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#1 of 26 Old 01-11-2002, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello. I would like to talk with other moms and dads who are abuse survivors. I'd like to talk about how it is raising our kids and give each other support. The cycle ended with me. Let's talk about it.
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#2 of 26 Old 01-12-2002, 12:28 AM
 
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i was abused.
it was a family member
lucky for me they did not live with us, and i didn't see them often. im glad that we rarely saw them and it only happened 2 times that i can recall, but that is enough.

i am VERY careful about everyong that has contact with my sons. i don't trust anyone really.

i am extra careful i think because of what happened to me. overly i am sure.

i want to make sure my boys get a childhood. mine was stolen. i am going to let them be "innocent" for their childhood years.

my husban'ds mom (my MIL) was sort of physically abusive in my opinion. he and are are BOTH very very anti-spanking...etc because of the way he was hit mostly.
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#3 of 26 Old 01-12-2002, 02:31 AM
 
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I am a survivor parent. I was molested by 2 or 3 different people up to the age of 6. My dad was incredibally verbally and emotionally abusive. Through no fault of her own my mom was neglectful (she had undiagnosed bipolar disoder - I now also have bipolar disoder). I was physically, emotionally and verbally abused in a relationship at 16 and was date-raped. I have been there, done that. I would love to talk about anything you want to talk about. The cycle ends with me!

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#4 of 26 Old 01-12-2002, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Sleepy and Heavenly for your replies. I didn't know if anyone would. Hugs to you both!

My dad was physically, verbally and emotionally abusive. My mom didn't want another child. She passed when I was 12 so I went to live with my dad (they divorced when I was 6). The worst part of living with my dad was the isolation - he'd alienated just about everyone in our family and he had no friends to speak of. So I felt alone and unreachable.

Anyway, I have worked, and am working, on healing. I have a five year old and it is in some ways hard and in some ways incredibly beautiful to have this extra understanding of what it feels like to be a child. I just keep asking myself how I would have wanted to be treated when I was little and it is really helpful.

I am seperated from her dad and soon to be divorced and she is going through stuff about that. She cries when she has to go be with him, then they have a good time when they're together...He is a good dad, not at all like mine! She is, I know, all shook up about the changes lately and wants extra mommy time, which is understandable.

One of the best things I have taken away from my past is, like you said Sleepy, that I am vigilant re: danger and also (and this is hard to put in a nutshell) that I really want to do something to help end this condition in the world, this stuff that humans do to each other. Abuse happens on many levels worldwide. I don't quite know how to put my money where my mouth is yet, except that I'm raising a happy kid and that's no small thing!
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#5 of 26 Old 01-13-2002, 01:20 AM
 
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My poor immeidate biological family and my foster family too! I have talked about my biological family before so I won't review it too much here clinically, just my experience of it. Horribly dysfunctional and as a result horribly abusive - I was the youngest by 4 years and the only girl so you can only imagine. Not just physical but mental torment of all types - so that I could hardly eat wondering what was in my food, hardly sleep for 'hearing things' (speaker hooked up outside my window at night!) Dreading school vacations when things would happen - getting locked up in a room with only my nightie and screaming til I had no voice hoping the neighbors would hear or my captors would relent - then jumping out into ice-encusted snow and lacerating my ankles and then almost freezing to death because they wouldn't let me in the house and me too embarassed then to go to the neighbors. Those are the 'highlights' of course there is much more. So anyway, their lives all caved in on them and most of them are still alive somewhere but I consider their dwelling places sort of parallel and dark universes and hope not to see them again in this life. Course they do show up from time to time but we employ 'tactics' both spiritual and legal to keep them at bay so it's become not much more trouble than thinking about how dreadful the mosquitoes may be come next summer.

