(the following is an excerpt from Repair Your Life)
“One of the most anguishing results of being sexually violated at a young age is the betrayal of trust. An unspoken understanding in the universe is that when one gives birth to a child, one is responsible for their well-being and must take that challenge seriously. Unfortunately, not everyone does. When a child is born, they look to their parents for protection against any unpleasantness. When the parent is either the perpetrator of unpleasantness or the unwilling partner to its happening by virtue of doing nothing, it is a betrayal. One of the by-products is a child who grows up unable to trust those around them. Why should they? The world has become a scary place where we wish everyone wore a black or white hat, depending on what role they are playing. Unfortunately they don’t.
How does one cope with the inability to trust? Learning to differentiate between the bad guys and the good guys is a step in this direction. Setting boundaries buys you time to gain more information enabling you to do this. Learning to rely on your own inner voices is another. Learning to place the blame for that mistrust where it belongs is a third. As you move through this program, these things will happen. As your own emotional and mental maturity develops, you will gain the confidence needed to make choices that impact whether or not you are in a safe place. Practice will eventually enable you to remove yourself from any situation that reeks of potential harm. Taking your time in getting to know others will add to your feeling of safety. Much of this will come together when we arrive at the AWARENESS part of our program.”
Although we don’t realize it at the time as an infant one of the first things we learn is to trust. We know instinctively that someone is there to feed us, someone changes our diapers, someone gives us a bottle or breast feeds us and as we grow someone holds our hand as we learn to walk. There are a hundred things a child learns in the early stages of its life and all require trust. So we bond with the one who gives us life, nurtures us and guides us through all of our stages of growth. We take the job of our caretaker for granted. And why shouldn’t we? They gave us birth and in doing so a commitment, a sacred trust is established. We have been given a promise.
In the life of a child sexual abuse victim something goes awry. One day we are happy and life is filled with expectations that we feel rather than know. The next we are plunged in to a confusing, painful abyss. We don’t know what happened or why. We only know that life is no longer a joyful affair. We wander in the darkness trying to find a way to cope. Eventually, we cling to co-dependent behaviors: people pleasing and rescuing, eating disorders, weak boundaries, emotional extremes, needy, obsessive, compulsive behavior patterns and others.
We drift in to adulthood, a deep well of shame within us although we have no idea what it pertains to. Sometimes we pile shame on top of shame, becoming promiscuous, afraid to trust anyone and yet trusting those who with their own well of shame have become perpetrators, looking for a willing victim. Perpetrators look for the most obedient child in the playground. Being obedient is another coping skill. We fine tune them as time goes on.
To trust is to wait for an expectation. In our own way we are gullible and naïve. Our emotional growth became locked in time at the moment of our abuse. Blindly, we hold the hand of someone who duplicates qualities that our perpetrator had. We don’t realize this; we only know that, despite the advancing of the years we tend to repeat over and over the same unhealthy behaviors. To be bonded with our perpetrator means we are always trying to believe that our trust is warranted.
We need to hit our bottom so that we can begin crawling out of that hole we fell in to so many years earlier. We need a program for recovery.
What are you waiting for? Order a copy of REPAIR Your Life and begin the journey to total wellness.