May 19 2008, 12:43 PM
When I was six, my parents separated. My father lived in an apartment; mom kept the house.
They got back together twice. This year, my parents finalized a divorce.
And that was, pretty much, the extent of that.
However, a year ago, I began to remember things that seemed impossible.
It's taken me a year to really crystallize the memories. If I sound a little clipped in writing style, please forgive me; it's hard to talk about this, much less ask for help.
For several years, it seems, the memories stayed below my line of sight. My father and I had a great relationship; we were good friends.
Does anyone else have any knowledge of multiple personalities? That's what it was like-- as though he was a completely different person. It was a punishment, first; I had spilled a drink on his jacket in the apartment, and he punished me "like my father did to me". He raped me. It was the most painful thing I'd ever experienced at eight years old, and it only got worse.
Afterwards, I tried to tell my mother-- but I didn't say exactly what had happened, only that "dad punished me". I didn't have the language, I guess, to really express it.
Mom had business trips a few weeks out of the year. Each time she left, my father would ... change. That's really the only word for it. He told me that he was getting sick, and that only I could help him get better, and I shouldn't tell mom, because it would make her sad. He made me give him oral sex. Later, he'd tell me that I was sick, that I'd caught it from him. He raped me then. And still later, he threatened to kill anyone I told, and then would change back to "dad" again.
He was something of a failed musician. He wanted to be a rock star. I was called his "groupie" more than once.
Looking back at 'known' past, these flashes make perfect sense. I had urinary tract infections often when I was a child-- it burned to go to the bathroom. I started wearing huge clothing, really big shirts, and started overeating. I escaped into books, and writing. My grades dropped severely; I had been a great student in elementary, and then I suddenly lost all interest. When I got to middle school, I was antisocial, nose stuck in books. High school turned out better, mostly because the abuse had stopped; I only saw that side of my father briefly, and it was mostly as a threat to keep silent.
In my freshman year of college, dad found another woman, and started a long, messy divorce. The whole thing lasted at least two years. I came home before the end of the semester, a drop out, to help mom; she was devastated. She had stayed with him for 20 years, through several affairs (on his part, not hers). She is just starting to realize her worth as a human being-- he had ground her down and made her feel inadequate, unattractive, and stupid for two decades. I think he may be a sociopath, though, because he always knew exactly what to say to keep her taking care of him. She's finally free, thank god, and healing.
My little brother and I were always close, but when this whole thing came out in the open, he didn't believe me. He did not want to believe me (he's 15, I'm 20) because he still wanted a relationship with our father. (My brother never met the side of my dad I did. I tried to make sure of that; while younger, I stayed up at night and kept watch, and subsequently fell asleep in class.) He said, "how could you just forget something like that?"
And honestly? I don't know.
My father's family has a history of abuse; it's known that my father's biological father molested his children, and my father slept with his sister when he was twenty or so, though my mother didn't tell me either of these until after I started remembering. It sucked.
At first, I woke up screaming in the middle of the night. I slept in my mom's bed. My consciousness fragmented; as the memories came up, I split into many different people, of various ages and genders.
My brother believes me, now; it took a long time before I could actually talk with him, as my family was still in a sort of net woven of silence. It was amazing to see what we looked like, sounded like, without the masks; protective armor shouldn't have to exist within a family, not like it was. My brother still visits my dad-- he's not going to give up the relationship, and he's not in any threat-- but it's not like I'm trying to take our father away.
It's getting better, but we (my mother, my brother, and myself) are financially in the toilet. I tried to keep a job, but quit after a few months; it was at an elementary school, so perhaps it wasn't the most intelligent choice. I kept seeing the kids around me, and imagining what might be happening to them behind closed doors. It was enough to make me sick.
I don't really know why I'm writing this. I've been to therapy. My therapist was incredibly helpful. I stopped going, first and foremost, because therapy is expensive. I also felt as though I could make it on my own with the books and tapes she recommended. However, I still have a bill of over a thousand dollars due at some point, some day; I don't know.
I guess I'm just writing here because I haven't addressed this part of my past in a few months. It's hazy, now, in the heat of summer. I feel, sometimes, as though I've made it up. In my heart, I know it's true, but how does one cope with such an atrocity on a daily basis, and live a normal life?
One of the problems about being abused, for me, is that I was terrified of men. I had a two year relationship with a girl from high school to college, but it ended in tears and anger. For the longest time, I didn't think I was capable of love-- only of affection, and never, ever, of intimacy.
This changed. I met my boyfriend over the internet, through a mutual friend; three days after chatting with him for the first time, I started having flashbacks and generally falling apart. We kept talking, getting more and more involved, enjoying each other's company more and more, but I didn't tell him about what was going on until I met him in person. He's been one of the strongest supporters of my healing process; I think he slipped under the 'ahhhhh male threat' shields by being abstract strings of text on a screen for half our courtship. He never presses me for sex, knowing that when I can, I want to, but when I can't, it'd be folly to attempt. He and I are truly good. I don't know how I got so lucky; maybe it's by being unlucky first?