So, in my house. There is enough food to go around and we do not tell tales about it. It is well-cooked and healthy and it is what we all like to eat and if someone happens not to like it, they are provided with an easy alternative. People have a secure and warm place to sleep. Nobody hides under their bed or in the laundry chute waiting to scare the beejeezuz out of them, or peeks through keyholes at them and their friends. IF someone is sick, which rarely happens as we are pretty much stress-free here, then their complaints are taken seriously and they are taken to see the osteopath before they require to be admitted to hospital, and if they need admisssion to hospital, they are not taken home on assurances to doctor of adequate care and then neglected and left on their own daily for...months! Children are not asked for their input and then laughed at by their ideas. Salt is not rubbed in open skin rashes in an attempt at a home-cure! There is very little yelling except what is necessary to prevent impending disaster. Adults do not assign children emotions in conversation, ie they are not TOLD what they are feeling or what they ought to feel. They are told that whatever feeling they have are legitimate but that if they are uncomfortable with their feelings (or not) they are free to discuss, but since they are human, their feelings OF COURSE are legitimate. They are not made to kiss anyone, relative or not. They are told the bizarre perversions of various monsters of the human race as they are able to understand such things and as they are exposed to the risks. My young child is allowed to be friendly to strangers because they are always with a responsible adult (me or BF). The older one is aware of the limits of conversation with strangers. We are more or less open about our bodies in terms of calling penises, penises, breasts, breasts, and so forth. And about the functions of all of these. I do not censor literature in my house but I'm picky about what comes into it. I think it all boils down to respect and communication. There is little need for dissociation/emotional escape in my house. Everybody is placid and there are no secrets. There is little need for discipline even. It pleases me to be more or less the helmswoman of such an establishment. My older son is away overnight more than I think is probably usual for a homeschooler of his age but I think he brings his sense of self and the peace within our house with him because even though he is away for say 8 weeks he always comes home with it intact. I have taught him escape tactics for stressful situations, not just abuse from an adult, but from harmful influences...

we have a place that is meaningful to both of us - it is a physical location, between a ceremonial fire and a spiritually powerful older person...in our minds we visualize turning into a certain kind of bird and we can easily fly to this place and seek protection. Even though the actual fire is out we believe that if we send our spirit there then we are protected by the communal strength of all who have ever attended the ceremony and share the common bond of the 'tribe'...and in that way we are able to think clearly and see that we do not have to be sucked into the vortex of the violence and abuse but are able to escape. Once our spirits have gone, it's easy for our bodies to easily follow. Does anyone else use a similar method? I would be interested to know! I didn't learn it from a counselor, it was inside of me always. I have used different places as I have aged. Now I have a big choice but I like the council ring location as it is somewhere I have shared with my children and I like knowing I can meet them there in a stressful encounter.

Sometimes in my spirit I go back to the house where I suffered my abuse because I want to find my child spirit and round her up for one reason or another because I need her contribution to something I'm thinking about or because I miss some part of myself that I just remembered and want to retrieve. Then I feel guilty for disturbing the people who must live in the house now, when I mentally go back I can't help but encounter some of those other things in the house, the bad things, so I always try to, I don't know, eradicate, contain them and leave a strong feeling of something nice, from me, before coming back to where I am now. Do you think that your abuse has left a trail of psychic trauma behind where it occurred? Do you feel as though parts of your spirit lay scattered on that landscape? Have you gone back to retrieve them? Is it too metaphysical a concept to consider?


One thing that's very difficult for me to deal with is that I think the abuse made me extremely, sixth-sense, sensitive to people, especially children, in emotional pain. I keep having a recurring dream about a place up North that is accessible by a wagon-trail sort of path across a granite landscape sheltered by evergreens and mature juniper...in this place are gathered periodically a people, some sort of group, a cult perhaps, and there are children and at least one of the children I associate strongly with, feels isolated, would like to escape, but it is so far away so she goes to a place where the others can't find her for hours (they know she goes away but she always comes back, so they allow it after the first time being worried and looking)...the people are there, they stay a while, they go, they return months later...they are waiting for something. They are misguided but believe in their cause. Maybe the girl will grow up to be someone special because of her experience and that is the real cause in the end.

Well, that is a dream...but I can usually tell too say when we go to town play group or encounter a child in the supermarket, which child is in emotional pain, even a little bit. I don't like being so sensitive. I can't work in an office because of it. So many adults are in pain too! It is like their spirits are about 2 feet off center of their bodies - exposed and trying to find a way back in - eeks!


