Friday, May 28, 2010

Three Year Old Adultress Revisited - Inner Child Letters Series - 1

Dear Three-Year-Old Self,
I have two memories of you in my mind's eye.  The first is of the playful you, the smiling you, peeking out at you from behind the adult me.  You were so cute and joyful.  Nothing had hurt you yet.  You are the one that I wrote my article "Keeper Of My Creativity" about.  (Link at bottom of page)

The second memory is of you sitting in church with Grandma listening to the preacher talk about adultry.  You labeled yourself an adultress.  (Link at bottom of page) That tells me that something happened to you that year but I have no memory of it.  You were such an inquisitive, happy child in the first memory.  You were such a sad, perfect quiet child sitting beside your grandma envying the little girl in the pew in front of you in the second memory.  The little girl in the pew in front of you was your age, but you seemed so much older than she did.  You sat as quiet and as still as you could.  How hard sitting so still must have been for you.  You tried to listen to the preacher talking.  What saddens me is that in your little girl mind, you understood the basics of what he was talking about.  He was talking about how it was a sin to have sex with someone you weren't married to. He was talking about a married person having sex with someone they weren't married to.  That was what he called adultry.  How could you know what he was talking about?  This was an adult subject, not one little girls your age should know about.  But you did know, didn't you?  That saddens me and makes me want to cry for you, for the quiet little girl that you were.  I should say the quiet little girl that you became.  Just a short time before that you were alive and joyful.  If I could look into your eyes today, what would I see?  Sadness, hurt, tears of pain.  I know that sadness has been a part of both of our lives for a very long time.  I do remember being that sad child that you became.

I don't know who hurt you.  I don't know what caused you to let go of your joy and sense of wonder.  For that I am sorry that the grown up me was not there to protect you.  I would have protected you.  I don't understand why the adults around you at that time didn't protect you.  That they didn't makes me angry and so sad.  I don't understand why they couldn't see that you were hurt and hurting.  Why didn't they ask why you were so sad?  The sadness was there in your eyes for all to see.

This letter is more difficult to write than I thought it would be.  I don't know what to say to you that will make any difference in what you experienced then that changed you so much from my first memory to the second. 

I was in a 12-Step recovery program for a few years before you showed me the image of you peeking out at me from behind the adult me.  I guess I shouldn't call that a memory like the one of you calling yourself a three-year-old adultress.  One day in a 12-Step meeting I was talking about you as an inner child and you showed me this image of yourself standing behind the adult me.  You were showing me what you looked like and the essence of who you were before the abuse.  I knew from looking at the young you that you were about three years old.  That image in my mind was what you looked like before the abuse started.  You were a healthy, exuberant three-year-old bubbling over with joy for who you were.  You loved the world and you loved everybody in your world.  I can see the joy in your eyes and hear the laughter in your voice.  Even now I have such a clear picture of you looking mischievous as you peek out at me.  When did that joy leave you?  Why did it leave?  What happened to you to take it all away?  I don't remember.

You weren't that same child when you labeled yourself as an adultress.  Your eyes were full of sadness.  Your laughter was gone.  You hid your light so that others couldn't see it.  You hurt too much to expose your inner self to others any more.  You went into hiding at three years old and didn't come back out until 1991 when you showed yourself to me at that 12-Step meeting.  That was when you started to trust me again to protect you.  Even today I don't know what secrets you still carry around inside of you.  You haven't told me.  Even though part of me is still afraid to know, I am asking you to trust me enough to open up and share your secrets with me.  You can share your thoughts with me.  I am a grown-up and I can protect you from any more hurt.  I know that is still hard for you to believe but it is true. 

