Tag Archives: about me

Trauma: from child to adult

Part 2: Sexual Abuse

Going on from part 1 from my childhood memories…

All I can do is begin with what I know. I was sexually abused by my then oldest step brother.

In the beginning, he would come into my room while I was asleep. I would wake up to him touching me. Not on my leg, not my arm, not big toe for that matter. But in my private area.

I was numb, like trying to process what’s happening. Do I scream? Do I kick? I don’t know. That’s not something that I was taught as a young child that I remember at least; If this happens, then do this.

I eventually told my mom. Because I wanted it to stop. I wanted him to just Leave me alone! Stop thinking that you were some how given permission to do what you wanted.

But he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t stop. Even after me telling. He for some reason thought he was invincible. That he could orchestrate some lie or something of why he was in my room. He even went as far as doing it while I was sleeping downstairs, in our “den”, while our parents bedroom was right there. Maybe 3 feet away, was their door, across from the “den.” As well as when an uncle was staying with us upstairs, which is why I would be in the den. But it was like He HAD NO FEAR OF BEING CAUGHT. He had no worry. Like he was just invincible.

Why won’t you stop? Why won’t you leave me alone? JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!
I’ve kicked him, I’ve hit him, I’ve yelled at him to go away, but he still always came back.

Of course, he would just deny it. Because, let’s be honest, he’s always been a disgusting compulsive liar. But I guess you’d have to be to be so disgustingly disgusting.

I got a lock on my bedroom door. Did that stop him? Nope!

Every night I laid there, waiting to listen for any sound, to make sure there wasn’t anyone awake and coming in. Not even a creek. Because if there was nothing, that had to of meant everyone, including him, was asleep. So I should be OK. I should be SAFE. To just sleep.

It always seemed that when I would finally drift to sleep, there he was, at my door again. So it became a habit to just not sleep.

A lot of times I slept during the day and took naps because I would be up all night just laying there. Looking out the window, watching the shadows of the trees that were outside, sometimes I could see the stars too if the sky were clear. Sometimes I would just turn some music on and cry all night. I felt so alone. I felt so confused. Helpless. I felt shame. Self hate. I definitely didn’t feel like I was just a child living a child’s life. That was stolen from me. My feeling of safety was completely shattered.

I remember him somehow finding a key to my door and then got it taken away. I remember him even being caught outside my door, with the excuse “I was just checking to see if she was ok.” Ok for what? Ok from you? I remember laying there under the blankets on my bed literally watching the door handle jiggle as he tried to yet again get in. Praying to God PLEASE, don’t get in here. Please just go away!

He would take things to try to use to unlock the door and come in. And there were times he was successful. There was times I ran to my door and slammed it back shut. sat on the floor and pushed the hardest I could to keep my door closed, and then lock it again.

I had a big walk in closet, then another ordinary small one. During this time, I thought it was a little funny to make my closet into a little “room.” At first it was just to do it to be funny or bored, I don’t know. But it became another security door for me. I thought well, now you have two doors to go through, if you know where I am that is. I was in the big one first, because let’s be honest, lots of room. But then I went to the small one. I put my TV in there, my pillows and blankets. (Yes my tv, at this age back then we had the small little box TVs) I would draw or write or whatever in there. Sometimes that’s where I napped at if I was tired. If my mom couldn’t find me, I was in the closet most likely. Sometimes she couldn’t even find me. So I thought to myself that this was my space. My space of peace. But even then, I didn’t feel safe.

I stayed at my childhood best friends house I spoke about previously as much as I could. It was a getaway. A safe place. He wasn’t there. So it was safe. I remember that it was always so quiet there. Like you could hear a pin drop. So peaceful.

This just continued and continued. It was mentally exhausting. It was never ending. It was absolutely traumatizing! Tormenting. I didn’t feel like it was ever going to end. Like anyone was ever going to make it end.

This is what my childhood consisted of. But I knew this couldn’t be normal, right? That this couldn’t be how everyone lives. Because this doesn’t happen at any other house I stay in, right? For years I was tormented, confused, scared, hurt, afraid, and felt silenced.

though, that’s not where my story ends…

Trauma: From child to adult

Part 1: Early Childhood

My very first memory…

My very first memory I have, I was maybe around 2 yrs old? I was hiding under a kitchen cupboard. Ears covered with my arms and hands. Scared. Not knowing what is going on. The only thing I did know, is my brain telling me that I must hide.

