Childhood Trauma

This is something that is very hard for me to talk about, but I am
willing to let it out here because I know deep down it will help to
speak to others who will understand. When I was 8 my parents went
through a nasty divorce which led to my mother being out of the picture
for many years. As a result my dad did the best he could and would soon
start dating himself as one does. After a few attempts and failures he
would come to meet a woman with a son of her own that he would grow very
close with. Her name was Marge and her so was Dan. I was 12 at this
time.

 Dan and I got along ok and it seemed we had a lot of things
in common and we would play and hang out all the time with my brothers.
Soon enough though, strange things I didn’t understand would start to
happen. I had a room by myself, something  I was gifted with when my
eldest sister moved out and kept me separated from my three brothers. I
would wake up in the middle of the night and see Dan just standing
there, standing there staring at me with eyes I had never seen before.
From there it progressed to him lifting my blankets, putting his hand up
my nightgown, and eventually touching me in places I knew were wrong
for him to touch. More than I hated these touches……..I hated how my
body reacted. I know we cannot control how we react to stimulation but I
always likened it to eating something like an ice cream you’re allergic
to. It is very sweet and nice, but it also brings a horrible reaction
or aftertaste. I felt disgusting and I would scrub myself raw in the
shower until I had rashes all over my body. My personality changed, I
went from being out going and dressing nice to being quiet and wearing
heavy baggy clothing to hide my breasts (big ones run my family which
doesn’t do me favors) and would go days without washing my hair to seem
less “Attractive” in hopes it would stop. But it never did….

During
the day he would act like nothing happened and i was confused. Half
because I didn’t understand/terrified, and half because I didn’t want to
ruin my dads relationship since he looked so happy, happier than I had
seen him in a long time. So for many months I endured the touching and
him taking my hand and using it to touch himself, all the while going as
deep inside myself as I could. One day, after many months he came into
my room naked and I knew deep down what was about to happen. I wanted to
scream and to yell for my brothers and my dad but I had no voice and i
started to retreat inside myself where I felt safe when our cat knocked
something over in the hall and it startled Dan enough for him to
retreat.

In this moment I found a strange burst of strength and
ran to my dads room and through tears said there was someone in my room
and i was scared. Perhaps my dad suspected something all along because
right away he ran to the room Dan slept in and found him trying to put
clothes on. This was the night things fell apart, and the night my dad
spent in jail for nearly throwing Dan down the stairs demanding to know
what he did to me. What ensued was a series of court dates with my
father wanting justice and Dan’s mother Marge blaming me for “enticing
her son.” Aside from my Dad and my brothers, and in an odd twist of
fate, my mother breaking through her own troubles to support me,
everyone blamed me. So many people were quick to say I was the one who
enticed him with my kind nature and my body, so how was he supposed to
act? In the end, I actually began to believe It.

In the
aftermath I had side effects. I had insomnia and would not let people
touch me to the point I would scream and claw at people, but through
therapy and the care of my family I thought I was cured. I believed I
was better. But when It came time for me to date I found as soon as It
was time for the relationship to get physical I would get panic attacks.
I would scream and scratch and push the person away. I would try to
explain to my potential suitors what had happened. Some were
understanding, some were not so much. Even as a woman turning 30 in a
few months I still find myself afraid. I don’t want to be afraid, I want
to have a normal relationship. I want to be able to love someone with
all my heart and not be afraid of them.

To others who read this I
will say I have come a long way, I know deep down men are not the enemy,
because that would mean hating my father and my brothers who try so
hard to keep me safe and happy, or the male friends I have made over the
years whom I love with all my heart. I just hope one day I can meet
that someone whom I won’t feel any fear, or at the very least, will
understand and work with me through it. This is my story. Thank you for
reading it.


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25 comments

  1. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Bizengaust,

    Thank you for coming here and trusting us with your story. You are very brave to share your experience here. We are all here for you. I am so sorry that Dan behaved this way. I’m glad your father believed you and had your back when you told him. Marge was wrong to blame you for what happened. This was definitely all Dans fault, not yours. You are so strong and it’s great to hear that you have made so much progress. You are so strong. Your story is very inspiring, and I’m sure it’s going to help many readers.