Sometimes I have dreams where I can't keep track of the time. Recently my (nice) uncle sent me a letter to tell me my (nice) aunt died but he had trouble finding my address (because nice aunt would tell mean relatives where I was, she didn't have my address for a long time - aunt TOO nice!)...this was not the dream...in the dream I was wondering why he didn't send the letter to the place where I grew up...of course my father would forward the letter...then I thought...oh then my father doesn't know his little sister has died, oh no, I have to tell him, he will cry like when his beloved older sister died, it will be horrible. Then I remember, he doesn't live there any more, he doesn't live anywhere because he is dead because he has killed himself. But I have to tell him anyway, because otherwise he won't know! Then I woke up. Maybe this is a dream someone would have even if they hadn't been abused - but I was so dissociated when I moved away from that place that I have to concentrate to remember that I was even really there at all, and then to remember where else I went while I was similarly dissociated....why I feel my spirit is scattered all about and needs to be retrieved!

I used to go to counselling but I always got counsellors who were a little strange...by the book strange I mean...then one day I went to discuss some career choice with an objective person (psychologist on my insurance plan - coworkers told me I was 'crazy' to leave a state job so I thought, well, OK, I'll find out for sure LOL) and we discussed a recurring dream I was having about a house with two sides - one drafty and one cozy and me living in this house but only on the drafty side - couldn't get to the other side and someone was living in the house on the other, cozy side, and I could feel the presence and even hear footsteps but I couldn't see anybody. Infuriating! One cold night a person came in and shut the window above the place where I was sleeping and I woke up and saw the person - Gee, but it was ME! OK, so that was the end of the dream, lovely. I finally figured out how to help myself - the reason half the house was cold was because the d*)(O window was open. I never had any problems after that. I told my counselor friend about it and that I was quitting my state job definitely and he told me he was moving to Florida, he had really enjoyed talking to me too. I guess what I'm saying is that when you've been abused as a child you can have a very hard time seeing the obvious things you can do to take care of yourself...sometimes all you have to do is relax and listen to your gut. It doesn't take a whole lot of psycho mumbo jumbo PTSD by the book treatment to come out of.

OK, this is probably enough information to anwer question asked and hopefully spawn some additional discussion! I am interested in seeing everyone's responses to this very interesting and revealing thread and I hope everyone will try to be honest and forthcoming - I think it is more difficult to do that about healing than it is to reveal the details of the abuse. I feel also that the abuse is not important - what is abuse to one person might well indeed be a trivial matter to someone else. It's not a pissing contest after all, what really matters is how do you manage to move on and have a fulfilling life for yourself and your children and the usefulness of those answers to the other readers!

Sarah
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#6 of 26 Old 01-13-2002, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sarah: I go to another site for survivors and we have a method of giving each other hugs online. Here it is(((((((((Sarah)))))))))))))) There.

I got it. I can relate to your feelings, although you had it worse than me (and you're right, it's not a pissing contest). Especially the sixth-sense part. I am very sensitive. I HATE offices! For the very same reason you said: the pain all over and it gets all over me...

I loved your post, you said it so well. You are a good writer. I am just beginning to write about this stuff. For instance, I just the other day wrote a letter to a cousin and discovered, in the course of writing, that one of the things that hurt a LOT was the way I felt abandoned by my family while my father was abusing me. He was, in theraputic speak, a rageaholic, and he drove everyone away. In avoiding my father, the family avoided me; I felt forgotten, abandoned, discarded. I had a big family, then suddenly I didn't have any. As an adult I am trying to get in touch with them again and get to know them again but it's hard...there's all this time gone. Now I'm an adult stranger, and they belong to a club I was booted out of - by association - 32 years ago. Not to mention that the dysfunctionality that accosted me as a child is still present, and certain of them still think of me as the scapegoat. I will not have it.

My daughter will be five years old next month. I respect her and love her and give her the attention I didn't get. I am fiercely committed to giving the opposite of what I got!

I have a question for everyone who would like to answer it: How do you deal with what 's left in your psyche from your childhood when it comes to dealing with children? By that I mean, the impulses we were taught - how do you end the cycle when your brain has been taught certain behaviors?

I have worked on myself, off and on, and will continue to work on myself for as long as it's needed. Now it is for my child that I do it, and that is just fine with me. It's not enough to concsciously do the right thing - I am committed to doing the right thing AND being happy doing it! She deserves a happy mommy.

One of the things I work hard to create is the opposite of the isolation I experienced as a child. I make sure other people are in my daughter's sphere, people I trust. I am basically distrustful of the world at large, however, but I consider that healthy!

