Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

God Does’t Make Mistakes…It Had To Be Me

I find myself thinking about events that have occurred in my life that greatly influenced where I am today. I know that if I were to go back in time to change one thing, it would also change the outcome of where I am today. The real truth is I love my life. I wake up every morning and go to sleep at night thanking God for the little family he has given me. For my little girl who may have triggered my PTSD, but I am grateful that she is blessed with two older brothers that love her so much. And a father who comes home every day with a treat for her, beckoning to her every need. And a mother who would not have been on the road to recovery had she not blessed me with her presence. I love my life and everything about it; which brings me to something I cannot deny.

If I could go back in time, would I change what happened between me and my grandfather. At first glance I said absolutely, I would definitely change that part of my childhood but nothing else. Then something (The Holy Spirit) spoke to me and asked that I meditate on this scenario: What do you think would have taken place during those six years if you were not sexually abused by your grandfather? So I did just that and what I saw or imagined was so profound that it left me with no option but to accept that what happened was more than a hyenas crime committed against me, but rather a part of God’s divine plan for me.

You see, to erase my six years of abuse would be to erase the life I have now. I probably would not have had my first-born at the age of 16. I would not have had the experience of my son dying in my arms and God bringing him back to me. The seven years of long hospital stays trying to take care of his well-being while going to school and working. The first seven years of my son’s life helped me to take life a bit more seriously. It built my strength and faith. I had to become very resourceful and fast. I learned how important it is to advocate for your child because no one knows them better. Having a baby at 16 years old is the reason I am a good parent today. I would not change that, yet it was my need for intimacy that let to my sexual behaviours. I am never afraid of taking risks because I am well aware that if something does not work out, you dust yourself off and learn from your mistakes.

I think about my cousins and sister and what would have happened to them if my grandfather was unsuccessful at grooming me. He did make attempts with others in the family but to no avail. Apparently I was the perfect candidate for the job. Somebody in our family would have been his victim one way or another. I saw first hand how determined he was and how little it took to turn him on. He was quite satisfied to put me on his lap when we were not alone and it made him happy. I saw the look on his face when my cousins would sit on his lap too. I use to become jealous when he did it, and when he saw that I was upset (because everyone got a turn on his lap or pony ride and I would be last) then I would get a turn. I now know that I was last because I got to sit on his lap the longest. There were times when I would want to go play but every time I tried to get up, he would put pressure on his arms which were wrapped around me. When I felt that, I knew I needed to stay put….and I did. I believe that because my grandfather looked forward to seeing me every weekend, it minimized the danger for the others.

I do not know this for a fact, but I think my grandfather was too afraid to continue in his pedophile ways after I came out of the closet because everyone was more aware and vigilant at watching their own kids. I do know for a fact that he was still perverted in mind, because when he was in a nursing home/hospital, he would ill treat the older nurses and made a request that he only wanted young nurses to look after him. But a nurse at the nurses station told one of my Aunts who quickly put a stop to that request. As a matter of fact, she told them to give him the oldest nurse they could find. I did find that amusing.

The point I am trying to make is, we sometimes cannot see the bigger picture or what God has planned for us. For 24 years I have been on a journey that has been filled with pain and joy. A baby cannot come into this world without causing pain; the abuse that I endured still causes me pain. But I embrace it. I embrace it because I look forward to seeing what will be born out of all this. And whatever is born will come into this world by the Hands of God…..because God does not make mistakes.

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

Why Me? Then again……why not me?

Why me? Why did this happen to me? The magic question; I must have asked this question to myself several times over the years and I am not sure I have taken the time to listen for the true answer. I mean, I have come up with my own answer but I clearly knew that my answer to the “why me” question was incorrect. There are times when I am in complete disbelief of what happened to me and even go as far as trying to convince myself that it did not happen; hoping that it would make this all go away. It does not take long before reality slaps me in the face and says “wake up, this did happen to you and you cannot run or hide from it”.