    Stay strong
    Tyler

  2. mkyuellig Volunteer

    Bizengaust,

    Thank you so much for coming here and sharing your story. That takes amazing courage. I want you to know that everyone here believes you and is here to support you in anyway we can. I am so sorry for the treatment and pain that you endured at a young age. That kind of trauma can be so impactful, and it happened at such sensitive age. I want to reiterate what you said, that you should not be ashamed about the way your body reacted, and you should not be ashamed of the way your body reacted to stimulus – especially as a pre-teen when your body is going through changes.
    I’m so glad that you had the courage to tell your dad about what was happened – fear in situations like that can often be incredibly paralyzing. I’m also glad that your dad believed you and supported you after he realized what was going on. I’m sorry that people put the blame on you – nothing that happened to you was your fault. Nothing about your body or the way you acted or looked gives anyone else an invitation to touch you or hurt you or do anything nonconsensually. It makes me sick that anyone would try to put the blame for something like that on an innocent preteen girl.
    There are a lot of survivors in this community, myself included, and I think many of us can tell you that although relationships after childhood sexual trauma can be messy, and complicated – it is not impossible. There are many understanding people out there who are compassionate and are ready to love you for you, with all of your “baggage” and all of your experiences, both negative and positive. I believe that as long as you keep doing the work of taking care of your own mental health, then you will be able to find someone who you can trust and who compliments you. Thank you for sharing your story, and telling us how far you have come since this took place. It is very inspiring to know that people can grow and live full lives despite their dark experiences. Please feel free to come back to talk or update us if you need anything at all

    Stay strong and be gentle with yourself,
    Keight

  3. Lizzi Volunteer

    Hi Bizengaust,
    I’m so incredibly sorry for what you had to go through growing up, and I’m even more sorry that people blamed you and accused you of causing this when you were in fact the victim. That must have been so difficult and scary to go through at such a young age, and I’m thankful you were able to get help to work through the aftermath of it all. I can really relate to part of your story as I’m one month away from turning 30 and I struggle to have functional relationships due to trust issues and fear. I hope and believe that it’s something that just takes time, and when the right person comes along that we’ll be comfortable with them, or they’ll respect that it may take a while for that to happen. You’re such a brave and strong person and I wish you the best in your future.

    Much hope,
    Lizzi

  4. Megan Volunteer

    Hey Bizengaust,

    I’m so sorry that this happened to you. I actually have a somewhat similar story so I can kind of understand what you are experiencing. I wish I had some answers but I’ve found myself in a similar place as well. The important thing to remember is that you have come such a long way and you are strong. You deserve someone that will be understanding with you. You deserve to be happy.

    Much love,
    Megan

  5. Graciegrace22 Volunteer

    Hello,

    I am so sorry that you had to endure that at a very young age. Trying to keep your family together shows the amount of compassion you have for the people you care about but also just because your body has a certain look never gave him the right to do what he did to you and that is not your fault. I hope you are able to continue to heal and grow as it seems you have already made great progress. Best of luck and we are here to support you.

  6. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Bizengaust,

    First of all, I’m so sorry that you had to experience those things. Secondly, thank you for sharing your story with us. We believe you. What happened to you was never your fault. Recovery can be a long journey with many ups and downs. It’s different for everyone, and we’ll be here to support you however we can every step of the way. Please feel free to post again, anytime you might need to.

    All the best,
    Becca

  7. colton95 Volunteer

    It is so awesome of you to find the courage to share your story on here! Sharing is one step towards the healing process and I’m really glad you decided to take that step! I hope that you will continue to stay strong and remind yourself that you are an objectively good person and that you will persevere through bad times.

  8. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry Dan took advantage of you like that and it is terrible that none had believed you. We fully support you and you should know it wasn’t your fault. I am glad you know that not all man are not bad and it will take time to find someone who will fully be behind you 100% of the way. I am proud how far you came and know you are amazing and so strong. We are here for you!

  9. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi Bizengaust,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m really sorry that Dan took advantage of you like that, and that some people don’t believe you. Please know that we support you 100%. I hope you know that nothing that happened was your fault. Being nice and having a body is not an invitation for anyone to touch you.

    I’m glad you recognize that men are not the enemy, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing that you’re a little hesitant. You need someone that will stand behind you 100% and not push you to do things you’re not comfortable with. Just take your time finding someone, and everything will work itself out in the end. Pushing yourself won’t help, and it sounds like you know that.

    I’m proud of you for how far you’ve come, considering what happened to you. You’re amazing and so strong. Keep it up!
    Marissa

  10. Jess Volunteer

    I am so incredibly sorry that this happened to you. You didn’t deserve for him to do those things to you. I’m sorry that his mother blamed you for “enticing” him. You did nothing wrong, you merely existed. He is the one to blame for what he did to you. You are absolutely not at fault. You didn’t deserve anything he did or anything that she and others said to and about you.