There are certain good things I got from my upbringing, like a love of nature and reading. I'm passing those on to dd. Okay, that's a lot for now. ((((((((((everyone))))))))))))

Try going to: transformations
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#7 of 26 Old 01-14-2002, 01:45 AM
 
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I am a survivor of sexual abuse by my brother. My mother was sexually abused by her brother. I want to protect my child(ren), but I'm so afraid that I won't be able to. My mother has told me that she suspected something was going on with me, but believed that she was imagining it, being oversensitive to things, because of her experience (she had not had any counseling for it at this time). I worry about doing the same thing, but I don't think I will...

I spent most of my college years healing from the abuse, with the help of a very good counselor and a wonderful boyfriend, who is now my DH. He is very big on trusting gut instinct, and encourages me to believe mine when I start to doubt it. I hope to have a very happy, healthy home for our child(ren). I'm at the very beginning of this journey of parenthood, but so far so good...

I, too, am very sensitive to other people's emotions. Although for me it's more on one to one interaction than in large crowds.

I also understand feelings of isolation, and wanting/needing other people to hear what I have to say about what happened. I wrote a poem about it in college, and submitted it to the school literary magazine. It was a very important step for me, in my healing process...I thougth long and hard about whether to submit it anonymously or not. I ended up putting my name on it, though, because I wanted to be heard; that's what the poem was about, after all. I'll share it, if you're interested - it's a bit biased, as it only talkes about girls and sexual abuse, but that was my perspective at the time.

Oh, one more thing...it's amazing (and frightening) to me how often I hear "Me too" when I tell someone that I was abused. I have encountered this so many times and I wonder, is there something that draws survivors together without their knowing, or are there just that many of us?

Jenoline
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#8 of 26 Old 01-14-2002, 02:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Jenoline: Thanks for your post. I would love to hear your poem. And anyone else's, too.

I think both are true: we are sensitive to what's going on, AND there are lots of survivors.

-Jolynn
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#9 of 26 Old 01-14-2002, 05:10 PM
 
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Okay, here it is. I can't get it to accept my 'indentations' though, so it is not really in the same format that I wrote it : ...annoying, oh well).

As I said, I was in college when I wrote this, and it definitely reflects that...

untitled

You hear about it all the time
You read about it in the paper
hear it on the news
You see it on Oprah
or Sally Jesse Raphael
or Geraldo
So where are they?
These victims of sexual abuse?


you wonder
"I don't know any. Besides, if it was that bad
how could they make it this far?"
You don't know any?
Are you sure?


What about the girl across the hall?
the one who sleeps around
who seems to believe that
her life
depends on having a man
in her bed
on Friday night

What about the girl in your class?
the one who stops taking notes
whose eyes cloud up
when child abuse is mentioned

What about that friend of a friend?
the one who seems so
withdrawn
who has never been on a date
and looks at men with
fear
in her eyes

Or the girl downstairs?
the one who looks at men
not with fear
but with
anger
and hate

What about the president of your sorority?
she seems perfectly well-balanced
and normal
her only care is
that the meeting goes well

Or maybe it is your friend
the one who is seeing a counselor
she hasn't told you why
the one who seems to sink into
a deep depression
now and again
more often than not

What if she told you why she goes to the counselor?
What if she told you that she was
molested
by her brother
her father
her uncle

Would you listen?
Would you believe her?
Would you help her through this thing called "life"?

Or would you change the subject
Would you ask her "Are you sure?"
"Maybe it's time to take a walk
get some ice cream"
Or would you just turn your head
and
walk away

Open your eyes
Open your hearts
Open your minds
Open your ears

Look at us! We are all around you!
We are the survivors of a silent crime!
We have made it this far out of sheer will and strength!
We have been robbed of our
innocence
our trust
feelings of self-worth

Will you let it go on?

Or will you listen
believe
give us the chance to tell our story
and help make it so your children
will not have a story
to tell.