I painted a lot, at first. I wrote. I cried-- man, did I cry. I never really cried as a child, but damn if I could stop myself as an adult. I screamed. I considered suicide. I dismissed suicide as a viable option, mostly due to the intense love I felt from my family and lover. I raged. I got angry, really _furious_, beat at pillows, cried some more. I stopped talking with my father completely. He will not admit to anything. He accused me of being a drama queen, of siding with mom because of the divorce, of so many things with the forked tongue of the truly gifted manipulator.
The worst thing is the flashbacks-- not of memory, but of personality. If someone confronts me, or is 'mean', I dissolve into tears, an eight-year-old once more. It's messed up, guys.
I think I'm writing here because I've already told my mom, my brother, my boyfriend, a few close friends. I don't want to keep going into it in front of them, but I need to be heard. I need to mourn, I need to be sad, I need to know that it's even remotely possibly to not be ruled by it. I need to know I'm not alone in this, that it's not my fault. I'd also like any and all stories of people with repressed memories; even now, a year later, I feel as though I might be insane, might be making it up, might be the drama queen my dad accused me of being. It's sick. So, if any of you have anything to say that might help, please.
May 20 2008, 08:08 AM
Hi! It is possible you "just forgot" and now remember because it's safe. It seems like you're working through it well. I don't see any reason to push it any more with family, but, if your father's new significant other has children or they plan to have children together, you really need to make sure she knows what happened to you. What she does with the info is her responsibility.
May 20 2008, 10:04 AM
I have done the whole shindig with Child Protective Services-- she has twin daughters, both nine, which was my biggest concern about that. I doubt she believes me-- I haven't spoken with her since telling her-- but I hope she's more careful with my dad and the two of them.
May 22 2008, 06:19 AM
flower, read up on dissociative identity disorder. This is the new name for multiple personality disorder because of all the misconceptions due to hollywood dramatization. Forgetting also falls into the criteria among dissociative disorder spectrum.
Consider reading a book called Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman.
It's great that you had the strength to bear the rejection, criticism that comes with denial all around you in order to make an effort to protect those twin little girls.
May 22 2008, 06:01 PM
Hi Flower, i would like to tell you first you are not alone. I put my own memories away until the age of forty. I had chosen a destrutive path for my adult life and when i decided to heal the person that i was all those memories came flooding in. It is a protective thing we have inside, it hurts so bad you need to be able to shut it off until you are ready to deal with it. I can tell you this that the final step to your healing will be through forgiveness. Its the only way through and will set you free. The abuse will no longer be part of you it will be just a memory. If you can get there you will give all that pain back to your abuser through the forgiveness. Trust me your life will change and you will stop the abuse in your family history. Thank you for your courage and for speaking your truth. Glad to have you on board.
author of STAND
May 23 2008, 01:37 PM
Thank you, all of you, for your support and kind words. I suppose the first post was really just a "putting things in order" for my psyche.
Thank you, dwilli. Your experience, akin to mine, makes me feel far less alone. I will someday forgive my father. I am aware of this. In fact, a major reason I was able to make the transition between Victim and Survivor was by watching The Secret.
The idea that everything happens because you want it to-- that you are in actual control of your life-- could have gone horribly wrong in the hands of someone abused. And yes, the idea that I had "asked for it", that I was the one causing it to happen, did cross my mind several times, until I had an epiphany.
My father never admitted that he had been molested as a child to anyone-- his psychiatrist, his wife, his several lovers, his mother-- just to me. He operates from a center of hurt.
I believe I am more than strong enough not to continue the cycle of abuse-- and I believe I can love enough to forgive my father, sinner of sinners, and to perhaps help him stop hurting so badly.
When I find my center, and can remain there for more than a few hours, and feel it is time to act, I will resume communications with my father, and see if there is not something that can be done.
Thank you all for your time. Love and light.
Jun 3 2008, 06:40 PM
I would like to add something that needs to be said. Forgiveness is not about him it is about you, you being free and giving it back to him. How many abusers would do it again if they had to see what they have created and if they had to take back the abuse.
Jun 6 2008, 10:50 PM
Ok I needed to mule over what you have said about the secret, i think people are going to confuse the belief with subconciously wanting to be abused. No I don't believe that is the way life works. I too love the secret but I believe life has experiences that happen and whether or not we chose them before we came here is a question that does not matter. Attracting abuse to ourselves, I don't think so not the innocent but you have it now it has happened to you because someone that should of loved you instead inflicted his own abuse onto you. This is how it goes from each generation and does not stop. Your father regergitated all of his pain onto you. You did not chose this path so give it back to him. You do not ever have to tell him that what he has done is ok on the contrary forgiveness is telling him what he left you with. It does not matter how he reacts let him see what he has given you. In that second he will have taken it back and not even known it. You will be free from his control and you will heal and stop the cycle right where it is. It takes courage and understanding and it never includes exceptance for the choice that your abuser made.
