Friday when I saw Lucy, we were going to have our first EMDR session. I was supposed to pick the trauma that I wanted to deal with first. It could have been something small or big. The problem is, I couldn’t figure out which one to choose. They all seem tangled up like a bunch of twisted wires in a big heap. Some I can’t even find.
So when I got there, I told her this and she said that this is a perfect depiction of what actually happens with multiple traumas in your life. Then I realized that I am a methodical person, so I said, “Let’s start with the first one.”
I was sexually abused from the age of five to around the age of twelve, on a continual, ongoing basis. She asked me questions about what happened and the major ways it affected me. I started to tell her things I have never spoken about to anyone. I got the words out of my mouth and the session was over. We never got to the EMDR part of it.
Afterwards I felt very vulnerable and like I needed to go somewhere and just cry. But I needed to go shopping, so I just pushed it all deep inside and did what I needed to do. I was physically and emotionally exhausted by the end of the day. Yesterday I just stayed numb all day and tried hard not to think about it.
This morning I woke up out of my sleep crying. When my husband got up and found me in another room crying, he asked me what was wrong and I shared with him some realizations that I have come to.
I have already shared with Lucy the struggle I have had with anyone really seeing my pain or taking it seriously, mostly because I am articulate. I have the ability to express myself and I have insight. She said she can understand this and that I seem all together from the outside and no one can see that I am struggling alone inside. I have paid a heavy price for my “strength.”
After the abuse, I became invisible in life. My goal was to never do anything that drew attention to myself. And it worked perfectly to the extent that I have lived a very lonely and alone existence. There was no hanging out with friends, partying, or experiencing life in any way. I was hiding. I was alone, but I was safe.
Now I am facing how a child, and today as an adult, processes a very difficult fact. While the abuse was one of the worst things that happened to me, as a child, it was the only thing I had in my life at that time. The only sense of connection. My father had already died and my mother abandoned me. So losing the abuse was as traumatic, if not more so, than the abuse itself.
Losing it felt like a betrayal and another abandonment. If this doesn’t speak volumes and say more than any words I could possibly speak, there is nothing I can say or do that could possibly make a difference in anyone’s support or thoughts toward me. I am having to face the fact, that at that time in my life, abuse was better than my real life! I have never heard anyone speak of this. So on many levels, I feel like a freak. And I share this because maybe it will help someone else to not feel alone.
Not only was losing the abuse traumatic, but to add the deepest blow, I lost it to my sister. When he was through with me, he started to molest her. Actually it was more like a gradual transition of grooming her and then rejecting me. So I have this deep, deep sense that has been branded to my soul by fire, that I am not good enough.
And it is not that I am not good enough in life with others, but that I am not even good enough for abuse. How a small child processes that… I do not know!
It has touched and wounded every experience of my life. It has kept me from feeling loved. It has caused me to have this deep, deep foreboding fear that I will lose any connection or love I experience in life. It isn’t a matter of if, but when. And ironically, my life has been riddled with experience after experience that has reinforced this.
So now this wall has crumbled at my feet and I have no way at this time to take in or process what has been the compass of my very existence.
The other huge thing it has done to me is caused me, as a means to survive, to minimize my own pain and abuse. I have spent my life protecting everyone from the pain inside of me. And because I am articulate and have the words to express myself, have hidden my own pain and minimized it… became invisible… to others I appear strong and have done so well… they minimize my suffering too.
I have the ability to communicate, but I am unable to, and quite frankly I don’t want to, talk about what happened to me in any detail. This has just kept everything that has happened to me small to those around me. If I have to speak of all the gory details for anyone to believe that what happened to me was tragic, I will remain alone in my own silent hell. If that is what it takes to get anyone to take me seriously, I don’t need anyone else. My husband lives with the reality of my pain, and has never once minimized it or trivialized it. It is real to him. I am real to him.
There is a reason I cannot and don’t want to talk about all the gory details, and it is riddled in shame and humiliation. It is because as a child, at the age of twelve or thirteen, the most traumatic thing that happened to me was that the abuse ended!