Sunday, August 19, 2007

When Children Are Abused---Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 3

Warning: Reading the following series may be injurious to your peace of mind. They are intended to be. Without knowledge, we cannot prevent child abuse from happening. Go beyond this point at your own risk. Join me for the painful, frightening, emotional, freeing journey.

I wish I could tell you when I wrote the following words, but I don't know when they were written. As I was getting organized for the visit of my daughter and her family this past week, I was going through some boxes before putting them away in the attic. I found a notebook with writing in it. Since I have started writing about my journey from incest to where I am today, I have decided to show you where I was just a few years ago. I didn't date the writing so it could have been written any time in the past 20 years. Here goes.

"When children are abused, why can't people see, why can't people listen, why can't people act to prevent the hurt? Why do parents hurt their kids? Why do children have to be hurt? Why do children die?

Why did my dad abuse me and my mom ignore the signs? Why didn't they love me?

How do I feel? I'm crying. I can't breathe. My stomach hurts. My head and heart hurt. I can't talk. My throat is too full. I can't see through the tears. I am trying to stay with the feelings.

Hurt, Heart Hurt.

What is being done about children dying from child abuse in Arkansas? What actions are being taken?

A child doesn't always tell you the truth when they are being abused. They're too scared of the abuser, scared they won't be believed, scared they will be called liars, scared they will die from the shame.

My cries are silent. I don't make any noise. I can't. My cries have always been silent.

Five children die every day from abuse from their caretakers."

This is just one day in the healing journey of an incest survivor.

What do I feel today reading what I wrote several years ago? I still get a knot in the solar plexus and a shortness of breath. The tears are not there so the feelings are not as intense as the day that I wrote the above words. That, in itself, tells me that some of my pain has been healed since that day.

My heavy heart tells me that I feel compassion and love for that wounded child that I still carry around within the adult me. That is as it should be. I don't want to ever forgot her or the lessons that I have learned from being an incest survivor.

Am I still that wounded child? At times, yes, but for the most part, no. I am not terrified of life and of people as I was then. I have forgiven myself and my abusers. Does that mean that I no longer get angry with them or with me? I wish that I could answer no to that question. I am not perfect. I still find little pockets of hidden anger and fear that come out sometimes. The fact that they show themselves to me tells me one very important thing about myself. I have grown strong enough to deal with this new anger or new fear. With this awareness of my process, I can address these feelings and get them out of my body where I have been carrying them since the abuse first happened.

My first memory of being sexually abused happened 44 years ago when I was 11 years old. Some people would ask why are you still dealing with this issue so long after it happened? My answer to those people would be, "Because I have to."

For many years I tried ignoring the issue telling myself that it would just go away if I pretended it didn't exist. I wish it were that easy. The answer is never that easy. At least, it hasn't been for me or the other incest survivors that I have known.

I was one of the lucky ones who found help. I no longer have to do this thing called recovery on my own. I have a support network of family and friends who love me. And, the most important part of my recovery is that I have learned to love myself.

If you found this article interesting and want to read some more articles on this subject, here are the previous articles that I wrote about incest:

Biography---Part 1 at

Forgiveness, Done In Layers at

Happy Father's Day, Daddy at

Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Introduction at

Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 1 at

There's A Hole In My Sidewalk at

Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 2---Sadly Normal at


Marj aka Thriver said...

if you haven't already, i think you have some great posts to submit to the blog carnival against child abuse. the deadline for this month is tomorrow. Details are at my blog or Sadly Normal (or blog carnial dot com, of course). Keep up the great work!

Patricia Singleton said...

Marj aka Thriver, thanks, I have submitted an article and will submit this series of articles for future carnivals. In the mean time, I am asking my readers to click on Marj's name and check out her 2 blogs if you want more information on incest and recovery or if you just want to add your support to these courageous survivors.

Anonymous said...

Well done to you.
I am going to link to this series in one of my articles this next week.

You have used your bad experiences for the good of others. Oh that the world had more people like you.

Patricia Singleton said...

Imaginif, thanks for the link and the words of praise. My prayer is for someone else to benefit from my sharing of my experiences.

Patricia Singleton said...

This article has been accepted in the Carnival of Truth found at This was one of 6 articles that K-L chose to feature in her Carnival of Truth #7.

April_optimist said...

What a powerful post! I, too, remember the days when my throat would close up so that I literally could not speak about what happened. I remember trying to pretend it hadn't happened and the journey through facing it to where I am now.

I love the strength and resilience that comes across in your words. I love that you are giving voice to how much damage incest does to a child.

Patricia Singleton said...

april_optimist, the only reason for me to do these posts is to let others know that you can do more than survive. You can actually heal and find a wonderful life. Healing isn't easy. I don't ever want to give that impression. It is hard work and can take years but the result is well worth it. Thanks for your words of praise.

Patricia Singleton said...

This article has been included in the October Edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse found at
Please check out the great articles found there.

Patricia Singleton said...

This article has been posted in the Carnival Against Sexual Violence 38 found at