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Two Minds -- by Karen Klink

Two Minds: An Adult Woman, A Fearful Little Girl

Posted on June 12, 2020


Apache Junction Sunset, photo by Karen Lynne Klink

This is a difficult post. I came to the conclusion that I was not willing to back my manuscript with $10,000 or more. I am of two minds. One is an adult woman willing and able to take risks. The other is a fearful little girl. They are the product of an incest survivor. It took a few days for me to realize that little girl had to have her say about this entire process.

My angry, depressed dad alienated our family from everyone but his relatives. Yet he presented the picture of a wonderful man to all except us. 

I and my younger sister grew up in a home with a living room and exposed rafters. We wore the same three or four outfits to school all year long. I wore hand-me-downs from my older cousin. We each had one coat that lasted until we outgrew it. Dad purposely ran over my sister’s bike to teach her not to leave it in the driveway. Mom complained to me about her fears that he didn’t pay the bills on time. Yet he found time to help his brother with his house, bought golf clubs, bowling equipment, guns, a stereo, and records.  

When we started school Mom found a job at the local drugstore. I thought to help pay bills, but years later she said it was to get out of the house and be around people who appreciated her. 

He was emotionally abusive to the three of us. We lived a childhood of constant anxiety: Diann stuttered and developed asthma; I got migraines. Mom was a loving, dear, but weak, person, who my sister and I believed we had to protect. Dad took advantage of that when he took advantage of me. “Don’t tell your mom.” I knew what he meant.

Only after years of therapy did I realize she should have protected us. 

I am grown now, but that little girl’s feelings and fears concerning money, security, and trust never go away. The adult in me jumped at the chance to follow my dream of publishing a book I believed in.  A few days later that little girl freaked out. Another couple days and I realized what happened.

I don’t have to give in to fear once I realize the truth. That’s the first step — recognizing the fear and where it comes from. I sat down and checked my finances, found it will not destroy me to lose $15,000, only make my life more difficult. I can handle that. I can reassure my little girl. I have.

I know there are survivors, men and women, like me out there. I hope this and the books I write will help us all. By us I mean not only survivors but all minorities: LGBTQ, blacks, Muslims, Jews, Native Americans, Latinos, immigrants, elders, . . . Who did I leave out? Imagine how strong we would be if we all united! 

It’s why I write. That’s my platform.


Posted by Karen Klink 16 Jul at 03:51
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Responses to this blog

Louann 16 Jul at 20:49  
I like your post for the earnestness and growth you express from victim to a victor. However, all victims are not minorities nor are all minorities victims. Segregating individuals by class, education, disability, race, sex, etc., does more to emphasize a victim status instead of creating acceptance based on our humanity. And creates a desired status of being a victim rather than a victor in life.
Dougp 16 Jul at 21:29  
Hope you're doing better. Sounds like you are.
Rellrod 17 Jul at 02:11  
Karen, I'm sorry you had to go through this. As Doug says, it sounds as if you're overcoming the past. That's good (and an achievement to be proud of).

May we all be so self-aware.

Ammonite7 17 Jul at 21:51  
Louann: I meant to say that survivors (I prefer that word to victims) are in the minority but, on second thought, maybe we aren't. I felt part of a minority as a child in school, on the outside of the group, and that's where I was coming from. Often a survivor is an introvert as a child, uncomfortable among one's peers, shy, and doesn't know how to behave socially. There's a fear of doing the wrong thing and being attacked or of being "put down." I imagine that's how many folks in minorities feel. Am I wrong?
Mayaone 20 Jul at 23:12  
Hi Karen, I present as white but am a product of two minorities and never felt comfortable in my own skin. I am also a survival of many things including mental illness (an anxiety disorder) and two violent assaults. It is hard to tell our truth, but very healing. I must say, however, that even if I had 15,000 to publish, I wouldn't because there are other ways to get your book out for less money. Just my two cents. Aloha
Mhtritter 23 Jul at 18:21  
Your conviction to express and your courage to share is proof of your strength and caring.
Stromberg 25 Jul at 08:14  
I note the blog does not use the word "victim". It seems best to approach the author's ideas in the terms she uses.
Miezko 26 Jul at 10:36  
People are people, I don't know why on earth people feel a need to see every one as a group, he's white or he's a Christian so they must be like this and that. She's black or Latino so she must be like that and this.
People who don't identify with a minority group have been raped too and have been survivors also. People who are identified with a minority group have taken advantage of others too. People are individuals and not groups, so it's important not to make a logical fallacy, an ecological fallacy, and identify the individual with the group stats. It just doesn't make sense to exclude readers who may find strength in your writing and in your strength as a survivor because they aren't the right sex, race, gender, or sexuality.
Cwotus 26 Jul at 14:50  
In a large and possibly, if I'm not careful in my follow-on wording, overly broad and trite way, "we are all survivors". That is, if you're alive and conscious then by definition you are a survivor of whatever life has given you until now. Obviously, leaving that wording without any follow-up would trivialize the lived experience of those who have endured and survived far worse treatment than I have, but we all have our individual circumstances and experiences, whatever they are or were. We're all doing the best we can, and here we all are: survivors.