I love you and I won't let anyone else ever hurt you again.  You are safe.  I am open to whatever you want to tell me about that time in our life.  We are both safe now.  I am big so no one can hurt me or you.  I won't let them.  I am leaving the door open between us.  Whatever you want to tell me, we will handle it together.  Together we are strong.  You survived whatever happened to you back then.  Today we will both survive the telling of your secrets.  Any one from back then who could have hurt you is dead.  There is no one for you to have to be afraid of.  They are all gone now except for you and me.  You don't have to hide and you don't have to hurt alone.  I am here.  I love you.  I ask your forgiveness for not being able to protect you back then.  Today I can protect you.  Today no one will hurt you.  I won't let them.
Patricia

Related Articles:

Inner Child Letters Series @ http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2010/05/inner-child-letters-series.html

Keeper Of My Creativity @ http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/keeper-of-my-creativity.html

The Case Of The Three-Year-Old-Adultress @ http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2009/08/case-of-three-year-old-adultress.html

33 comments:

katie said...

Wonderful letter, Patricia. It made me feel safe and cared for just reading it imagining someone saying such things to me for all the pain and shame I experienced and internalized. Safe hugs to you and little patty. She and you are brave and strong and deserve always to feel safe and loved. Sending safe love your way.

Patricia Singleton said...

Katie, thank you for your words. Thank you for the safe hugs and safe love. Most of all, thank you for calling her by her name Little Patty. Just before I posted the article at 1:30 a.m., I realized that I hadn't called her by name. I decided to leave it that way.

When I started to cry soon after, I realized that even though I think of her as Little Patty, I needed the little distance that not naming her gave me in order to write the post.

Some part of me is still afraid of her pain and her feelings during whatever happened to her. I don't know if I said everything that I needed to say to Little Patty or not.

Patricia Singleton said...

I stirred up something inside of me with this post. I had a dream this morning. I was a young woman. A man drives a Big Mack truck into the driveway of a business nearby. I realize that he is there to steal something or to harm someone. He is a killer. I know that. He has a really big knife, like a Bowie knife. Now he looks like a pirate with long hair and a bandanna on his head.

I got waken up several times during the dream by the telephone ringing. Each time I went back to sleep and right back into the dream.

The man stabs my husband several times with the knife and leaves him for dead. I am crying because I think he is dead too. I struggle with the man with the knife as he is talking to me. I don't remember the words he said. I don't remember as many details as I usually do from my dreams, probably because of getting waken up.

I somehow get the knife and stab the man several times. He stumbles away. I run to my husband and he is alive. I doctor his wounds and cry and talk to him to make sure he is alive. He is ok and I tell someone to send for the doctor for anyone else who is hurt. I remember my husband saying he knows that I love him because instead of waiting for the doctor to come and help him like the others, I took care of him myself. He is laughing and joyful as he tells me this.

I think the phone woke me again. Next in the dream, I am in my home. My husband and others, at least one younger man, are outside. My sister and I are in a bedroom talking together. I walk to the front door and open it to see the young man somehow hanging by his arms from the limbs of a tree in the front yard. He is in what looks like a brace of some kind holding him in the tree. He is somehow tied or chained with his arms spread out over his head hanging legs slightly spread out hanging from the tree. I don't see my husband. I quickly slam the front door and run back to the bedroom. I tell my sister to hide. I know the man with the knife is back. I try a closet but there really is no place to hide in it or the room we are in.

I open the bedroom door into the hall and see the pirate with the big knife standing there. I try to slam the door back but he prevents me from closing it all the way. He comes in and we struggle with the knife again. This time he stabs me at least 3 or 4 times in the middle of my chest where the sternum is. It doesn't hurt and the cuts are very shallow. I wake myself up. I decide to not go back to sleep this time.

I would be interested to know what you think of my dream as well as the post above. Thanks.

katie said...

dear patricia~ i'm glad that you liked that i addressed little patty by name. and i will continue to sending safe hugs and love your way. i know you've been working so hard lately, uncovering terrifying old memories and feelings and that mixed with the radio program and the excitement of that may be intensifying your feelings overall. i think your letter to patty is wonderful, and i think if you have the feeling you have more to say to her, then maybe this could be just the first of a number of letters you write to her. and if you want to, you can write more to her later, in your own time, when you feel more ready and comfortable. and SAFE.

which brings me to your nightmare. thank you for sharing your dream and honoring me with the request for my opinion. i'm no expert, but i love to analyze my dreams, and so it is no problem to tell you my impression of your dream. though i think you are the one who knows best what this dream might mean to you. so my first question would be what do you think of the dream?

