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15 - Some notes on the process - part 2

Writing out these thoughts has been tough, not just because I'm finally coming to terms with a part of my childhood I forso long hoped would just disappear, but I'm having trouble putting it down in words. And I know that at some future date when I am comfortable with the idea of sharing this blog's contents with Ls and Lb, I don't want to hurt them more. Even now, all these years later, I'm trying to shield them from the pain my csa may cause them. I know I'm not responsible for it. I cannot continue to play the roll of preschooler RR, taking care of everyone else's feelings like my own don't matter. If the truth of my experience hurts the people who love me, that is not my fault, any more than any of this shit was my fault.

Writing it out has helped me actually define what sexual abuse is. Some of what I now see as csa I just saw as physical abuse at the time it was happening. This seems weird, but I never realized before that an abuser might not be seeking pleasure, either for themselves or for the person they are abusing. They can unintentionally be abusing another person. Or, they can thoughtlessly do it without really considering what harm their actions are doing because they aren't thinking about the other person. Or perhaps they are just selfish. Or maybe they are sadistic and just don't care. For whatever reason, I had never considered that sexual abuse was more about the harm done to the survivor than about the motivations of the abuser. I had pictured the abuser to be seeking pleasure or power. I had assumed that absence of the pleasure seeking motive dropped this action from csa to "just" physical abuse.

Even now, explaining it like that, I feel like I'm still a little in denial. Still searching for a reason that explains why she did what she did. I feel like an enabler of sorts.

How do you get away with bad behavior? 1) convince people that you didn't do it, or 2) convince people that, while your actions may have been wrong, your motives weren't nefarious.

I never realized how much labels effected how I thought. Once I finally saw what my mom did to me in the tub as sexual abuse I had the realization that she sexually abused me, too. I know this might sound obvious but it took me a long time to actually make that connection.

I don't know why it took so long, but it did. Maybe I just didn't want to see her as a sexual abuser, too. Maybe it was just too much to handle on top of the physical and emotional trauma she doled out so regularly. Maybe I just compartmentalized it. Maybe what she did to me didn't fit the category of what an abuser does because she didn't do it in some pervy-creepy-old-dude-in-a-trench-coat-hanging-out-in-a-playground kinda way. Maybe in my head I defined what the perpetrator of csa looks like and I defined her right out of the picture because she 1) was female and 2) her motives seemed to not be for her own sexual pleasure. My own assumptions about abusers left me with a blind spot big enough for her to hide in.

But it's not just the motivation of the abuser that can define something as csa, it's the combination of the action and the affect. And I CLEARLY remember absolutely dreading the end of bathtime, and knowing that she was going to hurt me down there. Feeling trapped because both of my parents touch me down there in ways I don't like and I can't make them stop. My childhood self, even my teen self and adult self, considered it about as sexual as if she'd been roughly scrubbing salt into an open wound on my arm. I saw her actions as physical abuse, and his as csa.

For whatever motivated her to do it, I'm working through this idea right now. At first I thought I must be an idiot not to have realized this before. But I need to forgive my younger self for not knowing, not realizing, possibly not wanting to know. How would I have known? No one defined these things clearly for childhood me. I was young and didn't have the opportunity of hindsight or the logical reasoning skills I have as an adult. I certainly didn't have any type of support system to help me with the heavyness of this truth. I was alone and coped as best as I could. It's possible that the reason I see it for what it was now is because I'm finally at a place where I'm strong enough to handle it. I'm in a safe place where I can actually process this.

That's enough for now,

RR



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