x138 (done)

Question

Image by Roland O’Daniel, used with Creative Commons License

I’m done asking questions.

For just over three years now, I’ve been praying daily for closure and for the courage and strength to ask questions. Someone I spoke to that December told me to “be selfish, ask questions, and don’t worry about people’s responses.” And yet, when I tried to talk to people (including the person who gave me that advice) about the possible history of the suspected offender, I got nothing. I got shut down.

For just over three years now, I’ve lived in fear, wanting answers but afraid to seek them.

No more.

I have stopped praying for the strength to ask questions. I no longer wish to bring up a topic that no one seems to want to discuss. The more distance there is, the more I doubt myself and the more I feel others doubt me. Surely if something had happened, I would have remembered it by now. Surely if the trauma I do remember was legitimate, more people would have helped me go through my healing process and listened to me when I said it was an issue. Now, I realize that it is my body, and I get to decide what is sexual abuse or trauma and what isn’t. I also realize that I could go my whole life without recovering a memory and it would not make my perceived trauma any less true or difficult for me to experience. But that is not always what other people seem to be thinking. I have put so much stake in outside validation that it has caused me to doubt myself when I need to be focused on my healing.

I do not have the strength to be selfish, ask questions, and not worry about people’s responses. I do not have the strength to doubt myself or my experiences so consistently. When I first started talking about the initial issue, the trauma that I do remember, I received validation from a precious few people. I will hang on to that and remember that I am the one who gets to decide what is traumatic for my body. I don’t need to ask questions. I need to move forward and heal.

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4 responses to “x138 (done)

  1. I’m so sorry that happened to you. For what it’s worth, I want you to know that I believe something inappropriate and awful happened to you. You may have blocked some of it out because of trauma. This is called disassociation, and is a way that a victim tries to cope with a horrible reality. It doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen, and that feeling will not go away. You can suppress it, but it will come out. Like any pain, it will wait for you. On top of that, there are three reasons that easily come to mind for the frustrating lack or withdrawal of outside corroboration. It’s hard for me to be neutral here. Somehow, I’m already on your side. Here’s my attempt to be objective.

    In accepting depression (aka the Black Dog) or any other mood disorder as a “real” illness, we are told that our brains are sick. Our neurotransmitters are evidently “less than” other, more normal behaving people, in amount or reuptake rate. Here, take a psychoactive med to remedy that. Let’s add some cognitive behavioral therapy. The classic CBT tome is “Feeling Good” by Dr. Kenneth Burns. It was first published in the 1980’s. You can question your every thought and learn exactly why it’s wrong. Is is black and white thinking, no shades of grey or nuance? Are you fortune telling? Are you catastrophizing (mega drama queen exaggerating)? Simple like that, we are trained to doubt ourselves and to look for outside validation. We stigmatize our own thoughts and there is an outside stigma that people with mental illness are unreliable.

    On top of that you have a reality that is very uncomfortable for other people to deal with. Non consensual sex is not a fun topic. There’s another 80’s book, “I Never Called it Rape,” that discusses this avoidance. There are enough women saying the same thing about Bill Cosby that I don’t believe what happened to them can be explained away as a regret or a misunderstanding. No one wanted to believe that Dr. Huxtable was a rapist and Jello Pudding Pops are no longer something you want to put in your mouth.

    There’s a third layer in this morbid matrix. The person that violated you was a pedophile. Most probably this is someone you knew and trusted. Maybe they were related to you. When you tell an outsider what happened, and they believe you, they have to change their perception of the person that did this horrible thing. There may be legal ramifications and it could change living/financial arrangements. It’s more comfortable for everyone if you keep your silence. I had a friend that, at age 14, was really afraid that her grandfather was going to be her first sexual experience. Actually, he already was, but she saw it advancing to the P in the V experience. She told her Mom, who didn’t believe her. Years later, her Mom never remembered having that conversation.

    You can heal from this without anyone else believing you. You don’t really need to remember everything in vivid detail. It may be a blessing not to. I see no reason or perceived advantage to you making something up. It is doubting yourself that is a stumbling block here.

    St. Alfonso is the patron saint of scrupulosity. The devil is in the details. Frank Zappa’s song “St. Alfonso’s Pancake Breakfast” might make you laugh. Peace be with you.

    • I’m not sure how many of my blog entries you’ve read, but you might want to check out x47 (what it feels like to think you’ve repressed a memory of childhood sexual abuse) (http://tinyurl.com/na5hkap). If you haven’t read it, I’ll say I’m surprised that you are automatically on my side, mostly because as you said this is a very uncomfortable topic for people and most people would rather believe it’s not true than deal with the ramifications. Thank you so much for having faith in my experiences when so many others don’t. It really means a lot to me. (Also that was a really fun song – thanks for the recommendation!)

  2. Just read the link at x47. I’m a brand new reader on your blog, coming in off the beaten path. You really put yourself out there. That takes a lot of courage.

    What a horrible Christmas! The feelings you had didn’t occur for no reason. Something happened to trigger this. Seems to me that something happened and that you were not the only one. There appeared to be a lot of initial corroboration from family and friends of family. Someone cut another person out of their life for a reason. Something needed to be forgiven. There was talk about getting too familiar. Most rapes are not reported, there had to be a strong case. This is ugly and uncomfortable and after speaking of it briefly, everyone wanted to hush it up. If you don’t talk about it, maybe it will go away. You had to physically go away and then it’s just easier if you let the matter drop. Victim shaming.

    You are reclaiming your life. You are a grown woman and this can never happen to you again. I wish I could say you will never have to feel this way again, but I can’t. There is peace out there.

    Song of the day: “December” by Collective Soul

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