0:00:00 – Speaker 1
nextTalk contains content of a mature nature. Parental guidance is advised.
0:00:30 – Speaker 2
Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:34 – Speaker 3
We’re continuing our sex abuse series today. Today we have a survivor story and we have Kim Nichols again in the house with us. We’ve got the two Kims and a Mandy back. Kim Melrick is also here And she kind of started sharing her story. Last time, on the first show, we talked about why this is an important topic for everyone. Even if you’re like me and you don’t have abuse in your background, this is important. We need to be educated. This needs to be on our radar, whether we’ve been affected by it or not, because our kids can be, our spouse can be, our friends can be. We need to know what’s going on.
0:01:11 – Speaker 4
Well, and also so we can prepare our kids. Yeah, absolutely. That conversation is one of those that needs to be at the top of the list. So we will get into some of those specific conversation starters and things you can do to help prepare your kids. Right Today. We really want to circle back to your story and kind of pick up where we left off. You talked about being abused as an elementary age kid and it went on for a long time. You kind of tested it out by telling a friend to see how they reacted, and this was like your best friend, yes, and it ended up that she had been abused too and it normalized it. So you kept the secret. It just seemed like, well, i guess it’s not a bad thing or a big deal. So let’s fast forward a little bit and you’re growing up, you’re walking through this. What was your light bulb moment that made you realize? wait, a minute, something is wrong here.
0:01:59 – Speaker 1
Well, i think it affected me in so many ways growing up that I didn’t see for what it was And, of course, until looking back as an adult and going through the healing process it gave me, i had so much anxiety and so much fear, i lost so much sleep. I remember lying awake for hours and hours And then when I would sleep I would have nightmares just all kinds of ways That it affected me, but I again didn’t have that language to label it. Later in life, the light bulb moment was kind of what we talked about in the first show God love Miss Oprah. I started hearing about sexual abuse and what it really was and seeing other women on television on Oprah a lot, because that was I loved.
0:02:43 – Speaker 3
Oprah, that was my thing Back in the day. That was what we did Everybody watched Oprah.
0:02:48 – Speaker 1
Yeah, late high school and college That was my daily thing. But there were so many people talking about sexual abuse and what it looked like and what it meant, and then it wasn’t all violent and scary stuff, and so what I had minimalized as oh, that’s not that big a deal kind of came into the light for me And I was very aware that something that was not supposed to happen to a child had happened to me And it had caused all of these trust issues and anxiety and everything that I had been dealing with. So it kind of made sense, but I still wasn’t in a place of being healed. So it was. I was very angry.
I do remember having thoughts of suicide. I remember at one point in college thinking I’m so glad I don’t own a gun or my roommate doesn’t have a gun in the apartment, because I was in a really dark place over this. But I never self harmed and I never attempted suicide. I just remember having that thought And then and just being at a place of seeing little glimpses of the real me, happy and laughing and having fun with friends. But then could also go into this very dark place. When you have a secret like that about abuse. It’s kind of like having an open wound like a physical open wound that you don’t put medication or a bandage on Yes, and it just kind of festers inside you and becomes this really big, ugly, scary thing that I think once you start talking about it and letting it out into the light, it heals you in such a wonderful way. But I didn’t talk about it for a really long time And then kind of got to a place of, well, what really good would come from me sharing this now?
That was years ago, when I was a little kid, and now I’m a young adult, and you know, and I just kind of kept going.
0:04:41 – Speaker 4
And I can imagine it affected all the relationships and all the parts of you know everything It affected, i mean, even when I was still in school, middle school, high school.
0:04:51 – Speaker 1
I can look back now and see how it affected just friendships that I had. I had a lot of trust issues with feeling like if someone wasn’t paying attention to me or my very best friend all the time that oh, now she’s someone else’s friend And she’s off having fun with them, so that means she really doesn’t. It was very strange, but I remember having a lot of trust issues and friendships And then the fact that I kind of always longed for someone to come in and save me when I was like that was kind of my mentality. I remember thinking because my abuse never happened when my dad was with us He was never in town because he worked a lot But I remember thinking one day my dad’s going to figure this out and he’s gonna get you.
0:05:36 – Speaker 3
Like that was my thought.
0:05:38 – Speaker 1
So I had this little kind of victim mentality of searching for this hero to swoop in and save me, which was a perfect storm for an unhealthy dating relationship, which I walked right into on more than one occasion, but having someone that was very controlling, possessive, Almost like manipulative, like the abuse or a million feelings.
