Understanding Trauma & Violence


When I was a child, my parents repeatedly forced enemas on me. I remember screaming and begging to stop then finally giving in, freezing and dissociating. I've only recently (30 years later) had the courage to recall this memory, of which I used to have flashbacks that made me sick. My parents are nice people, but I feel like I am a survivor of a kind of sexual abuse. Can you help me understand what happened to me?


Thank you for this question. First and foremost, I want to commend you for your bravery in confronting this painful memory and seeking understanding. Recognizing the impact of childhood experiences is a courageous step in the healing process.

What you've described - being repeatedly subjected to forced enemas despite your protests and distress - sounds deeply distressing and violating. The fact that you recall screaming, begging, and then dissociating (a common trauma response) underscores the emotional impact of these experiences.

It's important to note that without knowing your full medical history, it's unclear whether the enemas were medically necessary. In some cases, invasive procedures may be warranted for a child's health and well-being. However, even if the enemas were medically justified, your feelings of fear, powerlessness, and violation are still valid. A procedure can be both necessary and traumatic, and your emotional response and the harm associated with these experiences deserves to be acknowledged and respected.

If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, it may be helpful to share your feelings with your parents and ask for more information about the circumstances surrounding these events. Understanding the context and medical reasoning behind the enemas might provide some clarity and help you process the experience. However, it's important to prioritize your own emotional safety and only have this conversation if you feel supported and ready.

The flashbacks and physical sickness you mention are common symptoms of unresolved trauma. When our bodies and minds are overwhelmed by a distressing experience, the memory can get "stuck" in our nervous system, causing intrusive thoughts, sensations, and emotional reactivity. This is especially true for traumas experienced in childhood, when we lack the resources and context to fully process what's happening to us.

Please know that your feelings and the long-term impact of these experiences are valid, regardless of the medical necessity of the enemas. You deserved to have your boundaries and bodily autonomy respected, and it's not your fault that they weren't. It sounds like harm occurred here and you deserve to seek help to heal from that harm. 

Healing from childhood trauma is a highly personal journey that often benefits from professional support. I encourage you to seek out a therapist who specializes in childhood trauma and medical trauma. They can provide a safe space to process your memories, validate your experiences, and work with you to develop coping strategies for managing symptoms. They may also be able to get into more specifics with you surrounding whether or not what you experienced was abuse. 

Thank you so much for this question and I am sorry that I cannot provide more guidanc. However you define your experience, you are welcome here. You are not alone. 

Safety Exit