Living with the results of trauma is something many of us do Many more of us than you can imagine Trauma response is very individual No one can relive your trauma No one can tell you how you ought to respond No one can tell you what you feel Or how you should feel No one has the right to make you feel guilty No one has the right to tell you to forgive
There are recognised symptoms that cover the wide variety of PTSD’s Not all will apply to you Or to him Or her They are a generic guide for diagnosis The base though is that they are/can be your bodies response to trauma inflicted on you that you could not control The wounds are very often externally indiscernible But the responses are embarrassingly visible And can often be emotionally, physically and socially crippling
For me personally I can identify with most of the above symptoms and at least half of those would be affecting me on a daily basis
Trauma changes our basic brain functionings Thats a fact No argument
One of my sorrowful questions has often been What/who would I have been if I hadn’t endured 10 years of childhood sexual abuse? Who would that little girl have become? What would her life have been like? Would she have been a better mother, a better wife? Would she have had more confidence in herself? Would her experience of sex and relationships have been more healthy?
I know I am the person I am today because of my abuse I don’t want the abuse to define me But in an intrinsic way it has I had no choice in that But I do have a choice now I have a choice to do the best I can with who I am now I will not let my abuser win this I am inherently stronger because I have had to be I had to fight from such a young age to hang on to my identity
Childhood incest inflicts such massive confusion on a child Love Loyalty Respect Trust All things that should be an integral part of a safe normal parent/child relationship Are confused by Manipulation Secrets Emotional bullying Passive agressiveness Powerlessness Conflicted loyalty Guilt, blame & shame Betrayal
When you finally escape you don’t know how to experience real love You are so used to your body being used as a ‘love tool’ That you unwittingly continue that toxic behaviour
According to research the younger the age the abuse begins, the frequency of the abuse, plus the longer the duration, effects the intensity of trauma response. The average length of incest abuse is 4 years – when I read this today it blew my mind, I am crying as I type, I feel sick to my stomach as the reality & roots of my constant fight is hitting me…
My recollections are that I was around the age of 7-8 yrs old, the frequency was almost daily, and I wasn’t able to escape my abuser until I was 18 years old. 10 years of almost daily incestuous abuse…
No wonder I struggle to support my inner child It is a constant Daily Overwhelming fight To separate my adult self from my child self To not be her anymore I just want to grow strong enough to build a healthier relationship between us.
Each of us has our own narrative We can be part of the same story But we see with clarity only our part of it
I remember my part of the story that broke us all I remember A day of normalcy A day of planning ahead We were all going to town the following morning But Tim decided to go alone on Monday He wanted to go help Graham pick vegetables because Graham always brought us bins & bins of seconds which he gathered up on his own and brought down for us to process to help feed our large extended family He wanted to do his bit towards this incredibly generosity So He did some mussel ropes with Azzan, some boat work with Seb I remember he raced through the shower and I helped him pack an overnight bag He packed up the Safari I remember we were alone at the back of the 4WD as he loaded in bins of mussels to give away It was to be my last moments with him But neither of us knew I kissed him goodbye and arranged to meet him in town on Tuesday afternoon. He took Seb & Phoebe home and left around 2pm on Monday afternoon I was to drive out with the 3 youngest the next morning to meet him in town.
I remember relaxing with Anson & Marah before they went home Having dinner with the kids and putting them to bed I remember enjoying a peaceful evening
Then with incredible clarity I remember receiving a text from Anson just before 9pm saying he’d heard there had been an accident on our road In my mind ‘our road’ meant anywhere from Port Ligar to Rai Valley I remember making phone calls I called David where Tim was supposed to be staying ‘No we haven’t seen him’ I called Graham ‘No I haven’t seen him, call the police’ I phoned Ian at Okiwi Bay who was our local ambulance responder ‘No, we had a call out but were turned back because the choppers were flown in. Call the police’ So I called the police thinking I would get our local station I remember talking to a lady who had no idea where I was She was in Wellington I remember her telling me she would ask and call me back I remember the heightened fear, adamantly refusing to let her hang up I remember the lightbulb moment whilst waiting for her return – ‘Anson heard it was on the news’! I remember racing to my computer and typing in Stuff.co.nz I remember seeing the news bulletin A lone male was killed on the Port Ligar-Te Towaka Road
I knew instantly I absolutely knew I was hyperventilating I was holding my breath I remember her returning saying she would transfer me to Blenheim Police I remember the voice of the police sergeant… I remember his name I will never forget his name …confirming without compassion or hesitation that yes Tim was dead & had been taken to Nelson I remember frantically asking him where he was and what do I do?? I remember him saying “I don’t know. I’m going off duty now and have handed over to Picton police.”
I remember texting Anson saying Please Come Now! I remember screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
I remember the 3 little ones coming out thinking I was laughing at a movie and their confused faces in total disbelief at what I was sobbing I remember Marah holding me I remember Anson bravely making the worst phone calls he would ever ever have to make Telling his siblings the worst news I remember Seb & Phoebe coming by boat Still numb from losing their wee one only 2 weeks earlier I remember them sitting outside in stunned silent pain I remember having to call Australia I remember Jesika answering, she was so happy at her dance class I remember the anguish of having to tell her I remember her screams as she collapsed I remember the pain of not being able to hold her
I remember receiving a message from a Blenheim cousin at 9:30pm saying how sorry she was and discovering she had heard it from a local person I remember the disbelief that obviously so many others knew long before I did I remember our neighbours Liz, Harry & Jude arriving an hour later I remember them telling me their story Their story confirmed how badly the sergeant had handled the whole situation That Tim had died over 6 hours before only 20mins from home
I remember my pain was so intense that even though I was trying to be everything for everyone that night I completely failed
I have carried all my children’s pain along with my own It has been an incredibly heavy burden I have felt torn in so many directions Grief is a tortuous creature It attacks us all at different times and in different ways
I have watched each of them walk their own journeys, process their own trauma, and know they hold their own narratives of that night Some have vocalised Others have kept theirs hidden deep I cannot tell their stories Just as they can’t tell mine But we can hold each other and listen