3am PTSD

When did it all begin? I remember being eight when step dad moved in. Sexualizing his step daughters. With a pat on the ass and "hello sexy." Or was it before that? Watching my mother be beaten, not knowing how to say no herself? Men prying into to closed spaces, she awkwardly flirts back and leans in for more. Unsure of if he wants more then just sex but needing a man by her side.

Was it my need to be perfect in every way. Wanting every man who saw me to love me because daddy went away and forgot I even existed.

Is it the clothes my mother picked out for me which made me feel older and somehow more...in leather pants and heels in grade school?

Or was it because the word no is not a word you use to your elders, your parents or in general? Maybe it was that I was raised to never be rude to others and that sharing was caring. But I argued with my parents when I thought something was unfair.

When step dad would beat me, come into my room with out a stitch of clothing on, sit on my bed and rub back as an apology for his earlier attack. I turned my head away afraid to make the wrong movement, afraid to say the wrong thing. I would not argue then. The second mom came home I would run to her in anger, in disgust and beg for help. But I was reprimanded as much as he was.

 Was it all of this combined that made me easy prey for men and boys alike. Never saying no but being shy. Trying to hide my feelings and be what everyone needed of me.

A mix of look at my power over men and getting drunk beyond limits as some man leads me to a bedroom. Trapped in a boys room with his roaming hands pressuring more then you want to give. Being female sucks.

But I am as much a victim to myself as I am to all of them. I thought if I did what was asked this would last. This one would stay, take me away and give me the life I deserved. It had to come from a man. I couldn't  have a dream of my own and education was never that important. Trophy wife to a rich older man... my mothers dream for me. Still, 33 yrs later sinking in the same sand.

Trying my best to protect my daughter from the sickening guilt and self hatred that suffocates me. But did I teach her all the same things?

Not even knowing, not realizing what shackles simple words can be? Rules of society for women!

How do I escape not only my own haunted dreams, or the memories that creep in but the victim I helped to create? How can I break that chain before it's  to late for my teen?  

I have always had an inate fear of men. I know I have passed that on. Hopefully just enough to keep her safe and praying she knows the word no and has the strength of mind to stick to her guns. Hating that she is in a world that takes lost little girls and makes them prey to preditors much to old to look at them in that way.

I am still the same. Still trading on my feminine whiles for a roof. Nothings changed... except I see it now. I feel it all now.

When I was a child I followed suit in all I learned and what was expected. When I had little kids I didn't have time to think of me. Only thoughts then was find a better man to be the father they deserved. So they watched their mother unable to say no, trying to pull away in polite ways.

 Selling all I was for the life I thought we should have. Now with time on my hands and thoughts I can't  escape I relize...I have to remain married. If I am giving all of me to a man that won't beat us, won't touch my daughter and keeps a roof over our head. That's much better then being single and falling right back into a pattern of no self worth

About this poem

This is about childhood trauma and how it effects us through life. What we teach our children and the things we don't know they see. This is literally me waking up in the middle of the night with a mind that won't shut down and the memories that won't let me sleep. The shame that won't let go of my mind, heart and soul. We must do better.

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Written on January 06, 2023

Submitted by Keisha.shafer on January 08, 2023

Modified on April 10, 2023

3:47 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Characters 3,578
Words 751
Stanzas 15
Stanza Lengths 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

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