The Hidden Message of Allen vs. FarrowMar 17, 2021
Anyone else watch Allen vs. Farrow?
TRIGGER WARNING: this blog article describes childhood sexual abuse, trauma, severe anxiety, suicide ideation and manifestations of trauma.
Maybe it's weird to admit this, but I'm obsessed with these kinds of horrific cases of abuse, neglect, and trauma.
The cases where rich, (mostly) white, old men get away with sexually abusing their children, and other people's children.
They take to satisfy their own emotional voids. A black hole that was probably pierced into their hearts and minds from a trauma too hard to face, let alone heal. So they hurt and steal the innocence of other young people (like they were), momentarily feeling a sense of vindication and relief.
At least that's how my therapist explained it when I told her I was afraid my daughter's father would sexually abuse her if ever left alone with her.
She, my therapist, said people suffer from sexual addictions because they are trying to meet a need. Needs they don't know any other way to satisfy, most likely, because they have significant trauma of their own. A past that left painful marks on their spirit and soul that they cannot face.
When she said that I was rebuked... instantly feeling a retraction in my heart and stomach. Nauseated. Disgusted. Horrified. Similar to the way I feel when I watch these types of documentaries. BTW I also saw Leaving Neverland, Surviving R Kelly, and Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. All having the same pattern of grooming and control.
We feel the need to control and hurt other people when we don't feel in control of ourselves. Hurt people hurt people. It's a survival instinct gone terribly wrong.
This doesn't, obviously, turn into child sexual abuse and, in some cases, homicidal behaviour, but it can and does.
My daughter's father threatened to kill and hurt me many times. I'll spare you the graphic details of the things he said, but will say he also threatened to kill my family members. Usually this happened when he didn't get what he wanted from me, when I started setting boundaries and loving myself first. He would go into a rage trying to establish control and dominance. Oversimplifying, but I don't want to get into all the power dynamics. Go to this link to learn more of how abusers isolate and control their victims.
I should also explain that he suffers from active addiction and was emotionally abused and abandoned by his father when he was very young.
It's an ugly, generational, and painful phenomenon that we don't talk about enough, let alone take steps to understand and heal from.
I'm in no way excusing the behaviour of these people. People like Jeffrey Epstein, Michael Jackson, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Woody Allen. I'm just obsessed with understanding it.
Back to Woody and All Father's Like Him
How can a father hurt his child?
How can a grown man, or woman, or any person, want to deprave and take advantage of anyone's naivety and innocence? The question boggles my mind.
But I'm willing to bet they've almost all suffered from a significant amount of trauma in their own lives, effectually altering the reward systems in their brains. Over simplifying again, I know. I'm not getting into the science of this right now, although I do read a lot about it.
BOOK SUGGESTION: The book, The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D., is like an instruction manual for trauma. If you want to learn more I highly suggest you start here. My trauma therapist recommended it to me and I no joke have extra copies on hand to share with people I meet. Not a sponsor, it just changed my life.
I'm not a scientist. I'm a healer. And the universe has gifted me with the experience and natural abilities to see into the hearts and souls of my clients to help guide them towards healing so they can fulfill their own destiny and stop living in fear and shame.
Many times I find I work with people who have a hard time facing or even remembering their own trauma. And I can understand this because I too have ignored my pain and I too have trouble remembering incidences of childhood sexual abuse.
My mind doesn't necessarily remember, not in a narrative sense, but my body remembers. It took me nearly 30 years to really acknowledge it, feel it, and let it breathe, so I could finally heal it and start not only living my life, but thriving too.
It's too much to recount, but here's an overview of how my trauma manifested: (let me know if any of these trauma behaviours sound familiar)
- I was anxious and depressed. As a teenager and into my 20s I struggled with suicidal ideation. A few times I tried to take extra painkillers and sleep aids after downing nearly an entire bottle of whiskey. "I wonder how much Marilyn Monroe took...?" I remember thinking.
- My relationships, and not just the romantic ones, have been riddled with physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, codependency, and anxious attachment. I always said yes when I really meant no and bent over backwards to be loved, doing things I now see as chronic people pleasing, trying to earn love not knowing I was deserving of it just for being me.
- In addition to throwing myself head first into codependent toxic partnerships, I was sexually promiscuous, but not like Samantha on Sex and the City. It wasn't because I liked sex, in fact it hurt and I would rush to get it over with as soon as possible, but because I thought that's all I was worth.
- I've gone to the ER a few times thinking I was having a heart attack, only to be told it's probably just anxiety.
- I tried cutting myself and would drive dangerously fast, cutting people off, wanting and hoping I'd lose control and drive off a bridge. That was between the ages of, oh I don't know, 19 - 25.
- I had anxiety attacks, blackouts, moments where I literally couldn't breathe for a minute or two, gasping for air, feeling like my heart was going to explode and the worst pounding headaches you can even imagine... and I was younger than 10 years old.
- I started drinking when I was, oh gosh, I can't even really remember. Grade 6 or 7 maybe. I started smoking weed when I was in grade 9. All to numb out the agony I felt, but couldn't understand. And nobody really noticed.
