August 25, 2019 at 5:22 pm #309281
I am an adult survivor of childhood abuse of many forms, including sexual abuse. In my case, it relates to strangers, my mother and siblings, stepsiblings, foster siblings, classmates, neighbors and an employer’s son. I tend to want to minimize and say that it wasn’t as bad as so many other survivor stories, but the truth is, cumulatively, it has had devastating impacts on my life.
My parents divorced after an affair when I was 6 months old. He was a barely there kind of Dad who regularly told me how much he hated my mom in one breath and when angry at me, how much like my mom he was, as well as what a great lay she was. I saw him with my other siblings about 10 days out of every year, at most. Some not seeing him for a year at a time.
My first recollection of sexual abuse is of a man exposing himself to me in his car parked in the large empty parking lot of the now defunct Santa’s Village. I was probably under the age of five and recall a second memory where I am walking up his driveway hearing his wife yelling at him. The second time was when I was 9, about to turn 10 and on one of the rare instances where my mother spent alone time with me, we watched the movie Roots (a 6-part miniseries about American slavery). She masturbated to fruition as I lay frozen, knowing the entire time what was happening. There were several years where she would masturbate beneath the covers while I stood before her for the obligatory off to school kiss goodbye. I also saw her standing on the phone, talking to someone as she fondled herself below her clothes for several minutes.
Growing up there were four boys and four girls from my parents, the 2 oldest, with their own issues, oldest sister gone when I was six and my oldest brother gone when I was about 9. My older sisters served as actual mothers to us, so their leaving was devastating. As I got older, the oldest sisters left, as they should, but at 15 when my closest sister, the next one to leave was gone, I really began to spiral. There were usually seven to ten children living in the house at one time. This including my 3-4 biological brothers and summer stays and regular visits from 3 stepbrothers, and 2 male foster children (one of 4 who passed through our chaotic and abusive doors).
One, foster brother, whose mother also lived with us, fondled himself in front of me when I was very young, he was younger than me, probably 5. He was naked and tried to mount me. I told his mother, a recent release from the county jail (my mother somehow was able to bring them both in as she was a foster parent to her child and getting her hours to become a therapist), I guess his mom talked to him because it never happened again. (I found out later this boy’s mom had been incarcerated related to complicity in her husband’s sexual abuse of someone). Later, the second previously incarcerated mother brought in, attempted suicide naked and I witnessed her walking in front of me while bleeding, knife still stuck in her and falling apart, she had stabbed herself just above her pelvis in the pubic region.
In about third grade, I was pounced upon beneath the jungle gym by a boy who had opened his pants. I fought him off and said nothing. As a teenager, my brothers (older or with a younger step brother), used to watch Showtime when it first came out in the early 80’s which previewed endless hours of the same, mind numbing music video of a spinning platform where 6 or 8 super-modelesque beauties in identical bathing suits did kneeling jazzercize. I’d walked in the room on two different occasions and they would not stop masturbating – under blankets, but clearly, they all knew they were doing it.
For several years, there was an older foster brother who drilled holes from his room into the girl’s bathroom (my older sister and I used that at the time, ages 11& 14, respectively) and doing the same thing into our bedroom. His bedroom was right between those two rooms. When it was finally discovered, My mother, a mandated reporter by that time, did nothing. The holes were spackled and it began again. I was also digitally penetrated at age 13 when my older step brother went from gently encouraging me to kiss him and lightly touching my body to actually digitally penetrating me without warning or consent, I ran away from him upset, told my sister who as a child herself only knew to help me not feel ashamed – which I still did. I didn’t speak of it again for decades. At around 14 or 15, my brother-in-law groped me while drunk, putting his tongue on my face. Again, my mother a mandated reporter, did nothing. I later found out my second to oldest sister tried to out my mom to therapist colleagues who outed my sister, not believing her story. My mother’s wrath ensued.
As a teenager, my mom refused to buy necessities for me, including clothes, so at age 14 she required I get a job. She left to pursue Feldenkrais training in another state for the summer, three summers in a row. During this time of my life, I was pursued by a man eight to ten years older who would drive me home from work, then grope me in his car. I had no idea it was wrong, no parent wondering why I wasn’t home at midnight on a school night. I have blocked out much of the memories but do not believe we had sex but do remember him saying he would teach me how to be the best at satisfying a man. This went on for about a year.
I was also picked up at a bus stop by a man who offered to help me get to work on time (yes, I hitchhiked regularly back then). He lied about his age and later we met. He manipulated me into agreeing to have sex – the only blessing being he came down with severe diahhrea, hence his molestation thwarted, at least partially. I found out later that he was 27, I, about 16. There were many older men who pursued me up until the age of 18. At the age of 19, I became involved with a man 14 years older than me with my mother and father’s blessing. This man was a bus driver and drove my school route as a city bus driver from junior high throughout high school. Four years into our relationship, he inadvertently revealed his porn addiction and affair with an adult even younger woman than me at that time.
