“Breaking abuse cycles in our family histories is possible. This is not a life sentence but a call to action, honouring the process of healing.“
A sudden realization of my son’s traumatic sexual abuse by my husband at the time caused the obliteration of our family’s foundation. It had me digging our way out of the rubble through some seriously dark times.
When my son came to me with his disclosure I remember the deafening silence ringing in my ears as my mind worked to wrap around the gravity and magnitude of what he was communicating. The gutted, wounded, and utterly flabbergasted feeling of despair and disbelief were wrought with the grotesque realization that my son had been abused, in his home, which was supposed to offer him comfort and safety. Instead, it had stolen his innocence. My mind raced and I tried to get my bearings. Nothing can prepare you to hear the haunting echo of this reality.
I truly could not comprehend how this was something that was being revealed about my loving little family. I had to think quickly and respond swiftly. I made sure to call up for my other two kids to be sent down to the store we lived above. Once I ensured that they were all safe, I set in to find out answers to my mounting questions. In my response to interrogation and eventual insistence of him turning himself in, this eventually led to my demand of his pleading guilty and taking responsibility for his travesty. It has been a very long haul, much of it, in the beginning, was gritty and we slogged through our grief and anger while trying to maintain living a life. There were two other kids and they had had very different experiences from my son, so I worked to honour that we all had our own experience of the larger overarching experience. We coped by moving to a place he never lived with us, and we created a safe and secure space for us to all explore our healing journies.
I worked at keeping us above the constantly moving, rising, murky water line by making sure we ate our meals together around the table as a family. This was something that I knew I could control and I had the insight to understand that the regularity of this structure in our lives would strengthen our foundation in the re-building of my family. I sought counselling to help maintain our mental well-being. I promoted talking about their experiences and feeling permission to explore any and all of the feelings that came up. Sadness, fear, anger, resentment, etc. Honouring it all.
I reminded myself daily to trust the process. It was a day-to-day, moment-to-moment endeavour. Whatever was necessary to ensure their safety, I did. I read books and started going to weekend self-development courses to help move from a state of shock, fear, and resentment to a place of love, trust, and acceptance. It was important to me that we did not succumb to the effects of what was statistically forecast in the bleakness of what being a victim of childhood sexual abuse could breed. I fought outside ridicule and whispers in the hallows of what used to be our family support system. I continued to fine-tune my intuition thwarting the thorny branches in the darkness to reveal our path, our next right step. This experience revealed how important it is to utilize our own inner guidance systems. Holding the vision that thriving is possible even after suffering such tragedy. I practiced strengthening our resilience through the many self-development opportunities which would allow us to heal. I plunged into counselling as an ongoing structured resource to rebuild our foundations. I plugged into the community as a lifeline.
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