Jenoline

PS Just a thought...would this thread be more appropriate in "Talk Amongst Ourselves" forum? From previous posts, I know there are many more survivors on these boards. Of course, they may just not want to discuss it right now...
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#10 of 26 Old 01-14-2002, 06:29 PM
 
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You ladies are wonderful and strong women. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. My stories are no where near as horrible as yours. Yet I have a strong desire to save my children from the things that happened to me as a child. Can you help me do so. How can I make sure nothing that happened to you happends to them. Physical, sexual, emotional abuse... not okay in my book. I want to stop it before anyone even sees my child as a victum. They will see me and know that it is not an option. Please give me advise. Do I not leave them alone with anyone? Your advise is appreciated.
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#11 of 26 Old 01-14-2002, 06:54 PM
 
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what would have helped me?

if my mother had asked me point blank.

"Has anyone ever touched you in an inapproiate way?"

I would have told her.

Also, if they would have been more approachable about that type of thing. If they would have discussed things such as abuse.

Another big thing: Don't leave your child alone with anyone you know was abusive in the past. Don't think a person changed. People that want sex with kids do not change. They can't be helped or reformed. You just have to never trust someone that you know to be sexually abusive.

The big thing is to ask ask and ask again.

also. let them know what parts of their bodies are private and which parts no one should be touching. they most likely do know, but you should make it clear...and tell them to come to you if it happens.
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#12 of 26 Old 01-15-2002, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Jenoline: thanks for the poem, it made me cry. It was powerful and direct, what's needed for communication about abuse. I thought of myself in college. I think young women that age need to hear it, to validate and name what they may have been through, or what their friends may have been through. I believe that naming something reduces it's power over a person.

re: moving the post - I put it in "Parenting" because I am especially interested in what it takes to be parents dealing with this specific issue, and to be honest I haven't read a lot of the "amongst ourselves" forums. But this subject is very personal, and I take it that's the kind of subjects "amongst ourselves" covers (I get that from the title, I could be wrong). I wouldn't mind if it was moved, just so I can find it again! How does one move a thread?

I just have to say I am so glad to see the response here! Our parenting issue is unique, like being poor, or being a person of color, or being an immigrant and parenting, to name just a few special issues. I don't feel so wierd talking about these issues with other parents who've been through the same thing as me. We can be really great resources to each other.

Sleepies That is good advice. How early did you start telling your kids about private parts of their body?
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#13 of 26 Old 01-16-2002, 01:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Question of the Week, if you like: What do you do when you get triggered around your kids? Like sad or distracted or fearful? One thing I do is beathe, and focus on dd, which works well. Other ideas?
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#14 of 26 Old 01-16-2002, 02:14 AM
 
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Jolyn: I'm glad you liked the poem. I was a little nervous about posting it. It's not neccessary to move the post, just an idea. People talk about anything/everything in "Talk Amongst Ourselves", both frivolous and serious.

I have to agree with Sleepies...if my mom had asked me point blank, "Has anyone touched youlike this?" I probably could have told her. She often talked to me about "good touch/bad touch", and told me to tell her if anyone ever tried anything. I always felt that it only applied to strangers though. I knew what my brother was doing was wrong, but he was my brother. Every time she sat me down to talk about it, I wanted to tell her so badly, and wished that she would just ask me outright. Oh, another thing, I think these talks with her came only after the abuse had started.

I would teach your children from a very young age (as soon as they can understand, maybe 3yo) about their bodies, and what is appropriate or not. Don't talk above their level of understanding; they don't need to know everything at 3yo, but I think there are definitely things worth teaching a child that young.

Also, while it's important not to put your child in a risky situation, I also think it's important not be constantly afraid. Trust your gut, if someone or something doesn't feel right, it's probably not. But that doesn't mean that you can never leave your child alone with anyone...there are a lot of good people out there, too.

OK...Question of the week...my dd is only 7 months, so I haven't dealt with this much. Usually I think about it while I'm watching her sleep, so it doesn't affect her. I try to relax, and let my thoughts focus on positive things...instead of dwelling on details of what happened, or why it happened, focus on ways to prevent it from happening again, or catching it immediately, if (God-forbid)prevention isn't possible. Remind myself that my dd has two parents who love her and are very aware of things, and is not likely to be a victim. Remember anything good you can about your childhood...most of my childhood was actually pretty good, I was lucky.
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#15 of 26 Old 01-18-2002, 03:10 AM
 
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I too was abused. But get this, I was abused by my Mother. I have repressed most of my childhood. There are many years that I have no memory of.

My Mom would not touch me herself but she enjoyed setting up situations so that she could "show off" how beautiful I was to grown men. I was exposed diviant sexual behavior at an age when I was trying to figure out my own puberty.

