Mar 292011

Exit out of darknessMy thoughts are tangled. I’m caught up in processing my sexual abuse history, which makes me about 14 today. Many of my reactions are straight from that time. I want to run away. I hate everyone and everything. I don’t want to do the things I know I ought to do – and who’s going to make me? But I want approval and love. I want safety. I want out. I want to be powerful. I could seduce them all and show them! And I could, but now I know the consequences in a way I didn’t then. I know it wouldn’t help, wouldn’t take away the pain for more than a few moments.

It’s hard to even talk about. The culture of secrets runs deep. You just don’t tell. Of course I wish that people would somehow intuit that I am not all right. Why can’t they see past my perfect facade? Eighth grade is a level of Hell even without abuse.

I’m so lucky in the support structure that I have created for myself here and now— I do have the strength, space, safety, and love to work through these complicated teenage feelings. And it’s working. The therapy and private work that I’ve been doing for 2 years has brought me to what is probably the last really hard thing to look at. And I’m slowly getting through that too. I’m reaching a point where I can see the exit sign.

But now particularly sucks. I feel so sad. And about a million other emotions. I’m cold because I’m a bit in shock. It’s unbelievable that I’ve carried all of this crap around for so many years. I will be happy to be free of it, relieved to release the flash-backs and frustrating feelings, grateful to own my sex life. I want to be able to make love without ghosts.

Last night I had access to both of my men and a babysitter. I wish I could say that we had hours of riotous sex. We didn’t. I took a hot bath, we talked, we made dinner together, we built a fire, snuggled up on the floor together, and watched Almodóvar’s La ley del deseo (Law of Desire). It’s exactly the kind of movie that I am drawn to, a foreign art flick with lots of gay sex and a dramatic ending. It helps that Antonio Banderas is in it. He’s totally on my list.

It was lovely and perfect and still didn’t really make me feel better. I want Harold and Joel to be closer to me. I want to feel them under my skin. Maybe sex would get me that close, but I haven’t been feeling like sex. Everything is come here/fuck off. I feel so much pain that it’s hard to open up to the love I have all around me. Sometimes just knowing the love is there is enough.

I’m walking a careful path. I get lost sometimes, but for the most part I’m doing it. I’m healing my hurts and taking back my life. How do you find that balance between sex abuse and sex, fear and love? I gather the light to myself as I move through the darkness. And I just keep going. I think this place is mine now – nothing left to fear  except forgetting there is an exit.

  • Clayshaper

    Yeah… this week I have been right there with you on that ‘i have done tons of hard work, but today I am a kid again’… I have been having nightmares where I am the adult me, in the child me’s situations… I am SO MAD… and they don’t care. It makes me feel so many things… including helpless and broken. It’s strange how that can happen… so long, so many years after the abuse… it can sneak up on you with some new aspect to process.

    I have trouble talking to anyone (except a therapist or such, of course.) about my own abuses because in so many ways, It was the era and area that i grew up in, that failed me the most, and people get really fixated on the whole ‘it’s not your fault! they failed you!’ thing… and forget that I KNOW that. The world has changed. We understand these things now. …but harping on everyone else’s failure isn’t helping me to fix what is broken in ME. It just reinforces that “they broke me” …and gives me no way to /change/ what happened TO me or the Things I want most to change about ME and MY life in the here and NOW… after it is done and past, what do you do? Once you’ve gotten over the “it” in question, how do you change the scars or limitations it left you with, ya know?

  • Anna

    As a fellow survivor and a therapist, this is how I look at it: The damage happened “then,” and you can’t change that, just accept it. The trick is, that everyone draws conclusions about the world and our place in it based on our experiences. This is a normal process. If the experiences are abnormal, then the conclusions we draw may be totally rational/relevant responses in face of the abnormal, but don’t serve us well going forward. The idea is to find out what the conclusions we drew and still deeply (often totally unconsciously) hold, and see if these are ones we want to change. We can’t change the past, but we can change what we take forward from it. The brokenness is somewhat an illusion, because your like is not really chopped into boxes of “before,” “during,” and “since,” trauma. The best part is that YOU HAVE ALREADY SURVIVED THE WORST.
    You have already won, in ways that others whom have already self-destructed did not. As hard as the journey can be, you can do it. It is never a straight line, and it takes as long as it takes, and you will never go back to naive about the darkness that exists in life, but with recovery, the gratitude for simple existance you get is mind-blowing!
    I recently found a Chinese proverb I like. “The glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time you fall.”
    May you rise in victory and joy!

  • Evoe

    Everyone responds to different therapies in different ways, but for me, Lifespan Integration therapy has worked amazingly well. ( It’s a kind of guided meditation process that lets memories surface spontaneously and then gives you a chance to utilize your current resources to help in the memory. The next step integrates the past with the present. It actually rewrites your neural pathways to create rapid healing. LI and my fabulous therapist have helped me to make incredible progress toward feeling whole.

    Perhaps the best thing for me is feeling hope that it can change. I’m willing to work my ass off, I just don’t want to be stuck. You can’t change what happened, but you can change how it affects you. It’s your super-power.