My daughter is a survivor of child sexual abuse. See she is the reason we started Ending the Shame… My goal with this blog was to start with my story and work into hers… but you see she has other … Continue reading
Something I have learned about this road to healing is just this, the abuse is just always lingering. There is always something from the abuse that continues to follow you into adulthood. For me that is “I’m Sorry”. I say it like it is a “Hello”. I feel guilty when I can’t do something for someone so I apologize for it a thousand times. I feel like I must have a great reason. What I am saying is I have never felt my feelings, my well-being, my thoughts, or my life was worthy of being put first. I felt in order to be loved I had to put everyone else ahead of my own.
See I spent most of my childhood worried and scared that the next move would have serious consequences. Don’t wake up your step-dad because that will lead to at a minimum him being a grump all day or getting yelled at first thing in the morning. Don’t bother your mom because she has been at work all day and you are the last thing she wants to hear when she gets home from work. Make sure your chores are done because that will land yourself into a whole HEEP of trouble. Of course you can’t say no to the people who are sexually abusing you. Yes you are right you just read PEOPLE not Person. (Another story for another blog)
All lead to me apologizing, feeling frustrated and later angry. I felt like I was unimportant, unworthy, and unloved. The bad thing is this spilled over so much that it controlled my life. I pushed people away because it was just easier than being hurt by them. I have filled that void with food causing me to be overweight! I have tried to just avoid the world basically.
However when I would get brave enough to let the world in, I found myself feeling the need to please. I never say NO WAY for fear of hurting my friends. I always worry I am an inconvenience to friends and family. If I call you I will most likely apologize before I hang up at least ONCE. If I do say no to your request I will fret over it for days with my husband. Then when I have had enough of something and I blow up I am considered being dramatic, when in truth I have taken a lot of crap off a lot of people and finally had my ‘nough!
However I am learning this is not just a ME thing, this is common among most that are abused. It is part of the shame, broke spirit and inadequacy that we feel. It really has nothing to do with the people around us, just that we are afraid of being a bother. The last thing I want to do is intrude on someone’s life. Be a burden to a friend.
This is hard to break, I am working on it but it takes time. But remember sometimes you have to reach out of your comfort zone to start living your life again! I tell my daughter every time she does that she is taking some of her power back, now I find it is time to take some of that back for myself.
I was married in 2001 and I was 19 years old to Kevin.. I thought I knew what love was and I thought I was in love… HAHAHA OH how young and dumb I was… First of all I was NOT emotionally ready to be married to anyone… I married for the wrong reasons, even though I never seen it at the time. He wasn’t a bad man, but neither one of us were equipped for what it meant to be married… I think that is what triggered things.
Our marriage started to fall apart in about 2004 and in 2005 I started having these crazy dreams that I knew were NOT true. They were coming every single night like clock work. I would wake up freaked out because it was so disturbing. The dreams depicted my stepfather raping me. I knew he had never done that to me, as that is not the kind of man he is no matter his flaws when I was a child. Every night though I closed my eyes and there would be the dream. It made me have anxiety attacks both day and night.. One day driving home from work I had a COMPLETE panic attack and don’t know how I even got home. My friend came and picked me up, drove me to the ER because she was afraid it could be something more major it was such a bad panic attack. The more the dream came the more I panicked, the more i panicked the worse my anxiety was all day. The dreams made no sense to me and trying to make sense of them was frustrating. I felt there was a message I should be getting, little did I know that the message they were sending would send me into a dark place I would struggle with for a long time to come.
One night I went to bed and in came the dreaming. Only this time the dream wasn’t my step dad. That night I opened the door to my grandmothers house and BAM there he was, GENE! He chased me all through my grandmothers house in my dream, laughing this laugh that was just eery and sick. See my grandmother’s house was built to where each room kinda opened into another, like a big circle. It felt like I couldn’t get away. Little did I know that is just the fact of sexual abuse. You never are truly gonna get away from what has happen to you, the choice is learning to cope with it.
When I woke up from that dream all I could do was cry, as every single dirt road and violation came tumbling back to me. UGH as I type that I can feel the panic set in, funny how it still to this day sends me into a little bit of discomfort.. I remember telling Kevin and there just not being much of a reaction from him.. By this time we were pretty disconnected.. But I decided it was time to tell my mom. Secrets would eat me up otherwise. So I told her, of course she was devastated and many other things. The only person I couldn’t bring myself to tell was my biological dad. I wasn’t ready for that just yet for a lot of reason. Mostly I was scared of his reaction. Would he blame me? So I put that off for a later date.
