Thursday, March 10, 2011

Do you see what I see?

I've written here for a few posts about my healing journey.  It has not been easy but it has been worthwhile.  One of the things I have not written about until now is how I am facing the challenges of being a survivor who is a parent.  I see the world, as we all do, through the lenses of my experiences.  That changes how I see things sometimes very dramatically.

Spending a good portion of your life being on guard for one reason or another tends to change how you approach things.  You can be hyper aware or hyper diligent and in some ways either overly bold  or overly cautious.

Sometimes I'm very sensitive to things and that makes it very hard to let things go past me.  I don't think this is all bad though.  If I know what I am doing and can understand the why as well this is also part of the healing.

Friends and I were talking one day about what we see when we go to the mall or on the parking lot, even driving home.  What do you see?  Have you thought about what you are seeing?

Do you see someone watching a child a bit too long or somewhat more intently than maybe they should? Do you notice people who don't seem to fit in with what or where you are?  I quizzed my beloved about this at the mall one day and it was shocking to me!  He didn't notice the people at all...even when he said he was people watching!  He saw clothes, he saw hair but he didn't see actions, body language, facial expressions or posture.

We were talking at a family member's home about someone who was abducted in a parking lot.  The people who tried this were parked right next to her in a van.  This is almost a cliche after all almost every TV show or movie has used this!  Do you notice who is parked by you?  Not in a paranoid way, but in a realistic way.

Do you see the exits and the security guards?  Do you listen to footsteps behind you?  Have you any thoughts how as a parent you can protect your children without frightening them?  Where is the balance point? 

I don't know the answer, I wish I did!  All I know is that as I am healing I'm also learning how I see things differently and I'm accepting that different isn't bad.  A friend was helping me work on some self defense strategies and trainings.  It was very interesting to understand how some things might work and others may be disastrous in a training setting.  This is becoming more aware of self and that is good.

Maybe that will be my biggest lesson for the little man is that if he is aware of himself and his surroundings he will be more prepared to respond the right way when something challenges him.  I don't want him to live in fear but I don't want him to be dangerously fearless either.

How about you?  What do you see that others do not?  How are you using that knowledge as something positive in your life?


  1. You ask very good questions. I struggled with the same questions when my children were young and still with my grandchildren. As an incest survivor, I know that I see things and patterns that people without my experiences do not. Sometimes that is good.

    I often recognize other incest survivors long before they confide in me. I also recognize when something doesn't feel right about another person. I have a tendency to be overly caution with new people that I meet. I also read body language that others might miss. We are all watching the world through our own filters of experience, even those of us who were not abused.

  2. I am hyper aware, but that is because of my well developed survival skills which were forced to develop. In the case of keeping my own kids safe, or teaching them awareness without scaring them, that is a tough one! I took a lot of precautions and didn't let them be unsupervised anywhere. I paid a lot of attention and I did teach them the basics, while trying not to create trust issues that didn't need to be there.

    As for me, I use all of what i have learned from the abuse that I suffered, to help others heal from abuse. My kids are contantly learning about equal value so that they recognize emotional abuse. I teach them that there is nothing wrong with telling, reporting, complaining, talking, and that there is nothing wrong with WHO THEY ARE.
    Ahhhh parenting is a tough gig! LOL
    (I have two leaving for university in the fall, and one with 4 more years of high school) But the rewards can't be beat!
    Hugs, Darlene

  3. Thanks for your great comment Patricia, and you are right. No matter our experiences (good, bad or ugly) they color how we see the world around us. And that can impact how we react to the world.

  4. Darlene, it is our survival skills that can help us or hinder us. We have learned to use them to help us but it still can be a struggle can't it? I heard one time that the biggest mistake parents make is teaching their children to fear only strangers when so many are abused and harmed by those closest to them.

    Equal value is so critical, the signs of emotional abuse should be something we are all aware of and reminded of. Parenting is a tough gig but one with great benefits :-)

    Thanks for being here and for all you do!