You see, my dad and mom were fighting. Yelling. Screaming. I couldn’t tell you about what. I don’t remember the words that were said.

All I remember is the fierce anger in the eyes of both parents, that cupboard, my hands and arms wrapping my head, and being scared, frightened, confused.

A lot of parents fight though right?

Why was this so significant to stay with me?

Because from within that moment, my brain connected the intense feelings, the fear, the heartbreak, the screams, the facial expressions and more. It connected it to the need for safety under that cupboard, to the survival mode of not wanting to hurt or anger anyone around you or you may feel these intense feelings again. And after that I didn’t see my dad for awhile.

I have some memories here and there of going to church with my mom and brother. Hiding behind my moms long flowing dress as people wanted to get me to talk or smile. Or running down the basement hallway of the church after hours when it was sort of dark and creepy.

The next memory is me and my dad in his truck, driving who knows where. Singing Shania Twain “any man of mine” at the top of my lungs and him smiling. He was probably picking me up for a visit but I’m not really sure as that is the only memory of that time.

From there I don’t know. There’s no other memories around this time that I can recall, unless it’s brought up by someone else that triggers a brief recollection .

My brain held onto all the hurt, the pain, the trauma. If there’s more negatives than there are positives, then positives get buried and drowned out because your brain adapts to only needing to survive in order to live.

It skips over years and goes to when I was around 6 years old.

I just remember moving into a guys house that was now my step dad. I remember his black work boots and white button up shirt he always wore to work. I remember his jokes and the prickliness of his face every time he tried to give me a kiss on the cheek and that he always called me baby girl.

Along with my new step dad, was also two step brothers. I remember the layout of the house and thought it was so cool they had a water bed. I thought, wow, You can put water in a bed? Lol just memories of random things like that.
I remember the vicious little dog that apparently hated kids. I remember my step brother Tyler and I being told to be quiet and go to sleep while still giggling. I remember my youngest step brother and I fighting over whether the light stays on or off at bedtime. Haha. I remember a bees nest in the clothes line pole outback. I remember both of my step brothers mom, thinking wow, she’s super taller than me. But she was nice. She gave me snacks all the time out of the vending machines at school.

We eventually moved into a place that was in a better area. I remember before moving I went to elementary school still and I had gotten upset because I had to tell my friend I wasn’t going to be there anymore. And then I tripped on my shoe laces on the pavement at recess and had to get stitches in my knee. (I still have the scar 🙄).

This new house is where I met my childhood best friend. She was a sister to me. Her mom, was a mom to me as well. Her house though became my safe place that was ultimately my saving grace. The place where I knew I could sleep. Where I knew the calm was.

This is also where a child’s nightmare turns into a reality. My child years of Where the deep seeded pain started to reek havoc on my mind and body.

I was troubled with not being with my dad of course. I cried a lot. Pretty much every night I went to bed I cried myself to sleep. Wondering about him and why I wasn’t seeing or talking to him. What did I do wrong? I want my dad. Does he not want me? Although my step dad had treated me like his own, loved me and took care of me, I was still filled with frustration, almost like my dad was being replaced. So It did cause some tension with me and step dad. But no matter how many times I told him he wasn’t my dad, he still loved me, he still hugged me when I cried. He still took care of me, or at least that’s what I had thought.

But this isn’t the end of my story. These are just the beginning memories of what development started as.

Why do I Advocate?

I am often asked of my “why.” The why behind what I do. The why that drove me to my passion. There is no simple short version of why. I wish it were as simple as just wanting to do what is right. But with that was originally led by passion, rage, anger, hurt, and sadness.

I was abused as a child. Sexually abused, verbally abused, and I was neglected, emotionally and physically. I was suicidal and did not feel like I was wanted or that I belonged. I could notunderstand the pain I felt internally as I would scream for someone to just listen to me. For someone to help me. 

Forward to today, I still have childhood trauma. I consider myself a survivor. I am an advocate, a mentor, a writer, a mom, a wife, a grad student, a trauma professional and I am disappointed in our system we call justice and protection. I am disappointed that we don’t have more DISCUSSIONS about healing trauma, preventing trauma and NORMALIZING healing. Normalizing the discussion to bring awareness and to bring support.

