In my family my father was known to be and allowed to be erratic, temperamental, and irresponsible. It was just “the way men are,” a fact. When I was three or four years old and he molested me, my world turned to confusion. Nothing made sense any more. Embraces that were supposed to be safe became unsafe.
The family system continued to support him after he abused me. My mother told me to forget about it—nothing could be done. With my entire world turned against me, what could I do but give in, forget and deny the abuse?
This is the essence of Betrayal Trauma. The child cannot keep her knowledge, but has to repress the facts, or the feelings, or both. She or he has to yield to the family system in order to continue to get the love and care that are vital to survival. Only later, when she leaves the birth family, can she acknowledge the truth fully. With deep journeying, such as Inner Child work, she can regain her power and ability to love self and others. This journey is the core of my memoir.