Sure they saw my rebellion. My attitude shift. My big F you to the family unit. But they didn't see the binge drinking. They didn't notice the panic and fear.
They didn't acknowledge the cry for help, but they sure as shit responded to the bad behaviour.
Discipline and loving connection. What's a parent to do? But this isn't a story about blame. It's about awareness.
Dylan Farrow was an extremely self aware child and told her mom that something bad happened. She instinctually knew it was wrong and asked an adult she trusted for help.
When Woody Allen took her into the attic and sexually abused her, after spending years grooming her, she knew it was wrong and spoke up. The most amazing thing happened afterwards, Mia Farrow, her mother, believed her and called a doctor for help.
Not all children of sexual abuse are as lucky to be believed, seen, and validated by a caregiver.
Last year I told my mom that I believed I had been sexually abused as a young child. It wasn't the first time I said it to her, that I felt like I had been sexually abused as a child, but it's the first time she told me something I knew in my body and in my heart was true, even though my mind and memory are still murky.
She told me I would come home from 'alleged' abuser's home, and my vagina would be red and sore. She felt in her gut something was wrong spoke to her partner, my now step-dad about it, and they both agreed they needed to ask my 'alleged' abuser about it...
My 'alleged' abuser made up some excuse about the bubble bath soap he was using must be irritating me.
And my mom let it go. She ignored her gut and dropped it.
But now talking about it with me I could see her mind going back in time, reflecting on moments when her alarm bells when off, but did nothing. She silenced her instincts, as so many parents do, because she didn't, couldn't, believe the worst.
It's not her fault. I don't blame her. But I do want to talk about it even when it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. And that's hard. Not everyone wants to know or hear my pain. Not everyone can validate how I feel. I've had to accept my feelings without needing them to be validated by the people who hurt them. That's a part of the process of healing.
Another point I want to make here is that I was sexually abused as a young child (daycare, kindergarten age) by kids just a few years older than me at the time. And when kids abuse kids you know they were exposed and abused themselves. That was before the internet and free online porn.
I want to talk about how trauma, even forgotten trauma, sits in our bodies like a poisonous snake, needing to be healed.
And I WANT YOU TO STOP BLAMING YOURSELF for your breakdowns, disconnections, and perceived dysfunctions when the root cause is trauma and pain that was out of your control. It's not your fault.
For so long I hated myself for being unable to cope with life. For failing to establish a long term loving relationship. For wanting to succeed, be perfect, and please everyone, but collapsing under the pressure. For my learned helplessness and victimhood. For repeating these toxic behaviours over and over again... binging and then trying to 'be better'.
I judged myself until I was forced to forgive myself.
When there was no more energy left for hate, all I could do, and needed to do, was find a way to love and forgive the self who had learned to live just to survive. There was no room to thrive when all my energy was spent on surviving.
Forgiving myself was a wake up call. That and radical acceptance of the past.
Your past doesn't define you, you can't change it, but you can heal from it and move forward.
Healing is a path towards integration. The bad moments, the good moments, and all the in between. Our journey's make us who we are and contribute to who we are going to be and meant to be.
My painful past makes me more empathic and a good mom, but only because I'm aware of it and did the work to heal.
I can see my clients for who they are without judgment because I understand and I know the road they are on. I have patience and compassion for them, as I had to learn to have for myself.
I'm telling you this story to help you become self-aware and know that it's not your fault you feel this way. It's not your fault you've 'failed' at living up to culture's, your partner's, your kids, or your mom's expectations.
Now that you know what you've been through and where you're at is not your fault you can start the long journey to healing, living, and thriving.
I want to end this post by summing up what Allen vs. Farrow highlighted for me, which is to always STAND BY YOUR TRUTH!
Even when the world doesn't believe you, see you, or have the awareness to validate you.
Even when predators try to demonize you.
Even when you hands shake as you muster the courage and strength to hold up your healthy boundaries and say no more! It's time for me to speak.
And especially when you want to give up and retreat because you feel like nobody's listening or society, culture, and family can't and won't change.
When your legs feel wobbly and you need someone to lean on I'm here.
I'm listening. I believe you. I'm standing here with you.
Feel the support from the universe, and the millions of others who have been through what you've been through as you bellow #MeToo to the masses and share your story with the others.
Get loud. Get angry. Be formidable.
That is love energy.
All love and healing starts with self love and awareness.
Believe in yourself. Own your truth. Speak your mind. Establish healthy boundaries.
Owning your truth is healing.
Getting vocal about your trauma is healing.
Standing up against oppression and invalidation is healing.
Sharing is healing.
Crying is healing.
Forgiving yourself is healing.
If we all start healing together we will create change in our hearts, in our homes, in our communities, and throughout the entire world.
I believe your story. I believe you can heal. I believe in your destiny to do great things in this life.
Sending you lots of healing love energy xoxo
Coach Kara-Lee Burke
Inner Healing and Self-Love
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