Change! It is so worth it (and some of my story).

Well I should be on my knees with stress right now, because my day did not get easier. My toddler has been challenging- well actually he has been a pain in the ass.

I am not on my knees though, not anywhere close. In fact I feel strong right now!

 

I want to share the reason. Earlier I posted about my fear of therapy this week, due to different feelings and views towards my abuser which would bring about change for me.

Change is a scary word. No matter how wanted or necessary the change is, I am afraid.

Well today, I noticed a huge change in the way I react/ think/ feel about some of my past. I dealt with this particular issue in therapy over 18 months ago. And I guess, without me realising, this change happened somewhere along the way.

I was at work when a song from the ’90s came on the radio. I have not heard it for years. It was always a highly triggering song for me. I was so glad when the nightclubs stopped playing it. I remember many nights at University hiding in the toilets at a nightclub, trying to figure what the hell was wrong with me as I struggled to keep a grip on reality. I know now I was dissociating. Back then I felt traumatised and afraid.

Avoiding that song became easier as time went on. I have not heard it for 8 years or so easily. So when this song was playing at work today, I mentally braced myself for the dissociation or the flashback. I automatically started to ground. I then left the room quickly. I went to the “Ladies” room and locked myself in a cubicle where I cried a little.

Oh how it hurt.

I felt like I had been pierced with a knife. It was and remains agony.

Just writing about it now is causing a few more tears. It hurts, but something has changed!

Today was different to the last time I heard that song. It used to take me back to that night, I would feel them and hear them hurting me again.

While today I remembered and I recalled some of the details easily, I did not feel traumatised. I was not in a flashback. I was aware of where I was, when and who. I felt safe and grounded.

 

I do not cry over my abuse much at all, in fact I have a huge aversion to crying over it. But the incident this song used to trigger was not by the abuser- it was separate.

Following three months of therapy discussing this awful incident. I found I could cry over it, though not in the presence of my T (mostly because I was too embarrassed at that point).

One day in particular, leaving my children at home with their dad, I took a walk through town and passed a Church with a sign outside, inviting people to stop by for some quiet time. I found myself drawn in. I sat alone in the quiet and the low light trying to hold it together. I was doing pretty well until a woman there asked me if I was OK. I could not speak to answer her. I was overcome with pain. Then something amazing happened. This complete stranger sat next to me and took my hand. And there she remained next to me while I cried- until there seemed to be no more tears left.

That day, crying in a Church with this perfect stranger, was so healing for me. Finally, I could feel what I needed to and someone I did not even know held that pain with me -enabling me to release it. How amazing is that?

That day remains with me, yet I did not consider that the triggers may have lessened- mostly because I have not come across them in the last two years. Today was not triggering- it proved to me how much things have changed and how worth those months of therapy were.

 

*Trigger Warning*

 

 

On that hideous night, a group of men forced me away from my friends. Cold, in the dark and with no escape, they took it in turns to rape me. For more than an hour, they violated me. They left me bleeding and with cuts and bruises and burns from their attack.

I was traumatised for years, reliving it over and over in my dreams at night and in flashbacks during the day. I was chained to them by fear. I remained their victim all that time, I guess.

Today, I see how that has changed. I see how much I have changed. Yes, it hurts. Oh believe me, it hurts- but now I can say something I never thought I would be able. With  confidence and certainty I can say that I am finally free from those bastards and what they did to me.

 

It does not matter what I have to do, what I have to feel or go through, I will embrace any change necessary, so I can know that freedom from my abuser too.

And though I may be soaking the keyboard right now, it is not just pain, but tears of relief too, because therapy is worth it. Change is worth it. I am sure of that now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first true friend- some of my story.

*Trigger Warning* – References to sexual abuse/ rape 

This is more about my friend, but there is some of my story in there, so (relatives) please be careful, it’s not likely to be easy reading. 

 

I slept pretty well last night, I don’t remember nightmares or dreams of the past, but when I woke this morning, someone from back then was on my mind. Not the abuser for once, but someone else. Someone I called family for a short time in my life. 

She was 17 years old and beautiful.  I had a bit of a “girl crush” on her, I guess.

She had dark hair, blue eyes and amazing pale, clear skin. She wore powder pink lipstick and loads of dark eye makeup. At 14 years old, I was awe struck by her. I loved the way she looked but she had an amazing personality to match too, she was so confident and strong. I was envious of her. 

She had what I thought I wanted, she was living with the man I considered to be my boyfriend, he was her flat mate (along with her boyfriend) when I first met him. I wanted to live with them and be part of their group. And in the brief time I knew her, we became close. I considered the four of us to be a sort of family, we looked out for one another, or at least it seemed. 

 

In short 6 weeks or so that I knew her, we saw each other every day and most nights too. She took care of me, when I didn’t know what to do. She was there as the abuse started. While he hid it well, she always seemed to know.

