*Content Warning: This piece contain a reference to sexual assault, which may be triggering to some.*
Dating gives me anxiety now. I don’t know if I would’ve had the same reaction if the assault never happened, but in any case, here I am. The self-deprecating guilt causes me often to feel like everything that goes even slightly wrong in the romantic situation is my fault. It’s almost like the recycling symbol.
I blame myself for not having the beforehand knowledge of how to properly date in a healthy, productive way. But the only way I can get the knowledge is by putting myself out there and dating. But then trying to date without properly knowing how to do it gives me anxiety, and so the circle starts over again.
And men, for the most part, have not helped break this circle; just continuously bringing up the shortcomings of myself and other women who are dealing with this self-degrading mentality as well.
(Which I just want to be crystal clear, it IS a self-degrading mental to have and I wish I could give you a profound way of combating this, but I struggle daily.)
In a way, I think men believe they are helping by bringing attention to these things. But instead, in so many situations, they are starting up this deadly cycle silently for so many women. And I can only speak for myself when I express how I am trying daily to combat this.
But it’s like parents are the first creators of everything we see as acceptable for our lives epically in romantic situations. So often within the black community, our parents are no help; not installing us their children with the proper tools to create healthy expectations and boundaries of a romantic relationship, let alone how to be open and intimate with a partner.
Instead my mother, like so many, taught me to always be skeptical and watchful of men — because of her downfall with gender. My father was no bright light either, not installing in me a healthy premature of a true man or an example to model what I deserve I expect from partners.
If the purpose of dating is to eventually get married and start a family, I don’t know how to get there. Like many of my other black female friends, we google “signs of a healthy relationship,” “how to know if who you love is good for you.” But, I don’t want this blog to dissolve into a post after post about the faults of parents. There is no positivity in that, no way to move forward and yes, childhood trauma can impact greatly the future of people, and I truly believe tragedy can bring to light past trauma long forgotten.
I also believe that dwelling on past trauma will create more trauma. So once you acknowledge it, let it go from your spirit. So with that new philosophy, going forward delve into and discuss the complexities of navigating a healing process after my sexual trauma — a phrase that is often spoken within the recovery meetings.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” And I think there is no better way to put it.