When Trauma Keeps You in Fear that People Can Still Hurt You
As a survivor and now a thriver of childhood rape, one of the biggest catalysts for my healing has been to escape that inevitable and ever present nemesis: Fear. The tricky thing is that we're so good at repressing our memories and fears, we often don't even know they are actually running our entire lives in small and myriad ways. This story is about the fear of being taken advantage of.
As I began to let go and let the very light of God and Spirit into my awareness, I began to see so many repressed memories from my childhood victimization it was unbearable at times. It was catastrophically and undeniably abhorrent. Who would or could mastermind something like that, and do that to a child? Over and over? And who could let it go on and on...for over a decade? Those questions will not ever be answered on this Earth. But what can be answered for those of us who experience rape trauma at such an early age is the call of the heart, mind, body, spirit, and Source to heal the deepest of wounds and allow ourselves to be set free. This I know.
When I was a child I developed a deep love, trust and even adoration of my abuser. He was supposed to take care of me. I was his little girl, and he told me that all the time in the light of day. What I had suppressed was how he also told me that under the covers on the nights he would invade my room, my bedsheets, my mind, and my body. A total and undeniable invasion of rights in every form. He would tell me he loved me, and I clung to those words to make EVERYTHING alright despite what was being done to my tiny body--and my tormented mind and heart.
He would take his pleasure in the masterful manipulation of a tiny body and mind, and then, he would leave. He would leave me thinking, believing, and forcing myself into submissive knowing that THAT was love. That disgusting manipulation, using, sacrificing the very truth of who we are meant to be as father and daughter in that moment...became love, to my small child self.
And so it is no wonder that that child grew into a woman so confounded and lacking in so many areas. I had no idea what boundaries were. In my twenties I readily went home with random men from bars when I was drunk enough to abandon myself. I was used to shame. It was an old familiar blanket.
I had no inner compass. I had no midpoint for Love, or respect for myself. I had no faith in anything save for my ability to abuse, manipulate, and neglect my own truest form of self, to allow her to remain shallow, subdued, abandoned, weak, alone, and extremely confused.
It takes courage to see the truth, and even more courage to dare to change. I didn't even know that I MYSELF was the problem. So when I found one of my saving graces -- the Twelve Step program called Al-Anon...I thought I'd hit pay dirt and I had for what I needed at the time. I was married to the man who is the father of our two daughters, and I suddenly internalized this amazing realization: I could blame HIM for the catastrophic abandonment in my life! I adopted the belief that HE was the reason I was crazy--it was surely his habits, actions, or behaviors that were the scourge making me so anxious and miserable inside.
But you know what? His behavior was merely shining a light on my own inner pain of abandonment and reckless lack of boundaries.
It's taken me years to come around to be able to stop blaming him for my inner dysfunction and separation. But I finally have, and I thank God every day for the answer to that prayer. Inner pain is always, always an inside job. Yes....if you're in a dysfunctional relationship that's harmful, you owe it to yourself and likely others to remove yourself, set yourselves free, and be away from any kind of abuser. Always. But then, it is imperative, dear one, to seek, ask, pray, and find a way to heal your trauma.
The healing of what CAUSES these relationships to be so toxic is ALWAYS, in All Ways, an Inside Job. I repeat: The way to freedom and peace in your heart is always an inside job. The first step is to remove yourself from the toxic relationship, and sometimes that means taking drastic action. That is the only way to heal, and 'removal' takes many shapes and forms. But true peace, true inner freedom, only comes from your own courageous deep dive into the beliefs, actions, ageless traumas, and wiring that got you into the toxicity in the first place.
It's folly to ever think there are not two sides of the story. It takes two to tango. It's imperative to look into your own sacred heart for the blocks to the light, the love that you are meant for and so deserve. I don't mean to say you should ever, ever, blame yourself, dear one. But I do mean to say that in any toxicity, taking responsibility for what happened inside of your sacred self is the way to heal the past.
One of the wires that I had to remove from inside my heart was the fear of ever being taken advantage of again. Because I had been physically, emotionally and psychologically invaded since at least the age of 4 as my memories revealed (though I am quite certain the grooming began by the time I was conscious and walking around on two feet), I had begun to build walls inside myself.
As a tiny wee one, the world was not making sense in conjunction with the feelings that were showing me that: "Something's not right here. This doesn't feel good to me. This feels yucky. This feels bad." The world around me was like a scene from a regular home, and so confusion set in.
So skewed did my reality become, that wall after wall and wire after wire began to program within my little girl self and that alone was the basis for my escape. Every night that he would enter me, I left my body. Every time something did not make sense to me in my outside world--like all of the people and parties and drinking and revelry that happened in my home amongst the adults who seemed to love that man...I remained wired in the confusion. "How could some people think this man is so lovely? Why do they laugh at all of his jokes and drink all of his abundant wine he always pours so freely? Well, I guess that's who he is. I guess I will believe that, too."
It was through the experience of so many perceptions like this that I wove within me an entire story of this man's greatness, and even his love and adoration for ME, despite the one I knew him to be in the dark hours of the night.
It's taken years to unwind those thoughts, decipher them, and re-tell the truth to myself over and over and over again, with the help of my earth angels in therapist, friend, mentor, and healer form who have been willing to sit with me for at least thousands of hours whilst I unpacked the stories, the lies, the pain, and, the Truth, so that I could see clearly.
And one of the fundamental miracles that all of this generated was to begin to learn WHO and what I could trust, so that I could begin to lay down the swords that were meant to fight off anybody who might still want a piece of me. And I mean anybody. I began to wonder if some of my girlfriends were taking advantage of me, or if people in my work were, and I even realized that sometimes I was making up those fears because my inner radar system that would normally be able to hone in on a bullshit artist...well, I didn't even HAVE that kind of system. I had to develop it over time and with lots of practice.
One of the biggest complications of rape trauma is the confounding way it warps our understanding of Trust with a capital T. I have worked with and known now many beautiful souls with rape trauma in their past and so many have created similar walls or tactics to hide or stay away or awake because the experience of being harmed and penetrated left them so completely without trust. Understandably so.
But the key then to survival is to refer back to the truth of the one thing we know for sure, but may have forgotten: In God, we can Trust. In love, we can trust. And the truth is, there are also many, many good people on this planet we can trust. But we must be courageous enough to go and find them, connect with them, love them, let them love us, and build those truly sacred, healing relationships that are the framework of learning to trust ourselves, God, life, and love once again.
So the medicine for the fear of being taken advantage of is the retraining of our passive inner selves back into....Trust. Trust that love really can be possible. That life really can be ok, or even better than ok. That many people are really really good, and that if I set my sights on that fact, and begin to courageously pray that God help me meet those people....the Universe will truly answer that prayer in astonishing ways. This I know to be possible.
With this, I pray a prayer of blessing, dear reader, that if you have read this far, you may dare to open your sacred heart temple a little or a lot more on this day, so that it can show you the courage to Trust -- with a capital T -- that there is a power much stronger than you know, of divine Love in this Universe, that will show you the way out of this fear and into your own peace and temperance. And this, I know with all my light, is possible for you. Amen.
Suzanne Alexandria is a healer and life coach specializing in recovery and thriving from childhood rape trauma. If you're a survivor -- and want to learn how to thrive, learn more about working with her and let's get you started. From Fear to Recovery. You're a blessing in this world and you deserve to be happy.
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