[I want to give you a heads up that my story is about childhood sexual abuse…and it is long. I have discovered that this topic is very difficult for many people. The eyes drop, the subject quickly changes, or there is a sympathetic but demeaning pat on the back meaning “you poor little thing.” I’m hitting this head on because I think it is needed.
Originally published 4/10/15
Little did I know when I wrote the last post, “Living Beyond Old Perspectives,” what was in store for me as I tried to elaborate on the question, “Can you allow yourself to be well?” Unbeknownst to me I was describing small side dishes when the whole smorgasbord of my wellness was awaiting my discovery.
The “wellness” thing took on a life of its own. Each new day I was transported to a new perspective on a completed healing that had taken place in me without realizing it. I was unaware of the degree of healing. One of those days, as I was mucking manure (strangely, a powerful meditative time for me), I knew I had to speak openly about my past. There was no question. No hesitation or second guessing. I knew what I had to do. I had a story to tell.
So here I speak. I was sexually molested as an infant and it is time for me to come out of the closet about that. How can that happen at that age you might ask? It was oral. The mouth is a private and intimate part of our bodies like a vagina. I was expecting a bottle and instead was violated. Hope and violation/disappointment, became a pattern in my life even in mundane things. I’ve written a couple of posts mentioning it and describing the profound healing that the horses have brought to me, in a beautiful four part story, The Horse Who Couldn’t Swallow: Part I (remember to scroll to the bottom for Part I) which was the turning point for me when patterns started to change, but I call those posts polished writing. You know, all dressed up for the public. But now, I need to get down to the grit and grime of the whole thing. Not the experience itself, but the aftermath, the hell, the little girl crying deep inside of me for years, the continual and tortuous pattern of hope and disappointment through my life, broken promises, and a broken mouth with teeth that needed constant fixing even after 10’s of thousands of dollars. And the guilt, oh! Always saying I’m sorry when I thought I was wrong or in the way (Women do this a lot. Have you noticed it at the supermarket?), and the shame, self-blame, false accusations, invalidations, arrogant condemnations, and living with constant fear and anxiety.
I struggled with shyness from not knowing what to say, repetitive dreams when I would be screaming and not be heard though someone was close by; or trying to speak and no sound coming out. I lived with wrenching emotional pain that everyday life experiences would bring; and betrayals when the going got rough by people who had promised I was safe with them, people I had trusted. I lived in a sort of tangled maze of confusion that these repetitive experiences brought. In my later life I was to learn that these were all rooted in that trauma as an infant.
For the bulk of my life, I had no idea what was going on. I did not yet know of my sexual violation. I just knew that I cried my heart out with the same emotional pain that was always attached to ever-changing life events. I just thought this was life. I remember pacing back and forth outdoors in the blackness of night while sobbing because of the darkness in my soul. I would ask God why it was appropriate to leave a spouse who is beating you up, but it was not acceptable to leave the planet that is serving up such viscious emotional pain.
There was one night when my spouse could not deal with my distress (which was interwoven with his contribution to it, to be sure). He walked out for the evening and I sat for hours it seemed, with a loaded gun resting on my mouth. No one knew. I was in torment inside. But all of this was undercover except to those closest to me but much was hidden even from them. I appeared normal to others. There was a subtlety to it. My ongoing pattern of abuse was not blatant even in my relationships. It was mostly internal. No. Wait. It was internal only because the abuse was not obvious to me as abuse and I assumed it was all about me, meaning my fault because I needed to grow so I wouldn’t be bothered anymore. I was accused of being too sensitive. I felt my life was normal, so all I knew to do was to live it as normally as I could and diligently work through each challenge in order to grow from it. I was desperate to fix myself.
After years of growing and changing even though valid and real, I began to realize that there was no end to it no matter how much I had grown, no matter how much self discovery I had gained. There was always another experience like another endless wave that brought the same pain, often in relationships. But always shrouded in some kind of logic or mind games. The logic and my emotions were at war.
