I wrote those words in my journal over 20 years ago, when I was young and dealing with the aftermath of an incestual childhood.
I’ve come a long way since then. I no longer feel afraid of social situations and in fact, I’m often the person organizing social events. There’s no magic going on, I attribute my personal growth to many years of therapy that have allowed me to become more comfortable in my own skin. And, no less worthy of acknowledgment, is the class of drugs known as SSRI’s. They have undoubtedly helped me become more consistent in my behavior and thoughts which has caused me to feel less fearful about exposing myself. Over time, therapy and antidepressants allowed me to become the person I was meant to be.
Why was I afraid of people? Why did I feel alone and alienated?
Here’s my story…
I didn’t just learn to hide my feelings I buried them deep. It’s something I had no control over. As a youngster, In order to go to school each day, after my brother sexually molested me in my bed at night, I had to shut down all emotions. I lost my free-will to speak easy and act naturally. I began to pretend I was normal so my siblings & family, friends, teachers and everyone else would not know I had a horrible secret. If I told, I would be ridiculed and ostracized.
My middle childhood was full of sexual innuendo and sexism against women. The worst of it occurred in my own house with 2 older brothers that idolized Farrah Fawcett, big tits and perfect asses. No way in hell would I tell anyone that my brother was rubbing his dick on my 9-year-old ass. Sexuality was a topic I feared most because I didn’t want anyone to recognize me as a sexual person. My coping skills kicked in and I shut down my emotions.
Well, not entirely. I became angry. I rebelled. I used the worst language I could think of, anything to deflect from my inner turmoil. The teacher’s didn’t know what to do with me, my siblings stayed clear of me (except the one molesting me), my friends saw me as a tough girl and my parents lost control. From age 13 to 18, the only emotion I knew was anger and a superficial sense of power I could get by seducing any guy I wanted. I abused that power and flirted, teased and had sex with many men. But, that’s not love; it’s really a form of self-hate that I fucked guys because I knew they would like it. This behavior offered a false sense of control over my life. The emotions on the inside were completely screwed-up.
In college, I alienated myself. I had one friend who liked to drink and party at the bars so we shared that experience, but, never more than that. She once told me she could only have an orgasm when her boyfriend gave her oral sex. I freaked out with this disclosure. This was way too much information and it scared me. I backed off from the relationship because there’s wasn’t a chance in hell I would share my sexual encounters with a trusting girlfriend. (I had told a boyfriend that my brother abused me but it was the sex that gave me the sense of intimacy, nothing like the safety of a protective girlfriend.)
I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that my dad died while I was in college. Without any familiarity on how to grieve, I cut off from people more than I ever had before. I couldn’t openly express my sadness to anyone (including my family) so I spent a year crying, alone in my dorm room. One time a friendly girl knocked on my door to offer comfort and I told her I couldn’t talk right then. I regretted I wasn’t able to accept her offer of friendship and I blamed myself for my self-imposed isolation.
I began to panic if I had to be spontaneous and natural so I avoided social interactions, at all costs. My days were filled with intellectual pursuits, which gave me a high GPA when I graduated from college. But, I was without friends.
I hated myself and how I behaved. I recognized an unwarranted fear of emotional expression. I knew I deserved a better life.
I sought out my first psychologist in college, a freebie offered in the college health center. Her name was Dawn and I began to talk about my upbringing. I never told her about the sexual abuse but just the fact that I shared any emotion was a big step.
I met my husband in college and the sexual intimacy was so perfect I mistook it for a healthy relationship. But, it was far from it and over time, I challenged him by having sex with other men, getting a venereal disease and threatening to commit suicide. I was testing him repeatedly to see how much he loved me. Could he stand all of my fucked-up ways of expressing myself? I cried often and told him that I wasn’t worth the trouble.
I was tall, slim and unknowingly pretty with an arrogance that attracted men. But, my husband was the first guy I exposed all of my weaknesses and frailties to. He stuck by me, pledged his love and continually asked me to marry him. It took 7 years until I finally said yes. Once we were married, we suffered infertility problems. Imagine, a woman who doesn’t speak of her sexuality having to go to a doctor and talk about vaginal mucus, sperm counts and intercourse? Holy fuck. That was when I broke apart. The emotions were too great and I sought the help of the first therapist that I disclosed what my brother did to me.
I knew my inability to cope with the demands of infertility treatments were directly related to sexual abuse. I opened the window a crack and began to delve into my past in order to make a better future…
Today, I’m putting my life in an order that I never have before. It’s felt like one crazy, fucked-up year after another. Until the past 10 years where my life has settled and become predictable and stable.
I will tell you about therapy and all of the breakthrough’s in future blogs. I think I’m ready to put the pieces together, to look back at where I’ve been and to feel grateful for where I am now. I recognize the effort and hard work I’ve put into it. It’s time for me to assimilate the past with the present. ♥