Tuesday, November 6, 2012

IT'S NOT THE MONSTER UNDER THE BED #incest #child sexual abuse



Since starting this blog, my book, and my Facebook group at SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER I have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of painful stories that have emerged from the other victims and survivors I am meeting almost every day now. There are SO many of us who have been sexually abused as children, and who, unfortunately, have been abused again and again in their teens and adult years by other abusers. It's as if these victims are magnets constantly attracting the same kind of creeps. 

As I read their stories, I almost begin to feel that I got off easy! Or have I merely submerged so much of what happened to me under so many layers of denial that I really no longer remember it all. Even fresh from escaping from home, as time put distance between me and my father and what happened, and my newly found freedom took over my life, I began to wonder if I'd imagined it all. Today, I don't even feel like a victim ... nor merely a survivor. I have actually thrived over all those years and found out strong and worthwhile I really am. Oh sure, some days I hate myself, but don't we all?

But a recent post on Facebook caught my attention. The poster questioned herself, as I am doing now, about how much did she really suffer? After reading what others had written, she couldn't remember her abuse being so bad. In fact, she said she can't remember much about anything and almost jokingly stated she's known for her bad memory ie. here today gone tomorrow. Some who replied said she's mastered the art of zoning out and repressing memories. They suggested if she were put under hypnosis it could even be dangerous for her. 

Hypnosis eh? I suddenly remembered having a terrible headache that lasted for days when I was in my 20's. My husband suggested I see the doctor. The doctor couldn't find any physical reason, but as he was into hypnosis, he asked if I'd like to try that i.e. perhaps he could hypnotize the headache out of me. I was in such pain, I was game for anything. So he put me under. I remember it clearly now. As I sunk deeper and deeper, I felt a terrible sadness come over me. From somewhere deep inside, like a river rising during a storm, I felt dreadful physical pain, beginning in my groin, travelling up through my bowels and stomach and into my chest. Then the dam burst. Tears poured out of me. I sobbed and sobbed and couldn't stop. I was aware of the doctor and my husband looking shocked and almost afraid. The doctor snapped me out of it as fast as he could but I continued crying, now back from the depths but not out of them. 

"Where did you go?" asked the doctor? I had no reply. I didn't know. All I knew was how much it hurt deep inside. Was this the load of repressed memories breaking through the layers and trying to get out? Did I face them at that time? Come to grips with them? To this day I still don't know, but once the headache subsided ... and it did within a couple of hours, I felt reborn, like a massive load had been taken out of my body, soul and mind. From then on, I've been able to live with the memories and put them out of my head at will instead of reliving and regurgitating them and making myself miserable by doing so. Was this the first step in my healing over 40 years ago now?

So now I listen to other victims' stories. They speak of their abusers, the monsters who came into their rooms at night. These were real monsters, not creatures of fiction. They didn't hide under the children's beds. These monsters were in their beds, in their bodies and in their heads ... just like my father was. And while many of my memories are dim now, that is one memory that I cannot shake: me lying there, praying "Not tonight, please! Not again!" Me tensing up, listening for the footsteps, the turning of the handle on my door, the shadowy figure stealing into my room and suddenly standing beside my bed. My father.  The monster in my bed. 

7 comments:

  1. Oh my dear Lord, reading this completely stopped me in my tracks. I did not suffer sexual abuse as a child, so I can't even begin to understand your suffering. But dear sweet Jesus ... how did you ever sleep? How did you ever rest? How did you function? I think of my own children and I want to cry for you. But you survived. Because you had no choice. Beautiful writing, by the way.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading this. Yes, I suppose for someone who has never experienced this, it's a shocker and sadly, so many, too many, think this doesn't really happen, at least not in their own families. But the reality, the statistics, are quite staggering. Incest is far more common than we realize or want to admit. That's why I'm appalled at your book being banned. This again is stinkin' thinkin' so to speak ie. pretend it doesn't happen and maybe it'll go away. That's why I'm writing my book and I'm glad writers like you are writing Little 15. Some writers write to entertain; others, like us, write to enlighten and the world sure needs enlightening!

      Thanks by the way for the compliments on my writing. Coming from you, it's appreciated.

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  2. Our bodies remember whether our minds do or not. That is where your sadness and crying came from, in my opinion. I had a friend who was a massage therapist give me a massage 2 different times where about halfway thru the massage, my body started trembling and each time did not stop for at least 30 minutes to an hour. I trembled uncontrollably. She said she had a man client who would also do that but didn't know of anyone else. She didn't know why it happened. I felt, at the time, that the trembling was my body's way of releasing some of the trauma of the incest.

    It isn't fair to ourself or others to compare our trauma to theirs. Sexual abuse affects us each in different ways. My sister who was fondled and verbally abused has deeper scars than I did which she still has not healed today. Anyone looking at the two of us would say my abuse with intercourse was worse. It all depends upon how we react to the abuse and how long we hold on to it rather than doing the necessary healing. Who can say that I hurt more than you hurt?

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    1. That's fascinating re the massage doing that to you Patricia. Thanks for sharing. What you say certainly might explain my rather explosive outburst of tears. And yes, you are so right that we really can't say one hurts more than another: it all does depend on how each of us processes the hurt. What seems major to one is minor for another and vice versa, just as everyday things impact each of us differently, some more, some less. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. My gosh hun. I do understand, all too well.

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    1. Ooh I know you do El. Thanks for posting.

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