Day 49 – Believing the Girl in California

I’m relieved to be home again. I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow of our five days in southern California. But I do want to write about what it was like to believe the girl in the midst of a lot of family drama. It was the first time I had been around my father (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday) while also believing the girl. My old coping mechanisms–self-doubt and denial–weren’t invited to help this time. I wanted to keep my commitment to the inner girl who was abused all those years ago.

And I did it. Not that it was easy. Some of the time I was very anxious and had thoughts careening madly in my head, thoughts of the “I’m so bad, I’m so disgusting” variety. I very much felt the urge to burn myself, but I didn’t. Instead, here are the things I tried:

  • Reviewing the cards I made ahead of time. This helped the most when I read them ahead of time, before seeing my dad. They bolstered my determination not to desert the little girl.
  • Deep, slow breathing. It helps a bit with the anxiety, though not that much.
  • Avoiding my father. I did this the most the first day, when there were more people around. But it was only a temporary solution, and I knew that.
  • Going to the bathroom. During one conversation with my father, I felt so crazy that I just interrupted to say I had to go to the bathroom. I went and sat on the floor for a while and then washed my face. It was a helpful break. Since I’m well-known for my frequent bathroom breaks, adding in a couple more didn’t surprise anyone.
  • Telling myself that it was acceptable to feel whatever I was feeling, including feeling upset and confused. This keeps me from beating myself up for having feelings, and it is actually helpful.
  • Being there and not being there at the same time.
  • Reminding myself that I could go home soon.

Card - Believe

Card 4 - Feelings

Before we went over to my sister’s house on Sunday (my dad lives with her), I felt afraid, in a very childish way. It occurred to me that what I was feeling was probably the emotion of the little girl. I usually picture her in her bedroom, with her stuffed animals around her. But that wasn’t feeling like a safe place to her. What would make her feel safe? I wondered. I ended up taking her to our guest room and putting three locks on the door, locks that only she or I could open. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but it made me feel better. I didn’t have to deny or disbelieve the girl. I only had to put her in a safe place and then go back and check on her sometimes.

I made it through the five days, believing the girl. I didn’t harm myself. I enjoyed an afternoon at the beach with my niece and nephew. And I got to come home last night. So I am doing okay, exhausted but okay.


  1. I’ll bet that the beach made the trip worth the going! I’m so glad that you were able to be okay going there and back. (I was going to say’able to face your demon’ but that is my thoughts about my abuse, not yours.)


  2. Wow!! I’m so proud of you. I know that scared feeling and I felt it full force today and it’s crazy isn’t it. To think we experience that fear of our little girls and that they felt so stinking afraid most of the time. And 3 locks, ughhh. My visual has been taking my fear of what happened and putting it in a box, wrapping it up, tying it with string and throwing it into the lake. That way I avoid trying to protect myself which I still feel like I can’t do no matter who or what is with me. I’m glad you’re back and my girl was worried about you and happy you are back as well. ❤


    • I’m glad to be back too and want to catch up on how you are doing.

      I think you can throw your fear in the lake 100 times and it will keep floating back to you. Or at least that’s how it’s worked for me. I just can’t escape it, so I am trying to live with it. So when you are ready, you will look in that box and comfort the girl it all happened to and love yourself for being strong enough to survive it all. But when you’re ready.


  3. I am inspired by how you coped with such difficult and emotionally intense experiences. With allowing yourself to have your feelings, and taking breaks when it became too much. I feel inspired and a lot of warmth in reading your post.
    Ps I take bathroom breaks for non-bathroom reasons too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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