The stories of sexual predation upon me continued well into adulthood, though never forcibly raped, what I call that locker room ‘ooops, maybe I did go a bit too far, but I couldn’t help it’ stuff began – I have had three men just throw themselves on me and act like their so drunk or sleepy they just didn’t realize what they were doing. There are many more stories, some even as an adult with partners sexually abusing me but feel the purpose of this forum is to share the incidents that happened as a child. The miserable history, thereafter, just mirroring the intensity of what I saw as a child and young adult.
I began therapy years ago, only to be told that “any mother would have lost her mind – good to forgive” before I even had a chance to process any of it. My mother assaulted me physically about 12 years ago, did not step up to heal that and by doing so, opened up years of pain on the neglect that had been going on for so long. She was always a person who played favorites and used her children as literal slaves to her, from childhood throughout adulthood, she mistreated me. My father a lifelong addict regularly using me as a mule and invalidating any efforts I had to get him to own his neglect and emotional abuse.
I have begun to share the stories. Being here helps to just say it. – by being here, the world knows now I am an adult survivor of child sexual abuse – and I miraculously survived. I was suicidal at 9, suffered from hairpulling as young child, bulimia as a teenager (again, my mother, a mandated reporter, did nothing). Experimented with drugs and used marijuana to help numb the pain. The healing process is taking time. I’m 52 now and spent the past five years in weekly visits to an IFS therapist, psychiatry for major depression, c-ptsd, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, and so on. I am now in a survivors’ group and feel empowerment beginning to flow again. I have felt so broken for so long, knowing that if I didn’t get help the depression might get the best of me. So here I am – I AM HERE NOW! That is my new mantra taken from the woman abducted by a terrible man for 10 years. I AM HERE NOW! That I, is now the mother to my child that never was protected, taught, nurtured and valued. I am here now for her because she is so incredibly worthy of being loved and protected. They had a choice and they did not choose me. I choose me now and they can deal with being outed and/or confronted by me which I have done in part with both my father and in part with my mother. They are both 82 and have not taken any real, meaningful ownership. So, I divorce them now, knowing that in order to protect my inner child, I can ‘t have further contact without a sincere “I’m so sorry”, and “how can I make it better?”, with actual follow-through on that. As it stands now, I must prepare myself for not having the burden taken off my heart by them – I must do it for myself. I practice prayer, meditation, IFS, animal and nature therapy, improved my diet, take vitamins, go to groups and I am slowly rebuilding my life one day, one new healthy friendship, owning my truth, loving my wounds, trying to rejoice in each new victory at a time. (finally, after approximately 300 units of college, have obtained my BA in women and gender studies, and finishing one last semester for a minor and certificate in holistic health. My hope being that I might continue to use the pain of my trauma to bring greater understanding, compassion and healing to those who also suffer.
I believe every child needs one champion – an aunt, a neighbor, anyone who is willing to listen and also stand up for them. I have a son now who is 23. He has witnessed the consequences and fallout and we have a very close, authentic relationship. Fortunately, he is doing amazing – is self-possessed and self-loving. So beautiful to know I have contributed to that. He is the reason I am alive, for I would never want to burden him by leaving this world. And, he tells me I am a very good mother. I believe this is true and it is because I had such good examples of what not to be.
My son’s friend and I became acquainted and a couple years ago, at 22, he revealed the sexual abuse of his stepfather, lasting from 5 to 11. If it weren’t but for my sexual abuse, I couldn’t have sensed his tentative, masked conveyances of abuse. I listened and heard him, asked questions, paid attention to him, and gradually his story unfolded. It took time, work with detectives for a year, but this year, that man was sent to prison. So, in one real, significant way, my sorrow served in uniting me in compassion with this young man. This unity creating a safe place for him to work with authorities to out this man and bring him to justice (a 16-year sentence). I am thankful now, in a strange way, because without what I have gone through, I don’t know if I would have had the insight needed to help save this boy the injury of having this man in his family home. I also get to mentor him in his recovery which is of great solace as well.
I will never get back what was taken as a child who was never taught self-worth, to respect herself, to have boundaries, but I can learn to find what was taken and integrate that back into who I am becoming. I thank you for reading and if you are suffering, reach out, please, it’s never your fault and you deserve to be heard and supported in a genuine recovery of those parts that got left behind.
If you managed to read all this, I want to thank you. This truth telling is part of the recovery process I am in. I hope to hear from other survivors about how they overcame childhood sexual abuse and what part truly confronting any of the abusers played. There are so many, so many I don’t even remember their names. I just wonder if that really even matters. My fear is that both my parents will die without ever truly understanding or feeling sorry for how they abused and neglected me.
Thank you again for any reading my story and any kind support you may have.August 25, 2019 at 6:17 pm #309285
What a heart breaking story: the story of your childhood and the untold stories of the other children (biological, step, foster) unfortunate enough to spend any time in the home of your childhood- heart breaking and horrifying,
Congratulations for having “a very close, authentic relationship” with your 23 year old son, for him “doing amazing- ..(being) self possessed and self-loving”.
And for helping your son’s friend, bringing his sexual abuser to justice, receiving a 16 year sentence.
And for your bachelor degree in women and gender studies and minor and certificate in holistic health.
If I read correctly, you maintain absolutely no contact with your parents. I hope this is the case.