    I am so glad to hear that you were able to tell your dad and that your family came through with such amazing support. That support is so amazing and beautiful. Cherish it. <3 Please take your time on your path to healing. I know it's long and arduous, but no one's path is the same, and you need to heal. If you haven't seen a therapist, that might be an avenue to explore. They can help you navigate some of those symptoms you still experience now. We have other resources under our "Find Help" tab, as well.

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. It is not easy to share, so we are so glad you felt safe enough to share it here. If you need anything else at all, please reach out. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  11. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Bizengaust,
    I’m incredibly sorry this happened to you. This wasn’t your fault, and you didn’t deserve any of it. You didn’t do anything to deserve this. There’s nothing that justifies sexual assault – period. He’s the only person at fault here, and I’m so sorry that his mother told you those things.
    I’m so happy that you were able to tell your dad what was happening. I’m glad that your dad, brothers, and mom have been supportive. It’s understandable that you’ve been experiencing side effects and that you’ve been feeling afraid. It can be difficult to trust after assault. I encourage you to take your time with this and keep going at a pace you’re comfortable with. The right person will help you work through it and support you.
    Thank you for confiding in us with your story; that takes strength and resilience. If you need resources and support, please feel free to write back. We’re here to listen and to support you. I believe you can get through this.

  12. blashea

    Hi, I am so sorry that this happened to you. Thank you for trusting us with your story. Please try to remind yourself that you did nothing wrong and you didn’t deserve any of this. We are proud of you and glad that you are safe! We are all here for you and support you.

  13. Mindfully Em Volunteer

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. You did not deserve what happened to you, and I hear how hard it’s been to heal from this pain.

    It sounds like your dad has been a huge support since the night you went into his room. I hear how much strength it took to reach out to him, and not worry about his girlfriend. You deserved to be safe. Take some time to find a little peace today, you deserve it. And you deserve to heal, and meet someone you won’t be fearful around. Take your time to find that.

  14. Solongago

    Bizengaust,

    Thank you for sharing. I am glad your dad believed you and your mom did support you. That is huge. I am glad that you got some help/therapy, but understand that it may not have concluded with the results that you now wish it would have. That is normal too. At least, I think it is.

    I think that our minds do a lot of protecting us, even after we become adults. They kind of let us remember and deal with this stuff in stages, because we just aren’t ready to do the whole of it at once. So, when you were working on it in the past, and came to a good stopping point, that was what you could manage at that time. Now you want more.

    You have realized some ways that this has negatively effected your life, and symptoms you still have that if you do not change, will effect your future. I think that perhaps this is your mind letting you know that you are ready to take some more steps toward healing and wholeness. The process or journey, is not linear. It is different for all of us. Sometimes we have years when we are hanging out on a plateau, not climbing, not sliding back, but just staying where we are. Maybe we needed that. But when we realize what we want in life, we are ready to start climbing again with a purpose.

    You are worth the time it takes to get where you want to be. You are worth the money it costs for therapy. You are worth going through the pain, and if others are uncomfortable by what you are going through, well, you are worth other people being out of their comfort zone. What you are going through, will go through is not easy. It isn’t fair that we, the victims, have to work so damn hard to put our lives back together, and build for ourselves a future. But there it is. The perpetrator is not going to do that for us. And our families that did not protect us then, are not going to do that for us now.

    So, we have to press on and build up ourselves, we have to choose life, choose health, and choose our future. And if that makes some of the folks we know uncomfortable, we sometimes have to make a conscious choice to allow that, in order to heal, because we are worth it, and because it is not selfish. When we choose health and wholeness, the folks that we love are sometimes freed to choose health and wholeness for themselves. When we choose health and life and a future, we start attracting people who also choose health and life and a future. We make better choices in all areas when we feel better about ourselves. When we realize we are worth it, others see us as worth it too.

    You are worth it. I wish for you the best.

    1. Bizengaust

      Thank you for taking the time to write all this. You are very right, in the end we guide our own futures. I’ve encountered different levels of support along the way which I plan to write about more in the future that have helped me. I’m certainly not 100 percent and maybe i’ll never be, but having support and backing from friends and places like this certainly give me hope that there is something brighter at the end of the tunnel. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  15. sfmbelle413 Day Captain

    Hey there Bizengaust,

    Thank you for sharing your story – you are so brave. Please know that none of this was your fault. You did not entice Dan and you did the right thing by going to your Dad. It seems you have come a long way; be proud of yourself!