My Mom managed a rock and roll venue from the time I was 12 to 16. I saw a lot of messed up sexual stuff go down back stage during those years. My Mom enjoyed having roadies approach her about how pretty I was. I was allowed to go on the tour busesand into dressing rooms by myself. You can imagine the stuff I saw. You can imagine how this kind of access made me a very popular kid at school. I saw all the big acts. For better and mostly for worse. Everything you hear about the rock and roll biz is true and then some.

I remember once a man pulling my shirt out and looking down at my breasts. This happend right in front of my Mom. Her reaction, "Her's are still growing." She took me to a bar to get drunk with her friends on my 16th bday. She offered me cocaine when I was in the 8th grade to help me deal with the pain of a pulled groin resulting from a cheerleading injury.

I knew a woman who was married with kids my age, this was my Mom's close friend. She would preform sexual acts in the bathroom down the hall from my Mom's office. This was all talked about in front of me. Another woman my Mom knew prided herself on being called by rock stars and taken all over the country because of her sexuall prowess. She was portayed as cool to me. I made mental notes of how she dressed, acted ectra. This would shape me later when I started dating.

I was also exposed to the kinky sex life of my Mom, my step-father and their swinging friends. They would swap partners, ectra. Again, this stuff was discussed in front of me like I was one of the gang.

Seeing first hand how women conducted themselves like this gave me a very bad view of what healthly sexuality was at an early age. I thought for years the only way to get a man to love me was to be some sort of seductress sexual dynamo.

All this happend and I also grew up in a drug and alcohol infested, verbally/physically abusive home. I now know, as of a couple of months ago, that my little brother was molested by a trusted family friend that happend to also be gay. My brother and I saw him and a man he picked up at a show laying naked together in the living room one morning when we went to get our cereal.

I don't know if I was sexually molested. If I was it is so far down that I have no memory. Although I suspect that I was because of commits that haunt me from my step-father like, "I love you more than your Mom."

This is so painful. I am home alone. My dh is away on business tonight. I have to stop talking about this. I don't know why but lately I have been recalling memories that I had not thought of in years. It usually happens as I'm falling asleep. I guess that's when your mind is the most open/vunerable to wandering thoughts.

I AM BREAKING THE CHAIN. I am determined to have my dd grow up in as normal a home as I can give her. I want her to know she is safe and that she has a strong Mom and that will protect her from the monsters of the world.

I too am very leary about her being in the company of anyone besides me, her Dad and a few close relatives. When she is with others outside the above circle I am close by to monitor everything. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am imposing all this baggage on my friends and how they interact with my dd. They don't know I think this way about them. But still I am a product of my past and I can't let happen to my dd what happened to me.
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#16 of 26 Old 01-18-2002, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Sundy. Your stories remind me a little of the San Francisco Bay Area and Marin County, CA, in the 70's and early 80's, but not the same thing, I know.

The thing I keep seeing from you all it the determination to end the cycle, break the chain. Right on, is all I can say now. I am a little stirred up myself about now, so I will end with hugs all around.
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#17 of 26 Old 01-20-2002, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sundy, I was in no way trying to find out where you lived when all that was happening to you - just reminded of a similar atmosphere. Sorry if you got that impression.
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#18 of 26 Old 01-23-2002, 08:46 PM
 
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No worries. I didn't get that impression. But you are right in the time period assement.
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#19 of 26 Old 02-08-2002, 07:27 AM
 
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So far it's great being a nice normal family where we all respect each other and no one is abused...

I just hope I can keep it up and not screw it up. Sometimes I find myself getting really frustrated with DD and I have to put her in her crib and walk away. It's also a trip having dad in the home and knowing there's nothing to be afraid of. I wonder what it would have been like if I had a dad that was home. I just can't imagine coming home from school and having a man there, I think it would freak me out.
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#20 of 26 Old 02-09-2002, 10:35 PM
 