Any inappropriate sexual behavior on the part of parents directed at their children- or available for the children to witness- is horrifying and you experienced that, and sexual abuse by others. I am so sorry.
It is a good thing that you helped and are helping others. And yourself, most importantly, being kind and loving to yourself.
August 25, 2019 at 6:26 pm #309289
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by anita.
Thank you Anita. This was the part about the sexual abuse. The physical, emotional and psychological abuse and neglect are another novel or three that I can’t yet bring myself to write. I have a lot of anger and know that anger has frequently been turned on myself. I know this brokenness is also a source of strength. I just wish I knew how to fully break free of the intense shame childhood abuse brings with it. I’m learning to live with and love those wounded parts of me, that on its own is a huge accomplishment. Thanks again for reading and for your kind words of support.August 25, 2019 at 8:00 pm #309299
You are welcome. I would like to read and reply to your recent post when I am back to the computer in about 10 hours from now.
anitaAugust 26, 2019 at 9:05 am #309365
Emotional, physical and sexual abuse are not separate categories of abuse, except on paper, as in an academic study of it perhaps. But practically, everything that is emotional is physical, nothing that we experience is outside the physical. The three types of abuse are very much interconnected.
I was abused emotionally-physically-sexually as well. My mother didn’t perform a certain activity you mentioned in front of me, not that I remember, but she told me in detail about the sexual activities of my father (with his mistresses), thes exual activities of her sisters (my aunts), cousins and neighbors, anyone and everyone. I was way too young for such information, and coming from my mother, I wouldn’t want it at any age.
I felt intense shame regarding my body from an early age. When I became legally an adult, I wanted love, craved to be hugged, and men were willing to hug me but in the context of sex. I was too ashamed to want that, or to participate in such with any degree of comfort. Tthose were bad experiences that scarred me further.
It is common for girls in particular, who experienced a childhood home where they were not valued, to enter adulthood and be taken advantage of by men, men looking for young women who crave love and think little of themselves. And so, even if a girl was not sexually abused as a child, coming into the world as a young woman, she becomes a sexual prey, being used this way, a humiliating and painful experience.
If you would like to share more about your hurt and anger, shame and strength, please do. I would like to read more from you and when I do, I will reply to you every time.
anitaAugust 26, 2019 at 10:54 am #309379
I am so glad you have proclaimed yourself to be the champion of your Inner Child. That is SO important!
Getting that creep sentenced to a well deserved 16 years in jail carries HUGE symbolic weight in the spiritual world. You have earned energetic street cred. No one will mess with you or yours ever again in your lifetime. Or lifetimes beyond.
The book Apology might be of interest to you. This woman wrote it in her dead father’s voice. She wrote (and published!) the apology we all need but have never gotten (until now!!)
All my Best,
InkyAugust 26, 2019 at 11:48 am #309393
Hi Anita and Inky, Thanks so much for listening and being here.
I am in the outing phase, I left my mother a general voicemail message with a statement about my need for her to own her abuse before she dies. Wrote, sent, then withdrew my letter to the State Board re MFT licenses. Wanting to give her a chance to fix this. My father – beyond repair as he is still an addict. The message was left to her three days ago – no response thus far. And yes, no contact is where I have been with both of them for a long time.
I have also been struggling to deal with the mirror image of her, ex boyfriend who masturbated in bed with his 12 year old daughter, ran away with hard drives, porn addicted man who also assaulted me many times and raped me. I am about to out him to authorities as well but struggle with knowing that the ex-wife, who knows about his deviant behavior has indicated ‘that she is handling it’. The problem is that I saw what was on those hard drives, and at least one image was highly suspect and that he told me about the pleasuring himself while she was sleeping, 3 times (this, after I had tentatively told him the trauma of my mother laying next to me while we watched TV, and he told me about his masturbating next to his sleeping daughter. I’m getting help through Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, therapist, sisters, friends, psychiatrist, as well. Its all just so triggering. Its me trying to get me back. And you are right – it all comes down to the body. My poor brain was damaged as a child through 7 skull fractures (only one accounted for from a fall), as well as from the ongoing trauma I witnessed. The Body Keeps the Score is a book that describes well the brain changes just trauma can entail.
Needless to say, all of this makes me incredibly angry that someone could cause so much damage to my little girl, that she learned not to protect herself. The verbal, psychological and other physical violence I have experienced since childhood have had a tremendous toll on me. C-ptsd is like having a latent stroke, suddenly everything is a challenge and I feel like I’m relearning how to be me again, while simultaneously trying to the right thing for the little girl left with my ex, my little girl, those barely-if that legal girls I saw being brutalized on his computer. I’m in panic attack mode and doing IFS self-therapy to try and get through them.
I have intense shame knowing no one thought I was worthy of a champion. I feel shame for not going to the police for all the times I as an adult was abused. Everybody got away with it and I just shake my head in confusion and disbelief that my story is real and I did nothing and everybody else did nothing too.
Anita, I hope what I’m saying isn’t triggering you and very sorry that you experienced such painful wounding as a child. And Inky, I will check out Apology too – I need all the help I can get.
Thanks and hugs to you both.