I divorced and remarried a great man named Chris. We started a family together and got custody of his youngest daughter. Things seemed to be going well. I was still thinking “I GOT THIS” but that would be tested. The unthinkable has happened and everything has changed. Chris and I will never quite be the same, neither would our family. We would look at people more skeptically and trust would be forever broken!
There came a point in which the sexual abuse got to be too much… Gene was getting brazen, kissing me in the gym while I was in the living quarters my aunt lived in. I remember him cornering me in the kitchen area. I wanted a drink after I was done helping my aunt. Just a damn drink of water! Then there he was, pushing me into the far corner where no one would see if they came in and he would have ample opportunity to stop if he heard the door. I remember my heart racing, my thoughts flying through my head, my fear of how it would make my aunt feel if she walked in on us, and the anger that I now wasn’t safe at the one place that had always been my safe place. That was the day I lost my mind, and decided no matter what it took I was getting out of this house. The abuse for me was gonna stop.
I then remember the drinking, smoking, and pushing my mom to the point of madness. Even fighting with my mom and calling her a bitch, she slapped my face (rightfully so) and I hit her back. Then I slowly began to push this out of my mind, I flipped a switch. My heart became hard. No one meant anything to me really. I started speaking exactly what was on my mind and really didn’t care who liked it. Slowly it was like I pushed the sexual abuse out and numbed it. I finally instigated the final blow out with my step dad. My mom then sent me to live with my dad in another state. Finally a reprieve from the abuse and some relief from the insanity that was my life for so long.
I spent a year at my dads, but never quite fit in or let myself fit in maybe. I’m not totally sure. I think I was scared to feel, scared to love, scared to be loved, and scared to like it there. The school was different, mostly it was HUGE, so I was alone except with people I knew from church. I couldn’t really call them friends because I felt like I was their charity case. I did make a few friends that I considered MY actual friends. Moving to a new school your Junior year of High School never a great idea nor easy. However it was a nice experience and I think prepared me for leaving home.
Soon word came that Gene and my aunt had broken up. No one knew what he did to me. I was still scared to say anything because I had been such a nightmare teenager (in my mind) that I convinced myself that I would never be believed. So I pushed the feelings deep into the back of my mind, the part that got locked up and you throw away the key. I went home to my moms to graduate with my friends. However my anger was not just at Gene, I would find it was at my parents still too. In my mind they had not done enough to protect me. I see now that wasn’t true but when you’re a teen you think your parents should just know what is in your mind. So it led to just lots of fighting and me running away. I ran to a friend’s house and my mother tried to force me home. I just wasn’t gonna go home and I was 17 so it was hard for anyone to make me move back home.
I met my first husband that year. He lived in the apartment below me. He was my escape, my “pain pill”, and my chance at a fairy tale. I fell for him quickly. Really to young to know what love was, but knowing what it wasn’t made me stay. Kevin made me feel safe, secure and stable at the time. These were 3 things I had never felt in my life. So when I met him I vowed to let it go, it was a LONG process. I knew it needed to happen for me to be happy. Only what I thought was letting it go was really just suppressing it. I suppressed this so deep that I could watch a movie of a child or woman being molested or raped and actually think “WOW I don’t know what I would do if that happen to me!”. The whole time it felt eerily familiar, my heart would race, and I could feel panic rushing through my body. I just didn’t recognize it as my PTSD because I was just not willing to go there mentally. I always chalked it up to me being sensitive. This anger would rush through my body. RAGE at what I seen and empathy for the victim. But why empathy? I didn’t know what it was like to be raped or molested. Seriously this is what my brain would tell me. That is how far it had been pushed. I had completely convinced myself that this had NEVER happen to me. I questioned myself about feeling this way and about my rage. I just ended up telling myself that I am just a type of person that is bothered by crimes against women because I am a women. Kinda funny huh, how your brain can trick you. That is some power that you can’t even imagine unless you lived it. I still feel crazy at as I type this about the suppression I experienced, but I assure that it happens. This is very real, but it can also scare the crap out of you that you can actually convince yourself that things didn’t really happen to you!
Little did I know that you can’t suppress things forever! This was a temporary fix and it would soon come to full reality! When it did it would change my world as I knew it. It would make me wish I could flip the switch back off. When these memories flood back it is almost worse than just dealing with it head on I have found. My life was forever changed in just one night!