The fact that I I as a child didn’t have the ability to put boundaries around myself personally and protect myself and know what it meant to have a healthy boundary that I didn’t let people. That was kind of a lifelong journey, like boundaries have always been hard for me, and so having someone that was very manipulative but also where were you and who were you with, to me it felt like, oh, he really loves me. He felt one Because he doesn’t want me to be around anyone else And he always wants to know where I am, and it made me feel like he was that strong hero type that I was searching for.
0:06:44 – Speaker 3
All that time Later on The one that was gonna save you, but that didn’t save you. Yes, but didn’t.
0:06:49 – Speaker 1
Right, but it was. I think it’s just sort of that perfect storm of walking into unhealthy relationships because you’re searching for something that’s just not there.
0:06:58 – Speaker 3
And I can’t help but think that if you would have had the language to label it as a kid and realize that it was manipulative and controlling and not right, that it would have prevented you from those relationships because you would have been able to identify it. But it confused and muddled everything for you.
0:07:15 – Speaker 1
If I could have identified manipulation early on, if I could have identified abuse for what it was or even how to protect myself and have boundaries for myself, and it was okay, even at a young age, to say no to certain things to disengage from certain things that didn’t feel right. If I had had that, it would have changed everything. That would have been a game changer.
0:07:37 – Speaker 3
It’s important for parents to know.
0:07:38 – Speaker 1
Yes, I agree.
0:07:39 – Speaker 4
And I think parents sometimes think that those topics or those words like manipulation are too big, And that’s something that I teach them later. I have one of my favorite moments with my son. When he was seven was explaining to him, I saw him being manipulated by another child Very innocent, you know kids. He didn’t realize what he was doing, but pulling him aside and I asked him about how that moment made him feel And it was so cool. When I gave him a word for it, His eyes lit up and he’s like oh, that’s what that feeling is called Okay.
0:08:11 – Speaker 3
remind me of this story, because I think this is a good one. It’s.
0:08:14 – Speaker 4
the friend was basically saying if you do this, then I’ll do that He said if you don’t play the game I want to play, then I’m leaving. And I called my son in and I said what he just said to you, it has a word. And he’s like, really, he’s like what do you mean? I said, well, how did that make you feel? And he’s like I was mad and frustrated. And we talked about his feelings And I said that’s called manipulation And he just lit up because he needed a word for it He knew it didn’t feel right, but he didn’t know how to express that And he didn’t know he could say no.
Because the reason I called him in is because I heard him saying okay, okay, okay. And I said, buddy, you can say no, let him leave. It’s okay to have a boundary there. And he, I’m telling you, it was like I gave him a sword and a shield, Like I harmed that child.
And the little boy left and he thanked me later. He’s like mom, thank you. I have been feeling that a lot lately with him And I didn’t know I could say no, and it was a light bulb moment for me as a parent too, like it is never too young to have these conversations in an age appropriate way And they get it. Plant the seeds early.
0:09:19 – Speaker 3
Plant the seeds early. It protects them. It really does.
0:09:23 – Speaker 1
And I think because a lot of times we’re raised to be polite and respectful and not be rude. I remember saying that to my kids when they were young, when we would be going to someone else’s house for dinner or something make sure you use your nice manners.
0:09:37 – Speaker 2
0:09:38 – Speaker 1
Yes, sir, please thank you all those things. But the other flip side of that is having that conversation with them, that no matter who it is, because sometimes abusers are just older children like you talked about in the first show, or a family member or a neighbor or a coach or someone you trust and someone you know. I think it’s really hard for children to feel okay with what you just talked about, saying no, i don’t feel comfortable with that, or disengaging from it.
0:10:06 – Speaker 3
I remember advice you gave me one time that I thought was great and you said if your kids don’t wanna hug an adult or another kid, don’t make them. And so many times we will say you know, go hug grandma or go hug grandpa or whatever.
0:10:18 – Speaker 1
We were huggers. I’m a hugger. We were huggers in my family when everyone came through the door for Christmas.
0:10:24 – Speaker 2
Thanksgiving. Whatever you hugged everyone hello and goodbye.
0:10:28 – Speaker 1
Kisses hugs the whole thing.
0:10:30 – Speaker 3
Or you know, I also think of you. You know sending my kids to sleepovers and I’ll be like respect the adult. I never say do whatever the adult says. Anymore I don’t use that language because of your story And what it taught me.
