During the three month blur after the disclosure, I experienced a plethora of different and sometimes confusing emotions.
Guilt that something this horrific had happened in my home, to my child, right under my nose. The guilt partnered up with hindsight, all those”I should have noticed…” and “It all makes sense now…” thoughts making it ten times stronger. For a while I waited for the police to say that ‘I must have known’ and arrest me, I was so guilt-ridden.
Anger and frustration and hatred that I couldn’t direct towards the proper target, and had to channel into other things.
Exhaustion – permanently. I couldn’t sleep and even when I did, my brain just never switched off. Emotional exhaustion doesn’t get
better even after twelve hours of sleep.
Isolation, stemming from the fact that it felt like nobody else in the world could possibly understand what was going on around us – that thing where people say, “I understand how difficult this must be,” isn’t meant to sound malicious but it was enough to make me want to scream at the time.
Betrayal, now this one really bothered me, betrayal. Thoughts along the lines of, “How could he just lie to my face like that? How could he even look me in the face knowing what he had been doing?” I couldn’t make sense of these thoughts, because the answer wouldn’t have mattered in the slightest, but still the questions crept up on me. I even wondered what could possibly have been so wrong with me that made X do what he did – which is obviously irrational, but I thought it.
Insecurity in that perhaps I should have known, perhaps I was a terrible parent for not knowing, and perhaps it was somehow all my fault.
Overall I felt like the world had ended. I felt like I had failed my daughter, like my family and friends were ashamed of me, and like no matter what I did I would never be able to repair the situation. I would never be the same again, and neither would my daughter. All my hopes and dreams and plans were completely out of the window, and I felt that I didn’t deserve to have them anyway.
This is only a tiny example of the melting-pot of feelings that was me, but the main point that I wanted to make was this:
WHATEVER you feel during this period, be it any of the above, none of the above, if you feel guilty or selfish or sad or desperate, or pink or blue or sore or completely numb, all or nothing, if you miss the perpetrator or you feel heartbroken, T H A T I S O K A Y. You are perfectly entitled to anything you feel during these circumstances, and there are no ‘wrong’ feelings. Please, remember that.