Originally published on thecounterstool.me on Nov 18, 2015 By Jessica Malionek.
Fear is my trigger. Fear rears his ugly head in the most unimaginable ways. Normal day-to-day living elicits untamable Fear. I am cornered. I am completely alone. I feel as if no one is helping me and I am drowning under a mountain of impossible tasks. Ordinary tasks which overwhelm me and leave me incapable of figuring out how to tackle them. Tasks that leave me sputtering and gasping for air — waterlogged with Fear.
Fear joined me on playdates when my daughter was two and I was overwhelmed with uncertainty. …
The above excerpt is on page 53 of the book, Trigger Points. My essay is featured along with 20 others by courageous contributing authors. I’m still trying to get my head around it. I feel a mixture of pride, joy, hope and … well, fear.
Here is a little background about how I found Trigger Points or how Trigger Points found me.
A year ago I met Dawn Daum through blogging. She came across this piece I wrote and shared with me that she and Joyelle Brandt were starting something called Trigger Points Anthology and asked if I’d consider submitting an article. I felt flattered, terrified and completely on board with their mission.
My initial motivation to start blogging ignited as a response to years of suppressing my own voice and my own story. I had owned so much trauma that wasn’t mine to own. My abuse being the main thing and my mother being another. I needed to talk. To write as a form of therapy. I needed to tell my story and have it held by others so I could heal. I also think I was assembling an army. If I could reach other people, share my story and have them relate and identify with me, I wouldn’t be alone. If I am not alone, I’m safe. If I’m safe then the predator is exposed and cannot hurt me anymore.
There is so much freedom in that.
What kept coming up as I began blogging, and what continues to come up for me, is that I do not fully want to identify myself as a sexual abuse survivor. Somehow doing so feels like I am being cornered and trapped. I felt cornered and trapped for years of my childhood so this scares me. I wanted to convey to people that, yes, I have this story. This part of me that confuses my self-perception and my relationship with myself but I believe I can change my relationship with myself. I want to change it.
Part of being able to change is recognizing our triggers. Being able to name our triggers means that we begin by being curious about ourselves. We have to want to get to know ourselves in order to facilitate change. Identifying our triggers feels scary because we have to dive into our darker places — these dark and vulnerable places where we lived alone when we were little. While these triggers are deep, painful, lingering wounds — they don’t have to claim how we experience ourselves and how we relate to ourselves as adults.
We can, in fact, own them.
We are the authors of our own endings. The sailers of our own crafts. The creators of our own destinies. We are. But we have to be willing to roll up our sleeves, wade through the muck, get stuck once in a while, reach out, ask for help and keep showing up.
We just keep showing up to life. Together. We don’t have to be alone anymore. We can let of of shame.
I am convinced that if we want things to change we can make this happen. Not linearly. Not seamlessly. But with dedication, commitment and a hell of a lot of hard work. It is a choice. Not an easy one, but one that is possible if we are willing to be vulnerable, to fail and to keep forging ahead because we know in our hearts that we are worth the effort. How do we gather the determination to change? How do we stick with our convictions to do so? We are creatures of habit. I get this. I do.
We do this by sharing our stories. By reaching out. By connecting. Healing is about breaking the silence. Breaking the silence was something I had to see through to the end. I had to share my story, throw it out into the universe and hope there would be enough hands to catch it. To catch me. And maybe together, because I was brave enough to share, not only would I heal myself, but I’d help others do so as well.
Trigger Points is about healing. It is about discovering that you are not alone on your parenting journey. It’s raw and honest and incredibly brave. It is a group of people, with their stories, showing up in life and creating their new future.
Here’s a bit more:
Trigger Points Anthology is a collection of writing by parents who are survivors of childhood abuse. Editors Joyelle Brandt and Dawn Daum are survivors of childhood abuse working to break the cycle for their own families. Raising children as an abuse survivor is often a lonely and isolating experience, as the triggers and flashbacks of abuse can be hard for non-survivors to understand. When they were looking for stories of how other survivors coped, and couldn’t find any, they decided that something needed to change. So together they started an online community specifically for parent survivors, and started collecting essays to create the Trigger Points Anthology. A book where survivors of all forms of childhood abuse could talk about what it is like to be a parent when your own childhood was so traumatic. Parenting when you experienced childhood abuse often feels like walking back into a war zone as a soldier with PTSD. There are flashbacks and triggers everywhere, and most parents are completely blindsided by them because no one tells us that this can happen.
To let survivor parents know that they are not alone, and that what they are experiencing is a perfectly normal reaction for those with a history of childhood trauma.
To educate health care and social service providers who work with parents about common triggers are that arise for survivor parents.
To help partners and families of abuse survivors understand what we are going through.
The book will be available in print and Kindle on Amazon as of November 18, 2015
I don’t receive payment if you buy the book. I simply receive great gratification on a global level in knowing that my work can help other parents who are survivors of childhood abuse and their children as well. I also receive deep satisfaction on a personal level because my truth is out there. In a book! It feels like I am reclaiming myself.
I love that.
Do you have a story you’d like to share? Triggers that leave you winded and spinning? A path you are on? I’d love to hear from you. We all would. Your story matters. It is important. And above all else, always remember, you write the ending of your story. Just you.
Thank you for sharing my journey. For reading my story. For helping me write my own ending and for helping me to continue to be brave. By being here you not only hold me accountable to my commitment towards being my best authentic-self, you open your heart and hold open your hands — you catch me every single day. Take good, good care. Much love to you.