I would totally ask you to read my other two previous posts:
I AM STILL WHOLE, BUT SOMETIMES I REMEMBER MY BROKENNESS
before you read this one – this post is a continuing/related post.
I remember when I was 15 years old, I told my mom about the trauma (tiny ME) I experienced when I was a child – She laughed and did not take me seriously and she said ‘daddy would never do that.’
In my early 20’s, when I was 23 years old, I tried again. I told my parents together (before I wrote 15 years) about the trauma, my mother and father both had shocked expressions on their faces and denied the situation and apologized for it while denying it happened.
From that time forth, I thought that everything I experienced was NOT right, like I remembered it wrongly, that I had misunderstood my father, that I had imagined it all and that the trauma wasn’t real. I told myself, he said he didn’t mean it, so that must mean i am wrong and every time from then, when he had physical contact with me, i forced myself to normalise it and accept it, even when his hands wanders to my ass when we walk side by side. Even if he doesn’t mean it in that way, i still do not want his hand there. My father jests at me when I squirm out of his touch today and says i am the abnormal one, that I should be okay with him touching me because he is my dad.
Recently, I realised, even though he denied it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t real to me.
I remember it too clearly for it to be made up, my body shivers and shakes and I start to cry when I think about it.
I recall him touching me, and me saying no, me moving his hand away. I recall him laughing and rejecting my refusal. Even if, he didn’t mean for me to take it that way, it doesn’t invalidate my trauma. Sexual violence isn’t about lust (which is what my mom insisted he didn’t have), its about control.
The words of a friend, who, at that time, worked at the Women’s Aid Organisation still stick with me to this day that: ‘Even if he denies it, and other people you tell [who happen to be church staff like your dad] make it seem like ‘it was an accident’, what you felt was not fake and the trauma you went through was not unreal. If you need help, you should get it here at WAO.’ And she always said she would help me if I needed it. I realize her words to be true today, because my emotions against men are real to this day.
My fear, distrust, hyperventilation when a guy’s knee accidentally brushes mine, my cold-sweats, my need to bathe and bathe when I feel the feeling of dirt come over me again because a guy invaded my personal space or did something which triggered my trauma, my self preservation in pushing men away, my inability to give men control over me, etc I cannot fake these things, they just come and I want to cry and go home but I cannot because he’s there.
(Side note: Victims usually self-blame when trauma like that happens and their (my parents) denial of the situation only made it worse in a sense. I was not validated in feeling that way towards how my father touched me. I think what sticks with me to this day is that he always only stroked my body at the sensitive areas like my ass and my vagina; even though it was over clothes. How did he even know to stroke those places? Anatomy, duh. Why did he only stroke those places though? I seriously don’t know, since he, the perpetrator, denies all intention.)
The reason why I’m writing this post is because I’m working through my trauma. Like, truly gonna deal with every aspect pre and post. And while doing that, I had to go through why do I feel this way/are they valid questions..
So, I’m reading a book called ‘Rid of my disgrace’ and I’d like to paste an excerpt of that book, quoting another book:
In Faithful Feelings, Matthew Elliot offers a clear summary about emotions: Emotion is always about something; it has an object. Emotion tells us about our values and beliefs. It can also tell us about the beliefs and values of others. Emotions are not necessarily rational, not because they are intrinsically irrational impulses, but because we can be irrational people. Emotions are often a powerful motivation. . . . Emotions are highly complex phenomena that rely upon both our conscious and unconscious mind, memories, cultural forces, family upbringing, and our personalities. These factors interact and respond to one another in an incredibly complex web of interdependent beliefs and values to produce particular emotions in particular circumstances.
Credit: Holcomb, Lindsey A.; Justin S. Holcomb. Rid of My Disgrace (pp. 43-44). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
I think I’ve come to be able to validate that the way I feel isn’t counted as less just because my perpetrator denies explicitly intending to touch me against my will..it’s an odd thing that I needed even address but important so I can finally start to heal.
I’ve been sitting at this same cafe for 3.5 hours now, the air conditioning is cold, the spotlights keep my fingers somewhat warm. I am doing some work and reading and blogging. When I re-read the two posts just to refresh what I previously wrote to you, readers, – I started having a mini panic attack as I read ‘Tiny ME’, because I remembered myself under my blanket, I remember the bed I was lying in, I remember my dad coming in, the door, everything. My breath started coming shallowly as I got lost in the memory. I saw it as it was happening from my own eyes in the cafe but in that memory too… I wanted it to stop! as I felt his hand on me again, I wanted that mini me to run away! JUST MAKE IT STOP.
Psychologists call this body memory, which only happens to trauma victims like war veterans and sexual abuse victims when we recall what happened. I’m so mentally tired while I live each day doing my routine job, but having to think through these things at the same time.. but, I need to. Tell you more on why, next time readers.