what I think I know at this point.

Anyway, so after she told me that all my shit is really an illusory attempt at safety, she told me to tell myself “This is an attempt at safety” every time I have a ‘distorted cognition’ (a fucked up thought that might not be true), or perform an OCD act.  I took her advice to heart and have been telling myself “This is an attempt at safety” every time.

It’s been almost two weeks since she told me to do that, and I believe my attempts at safety now number in the hundreds.  It’s kind of amazing all the things I do to attempt safety.  This is what happens when you fuck kids though.  We understand exactly how unsafe the world is, and we understand this on a terribly intimate level, unfortunately.

This morning, my son waved ‘goodbye’ to our dog. My ex husband/wife (we’re still living together) said “he’s waving goodbye to the dog’.  I have an enormous problem with the word goodbye.  I am afraid that if someone says that word, I will never see them again.  (This thought process is an attempt at safety.)  So I forbid its use around me. (This action is an attempt at safety.) I told the ex-huz/wife: “He’s not saying goodbye!” (This statement was an attempt at safety.) The ex-huz/wife immediately corrected the whole thing by saying that the baby was waving ‘see you later’ at the doggie.

You see what I mean though?  And that’s like one moment in the day.  There’s been so many daily occurrences of attempting safety.  I wonder if this happens to other survivors too, or if it is just me?  Do other survivors also attempt safety in so many little and big ways?

Reason # 246: We’ll Get Through This
June 14, 2011, 1:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

The huz/(wife?) and I had to go to a wedding for a family member recently.  Most of the people at the wedding didn’t know our unique situation.  My mom and close family knew though.

It was an incredibly painful day for me, watching someone else’s marriage begin as my own is coming to an end.  I didn’t handle it well.  There was a lot of crying and sadness on my part, and some drinking at the wedding as well.  I am not generally someone who drinks, since I am really the slave to only one master (which is food).  But shit, if ever there was a time for a drink or two, that wedding was it.

At some point during all of this, my mom looked at me and saw what was happening for me.  She took my hand and squeezed it and said “We’ll get through this together, sweetie.”  I can’t even say how grateful I was to hear her say this.  One of the many difficult parts of all of this is how overwhelmingly alone this situation makes me feel.  When you imagine yourself divorcing, it happens in a hundred different ways.  Your husband telling you he is a woman inside is never one of those ways.

My mom said she needed her mom a lot when she was divorcing. I have always needed my mom a lot.  As you know, my quest for safety is constant, and elusive because it never truly comes.  When something happens to a kid that is contrary to survival, like sexual things with adults, there are many reactions to it.  One of them is the need for safety and love in the form of ‘mother’.  In my incest survivors’ group (20 years ago), every one of us had a strong need for our moms.

The thing about getting fucked, of course, is that a lot of times the moms are complicit in the abuse, by either staying on the side of the guy who is abusing you, or by not believing you.  Or, worse, she is the one doing the abusing.

I wonder what the world would be like if, upon hearing their child disclose abuse, instead of the usual shitty reaction, moms took their childrens’ hands and said “We’ll get through this together, sweetie.”

Reason #233: Guarding Issues

When a dog ‘guards’ his food by growling at anyone who comes near his food, dog experts call it ‘guarding issues’.  Survivors have guarding issues too, but in a different way.

Sword Dance Warrior wrote in this post about being a child sexual abuse survivor : “If you’re just having sex with someone just so that they will guard you at night, get a dog.”  When I read that, I thought to myself ‘Holy shit, other survivors invite people into their beds to guard them too? I thought I was the only one!’ 

Is it just Warrior and I, or are there other survivors out there who have done this sort of thing in a bid for safety?

I can’t count how many times I have asked people to share my bed just so that I could sleep better through the night.  I invited people to share my bed just so that I would have someone to guard me at night.  While I didn’t have full-on sex with these people, I certainly did share my body in a sexual way just so that they would choose to stay with me.  This is why you shouldn’t fuck kids.  If you want to prevent promiscuous sexual activity, stop fucking kids, and we will stop using our bodies to get people to sleep with us through the night and guard us against you.

As my regular readers know, when my husband travels on business, the idea of being alone at night scares me so badly, I would choose to pay someone to stay with me if I could.  I have long felt that we should have some sort of service for survivors of child sexual abuse whereby safe people come stay with you when you are too scared to be by yourself.  Maybe we could combine services, and get the lonely scared elderly to stay with the lonely scared child sexual abuse survivors.  That way both sets of people wouldn’t be lonely and scared anymore.

Guarding issues.  The 233rd way that surviving child sexual abuse has interfered with my normal adult functioning.

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