you do not have to answer me or answer here.

and you're always free to email me if you ever want to discuss anything that way. at yatseval@yahoo.com

but my personal gut reaction to your dream was that you feel threatened and that the pirate could represent an actual figure from your past. you're the only one who can know how literal this dream might be. perhaps you were actually assaulted by a man with a knife and this is about that. or perhaps he represents all the terrifying emotions and memories you are uncovering. he could represent the terror you and or your inner child might feel. as for why he assaulted your husband, that reminds me of when you said that in the past you took some of your anger out on your husband while you were getting in touch with your rage. perhaps you're worried about how uncovering all this new traumatic material will affect your marriage. or perhaps in the dream, your husband represents a part of you. and the threats and harm that you experienced in your life hurt you especially in your heart, in your ability to love and connect to others and feel your emotions. and that would go along with why he stabbed you in the chest. your heart area.

i think it's a really good sign that even when he did manage to stab you in the chest, that it did not hurt and it did not go deep. maybe that shows how strong you are and that even though you were attacked in your life and these memories might feel like a perpetrator encroaching upon your current safe and loving home environment and family, that deep down you are strong enough that this won't be able to hurt you, that you are protected by your own internal power.

he was an external threat. outside of your house. wanting to get in and hurt you and your husband. but even though he attacked your husband, you were able to heal him and your marriage was not harmed. you and your husband love each other, and are able to laugh together and heal together.

to me, that's part of what comforts me in my nightmares. when i have dreamt of the dark predator figure, a man trying to capture or kill me, which i've dreamt many times, i'm always especially encouraged by how i respond in the dream. that indicates to me the power i believe i have deep down. the power each of us has to withstand anything that threatens to destroy us.

i want to send you more safe energy, not just love and hugs for you and your inner children, but more of just that feeling of safety and protection and reassurance. you deserve to feel safe, patricia.

(((patricia and little patty and everyone you love)))

Patricia Singleton said...

Katie, thank you so much for your caring words and your wonderful interpretation of my dream. The dream will take some time for me to process. I hate when I forget parts of a dream. Your interpretation has also given me much to think about. A lot of what you said feels right. Thank you so much. I appreciate you.

katie said...

You're more than welcome. Will keep sending positive thoughts and energy your way. I hope you have a good weekend :)

Patricia Singleton said...

Katie, you have a glorious weekend too.

Colleen said...

Beautiful letter. My favorite line -
I love you and I won't let anyone else ever hurt you again.
I need to tell my inner child that too.

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, thank you. Today I am grieving for this inner child.

Darlene Ouimet said...

Patricia,
Beautiful post as always. My heart hurts to read the stories of what happened to us as children; how we lost our joy and innocence. Even though we are a group of people healing, sometimes I wonder how the heck we do it! Thank you for your courage to write with the depth that you always manage to reach.
Love Darlene

Patricia Singleton said...

Darlene, thank you. Today is day 2 of grieving so my heart is hurting too. Courage is what keeps us plowing through all of the pain because we do know that joy and peace is on the other side.

Just Be Real said...

Comforting words to this letter Pat. May the pain in your heart one day subside dear one. ((((Pat)))

Patricia Singleton said...

JBR, thank you so much for your comforting words and hugs. I appreciate you so much. The grieving is lessening.

Carl Slater said...

Astonishing and courageous work you are doing with this Patricia.

Patricia Singleton said...

Carl, thank you for your continued support. Some days I don't feel so courageous. It feels like I am just getting by. Then I have to remind myself that courage isn't just in the big things. This has caused the most grieving that I have done in many years. I can feel it beginning to grow lighter.

Beautifuldreamer said...

A very beautiful, bittersweet post.

Patricia Singleton said...

Beautiful Dreamer, thank you.

Just Be Real said...

Pat dropping by to give you a ((((Pat))))

Patricia Singleton said...

JBR, thank you so much. The hug is much needed today. Still in heavy grieving. Went to my grieving class last night. Talked and cried and got some new perspective. Still processing a lot of thoughts and feelings on this one.

katie said...

