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.

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Things I did to get over being raped as a child

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  1. I learned as much as I could about childhood sexual abuse.
  2. I started journaling.
  3. I told people what happened to me.
  4. I kept talking about it to my immediate family. Just couldn’t drop it.
  5. I became a counselor.
  6. I exercised.
  7. I had massages.
  8. I had a child.
  9. I married, twice. Both times to great men.
  10. I never moved back to my family.
  11. I learned how to cook.
  12. I listened to great music.
  13. I learned there were plenty of kind men in my world.
  14. I dressed badly. Kinda still do.
  15. I knowingly put myself in dangerous situations.
  16. I slept around with people I didn’t know or care about.
  17. I avoided my family.
  18. I went to therapy. Group and individual.
  19. I learned to accept compliments.
  20. I learned how to have friends.
  21. I moved to several different states to start over again and again.
  22. I talked about it with my sisters incessantly.
  23. I under ate food.
  24. I went into the Army.
  25. I never learned to play a musical instrument.
  26. I learned how to take care of my home.
  27. I hid out at my house.
  28. I pretended everything was fine.
  29. I lied about how I felt.
  30. I took up religion.
  31. I dropped religion.
  32. I learned how to listen to other people.
  33. I did destructive things to myself.
  34. I cried a lot when I was older.
  35. I overworked to hide from being close to others.
  36. I hated men for a while.
  37. I went to college.
  38. I stopped doing things before they were completed.
  39. I lacked trust in my own perceptions.
  40. I feared way too many things.
  41. I had terrible boundaries until I was much older.
  42. I had nightmares for years.
  43. I learned self defense.
  44. I’m learning how to be comfortable with all of me.
  45. I learned how to not rush through my feelings.
  46. I learned how to protect vulnerable people and animals.
  47. I quit hiding my woundedness.
  48. I quit lying about it.
  49. I tried to drink alcohol, but didn’t like how it felt.
  50. I stayed emotionally stopped up for years.

What kind of things did you try or do to help heal. Any comments?

Just a small update

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In January, I wrote about my husband having a stroke on December 23.  After he spent 6 days in a local hospital, 4 which were in intensive care, we went home to prescriptions, therapy, follow up appointments and our everyday life. We pretended everything was the same, except that it wasn’t.   For him, everything was a challenge to prove that nothing was different with him, or wrong or even going on. Bill couldn’t remember things very well. His walking was a bit worse and his personality continued to change. And, well, things were definitely worse. But somewhat manageable.

Bill went back to work, I stayed home and worried.

A month later,  on January 23, I talked to Bill while he was at work. He sounded disoriented, incoherent, and something was clearly wrong,  I was afraid he was having another stroke, so we went back to the hospital. This time things were different.  Even though he acted a bit similar, there were differences which became more apparent after his admittance to the hospital. This time the Dr. changed the type of his test, to a MRI, with contrast.  This MRI showed us the ugly truth of what was really going on  in his head. Even though they weren’t sure what it was they could see on the MRI, they knew it wasn’t a stroke, since it was so big.  Less than 48 hours we were in a different hospital seeing a  neurosurgeon. Now we faced decisions we never expected to ever deal with. Once the Dr. showed us the unknown mass was a  tumor. He went on to explain what he thought the tumor was, he recommended  surgery as soon as possible to give my husband more time. He said the tumor was a 5.6 x 6  centimeter growth. Too large to remove safely to save his life, but  it would help give him more time. We filled out the Advanced Health Directive. Talked about the risk of surgery. We both knew he didn’t have much time.

Bill and I disagreed, he wanted the surgery, I did not.

Ultimately, I gave in. It was his body.

He had a craniotomy January 30, to remove the temporal brain tumor.  Made it through the surgery just fine on that Wednesday morning. By Friday we were in a different room on the Neuro floor, with a diagnosis of  brain  cancer,  and newly assigned Oncologist,Radiologists along with new appointments.

Then sent home Saturday morning, February 2. We didn’t do much, he got to  take a bath, sleep in his own bed. He didn’t really have much to say.  I was terrified.

Sunday morning.  Easy, regular, except he had the bald head and large question mark shaped incision on the side of his head.  He left the kitchen table, where he had been on the computer, said he needed to go to the bathroom. After a few minutes, he came out looking pale, holding the side of his head, saying his head hurt really bad. He went straight to his favorite blue chair,  sat down and continued to hold the side of his head.  I could see the incision was swollen larger than it had ever been. I ran for the kitchen, grabbed an ice pack  from the freezer, put the ice pack on his head, ran back for the phone to call an ambulance. When I came back to the living room while talking to the EMS dispatcher he lost consciousness.  He was sitting in his favorite blue chair.

Once the ambulance came, we discussed the plan to take him back to the hospital where he was operated on. I gave them the Advanced Directive saying  his surgeon was at DePaul, take him there. Called friends and headed back to the hospital we had just left yesterday. It was a long horrible night, he never regained consciousness.

Later when I found his birth certificate and I noticed he died in the same hospital he had been born in.

I have started thinking of myself as a widow. But its June now.