Living Through A Mom’s Nightmare

By the time I became a mother, I had spent years and years healing the abuse of my childhood. When I found out I was pregnant, I felt certain I knew how to prevent my own child from being abused as well. I had a great start, in that the man I got pregnant with is not a child abuser, and I know him well enough to really be sure of this. How can I be so sure? For one thing, he  loses sexual interest when I get even slightly triggered or start to space out during sex. He is so deeply compassionate, that he could not possibly enjoy a coercive act.

Unfortunately, it seems that I cannot trust as many people as I thought I could. Two months ago, I found out that a husband of a friend of mine, sexually abused my daughter. She told me in very precise terms what happened, even though she is only 3 years old. She was really nervous about telling me, but she found the courage anyway, and I’m proud of her for that. I believed her, of course, but it was a lot harder to hear those words than I thought it would be. All the healing I had done seemed to wash away, and I was left with all my old PTSD reactions, I was living in a nightmare.

In the weeks immediately following my daughter’s disclosure, I struggled to stay steady for her, because I didn’t want to fall apart the way my own mom had. I fell apart anyway. It took all of the emotional regulation techniques I had to get through each day… meditation, deep breathing, working out, and more.  I was still a wreck, I still picked up some of my mom’s parenting style that I had most wanted to leave behind. It was a loss in so many ways, the loss of trust, the loss of believing I could keep my daughter safe forever, the loss of my sanity…

One of the few positives is that I gained empathy for all my mom must have gone through, and how it explained pretty much everything she did. Like how she felt the need to tell everybody what happened to me, even though it was my story not hers… I’m not doing that, but I get that now. I feel the urge to tell everyone too, not because I want sympathy (which is what I thought my mom was doing) but because I want people to understand why I’ve been feeling and acting so crazy. Also, the awareness of what happened to my child is so painful and all-consuming that I feel the need to speak about it, because it is heavy in my heart. I am deeply grateful that my situation is better than my mom’s situation. She tried to accuse my dad of abusing me, but was basically told by the state to shut up. She was branded as crazy (which she certainly was) and that discredited her (true) accusations against my dad. So weekend after weekend, she had to watch me leave with him, with the knowledge of what was surely happening whenever I saw him. I was blocking it out, so I couldn’t tell her as my daughter was able to tell me, and she was helpless.

To feel the tempest of emotions that come up in this situation AND to not be able to stop the abuse would make anyone crazy. If your mom went crazy like mine did, and like I have, please forgive her! All of this doesn’t make her actions towards you right if she treated you badly, but understand that it’s hard not to go crazy in this situation.

Luckily, I have many more tools than I have. For one, I’ve already done years of therapy, which Mom had not at that point. I have self-awareness, and that helps me regain myself. I’ve already lifted up from the worst of this, especially because I have so many tools. I connected with a local rape crisis center and got myself some therapy to deal with this. And, luckily, I can trust my child’s father to be there for me, and I have leaned more heavily on his support, so that my daughter and I can get through this.

My daughter is doing well, and not seeming to have any ill effects from either the sexual abuse or my month-long meltdown. I took care of her the best I could, and as I began to recover, we had talks about how my feelings were not her fault, and were my own feelings, my own to take care of. She is having an opportunity to get closer to her father, and we are moving forward.

Have any of you had to live through this? How did you cope?

This Holiday season remember to take time out for YOU

During the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season, we are programmed to find joy in doing for others.  It is equally important to reprogram ourselves to remember to take time out for YOU.  Please.  You deserve some time just for YOU, even if it’s only two minutes!

Enjoy this 2-minute Breathe Break designed to help YOU live a more joyful life:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj-Jt60HoAU[/youtube]

Remember, the Journey Is the Destination… and it’s FREE to Breathe!

For more empowering affirmations to live a joyful life, please Become a Fan of BalinYoga on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/goldenanswer – follow us on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/balinyoga – become our friend at http://www.myspace.com/balinyoga or pick up your own copy of The Golden Answer at http://www.amazon.com/shops/balinyoga

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What to do When Your Perpetrator has New Children

What can you do when your abuser is around or has more children?

I’ve heard this questions so many times and it is very complicated due to lack of evidence, appearing crazy, upstanding offenders and fear for your safety.

Here’s a common scenario:

You abuser was the head of a law enforcement agency and/or was a very upstanding man in the community.  He sexually and physically abused you and/or your siblings along with your mother.  When you confront the abuse, your mother tells you to remain quiet to protect the “roof over your head” while your father and/or step-father, uncle, grandfather etc denies the allegations. You grow up and flee the family only to learn that you abuser has remarried a younger woman with very young children and/or gets her pregnant immediately. You can’t go back or fear for your own safety.  The family has disowned you.  Your abuser threatens to come after your children if you do anything. No one believes you since your perp is “such a great guy.”

What you can do:

The likelihood of your abuser abusing the new children is huge!   First of all, don’t beat yourself up. This is how the cycle of violence and denial works.   By keeping you afraid, the perps are able to continue their abuse.  But you do have some power.  The healthy aware adults around the children will notice signs and be able to do something about it, so get them trained. You can anonymously call all the places those children go to from the daycare to the schools and be sure all teachers, bus drivers, friends’ parents and babysitters are trained in the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children Training. It’s so inexpensive, easy and in a lot of places mandatory.  Check to see if there is a D2L facilitator in the area where the children live.  Call up the places to be sure the adults are trained.  You can do this anonymously.  If you go into town, call the new wife, blog emotionally about the abuse you suffered, you can easily be hit with a defamation lawsuit, be labeled as a crazy witch or have your own life threatened along with your own children.  There is no need to tell your story to the places you call, just let them know they need to be trained since there are children being abused they can protect.

Being sure adults in the area are trained to recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse is healthy, proactive and it works.  You can do this from the other side of the country.

If enough adults are trained to recognize the abuse, they will.  Instead of bringing attention to yourself for fear of your abuser(s), this is something to do to help put your heart and mind at ease.  Your gut instincts are usually correct.  Abusers do not simply stop. You’re usually right about what’s going on in the new house, along with being correct about how dangerous it is for you to speak out.  Many of these upstanding perps are in networks and your safety may very well be in question. Remember to take care of yourself just like putting your oxygen mask on first. You are not the sum total of the abuse that happened to you.  You can re-parent yourself and protect future children, it is possible.

Take a deep breath, read the The Art Of War and make those calls anonymously.

Please share ways in which you dealt with this issue too.