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Recently, I was talking to my therapist about how conflicted, anxious and full of guilt I was. I told her I felt like I am going to lose it. (Although I have said that to therapists before and they’ve told me that feeling like I’m going “to lose it” is a pretty good indication that I haven’t. Insert “yet” here.) Over this past year, every time I’ve gone to counseling and we would talk about abuse, I shut down emotionally and physically for days and weeks. It has been eleven years and I still can’t say “I was abused” with certainty.
I don’t want to live life as a victim. I don’t want to live life in self-pity. However, I don’t ever want to pretend that I am “healed” and I don’t want to pretend that everything is “OK”. I do want knowing to be for certain — for real!! But, I’m tired and worn out. I am filled with guilt. I can write words for others to read, but are these words coming from myself? For me, I can’t help! I don’t want to move on with life, only to realize later that I didn’t really go through the steps of recovery and healing I needed to – that I could be better if I only just would have…..
I want to be full of life and confident … not “just” abused, wounded, lonely, uncompassionate, unsocial or depressed. People do it… some do! Some recover from sins committed against them, flourish and find victorious lives aver the storm of turmoil, shame and disgust. I just want it to be not done or done – not in between!! Abused or not abused – not in between!! I still really can’t admit that I was abused. I can type about it… it just flows out my fingers to the keyboard – I can’t say it!! I can say it – but, not really. I can say it, but I separate myself from the words “I was abused”… that happened to another person. Everyone else has memories. I have several “snapshots” of things I couldn’t make up. It makes me believe that I’m making everything up or that something else has happened to make me this way.
I can become very emotional about other people’s abuse. I can be very unemotional, almost scientific about myself. To be transparent with you, here is my evidence: I have the personality characteristics of a “typical” abused child. I forget almost everything, especially my childhood. (Well, and numbers… I’m am awful with numbers, but that really doesn’t matter.) I have spent years disassociating to the point of not being able to move a muscle in my body, blink or whisper a word. I have panic attacks. I listen for sounds at night. I watch for dark shapes. I hate being under water and am terrified of heights. I have been diagnosed with Clinical Depression. I’m have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I have been labeled with an “environmental” learning disability… a learning disability that should have been so debilitating, that I shouldn’t have made it through high school – let alone earning two bachelor degrees. I am socially detached – well, I was much more-so as a child. I have had five therapists treat me for abuse. I have been in a support group with other sexually abused women and related to everything they said. I have a few memories, but not like a rickety old movie real – just one second snapshots that come and go… things that no one would ever make up and things that put me in bed for days. I’m not a good wife and I am emotionally detached from my children. (Please know!! As much as I am being honest– I love my kids more than myself and I feel I am a good mom, just not the one I wish I were. Many “normal” women probably feel that way too.) I have been on anti-depressants for seven years. I have screamed so loud, no one could hear.
To function on a daily basis, that’s a lot to hide inside… and it takes years of practice!! Is it a surprise that I have taught years of acting, without ever being trained to act myself? Well, now that I think about it… no it isn’t! However, the surprise I had, was that people can see through my smile and my frowns, especially trained therapists and other abuse victims. Eventually, abuse pulls the curtain from the stage and rehearsal is over.
So, this remains my storm! Thinking about all the puzzle pieces I have picked up or allowed myself safe enough to find, this is the picture of my journey that I’ve put together so far…
Thirteen years ago, I had a molar pregnancy when my oldest daughter was just a year old. (I told you pregnancy was ironic to my journey.) I never saw my baby, she was just days old when I miscarried. But, even though I didn’t see my baby, hold or have memories of her, I knew I was pregnant — because the doctor’s told me. The 20-week maternity clothes told me. The blood tests told me. The surgery told me. Not having a baby didn’t mean I didn’t have “proof” of being pregnant.
Well, I don’t have “proof” that I was abused, because I can’t remember, I can’t see it or know it is there. But!! Even though I don’t like to say it and my family doesn’t accept it as true, all the doctors have told me I was abused. The medicines, the learning disabilities, the depression… tests that prove something did happen for me to function the way I do as an adult!! I believe that God has allowed me to not see the memories because I wouldn’t be able to handle them. He has protected me, even though He couldn’t control the free will and horrific choices of others – He has protected me despite what any man could do.
In short, that’s my story. It’s the best explanation I have for my journey… I call it Molar Abuse!
On this stormy journey, I am hoping to leave a mark that trauma and abuse recovery isn’t easy, comfortable or a short-term event – it is a process and you are not alone!! I’m hoping that by sharing [to the best of my capabilities] throughout my journey, I can reach someone where they are – because no one ever reaches the end of this journey.
Every day is a product of your commitment and effort to make yourself more important than what happened to you. Finding someone who is at the same place as you is difficult. So, I truly pray that readers who find my journal and find a familiar place in their journey will know they are not alone in this lonely place.