If I didn’t understand trauma informed care, I wouldn’t understand her story. She told me that she couldn’t exercise because the harsh breathing evoked by her exercise brought her back to the harsh breathing she experienced when she struggled against her rapist. When she heard the breathing coming from herself, she would have a mini blackout and it always scared her. She could not exercise. She took long walks because, she could always run away if she felt scared and she could always control her breathing when walking. Her rapist was her brother, as a child, she was often raped.
She noticed that she was not comfortable naked, she wanted to be covered and wouldn’t go to bed without underwear. She felt vulnerable and oftentimes when in the presence of others, she thought that she was in danger.
When she was breastfeeding, she had to stop as soon as the babies were old enough to pull on her shirt. It made her think she was being raped, oh hell, she couldn’t believe how vulnerable she felt.
When she finally put it together and figured out why she didn’t like exercising she was fully adult and couldn’t put it in reverse, the damage was done.
She wondered if others suffered the same type of mental agony from their own childhood molestation and abuse. She read research once that said women often gain weight after being raped. As if the extra skin and fat will protect them from being raped again. Or perhaps it was because an overweight woman did not fit in with the sexy ideal of a woman, thus making her feel safer.