We would all hang out together and her and I would sit close, she would hold my hand, or put her arm around my shoulders. With the knowledge of what was to come, her presence was comforting. She was there after too, to clean me up and wipe away my tears. 

I recall one time where I was shaking so hard and dangerously close  to panicking. It was truly dangerous for me to show fear or panic while I was in that flat and she knew that. I remember her gently talking me down, until I regained control. Oh how I relied on her in those early days.

 

She wasn’t perfect by any means. Looking back now I see how broken, how hurt and oh how young she was. While seventeen seemed so much older than my fourteen years, she was barely more than a child herself. She was deeply damaged by her upbringing and the abuse she suffered as a teenager.

She told me that he had hurt her too, another of my abuser’s victims. In her own way she seemed to be warning me. I am not sure she was aware, I certainly didn’t pick up on it, but with hindsight I can see the signs were there.

Once she told me there were times after he (in her words) fucked her, where she was hurt so badly, she could barely crawl away. She laughed it off, but I can not forget the way she looked as she spoke those words. 

I believed her, but I couldn’t take it in. The man I loved couldn’t have done that to anyone, surely?

Oh, how little did I know. I believed I could change him and that with me things would be different. I thought if I could love him enough, it would “fix” him somehow.  I knew that he was hurting me, but at that point the abuse was in the early stages. I didn’t like it, but I had no idea how much worse it could and would get. 

 

Her words were truthful, I found that out once she had left my life. What she revealed he did to her, was to be my future with him. With increasing brutality, there were many times that when he was done with me I could not make it to my feet. Like her before me, I too could barely crawl away.

And those were the times, where I needed her the most, but like everyone else, she too had gone.

I had to clean myself up, mop up my blood and wipe away my own tears. I had to get myself dressed and just like she taught me, I had to calm my own panic and plaster on a smile all while I was slowly dying inside. 

 

I missed her so much once she had gone, but my need for her to be there to continue to pick up the pieces for me, was far too much to expect of a seventeen year old. I didn’t know that then, but I can see it now. Instead, I felt abandoned by her, betrayed even.

 

I will never forget her and what she did for me. She was there when it was all so new and I was in a state of shock. She was there to help me through the early days, she taught me what to do and how to cope. I will be forever grateful for her and for her brief presence in my life. Because without her at the start, I am not sure I would have made it through. 

So where ever you are my sister, I hope you are safe now and I hope you are happy. 

And I hope you know what you did for me, I wish I could tell you that you saved my life.

I will never forget you, my first true friend. 

 

 

Me Versus Me

(To remain anonymous I have used a fake name)

I am neither, but I am both. I am one, yet also another.

Becca became dominant during the abuse, she protected me. With her began the pretense that dominated my life for the next 14(ish) years. She told me I was fine, she told others, I was fine, she protected me from the ugly truth. She was necessary, she was needed. I would not have survived without her.

She would not allow me to feel, or remember the abuse in my every day life. She stomped on any of the bad feelings, told them to be gone, she was in control in almost all areas of my life. I loved her, I loved that she had taken over, she got me through and she was the person I wanted to be.

The problem is, there was another me, Rebecca, the me who had been abused, the me who was present during it, the me who remembered, the me who was desperate to be heard. Becca and Rebecca argued a lot, Becca called Rebecca a liar, told her she was exaggerating what had happened, she called her an attention seeker, she told her she should be ashamed and embarrassed, she silenced her whenever she could.

Rebecca was still there though, she remained in the background, displaying signs of PTSD (more on that later). Becca didn’t like that at all, all aspects of Becca- her social, organised character, her need for noise, and if that didn’t work (particularly in the teen years) her use of drink and drugs-were there to drown out Rebecca.

Rebecca had time at the fore, she was the one who spent many nights awake, talking online to the man, who would become our best friend. Though the husband caught many glimpses, our “besty” was the only one who truly saw Rebecca. In those long chats, she told the truth of what was done to us, what we endured. In those times, she could be free.

A year ago– and I don’t even know why, it finally seemed the right time for Rebecca to be heard. I began therapy, my T was aware right away of the presence of both Rebecca and Becca. I explained the pretense Becca had formed, we confronted that, we tore down those walls she had created and slowly we finally gave Rebecca a voice.

At first my T saw only Becca, but as the trust deepened, Rebecca started to come forward more and more. Since then my T has suggested that both Rebecca and Becca are me aged 14. He has said, he’s noted that Rebecca and Becca have slowly started to integrate. Their memories of the past  are no longer so separate. He has explained that neither is false, both are me, both sets of memories are true, just from a different perspective. Slowly, I’ve started to see the real me, the grown woman me, emerging from the two. I still feel Rebecca and Becca. I feel Becca still trying to protect me, it’s so natural for me to allow her in, that sometimes I have to argue with her to get her to allow me to feel. Rebecca, I’ve grown to love and I’m starting to accept her for the hurt and broken child she is, I strive to allow both to truly be part of me, while also not allowing them to completely dominant my life now.

I am neither, but I am both. I am one, yet also another.