Getting back to the point of the writer's experience, however, and knowing as we do how abuse often cycles and perpetuates through families for generations—a thing that wasn't very well understood until people were finally able to start speaking about it more openly and honestly (and others able to listen and understand, because that's not easy, either)—it's highly likely that the writer's own father was "a survivor" in the narrower and more specific way that the writer has expressed. We don't have his story or details, but it's not unlikely that there were strong parallels in his own history. Sometimes we tend to forget that, and focus on "the devil we can see". Devils are pretty long-lived and non-obvious.

The writer is to be commended for opening the discussion, for describing, however briefly and indirectly, the circumstances and adaptations that have led her through whatever route she took to seek and benefit from counseling, first, and then for speaking about it. That's another thing that those of us without that history don't always get: one of the consequences of many types of sexual and other severe abuse is the feeling of overwhelming shame and guilt that often perpetuates among the victims for years afterward. (And I used that word deliberately: at the point of attack those people are truly victims, like any other crime victim. It takes a certain amount of resilience, strength of character and will—and the passage of time—to persist through and after that abuse to rise to the rank of survivor.) It certainly isn't an earned shame; no one "should" feel ashamed for having endured shameful treatment. It's not logical or rational, but it is what it is: many survivors feel that as a result. That's one of the things that has tended to keep it so well hidden for so long. So being able to endure, then to seek assistance and treatment, and finally to speak about it and hopefully help to end cycles (at the very least "a cycle") of family abuse is a gradient of increasing health, capability and power. That accommodations and adaptations are still internal requirements to continue to deal with the inner voices that remain is no sign of weakness.
Sammypack 9 Aug at 20:07  

I also have a fearful little boy inside of me. Scared of intimacy, scares of the future. Not because the future changes, but the consequences of them.

I've also been a victim. I've been the minority race, the frowned-upon sexual orientation, and also the prey of weak-minded, deviant criminals who thought their pleasure was more important than my comfort. Not having a home, feeling unprotected, like your own country is against you, it's really a horrible feeling.

My father was somewhat akin to yours as well. He didn't perform the same kinds of acts yours did to you, those experiences came from outside my family, but what he did do was not much of anything. He drank, played videogames, abused me and my brother occasionally when our childhood was interfering with his silence. He beat a couple of edicts into me that I wouldn't be able to defy. Never be a bother to others. You're worthless, so you do what you're best at, being in the background.

I always looked at my mother as a saint, but now we both realize she acted no better than my father. She enabled him even throughout the cheating, the addiction, the financial ruin he brought to us. Hell, he couldn't even officially live with us out of fear repossession agents would raid our home. Another parallel I could draw between the two was the wanton spending of money. My dad decided he would be a DJ, so we moved a bunch of equipment upstairs to my room. Then he wanted to take up fishing as a hobby, so they moves a bunch of fishing rods into the garage. He would even stoop so low as to borrow money from his own son without ever intending to pay it back.

Karen I feel you. Your experiences speak to me. Hopefully ome day, I'll also create an opportunity to publish my own work, to spend a large sum into realizing a dream I never thought I would've had before. Thanks for the encouraging blog post, maybe someday we can all come together.

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