I am an incest survivor. I came to the US when I was five years old. My home is originally in Germany with cobblestone streets and horse drawn carts… There was a bakery just down the street where we would get our bread every morning. There was a beautiful little church at the end of town and a forest right behind it. I remember smelling silver wax and the feeling of being loved by all I knew. It now seems like a fairy tale and so long ago.
My mother married an American soldier while I was living with family in Germany until my mother could prove to my grandfather that she had a roof over my head. When she was able to send him a deed to a house, I was sent over here to live with mother and my new stepfamily. When my feet hit the United States, Springfield, Missouri in particular, my life was turned upside down. My stepfamily was full of alcoholics and child molesters. It was like falling from heaven and going straight into hell. I was used in every way possible, but with the help and love of others, I have learned much.
Every day, I have to remember that I haven’t done anything wrong and convince myself that I am lovable. No matter how much therapy you get, you always kind of feel like you have done something wrong. I’d say living with guilt is one of the biggest obstacles an abused child lives with. How do I deal with it? I love others…like my wonderful little granddaughters; I spend time nurturing them, teaching them, educating them…it helps me to love myself more. I guess you could say I try to provide them with what I didn’t have.
You did the right thing by standing by your child. It would have meant the world to me had my mother stood by my side. I finally told her when I was in my early twenties, after having a break-down…oh, she got upset with him, but wouldn’t leave because they have had a whole new family together and a business and she was ashamed, didn’t want to admit it (typical denial). She has asked me to not come around so much because she is afraid I’ll talk and their family and business name will be ruined. Believe me, if your child gets abused, the best thing you can do for them is just be there and let them know you love them and put the SOB that hurt them away. Above all, let the child know they didn’t do anything wrong. My stepfather has apologized to me and spoke up for me when mother accused me of lying…ever since that day our relationship has never been the same.