Monday, September 23, 2013
I am relaxing in bed on Shabbos morning with a good book, when suddenly I'm feeling very young, and very scared. My arms are shaking and my face is wet.
I can hear my children playing downstairs. I don't want them to see me crying.
I put the book down and go into the bathroom. I hear a young voice speaking, gasping with sobs. The words are coming from my mouth. She is telling me something. It is so garbled I don't think I would understand the words, if they weren't spoken in my own mind. She is saying...
"...Then he banged my head on the floor like this. And he hurt me like this."
Some very young part of me is urging me to listen to her, to stay with her, and feel her feelings. She wants and needs to be heard.
I often look in a mirror when I'm alone having a flashback. It's so hard to believe that I'm real and that my feelings are real. It's so hard to trust myself. I need proof that I exist.
I pull myself up to the mirror. The traumatized, eyes of a terrified four-year-old gaze at me from my forty year old face.
The adult in me, the protector of children, snaps to attention.
I realize I am having a flashback. I cross my arms across my chest in a hug, and grab my shoulders. I hold us both firmly; my adult self, and my child self. I rub my arms, trying to touch the young part inside. I tell her, "No one is hurting you now. Your safe. I won't let anyone hurt you." I try to make my voice soothing and firm.
In my mind I can see and feel what is happening to me, as a four-year-old. It happened so very long ago, but in my body, and in part of my mind, it feels like it is happening right now.
I am lying on the floor in the bathroom. Tatty is hurting me, again. He wants me to do something disgusting. He is trying to force me. I can't do it, yet I want to please him. I don't want to make him angry. I don't want him to hurt me.
My body won't obey. I can't do what he wants. I can't make myself do it.
My mouth opens and closes and I gasp for breath. The silent, screaming child's voice shatters my mind.
"Tatty, don't hurt me!" No, Tatty, don't hurt me! Stop! I want to bang my head. When he bangs my head then he will stop! Bang my head!! Bang my head!!"
In frustration and disgust, Tatty bangs my head back on the floor. My whole body tingles and goes numb.
He picks me up and carries me back to bed.
It's over for now.
Desperate, terrified, screams try to come out of my mouth.
I don't want to scare my children who are downstairs.
I need my husband's help, but I am so grateful he is with my children.
The terrified four-year-old inside me knows that she is not allowed to make any noise.
She has to be quiet so no one will find out how bad I am. Tatty does this to me because I'm bad. I don't want anyone to know.
I grab my arms again, hugging myself, the adult and the child together, and I hold on tight. Willing myself to stay present, and not abandon this four-year-old part of me alone in the past with this pain and trauma. My family abandoned her. Her community abandoned her. I can't. I won't.
"I hear you." I tell her. "It's not happening now. I'm an adult now. This happened a very long time ago. I'm with you. I'll always be with you."
The tears and shaking stop eventually. Then comes the headache. I hold my head
on the floor in the bathroom. Exhausted.
My daughter is calling me. She wants me to read to her.
I wash my face and leave the bathroom to read to my young daughter.
She doesn't seem to notice that my eyes are slightly glazed.