Last month, I traveled outside of the country for the first time. I was so excited. I have always wanted to travel, explore somewhere new, and I was finally given that chance. We went to Germany, for a wedding, right outside of Munich. It was a beautiful country, honestly, and I had a wonderful time. The wedding was beautiful. We did a bike tour of Munich, and another of Salzburg. We went and looked at castles. I stared up in awe at the Alps, and went into old cathedrals, and just took in the beauty of it all in total awe. The pictures don’t do it justice.
My family left on a Tuesday, and my flight left on a Thursday, so I had some extra time to explore. I decided to devote a day to check out Dachau, a concentration camp not far from the city. It was something my parents had done early in the trip, while I took my sister to the aquarium, that I had decided was especially important to see.
Continue reading “Ivy”
For those who have been sexually abused as a child, there are many aspects of adult life where the impact can still be felt, including relationships. Whether it is a friend, romantic partner, or child, navigating relationships can sometimes be uniquely challenging. Here are some numbers shared by survivors who participated in our Childhood Abuse and Sexual Trauma (CAST) survey:
More than 8 in 10
Of those surveyed indicated that their relationships with their friends, colleagues, and classmates have been impacted by their childhood sexual abuse.
Continue reading “CSA and Relationships – By The Numbers”
I have spoken before about how my abuse as a child has caused me to have moments in life that lead to me shutting down. I’m learning that this often happens as a self- defense mechanism.
A survival tool I was never aware I had built into my skill set. A direct response to a threat.
What I neglected to mention and what is equally if not more important, is that each time I resurface from these dark corners of doubt I come back ten times stronger for having been there.
The resilience and the sheer will it takes to face past experiences head on and to continue to claw out of the hurt and keep going holds transforming power. Power that can only be gained from experiencing a specific type of pain.
Continue reading “Stronger in the Broken Places”
First abuse – I was barely 3 years old….a foster home with I don’t even remember how many boys. I was barely 20 and a mom of twins. One child was epileptic and both had learning issues. My family wasn’t as supportive as they could be, and I was pregnant again. Only there’s a slight change this time – I might not be sure of the father, only because I was no longer compliant for sexual exploitation anymore. So he would take the instant gratification and go.
I literally dreamed of her and knew all about her. Even before they could tell what sex! But what if she was his? Would I reject her? Would I love her? What if she’s not his? What if she’s my boyfriends? I picked a family who made all kinds of promises, but they cut me out . She was my boyfriend’s baby but I couldn’t tell everyone. I couldn’t find my voice. I couldn’t fight for myself as usual.
Continue reading “Stories: Getting Better Is My Main Focus”
For most of my life I have been an open book. I like swapping “war stories” with friends/strangers and hearing other people’s life mistakes and successes, and how they have grown and learned from each experience. I’m proud of where I am and who I have become, so I like telling stories about my past experiences and reflecting on where I have been, where I could have ended up, and how far I have come. I guess it’s not a surprise that I’ve come to share this experience, but it is not something I thought I would ever do. This was one experience in my life that I didn’t know how to talk about. Continue reading “Sweeping It Under the Rug”
I had buried the memory of the incident. It only came rushing back into my mind when someone sent a Facebook suggestion that I be his friend. My immediate visceral response was an unequivocal NO.
I reached out to a trusted friend – someone who I had gone through life coach training with and who I knew it was safe to be vulnerable with. I told her my story of when I was about 7 and said, “He molested me, or, well, he touched me inappropriately.” She kindly and firmly told me, “That is molestation.”
Continue reading “Stories: A Buried Memory”
Warning: May contain triggers for survivors of childhood sexual abuse
It’s a fog, but I believe it started at 3yrs. I remember 3 distinct occasions where I was raped by the man who my mother had a relationship with. However, I believe that it happened regularly.
I didn’t understand at the time what was going on, but as I grew older I read and I understood what it was. Books were always my escape. At around 8, was when I knew what he was doing to me. I lived in constant fear, of men being alone with them. I was always anticipating the moment. Continue reading “Stories: Books Were My Escape”
I have been to exactly 6 sessions of therapy now. Three with the initial guy and three with the woman who had been pushing the meds.
I try to rationalize not going every time.
I still think most therapists are self absorbed douche-lords (sorry to my friends and family in this profession) and I sometimes can’t help but think I could do a much better job at it which leads to bitter thoughts on profession choice which leads to even more bitter thoughts on how I didn’t really have a choice to choose a profession.
I’m not sure if it is helpful but I did have a sort of mini revelation the other day when meeting with the woman therapist. The man was always talking about himself, but she is a tiny bit more contemplative and encouraging. I’m not the kind to open up easily.
Continue reading “Talking it out”
Something that is difficult to explain to those who have not lived through violation as a child is the monumental effort it requires to try to trust anyone or anything in life.
I’m fairly certain that I have never experienced a “healthy” relationship.
I don’t even know what that means.
I wasn’t given the tools to build trust or to engage in productive connection building outside of the hell I was trying to navigate as a young child. That was my normal. My reality. My “healthy”.
I have often heard other survivors express that they feel as if they have a target on their backs. That predators, sexual or otherwise, can sense us from miles away and are able to find and easily exploit our weakness. Hurt us over and over again.
Continue reading “Trust Issues”
It seems hard to conceive. Forgiveness? Why should I give him forgiveness? In my case, he’s not around to apologize. He’s not even alive to benefit from it. Why should I bother, when he hurt me without my consent, and left my family alone to pick up the mess?
The concept of forgiveness isn’t new to me. Back in college, during my happiness seminar, we were supposed to work on letters of forgiveness. She told us not to forgive our level ten pain, but instead to choose a five or six. I didn’t have a level five or six pain. I had a level ten. That day in class, I was antsy, my heart raced, as I prepared to sit down and work through things I hadn’t worked through in years. A classmate decided she wanted to work outside, and a bunch of us joined her. We talked about anything other than forgiveness, and fulfilled a different class objective. I dodged my bullet.
Continue reading “Weighing Forgiveness”