After pouring out a number of posts relating to the negative, I felt it was time to add a little balance, but this post didn’t turn out quite the way I expected.
For incest kids, life is not always 100% bad stuff – there is usually some good stuff mixed with the bad during the growing years, because families generally have good times and bad times. This is what makes it so hard for us, because as children we do not have the mental capacity to distinguish between what is good and what is bad, everything just ‘is’.
I might need to explain that a little better.
When you are an incest kid, there are times when you are just a kid, like any other kid, playing games, being silly, sometimes even having fun. Other times you are not a kid, because you are forced into a quasi-adult role by your abuser. Still other times, you don’t know what you are. Overall, however, as an incest kid, the abuse is a ‘normal’ part of your life. Generally you have been groomed, ever so slowly, from the day you were born, and desensitised to things that ‘society’ believes you should be alarmed by.
I can remember the daughter of a friend of my father, telling me her daddy let her play with his penis. I was about eleven at the time, and my thoughts were “doesn’t everybody’s?”
According to the rules of society, this girl’s ‘confession’ should have shocked me – it didn’t. The reason it didn’t, is because such incidents were a normal part of my life.
It is societal norms, I believe, that also cause ‘us’ (incest kids) increased psychological stress as we get older. Why didn’t you say anything? Why didn’t you tell someone? How can you still have anything to do with your father? How can you love your family?
It continues when you do finally break the silence. How could you do that to your father? How could you do that to the family? Why are you doing this to us?
The little jibes are seemingly endless, and they all plant seeds of doubt in our minds about the type of people we are. They add to the confusion of trying to reconcile the monster parent with the human parent.
Personally, I have some wonderful memories of my childhood – my mum’s fresh-baked bread, going camping, spending holidays with my grandparents. It becomes confusing, however, when the person that hurts you most is also one of the people who is supposed to nurture you the most, so when I try to think of the good things in my childhood, most of them are now tainted because I can see how my father was using them to manipulate me.
Life now is not just about the abuse and recovery – for a while it was, but these days I try to live, not just exist.
Sometimes the bad stuff impacts on, and even takes over, the good stuff. I can be having a great afternoon with my partner and a group of friends when out of the blue I am knocked for six by a song that’s playing in the background, or someone might inadvertently say or do something that to others means nothing, but to me, it takes me right back ‘there’.
One of the most important things I have learnt, however, is to appreciate the good stuff when it is good, and allow the bad stuff to surface if it must, acknowledge that it is there, but let it just pass on. I don’t have to ‘deal’ with it right then and there. I don’t have to analyse it straight away. I can just acknowledge its presence but return to it later when I am safe and stable.
Life is way too short to cling desperately to the bad stuff. You have to embrace, value, and enjoy the good stuff along the way.