My story goes back so far, I can’t even remember.
My survival technique was disassociation. That means I separated my conscious mind from my body – so most of my childhood memory, during the times of my abuse, is hidden deep in my subconscious.
I was a child, just starting school, when the grooming began.
I had not the slightest idea what was even happening, and didn’t for a long time. Even when I was older and learned what it was, I couldn’t make sense of it – or how that’s what was happening to me, because i believed the person grooming me LOVED me.
As I grew up and started to learn about the world I somehow eventually figured out that what was happening wasn’t right, but i didn’t know how to stop it.
At some point I started to think it was my fault.
I told myself this must be what I deserve. There were other things going on in my home at the time so I wasn’t the focus. I needed someone to love me, and that was an opportunity for it all to continue.
After additional incidents with different people I started to tell myself I was nothing, and that they could all see it, and that’s how they found me. I became depressed and started contemplating suicide.
It was a decade of abuse before I finally told someone.
It was in the midst of anger when I finally whispered it to someone. Once I said it out loud, I had hoped for relief, but it only felt like a blanket of shame and disgust. I hated that I shared it, but at least the abuse finally stopped.
He ran away, and I was sent to group therapy.
Everyone around me acted like nothing happened and the world kept spinning, everyday, meanwhile I was dying inside.
I quit therapy because I didn’t find it helpful. No one who knew ever asked about it again.
The depression continued but I didn’t bother saying anything because it didn’t seem as if anyone cared. I longed for someone to care for me. I needed someone to see and want me. I continued to struggle through toxic friendships and relationships because I didn’t understand what a healthy balanced relationship was between two people.
I went to college away from home to see what it was like. I was shy but my roommate was not and I’m grateful for that. She introduced me to everyone and it created a confidence in me that I had never known. It showed me that people can appreciate me for who I am and not what I am.
I got married to my childhood friend who made me feel safe. I was able to share with him what happened, and that sometimes I get emotional or scared. I didn’t know at the time but I was experiencing triggers through my environment, which caused me to panic as if I was back in the moments of abuse.
Years later, I joined a company that had a foundation for women who had been abused.
I watched their stories and wanted so badly to get help but was terrified about what I would have to do or remember in the process. It wasn’t until I became pregnant with my daughter that my stress went through the roof. I was terrified of what could happen to her and once she started daycare, I was crying nearly everyday.
I was listening to an audiobook where the author spoke about working on herself because she didn’t want to pass down her triggers to her children. That’s when I knew I couldn’t keep pushing this off. I applied to the foundation and was accepted.
That was the BEST decision I ever made!! I met other women like me. They thought like me, not as identical twins – but they could see inside my soul because theirs matched. We all came from different places in all aspects, but we shared that dark awful connection. I felt so accepted and loved in the shortest amount of time. I know it’s not the best thing to have in common but it connected us. We felt safe because we knew there were no judgments, no confusion, no questioning about if what happened could have been our faults.
They helped me find myself, the real self that I hadn’t known in over 30 years.
I continue now with therapy, to dig through my subconscious and have learned so much about myself. I still have down days but now I can give them a name and work through it.
*note: throughout my life I had good times, laughed a lot and met so many amazing people. While a lot of my life was rough and still haunts me, I don’t want you to think it was all horrible. I built my armour around me to survive but now, I’m living. *