Before you assume that I am very gullible and naïve please, let me shout from my corner with my explanation. I was brought up to speak the truth, to be good. To respect my elders and follow their advice and do as I was told. As time went on following these rules I was about to become very unstuck! The very people who were supposed to teach, protect and you can learn from, abused their positions, my trust and Yes, they definitely taught me Lessons in Life that I would rather not have learned. Things that would shape me in years to come, tormenting my mind and sabotaging my thoughts, whilst haunting my dreams.
Don’t get me wrong, I am more than aware that Life could have been so much worse. I am Thankful each and every day that over the years, the experiences stopped. They were usually one off’s and once I had removed myself from the offenders then that would be it, until the next time. Until someone new decided to take an opportunity which wasn’t there, to overstep the line once again. I am thankful every day that I did not have to suffer an endless onslaught of abuse lasting years. At least that gave me the chance to rebuild myself in between. There are different levels of abuse all wrong and all leaving scars which may or may not ever heal. I pushed each time to the back of my mind, hoping that if I left it there and forgot about it, then it would be gone. Little did I know that it would merely lay dormant until some other trauma brought it out again, all right back and threw it back in my face. I got angry with myself, and over time I was more angry at having been so gullible as to be fooled over and again than I was over the perpetrators. How could I be so stupid and how could I have trusted them? I must have been doing something wrong for it to keep happening to me… and generally beating myself up mentally about my misfortune.
Did I wear my heart on my sleeve? Kind of… Did people around me know the things that I had gone through? Very few did. Some are delightfully clueless, whilst others’ like me chose to bury and forget what they did know. I dealt with it alone preferring not to speak of it and thought that was working well for me right up until yet more trauma arrived and opened up Pandora’s box once again.
I thought that it was strange when I woke yesterday morning and felt compelled to write down on paper the episodes. It started out as a list of where my trust had been misplaced (Hmm, a little of that self blame creeping back in there!) then it somehow grew into a list of childhood and teenage sexual abuse that I had experienced.
Now why on earth would anyone want to write a list, that list? I cannot answer that, I have found out that over the past few months that writing is a major part of my own healing process and it sometimes catches me unawares but when I write it down, things get better. It enabled me to write down how I actually felt about things. Last year I discussed several of these episodes with a counsellor for the first time ever. I had been referred having been diagnosed with PTSD following the trauma of an accident. As the sessions went on I had a feeling that the time was right to talk about some of the other things that had happened in my life, which had suddenly all come back to me since the accident, sometimes reliving the nightmares, quite literally I was not sleeping and had no confidence after the accident. It had had all been brought back by the trauma I had suffered recently. But in these sessions, she told me something of great importance which was a turning point for me and for which I am eternally grateful.
For anyone who has suffered childhood abuse and asked why it happened to them, I will pass on what she said to me.
“It’s not you, It IS them. You did not DO anything to encourage this behaviour towards you and YES, you should have been protected from it by the adults around you time and time again.”
Some 33 years after I was abused for the first time as a child . I had summoned the courage to speak about it stating that the abusers were either dead or long gone, they could not harm me for speaking about it now. Someone finally told me that I did not bring it upon myself and that I did not deserve it. If it had not been me, then it would have been someone else, If I had not thought so quickly as to how I could escape, things could have been much, much worse. No-one had thought to tell me that previously. It was such a relief to hear those words and I bawled my eyes out. Thanking her profusely. The release was immense. I eventually left the car park some time after my session and drove for about 2 hours, just wanting to be on the open road.
Am I healed? I actually doubt that yet. But I do believe I am getting over the damage it did for so long. I am no longer waving that Victim flag saying “Come and Get Me, have another go, see if you can break me this time” Instead I am now brandishing my sword with the war cry of “Don’t you Dare” Dressed in my armour, complete with chinks in it, battered and scarred but still fighting. I am surviving and at times I have been a mess and barely winning, sometimes not knowing how to carry on, but feeling that I have to and I pick myself up.
They say that What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… It is certainly true for me, By becoming strong, therefore I AM. My positive thinking is a part of my armour which protects me and as my anthem goes.
Something inside so strong.
I know that I can make it,
But you’re doing me wrong.
Thought that my pride was gone, Oh No!
Something inside so strong…
Sending shivers down my spine as I write those words down and spurring me onwards toward Victory.
After writing my list, I felt very uneasy as though something awful was going to happen. In retrospect I think it was just the aftermath of all those emotions being given head room again. I had a sense of doom all day, so I stayed indoors the safety of my home, I found things to do and ventured in to the loft yesterday afternoon, on a search for something entirely different. In doing so I found a carrier bag, it was full of old things, recipes, poems, coursework, drawings and letters and photographs and so much more. I have not yet read all that was in there. I knew that I had written out poems years ago and kept them in a book, which I had decided I must find, but I came across it quite by accident. What was a shock to me was to find a notepad. I did not recall writing in such detail my abusive experiences 23 years ago on paper. Back then I often wrote things down to get them out of my head rather the same way as I do today, but I had no recollection of having done this before, when I wrote them out earlier that morning. I am shocked at the matter of fact way I explain what happened way back then. That I had kept it and also that it has been with me in the several house moves since then, hidden away in the loft as well as the back of my mind. If only I had been given the opportunity to speak to someone about it back then, it might have made such a difference and I have been literally carrying it around with me for years.
Later, I ventured out with my family walking the dog in the evening. Nothing awful happened, it turned out OK. My partner brought Hope out of the Garage for me, for the first time in months. She is sitting outside the house in the road, with fuel, taxed and ready to drive out she needs a good run after her rest. Away for months, under wraps it is wonderful to see the bright blue shining outside the window despite the rainy day and a smile returned to my face. I was exhausted at the end of the day, but unable to rest until the early hours, again passing the 3am threshold before sleep took a hold of me but Today we will drive.