Does this ever get any easier?

Discussion in 'Rape and Abuse' started by Jabez, Mar 31, 2015.

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  1. Jabez

    Jabez Well-Known Member

    I was raped when I was seven years old. I hid it from my family. Lied when I was asked about it. Built my life despite it. But it has always haunted me.
    A few years after the rape I was witness to a friend's abuse, while an adult in a powerful role touched me over a blanket and ignored what was happening to my friend.
    In my early teens a boy at school tried to kiss me, and stuck his hand in my pants and touched me.
    When I started uni I had flashbacks triggered by a "kissing game" during freshman initiations.
    I didn't think anything of these later things. Just thought they were normal.
    2 years ago, at 40 years of age, I had major gynae surgery and it triggered everything. I've been seeing a therapist since. 2 weeks ago I finally told my therapist what happened. And accepted that what happened counts as sexual abuse. Never thought it did, somehow...
    I spun out of control for a few days, then for a few more it seemed like the relief of accepting that it was abuse and not my fault had released me to start healing at last. But now I'm finding that I am slipping back. More depressed. Self harm thoughts are back. Nothing has changed. I feel like I really could have done things differently and stopped these things from happening, or at least handled them better once they had. Now I'm feeling like I have tried to excuse my failure as a wife, mother, human being on the basis of something I should have gotten over years ago, that I am the most pathetic, excuse making person ever.
    I saw my therapist today, and she listened patiently and supportively to me, as usual, as I complained about how bad I feel, and how I don't want to talk to my family (parents, siblings) because I can't get past my feelings about what happened, their (lack of) response, and how I'm making the same mistakes with my kids that my parents made with me by being unavailable, too wrapped up in my own problems to really see what is happening for them.
    But I just can't see the point. How can any of this help? I can't change the past. I am trying to change how I behave in the future, to be a better person for my husband and kids. To find a way to be worthwhile to the world in my remaining life.
    But I don't want to live any more. It is too painful. The urge to hurt myself to express my pain in growing, as is the desire to end my pain forever. I don't know how to be better. Does this ever get any easier? Is there any hope for me, after 35 years of this torture?
  2. may71

    may71 Well-Known Member

    It's not your fault that these things happened. The one's that abused you are the ones that should take responsibility for their actions.

    It's easy for someone to say, "move on", much harder to do. Therapy might help you over time, and if you can find a way to express what you are feeling.
  3. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Hi Jabez, I am really sorry for what you have been through. NO child should suffer sexual abuse. I can understand your reluctance to talk about it to your family. It is not understood much at their age and in some places in the world the rape victim gets the blame which should never happen, it's saddening.

    But the facts here are you were only 7 years old!! Seven!! None of what happened was your fault He is a paedophile and if I were you I would go to the police, when there's an ''ending'' you can get some feeling of closure. The main problem with that though is because so many years have passed there may be a serious lack of evidence.

    I recently had a bladder examination and when I woke up from the general anesthetic I felt like I did when I was raped. I was raped when I was 12 and you can trust me when I say that talking about it does help a lot. You have not failed at anything, it was just your response to what happened.

    I wish you all the best!
  4. little lucy

    little lucy Active Member

    Honestly Idk. I haven't been dealing with it as long as you have because I'm only 22, but so far for me it has never gotten any better.
  5. Jabez

    Jabez Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your support, guys.
    Petal, I can't go to the police about the rape, because while he was known to me indirectly, one of the neighbourhood boys who I saw around from time to time, but a bit of a drifter in and out of the community. I don't think he lived locally. I don't know his name only the nickname he had. I heard some years later that he had been arrested for some minor thing. I have no idea what happened to him since. Oddly enough I'm okay with that. The ultimate path for him, judgement, repentance, forgiveness, whatever it may be, I leave between him and God. Sometimes I hope that he has suffered as much in some way as he has made me suffer. But mostly I think that there is no need for more suffering in this world, and hope he has found a better path.
    What haunts me most is that perhaps if I had spoken up at the time I might have prevented him going on to do the same or worse to someone else. I hope he didn't. I hope he realised that what he did was wrong and got his life sorted out. I really, really hope my weakness and selfishness hasn't caused other people to suffer at his hands.
    I really want to get better at dealing with this. I'm just not sure if I have the strength! My therapist says I do, that I'm stronger than I think. But I'm finding it so hard, harder every day.
    I had to leave work early today because I couldn't cope. I keep thinking about the time when I witnessed my friends abuse and it was condoned by a person in authority. It was like being physically punched, my recoil from the memory was so strong. It seems liked trying to deal with things has just made it even worse. I never used to think anything of this incident. Didn't used to bother me at all, even though I remembered it quite clearly. Now I can't stand to think of it, and feel like vomiting or self harming when I do.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2015
  6. ChestnutMay

    ChestnutMay Antiquities Friend

    Jabez, My heart goes out to you. I was molested by two men, one my father, when I was five and was then molested again at age 9 by my father. I did not go into therapy until I was in my 30s, in part because for many years I had successfully pushed it from my mind. I was in therapy for almost 9 years although the entire 9 years were not spent addressing the abuse - I had daily life issues to deal with as well (marriage, kids, career, health, etc). The point is: the therapy was very much an up and down phenomenon. Sometimes I felt as though the abuse had just happened, with all the feelings of hurt and confusion and betrayal that went with it. Other times, I felt I was finally getting things into perspective. My therapist said that's how it works - back and forth, up and down. You will feel better. Eventually I realized I was no longer triggered by certain words. I won't go as far as to say it stopped mattering, but what happened had been processed and I now had a healthy way to deal with it in my head. One of those ways, btw, was to know there was nothing I did to bring it on, that it was the sickness of grown men that was responsible, and that I was utterly innocent. My best to you as you work through this. It IS hard, but will get better.
  7. Jabez