Hi Patricia, me too. I was thinking about you yesterday and wondering how you're doing. I'm glad jbr reminded me. Sending hugs and love to you and little patty...

Patricia Singleton said...

Katie, thank you for the hugs and love.

April_optimist said...

What a wonderful post. I found myself nodding in recognition too. We took upon ourselves the blame for what was done to us. (((((Hugs)))))

I also stopped by to say good-bye. I've posted about it on my blog and you've been a part of my online life so I wanted to take leave here as well. Know that you will be in my heart and prayers.

Patricia Singleton said...

April, thank you. I appreciate where you are in your life today. It is where we all strive to be. Have a glorious life.

Kathy said...

Beautiful, heart-wrenching and life affirming post. I pray that you are gradually reclaiming your "joy and sense of wonder." love, kathy

Patricia Singleton said...

Kathy, thank you. Yes, I do have joy and a wonderful sense of wonder in my life most days now. This series of articles has set off a deep grieving that I will go through for awhile before I finally release it from my being. Feeling the grief is healing even though it gets uncomfortable too. It is part of the learning and growing process of my life and that is okay. Thanks for your visit.

Patricia Singleton said...

This post was included in the September 2010 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: Inner Child edition hosted by Dan L. Hays at the following link: http://danlhays.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/blog-carnival-against-child-abuse-inner-child/
I hope you will join me in reading all of the posts in this Carnival.

Patricia Singleton said...

Corrected link to September 2010 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: Inner Child is http://danlhays.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/september-2010-blog-carnival-against-child-abuse-inner-child/

Marj aka Thriver said...

This just tugs at my heart, Patricia. I can feel so much for your little girl self and relate to your story.

I had a similar experience, or realization, sitting in church and putting some things together in my head. I had assumed that sex was always a dirty, bad thing. Then, I found out that this was where babies came from. I looked at the pastor of our church and at his family sitting there and I realized: The pastor has children, that means that he has had sex. Maybe sex can actually be a GOOD thing sometimes.

It was so confusing. These are not the things that young children should be burdened with trying to figure out on their own.

Thanks for sharing this with us for the carnival. *hugs*

Patricia Singleton said...

Marj, thanks for the hugs and your encouragement. Sex can be so very confusing and even damaging if we are exposed to it too soon like we were. My husband has taught me how good and how beautiful sex can be between two consenting adults.

Enola said...

What a great and healing post. Thanks for sharing this through the blog carnival

Patricia Singleton said...

Enola, thank you and you are very welcome.

Anonymous said...

This post made me cry. It was almost like because I was hearing the words in my head especially the last bit where your saying its safe now, I could hear them in my head. But part of me doesn't believe its safe, and holds on tight. Also what you wrote about the sad little girl hiding, and how she changed and everyone should have been able to see it and ask why and noone did. That made me cry, and that you called yourself an adulterer. I remembered forming opinions like that very young, feeling 'grown up', knowing everything. This post was so important to hear. Like your words became words Im not ready to say to myself yet, but you helped them be said in my head at least, like practise. I don't know if the truth is rememberable, my later memorie come through so garbled by fear and the fog of terror or tears. Like patchment, parchment or patchwork... All in bits, like a history book if you tore it all up and left it in the rain.

Patricia Singleton said...

Anonymous, I feel sad that you cried. Sometimes I just don't know if I am ready to take the next step or to face the next issue. Sometimes I feel that I have a choice to put it off just a little bit longer. Sometimes it doesn't feel like I have a choice at all. I do understand where you are right now.

This memory of the 3-year-old calling herself an adultress has always been there with me at the back of my mind. On the day that it came out of hiding, I tape recorded my talk to an Alano Club group. I listened to the tape twice and did not hear me call myself an adultress. The 3rd time that I listened to the tape was with my incest survivor group. I went into shock when I realized that I had missed the adultress part of the tape twice.

It took being with a safe group of my friends before I could deal with hearing myself talk about it. Sometimes we just aren't ready when a topic comes up and that is okay. It will keep coming back up until we are ready. That has been my experience.