The past is coming to the foreground because I disclosed the fact my oldest brother molested me when I was a child. This time I told my step-dad who was not around when it happened. We’re talking about forty years ago and yet it still has the power to derail me. Twenty years ago I told my siblings and confronted my brother. The dust had settled (or so I thought) until I talked to my step dad this weekend. My step dad cried and hugged me and today I got an email in which he wrote that I’m brave. I won’t go into all of that except to say I felt loved and supported. It was the right move to tell him.
However, I am inundated with images and feelings that continue to have a firm grip on me. The incest, the shame and guilt, the ways I misbehaved in the aftermath.
I wish I had the courage to do more. I should be protecting others. Courageously speaking out in public. Sharing my story to help others. Stopping the pattern of childhood sexual abuse. But I can’t because I still carry shame and a prevailing sense of unworthiness. I should, I should, I should… Oh, the guilt of it all.
Here are some examples that hurt deeply because it is not fair that I still feel guilt around incest:
I stole from my brother’s coin collection when I was 10 or 11 years old. Just as he snuck into my room at night, I would go into his room and unlock this tool chest that had stickers all over it saying, “Keep Out.” I took the coins that were old but still in circulation such as silver nickles, dimes and quarters and used them at the local penny candy store. My heart fills with shame for my actions. It was not me doing that. It was the violated girl getting her payback. Sometimes I feel he deserved it but other times I get this surreal feeling that I was driven by outside forces and I feel shameful. I never ever would have done such a thing if I hadn’t been sexually abused and so the shame in intertwined. What I did and what he did.
I got into a car accident and totaled the vehicle my brother was to get for his birthday from my mom. He was so mad at me and I felt guilty for it. I wonder if I subconsciously wanted to screw him out of the car. Again, I can go between feeling vindication and feeling shameful for crashing my mother’s car. What I did and what he did.
There should not be any sense of shame or guilt on my part when it involves the brother who committed incest upon my prepubescent body. But there is and I’m struggling right now.
Each time this brother brought up the things I did (and he did have the nerve to blame me!) I wish I had the courage to say, “You took away my innocence which is worth more than any coin collection or vehicle.”
I never said that. I should have.
My life is in a flashback. I feel weak. I was abused and I should not carry shame. This fight with myself that I judge what I feel is the inner critic speaking.
I’ve written about my desire to be mindful and compassionate and it must begin with me. I’ve got to quiet the inner critic that allows for a continuing sense of shame and guilt for something that happened so long ago.
Tears are bubbling at the surface because my feelings are so raw. Fuck the shame and guilt. I want them out of my life. 2013 is the year I recognize the ways I make myself suffer and focus on how to rid myself of feeling like a failure. I will be the survivor I like to call myself but right now I do not feel.