Something that is difficult to explain to those who have not lived through violation as a child is the monumental effort it requires to try to trust anyone or anything in life.
I’m fairly certain that I have never experienced a “healthy” relationship.
I don’t even know what that means.
I wasn’t given the tools to build trust or to engage in productive connection building outside of the hell I was trying to navigate as a young child. That was my normal. My reality. My “healthy”.
I have often heard other survivors express that they feel as if they have a target on their backs. That predators, sexual or otherwise, can sense us from miles away and are able to find and easily exploit our weakness. Hurt us over and over again.
I would love nothing more than to say this isn’t true, but in my experience it is incredibly accurate.
If you are taught from an early age that your own needs don’t matter and that your sole purpose is to gratify the physical needs of others, your sense of security when it comes to anything outside of humiliation makes it challenging to have a healthy relationship.
If you were conditioned to feel guilty beyond measure and manipulated to not think about what your individual needs might be outside of your abusers, chances are you are going to attract further abuse.
Too Many People Pray on This Particular Weakness
Far too many people in life pray on this particular weakness. They thrive on power and control.
Too many times I have experienced re victimization by those I falsely believed were different only to be exploited again. Not just in physical relationships, but in any way possible. Professionally, within “friendships”, from agencies that are meant to help, doctors, therapists, family members. The list goes on and on.
How do you trust when not given the opportunity to do so without being betrayed and how do you heal when either subconsciously or forcefully repeating the same patterns of dysfunction over and over?
How do you articulate that you just don’t have the energy to be manipulated or hurt anymore? That you walk with your shoulders down staring at the ground because it is easier than making eye contact with anyone that is bound to try to destroy what little of yourself might be left? That you feel like a walking chalk outline, just waiting for the next person to come along and breathe in your direction, blowing away any false hope that might be holding you together?
Rebuilding My Relationship with Myself
How do you explain this to others without possibly sounding a bit insane?
No. I don’t know how to have a healthy relationship. I have absolutely no idea what that even means.
But I’m working on it.
I’m going to start by attempting to rebuild the one I never had with myself. Hopefully if I go back that far and learn to trust and listen to that little girl first, I will find that not everyone in the world is out to re victimize the broken.
At the very least, I will be confident enough to look up from the ground long enough to see them coming.