I'm pretty much embarrassed to say that I didn't know I was treated so badly as a child until I entered therapy. Something my T often asked me was, "Where was your mother?"
I enjoyed most of my childhood. I like where we lived and I loved the freedom a farm on the edge of nowhere provides. It was my therapist who first brought it to my attention that going off on a whole day trek with a shot gun, following a full irrigation ditch for 5 miles, was not a good idea for a 12 year old. I made the same trip when I was 10, but without the gun - I took my dog instead. When I got older, I took my horse. No matter how, or who, I took with me, it was a dangerous thing to do, but not because of the gun.
As I followed the ditch with swiftly running water, I always found myself on the wrong side of my planned course, so - I stripped down, held my gun, pocket knife, and all my clothes above my head and stepped into the water to cross to the other side. I always crossed with the cattle guard on the down side of the current which was a good thing because the current usually swept me off of my feet just as the water level reached my shoulders. It still doesn't feel like a dangerous thing -- until I imagine my daughter in that scene. That's something my T suggested once - telling me to imagine my daughter in those types of scenes. It instantly snaps reality and clarity into most situations.
I use that exercise often. It works every time. But what has amazed me is the responses by friends and bloggers. I guess I have been testing the waters, I'm not really sure, and I certainly didn't mean to use anyone. It's a bit confusing, yet liberating, to be able to say something about my childhood (that I now realize was riddled with abuse) and the sky doesn't fall. I'm not used to it. It feels good to say something true, tho bad, about the way I grew up and not be confronted with accusations of blame.
It feels wonderful to be waking up.