(This post comes from a reader named Roger.)
Trust has always been a huge issue for me. My father was very strict, very harsh at times, and I would become self-protective. Then at night he would sneak into my room and be so touching and caressing. I opened up and welcomed his advances like the starving child I was, only to find him distant and angry again the next day.
It became such a part of my life not to trust that I didn't even notice it until others began to tell me of how they dealt with it in their lives. It was like, oh man I do that too! For instance, I would walk into any room and gravitate immediately toward the corner or seat facing the door, back to the wall. Until a friend spoke about his realizing why he was doing it, I was totally unconscious of it myself.
Or the matter of personal space--being stopped in a hallway to chat and putting my back to the wall. And a thousand other odd things like assuming when someone said they wanted to speak to me it meant something bad. Assuming all compliments were preemptive for someone wanting something.
At the same time, being so gullible that when a compliment seemed to be sincere, I would fall for some kind of rip-off scheme because I desperately wanted to believe this person liked me. I know that sounds paradoxical but there was always this waiting for the other shoe to drop and yet wanting desperately to believe this time it would be something different.
I was so untrusting, yet desperately wanting to trust, needing to believe I was worthy of another’s kindness and becoming an easy mark. I suspended rational thought because of that need and fear of trusting. That was an area of my life that was invisible to me until I talked with other survivors. Our stories are different, but our wounds are familiar.
Sometimes when reading others’ stories I can’t help but wonder what other areas of my life, personality, behavior, and character are the real me or which came as the results of my abuser.
The healing must still continue.