Even now, after all these years when I think I am on top of things the events of my past still have a huge impact on my present and I think they will always continue to shape my future in one way or another.
Learning new coping mechanisms has been essential for me with the most prominent being talking things through in a safe space and I am fortunate enough to have that with my partner.
I talk openly now about the sexual abuse I survived as a child, it isn't easy but I do so not only to help myself but to also encourage others to reach out for help and support, to build a safe space where they can talk things through.
Even though I have worked hard on myself I still get tormented and this was proved to me just the other day.
As a parent and a survivor my fears often increase in a different manner now.
Through worry regarding my children's wellbeing and the very low amount of trust I have in others when my children are in their care.
We have never had a baby sitter, everywhere we have gone the kids have always gone as well. This is a rule I had in place from day one.
When I think about this it is largely due to my trust issues and these are based on my own experiences when my care was put in the trust of another and the result was the sexual abuse I endured for around a six-year period.
So, in my mind I think to myself well it's understandable after what I experienced as a child my fears of my kids ever experiencing that and me not being able to stop it can be overwhelming.
I just wanted to write this article because it was only a few days ago when the panic began to take over me.
To the outside world, I would have seemed irrational but to me the feeling that was erupting within myself was very real.
I had to visit Kent recently which Is where I am from originally and Sharon suggested that Tyler (my youngest) spend a night with his sister.
Tyler is 10 and that was around the age that I was first raped by a middle-aged man.
The mere suggestion began to send my mind into overdrive, not for fear of my daughter, but who else would be present?
I don’t know the comings and goings of that house.
The rampaging train of thought began in my mind which fueled my anxieties and catapulted me into a state of anger, stress and agitation and the idea had only been mentioned.
Sharon was on egg shells and this was due to her fear of saying the wrong thing and sending me spiraling...yet nothing had actually occurred.
I could see in her eyes that I was upsetting her and I knew I would have looked as though I was going from 0 – 100 and being completely irrational.
My thought process was chaotic and fear was all over my body, running through my veins.
In my mind I know I do not want to hold my son back; he would have a great time with his sister who he does not get to see very often.
She is a parent herself and is very responsible. In my mind my self talk speaks to me saying "Matt don’t hold the lad back, he will be safe."
While my heart enters into panic mode and the internal battle normally ends in an eruption.
I was literally shaking and tearing up, while filled with rage at what I would do to anyone who ever hurt my son.
But no one had, this was my mind and my experiences impacting my life today but sadly also impacting the lives of those I love and just want to protect.
So, we talked it out
We agreed we would video call Tyler on a regular basis, it was on my mind all day and then into the evening.
When we made that first video call and I could see him enjoying himself, smiling because he was spending time with his sister.
This made me happy and I knew that I do not want to deny him that because of my life experiences.
My life experiences are not his, yes, I need to be aware and do all I can to protect my family and I always will.
But I realized that night that I also have to be able to allow him the chance to spend time with others without me breathing down his neck all the time.
Although I will keep a watchful eye, that will never change.
But through talking things out I hope that in the future I can separate my life experiences from that of my children.
I have made vast improvements through talking, writing and mindfulness practice.
My childhood experiences will never leave me and although I have found coping mechanisms in regard to assisting myself, I need to remember to apply them in other areas of my life.
I will not allow the man who abused me to impact my children's lives.
Just something I wanted to share with you as a survivor and a parent navigating the roadmap of life can be especially difficult at times but we can succeed.
I want you to know if you have had a similar experience or have similar experiences you are not alone.
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