Did I Know It Was Still Abuse Then?

 

 

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Since I have suffered depression since my first memories, the accompanying frame of mind and sense of self, over the years, becomes the norm. So if I have technically never been “well”, how will I know what it feels like if I ever achieve it? Will it be like a light bulb going on in my head finally lighting up the path to happiness? Will it feel like a wave coming in to shore and gathering my pains before retreating back to the sea? Will my life just make sense one day and suddenly I will find my meaning and purpose in this life? Will the shame, guilt and blame finally be gone? Truthfully, I have no idea what it would feel like, as I have never attained it. I could create a hundred scenarios about what it would feel like, but the one I would wish for the most would be to simply feel lighter, both emotionally and spiritually. I imagine the sun shining a little brighter, the world not being so frightening and the glass actually being half full.

I have been to multiple therapists over the years to cover various aspects of the traumas I have been through. Every therapist has a different approach so some want you to relive the memories of the past; some wanting to focus on how the past affects the present and some still stuck in the archaic world of Freud’s.  There is every type of behavioral therapy you can think of, hypnotherapy, psychiatrists and psychologists all specializing in one area or another. Therapy is often like the medication roller coaster, you have to try a bunch until you find the one that works for you. My sexual abuse seemed to always be the prime area of concern so that is what we would discuss, over and over. We went over how it’s not my fault, and not to self-blame and to place the responsibility where it lies. We went over of some of the events in detail, others we just skimmed over. I’ve lay on a couch, sat in a fancy chair, and watched them scribble on notepads, question me and analyze my answers. I read the self- help books they recommended and did the corresponding workbooks. I must be better after all that…right?

I still have some triggers, but they are mostly scent related and I don’t have much of a reaction other than the cold chill that runs up my spine. I have stopped blaming myself or feeling ashamed and come to realize that predators will always find prey, and since I was just a child, it was and never will be my fault. However, at what age are you not considered a child? I know what it is in the eyes of the law, but in your own eyes does it differ? With a lot of work I was able to let go of some of the trauma from when I was young and helpless, but what about when I was 12 or 13? Was I not a pre-teen/teenager then? No longer a small helpless child yet I allowed these events to continue. I did not speak up even though I was not threatened. I did not have to fight back as there was no aggression. Did I just submit willingly? Was it consensual on my half even though he was over 40? Was it me going through a promiscuous stage, seeking attention the only way I had received it from men?

At that age, was it my fault?

I had to have known better. I must have known it was wrong, so why did I not stop it. Repeated sexual abuse can sometimes become like a routine in your life. It has happened so often, it just becomes what you know. Or does it? This is where my struggle lies; where I cannot yet forgive myself, or not blame myself because I am not sure I will ever be clear on whether I somehow encouraged it by not speaking. I can’t remember what I was thinking or what I was feeling at the time, I just know what my actions were and I know I struggle to accept them as abuse. Somehow in my mind I have put an age on my “child” abuse, and not included that period of time, perhaps because I my mind is screaming at me that I was no longer  a child, and should have had some responsibility over my actions. I mean I had already been through so much by 13 that I considered myself an old soul and had plenty of responsibility caring for others…just none for myself.

So, I guess I’m not yet “better, despite all the work and the thought that one chapter of my life was finally closed, however I am now starting to wonder if it ever completely will be. I wonder if the load I carry can only lighten, never leave. Seems like healing one thing often opens a new wound and the cycle of healing perpetuates itself with no end in sight, so on with the fight I go.

 

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6 thoughts on “Did I Know It Was Still Abuse Then?

  1. Great article Jody! Yes, I am part of this group. I no longer blame myself, I know it wasn’t my fault.

    The triggers of smell? Cannot stand the smell of old spice cologne or I start looking for a place to run!

    You are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So much here- so much I could comment on. Lots of questions, too.

    I can definitely relate to the frustration of therapy and such- I started when I was 10, and the next 30 years were mostly a waste! I finally tapped into something useful, but I had to fight really hard for it.

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  3. Forgiveness is something I work on since my son’s suicide. I think you have to realize that to you, this was the norm for you. It’s like the kid that never gets glasses as a child because she doesn’t know any other way of seeing. She thinks everyone sees the way she does. And it’s not until she gets glasses that she realized she had a vision problem. It’s only through screening or the lack of being able to read that these children are identified and given vision correction.

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  4. Jody, I am so happy that you have gotten rid of the guilt and the blame for the child abuse. However, there is still a part of you that seems to need to hold onto some of that blame. You ask a legitimate question. If this abuse was going on since you were a little girl, just because you turned 12 do you think you were expected to have a “normal” 12 year old girl’s mind to decipher right from wrong? Of course not. You were NOT promiscuous,and you were not to BLAME even at 12 or 13. This had become “the norm” for you and your way of life. Just because you turned 12 one day did not give you a 12 year old’s mind who may have reacted differently. You were still operating under your child’s mind. So I give you permission to put the whopping stick away on those two years. You are a winner, and you are becoming more whole each day. If you keep working this hard, you will one day know that all the shame, guilt and blame are gone. It is a process, and you are doing a phenomenal job on working on your issues. You are helping so many others as you unravel your journey. Your days will only get better! Bless you!

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  5. When I think of this question and I start to blame myself for not having done something different, I try to find a child that was around that age in question and see if I could imagine them know if it was right or wrong or being able to do something about it. It is far too easy for me to view things through my adult eyes and that little child didn’t have the benefit of this knowledge or experience in life. For me, the abuse started so early, I don’t think I realized that this was not the norm. It took me years in therapy to begin understanding that things I thought everyone experienced were in fact, not normal for a child.

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