I'm confused and paranoid around kids

Discussion area for adult survivors who are afraid they might hurt others physically, sexually, emotionally, and/or verbally. Also an area for those who have harmed someone physically, sexually, emotionally, and/or verbally and want to heal. Sexual addiction can also be discussed.

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Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:55 pm

I'm confused and paranoid around kids

Post by GreenGreenGreen »

This is probably triggered by the recent arrest of my childhood abuser, but lately whenever I am around young kids, or even see pictures of young kids, it makes me really uncomfortable and afraid.

Things that are not sexual—like a friend posting a picture of their kid on Facebook—seem to have sexual meaning and a fear association for me. My brain says "why would you post a picture of your kid online without a shirt on?" Or I'll see a coy smile on the face of a kid wearing a bathing suit, and these things make me wonder if there are people seeing it and misinterpreting it as sexual, or if someone will take that picture and pervert it for their own purposes.

When a kid is around me, I think about the parents, "why are you letting your kid talk to me and hang out with me when you're not around?" Especially if they din know me that well. I am also afraid of saying or doing anything that could be seen as sexual around the kids or parents. I'm afraid to look at kids or talk to them. I'm afraid they will ask me something uncomfortable or do something that makes me or them uncomfortable. It's just extreme anxiety.

I know I'm not going to do anything inappropriate to a kid. But I am really afraid for the kids, and afraid their parents aren't doing enough to protect them. It's like an overwhelming awareness of how vulnerable kids are, and an awareness/paranoia that any adult, even I, could easily take advantage, see them as sexual objects, or hurt them for their own sexual reasons.

I feel like I'm the only one around who is aware of this fact, or who is worried about the kids. Maybe it's because of my trauma, I know anyone could hurt them? Or that things can happen in secret from parents? Or maybe it's guilt about what happened to me, and shame that I didn't protect my younger sibling from being a victim too? Maybe my brain is trying to make up for that by feeling ultra protective and paranoid of these other kids, since I wasn't good enough back then to do it? Maybe I'm trying to protect the the way no one protected me?

I don't have kids. And maybe this is the reason why. But years ago, I was in a long term relationship with someone who has two young kids, and we had what I think was a normal healthy adult-child relationship. They would sit on my lap, we would read together, play together, I would tuck them in at night or change their diapers and never ever felt any sort of sexual perversion or fear or paranoia with them. I guess because I was close to them and I was a part of the family? Most of the fear I feel comes from kids I don't know, or whose parents I know just slightly.

I also used to babysit for a family with several young kids and I was an awesome sitter. But I later found out that they were being abused by a live-in relative, sometimes even while I was babysitting them, which really scared me. It made me feel guilty that I didn't recognize any signs while I was there. I stopped babysitting for them shortly after.

I'm trying to sort out my feelings about all this. I love kids. I want them to be safe and healthy and protected. There have been times in my life where I was an awesome teacher and auntie and mentor. Why do I feel so scared and anxious around them recently? Is there anything I can do to overcome this?

I hope someone else can relate and make me feel less alone about it.
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2022 2:59 pm

Re: I'm confused and paranoid around kids

Post by Scars »

dear GreenGreenGreen,

i hear you
your fear for them is a very real reality in this world
but withholding your heart is not the answer
i hope you find a balance and peace somewhere in between

This too shall pass. it may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:08 am

Re: I'm confused and paranoid around kids

Post by greendreamdays »

Hi GreenGreenGreen,

Yes I feel this way around kids often, very uncomfortable. I think it comes from having been sexualized and having every ounce of our own innocence exploited so habitually. So when we see that childhood essence or innocence in other children we have a natural inclination to protect them from ways that we have been hurt.
Last edited by Jonesy on Wed Aug 10, 2022 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changed MT to NT, for no triggering detail
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