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Just some gentle warnings:
I am not a survivor, but have MANY friends who are. Many of which have children and are absolutely committed to breaking the chain and are succeding. However, here are some stories about kids of survivors:
My friends child was taught that no one could touch him if he did not want them to. Sounds good right. But he could get very angry and go into physical rages. Once while watching him he began a rage and was swinging his arms like a windmill hitting everyone in sight. I held him gently to restrain him. He began yelling "You can't touch me unless I say so." over and over. I kept trying to explain that as soon as he quite hitting I would let him go, but he was hysterical. Eventually he calmed enough to release him. I was very conscious of being gentle and non-punitive but he needed to be restrained. I tried explaining that he can't touch other people unless they say so also. It was a difficult situation.
The other potential problem area I've encountered is extreme privacy about genitals from children of sexual abuse. Try tending to a boy who still needs his bottom wiped but won't let you look. I've wiped with my eyes closed. Filling up the tub and then sitting outside the door and helping him to get out and dried with my eyes closed.
I don't really have a solution to the problem and they are certainly smaller problems than having your children abused, but I thought you might want to be aware.
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#21 of 26 Old 02-09-2002, 11:34 PM
 
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My kids are definitely not like that. They like to be touched appropriately by people that they know care about them. No problem. RE 'breaking the cycle' I think it might apply more to people who were in situations where they thought what they were experiencing was 'normal'....I never for one moment thought that what I lived with was normal...I had friends and I was in home day care and I knew very well what 'normal' life was like - peaceful! So I don't have a cycle to 'break' - I just walked away from it and cut ties with my family - for me, case closed with the figurative closing door. I babysat all through my preteens, teens, and early twenties (some of those years while I was still with my biological family) and it never even once crossed my mind that I should emulate my biological family in any way. I do agree there are those who do have a cycle to break, but that sort of thing doesn't apply to everyone.

Just wanted to put in my .02 - I don't consider myself damaged by my experiences. On the contrary, it gives me a greater appreciation of a mundane life on the home front. My 11 year old doesn't know the full details of what I experienced...but he knows enough to differentiate between good and bad touching...really the physical component is only one aspect - someone can do much more damage to a child by telling lies, playing emotional games, using bad language, threats, failing to follow through on promises, and the like. The sort of stuff that makes the kid prone to the touching in the first place, because it is oftentimes so much easier than other forms of domestic abuse that children have to live with day after day.

Sarah
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#22 of 26 Old 02-10-2002, 06:23 AM
 
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First, thank you everyone who is sharing and breaking this cycle. I am amazed by the spiritual strength and determination of survivors. I know how much work it is to face and heal and move on through these kind of situations. I have always known something wasn't right about my feelings toward sex and love. But I didn't really begin to uncover the scenes of violation until I began meditating. Even then, after years of thinking that I was getting rid of some issues I began practicing tai chi only to return to nightmares and memories that I never remembered before. My first years of spiritual growth and uncovering were horrifying (and I might add nothing compared to some of the things being shared here). Now I am grateful to have uncovered these dirty secrets. Being able to see with clarity has given me the chance to heal and truly feel right about my sexuality for the first time in my life at nearly 30 years old.

I have gone from living with and marrying a boy (he is not considered a man to me) who abused me in every way he could think of, to having the strength to leave him and move on. I have gone from sleeping with men just to get attention give them what I knew they would like, to actually knowing what the term "making love " means. I have gone from feeling like I would never be able to truly trust a man or love a man, to being in love with and married to a man that I admire, trust and adore. I have gone from feeling that I would never be at peace, to knowing true peace and joy without fear. And I too have been blessed with the super sensitivity that the others speak of. My only dilemna is learning to work with the sensitivity so that it helps me instead of overwhelms me. Part of that includes the protection of my kids.

I encourage anyone, survivor or not, to read Gavin DeBecker's book "Protecting the Gift". He is an amazing man who endured abuse and lived to become the authority on violence in the country. His book gave me the sense that I have the ability to protect my little ones. Sometimes still I feel fanatical. I check on my daughter at family gatherings more than the other parents. I get freaked out if she has an itchy crotch or a rash. I don't trust anyone with her except my husband. I am not sure what it means to be "normal". I mean, I don't know if I am being a freak sometimes or I am just being cautious. But I don't listen to other people if they tell me to chill out because so many people have a "this can't happen here" attitude.

