Trigger warning- contains mentions of sexual abuse with description.
I was 6 years old the first time I truly lost trust in someone. No it wasn’t Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. Nor was it the Easter bunny or My ma and pa. It wasn’t my siblings. It wasn’t any of the usual suspects. The person I lost faith and trust in, was actually myself.
I know that’s pretty heavy for a 6 year old but I did. I didn’t trust myself. I hated Myself. I truly did. I believed that I was a bad person and that everyone in my family was upset and disappointed with me. All because I thought I had told a horrible lie. But of course i hadnt. Yet nobody knew what to do or say. Because how do you tell a 6 year old it wasn’t bad dream and that there were bad people in the world? And even worse. How do you tell them, that sometimes, those bad people, are the ones who we’re closest to them?
He was my brothers best friend since kindergaten. They did everything together and lived in each others pockets. Where one was, so was the other. He lived down the street with his mum and siblings who we were all close with. I believed him to be my older brother and he was family. He even named my younger sister when she was born.
One day he was babysitting me. As he usually did. We were cuddled up on the couch. I was a very affectionate child. Key word being was.
I remember the way he took my hand and put it in his pants. I remember holding my breath and feeling the panic in my chest. the feeling that something was wrong. I remember him telling me it was our little secret and not to tell anybody. I remember in such vivid description, so many things I shouldn’t. But after that first god only knows how many seconds or minutes, I remember nothing more. The worse part is I dont know if theres anything else to remember. The only one who does is him.
That night while sitting at the dinner table, I looked around at everyone eating. My parents, my 2 brothers and my 2 sisters all just having dinner. He’d gone home to his house for dinner. I knew I should say something but everyone was so busy there hadn’t been any time. So right than and there in the middle I dinner I blurted out ” ***** put my hand down his pants.” Everyone went still. And after that, I once again have no memory.
Of course things changed and for a house of 7 rambuctious people to be quiet, something had to be wrong. My older brother and I had always been close. I had always been his shadow and there with him and *****. I felt my brother draw away from me. He isolated himself from the close bond we once had. No one else mentioned anything about what happened. That was also when I noticed that ***** wasn’t around anymore. And considering he practically lived with us most of the time, I was confused. My 6 year old mind didn’t understand.
Where was *****?
Why didnt he come over anymore?
Why was my brother mad at me?
Did I do something wrong?
Was it because he told me not to tell and I did?
I didn’t mean to tell but something told me I had too. All these thought ran through my head. With no one to help me understand them.
This continued and got worse. The attitude I saw from my brother and the avoidance by both of my parents made my imagination run wild and it quickly led me to a new conclusion. Everyone wasn’t mad because I told. They were mad because i must of lied. I lied and made up a story and now Everyone was mad at me and ***** didn’t want to come around anymore. I felt so guilty and upset with myself.
How could I do that?
How could I do that to ***** or my brother?
How could I make something up like that?
I was a horrible, attention seeking girl and I deserved to feel that way for being a lying liar who lies. I was evil.
I decided that there was nothing i could do except pretend it never happened. Maybe if I pretended, everyone would forget and it would all go back to normal. So I did.but imagined this being put on a 6 year old. I had convinced myself I was an evil liar at an age when I was suppose to be a kid. I managed to convince myself so well that I eventually forgot the incident entirely. Like it had never happened.How about that?
Yet Subconsciously, deep down, something had changed. Before I had been a very fluid child. I loved cowboys and rough and tumble games and I also loved the color pink, Barbie dolls and pretty princesses. After that, I didn’t want to be a princess anymore. I wanted to be a boy. Boys got to do all the cool stuff and frankly boys were stronger than girls. I suddenly saw girls as weak. Girls were princesses who were in turn damsels. The girlier they were, the weaker. I especially hated When people called me ‘ a pretty little girl.’
So yes. The first person I ever truly hated and lost faith in was myself. I couldn’t be trusted. By anyone. I was too dangerous. It made me closed off. Extreme thinking, but I was a child left on my own to deal with it
What’s worse is because I tricked myself into forgetting, whenever I saw ***** around and he would avoid or be awkward around me, I use to get upset. I was left wondering what I did wrong. Now how fucked up is that?
This affected me especially when similar incidences occured later on. Time and time again i convinced myself they were lies my mind made up and not to speak about them. That boy in primary school didn’t really try to corner me and thrust at me until I cried and shoved him off. The same boy didn’t stalk me around school and home, smiling as I screamed in fear while he chased me down the alleyway. It was all miunderstandings and coincidences because he had friends on the street. He was just a regular bully. The other one didn’t rub his hard on against my ass in class when I was 9, making me violently react and get in trouble. And others Things that I’d rather not talk about, simply because, well the stories don’t get better. That’s all that needs be said.
Because of what happened, I never said anything to anyone. I didn’t think they’d believe me. I didn’t even believe me. Every single thing I wanted to forget, id forget. I couldn’t remember any of it.
