A Confession: Overcoming Abuse
Disclaimers: This article contains details that may be hard to read.
Proceed noting that this talks about enduring and overcoming childhood sexual abuse.
This post was originally published online on July 31, 2018 however it has been offline for the past year. I would now like to republish it as a new post with this update, and I'll tell you why... At first, I took this down because I was afraid of leaving windows open while I pursued my legal options. Sadly, all doors slammed in my face as no lawyer agreed to take the case (purely because I'd pay them and gain nothing) and government-funded assistance for recovery & legal help did all they could to keep me from meeting with police (despite our previous agreement). The end result is that I have no support to move forward with my legal options, so I only have myself - telling my story is now all I can do! Below was the original article with some small rewording as I saw appropriate.
I never would've imagined I would say I am a victim of sexual abuse; let alone speak out about it in any way...
So this is a bold move for me even in the comfort of some anonymity. Although it all happened more than 20 years ago, and my healing has come a long way, the memories still surface every once in awhile. One significant event serves as a very vivid memory that still feels like it happened just a few years ago. It's hard enough to speak about it due to the chaos that follows, but it's also hard to move on once coming to terms with it. My consolation has been in seeing the truth and how it doesn't have to dictate who I am anymore. As a form of closure, I want the truth to be written somewhere.
My experiences happened while I was young - most of it before I was in high school. Much like how my therapist diagnosed the abuse and counselled me behind closed doors, the abuse occurred out of sight of others (but sometimes, among those that didn't care otherwise). These facts alone are exactly why I've been terrified to speak, much less point a finger and press charges... because I know it would be my word against everyone that would oppose the statement. Having been asked if I would take action on it, I froze - the anxiety of facing that 2 decades later and having to purposely revisit the experience is not something I want to do. In fact, I recall stating that "I don't think I can be in the same room as.." that person; it would feel unbearable and possibly reopen the wounds I've worked so hard to heal. If anyone wants to know why this information stays as a secret for so long, I would say it's because of the opposition to expect. When disbelief or excuses for that behaviour are a known pattern, and the perpetrator is someone that you had to depend on and consequently learned it was okay from, then you don't see an option to speak out at the time.
In addition to facing the reality of the situation itself, I found it to be heartbreaking work to move on from it. Because I was a child when these experiences happened, it was then painted as a "normal" picture for me. Not only was I not physically able to do anything differently about the situation (which made me feel like I did it willing), but I realize I grew up having certain (unhealthy) expectations because of it. This is exactly why I never saw any of that behaviour as being abusive, and is also why I carried the guilt of feeling like I allowed myself to be molested. As my memories regurgitated when I started going through my life changes in my late 20's, it was a shocking slap in the face to be told what it really was. It also shattered my reality to realize that I've spent 25+ years of my life living with the dysfunctional and narcissistic mentality that was imposed on me because that was all I was exposed to growing up. As the repressed memories played and I tried to find my own peace, I began asking: Who am I and why did this happen to me?
Truth be told, no one ever batted an eye or questioned this particular person despite most keeping their distance and having reservations. The behaviour that occurred in the presence of others came out as "jokes", but even still: no one ever stopped to protect or defend me as a child/person. In hindsight, everyone was used to this person treating women this way and either ignored or allowed it. I remember why I didn't bring anyone home, especially female friends; I had to hear inappropriate and disrespectful comments and questions afterwards. I became the kid at school that was easy to pick on and be gossiped about because my torment was that obvious. It was rough in school but seeing as my home life was no better, I felt there was no escaping any of it. So I accepted it as how life really is and began to shut down.
When I was sexually assaulted, I was stunned and powerless. At this point I would think it's obvious that my abuser was an adult in my family; I will confirm that much. What was supposed to be me taking a nap one morning turned into the most violating, and one of the most memorable, experiences of my life. My many attempts of pushing away the hand between my legs went nowhere, and I eventually accepted that I couldn't physically stop it as I had been spooned into place. I recall going completely numb and staring at the wall in front of me.. waiting for it to be over. Because this was all my pre-teen self could do, I ended up feeling like I reciprocated it and therefore felt guilty for it happening. Having already gotten used to this person's behaviour being overlooked, I didn't see any good would come of speaking about it.
I honestly thought I was going to carry that secret to my grave.
I never thought the details were important, but they ended up being the truth that set me free. In addition to the physical factor involved, I was further bothered that the event occurred in a very particular and isolating situation. There's absolutely no excuses for anything that happens like this though.. but I'm referring to deniable, no-witness situations wherein one can say "I didn't realize..". This applied to the abuser's side of this story, which was another reason I never wanted to speak on it. So I buried it deep and honestly never thought much of it again until a couple years before my spiritual awakening; when I ran into and caught up with someone from my childhood. In one candid conversation, this person said they were molested by my abuser - in the exact same way and situation that mine occurred. At that time, I had defended my abuser in my state of denial. In fact, I kept my experience a secret from this person! Even after hearing her story and noting the similarities, I continued to be one of the ones that fed into the fact that they were a liar for attempting to call this person out. But the details from that story planted the seed of doubt in me that sent me to therapy.
I thought it had to be a freaky coincidence, but let's be honest: it makes me angry to step back and look at every detail from the outside now. Now that I'm clear of my clouded thinking and have matured as a person, I cannot see there's any excuses for anything that happened. It took me a long time to forgive myself for it happening to me, and just as long to reconcile all the relationships that were either toxic or negatively effected because of it. I never realized that my own sexuality was abused & repressed as a result of everything I've experienced, and such have struggled to be comfortable with my own body until more recently. For the longest time I found it to be normal to feel some sense of shame with anything related to sex, and carried a negative self-image as a result of the commentary, gestures, and uninvited touches I endured. I admit I made bad choices as my way of fulfilling my needs and to try to overwrite the bad thoughts & memories... and yes, this also includes addiction as it was the only way to not want to kill myself at times.
The worst is realizing I never felt that I owned my body.. and that had been the case ever since it was first violated - a fact that altered my very existence for the longest time. What makes matters worse is that now that I've come as far as I have, I wonder how I could've done things differently, but then realize: I knew (for example:) screaming and getting attention would only serve to cause a scene in which I would be told I'm confused, and then I would never hear the end of making that accusation. Deep down, my innocent young self somehow knew that speaking up on the things that happened to me would only have made things worse [for me]. Without divulging too much further, I will share this: I would've fully expected an excuse to negate it, claiming that these acts were normal in their childhood (a "justification" I've heard in response to the hands-on childhood discipline) - this is dysfunction at it's finest!
Despite everything, I have been able to move on with life, mostly appearing as if I haven't been through years of trauma. I won't lie that there are still PTSD triggers left to deal with, and life needs to stop for a minute or two to get back into the right frame of mind, but it's gotten better now that I'm truly facing it. While my experiences may have changed me in a way that set me back in aspects of life, the survival experience from it all adds to my personality in such a way that I can't converse with or relate to most people. It makes me sad when everyday interactions remind me of everything I've missed due to what I've been through, but I hold hope that I'll get where I want to be in the future. Deep down, I know I need to be everything and more just to prove my abusers didn't drag me down to their level!
We, as survivors, have to remember how amazing we are to still be around and kicking after all we've been through. That's more important than anything else and credits us with great strength.
#empath #intuitiveempath #childhoodtrauma #overcomingobstacles #lifetransformation #empathconfessions