    Jabez Well-Known Member

    Thanks, chestnut may. I'm sorry for your experience. (And Petal and little Lucy, too. )
    I will hold on to the hope you offer... Everything is just so hard at the moment.
    It seems like it's a bit like a broken bone - even when the bone is starting to heal, all the muscles and everything are out of balance and every part of your body hurts. (I broke my leg a few weeks ago, as well!). It seems like opening up this wound of the abuse has thrown my whole life out of balance and now every area of my life hurts.
    But it's good to know that it can get better.
  8. ChestnutMay

    ChestnutMay Antiquities Friend

    Right now you are still reliving everything - that's one reason it hurts so much. All the fear, pain and confusion are just as fresh as if they are happening. That will change with time.

    There is a a great book called "The Courage To Heal" by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis that might help you. It's a classic - been around for 20 years - and I got a lot out of it years ago when it first came out. Also I recently spent time on a PTSD unit where a lot of us had suffered similar experiences and the staff there highly recommended it even though it is kind of dated.

    I'm really sorry you can't talk to your family about it yet, but hopefully that time will come. I didn't talk to mine for so long because the memories were blocked but eventually was able to discuss it with them. My sister turned out to be a great support. My mother, although she was uncomfortable talking about it, believed me at once, unlike a lot of parents, and I think that meant more than almost anything else.

    You mention you're afraid you might be too wrapped up in your own problems to be as available to your own children as you wish. This is a legitimate concern. There were definitely times when I was so immersed in recovering and in reliving memories, and in figuring out how the abuse influenced who I grew up to be, that I wasn't as open to them as I think they needed. Just be aware that it's a potential problem. One thing I did that I think helped was to tell them that I had an illness (depression) and that sometimes I was sick but that it was never their fault.

    ONe point: I actually ended up having to tell my daughters what happened because my father tried again with my own daughter when she was five. Fortunately, she'd had the "Bad Touching" talk and told him "NO" and told me right away. After that, there were no secrets and things did get better. Your kids might understand more than you think.
  9. Jabez

    Jabez Well-Known Member

    Thanks again, ChestnutMay.
    I have a copy of courage to heal that has been on my shelf for 20 years since it was "compulsory reading" for my work at the time. I've never managed to read it, but I haven't touched it except for moving house in about the last 18. Sounds like it's time I had another go! :)
    Things are continuing to be up and down. A lot of down, I guess, but some up too. It feels like I am reexamining and rewriting just about every area of my life. It's such hard work, and I'm afraid of some of the decisions I can see I'm going to have to face. But I guess it has to be for the best in the long run, right?
  10. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Jabez, here in Ireland if you 'report' sexual abuse to a therapist they are obligated to report it to authorities, that law came into effect last year. I'm wondering is it the same where you live? Even if you only know his nickname and know him through someone else the police WILL find him, it is their job. That's what sergeants and detectives are for. I honestly hate to see such a nice caring soul as yourself suffering, it's not fair and he should be punished. I have huge respect for you and what you are going through, if you ever need someone feel free to PM me.
  11. Jabez

    Jabez Well-Known Member

    Here mandatory reporting only applies to children and young people currently at risk. Mandated reporters vary by state - in my home state it's very strict and anyone working with children would be required to report, where I live now even a psychologist is not a mandated reporter - only doctors, nurses, midwifes, teachers and police! (Unbelievable in this day and age!).
    I'll keep thinking about formalising a complaint. It just seems like such a huge step, and I still have trouble believing that this was really abuse not just a stupid thing that happened because I made a bad decision... I mean, I know it and wouldn't downplay it if it happened to someone else... It just has been a part of my life I ignored for so long it hardly seems real to tell it like it is...

    Thanks again for your support. Talking to people here is helping me to process some of my reactions :)
  12. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    It feels like a huge step for you because it is HUGE. I remember the day I reported my abuse, I had to sedate myself first as it felt very embarrassing, the police were great, got me a female sergeant, and gave me lots of breaks and let me take time out to take some xanax and let it work. It was embarrassing because you can't just say private areas, you need to spell it out for them so it's clear. It was a huge deal and awkward but it was the best thing I ever did. They have kept in contact with me even though the case was denied due to a lack of evidence. Brilliant police officers and they did their best to help me relax etc... That was my experience. I was not going to let him get away with it. It made me such a strong person.

    If you decide to or not to report it we will be here to support you no matter what. I'm really glad to hear that talking here is helping you. Abuse is not a part of anyone's life, it's a criminal offence, never forget that.
  13. Jabez

    Jabez Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Petal. Things are going kind of crazy for me at the moment. I wrote down the details of the rape thinking I might share it with my therapist (not just "it happened" and a few surrounding events, like I've told her so far) - thought it might help to clarify things to explain it properly to her, before I even consider going to police. And now there's all these other thoughts, feelings, memories coming up. I don't know how to cope with this. I don't even trust my own memories any more...
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