Today I was invited to lunch with co-workers. There were 5 of us. This happens regularly and I always enjoy it. Sometimes, it’s just two or 3 of us.
As we are discussing our lunch plans, I felt an old familiar twinge of fear in the pit of my stomach. I immediately started thinking of reasons why I needed to drive my own car and offered it as an explanation for being alone.
In my childhood, I was sexually abused many times in a vehicle. Sometimes, it was while being driven to a remote location or a family member’s house. Sometimes, it was a drive to nowhere. As soon as my abuser started discussing the car ride with his wife or daughters, I would start getting that weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. I always went thru a myriad of thoughts. If I said no, would someone know what he had been doing? If someone found out I would surely be in trouble with my parents? Would he be mad or hurt me if I said no? There were so many thoughts and feelings around those car rides. And then there was the thoughts of how keep from looking disheveled when I returned. Was my hair ok? Were my clothes ok? Could anyone tell by my facial expressions that I had just been forced to do oral sex on him? Could anyone tell that he had put his giant hands inside my clothes and left me with pain between my legs?
So today, I avoided the situation that might (and has) made me feel super uncomfortable. I lied and said that I had to make a personal phone call and that I would meet them at the restaurant. I felt so childish and ridiculous. I felt so weak. I felt so annoyed with myself. Yet, I felt as if I could not push myself today.
I’m not sure why I’m telling you this except to say that child abuse trauma is for life. It permanently affects the way your brain thinks. I can ride in a car 100 times with a person or persons and have zero negative thoughts. But when I least expect it, the fear kicks in.
Admitting that I still have these fears is a big deal for me. I never ever talk about these feelings except in therapy with Mrs. A. It’s embarrassing and humiliating. But I need to expose the darkness so that I can start letting some light in.
Instead of these thoughts driving me crazy, I’m trying to accept them and the reason for them. I’m trying to accept and own those thoughts so that I can work through them and hopefully move past them.
There is a rainbow at the end of this journey right?
Until next time – I am being MJ every day.