During these years I was gradually being given the indicators of the childhood molestation, getting pieces of it from time to time through guided imagery, dreams, a knowing that would hit me when reading a book, watching a documentary on sexual abuse, or through movies, one in particular. It would hit a chord deep inside and the tears of understanding would flow. It took years to unravel. I was matter of fact about it because I felt no emotion around the knowledge of it.
I am now in my 70’s and it wasn’t until these past 15 years that I began to understand clearly that there was a connection between the emotions, the repetitive abusive patterns, the pain I experienced in my everyday adult life and the sexual abuse I experienced as a helpless infant.
It became clear to me that it was not the circumstances of life and relationships that were the issue. The real issue was the repressed emotions that the experiences evoked.
That was pivotal. The circumstances were merely the triggers of the original pain. Once I got that, and understood I was dealing with the impact of sexual abuse on my life, I was guided by my 6 horses into an intensive healing process that actually worked. They encouraged me to go through the pain that had been knocking at my door for a lifetime which now had an identity, and to go beyond the pain into the depths of my soul. They offered me comfort and survival tools as they took on some of my pain and carried it for me often in physical form. These rescued horses became my divine rescuers. (About: Herd)
I would never want to relive those recent years. I hit rock bottom. At one time in my life a millionaire, I was then penniless and homeless due to actions of those I had trusted. I began to feel I had no clue about how to navigate life. I could only turn my pain and wide-eyed bewilderment into tears of compassion for that little child, the infant me, who so many years ago was maliciously violated by someone familiar, someone my parents trusted so she trusted too. Someone who became the enemy of her soul.
I could only weep for her inability to speak at that time, to tell her story. I could only wrap my mystical arms around her and hold her through the ages as I shared in her pain of having her beautiful trust torn to shreds. I wept for the cruel rape of her purity and vulnerability. I could only reach back through time and relieve her of her raw pain as I carried it for her now, to intercede through eternity as I lifted the loneliness and terror off her bleeding soul. I cradled her as I understood at the most base level the attack on her childhood innocence within her first year of life. I wept for her bewilderment of a breach so deep she could not grasp it in her mind but felt the slashing in her soul.
I whispered words of love and healing, and told her who she would become, and that her tender mouth was meant to sing joyful songs, to giggle with the zest for life, to laugh from the heart, and to speak healing truths and words of love and hope as she grew in stature. I reassured her that the seeds of her true self were safe and protected and would some day grow and flourish.
I could only hold her in the stillness, in the darkness, hold her close to my mothering heart to calm her fear, close to my breath that offered her life until this time in our lives when we could merge into one, living together into our mutual healing.
Living in the Healing
Those days have at last arrived, mother and child celebrating our new life together, our day to day discovery of what living in wellness really means. In our merging we experience life in a new way, seeing the same ol’ things with new eyes, and with a new feeling.
This is not the end of the story. It is just the beginning. This story is about the healing, a merging with the past, letting the light of today overcome the darkness of yesterday! The child has been rescued. In our escape we’ve burst through the Narnia “wardrobe closet” into the land of mystical living. We are soaking in a new reality, the stuff that special dreams are made of and of which fairy tales speak. It is about colors being more vivid, sounds being more musical, voices sounding more youthful, smiles more engaging, scents more delicate, feelings more expansive. It is the fulfillment of the lifetime longings which we believed could never happen. It is living in our inner home-place nestling in with our true selves now reunited and made whole. We are living beyond old perspectives, into new perspectives now made known. Sound like heaven? Yeah. Right here on earth.
[I shared this story to bring hope to others who have their own story to uncover. I share my story of pain because it was real and I want others to know that theirs is real as well. I share my story to validate the serious impact sexual molestation has on the life of the victim. It took me a lifetime to understand that. It is not something to gloss over, brush off, or take lightly whether you are the victim or you know the victim. But most of all I share to bring hope of complete healing when peace, joy, love, and hope become the new norm in our lives. It’s not an easy road, nor has it been anyway, but please don’t dismiss your potential for healing because your circumstances were different from mine, or your pain issues are different. The rescue is on the way. We can all be thriving survivors of sexual or any kind of abuse! It doesn’t mean that life becomes perfect, it just means we see life moving forward with new eyes because the baggage is gone.]