The “F” Word

No, no, no, not that “F” word… the other one, “Family.”  (Although I’m sure I could just as easily write an entire blog about the word F–k.)

Reflecting on my posts, I’m realizing how often I speak about the topic of family.  I suppose it’s just the particular healing season I’m in, but I can’t help but think how many other trafficking survivors struggle with similar emotions.  The pain ranges from my beginning family to my future one.  Some of the areas are obvious to outsiders, some may not be at all.  For sake of clarity of perspective, allow me to make a list for all of you reading who do not happen to be trafficking survivors:

18 Reasons Why “Family” is An Explicit Expression

1. My “family” were the ones who sold me into prostitution in the first place.

2. Because I didn’t have a healthy family I was set up to be trafficked anyway by other pimps who approached me later on in life.

3. My family was abusive physically, spiritually, mentally, verbally, sexually, emotionally…

4. I constantly struggled with jealously growing up as I encountered my friend’s kind parents or other seemingly “normal” families.

5. My family is where I was first exposed to smoking, drinking, drugs, sex and weapons.

6. The phrase “loving family” was lost on me growing up… it made as much sense to me as giving an urban 5 year old Japanese boy 100 Kenyan Shillings to spend… no frame of reference.

7. Many times a pimp has his girls refer to him as “Daddy” and his stable of workers as “the family.”

8. I’ve felt shame because I have felt orphaned, knowing there there are so many children out in the world who are literal orphans.

9. I wonder if, because of my past, I’ll ever be able to create a family of my own…

10. …Who will ever want to marry me?…

11. …How will I ever be able to raise healthy children when I had such a screwed up childhood?

12. I can’t tell you how many times a disgusting man wanted me to call him Daddy.

13.  Well meaning people like to promise a “victim” things they don’t really mean– for instance “You’re just like family to me, just like a daughter!”  Then they get tired of you, move on with their lives, and you’re left with a feeling of lacking yet again.

14. Often it feels like a dysfunctional family is better than no family at all (one of the many reasons why trauma bonds form with a girl’s pimp).

15. We’re taught to remain loyal to our families, even if that family is toxic.

16. Just like the perfect Prince Charming, Winning the Lotto and finding the Fountain of Youth, all seem like ideas only feasible in a fairy tale, so does a true, loving, forever family seem.

17. So much Christian spiritual language has been formed around familial metaphors that it makes it hard to grown in your faith while you’re still healing from broken family pieces of your past.  (Sorry guys I can just NOT call my Heavenly Father, Daddy… not going to happen right now!)

18. I have to deal with the fact that none of my family members, who were not direct abusers, stepped up to protect me.

Some of these things I still struggle with, others are more heartbreaks of the past.  I could probably list 100 reasons but I just really wanted to share with you a sampling of why it’s so hard for trafficked girls to “get” this idea of family and why they just don’t immediately launch into new lives.  Everyone has their own broken stories of a tragic Thanksgiving or crisis-filled Christmas with aunts, grandfathers and siblings alike but I believe there’s a special brokenness with people who suffered abuse of any kind within the family unit.  You thoughts?

May this blog serve as an education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as an encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

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  1. So well spoken. Thanks for verbalizing all of this. I ponder all the time this whole finding “family” in people who were not biological family. It has never really happened for me. I often wonder why that is. I know everybody is wounded. And people don’t like the long term commitment, like you said. But I am also starting to see how much of it has to do with me and the way I hold everyone at arm’s length – even close friends I have known for years. I guess it is its own vicious cycle.
    And the part about being loyal to your family? A LOT of that is coming from the Church, and wrongly so. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a pastor or other Christian look at me and say, “Well, you have forgiven them, but have you been able to reconcile with them? Do you think you’ll be able to do that anytime soon?” I used to be overwhelmed with guilt by this question, but now have no problem looking someone in the eye and saying, “I’m sorry, but reconciliation can only be based in TRUTH.” Or, “No I haven’t. Have YOU thought about reconciling with the devil Himself?” Reconciliation = Forgiveness is such a LIE that the Church needs to stop imposing on people! Sorry for the rant – obviously your post hit some nerves. 🙂
    Oh, and one thing more….the whole will I ever be able to have a family/normal relationships, raise healthy kids? You are more equipped than most people to do that, because you know what you DON’T want for those relationships and for your children….and I believe that is more than half the battle. You will know true love when you see it because your experience has given you an extra sensitive radar for the counterfeit; and your children will have the benefit of having a mom who is extra vigilant towards their protection, which used properly, will potentially spare them a lifetime of pain.

  2. Nik

     /  February 13, 2012

    I continue to hope and pray that you meet a real man, one of a mature age, who will demonstrate the Father’s love to you. A love of acceptance for who you truly are, not who you’ve been forced to become. One who sees your beauty inside, not the internal or external scars but the essence of who you are, the beautiful and wonderful image of God that He has imparted to you. It might take years to build a binding trust of him but, “Love never fails”, 1 Cor. 13:8a. He might even hurt you along the way because he’s human but love wins out, always. He won’t mean to hurt but he can’t help but trip over his humanity from time to time. We all do, male and female. And at the same time you may, out of the defense mechanism you’ve had to instill into your framework, hurt him, but love truly wins out and can never, ever, be smothered. You have God’s word on it.
    Your blog of two or three back had to do with “worth”. Of this subject I can relate. You, 9to20, know you have worth but sometimes it gets lost amongst the angst of life and of being human. I know of a little boy who could only see the cracks in the sidewalk as he walked to school every day. But after many years God, though with him all the time, made Himself known and taught the little boy to hold his head up, for despite what the world thought of him he was, is, a son of the Most High. It took the boy a few years to get a handle on his worth but with God’s help he came to a point of discovery. A discovery of who he really is. And I think you’ll do the same. Hang in there Kiddo, the Father is ever at your side… always.

  3. Theresa

     /  February 13, 2012

    Amen, Becca!!!!!

  4. Becca

     /  February 13, 2012

    You wrote: “I believe there’s a special brokenness with people who suffered abuse of any kind within the family unit. You thoughts?” Yes, AGREED! It IS hard (seemingly impossible) to understand “family” when all that’s known is the extremely “toxic”, dysfunctional, volatile, abusive,… kind. Its elusive & foreign.
    May “family” someday become a word of comfort and not of pain, to the many who’ve never experienced its warmth.


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