I spend a good part of my day being reminded of the trauma that occurred to me and cannot let go of the magic question. Earlier this week, I found myself wondering what I was supposed to do with “this”. It happened to me for a reason because I believe…..no, I know God makes no mistakes. I refuse to believe that things like this happen to people in vain. I refuse to believe that it was  just a tragic circumstance that occurred. So I decided that I was going to really listen to what God had to say about why he allowed my grandfather (who was a born again Christian) to molest and rape me; and get away with not reaping what he sowed. When I heard the answer, I thought to myself “that answer could not have come from God”. But I have an intimate relationship with God and His Son (the Risen Christ) and I know very well when I hear from God. My answer from him was the following: “Why NOT you?” and needless to say, I was a little irritated by that answer. However, when God speaks I know that He wants you to meditate on what you are being told. So I did. I was so amazed at what was revealed to me that I will never ask the magic question again.

It is with great arrogance that one asks such a question; because to ask that question suggests that there are some people who things should happen to, while for others, it should not. What my grandfather did to me was pure evil, plain and simple. I know that when evil works its way into the minds of its victims, it chooses those who are weak and those who have little faith. My grandfather was one of those victims. I also know (through studying the Book Of Job in the Bible) that when evil wants to hurt, God has to allow for it to happen. He allows “bad things” to happen in order for Him to use the “bad thing” and turn it into something good. So then my question went from “Why did this happen to me?” to “why did you allow this to happen to me”? I do not think God was happy with that question either because He said “I did not allow this to happen to you; rather, I chose you as the person who this would happen to”.

WHAT?!!! What on earth did God mean by that? “What do you mean you chose me as the person who this would happen to? Why would you choose me”? Then God replied “now that is the question you all should be asking”. (Now please understand that this revelation did not come to me in one sitting. When I meditate on something God is showing me, it may take a few days for the answer to come, sometimes even longer.) And just when you think you have an answer, He gives me something else to meditate on. So I began to ask the question, “Why did you choose me as the person who would be repeatedly molested and raped by my grandfather”?

In my next entry, I will share some (not all) of the reasons God chose me to be the sacrifice of our family. Yes, I said it – sacrifice; sometimes it becomes necessary to sacrifice one in order to save many. In my next entry, I will try my best to explain things as it was explained to me.  For now, let me leave you with this – if you have gone through some sort of trauma that was no fault of your own, understand clearly that God does not choose weak people to receive a traumatic experience. You may be weak in areas of your life; you may be weak in your physical body and may even be weak in your mind. You will not, however, be weak in Spirit.

So go ahead, ask the question “Why did you choose me as the person this would happen to?” and wait for the answer; because when you get your answer the only thing you will ask after that is “Why NOT me”?

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

A Survivor’s Perspective on a Pedophile’s Skill to Maniputlate and Lie – Part 2

That kiss was the beginning of my entrapment. I call it entrapment because my grandfather set me up. He gained my trust, my love, my loyalty and silence. For two and a half years he groomed me to believe that our relationship was special; but he was only preparing me for what was going to take place once my parents left for vacation. I have had a great deal of time to look back at how he was able to get away with this for so long and I realized quickly how smart and strategic he was. I mean he planned every move including how he was going to kiss me that day.

We were standing by the dining room area when he took my hand and walked me across the living room floor and we ended up standing by the windows overlooking our balcony. He took me to that location because if my parents were to come out of their bedroom, they could clearly see the dining room area. We ended up standing in a spot that could not be seen by anyone unless they walked down the hallway and stood at the opening to the living room. Had my parents walked out of their room, there would have been enough time for him to switch his moves and not get caught.

So how did my grandfather get to be alone with me once my parents and sister left? Manipulation and lies. He manipulated my brother by letting him do whatever he wanted. My brother was a typical boy who loved riding his bike and playing outside with his friends. My brother was a very popular kid. So much so, that I always wanted to hang out with him and his friends; he definitely was responsible for my tomboy stage. My grandfather took advantage of the fact that my brother always wanted to be outside, so for the first week my brother spent most of his time outside of the house. I went outside too, but only when my grandmother was home. She attended church a few times a week (we had a church that was pastored by her eldest daughter’s husband) and when she left, my grandfather would ask me to stay inside to “keep him company” (as he would put it). That is when he would molest me; but that was not enough. He wanted more time with me….alone time.

