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.
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!