telling the truth about my incestuous childhood is difficult. For one thing, I never heard anyone say it was wrong for him to do what he was doing until I was 16. So for years I didn’t even know it was wrong . I knew I didn’t like it. But as a child there are many things not to like. And then I didn’t have the words to express what had happened or how it made me feel. Most six-year olds can say ” I like it when my daddy kisses me and hugs me.” How would a six-year-old know that daddy sticking his tongue in a child’s mouth crosses a line of behavior.
Add to this the difficulty of trying to find a vocabulary to describe what is happening. When I first told my Mom, I said we were sleeping together, as if I had been an adult and chose to engage in sexual activity. I didn’t call what he did to me rape until I was in my 30’s.
Years of his training taught me to think this was my fault. Add to this he told many times he would just go get one of the other kids if I didn’t let him do what he wanted. I ended up a confused mess of misplaced responsibilities that took a lot of therapy to sort out.
Telling secrets is difficult. I suppose telling the truth is difficult for everyone at some time in their lives. What helped me was to know there are differences between levels of secrecy, privacy and intimacy. Damaged parts I don’t share are becoming increasingly difficult to keep submerged in my life. I help myself by telling others of my memories, thoughts and feelings about these horrific experiences. I know the danger of denying wounds. The infection spreads and pollutes what it can touch.
When I was growing up, telling myself I have to do this or he was going to leave my Mom, it’s better that it’s me than my little sister and that when I grow up he isn’t going to do this to me anymore, is how I made it through the attacks. There were times when he didn’t hurt me for over a year and I thought maybe he would leave me alone forever. Then for no apparent reason he would sodomize and rape me again, or tell me he was going to give me to his friends or I was just too beautiful to leave alone. I learned it didn’t matter what I did or thought or how I behaved, he was going to hurt me because he wanted to. There was no one to stop him, I certainly couldn’t. For years I twisted my mind in all kinds of directions trying to make sense of what he did and why he did it. Once I realized I had been powerless to stop him, I quit trying to make the world right and me wrong. As soon as I faced this the better my mental health became.
Now I try to be more honest with the people around me when I am unhappy, or see things that upset me and sometimes I don’t know when I am upset until it is brought to my attention. But I am telling more and more people who are in my everyday life that I have been sexually abused as a child. It’s hard to say I was raped repeatedly throughout my childhood but I have said it more often in the last year than I have in my whole life. I think my therapy is paying off. Thank you, Dr. Beinhacker. And I keep growing and healing and learning more about good love.