Now, we attended church every Sunday and we liked going because we got to see our cousins and we enjoyed being around each other. We also would love going over to their house for sleep overs especially during the summer because we could go during the week as opposed to just the weekend. There was five of them, however there were four boys and one girl; so my brother would end up going over way more than I did. So as you can imagine the weekend was coming and when my brother asked if he could go spend time with the boys, my grandfather was only too happy to send him away. As a matter of fact my brother left on a Friday. He went to church with my grandmother so that he could meet up with them at church and go directly from there. So he got rid of my brother and now it was time to figure out what to do with my grandmother. That was not too hard, he just had to wait until she left for church. My grandmother never missed church on Sunday and I mean never. She actually went to church twice on Sundays; this would be the best opportunity for my grandfather to get me alone.

I went to church that Sunday and came home but my grandmother left for evening services. When it came to bedtime, my grandfather told me to go put my nightgown on and said “come and sleep with me until grandma comes home”. I thought nothing of that, after all I was alone and we only had a two bedroom, so me and my siblings shared a room. My sister and I shared a bed until we were teens so I remember not resisting his request. It was also an opportunity to sleep in my parents’ bed which had a firm comfy mattress.

I watched my grandfather lie to people all the time. He lied to me as well but it was not obvious when he lied to me. I only know now that he lied to me retrospectively. On this night however, was the first time I caught him in a lie and I remember feeling really weird. We were laying in bed and he told me that he was going to the bathroom. So he left the room and I noticed (through the crack of the open bedroom door) that he stood between the room and bathroom. I wondered what he was doing because he said he was going to the bathroom but he never went into the bathroom. Instead, he stood outside the door and I watched him remove his pJ bottoms, then he removed his boxer shorts and put his pj pants back on. He disappeared for a couple of seconds; I assume he stashed his boxers somewhere because he did not have them in his hand when he entered the room.

I was raped for the first time that night. When he was finished I sat up on the bed at which point he told me to go to my room. I remember being so upset and confused because he lied to me again. He said that I could sleep with him until my grandmother got home but she was not home yet. I wondered why he was sending me to my room. As I stood up to leave my parents bedroom, the look on his face turned to panic as I saw him glance down to where I was sitting. When I looked down, I saw streaks of blood on the sheet. I got a little scared and left the room. I took my underwear off and felt moisture between my legs; I had no idea what it was and why I was so wet. I froze, holding my underwear in my hand I could see my grandfather outside my door (which was right next to my parents room) holding the wrapper sheet in his hand. He quickly opened the door to the apartment and walked out leaving me alone. He was back in about 30 seconds and the sheet was gone. The garbage room was located in the hallway next to the elevators, I assumed he got rid of the soiled sheet. I thought to myself “why did he throw out the sheet; why did he not just wash it”? I remember thinking that something was wrong and he threw out the sheet because he did not want to get in trouble. Well, I did not want to get into trouble either so I threw my underwear in the garbage bin that my mother had provided in my room. I went to bed and stayed awake wondering why my grandfather was acting so strange. This was the first time he ever indicated fear to me but still nothing became clear to me. There would be one more lie that my grandfather would tell that night and it was regarding the chain lock on the door.

When my grandfather came into the apartment after discarding the sheet, he put the chain lock on the door. I now assume it was because my grandmother would be home soon and he needed time to get a new set of sheets and make the bed. However, he forgot to unlatch the chain lock before he went to sleep; so when my grandmother came home that night, she was locked out. I heard my grandfather snoring so I knew he was asleep and I did not get out of bed because I should have been asleep too. She spent the next five minutes knocking the door really hard. Finally he got up to open the door. As you can imagine my grandmother was angry! She freaked out on him and asked why he would put the chain on the door if he knew he was going sleep and she was on her way home. He told her some lie about a stranger knocking the door earlier and he put the chain on so that he did not have to open the door all the way and that he just forgot to take it off. That was the last lie of the night.

