If you can’t remember how do you know it happened? You could be wrong.
I can see how, lacking memories, skeptics might question my claims of child abuse.
I’ve been thinking about this more intensely this weekend. It’s not that I haven’t spent time with it before. I have… decades in fact. Just not intensely.
This is the first time I’ve managed to lay it all out in order.
Just because my mind has refused to remember extreme pain, that doesn’t mean I have no memories of the rest of my life.
As a child, I remember poverty, insecurity and instability with a self-employed father full of brilliant ideas that didn’t always pan out. Highly sociable parents who loved to party and run with the fast crowd. An alcoholic father who was not always a nice, or faithful man. Dad was never alone much either.
Once the line has been crossed from inactive to active it can never be uncrossed. My conscious mind may refuse to remember the painful violations but my body remembers. Going forward, my unconscious thought patterns, reactions, and expectations were shaped by childhood experiences. As a teen, looking back, I recognize thought patterns that could only come from experience. With nothing to compare to, how could I know an inexperienced teen wouldn’t know what I knew. My naivete was in thinking I went in to marriage as a novice.
The most compelling indicator of abuse, though, was triggers.
For many decades, involuntarily, I refused to question anything. Thought patterns, reactions, hints, not even consideration of the to-question-or-not-to question dilemma, none of it. Subconsciously I knew I wouldn’t like the answers inspection would bring and my mind steadfastly refused to go there.
It was many decades before I gave triggers much thought. They were just a normal part of life. That is how it often is for the abused. Only when we see how others live do we recognize that what we live with is abnormal.
In the beginning most triggers seemed to be related to men. They range from a quick shut down, to knee-jerk reactions, to panic attacks. After years of examining root causes and then dealing with them, there were changes. Or, maybe it was whatever was next-in-line showing up.
The most recent episodes have taken me by surprise. With dysfunctional family dynamics there were multiple levels of abuse, much of it emotional. These lessor? triggers are taking their turn at gaining attention.
Reactions provide compelling evidence of abuse but the final nail in solidifying the idea was my brother insisting I admit it happened.
If there is any lingering doubt acesaware.org (Adverse Childhood Experiences) has extensive questionnaires offering insight. They name the minimum number of boxes it takes to assess probability. I passed the exam with flying colors. More than the required number of boxes checked off.
One of their areas of discussion is health issues. Aggravated by unaddressed abuse trauma. Two areas show up for me. Digestive and autoimmune. They have become more pronounced with each passing year.
This has been going on for more than ten years. I have a specialist appointment in a few weeks but it doesn’t look like there is any cure. This doesn’t surprise me. I’ve had skin issues most of my life, if it leaves one area it pops up in another. Why fight it?
There is no room left for doubt about what happened to me.
One more note: the As a child, .. paragraph above provided ample reasons for the checked off boxes on one of the questionnaire pages.
If you suspect you may be a victim check out acesaware.org , it is sponsored by California health and has a wealth of information and helpful tools available to everyone.
I hope this made sense.