Dealing With Unresolved Trauma
Side-effects aren't the same for everyone
Trigger Warning: This story contains contents that may trigger others from past trauma.
To be vulnerable is to trust and trusting others is my weakest spot of my heart. However, in time life has changed me in ways that help my experience become more 'explainable.'
Things weren't easy for me in the beginning.
To be touched repeatedly without consent, the words, "no" and "stop" being ignored while I pleaded silently for someone to help - to rescue me. I was never the same afterward.
I remember running to my car, fiddling with my keys, locking my car door, and pulling out my phone to call my boyfriend. I needed him. I told him everything as I cried my way back home. I slipped past the kitchen and living room, then made my way upstairs to my bedroom. Where I proceeded to curl into a tiny ball on my bed, wrapped in a blanket of guilt and shame.
I was disgusted. Filled with hate and insecurities.
I couldn't keep my boyfriend and go through my incident because it was too much for him. While he wanted sex, I couldn't stand the thought of being looked at. A small price to pay, but one I needed to escape from nonetheless.
I had to swallow my fears and walk the hallways of high school, with the countless eyes of boys my age staring into my soul. I often wondered if they could see who I truly was. What I had been through. The victim of someone who couldn't take no for an answer. A small girl who's view on love and life had forever been altered.
I noticed a change in my behavior when males were close to me. My heart raced, I couldn't concentrate. I watched them like a hawk. When they hovered over me, I panicked. The humility of breaking down in class, I'll never get those moments to react differently, back. I hated my dad, my brother, every male I ever loved and trusted. I was no longer myself.
I hated myself more and more as time flew by. The mirrors and my mind played tricks on me. The taunting thought, "maybe if you looked different this wouldn't have happened to you," lived in my head. My body was no longer a safe shelter. I had been taken advantage of. Belittled, beaten down into feeling guilty and ugly. Maybe I deserved it for being 'too nice'. I'll never understand how someone else managed to turn my kindness into their own sick infatuation.
Is showing kindness to a friend now a new sign of attraction?
It's been four years but I'm still living in anxiety. I'm overwhelmed with wanting to keep my history bottled up inside, but the ringing question, "what's wrong with you?" never fails to pressure me into speaking my issues into existence so they can run.
I can't be touched without the reminder of his presence on me. Some affection from others is okay, but most of the time I'm appalled by people getting close and then putting their hands on me. I fake it, of course. Of course, I have to pretend like everything's normal when others want a hug from me. Why do I hate hugs? Hugs remind me of him. He loved hugs. He used to pick me and spin me around every time he hugged me. The last time he asked for a hug, he groped me. A harmless hug turned into a small fragent of my tragic background. So when I hug others, little effort is put into them. I'm labeled as lame and weird for how I hug, but hugging makes me uncomfortable in ways others will never truly understand.
Just about every time someone touches me, a small, sudden flashback from that scarring night rushes through my head. A hand on my back or shoulder, a poke at my side; please, no. The discomfort. I never sought help, this is the consequence.
I cling to male friends because they're more loyal than the females I've known all my life. However, when they ask to hang out in person, that's when the waters are tested and my lame excuses arise. I struggle because it was a male friend who betrayed me. It was a male friend and coworker who stole the power I carried within myself before I was ever able to use it. That coping mechanism both confuses and insults me.
I want to fall in love again, but the emotions and physical attraction to others have been shut off. I used to care about sex and intimacy for future relationships , but now I couldn't care less. Being touched is beneath me. I want no part of it. And men, I'm not sure any of them would ever be willing to love the fragile person I've become. I am a brittle sheet of ice, a thin piece of glass. I am not happy or angry or drowning in tears every day. I'm just existing in this life of moving on from the past.
Will I ever heal from unresolved trauma? Who knows. Side-effects are different for everyone who's experienced their own trauma.