I have had conversations with my grandmother about that night and she still remembers it very clearly. She remembers because she became very upset. But now that I know my grandmother was aware of him raping others prior to coming to Canada, I have to wonder if she became that angry because she wondered what he was doing or what he did. I wonder if it ever crossed her mind that he may have been inappropriately touching me. She says she did not know anything….I believe her because I cannot believe otherwise. She did come in my room to check on me but I pretended that I was asleep.

The next day, everything went back to the way it was….as if the night before did not happen. Something was very different in the way my grandfather treated me. He became very possessive and began to stock me. He would wait for me at the plaza next to our home and when he saw me, we would go to his place to be alone. If my grandmother was home we would just drive around. My grandfather got his driver’s licence really late in life but when he got a car, he would take me for drives and park somewhere. I always went with him because I knew that I would get some money afterwords.

So to my family and critics who wonders why I cannot just leave this subject alone, I ask you this. How would you feel if you found out that your relationship with your grandparent was all sexual. I did not know my grandfather any other way. I envy my cousins because they had a grandfather….a real one. Me, I was my grandfather’s lover for six years. That is the truth and as if that is not enough, to realize that he paid me for my services is something I cannot comprehend. I was so brainwashed by him and now I spend my days trying to reprogramme my brain to let go of all that he did to me and all that I learned from him.

He almost destroyed me with his lies and manipulation; and decades later it still affects me. But I will not let it destroy me. I share my story to rid my mind, body and soul of his poison.

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

A Survivor’s Perspective on a Pedophile’s Skill to Manipulate and Lie – Part 1

I often think of ways to protect my little girl from falling victim to someone like my grandfather and struggle with how to proceed with this task. I have had the conversation with her on the topic of inappropriate touching from anyone including family members because though I remember my father having that conversation with me, it did not help. It did not help because the warning was only towards strangers and not family members. If I had received a warning that family members too can hurt you, I think I would have said something.

During a therapy session, when I was discussing the subject of what to say to my daughter (now and as she gets older), my therapist mentioned some things I could say to her and one thing was regarding “the feeling of being uncomfortable”. Then I realized that the feeling of being uncomfortable did not occur for me until two years after my grandfather began to molest me. You see, as much as it is difficult to say this, it is the truth. The truth is, between the ages of 8 and 10.5 years old, none of his touching felt uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, I remember it feeling good. I was very comfortable. So even if someone had told me that the “uncomfortable feeling” was an indicator of something being wrong, it would not have applied to me. My grandfather groomed me and groomed me well. He paid very close attention to me and everything that was happening to me and around me.

I watched my grandfather manipulate everyone by lying and being his charming self. I knew he was fooling everyone but I thought he was doing it in order to maintain the relationship that we had going. At no point did it even cross my mind that he was manipulating and lying to me. I truly believed that I was his favourite and that I was special. He told me those very words each time he got the chance to. So after hearing those words so often, I really believed it. Not to mention that the touching would proceed the “nice compliments”, always. He never told me nice things if the touching was not going to happen. But that was a problem for me because each time my grandfather saw me and did NOT touch me, I became very upset. I thought I did something to make him angry with me. Little did I know that he would not touch me because there were no opportunities for him to do it without being caught. It was so confusing to me because there were several times where he would touch me when people were in the same room. This was how he convinced me that all he was doing was “okay”.

He fooled my parents so much; he used them and their weaknesses to get to me. My parents were immigrants and so was my grandfather. When he arrived in Canada, he became one our main caregivers. It was convenient to have him come over every Saturday to watch us while my parents went out to run errands. Saturday was the only day that they could go shopping for the week and get other things done. He knew they appreciated the help and so he would always volunteer to come to our home to care for us. So he did not have to work hard to gain the trust of my parents.

