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Past and present and emotion and thought.

March 11, 2010

I’ve bee thinking a lot for the past few days (a week?). I don’t have anyone with whom I could talk about this, at least not at this point, and I’d like to get it out before a) I forget what I wanted to say or b) I bury it deep within myself.

Okay.

Sexual assault is a part of my past. I’m fine saying that. It’s the truth, and for the most part, I’m not longer ashamed of it, because I know by now that it…none of it…was my fault. There’s one assault (which I have always referred to as the Bad Night) that I have talked about so much. Mainly because though that was the last one to happen, it was the one that most resembled a prototype of what a person thinks of, of sexual assault. It was the first one that I believed was assault and not me making something up. The first one that really affected me to the point that I realized it wasn’t just me making things up, etc. Anyway, the point is, I’ve talked about that one. And, I’ve talked about the one that happened first, though that was the one I brought up last. It’s all confusing. It would make more sense to you, the reader, if I explained what each of them truly were, and what happened, and who they involved. But, I don’t feel the need to do that, at least not right now.

The point is, is that I have been thinking a lot lately about the one that happened in the middle. That’s the one I never really talked about much–not from omitting it purposely, but because there was always a more pressing matter or something I felt I needed to talk about more, and never felt a need to talk about this. Now, it’s not that I am being traumatized by it, sinking back into my PTSD, or anything like that. I’ve just been objectively thinking about it (which, is something that for years I never thought I’d ever be able to do) and had some thoughts.

Like, the fact that this one, #2, did not just involve sexual assault and manipulation. It involved emotional abuse. Which is something I never really associated with it. I knew he said awful things to me, and got me to think in certain ways and believe certain things. But I never made that connection, and for whatever reason, I’m able to now.  And I can now say, with absolute certainty and belief (without blaming myself for it), that he degraded me. Not just from his actions but from his words. From the things he said to me on a daily basis. From the ways he treated me, emotionally, in person and online and through others. From the looks he gave me. From the beliefs he instilled in me, by saying the same things over and over again until I believed them. From the way he used his knowledge that I already had an eating disorder and already hated myself, in his favor. And yes, from the things he did, and from the things he made me do. But interestingly enough, when I think about him, my first thought are not the acts he engaged in, and made me engage in. My first thought are the words, and the way he truly reduced me to hating myself even more than I already did.

You know how sometimes you make a connection or a realization but don’t realize how it fits in, or why it’s important yet? That’s how I feel right now. I don’t know why it’s important that I’m realizing this, or coming to terms with it, or whatever you might want to call it. But, it felt important enough to think about and write down, so that’s really all that matters. And, I do think it’s pretty significant that I can now write this entry and sit here feeling emotion, but otherwise completely okay….where for years, I didn’t sleep without nightmares, slept with the lights on, had bad dreams and body memories and real memories and fears and refused to sit next to a guy on the bus or talk to guys at all, and if I did talk about any assault or trauma or whatever you call it, I ended up in such severe panic and anxiety that I’d have to sedate myself.

I talked about that in therapy last week, how I’m able to be incredibly objective about my past, and while I know that signifies progress, and evokes a proud feeling within me, it also feels strange and worries me a little. I don’t want to move so far away from these people and events that they never bother me again. Which I’m sure sounds weird. But my therapist said it makes sense, and that this whole topic, of trauma, was so significant to me for so long that it’s almost a loss to move on from it. I’m having a lot of losses like that, that don’t really make sense in the conventional sense, but make sense to me. And to her, and with her validation of it, I feel okay with it. I’m proud of myself for being able to be so objective and not be reduced to a crying, shaking, panicky mess, but I also don’t want to ever move too far away from the emotion. Does that make ANY sense? Probably not.

I’ll have to think on this. But for now, a quote, that seems to define my thoughts on this right now:
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

~Maya Angelou


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5 Comments leave one →
  1. 5kidswdisabilities permalink
    March 13, 2010 7:38 pm

    Love you post and the progress you have made. The quote from Maya Angelou is so appropriate!
    Lindsey Petersen
    http://5kidswdisabilities.wordpress.com

  2. March 15, 2010 3:06 pm

    I get you. I have these feelings too, and they are strange. I get a weird sense of comfort that these memories are mine. I have felt the same way about them for so long, that when the feelings change, it’s really strange.

    You are recovering through, that’s for sure :).

  3. Anonymous permalink
    March 15, 2010 8:58 pm

    Love you xoxo

  4. Anonymous permalink
    March 15, 2010 8:59 pm

    Anonymous was me….. Lilah. So, I’ll say it again. Love you. xoxo

  5. May 15, 2010 2:58 pm

    You are thinking so much about this middle episode of abuse because you are in a safe place/space for it to come up. I recently learned that when you bunch abusers or situations together and think that by working on one part/one abuser, then you are working on all parts/abusers. That isn’t so. A dream that I had recently let me know that working on my abuse issues with my dad who was my main incest abuser did nothing for the issues that I have with my uncle who also abused me. It doesn’t go away because I ignore it/him. I wish it did but it doesn’t. Like you, I am in a safe space to deal with the abuse from my uncle. This issue with my uncle might be easier in some ways because of all of the work that I did on my incest issues with my dad but I still have to do the work on my issues with my uncle and yes, it is going to hurt for awhile. I will survive. I survived the original abuse and I will survive this. The hard part will be to get my inner children to believe that.

    My experience is that emotional issues are much more complex and harder to process and let go of than the physical abuse of incest. My body heals but my mind and emotions take longer to catch up. Blessings and have a glorious day.

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