Awareness of what happened to you is not enough alone to stop the abuse from continuing if you do not confront it and heal it shows up in patterns and you will not reconize them until something goes wrong. For instance, when a girl is raped or malested she learns from this pattern of be good, don't tell, be quite, how do you suppose that will show up in a relationship? When you give the abuse back you free yourself from the pain and the subconcious will heal. The anger needs to be there until you are ready to set it free, it's ok anger is a human emotion and is allowed. After the anger comes confrontation, this starts with you taking a look at the woman you are. Do you love who you are? If you do not then you need to find that girl inside of you and tell her you are sorry this happened and that it was not her fault. Take her by the hand and lead her from the darkness and tell her you will be there for her forever. This my dear is a very powerful meditation and it is very freeing. Once you do this you can confront your demons and if this includes confronting your father then so be it. Forgiveness does not always lend itself to confrontation with your abuser but you can get there without it. It is and always will be about you and loving the person that you are. You are free to attract all the beauty of this world you are so very worthy of it and i would love to see one more healed soul instead of another survivor. We are all survivors in one way or another some of us have more traumatic experiences, it's what you do with those experiences that will mold and define your life. So take your life back it is waiting for you to love.
If you would like a full description of the meditation on healing your inner child please let me know and i will write it all out for you.
All my heart flower.
Oct 3 2008, 01:53 PM
Hi, i know this is an old post, but i felt like replying. I'm an 18 year old girl, with a problem with depression, intimacy , and i get attached very quickly to the wrong kind of guy.
For the past few years (since i moved away from my father) i've been remembering things that i never thought possible. Even to this day, i have no concrete memory of being abused. I feel it, and i know it happened... but for the life of me, I can't remember... I've told my mom about how i feel, and she told me to look on the internet for information about "Is it possible to "forget" or "hide" memories of abuse?" I personally believe it is possible, because i've blocked out those memories, and memories of being raped by an ex-boyfriend when i was 14 ( I haven't told anyone about that, except for my recent ex of 2 years
). The difference between the 2 is i "cant" remember being abused by my father, and i chose to not remember being raped... If i thought about it hard enough, i could remember.. but who wants to remember being raped ? :/
I haven't talked to my father since i hit puberty at 13, and he hasn't tried to reach me... i dunno what changed, everything about him upset me and i was scared and creeped out when he was around. It upset me alot... because i was daddy's little girl, he was my best friend, my role model, i wanted to be the same person he was...Not anymore. I do miss him, only because he's my father and i felt abandoned by him, but i get sick to my stomach when i think about him. My mother told me things about him i never wanted to hear... He was a pervert, would masturbate while watching his sisters change, tried to rape his sister-in-law, and would sleep with hookers on a daily basis. I never thought it strange when i was younger, but he would watch porn and rent movies that had sex in them while me and my brother were visiting him for the weekend (My parents were divorced a year after i was born).
Just recently, me and my boyfriend of 2 years split up, and i'm a very emotional person... So i talk to people, that will listen and talk back... Just so happens, this time, it was a man twice my age and my step-fathers best friend. Nothing overly happened, but i got so emotionally attached to him, that it broke my heart when my mom found out we were talking and told us we had to stop. The night before she found out, we were both drunk and very friendly with each other (nothing really happened) But i find myself being attracted to the wrong men... older men that, in all honesty, are creeps, i've been like this since i turned 10 :/
When i was younger (and as far back as i can remember)... i've been a very sexual person, even as a young child. It never occured to me until i grew up, it never seemed strange, that's just how i always was. But now, at 18, i am still a sexual person, but everything about sex just, i dunno, not so much scares me, it just turns me off. Durring sex, i would feel dirty and guilty, and if i ever climaxed, i would be overwhelmed with Shame, that i would cry and need to shower immediately.
My aunt was molested as a child, my grandfather was a child molester, and my mother says she's had the same problem... not remembering things from her past and worried for a long time that her father had molested her or her children. the only difference between my mother and i, is she knew her father was a child molester.... i thought my father was a god
Well, my post is a little all over the place, but, i believe i'm going through the same thing you're trying to recover from... Remembering things we don't want to know.
I hope you're ok
Apr 6 2011, 08:21 PM
Hi i know whar you are going through. i had a diffrent type of abuse. My grandmother mentely, physically, verbilly, and emotionaly abused me for six years. My memories of those six years are fairly sketchy. i only remember bits and peices of memory from that time. I remember things now three years later in my sleep. when i wake up i think "how could i have forgotten that?" a lot of times i do feel like i made it up...like i am just a drama queen. i am going through the mourning faze right now. i am talking, or rather trying, with my mom and my school counceler. there is just one problem both of them keep trying to tell me how to cope. they keep sounding like they know what I went through. I have so many trust issues now. i used to be so free spirited, now i am closed and cold. only one person outside of my family knows that i was abused. a lot of times i feel unlovable and horrible. sometimes i dig myself holes so deep it feels i cant escape. it gets worse before it gets better. i am at the beginning of my grieving process and have a long painful way to go. you will make it through. i just know you will.