September 10, 2011

Can they tell?

So, I went to a training seminar today in order to be certified as a volunteer with the Archdiocese of Chicago; this will allow them to run a background check on me so that I can volunteer around my child's school for classroom activities and school functions. While I knew that the VIRTUS training was centered around child sexual abuse, I guess I hadn't prepared myself mentally or emotionally. As the seminar began, I panned the room and wondered -- I am the only adult in here who is an abuse survivor? Later, as I choked back tears and wiped away the few the rolled down my burning cheeks as the child victims told stories of their pain and suffering in the videos we watched -- I wondered if anyone was noticing. It was definitely a tough couple of hours for me to get through. I managed to pull it together, before the "table discussion" portion after each of the two videos -- but wow, I really couldn't wait to get out of there. Afterward, I couldn't help but reflect on some of what I had learned in the videos and apply it to my own life and experiences. As was noted, victims of abuse often have difficulty with lasting relationships. Well, here I am, nearly 40 years old, another failed relationship at my feet. I don't know if I can say that I'm doing any worse than my peers though. People everywhere seem to have trouble with relationships, for all manner of reasons. Still, I didn't see myself as going into my 40's as a single gal -- I had hoped to be more settled by now. The video pointed out that victims of abuse are unable to trust because the ability to trust has been fundamentally damaged. Perhaps that is why I have been drawn both to other abuse survivors and/or abusive/toxic/addicts. In any case, it left me in a melancholy state for the rest of the day. I do know that I fundamentally believe that most people are good. I have learned to trust my intuition -- which is the most important thing any abuse survivor can do -- trust themselves. There are things that I will likely always struggle with -- like being alone and feeling safe: I remind myself that I am never truly alone -- God is with me always. Being given tools to help protect other children from abuse was empowering and worthwhile -- and on some level, healing. It was nice to be in a room full of adults on a mission to protect children from the predators out there who our children probably already know and trust.

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