Great book to read about CSA

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It takes a long time to read books about Childhood Sexual Abuse, even longer to recover between those readings.  Each one has a emotional cost. Some I have read are not so great, leaving me worse off than when I started reading, others have been pretty good. Even rarer has been a great book and this is one of them.

Written by Christina Enevoldsen and named The Rescued Soul: A writing journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal.

As you know, we aren’t born with a sense of who and what we are to be. Psychologist call this a sense of self.  Ideally, we grow up and develop it through our interactions with others. Our warm and loving families help us to become a person who has physical, emotional, mental and spiritual maturity. But when we grow up in a family where childhood sexual abuse is going one, we don’t have good boundaries.  (I didn’t even know what boundaries were until a kind therapist told me.)  We are considered sexual objects with little value outside our roles as sexual victims.  This book is about recognizing how we can recreate a person who can be mature in all those ways mentioned earlier with a sense of strength and clarity.  We, through examining our past and present, gain freedom from the lies we were told.  She writes about a way to focus on developing a clear sense of ones self. Writing prompts included in the book help us to move through the muddy waters of unexamined feelings and emotional wounding that childhood sexual abuse has brought into our lives.

I can’t recommend it enough as a starting place for gathering information in how you can proceed to reclaim what was taken from you or if you were very young when the abuse happened, what never developed in the first place. Replacing the blanket of misconceptions, lies and shame with clear boundaries is a worthy starting point in healing our lives. Make you way through the book at your pace and have a voice of someone who is making her way through it too. Discover how you can find out what you want and choose to live now.

If you would like to know more you can find her work at overcomingsexualabuse.com

 

 

Identify the Victim, Identify the Perpetrator

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According to my stepfather, he was the victim of my sexual abuse. In his way of thinking, he wasn’t responsible for what happened between us.

He said over and over to me “See how much you want me Kimmy”, “See what you make my dick do Sissy” and “I can’t help myself, Sissy, you are so beautiful.” To him, I wanted him. He would do things to make sure I was sexually excited and then tell me ” See how much you want me?”

Because he had said things like this to me for years, I thought it was my idea to have sex with him. This was one of the reasons I felt guilty when I told, I thought I was telling on myself.

It was the summer of 1975 when I told Mom Jack and I had been sleeping together. I sat in a folding lawn chair in the backyard. My body felt heavy like I wasn’t going to be strong enough to hold myself up. I felt it everywhere. I was breathing shallowly, feeling slightly dizzy from the lack of oxygen.

When I said, “Jack and I had been sleeping together”… (wrong I know now). I remember thinking I would be in so much trouble because I had wanted to do all those bad things. Somehow at the age of 4, I had the idea to have oral sex with a grown man, somehow, it was my idea, I felt like I was telling on myself for having done something wrong.

It was disastrous telling her, she responded by asking was there anyone else who knew. I said yes, my uncles, cause Jack had tried to get them to have sex with me. So she left to talk to them about what happened. That was it. No nothing else.

Later Jack came home and asked where she was. He told me to get the kids in bed, so I climbed in bed with my little sisters, while the boys got in bed in their room.

We all fell asleep. Later I woke up with Jack and Mom arguing in the kitchen, Mom saying “why would she say something like that?”

He responded with I don’t know, maybe she didn’t want to do the dishes anymore.

They were back and forth for the longest time while I drifted off again. There was a little bit of hurt when he said what I had told was being reduced to something so petty as not wanting to do dishes.

Later, he complained to me about how I had upset my Mom and gotten him in trouble.

So when I look back on this I realize that I thought I was the problem, I caused him to do what he had done for years. It took years for me to correct my own thinking. I didn’t cause him to do anything, He did it. He was the perpetrator, he was the criminal, I was a child, I know now how I had to distort my own thinking in an effort to cope with the things he did to me and how I tried to make sense of it in my young child mind.

And recovery takes so long because there is so much sorting out to be done. Because I was so young, I didn’t have a basis for what was wrong or right. And my whole childhood was built around those lies he told me.

Now I can identify that I am the victim, he was the perpetrator of a series of crimes. Not just to me, but my whole family.

I keep it secret because,

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I feel ashamed of what happened to me.

 This shame permeates every facet of my life. My eyes are unable to even meet anothers when I talk about it, the feeling is so intense.

I feel ashamed because my own father didn’t want me. He rejected my mothers pregnancy, never ever seeing me in real life. Unwilling to claim his own first born, I was left to the care of my mother when I was born in 1958.

Ashamed that I knew so much about sex during my childhood, of thinking badly of others, of wanting to cry  and not being able to cry.

I felt ashamed that I couldn’t protect myself. I didn’t want anything like what happened to me to happen to my younger siblings, so I would submit. Sometimes I offered myself to him in a pretended willingness because he would tell me that if I didn’t act like I liked what he did, then he would go get one of  them. Even though I tried to protect them I felt guilty. 

Ashamed of being poor, being stupid, being young, being a girl, of not knowing how to protect or help myself. Ashamed of how I feel, and think, and am. And even now, feeling ashamed of not even being able to “get over it” all these years later.