I’m just going to jump right in and say that sexual abuse and domestic violence can leave permanent scars. Mind you, I’m no expert. Well, in my own right I am, but not professionally, but as a survivor of both, I feel that I can speak to the feelings and scars that are left behind.
Depending on how early the abuse started in the relationship, age, and duration, as well as the person’s ability to handle and overcome such trauma, all play factors in how deeply the scars go and how long they hold on to them. For some people, these scars cause devastating results.
My abuse started as a toddler by Orval, my bio-dad, and went on until I was almost eight years old. I was told not to cry, be sad, angry, or show that I was uncomfortable in any way. I was told to obey him, to do whatever pleased him, and act like it was all normal. I was told not to tell anyone. Being told that by someone at such an early age and a by a significant family member for such a long period of time, I felt invisible. Why? I felt shame, and I was not allowed to be me, to feel or do what I wanted. Heck, I missed out on my entire childhood from birth to almost nine years old, the most crucial years in the development of a human being.
I was extremely shy as a kid. My mom tells stories of me covering my eyes if someone talked to me, as if I couldn’t see them, they couldn’t see me. Or, I would run around the counter at the grocery store to hide. I spent a lot of my life being shy. I was called a bitch in high school because I could never look at anyone as I walked by them, so they judged me. I had to gradually get out of that extreme shyness to function in a world where shy people don’t get very far. With each experience I’ve been through, I have been taught to come out of my shell a little more.
I am now almost 51 years old and am feeling more empowered, stronger, and becoming visible. I no longer wish to be invisible, to sit on the sidelines silently about these horrible, terrible, no good things. Let me tell you why…
Since I was a baby I struggled with anxiety. As I’ve gotten older, it seemed to be getting worse to the point where I was desperate enough to go on medication. I was not only having anxiety attacks, but also panic attacks, which are not fun to have! It has been an internal struggle for me to figure out why this happening to me? Why me? Why now? Why can’t I just be fucking normal?! I got back into therapy, once again, this past January, and started on some medications which made me feel blah and funny in the head. I was trading my anxiety and panic attacks for a different feeling, but that feeling still wasn’t normal.
My therapist had me write a timeline of sorts about my life and significant events, good and bad. When I met with her after sending it to her, she told me I should write a book and have each of those events be a chapter. She’s not the first person to tell me I should write a book over the past 20 years. I said to her, ‘Yeah, I know!’, not really giving it serious thought. But you know what? A few weeks later I woke up in the early morning and said to myself that I am writing a book (or 2 or 3 or 4). I didn’t really say that to myself, something internally was really pushing it into and out of me! Seriously, it was one of those moments when I knew I had to do it. It’s what has set me on this path with this blog and my book writing. You know what else? I am no longer having anxiety and panic attacks! I AM NOT FUCKING KIDDING YOU RIGHT NOW! Seriously, I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true. I am not on any meds. I quit them! I still have my bottle of Xanax for a ‘just in case’ kind of emergency, but I have not had to take a single pill in over 2 months! Why?…
MY INTERNAL STRUGGLE IS OVER! My mind, body, and soul were not meshing, they were in a tug-of-war with each other. I strongly believe this. I am living my truth now, no longer trying to hide it. The struggle was over this little, tiny box hidden inside of me with this past history of abuses. The little box I kept there just for me, never wanting to share it. All I ever wanted a ‘normal’ life and for people to look at me and like for being normal. I felt if they knew my history, they would judge me, not like me, take pity on me, or feel sorry for me. But the truth is, just like a steel barrel of toxic waste buried in land or sea, over time it erodes, and the toxins seep out. That’s what this little-hidden box of mine was doing, seeping its poison into my body and mind. The last time I went to my therapist, about three weeks ago, I told her this. I feel this has been an amazing breakthrough. I’m not saying I’m healed, I don’t know if anyone ever truly heals from such things. But I feel more like a survivor than a victim. I feel free to use my voice to share these experiences and want to help others. I am able to look at my past and embrace it with fierce love. I am able to look toward a future where I am empowered and use my voice to create awareness, in the hopes of helping others. This is my passion, my mission. At almost 51 years old, I finally know what my calling is.