Not Talking About Childhood Abuse

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I don’t want to talk about being abused because of the way it makes me feel when I talk about it.  But unless I do, I suffer. There are strange things that come out of my unconscious. Suppressed feelings. Things that come to my attention from weird accidents, body reactions that I can’t explain, numbness and  inappropriate actions/behaviors/words that seem to come out of nowhere.

When I was younger, teens and twenties, I didn’t want people to know how damaged I was from what happened to me, so I hid it. Then as I grew older I thought, I should tell some of them, but not everybody I met. Just people I thought should know why I was acting like I did. Those people could benefit from explanation.

Now I tell people when I want them to know me, people who seem compassionate, loving, sensitive and genuinely interested in me.

The rest I tell through writing.

Through writing I also add to all the other voices of people who have been abused like me. Who are bravely telling their stories. Through writing and speaking publicly. As a collective we can start a movement to eradicate Childhood Sexual Abuse as a experience children have.

But the pain of losing my husband has brought up unresolved pain from CSA to the surface.

It makes me think of Rod Stewart singing

I can tell by your eyes that you’ve probably been cryin’ forever
And the stars in the sky don’t mean nothin’ to you, they’re a mirror
I don’t want to talk about it, how you broke my heart
If I stay here just a little bit longer
If I stay here, won’t you listen to my heart, whoa, my heart?

Now I am back to not wanting to talk about it,

But its still on my mind.

And it still poisons my life.

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How do you know what is lying is when your a Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivor

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Since I grew up in the company of dishonest, evasive and lying people, I have an ongoing fascination with honesty. When you’re a incest survivor it’s hard to know what is real and what is not. We often become suspicious, distrustful or gullible. Our shit detector becomes clouded. I am looking for better ways to stay honest in my dealings with others. So when I run across a blog entry that talks about the reasons why and how to stay honest I perk up. #5 in the following article is a doozy.

25 Things People in Healthy Relationships Don’t Do  by Mark and Angel Hack Life

http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/06/25/25-things-people-in-healthy-relationships-dont-do/

They don’t keep secrets. – Trust is the foundation of a relationship, and when trust is broken it takes time and willingness on the part of both people involved to repair it and heal.  All too often, I’ll hear a coaching client say something like, “I didn’t tell her but I didn’t lie about it, either.”  This statement is a contradiction, as omissions are lies.  If you’re covering up your tracks in any way, it’s only a matter of time before the truth is revealed and trust in the relationship is broken.  Speak the truth, no matter what the consequences.  Being honest is the only way to be at peace with yourself and others.

Even though Mark and Angel write their blog for the average reader, I find their advice and comments to be true for Childhood sexual abuse survivors too. Especially when it comes to areas such as truthfulness, honesty, being in healthy relationships and communication. All areas where we need clarity and open communication.

When I was a child, I believed my life depended on keeping Jacks secrets.  I thought he would kill me, or leave my mom, or my mom would leave me with him.  He depended on me to keep his secrets. Things he didn’t want to admit to anyone or for anyone to know. They were horrible and hurtful. And he lied to everyone either by denying, evading, hiding or lying to someones face. All are forms of dishonesty.

After living my life hiding the truth of my experiences from the people who I wanted to love, I have seen how it inhibits what goes on in my own relationships. Once I hold something back it’s not long before everything gets stopped up. Emotional constipation. Then it’s just a matter of time before the relationship goes bad. I can’t live in an intimate relationship when I evade being known to the other person. But I didn’t have any role models to show what a loving relationship was like. I never saw anyone who really talked to each other.  I learned how to do it. I learned just like plenty of other people do, I watched others ho were in loving relationships. I practiced and made mistakes with the people I love and loved. I kept trying.

 

Wanting to write about Childhood Sexual Abuse again.

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Its been a while since I have experienced enough emotional stability to want to think about the effects of CSA. Not that is hasn’t been on my mind. There has been so much grief from losing my husband to cancer, not much has been left over. Grieving destabilizes anyones emotional life, doubly so when your scarred from abuse too. Recently my son sent a link to me about the “Culture of Rape”. The very first paragraph named a real problem we have in identifying who could be a rapist. What most people believe is how easy it is to identify a sexual perpetrator. A person who sexually violates a child can be found lurking around the school, just waiting for little Kimmy to come out on to the play ground. But that’s not true. In my case it was who I went home to after school causing the damage. In fact, I felt safer at school than anywhere else. School was the safest place. Not my home. That was what came out of the reading the first line of the article. http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/what-is-rape-culture. Time for another line.

My FAQ page

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1. Who I am to be writing this blog? I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor who was abandoned before birth by my biological father, raised by my mother, who then married a man who subjected me to sexual abuse from the time I was 4 until I was 17. I told a Grandparent who rescued me when I turned 17. Later, in my adult life I married 2 times, one that ended in divorce after 12 years and the other was ended by his death from undiagnosed brain cancer after 20 years. I was lucky enough to have a son during my first marriage. I graduated from college with Masters Degree in Counseling.

2. Why do I write about such awful stuff? Because I am tired of keeping shameful secrets that have done nothing but damage to me and the relationships I am in or have been in.

3. Its in the past, why bring it up now? It still bites my butt. The damage didn’t go away just because he quit sexually abusing me. It makes me act weird when its not appropriate and stresses me out. I still have nightmares, and am not honest about my feelings.

4. Who raped you? My stepfather primarily.

5. Were you the only child in the family? No, I was the oldest, but then my mother went on to have 5 children with him.  They all swear that he didn’t do anything to anyone else. I don’t believe that to be true. Then in my later adult years I found out my biological father has three other children. But we have never met. Plus my stepfather had children that were not claimed by him.

6. What did your Mom say when you told her? She wanted to know if there was anybody who could verify what I had said? Now we work very hard to overcome the damage he did in our relationship.

7. What did your Dad say first time after you told on him? Why did you tell your mom, now she is upset and your in trouble.

8. Did it mess you up your whole life? Yes is so many ways. But I was also able to experience other sources of joy and goodness. Along with the normal ups and downs of life.

9. Do you hate men? Sometimes I have in the past.  But I have had some great men in my life who loved me, my grandpa, my first and second husbands along with my son. And now my grandson.

10. I understand what happened to you! No you don’t, even if you were sexually abused too, there is no way you can fully understand. The reason I say this is because when certain things happened they were unique to the timing in my life, situations and how old I was a the time. Along with this is the frailty that comes from particular life transitions we all go through.

11. Do you have rape fantasies now? Not for sexually gratification, but I am plagued by the fear that someone can still rape me. Its not like there is insurance that prevents it from ever happening again in our lives.

12. Are you crazy? Sometimes. I do have Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that is pretty inactive right now. I have heard it said we as childhood sexual abuse survivors also deal with a Betrayal Syndrome.

13. Are you a dyke, prostitute or whore? Um, that’s a hard one, cause they all sound like something you wouldn’t want to be called.  I suppose in many ways they could all be true..

14. How do most people act towards you when you tell them what happened?  Most people feel sorry for me and I hate it.  But then their have been so many people who are kinder than I would have believed possible. There are really kind and loving people in the world.  Along with some who never think about it again. Or talk about it again. Or talk about it at all.

15. Why don’t you dress more like a girl? When I was younger I was told the reason why he did what he did was cause I was beautiful. Now I know he did it cause he wanted to and no one stopped him. But I still don’t want to attract to much attention to my gender just in case. Turns out plenty of people still think the way he did.

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The truth of my life

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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.