This article made the drop of nothing in my soul scream. It’s about a 14-year-old girl who stays with a 21-year-old man for five years, and nowhere does it talk about rape.
It’s not a relationship.
It’s child abuse.
It’s letting someone get away with it by pretending both of those things are false.
These are the moments where I feel the smallest, because I can’t do anything to give that kid her childhood back. I can’t slay her dragon. But what I can do is write about it here, and hope that the next parent will see it. If you have a 14-year-old daughter that’s dating an adult, you have the responsibility to end the relationship. You have the right to monitor phone calls, e-mail, all social media, the mail. You have the RIGHT TO PARENT. It isn’t invasive. Your kids are not your equal, do not have the life experience you do, do not see why their relationship just isn’t.
They’ll call you all sorts of names and try every trick in the book to get back into their abuser’s circle of influence. They’ll lie, cheat, and steal if they have to. Talking an abused child out of a relationship like this will be constant vigilance and very, very difficult. Abusers always seem AMAZING at first. To your child, they’ll be the only one in color in a world of greys and whites. It will feel like jailing your child, and they will need it. Because they’re children.
And no matter when you notice it, even if you catch it early, early on, the first step is a psych consult, because your child will not know what to do with all the dopamine and adrenaline coursing through their bodies. They won’t be able to deal with the cognitive dissonance of sunshine and chill, often at extremely short intervals.
They’ll grow up into dysfunctioning adults, and I can promise you that. I’ve lived it, and because of that, I’ve met others in droves. We ALL HAVE THE SAME STORY.
Let me make it clear that Diane never touched me, not even once, but I would have died before I let anyone know what I was going through. Mentally, I was a basketcase and I’d brought it all upon myself. I thought no one needed to help me because it wasn’t their fault- they didn’t need to be burdened with my problems. But not telling made me an adult that regrets a lot of the choices I’ve made in my life, because I stuffed down every negative emotion I felt as a teen and just vomited them everywhere when I finally accepted what had really happened to me and got the fuck out. It only took 25 years. Don’t let that be your child’s story. Don’t let it last a minute longer than it does.
The echoes reverberate even now, and it will last my whole life if I let it. I am actively working with a therapist and still, there are days when I cannot even… and it can be traced to all the dead spots in my soul where appropriate emotional growth was supposed to occur and didn’t.
The drop of nothing those dead spots created make it impossible for me not to think about what I would do to this guy if I found him. Let me assure you that Quentin Tarantino has nothing on me, because revenge feels so good in my head. They are thoughts, not actions. I use my faith to keep me grounded and walk toward that light, because I know my propensity for darkness and I do not like it.
If I let darkness win, I walk in it instead. My eyes go dead, and my mind is empty of emotions, because they’ve been put away. Every sociopathic tendency I’ve picked up over my lifetime starts to show, because sociopathy is rarely nature, but nurture. You exhibit what is modeled.
If you are lucky, you will have friends that know your history and will forgive you. If you are not, you will alienate everyone… both in the process of trying not to hurt or be hurt by someone else. You will react to emotional violence by trying to shield yourself from it, going to extraordinary lengths to protect yourself, and worse yet, actively hurting others because you don’t know what the normal response might be.
Don’t think it starts in middle school. There are sick fucks out there that will rape a toddler, which is even more insidious because the victim doesn’t remember the trauma that caused the dead spots to grow, they’ve just compounded the hurt for years and years in “inexplicable” behaviors. There’s always an explanation, even if you don’t know what it is.
If your child won’t talk to you, find someone they will open up to because they may not be able to talk to you, as painful as it might be to hear. They don’t want to hurt you, and they’ll do anything to protect their abuser. Bank on it. Write it down.
Don’t let your kid be me. I know myself well enough not to wish that pain on them. It’s not that I’m not a good person, or that I don’t have that capability. It’s that in a lot of situations, my reactions are completely fucked up because what I would do and what a regular person would do are totally different.
One of the reasons that you have to be so “monstrous” to your kids, because they’ll believe that you taking their abuser from them is the worst thing that could happen, is that abusers often have fascinating layers of insulation around them… including the child they’re abusing.
I’ve hurt so many people, intentionally and not, with the rewired reactions of an emotionally abused child that grew up to emotionally abuse others. I’ve intentionally picked relationships with other abused children because their actions/reactions have been just as fucked up as mine, creating a world of toxicity and pain, both romantic and not.
It is totally by the grace of God that I was delivered from my distress, and up to me to figure out what to do with it… how to move forward, how to release demons, how to apologize sincerely and change my behavior so that my reactions are again rewired into normalcy. But it is not a fast process, especially because I wouldn’t talk then. I grew up into an adult that still wouldn’t talk about it, and it took someone scratching the scab to open Pandora’s Box.
The hardest part is now that it’s open, I have to figure out a way to close it again… because the last thing I want is to spend another day thinking this way. Of being capable of bringing darkness into the world when all I want to carry is light.
Right now, the best I can do is to constantly keep watch. Light is always in one of my hands. I’m trying to carry it in both.