I am often of two minds. One is an adult woman willing and able to take risks. The other is a fearful little girl. They are the product of an incest survivor.
My angry, depressed dad alienated our family from everyone but his relatives.
Yet he presented the picture of a wonderful man to all except us.
My younger sister and I grew up in a home with a living room and exposed rafters. We wore the same three or four outfits to school all year long. I wore hand-me-downs from my older cousin. We each had one coat that lasted until we outgrew it. Dad purposely ran over my sister’s bike to teach her not to leave it in the driveway. Mom complained to me about her fears that he didn’t pay the bills on time. Yet he found time to help his brother with his house, bought golf clubs, bowling equipment, guns, a stereo, and records.
When we started school Mom found a job at the local drugstore. I thought this was to help pay bills, but years later she said it was partially to get out of the house and be around people who appreciated her.
He was emotionally abusive to the three of us. We lived a childhood of constant anxiety: Diann stuttered and developed asthma; I got migraines. Mom was a loving, dear, but weak, person, who my sister and I believed we had to protect. Dad took advantage of that when he took advantage of me. “Don’t tell your mom.” I knew what he meant.
Only after years of therapy did I realize she should have protected us.
I am grown now, but that little girl’s feelings and fears concerning money, security, and trust never go away.
The adult in me jumped at the chance to follow my dream of publishing a book I believed in. A few days later that little girl freaked out. Another couple days and I realized what had happened.
The first step is recognizing the fear and where it comes from.
You don’t have to give in to fear once you realize the truth.
I sat down and checked my finances, found it will not destroy me to lose $15,000, only make my life more difficult. I can handle that. I can reassure my little girl. I have.
There are survivors like me out there. I hope this and the books I write will help us all. By us I mean not only survivors but all marginalized groups: LGBTQ, blacks, Muslims, Jews, Native Americans, Latinos, immigrants, elders, . . . Who did I leave out? Imagine how strong we would be if we all united!
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