Throughout my 43 years, I have never had anyone in my life, care enough to want to know about the sexual abuse I suffered as a child.
I’ve used the term paedophile, and people just assume what happened. But, no-one has ever asked me if I need to share the details. My mother didn’t care. She was too busy blaming me for the paedophile abusing my sister. I have nightmares still about seeing him abusing her.
Since childhood, no-one has ever wanted to know if I need to share these details.
So, they remained a dirty, vile, shameful secret inside me.
Secrets my inner child still feels, still has deep fear about.
Secrets my inner child still feels deep shame, blame and guilt about.
Even in counselling, it’s been made clear that exposure therapy, is not appropriate, and I’ve always agreed with that. Until now. Yes, exposure therapy can be re-traumatising. But, keeping ‘secrets’ can be damaging. I think I only went along with not wanting to go down the track of exposure therapy, because it served my unhealthy need for avoidance and kept that shame within me, of not ‘telling’. it kept that shame within me, still going.
I know this is partly about my unmet childhood needs. I needed a mother I could tell. And I didn’t have that. Instead I was severely abused further, with being blamed for my sister being abused. Every child needs someone they can tell. Someone safe. Someone they can trust. I didn’t have that. I’ve never had anyone I can trust, for my inner child to tell the dirty secrets to.
I understand exposure therapy, is hard on the counsellors. And I understand they need to protect their own selves, from having all this vile abuse explained in detail. But, who is my inner child supposed to tell? If she always has no-one, she will always feel unsafe, and like no-one can be trusted, know no-one cares enough. And I am starting to see, no-one ever will and I will have to be there for my inner child, myself. Somehow.
Having flashbacks last night, was so vile, I can’t even explain fully. They are as though I am there, I can smell, feel, sense, see everything. As if my life has re-wound to the age of 9, and I am that child again.
I’m aware this is part of my healing. To divulge details. To have the strength to do that. To help my inner child know, it is okay to tell. It is okay to say “all this happened to me and I don’t have to keep your dirty little secret anymore”.
I need all this abuse, to start to become the abusers shame, blame and guilt…..and not mine.
I know intellectually none of this is my blame, shame or guilt, but intellectual understanding alone, does not change the emotional and psychological core wounds.
Part of my healing, will be about my inner child healing. And that is only going to happen, if her needs are met.
And that starts with not keeping the dirty secrets anymore. And feeling safe enough to tell.