Talking about Sexual Abuse

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I always second guess if I should post these reflections but then I think of the men & women who suffer from trauma and I do it anyway.

So thank you for reading.

Today I shared a really intense and painful memory in therapy.

My heart hurts from it.

I find myself hearing his thoughts in my head as I talk about it out loud.

“You brought it on yourself. You asked for it. This is your fault.”

I felt immediate anger and rage. I wanted to pick up everything in front of me and smash it.

“What a fucking monster. Get out of my head.”

Not talking about these memories makes them feel less real, somewhere far away in time, like it never happened.

But as I practice sharing them out loud I can discern how my brain has used minimizing to cope and how these thoughts are not my own but his.

I feel better after sharing. And closer to the truth of who I am before the trauma. The version of me that thrives today.

so much love.

From the Abused Daughter: Father’s Day Reflections

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Photo by Sheryl Nields. 

Today I asked Father’s day what I could learn from it.

For years we haven’t had the best relationship.

I dreaded the day it came and wished I could ignore the loud messages of happy moments of little girls with their fathers.

If only I could know what that feels like.

Father’s day responded and said self-love.

Celebrate the men who are good fathers.

The great men who love their children with pure love unconditionally, who show up consistently and relentlessly for their children no matter their life circumstances.

My wounded self wanted to come out and play the same story of hatred towards my father but that story just doesn’t sit well inside of me anymore.

I have grown past the wound like an overgrown toenail ready to fall off.

I can’t celebrate him but I can celebrate my growth, my resiliency and my strength after.

I grieve the opportunity to have a father to call to say I love you and feel safe in saying it.

I see today as a gift to myself and to the great men in my life who show up for their families, children and loved ones and me.

You will be the heroes for the women who have lost faith in men.

Happy Father’s day.

The Tale & Healing from Sexual Abuse

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Last night I watched The Tale, a new movie on HBO based on true events of the director Jennifer Fox’s life. She was sexually abused by her running coach at thirteen.

Usually I opt out of watching these movies because they do trigger me. For anyone reading if you watch the movie, know that you might be triggered.

There are some graphic scenes that made me sick to my stomach.

I saw myself in the main character. She resonated with me in her journey of discovering that she was sexually abused and accepting it.

I don’t know about every woman but I do know that for years I couldn’t accept the truth. It was a slow agonizing process to realize that my father wanted to have sex with me.

Even as I type these words I feel sick to my stomach.

Watching The Tale last night only magnified my feelings around sexual trauma.

I was very promiscuous in my twenties. I experimented with women. I experimented with polyamory relationships. I have wondered if my experimenting had anything to do with the trauma around intimacy.

In the film, the perpetrator tells the victim it was her. He was in his forties and she was a thirteen year old girl. It was her fault that it happened.

I remember many times my father saying the exact same words.

It was my fault. I wanted it. 

The journey of sharing my story has been a slow process.

I have held shame around it as if I was the cause of all the abuse.

I know now that it isn’t the case.

I felt an obligation to protect my parents. I shouldn’t talk badly about them. 

Or talk about what happened.

If you ever find yourself saying shouldn’t remove it from the sentence immediately.

It only brings guilt.

I lived with another family at sixteen.

In the film the main character idolizes two adults who become like her family.

I remember idolizing this family as well.

They adopted me and I moved in with them.

As the adopted father and I grew closer I remember several conversations of him sharing that if he had met me years before his wife we would be together.

I was sitting at the kitchen table doing my homework.

I remember thinking, “Oh no. This can’t be happening again.”.

It was a scary life for me as a budding teenager.

I know that many times I thought I should try dating women because then I’d be safe.

I wasn’t particularly sexually attracted to them as I was emotionally.

I wanted to feel safe.

They made me feel safe.

The Tale shows that a young girl wants to feel special especially by her family.

To feel safe. And loved.

We all do.

The main character freed herself in her own way by speaking her truth.

But remember this is based on the director’s life.

I admire Jennifer Fox for taking her pain and creating a powerful message with it.

I am just starting to really talk about the years of trauma I experienced.

Thank you Jennifer for being a voice for us. For giving us perspective into your journey.

I look forward to taking my story and impacting millions of women with it.

 

For the Sexually Abused Woman

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My father reached out to me to congratulate me on my pregnancy. He also mentioned a message of now I will never be alone.

I couldn’t help but to reply that yes, I will never be alone because I don’t abuse people.

We don’t speak.

He knows I don’t want to have a relationship with him yet he oversteps my boundaries.

He has never taken responsibility for his acts of sexual abuse to me.