    It’s normal to have reactions after. Insomnia is definitely common. I’m glad to hear you’ve been going to therapy and have been working through it. Your story is one filled with hope and strength. You are an inspiration. Please keep on fighting.

    Sending light your way,
    SFM

    1. Bizengaust

      Thank you for your kind words…..I remember the insomnia being a big shock for me and my dad as I would be up for all hours of the night unable to sleep out of fear of what would happen in the night. Sometimes I still get hit with spells but I’ve also learned ways of winding down such as drinking herbal teas or listening to calming music or stories. The Calm app has become my godsend during these times. Again, thank you for your kind words.

  16. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for sharing with us. I am glad that you are healing a bit every day and that things are getting better. You did not deserve what happened to you and you certainly did not entice him or ask for it in anyway. Keep on staying strong and sharing your stories with others to show them that it is possible to heal and get through this sort of trauma. We are always here for you <3

  17. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Bizengaust,
    I’m so sorry this happened. You are so strong. You didn’t deserve this to happen to you. I’m happy you were able to get help from your dad and you have so much support. It takes a lot to share your story. I am so proud of you. If there is anything you need help with please let us know. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI. continue to stay strong.
    -Alyssa

  18. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you, please know that absolutely none of this is your fault and you didn’t deserve any of it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m happy you have a great support with your family. Thank you for sharing with us it takes a lot of strength and courage to do that and you have so much. If there’s anything we can do to help please let us know. I want you to know that we will always be here for you if you ever want to share with us again.
    Stay strong

    -Brianna

  19. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I am so sorry for what happened to you. I cannot stress this enough, but you didn’t deserve this and this CERTAINLY wasn’t your fault. I am sorry that people tried to say that it was. I’m glad your dad, brothers, and mom supported you-do you still have them for support? Is there anything more we can do for support? Thank you for sharing your story-you are not alone.

    Erin

    1. Bizengaust

      Because so much time has passed and I have been silent, for the most part my dad and brothers assume I’m ok and I’m often afraid to say otherwise. My mother however, has been a constant source of comfort and it was her who said I should reach out. She also told me that she didn’t know how but she knew one day I would be able to help others, but first I must find my voice. So I am so blessed and happy to come across a site like this, because I really do wish to help others heal through this kind of pain.

  20. brodie_james

    Hello, friend!

    I’d like to start by thanking you for trusting us with your story. I’m so sorry that all of that happened to you; first the trauma of your parents’ divorce, losing contact with your mom altogether for a period of time, and then the sexual abuse with from Dan. You don’t deserve any of what happened to you, no matter what anyone says, no matter what kind of body you have/had at the time. We are all so incredibly proud of you for being so resilient through your experiences, and I’m so glad you had supportive family members who believed you and fought for you when you needed the support the most.

    It makes total sense that your sexual trauma would make it difficult for you to feel safe and comfortable in a relationship when things start to get intimate. Although I don’t personally know how it feels to experience the reaction you have, I can imagine it being very frustrating to want to be intimate with a partner but then needing to stop because of a panic attack or because you felt unsafe and were reminded of your traumatic experiences. I don’t know if you’ve explored the option of trying therapy, specifically therapy that focuses on healing and reprocessing traumatic experiences, but I know for a lot of survivors this type of therapy equips them with the means to cope with traumatic reminders in a different, less disruptive way. I also know many people are not comfortable or ready to engage in therapy quite yet, but know that’s definitely an option for you if that’s something you’d be interested in in the future.

    Please know that you always have support through AVFTI, and we are always here to help you process through anything you may be feeling or experiencing. Thank you for writing in, and thank you for being such a strong and resilient person!

    Cheers,
    Brodie

  21. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry that this happened to you. You didn’t deserve it, and you did nothing wrong. It’s wonderful that your father, brothers, and mom were so supportive of you. It sounds like you have really great family and friends around you. If you aren’t already, have you considered seeing a therapist? It’s not for everybody, but for some it can be very helpful and healing. I know relationships can be hard when you have been through trauama, but you will find someone one day who understands. They will care for you and be willing to take things at your speed. Stay strong. We are here for you.

    Carmen

    1. Bizengaust

      I have tried therapy in the past but because I went to so many as a kid after the abuse and being told the same thing over and over I got a rather negative view on it all. I have thought of seeing ones specifically for trauma to see if there are ways to help me with coping through the trauma. Its also very hard for me to talk about. This is the first time talking about it outside of family and I hope to do more posts about the aftermath as a way to help heal more.