Parenting as a Survivor
Do You Struggle With Triggers? If you’re a parent who survived childhood sexual abuse, have your experiences differed from the struggles moms and dads normally share?
The question came up when anonymous user asked Reddit’s parenting forum for help: the mom of two young boys had survived sexual abuse as a child and now finds herself struggling with the way her older boy is starting to play:
Many of the comments told Mom not to be concerned—either that her boys are too young to understand that what they’re doing is sexual in nature or that it’s probably a good time to teach them both what it means to say “No”:
What About Mom?
Those who commented were obviously trying their best to be helpful, but it was surprising to see that not a single remark touched on Mom’s own struggles. After all, since the boy’s play seems perfectly natural, it’s likely that Mom might encounter a few more triggers as her boys continue to grow and mature.
Over 42 million people in America have experienced childhood sexual abuse. We know it can have an effect on every avenue of adult life, yet survivors are rarely invited to talk about it.
Which is surprising, considering that studies show many survivors struggle with similar fears of whether or not they’ll be a good parent and anxiety about protecting their own children from harm.
But even those fears—while perhaps felt more intensely by abuse survivors—are considered “normal” for parents to worry about.
Does Your Past Abuse Effect How You Parent?
For parents who are also survivors of child sexual abuse: Did you experience unexpected triggers or fears?
Does your child’s safety weigh on your mind or are you afraid of the “cycle” of abuse?
If so, do you have any advice for other parents?
If you feel like becoming a parent has affected your own healing process or you’ve struggled with triggers while raising your kids, please share your experiences in the comments below!