Trauma recovery is a painful struggle to find your sanity, your voice, and happiness. My experience with dissociation, amnesia, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and emotional numbing makes it hard to stay fully present. At any moment, I’m hit with a flashback of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. So, when I get hit with a memory of being molested by my mother, or by the string of pedophiles she threw at me, I just check out. I leave, I dissociate, I over medicate with cannabis, hoping that it can help me numb or process the pain. Hoping that my inner child stops hurting long enough so I can be fully present.

Nothing can reconcile the pain or explain how a mother could violate her child. How could a mother actively instill fear in her children so they can be used as weapons against their father? How could a mother force her children to be violated by strangers? How could a mother have sex with her own children? There isn’t enough mindfulness in the world to stop the flashbacks from sweeping me under and drowning me every time I start remembering.

And I know I’m not the only one. So many of us have experienced the same thing. Child prostitution, sex trafficking, rape, and forced incest. We need to talk about it. No one wants to talk about how it feels to dissociate from your body. No one wants to talk about their childhood trauma. It’s in the past. But for survivors like us, it’s not in the past. Those moments stick with us and beg to be healed. No one wants to keep remembering what it feels like to be held down and raped. No one wants to lose control and yell at their child, knowing what it felt like to be in their position.

So I become hyper-vigilant, overly controlling, and paranoid. Maybe if I can control everything and everyone around me then no one will hurt me. But I know the damage that causes, so I stop talking, and try to listen. I really try to listen.

So what the hell do you do when you know that the fear in your head is not your own voice? What do you do when you freeze for no reason, or when your body and brain fill and flood with rage? What the hell do you do when you were traumatized so much that everything reminds you of how you were abused and you can’t seem to find more than a few fleeting moments of peace in your head before the flood rages again?

How do safe enough people communicate with each other? The only way I’ve found to cope is to just try to figure out what my malignant narcissistic mother did to me. Ride out the painful waves of memories, and allow them to be heard and released. Allow them to be released by imagining a superhero coming through and smashing down on your abuser, or imagining you getting superpowers in your flashback and now you can overpower your abuser. Write it out, draw a picture, whatever you need to do to get the memory out of your head and onto the paper.

Or, if you have your own kids, pretend they are you and be the parent you wish you had.

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