Joined: 05 Feb 2010
|Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:21 pm Post subject: Understanding myself
|I moved several hundred miles away and began a life that felt as close to safe as I had ever known, so when the phone call came and my parents said that "he" would be traveling through my town on the way up north and I should show him around my campus it was the beginning of my unravel.
He and his wife showed up on a Saturday afternoon. I remember I mostly felt numb when they both hugged me. We spent just a few minutes in my dorm room and I was so uncomfortable that I asked if they wanted to see the rest of the campus and his wife said yes, so we all left on a walking tour. As we were leaving the dorm building, some friends of mine pulled up in a car and I was forced to introduce all of them and all of these years later I am not sure how I managed to do that. I know I did not say, "This is my second father, the man who molested me for a number of years and made me flee the city of my birth all so that he could follow me here and pop this flimsy bubble of safety I have built around myself and oh these are some of my new friends who up until now assumed that I am sort of normal." I'm sure I didn't say anything resembling the truth because I kept the truth so far away from my lips, from my awareness because that was how I survived as long as I had up until that point. It was what I knew.
Their visit was short but in the twenty minutes they were there, he managed to take my sense of safety with him.
Afterwords the nightmares came. I could not sleep and would stay up until the wee hours of the morning and then try to go to my classes. My grades dropped. I could not admit what was happening to me because I could never admit what had happened. That was my training after all.
One night several weeks later, I just lost it. It was an incident that I could have ignored, should have ignored, but I was too close to the edge of seeing and remembering the truth, so I publically reacted to something in a bizarre way. I was hauled into the dorms administrators office and given a hearing as they were thinking of kicking me out of school completely. A group of my friends attended the hearing and fought to get me a second chance. During the meeting the administrator commented that my behavior was typical of someone who was a victim of sexual abuse and asked if I had been abused in my past. I looked at the floor-- I could not make eye contact with anyone in that room as I denied such a thing had anything to do with me.
They decided I could stay in the dorms and continue my classes, but I would have to go to counseling and I would have to get my grades up.
That was a lifeline.
It was slow going and I took a lot of time to trust anyone, but little by little I found my way back to my own self. A year or so later after beginning counseling, I met the man who became my husband. That was almost twenty years ago. I still have flashbacks sometimes (one tonight prompted me to write this), but I have the tools I need to hang on and keep moving forward. And I have surrounded myself with people who give me hope when I need it.