It is hard to forget how it felt to be the apple of my mother’s eyes. It felt good to be normal, loved, and cared for as a little girl. My mom was the sweetest and had the most beautiful face I would want to see every day, especially when I remembered how she laid her eyes on me as if I was going to be her sweet and beautiful baby forever.
I’d been missing that look in my mom’s eyes for so long. I miss the warmth of her embrace. I wanted to find that feeling again as her baby girl.
Now, as a mother myself, I tried to be more protective of my own daughter. I would not allow her to undergo the same ordeal as I did in the hands of my stepfather.
When I was nine, my stepfather molested me. I immediately came to my mom in the hope that she will rescue me from that nightmare, but she did not believe me. The rape went on, and during that time, my stepfather threatened me that he would kill my mom if I would attempt to tell her again or anyone else. The secret of my abuse just remained in the four corners of my room. The agony I felt, the pleads I uttered, my tears and my pain were all witnessed by my bed and pillows. When I was 14, I finally got the courage to put a stop to what he was doing by telling my teacher.
Without a second thought, my teacher brought me to our school doctor and had me checked. They then reported my stepfather and had him arrested. He faced trial and went to prison. My mother hated me for what happened and blamed me for losing his beloved husband. She ignored my brother and me, and she made me feel guilty and sad like I had been disloyal to her. All she did every day was to drink alcohol and be mad at us. From an adorable and loving mom, she turned into a monstrous abusive mother towards us, and it made me feel more guilty. I should just have kept my silence.
Months passed, and my stepfather was released from prison. I saw how happy my mother was. She once again chose this guy over me, and I did not argue with her on that anymore. In her happiness, I felt like dying, and fear was all over me that what happened before would happen again. I wanted to kill myself. I did not think there is more I could do that I just moved out. My teacher helped me once more, and through CPS, they brought me to a runaway shelter for abused teenagers where I felt safer. People there were kind to me. They had me attend therapy for anger management and trauma. I stayed there until they found a permanent foster home for me.
At the time I reached 18, I worked and studied hard. I finished college and is now earning a decent living. I decided not to go back to live with my family, but I tried to be in contact with my brother and my mom from time to time. I had been trying to forget that part of my past for my heart still aches whenever my mother will look at me with her blaming eyes, and I felt shamefaced that I hurt her.
I got troubled teenage years, to say the least. I did years of therapy and had been on various medications which were helpful in getting me past my trauma and depression. Now, although I am successful and have beautiful kids of my own and a wonderful husband, I still have this fear and longing inside me. People who knew my story admired my courage, strength, even calling me a survivor.
“Being a surviving victim of sexual abuse and domestic violence can become a debilitating traumatic experience that when left untreated can lead to overwhelming PTSD, anxiety, depression, lower self-esteem, and other social anxiety disorders to further complicate an already stressful situation,” says Dr. Taji Huang Ph.D.
“If you’re a victim of sexual assault, there are many resources available to you. The first and best place to start is at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Their “Find Help” resource page offers a directory of resources for your area, including victim support organizations that can be of further help,” a reminder from John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
I still sometimes feel lost and miss the love of my mother, and what’s worse is that though I know I got my family who loves me so much, I can’t feel completely loved. There is this emptiness I feel inside me. I am just not sure if this space in my heart is the void created the time I departed the four corners of my bedroom without reconciling with my mom, whom I love and look up to until now – or it is the space that is waiting to be filled by the look in my mother’s eyes again.
“Surviving and overcoming sexual assault can be a difficult and slow journey and may take time. Healing may not happen overnight. It may be hard to begin trusting others again or regain a sense of safety. Remember that you do not have to do this alone,” according to Hung Tran, Psy.D.