0:10:42 – Speaker 1
You teach them to be respectful but to be able to disengage from something when it feels off and say no, I’m not comfortable with that.
0:10:47 – Speaker 3
Yes, because even adults could do bad things or other kids.
0:10:49 – Speaker 1
I talk to my kids about disengaging from something in a respectful way and in a not so respectful way. Like you try it respectfully, using your words, and if that doesn’t work, this is how you get yourself out of a situation. Yes, So, we’ll talk more about that, i know in the in the live show.
0:11:05 – Speaker 3
Yeah, we’re gonna have a whole show dedicated to these conversations with our kids. We’ve got so much that we can bring into here. But yeah, let’s get back to your story. Okay, so unhealthy dating relationships And then.
0:11:15 – Speaker 1
So we kind of got through that and then, and then dating my husband who, like I said in the first show, came from a. He has no abuse in his history. He had kind of no background knowledge of what this looked like, so God bless him.
0:11:32 – Speaker 3
He’s like me, though, because we’re learning.
0:11:34 – Speaker 1
Right. He had to learn as we went along And early on dating he was kind of the first person that I could really trust with my whole story And I don’t know how I knew that, but I knew that And I shared it with him. You know, back when you’re in that dating phase of sharing all your stuff.
0:11:52 – Speaker 4
Talking for hours and hours.
0:11:53 – Speaker 1
Yes, talking for billions of hours And he handled it all so beautifully and he always has. He’s always given me the space to be triggered And you know like he handles it And he lets me handle it in whatever way, shape or form I need to handle in that moment. One thing we learned being married before kids was I had to talk about with him what it looked like, what triggers look like for me, what it felt like how I would probably react certain things and things that he could say or do that would be helpful and things he could say or do that might not be helpful at all, and kind of walk through that when I was in a calm, healthy place, not in the middle of being triggered by something.
0:12:39 – Speaker 3
Yeah, that’s really good advice.
0:12:40 – Speaker 1
Because for years, even it would triggers blindsign to you. That’s when they affect you. the worst is when you get triggered by something that you’re not expecting. So sitting and watching a movie and all of a sudden there’s a scene that I had no idea was gonna be in this movie, and he looks over and I am just boo-hooing And he’s whoa, what do I do? Walking through. okay, when I get like that, this is the best way to handle it. These are the things not to do. these are the things to do. I think it’s important to have that conversation with your spouse, with really good friend, whoever your person is that you go to. I think it’s important to have someone that’s there to support and help you walk through those moments Because, like we talked about earlier, you can say I’m healed and I’m in a healthy place, but it’s a forever walk and you’re always gonna be triggered by things.
0:13:34 – Speaker 4
If you’re just now tuning in, this is nextTalk Radio at 2 pm on AM 6 30, the Word. nextTalk Radio is sponsored in part by the PAX Financial Group and listeners just like you. Everything we do at our nonprofit to keep kids safe online is accomplished through donations To support our organization. go to nexttalkorg and click on give. There’s big news if you are an investment client of USAA.
0:14:05 – Speaker 2
Just recently, usaa announced that a Cleveland Ohio Corporation has entered into an agreement to purchase USAA asset management. They have always been an exceptional organization and will continue to serve our community well, but if you are considering a change, this might be the right time to look at San Antonio’s PAX Financial Group. 2 1 0 8 8 1 5700 PAXFinancialGroupcom.
0:14:26 – Speaker 4
Investment advisory services offered through PAX Financial Group. Today we’re talking with Kim Nichols. It’s Kim, kim and Mandy. We’re in a four-part series about sexual abuse. This show in particular is really your abuse story. We started in show one talking about how the abuse began in elementary age years. Now we’re talking about relationally, as you’ve grown up, you know through your dating relationships that affected that from marriage. I love what you said and I think this is across the board in any situation, because, whether it’s abuse or whatever it is that you have experienced, not in a time of arguing, not in a time of being triggered, but in a quiet, purposeful conversation, saying this is who I am, this is what has happened, this is what it’s going to look like, this is what you can do, like arming your people, whether it be your best friend, whether it’s your husband, with stuff, information, ideas, practical things they can do to help you walk through these things. I think that’s so powerful.
0:15:31 – Speaker 1
Well, it helps you as the person walking through it. I think it also helps Like I know it helped my husband to have that calm conversation.
