I am not healed…and that’s ok

By April M.D. Resnik                                                                                                                          12/9/18

How many times have I said these words to people, “You are never fully healed from sexual trauma. It never goes away. Your brain has been changed, and the biological change is not something that can be undone. But, you work with it and integrate it, mitigate the symptoms, and learn to live, hopefully well, with it.” I thought I believed this, I really and truly did. I thought I was living that. How arrogant and wrong I was. Because somewhere deep in my internal recesses, my unconscious had bought the curative hype. Some unspoken part of me thought I’d healed, thought I’d been cured, or pretty damn close to it. I wrote and spoke with confidence about the hardest parts of my childhood because some part of me not only felt healed, but believed I had found the key, had set my demons free, and was once and for all better. I hadn’t, I didn’t, I wasn’t. But I didn’t realize I had bought into these false confidences until my world cracked open and swallowed me whole.

He was my boyfriend at 16, we married at 22, we had a child at 30.

I’ve been facing the reverberations from being abused and raped at 8 years old, since I was in college. I’ve been consciously working on myself since I was 20, I am now 43. That work has shape-shifted and evolved over the years from cognitive behavioral therapy, to self-help books, to Jungian therapy. From meditation, to getting my master’s degree in meditation, to teaching meditation. From writing and art therapy, to creating my own blog, to writing poetry and publishing articles about my abuse. But through it all was one constant…my significant other. He was my boyfriend at 16, we married at 22, we had a child at 30. He has always known about my abuse, I told him when we were teenagers. He took it in stride and was unashamed. He was patient, my friend, my rock. He let me explore, explored with me, faced the intimacy challenges and worked to overcome them with me…until he stopped. I remember the day, years ago, I had a flashback during a particularly rough GYN exam. I called him afterwards shaking and crying. He coldly told me he was busy at work and would call me back. He never did. He texted to say he was headed home from work. He had totally forgotten that I had even called. I spent that afternoon sobbing on the floor with my dog. That day I knew, some part of me knew. My partner was gone. And still, the other part of me held on to what I thought was “unconditional love” as a cure-all, a backstop, a bedrock of my own healing. I see that now, all of it. The truth and the illusion. I did not see it fully then.

And everything I thought I knew about my healing…evaporated and was swallowed whole by grief

It took years for him to finally say the whole truth; that he was leaving me. That he’d found a new partner and was done being mine. On New Years Eve 2018, the truth came out of his mouth. No more us. (It took another few months for him to reveal he’d found a new partner, one who was a trusted family friend and coworker.) And in the many tear-soaked conversations we had about the dissolution of us, he laid his own issues, and his leaving, square at my feet. I believe his exact words were, “I became codependent and dysfunctional at 16, the day you told me about your abuse.” And everything I thought I knew about my healing, my ability to connect with another, my trust in myself and in love, in my own body, even in my voice…equally evaporated and was swallowed whole by grief. And that’s when I realized that I had bought into the curative fantasy. To spite my intelligence and my self-awareness. I had allowed myself to hold onto the love of another, as a huge part of my own healing and integration process. Only when my abandonment issues recently re-ravaged my body and brain did I realize I had truly, but foolhardily, believed that those demons had been exorcised. And I had believed they had been exorcised by someone else’s love. They hadn’t been banished, but only tamed and caged, by the false reliance on another. Not only had I believed that another person’s strength was my own, but that strength I had relied on, even if unconsciously, had itself been an illusion. I had relied on his love to redeem humanity, my past, and myself. It is time to see things clearly.

I am not going anywhere.

I am not healed, I am not cured, and I don’t need to be. I am simply integrating and moving with the trauma from being raped at 8 years old. I know this as a lived experience now. And I am finally learning to do it for myself, with myself, as myself…I hope. I am still in the midst of the divorce, and while the process is not over, his leaving is over. He can’t leave anymore than he already has, and yet I am still here. I am sometimes a mess of issues, of both mind and body. I know now down to my bones that will always be the case, perhaps to greater and lesser degrees given the day, and that is ok. There is no cure. I have PTSD and abandonment issues, and they will always need to be managed. I have no idea what any of that looks like moving forward. But I am also learning now that I won’t leave me. His strength was not my own, my strength is my own. His love did not save me, my own love for myself and that 8-year-old little girl, will save me. As much as anyone can be saved. Perhaps even that is inviting the curative fantasy back in. Rephrase: my own strength and love for myself and that 8-year-old little girl will hold me. That is the most I can do, and the MOST I can do. On those days ahead when my demons come to the surface screaming and sobbing, I will hold myself, I will learn to like myself, I will let go of my own shame instead looking to another to do so, and I will tell myself that I am here. And, I am not going anywhere.

Stories: I was counting on her

This is my story. Today I am 31. Up until the abuse started I had a great relationship with my parents. I was attached to my mom. I was called a daddy’s girl, I have 1 brother which is 3 years older than me. We lived in small country towns. Which was how my whole family lived. I feel that my brother was never really there for me which I could of used, specialy since he had too been sexualy assaulted, but doesn’t talk about it. Very sad story there. Now theis days we are distant to each other. Continue reading “Stories: I was counting on her”

Stories: Killing the Pain

My grandmother told me once, “I just don’t understand why you are so hell bent on destroying yourself.” I wasn’t either. I didn’t know why I would drink myself to oblivion, keep company with every abusive asshole that ever entered my path, ran around on empty, punishing myself. I thought I hated myself. I thought I hated myself but I didn’t know why I did. There was something in me that I was trying so hard to destroy and from the outside looking in, it did look like I was trying to destroy myself. Continue reading “Stories: Killing the Pain”

Stories: Getting Better Is My Main Focus

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”

Stories: A Buried Memory

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”

Stories: Books Were My Escape

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”

Stories: It Never Crossed My Mind the ‘Aunt’ Would Lie…And Be Believed

Warning: May contain triggers for survivors of childhood sexual abuse

I was seven or so the first time I was left alone with my ‘aunt’. We lived across the street and the family was a big part of our lives. The parting nasty reminder to ‘mind your aunt !’ …. I took that seriously, because of the physical and verbal violence that ensued whenever we were ‘bad’. We were bad a lot!

Continue reading “Stories: It Never Crossed My Mind the ‘Aunt’ Would Lie…And Be Believed”

Stories: Here’s a Story About a Young Girl

Warning: May contain triggers for survivors of childhood sexual abuse

Here’s a story about a young girl
It’s traumatic and tragic
If you are easily triggered with child rape child abuse and domestic violence please don’t read any further
There was a little girl who lived with her mother and two siblings
The mom was an ok mom even though drugs and alcohol ran her life
One day when she was about 5 her mom came to the 3 kids and told them someone new was moving in
The kids especially the little girl was estatic at the prospect of a new daddy
In the beginning he was pretty awesome buying them stuff and taking them places

Continue reading “Stories: Here’s a Story About a Young Girl”

Stories: A Fresh Start

Warning: May contain triggers for survivors of childhood sexual abuse

I was young, too young, to know what my two brothers were wanting me to do, like suck on my cousin’s penis and who knows who else…I blocked it out. Later in life, after my cousin lived elsewhere, my aunt/uncle lived in the house that this took place in. I babysat their kids and now know why I never wanted to stay overnight; my uncle would drive me back into town.

There were more instances of sexual abuse although more subtle, like my oldest brother putting his hands in my crotch to show me how to hike a ball. It’s like I can still feel his hands pressed against my crotch. Physical abuse went along with all of this.

Continue reading “Stories: A Fresh Start”