I write this to invite you to look a little closer at the children living amid addiction. I suggest that you look deeply at yourselves, explore all of your little quirks (good and bad). Watch your husband/wife/partner and investigate where these seemingly insignificant behaviors come from. What makes you tick? I started writing this book and documenting on this blog to shed some light on the ripple effect. What happens when a child grows up in the shadow of their parents addiction? What type of people are around them? What type of situations are they put in? Yes, children are resilient. I believe that also; but I also know that one day these children become adults. Now that I am an adult, I have the freedom to speak my truth in its entirety. Speak about the abuse (both sexual and physical), the addiction, the family secrets, and most importantly the healing. Writing this book has forced me to re-live and explore certain aspects of my abuse in a way that I never have before. I have tried to write every little detail, remember every feeling as it felt in that moment, and portray it in light of the truth. With that has come lots of harassment that made me want to pump the brakes and rethink everything I am doing. Since I am sharing pieces as I write, it’s open to anyone to read (including my abusers). And you better believe they have their own ankle biters ready and willing to threaten me, harass me, and anything they can to make me stop. But if I stop now, who am I helping? Not myself or the people who are right where I have been.
I just finished polishing up a part of my book that deals with sexual abuse. It was traumatic. I was young, only seven years old when it started. This person was 10 plus years older than me and had regular access. I wrote about the most extreme case of abuse in my book. That was not the only time. The abuse spanned over years. But the time I documented is what I chose to disclose in depth. This was the scariest moment of my entire life and so many children are subjected to this daily. The purpose of writing this is to show people the raw truth that a survivor deals with. I want to show you that the brain does strange things to protect itself. My healing has happened in waves. And going through this rewrite has taught me things about myself. Maybe the abuse would have happened anyway, even if my mother was not neck deep in addiction. But maybe-just maybe it would have stopped when I told the first time, had she been sober. I found out later in life that she also had suffered sexual abuse when she was young; her childhood was the polar opposite of what ours was. But what I know, is that pedophiles and predators thrive in this environment. I can say this because I lived it.
Let me share what I’ve learned about myself these past few months. I learned that my quirks are a subconscious way of protecting myself. It will take time to rewire my brain to know that I am safe now. My mother’s addiction affected her in a way that she could not protect me. There was a time where I hated her for it. Now, I understand it. I never could understand why I get so furious with things that make no sense at surface value. For instance- when my husband and I argue, and he tries to hug me before I invite him. Isn’t that a good thing when your husband wants to comfort you? Not for me; it makes me want to scratch his eyes out. At 31 years old, it finally makes sense. Am I just a bitch of a person? Maybe I am. Who knows?
For the better part of my childhood I had no control over my body. I felt disrespected and out of control. Editing this part of my book made me realize that those exact same feelings happen when someone tries to comfort me when I’m feeling uneasy. I am open to touches and hugs when things are good (without a second thought) but if there is even so much as a cross word it puts me in a different mindset. That isn’t healthy for me or my marriage. But it’s shown me I’m not done healing yet. My kids aren’t allowed to go just anywhere. I’m petrified that something will happen to them. This time last year I thought I was dying. Literally dying. My body felt foreign and like it was shutting down. Turns out, I have severe anxiety. All the symptoms I was experiencing was physical manifestations of everything I’ve buried deep in my soul. I wasn’t dying, but the part of me that worked so hard to keep everything bottled up, sure did. I live in constant anxiety and I hate my body. This body has failed me in a sense that it invited someone to violate me. There was something about the skin that I’m in that looked appealing to a grown man. Trust? What even is that? These are the thoughts that can creep into a survivors head every day. This is the mindset that will take the front seat if I’m not careful. This mindset served a purpose at one time, it kept me alive. But now, it keeps me prisoner. Every day I have to choose that I will not stay in this cage. I will love myself. I will love this body and every flaw that comes with it. I will learn to let someone love me even in the times that I can’t love myself. Why am I sharing this? Because if I have to verbalize it to someone else then it has to be dealt with. I’ve come so far in my healing over the years but I can never finish. When I master one ripple effect from the addiction and abuse, another one makes itself clear.
Healing is a forever process. It doesn’t always feel good at first. If someone has been traumatized, our brain and body behave different. Maybe it makes little sense to some, and that’s ok. But it’ll make sense to those who have been through similar experiences. As I move forward with writing, my healing will move on to the next level. If you are reading this and nodding your head, know that you’re not alone. I get it.