That changed in highschool. In highschool everyone was pairing off and having flings. I wasn’t. I didn’t want to. I had already known by the age of 11 i was gay but that wasnt the problem.i had no issue liking girls. My problem was that i was afraid of the idea of a relationship itself. Of putting my trust in another person on such a personal level. Why was I so afraid?
The catalyst for the answer to that question was another incident of sexual harrassment. Drunken texts and phonecalls ect. They upset me as the one who started it, was originally a close friend. I saw it as betrayal. That coupled with my questioning of why i was afraid, triggered what would only be the start of a barrage of flashbacks and memories.
I remembered as much as my mind would let me. I remembered *****. I remembered the others. I remembered the fear and how much I loathed being touched now. I remembered why I felt the need to be better and stronger. Why I felt like I had to always be better than the boys. Why, Even though I had friends, I kept myself on the outskirts, both wanting And not to be more involved. I also remembered how my family reacted, Or in better words, didnt.
Holy fuck. The realisation hit me like a truck. But before i could process this and start to figuire things out. i needed to be sure, so I went home and tentatively asked my mum about what happened with *****.
She broke down crying and couldn’t speak to me for 2 weeks so with that reaction i came the conclusion that all of That stuff really did happen. That was also when i got angry. i had been sexually abused by a man i called my brother, and nobody had done nothing. I still saw him. My brother still hung with him. Our families were still close. Hell, my mama even helped organise his 21st. Cue depression and an increase of self hatred please.
Now this history of abuse is something I’ve been working through for years. I’ve had intensive therapy and it has been addressed with my family more than once. (This is when i hesitantly mention that only the 6 year old incident has been discussed. Ive never brought up the others) It’s a struggle. I do carry alot of resentment about the way it was, or well wasn’t handled, and I’ve let my family know that. i still love them and would do anything for them. They didn’t know what to do and It may seem like I’m making excuses for them but they did what they thought was best at the time (Which i learnt was a good hiding and estrangement.) . Nobody talked about stuff like that and it did more harm to the families. They were also hoping if they didnt speak about it I would forget.i did, just not in the manner they’d hoped for. His family have never been told and are still considered family to ours. I don’t agree with alot of the way that was handled but I do understand why. Any other contact my family has with him specifically is not my concern. I can’t be bothered wasting energy on him and they know how I feel.
What I have issue with more than what happened with him is what happened with me. My lack of support or explanation damaged me more than the abuse did. It’s affected all sorts of relationship I have with people, From friends and family to more, because of that fear of letting people in.
The first person I ever hated and lost trust in was myself. Upon learning that I wrongly persecuted myself, I no longer trusted others so deeply. I struggle to trust even when I desperately want to. The loneliness at times is unbearable. But changing that behaviour and lowering those defenses is easier said than done
I dont want less in my life because of fear. Its that thought that keeps me trying instead of giving up. sometimes i really want too. Damn It all, i want to go back into that shell everytime i feel like ive been hurt. Everytime I feel like ive been disregarded in some way.
Yet In everyday life, plans go bang, shit happens, promises are broken and people change.They don’t know how long it’s taken me to get to this point. They don’t know how seriously I take my word and promises. And if ive happened to have shared those things with them…well People will say alot of things when lost in a moment. I can’t expect them to adhere by my eccentric quirks.
I can’t expect others to always take special consideration for just one person. So instead, I take consideration for them. I acknowledge i am not the easiest, and work on giving people the benefit of the doubt.
I keep trying, and stay true to me. For me, My word means something. Its a reflection of my character. I try to be as dependable and trustworthy a person as possible, and thats For myself, more than anyone else. I don’t want to let people down, the way I have been. I try to treat people the way I’d like to be treated, Even if they don’t do it back.
The betrayal of my childhood has left scars. Scars that are slowly fading but will always be visible in certain angles and light. The point is though, I am not letting them dictate my life. I’m gonna keep trying. Trying To push my boundaries and comfort zones. To let people in. The first step has been to open up to those already closest to me. Friends and family. That has felt really good and already feels less lonely. I’ve also met people and tried to apply this open and honest outlook. Sometimes it works, other times… i feel like ive taken a few steps back.
I wont let this fear isolate me anymore. . I am teaching myself to trust again. Not blindly like the innocent child who only wanted a hug, but as a young woman, looking for her place in the world. Fear wont beat me and prevent me from living and loving life to the full. It has already taken enough.
At the end of the day it’s about education and support.
Victims need support. Victims families need support. And even the abusers families need support. After something like that, it dosent just go away. Things change. It’s how you manage those changes that makes all the difference.My family didn’t handle it, but that’s cause no body knew how. It wasn’t spoken about and still isn’t in some places. Abuse of any kind from emotional, to physical, to sexual, needs to be dealt with properly. It can be a long a delicate process but it’s needed. I can only imagine the possibilities if I had gotten the support I needed earlier. But I can’t dwell on that. I can only handle the hand i have now and encourage others to seek help , support and prevention of abuse.