Raped at 2:What I Missed

Sexual abuse is a horrid thing to happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.  When it happens to a child it can suck the life right out of them. 

But when a child of 2 years is sexually abused for the first time, the results are particularly devastating.  Important neural pathways never develop.  Basic functions such as adequate processing of emotion and the ability to calm oneself down just don’t evolve.  The child never learns that the world is essentially a safe place.  The ability to trust never forms.  Storage of memory gets screwed up in a zillion ways.  The relationship between the part of the brain that handles processing of basic emotions doesn”t get a chance to hook up with the intellectual parts.  For example, if I go to a scary movie I will be frightened and panicking and depressed and sad and distrustful of the entire planet.  I didn’t get the part that says well this is just a movie.  I never got the part that says I can feel something emotionally and still be okay.  I never got the parts that allowed ,me to regulate emotion.

I actually don’t even really know what emotional regulation IS.  It was just explained to me yesterday in therapy.  So people can for example be sad and it doesn’t cripple them until they can finally just dissociate to not feel it any longer?  I mean, really people are supposed to be able to do that ?  T just looked at me and said “yeah”.  Wow, what an advantage that would have been for the past 5 decades. 

When kids get raped at 2 they never develop social structures or capabilities.  Since they never got the trust thing, they basically can’t, well, trust anyone.  So things like play and friends and meaningful human contact don’t get learned.  They split off into little pieces of  persons, emotions, events, age groups and whatever else they can come up with to keep the BAD away.  Anything to not feel.

I am okay with all of this.  It’s okay with me now that there are fundamental parts of me that are missing.  Because now I know that I can have a do-over on what happened to that tiny partially-formed brain.  Now I know that I can get this stuff.  Probably not as well as the zillions of people who did have the chance to grow these neural connections.  I know I will never know what it feels like to be a singleton.  But I believe in neuroplasticity.  I believe I can find out what all exactly I did miss and get to gain a certain amount of these brain goodies.  I have absolute trust if not always adoration for the Therapy Process.  I am blessed to have one of the best in the trauma/dissociation biz helping me in how to basically grow myself up. 

Yesterday in therapy I said man it really is amazing that I have gotten this far with so little.  T says yes, with so little information you’re like a natural wonder.  I envision looking down at the Grand Canyon.  Ugh this will not be fun but it’s totally doable. 

I do not in ANY WAY intend to make this a comparison/contrast thing.  I have not intention to state or imply that my abuse was worse than anybody else’s.  This is not a contest.  Every person who has survived sexual domestic emotional abuse has a great load to carry.  I do however think that the healing is perhaps abit less complicated if one has had a time in their lives “before” to refer back to.  Not ever getting the right stuff at the start makes for unusual challenges. 

The End.

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13 Comments

  1. CK said,

    May 1, 2010 at 7:30 am

    2?

    2 is just too young.
    like your ‘once upon a time’ never gets to be.
    and that’s a terrible thing.

    anyway, i have to agree, having a ‘before’ seems like a decidedly useful thing. and yeah, it just isn’t about better/worse… think that probably comes much much later in the chain of events, if ever. maybe not so good for us either but it’s there. i guess eventually everything has to be categorised.

    this developmental pathway thing is a good way to look at things. i mean i like your clarity on it. that’s helpful. makes it seem more straightforward – in theory, if not practice.

    because i dunno about you but sometimes it’s just such a nice break, almost a relief, when something in all this actually has that going for it.

  2. May 1, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Well thanks for this, hon. Yeah, looking at things from a developmental frame really does give us alot of clarity. Takes overwhelming emotion and judgments away from it all. Sorts gives us a purpose or something. Because that’s what it is, really. Thanks again hon. This means alot. 😉

  3. Pandora said,

    May 1, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Sending empathy, and much admiration for how far you’ve come.

    Lots of love as always. xxxxx

    • May 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

      How far I’ve come? Hmm. Feels like I plummet from one nuttiness to the next. YOU are the one who’s growing in leaps/bounds every day hon. I admire you so

  4. Karita said,

    May 2, 2010 at 8:00 am

    You have come far, Splinty. Maybe you just don’t see it so much. *Hugs*

    • May 2, 2010 at 10:49 am

      No I really don’t. Things seem to beore confusing by the day. But. Trust the process, be patient etc etc. Thanks hon

  5. May 4, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    You are to be admired for the work that you are doing. Some people would just give up and not try at all. You haven’t done that. You just don’t give up. Some days we all get tired of just putting one foot in front of the other to take the next step. Thank you for having the courage to share your journey with others.

    • May 5, 2010 at 5:51 am

      Thank you, honored. The emottional lability at this early stage is typical, I know. But utterly exhaustion. I just try to tell my story as accurately as I can in hopes it helps anybody out there. Thanks again 😉

  6. Lori said,

    May 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I know you’re struggling right now per you Twitters. Maybe re-reading some of this will help you refocus. You have come far. You do make a difference. Please don’t make any permanent decisions.

  7. KellyBean76 said,

    May 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Love that you wrote this, hon. It’s really just been these past few months that I’ve started to figure out that people can regulate their emotions, and that I can, too. Rebuild the pathways in the brain. Rebuild the trust. Not just in the world and people around me, but in myself, as well. I do learn a lot from you, and am so glad to have met you in the twitterverse. I keep fighting because I know I’m not alone. I’m proud of you for doing the hard work and appreciate every part of you that you share.

  8. May 6, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Glad that some of my words are useful.

  9. May 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    You words are more than useful. They are comforting. I’m just remembering my sexual abuse as a toddler, bits and peices here and there, and it’s terrifying. You’ve given me hope that I can reconfigure what he broke in me. And, sick as it may be, I’m not alone. Wish to God I were, that no one else would have to suffer as I have, but still comforting to not be alone. Thank you so much.

    • May 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you so much. I am so glad that some of our many many words are helpful. It’s so why we tell them. You are so not alone, and neither am I. None of us are. There is a great power in that. Thanks for your words.


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