I will just share a couple of things that I feel very confident about doing to keep my daughter safe.
1) I don't leave her alone with teenage boys. Sorry to those of you who have teenage boys and they are innocent. In my experience teenage boys are hormonal and should not be put into a position alone with little girls that may be arousing. It is not just me who thinks so. I saw an expert pschologist on Oprah who said the same advice. I was forced into sick sexual acts with a teen when I was 5 years old. I don't allow my daughter to be in that situation.
2) I don't encourage my girl to kiss hug or otherwise associate with people she feels uncomfortable with. Obviously!
3)I tell her that if anyone does something to make her uncomfortable and they won't stop she may do anything (kick, bite, hit, scratch etc.) to make them stop. This does not go over well with many of my peace at all cost friends. However, they were not held down in bed with a penis stuck down their throats gagging and wanting to get away. I wish someone would have told me it was ok to bite!!!
4) I tell her that if she is lost to look for a mommy, someone with kids. Sorry again if this is offensive against men but the book above clearly states that most predator's are men.
5) I stick up for her. I respect her. And I encourage the men in her life to do the same. Just as her feelings about the minor things matter I want her to get the idea that her feelings are as valid as another's.
6) I just recently started telling her about other people who may try to trick her into doing things that aren't good for her.
7) I put a spiritual shield and sword with her when I cannot be with her. She knows I do this and if I miss a spot she tells me.
8) I pray for clarity so that I can see anything that might harm her. And I am willing to consider the ugly things that are possible.

Once again thank you for everyone sharing. It makes me feel so hopeful that you are out there not only surviving but thriving!
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#23 of 26 Old 02-13-2002, 11:16 PM
 
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Just wanted to bump this thread for another survivor.

Warmly~

Lisa

Lisa, Todd, Dane and Amber: & :::
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#24 of 26 Old 02-14-2002, 02:27 AM
 
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I'm just glad that my DD doesn't know that hands can hurt, and doesn't know what yelling sounds like.

I also do not leave her alone with any men, except for her father. I choose only female doctors and caregivers. While this does not solve everything, it helps.

Also, if I ever have a son, I don't think I'll let him join the Boy Scouts. Something about a bunch of grown men taking little boys into the woods does not seem right to me.

Sorry if I offended any legitimate, non-molesting Boy Scout families.
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#25 of 26 Old 02-14-2002, 06:24 PM
 
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I was told about this thread by lisamarie on the extended bfing thread.
I am a survivor.
I have been blessed with the most precious gift of ds, and dd.
My dh is loving and caring but also a bit tense and fearful. So much so that he questions my play with the babies. He aslo doesn't want dd and ds left in the care of my mother. (She was not the perp but married two abusive men and so in dh mind is guilty by association)
I love my children and would never do anything to hurt them but I am filled with doubt and shame much of the time. I worry and fret over everything--diapering, bath time, extended nursing --everytning.
I know my mind, I know my intentions are good, healthy and loving. But as my dh says "maybe your dad thought he was doing the right thing?" And in fact my father did say exactly that . Father believes his actions were "normal" and "what everyone else was doing" I have no contact with him any longer. I can't have him messing with my mind. And yet obviously his abuse still fills me with doubt, shame, ect.....
I want to raise healthy, happy children and I want to protect them from the pain and abuse that has marred my life. I am glad to have this thread to talk about the issues and to share successes. Thank you all.
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#26 of 26 Old 02-14-2002, 10:56 PM
 
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Hi Renee,
I know someone said this in your other thread, but just because you were abused does not mean that you will abuse your children! Please believe that. Abuse/molestation is a conscious choice; you can't abuse someone "accidentally". Regardless of what your father says, I'm sure he knew what he was doing. If he thought it was normal there woulld have been no need hide it and everyone in your community would have known what was going on (know what I mean?).

I'm so sorry that your husband says hurtful things to you. It is so important to have someone that understands and supports what you are going through/have gone through. I strongly recommend that you BOTH see a counselor who is experienced with molestation. Your husband needs to understand what happened to you, the ways the abuse affects your actions, and the ways it DOESN'T affect your actions.

I had a very good counselor in college, and my boyfriend (DH) came with me a few times, and my counselor suggested some reading material for him. It really helped him to understand what I was going through and having his understanding and support really helped me to heal.

You are doing the best you can for your children, and bfeeding them is a wonderful, normal thing. I think it is really important that your husband learns to understand all this, so he can support you and your choices, instead of making you doubt yourself.

My thoughts are with you {{{Renee}}}. Please feel free to PM me if you want to.

Jenoline
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