There was a time in my life that I felt like the abuse and trauma that I suffered were my fault. That somehow I was to blame for the things that were done. I also felt like somehow I should have been able to protect myself. With the last thought I realized I was looking at myself through the eyes of an adult. And not the eyes of a child.
Then I had a daughter. And she was an amazingly beautiful baby. She began to grow into a wonderful toddler. Then it all started to make sense. I saw my beautiful little girl, a small child, and I saw myself. There was no way on earth I could have protected myself from a grown adult. That was a truly mind stretching thing for me. I had always thought that I should have been able to do something. There was no way I could have.
It was also never, ever my fault. The fact that someone chose to do those things was their choice. I had no blame in the matter. I, contrary to what I was told, did nothing. I was just a child. It is a crazy world where the victim walks around believing it was their fault. Now I see where the blame lies and it is not at my doorstep.
The belief that something is our fault colors so much of our perceptions. Whether it is an car accident, an argument or any other thing that happens. We carry with us a guilt. We carry the “what if?” I sometimes wonder who I would be if I had had a childhood that was free of trauma. I know one thing, I would probably not have learned how to fight as early as I did. I got into more fistfights as a child than I even want to remember. I was never the aggressor. Even now it takes a lot to get me on the attack if it is only me that is affected by the bully. But in the defense of someone else, I have a hair trigger. Especially where my sister is concerned. I got into more fights defending her than anything. And even though we are both grown up women with grown children I still have a hair trigger when it comes to defending her. Though she has told me she can take care of herself.
It has taken a long time to reach a point where I do not feel guilt over what happened to me. And to stop feeling a guilt that I was not able to better protect my siblings. Turning the responsibility of what happens onto the victim is very much a part of the abusers arsenal. If that guilt is there than a feeling of responsibility is there as well. Realizing that is something that enabled me to move forward so much more smoothly through my healing. It is a hard to thing to get past.
I am who I am today because of everything that I have been through. I like who I have become. I like that I am stronger than I think am. And that I have developed my own inner solid core through the adversity that I have endured. At Goddard they say “to trust the process.” And the process of healing is not easy and can take you down many unexpected paths. But the trauma that I experienced was never my fault and I am the person I am through having overcome it. I may never be free of some of the things that accompany that trauma. But I like the person I have and am becoming. And the process of becoming free of the guilt and blame is well worth the effort.