Triggered

I was triggered last night. Just a 3AM noise that triggered me to think someone was trying to break into my backyard and come into my room and rape me. I know, that escalated fast. That’s how my brain works. My thoughts derailed into millions of situations that could occur. I took breaks between trying to listen and fall back to sleep. Before I knew it, it was 4:30am. Normally that’s around the time I can sleep. Nobody robs or rapes after 4am. At least that’s what I tell myself to cope. This time I couldn’t calm myself down and I called my roommate to check her windows for any burglars. She assured me we were fine, but I kept hearing noises and asked her to come sleep with me.

Nights like that bring up hate, anger, sadness, frustration, and hopelessness. Hate towards my father for giving me a life sentence with CPTSD. Anger towards my mother for not caring or at least feeling sorry enough for me to call. I hate that I’ve lost hope on my relationship with my mother. One of the biggest blows to my self-esteem was begging her to stay in my life. There’s got to be something wrong with me for my own mother to choose an abuser, right? Carried me for 9 months, had a gut-wrenching difficult birth, raised me for 26 years and still decides I don’t need a mother. Which I can conclude means she doesn’t need me either. Days like that I wish I could call her, and guilt trip her. Tell her how much I need her and remind her of how much harm the abuse has caused me. Days like that I wonder if I will ever get a good night’s sleep alone. I wonder if one day noise won’t be a trigger for me.

Oh yeah and after triggers come nightmares about my abuser.

Life is not fair. It sucks sometimes.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

It’s not just about the abuse – it’s about the effects I must cope with.

Forsaken

On April 28, 2018, I thought my husband would leave me. My best friend, my confidant, the person who vowed to love me forever. I thought our tender marriage would not survive a secret I kept. If my mother and father could forsake me, why wouldn’t he, right?

Leading up to this day, I cooked every day he was home. I smothered him with love. I wanted to enjoy my last week of being married to the man of my dreams. All he knew was that therapy was scheduled for Saturday.

I couldn’t wait to be alone and let myself fall apart. I prayed. I yelled. I cried. I cursed at God. I didn’t understand how life could be so unfair. How God could be so unfair. I had a crappy childhood and He owed me.

I was supposed to live happily ever after. I was supposed to feel safe and peaceful in my own home. I felt cheated out of my fairytale.

I planned out what items I would pack first and found a temporary home (Thank you JJ and Marcos for the open arms).

After long talks, I finally made peace with God and promised I would praise him amid a divorce.

My counselor Jonette called me into the room first and I told her I was ready to let Tallon know. She brought him inside and he sat next to me with his arm around me.

J: Do you know why Sonia has been coming to counseling?

T: Yes, she explained to me she was molested by a cousin.

J: That is true but there’s more. Sonia?

S: [insert long story omitting the main point]

J: Just to clarify, it was her father too.

My heart shattered when I heard those words. A stab on fresh wounds. Those same feelings of betrayal, loneliness, and despair I felt at 15 came back to haunt me.
I wanted a sinkhole to take me under at that moment.

 I was waiting for Tallon to take his arm off of me, but instead he leaned closer.

We were instructed to not speak on the subject and instead do something exciting. Of course, he had questions. How? When? Why? How could he? Who knows? But he patiently waited until I was ready to bring it up again.

I can’t be more thankful for Tallon and the way he chooses me every single day. There isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t remind me that I am loved. And when doesn’t have the words to say but he leads me to Christ because He always does.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t speak up before, read my first blog post. Speaking up doesn’t usually go well for victims.

I didn’t want to lose him. I wanted to take this secret to the grave. But that quickly changed when we started discussing having children.

I must admit some days I do struggle to believe he will not run out on me. It’s hard to believe someone else can love me this much despite being disposable to my mother. And on those days I lean on God.

He will never leave me. He fights for me. He renews my strength. He is my refuge. My strong tower. My comfort.

& He will never leave me nor forsake me.

What happened to you?

What happened to you? To me, the most important question you can ask someone.

Talking about childhood sexual abuse is never easy. Talking about incest is just plain disheartening. But it is healing to a survivor when they are heard and believed.

One of my earliest memories of sexual abuse at the hands of my father were in grade school. I remember feeling uncomfortable with his ways of joking and showing affection. At that time, I had little understanding of boundaries.

The details are horrid, uncomfortable and raw.

When I was 15 years old, I knew I needed to get help. I had to get my younger sister out of that house as the abuse was stopping with me. My fear was that he’d begin with her.

I gave my diary to my boyfriend and brother. They read days of graphic and detailed abuse I experienced. Of course, they were shocked and saddened. But they believed me. That’s what mattered.

Doesn’t it seem like we all have one rich or well-off aunt? Well at that time it was Claire. My siblings, boyfriend and I drove to her home. I wrote her a note… something along the lines of “My dad is abusing me. Can I come live with you?”

It’s interesting looking back and knowing I’d need a backup plan.

Claire believed me. She told me she was sorry, but we had to confront my parents.

They both arrived and Claire took us into a room. I didn’t quite have the language to articulate what sexual abuse I had endured but I did the best I could. It wasn’t enough.

To this day I ask myself if I could have been more detailed in my explanation. More gruesome. More believable.

My father never looked up. My mother asked him if it was true. He nodded no. She asked him to tell me I’m lying or perhaps I misunderstood a gesture. He simply nodded no and walked out.

My mother burst into tears. Practically screaming. I felt sorry for her.

She asked me why I didn’t come to her first. I explained how I was afraid she’d fall apart, and I was right.

I was forced to go home with her. She promised he would move out. But that wasn’t enough for me.

I wanted her to be angry. I wanted her to hit him. I wanted her to call the police. I wanted her to hear me. Hold me. Cry with me. LOVE ME. Or at least feel sorry for me.

The only thing I ever wanted answered was why me. Why not a random woman? My mother never cared to sit and discuss further. In her words if I wanted those answers, I’d have to ask him myself.

Weeks went by. I was made to feel ashamed and guilty because my father was living in his car. He wrote me a paragraph expressing he was sorry and requesting we be a family again.

Looking back, I realize he never admitted any wrongdoing in his note.

I’m embarrassed to say I caved. I loved my mother so much and I wanted nothing more than to see her happy. My father and I didn’t speak for two years living in the same household.

I’m embarrassed to say I caved again after that.

I missed my dad. My “daytime dad”. The one who made time to encourage us. Joke with us. Watched movies and sang karaoke with us.

I allowed him back into my life for roughly eight years. Birthdays. College graduation. Marriage proposal. Wedding.

But everything changed when I moved in with my fiancé who is now my husband. As a firefighter, he works 24-48-hour shifts.

I began having intense breakdowns on shift nights. Any sudden noise caused my thoughts to derail into scenarios where I ended up in harm’s way. I later learned that noises were a trigger for me. I tried sleeping on the couch. Sleeping with lights on. Sleeping with the tv on.

After months of desperation, I began to see a counselor.

I was diagnosed with C-PTSD.

Having my mother choose my abusive father over me again and again was painful. Sometimes I think it’s as traumatic as the abuse itself.  It changed the way I see the world. My self-esteem. My self-worth.

I broke ties with them eight months after my wedding. I could no longer force myself to see my father as only my “daytime dad”. He was my abuser. Only that.

I am now on a long healing journey. I’m learning how to forgive someone who has never asked to forgive their actions. To believe I am capable of being loved.

Some days I still breakdown and mourn them. I mourn the biological parents I’ll never have. The grandpa my children will never meet. The fun grandma my children will never have.

But most days I’m happy, truly happy.

That’s what happened to me.

What happened to you?