Tell Myself Balance

by Susan

When I was between 3 and 7 years old I had a stepfather who sexually abused me and my siblings. I trusted him and regarded him as a father. He would manipulate and bribe us children to have oral sex and other sexual acts with him. Because I was so young I did not know it was wrong. One time he took me for a walk in a remote area and tied me to a tree and put a plastic bag over my head. I began to suffocate! He quickly took the bag off. I asked him why he did that? I might have been 5 years old at the time. He shook his head and we went back to the car.

After my mother divorced him and moved to another state, I began realizing it was wrong. I felt shame and wanted to hide it. I felt insecure around men and boys. Eventually as I got older, in my early twenties, I told my mother about the abuse. She felt great sadness for what happened. We didn't talk about it much. I think my Mother felt shame too, for putting me in a dangerous environment and not looking out for me. I felt my mother was clueless and had loose morals herself. She made poor choices in men and marriage. Me and my 3 siblings were in a high risk situation because my mom had many sexual partners. We experienced poverty, neglect, and trauma.

I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) when I was 11 and felt that helped me a lot. I was taught healthy patterns of family life. I was taught to be morally clean and to forgive and give my burdens to Jesus Christ. I felt loved by God which gave me self-worth. "At least I have a Father in heaven who loves me"! I would always tell myself.

I am married and have 5 children. When my first son was born I began to fear for his safety. Overly so, because of my abuse. I was a helicopter mom. I still have sexual problems with my husband because of trust issues. I am working on it. It has taken me many years to realize I really do love and trust my husband. He has been very patient with me.

I used to be really sensitive to what others thought of me. Now that I am older I feel less sensitive. I don't fear things as much anymore. Another problem that I had was an eating disorder and always feeling I needed to be thin and pretty. As I get older I tell myself "balance" and I take deep breaths to calm myself. I tell myself I don't have to be perfect and I love myself for who I am.

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