(This post is from Roger Mann.)
"It’s not you, it’s me."
I know, it’s an old break-up line. That said, it’s one that has gone through my mind over the years in one form or another concerning my childhood abuse. The form it usually takes is, "Was there something about me?"
In my early years as a kid, I didn’t really articulate it like that. There was a feeling inside me that something about me screamed, "Play with me. I’m okay with it." I thought maybe it was the way I looked, or maybe the way I acted or looked at other people. I remember even as a young kid always looking at faces to see how they were looking at me. And every once in a while, there was someone with "the look" that silently signaled something that made me uncomfortable.
I can’t really explain it. It was just a look, along with a feeling I would get that either made me want to hide or later on look back knowingly. It’s said that abusers and victims sometimes seem drawn to each other unconsciously. That may be true. It’s as good an explanation as any, I guess.
Is there something in the face or the eyes that somehow notifies those who know how and where to look that you’re a victim? Even at my age, I find myself going out of my way to project self-assurance and anything else that would not identify me as weak, needy, or victimized. Maybe I overcompensate at times, and that too could be a signal if I’m not careful. It’s an armor I need to wear because it’s not just sexual predators that look for it. I’ve come to realize it’s also people who are selling things.
I know because I have a house full of stuff because my armor slipped and someone saw "prey" written all over me. I really hate that. Another legacy, in my opinion, of childhood victimization.