He has never changed, grown, gotten help or acknowledged the damage he has inflicted on his family.

And even if he did, it wouldn’t change anything.

I could never trust him.

For years he made me feel that it was my fault for his sexual advances. That I asked for it.

As I embrace motherhood I can’t imagine my child ever experiencing what I went through.

The inhumane treatment I experienced.

There was a moment that I thought my parents would kill me.

A memory of my Mother stuffing a towel in my mouth so that the neighbors wouldn’t hear my screams while my Father beat me on the floor.

This is only one of the many violent memories I have been healing from in therapy.

There was a time that I felt guilty for not wanting a relationship with him. He drilled this belief in us that no matter what happened we were family always.

So he could treat us any way and we still had to love him in the end.

I wonder why life still gives him and people like him a chance to live.

For the women who have been sexually abused and abused… you have every right to speak up. To say something. To feel angry. To feel complete utter rage.

I got to say what I wanted to always say to him today.
That he is a sick man.

And one that will never get my pardons.

I refuse to play in a relationship that is built on the past is the past and let’s move on. On an idea of false happiness.

He still treats my Mother will little to no respect. He preys on young women. He is abusive towards everyone. And this year he spent his birthday alone. With no one by his side.

Karma = action = consequence.

We have no obligation to the people who violate us regardless of the title “family”.

I have grown immensely over the years into a pretty phenomenal and healthy woman. I had to save myself during moments when I wanted to end my own life.

I am still decompressing the years of violence and abuse in therapy. I still have moments of PTSD and triggers. My therapist and I have done serious work to get me to where I am now. And I am super proud of myself.

My friends who suffer from trauma, you can’t change what happened to you.

But you can change how you live with it and how those people live inside of you.

They don’t get to have your power.

They get to hear your voice.

You get to be here.

You belong.

Dreams & Old Hurts.

What we want versus what we must do are two very completely different things. In my quest to heal the traumas of the past I have learned that the only way out is through.

I may not want to go through the process to reflect and clear trauma but I know that I must to make space for it.

To give it a voice and to let all the hurt from those memories be free.

18076689_10155351021101424_2776611793883934728_oYesterday I went very deep in two meditations enough to forget my body for a split second. I jolted back into the reality of my teacher’s voice and noticed where my mind had gone.

I went into an archive tucked away in time to a distant and near memories. One of which I got my heart broken and the other a trauma around the belief of not being lovable.

Sad but true.

Meditation is such a phenomenal tool in gaining insight on what is underneath all of the layers of my “self”.

In it I gain perspective and some peace that wasn’t there before.

This morning I woke up from several intense dreams where I released some buried hurt around two very traumatic relationships. One of my father where he transformed into a hummingbird and passed away.

I realized that in my hurt I could still see his worthiness. While he may not transform in this life he has the opportunity to transform in other dimensions.

We are never truly fixed as we are.

Dreams are opportunities for us to grow, expand and learn outside of ourselves. With intention and awareness I believe we can heal a lot in the dream state.

We are worthy of giving ourselves this.

Kintsugi is the art of embracing the flawed and imperfect by mending together broken and shattered pottery with gold lacquer highlighting the cracks rather than hiding them.

I like to consider that my healing journey is like the art of Kintsugi. Perhaps my heart is a mirror of the image above.

Pure with gold outlines.

Whatever our old hurts may be we can take them and give them light. Show them there is still beauty in the flaws.

The story is perfect and whole as we are.

-From Emily, With Love.

 

 

Own Your Past.

“Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be a part of who you will become.”

Was there ever a time in your life when you wanted to block out,  erase or completely forget something from your past? Perhaps it was a difficult relationship, losing a loved one or a traumatic experience.  As much as we hope that life is easy and our experiences enjoyable, it doesn’t always end up that way.

It’s common for us to want to disconnect from the not-so-happy memories and painful past experiences. We can be hedonistic in that we flee from emotional pain and pursue our pleasures.

As much as we would like to separate ourselves from past hurts, it’s nearly impossible. Have you ever heard that quote, “Wherever you go, there you are”?  No matter how much we can try to bury the past it’s going to be a part of us.

So what can we do with those painful memories? We can learn from them.  Our past not only is a part of us but it also can teach us some very powerful lessons and lead us into life-changing directions.

There was a time in my life when all I wanted was to erase the painful memories of my childhood. However over time, I evolved and learned some incredible life lessons from those memories. I realized that without it I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I learned to embrace those painful memories and share my life lessons with those around me.

Own your past and don’t be ashamed of it. Instead be thankful and accept it because it has helped to form the beautiful person you have become today.