So, when it’s happening and I’ve been sparked and I’m like losing my mind. He can handle it in a more calm way because he’s like we’ve talked about this, i know what’s sparked this, i know what’s happening. I think it’s helpful to just have those healthy conversations And as my kid has got older, i had those conversations with my kids. My girls asked me to watch a movie, What time they had started watching on their own.
The night before I wasn’t there, and the next day they were like Mom, will you watch this movie with us? There’s a part that we weren’t sure about And so we turned it off because we weren’t sure what was going to happen. But we think we know what was going to happen And when you watch it with us and I was like sure And it triggered me And I had no idea, again walking, it’s nothing on the trailer said anything about there was going to be sexual abuse. But I remember my oldest daughter looking at me like what in the world? Like I was just quiet, tears just streaming down, because I was like Oh, oh, i know, i know what’s about to happen, and having to explain to them how I get sparked by things.
0:16:41 – Speaker 3
Well, and I’m sure to just sending them to sleepovers and trusting adults with your babies Like I can’t even imagine how that big time as a parent.
0:16:50 – Speaker 1
Well, specifically was there a moment, like I know a lot of times at the age, that something happens it triggers you and you begin to parent differently, right When my girls were probably like four and six, five and seven, getting upon those ages where my abuse had occurred. for me again, seeing it through that different lens and getting invited to birthday parties at other people’s houses that I had no idea who these parents were. And the sleepovers was the big thing for me. And I remember my youngest daughter had watched big sis get invited to party after party after party And she finally got old enough that she got her first birthday party invitation And we were sitting down to dinner still putting everything on the table And she pulled it out of her backpack and said I got invited to a birthday party my friend you know and I opened it up to see when it was and everything.
And it was a sleepover. And I went Why did they have to be sleepovers? There’s only whatever grade she was in. and she immediately Bursts into tears and put her head on the table and went mommy’s not gonna let me go. And then I got teary because I wanted her. I know how long she’s longed for this moment And I’m looking at my husband still putting dinner on the table and he’s looking at she’s crying and I’m starting to cry And I’m looking at him going. you know why, where this is coming, he’s like What do I do with?
0:18:11 – Speaker 2
this I have all these girls crying at the dinner table.
0:18:15 – Speaker 1
But that was when the alarms really started going off in my head as a parent, thinking how do I protect them? And so I knew I had to gather myself in that moment And we did some different things, like we would let them go to the sleepover birthday party, but we would pick them up late, like arrange with the parent what time is good, we’ll let her stay as long as she can and then pick her up. And I remember even one, my husband calling me when he went to Pick her up and saying babe, it’s a single mom, it’s all the little girls. There’s no brothers, there’s no uncles, there’s no stepdad, and all these girls are begging for her to stay at this party. They’re like she’s the most cool girl here.
She has to stay and he’s like she’s having fun. The mom says they’ve got plenty of extra, you know, sleeping bags, pillows, whatever and I let her stay. He let and I let her stay with that. But I had to trust that particular situation. I couldn’t just go okay, you can go to all sleepovers now. But I knew it didn’t do my children any good for me to curl up in a ball and cry or scream about how unfair it was that they Were invited to sleepovers at strangers houses Such an early age. I had to calm myself and protect them and I had to do that by teaching them ways to protect themselves When I wasn’t with them. So we started having lots of conversations about how they could do that for themselves And how they could set boundaries around their bodies and what was okay and what was not okay And what felt off and all of those things was where we went.
0:19:47 – Speaker 3
Well, and we’re gonna have a whole show dedicated that, because you know That’s what we’re all about talking to our kids and preventing things from happening, and so we’re gonna have a whole show dedicated to that. We only have, like you know, five minutes or so left. I really want to talk about recently what’s happened in your story, because You were walking through this learning to how to be a wife and a mom, through all the triggers and getting through maneuvering all of that, and then Recently, here you’re now sharing your story publicly and that’s like a whole new level. So walk us through that. I mean, did your parents even know that this has happened?
0:20:23 – Speaker 1
and Tell us about that. I had started sharing my story as a parent in small groups in Bible studies, small groups of friends. I still have friends that I used to work with years ago that don’t know my story because I still was keeping it in this little box And I had gotten to a place with my parents where I thought they don’t need to know.
0:20:44 – Speaker 2
What would it?
