1. What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?
The most surprising thing about becoming a parent was the healing I felt by watching my mom, dad and stepmom grandparent my children. It’s a gift to get to see a side of them that I didn’t get to experience as a child.
2. Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.
Every moment when I don’t beat myself up for “screwing up” is a proud moment. I’ve never met a parent, survivor or not, who isn’t critical of themselves but making mistakes and bouncing back with resiliency is a hard lesson for most survivors.
3. Was it difficult for you to participate in this project? What Strength did you pull from to get past the fear and contribute?
I struggled with writing the essay at first but then I didn’t think much about it. Now that the book is coming out, I’m finding it more difficult. Reading the book, empathizing with my fellow survivors and contributing to the promotion of the project makes it real in a way that it wasn’t before. I’m drawing on my knowledge that sharing our stories is the way we heal.
4. Do you believe participating in this project has changed you in any way? If so, how?
I knew I wasn’t the only one but being a part of this project exposed me to a larger world of survivors. It’s been like going to college. There’s a whole world out there that I didn’t know existed and I’m part of it. I draw tremendous strength from that because for so many years, I downplayed what happened to me to try to fit in with “normal” people. Now I understand how prevalent abuse is and that most of us have been affected by it.
5. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?
My children forgive and don’t hold grudges. They trust me and take me at my word. Their trust is sacred to me. The lesson in that for me is that we should hold all our close relationships to the same standard.
6. When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?
I love hiking in the canyons around Tucson and I can never read enough books.
My children have been the greatest contributors to my healing, because it was caring for them that made me realize that a lot of the tools I used for living weren’t working anymore. My old thought patterns and beliefs about my place in the world were outdated. I needed a spiritual makeover. I needed to find a different way to live so that I wouldn’t perpetuate the cycle of bleakness that I was raised in.
Trigger Points: Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting
I’m Karen Perry and I live in sunny Arizona with my husband, two kids and two dogs. I write at MendedMusings.com about family, God, my recovery from sexual abuse and the desire that most of us have to be authentic in all aspects of our lives.