When I was that child suffering crying for help. I tried to tell someone. It did not work. People saw the cuts on my wrists and just turned away. I felt invisible. Like nobody cared, nobody heard me, nobody was listening. I assure you though, you could see my pain eating away at my insides as it consumed me. Later in life I thought to myself, maybe I should have tried harder to tell someone? Maybe I should have just found my way to an officer? Maybe if I would have just thought of what to do more, than maybe someone would have helped. 

That was not my job as a child though to constantly find help. Instead, what I was doing, was trying to survive. My school counselors and teachers had seen my pain, my cuts, my tears, and my cry for help. Their job was to report it. Why didn’t they? Why didn’t they use their ethical guidelines and just report it? Because our children, everyday, all around us, are ignored. They are surviving instead of living. They are neglected, even by the ones who are placed there to be the protectors and to help. 

My why is not about just wanting to do the right thing. My why is about the need for discussion. The need to realize this may be an uncomfortable topic, but it is needed and far more important than any uncomfortableness you may experience. The lasting effects from childhood trauma are real. The lasting effects from parental alienation without a cause, is real. The lasting effects of children being ignored, pushed to the bottom,and laughed at like it is a game, is real.

There is research, we have the research on our children’s developmental aspects mentally. It is there for everyone and so many of those in these positions are aware of it too. Then why is the child’s best interest always quoted over and over with no actual consideration of facts and the impacts to decisions made on these children. Why can you pay foster parent thousands a month and not a family who just wanted some extra help? Why can you throw stones and judge a victim, while letting the perpetrators free?

Often victims are blamed or shamed for just being a victim. For just surviving. I see at times young adults who are now parents or wanting to be a parent. Are often told that the risk scores or Family Risk score are showing they are “unfit” or will become harmful because of their past trauma, their childhood trauma. They are victim shamed. They are practically made to look like they are the perpetrator just because some research tells us they will become one. Not every survivor ends up being the perpetrator. Not every perpetrator was a survivor. Putting more negative perspectives on the innocent and not the perpetrators, are further creating more shame-filled outcomes. 

Why are we not looking at healing and supporting more? Rather than shaming and making survivors feel even less than. We did not choose to be traumatized. To be abused, neglected,or trafficked. It is biased and discriminating to judge someone based on the childhood they did not get the choice to decide to be in or be able to control their environment.

Far to often, children who are abused get ignored, traumatized, and sometimes end up dead. Whether by suicide or homicide at the hands of the abuser. Children are used as pons in the judicial system we call “justice.” Guardian ad litems, CASA workers, attorneys, case workers, judges, counselors, doctors, and many more. They have lied, perjured, ignored the abused, allowed the abuse, laughed, mocked, traumatized, and committed more crimes than a family they’ve “helped.” Not all are bad, no. But when you have the vast majority of them doing this, the entire system that is supposed to protect you and uphold the laws, is needing to be seriously evaluated and fixed immediately. I know I’ll get heat back from this very paragraph, but when is it going to be acknowledged? SOMEONE, has to be the one to say it, to start the discussion!

Nebraska for instance, was given seven years to fix their department of health and human services. Why does it take seven years to have common sense and human decency? Most of the regulations in place do not even align with what they do. They do the opposite though and are encouraged to do so. It should not take seven years to figure out that a child being abused with over 50 calls to the abuse hotline, needs protection.That innocent child was murdered and tortured gruesomely, and his name is Landon Payne. It should not take seven years to figure out a ten-year-old child was pregnant and had triplets. It shouldn’t take seven years for someone to help my own situation. Victims all around are in jail, victim blamed, while perpetrators are walking amongst us. Think about that.

If I were to seek more help, there either would not have been any at all, still, or I would have ended up in another traumatizing “foster home.” Still not getting actual help. Still not being heard or still not being protected. Who is protecting our children physically and mentally, when they are being abused or when they are being thrown around and further traumatized by the “services?” 

My why is because our children’s lives matter, their developing minds matter, their connections matter, their sense of love and belonging matter. Their voices matter and Survivors matter. Healing… MATTERS, to protect the next generation. To end generational trauma.