Who would have thought that the simple act of taking a bath would provide so much fear? I am someone who, at this point, am unable to take a bath. I always wondered why I never liked taking a bath and couldn’t understand how people could like them until I started my journey of recovery for child sexual abuse.
It dawned on me when I had to tell my therapist what I remembered about the abuse. I’ve always remembered what happened. Some parts are more prominent than others; however, it was in telling my therapist about the abuse that I started talking about what would happen to me when I was given a bath – which then sparked the proverbial light bulb for me to now understand why I don’t like taking baths.
Bath time was an opportunity for my abuser; who was one of my step-fathers; to be able to abuse me sexually and emotionally. Let’s never forget that there is always the emotional component whenever there is sexual abuse.
My most vivid memory is when he stuck a pen cap up inside of me and then it became stuck. I remember the pain of having this foreign object inside of me and of having to go to school the next day with it inside of me. I was so humiliated and frightened. I feared my classmates and the teachers could tell I had this foreign object inside of me and that they were thinking that I must have done something really bad in order for this to happen to me. Of course, that night he was unable to remove it and therefore I had to keep it inside of me. So, it was not until after day #2 that he was able to finally figure out how to remove the item from me.
Of course there were the times when taking a bath would mean he would use his fingers on me and make me incredibly sore because – well, let’s face it – a child should not be fondled in that manner. Plus when I would tell him it hurt and I was sore, he would not stop until he was ready to stop. I believe he received some sort of pleasure from hurting me in this way.
So, as my therapist and I were discussing ways to de-stress and try to relax, taking a bath came up. Of course, the topic of taking a bath has come up in my reading on essential oils and how you can use them for some many different things. My biggest problem is I am unable to take a bath and enjoy the benefits of the healing properties of the oils via a bath. A nice long soak which would allow the stress to float away and leave my body. For the oils to seep into my sink and allow their healing to start.
I’ve been robbed of this simple thing. The mere idea of taking a bath can cause me to start to panic and of course, I am filled with great fear.
The last time my therapist and I discussed taking a bath, I thought I was going to have a panic attack and he stopped the session so I could compose myself in order to continue. He was very concerned about my mental well-being when I left and wanted to ensure I would be alright. Of course, I told him I would be; however, I’ve been obsessed every since about the idea of taking a bath. He says he wants me to be able to take one with no problems; however, we will have to take baby steps to get me to that point. The first hurdle is for me to buy a stopper for my old fashion bathtub so the water can fill up in the tub. Just the thought of doing this scares me.
I know my journey will take a long time. I know I will not be healed and healthy overnight (despite my greatest wish for this to happen). I want to tame the fears, the doubts, the guilt and the shame that continues to haunt me day and night. It fills my dreams and becomes a nightmare – waking me in the middle of the night scared to death. I want to dream pleasant and happy dreams. I want the nightmares to end.
So, here begins my journey with the bathtub. One component of my total recovery journey. It will be interesting just to see how long it takes me to buy a plug for the bathtub………..