0:20:45 – Speaker 1
do? I don’t want to make them. I don’t want to cause any sadness or pain or anger anything. We’ve all got a good family relationship. I don’t want to rock the boat. Yeah and so I kind of kept it within, sharing it with just small groups of people. And Then it became clear through nextTalk that there was a bigger place for me to share my story And that I could help other people. And when we started use, i knew the day I shared way back.
When she’s looking at me guys maybe was like so do you talk about this with people?
0:21:19 – Speaker 3
Yeah, i remember the day we were standing in the kitchen and I was like, do you share this?
0:21:24 – Speaker 1
publicly like yeah, publicly, i don’t know. But I was sharing it with small groups And it became clear that I needed to share. You said, before we do a radio show, you have to share with your family and I even was starting to back out of that Because I just felt a need to protect them and why upset them and all of those things.
But when it came to parents coming up to me asking me about this and sharing, my story at events and Seeing just tears of gratitude, and I’ve never, ever opened my mouth and shared my story, where at least One to two people come up to me afterwards and say I’ve never told my story. This happened to me, you know that, and it’s validating for people to hear that someone else has gone through what they have gone through. So I just thought it was very important and I did have to tell my parents and how did that go?
0:22:14 – Speaker 3
I know we were praying over you It went really, really well.
0:22:18 – Speaker 1
It was hard. It was one of the most difficult things I think I’ve ever done, because to watch my dad cry Was very hard but they handle the great.
They both. The healing part for me was one getting this secret completely out in the open and unpacking that. But when my dad said I’m so sorry that you had to be scarred like that, it was very healing just to hear him say that I hate that you ever had to be. You know, i wish this had never happened And I’m glad you told me I wouldn’t want to hear it from a stranger, but I’m so sorry that you had to be scarred that way Because it is. It’s like a scar that you just have forever. But it did. It went well.
And my sister already knew. I had a moment as an adult parent where I thought, what if this happened to her? What if I didn’t protect her? What if it stopped with me and it started with my sister and I didn’t protect her? And I had to look back and go well, you were a kid, you didn’t know to protect. But I had asked her years ago and she nothing like that had ever happened to her. Of course. Then she was shocked that it didn’t happen to me. So I had gone through it with her, just not with my parents.
0:23:31 – Speaker 3
I think it’s so great that you know what you said in an earlier show to parents. believe your kids and your parents did. Yes, they didn’t question.
0:23:38 – Speaker 1
Well, that was one of the things that kind of kept me from wanting to say anything for years after I did get to an adult place was if they don’t believe me or they act like, oh, that didn’t happen that way or we don’t remember. Anything like that would have just set me in a tailspin Crushed you. Yes, it would have been crushing. So they handled it beautifully Well, and you?
0:23:58 – Speaker 4
did too. You told me two things that I thought were amazing, because that’s a lot to put on an appearance and to share with them, and you let them grieve. You didn’t push them and say like I need you to be okay, you gave them their space to grieve. And then you said it was this beautiful full circle moment because after they had a minute, it was you saw each other for the first time and your dad was just loving on you.
Yes, he was just putting his arms around you as if to say like I’m here now Right, Like I’m protecting you and loving you and letting you know I’m in this with you.
0:24:32 – Speaker 1
There was some extra hugs and extra kisses and everything the next time.
0:24:36 – Speaker 4
It’s been very healing. It was an awkward around.
0:24:39 – Speaker 3
And I thought it was great too that you were. You encouraged them. This is not your fault. This is the perpetrator’s fault. This is the person of the blame. This is not your fault at all.
0:24:50 – Speaker 1
And I, yeah, I tried. I didn’t want them to feel guilty about anything because and I told them, I said there’s no way that you would have known. I didn’t tell you, I didn’t have the words, I didn’t have the language, I didn’t know how to explain this. So there’s no guilt that you should have.
0:25:05 – Speaker 4
We’re going to talk about that in the four show, Like what we can do to arm our kids you know, moving forward as parents. What can we do to help our kids and prepare them for this world, where this may be something that they have to deal with? We’re going to have a counselor come up next and talk with us about some things that we need to know, no matter what, yeah parents triggers signs If you have been abused or your kids have been abused.
0:25:28 – Speaker 3
she’s going to have some expert advice for you.
0:25:30 – Speaker 4
Yeah, thanks, Kim, for being on the show. Thank you.
0:25:34 – Speaker 2
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim on AM 630, the Word. You are not alone trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter. Find our video series and podcast at nexttalkorg. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
Transcribed by https://podium.page