Once the trust was there, he began to develop a unique relationship with me. He would work on gaining my trust. He did this by observing how my parents would deal with me and then find a way to convince me that they did not love me as much as he did; that he was the only one who paid attention to me. My grandfather gave me attention by appearing interested in things that I did. He asked me a lot of questions and made me feel that he cared about me and my well being. When I was little my weakness was money. I learned that people with money received lots of attention and made you popular around your friends. I would ask my grandfather for money (other than the money he would give me, my brother and sister) and he would it give me….no questions asked. However, when he did ask me what I needed the money for, I would lie…of course. I did not know then, but I was manipulating him to get things I needed because I knew he would. I also knew how much he loved me and that he would do anything to keeps things that way. My grandfather made sure that I would keep things he did with me a secret, because I did not want to lose the great treatment he was giving me. I mean, what kid would not want to a have someone who catered to their every need. I had so much to lose or at least that is what I thought.

My grandfather had a few personalities and I think I must have been one of the few people to see them all. He was a mean bastard! He ill treated my grandmother all the time. I loved my grandmother and could not understand why he was so mean to her. I watched him be nice to all his neighbours and friends. He would give a helping hand to  anyone who needed him. He actually became the landlord or “go to” person in his apartment building that was a little community for seniors. The man was very charming when he wanted to be; but turn around and raise his voice to my humble grandmother and would call her names and belittled her in front of us (my brother and sister). Even though it bothered me to see him treating her like that, I did not worry because my grandmother and I would have conversations about how much worse he use to be. So what I observed was actually good as far as my grandmother was concerned. I became very angry later on in life when I learned from my father that he was abused by my grandfather as a young man. He physically, emotionally and mentally abused my father. I remember that my grandfather would call my dad any time he needed help with something. He would also tell my dad to bring us along for a visit. My dad was always doing favours for his father and it never seemed to be enough. I now know that it was my dad’s way of trying to get his father’s approval. So sad. I saw first hand the evil, the charming and the sick man that my grandfather was.

Earlier, I stated that for the first two and a half years I did not feel uncomfortable when my grandfather would molest me but there did come a time when things did begin to feel weird and uncomfortable. However, by then it was too late; he had me in his clutches and was not about to let go. It was 1983 and my parents were in their bedroom with my sister packing suitcases to take a trip to Jamaica. My sister was born here in Toronto and this would be her first visit to the island. My grandfather came by to get instructions for the next two weeks because he and my grandmother were going to stay at our place to care for my brother and I. Yes, that is right. Two weeks of being alone with my grandfather; I will share with you how he manipuatlated the circumstance to make sure that we were alone together. But that day when my parents were in their bedroom, he walked me across the living room floor held my little face in his hand, he bent down to give me a kiss and for the first time stuck his tongue in my mouth and told me that I was growing nicely and he kissed me like that because I am a big girl now…….that was the first time I felt uncomfortable and grossed out…… (to be continued

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

DWELLING vs. SHARING

Ahhhh, I can breath again. I have been paying close attention to my emotions lately in connection to my trauma. I have realized how much better if feel when I write or speak about the trauma and it almost caused me some confusion; however, being the “thinker” that I am, I took time to process the “why does it feel better” question. I attended my weekly therapy session yesterday and it always feels better when I am done.

I am a Life Coach, so processing my thoughts and actions are important to me; after all, we all should practice what we preach (you should try it some time). I can see that there is a very thin line to walk when one is trying to navigate their way through the effects of trauma. On one hand, sharing experiences can be very liberating and on the other hand it can be suppressing. So how do survivors go about distinguishing what side of the line we are walking?

Ask yourself this: “am I sharing or dwelling”? If you are dwelling on the trauma then you will constantly find yourself living in past. You will make your choices based on what happened to you; you will feel depressed after speaking of your ordeal; you will seek sympathy and pity; you will promote your own self-pity and you will feel as if your life is going “nowhere fast”. You are a victim. If you are sharing your story then you will find yourself moving forward, away from making poor choices; you will take steps to improve your circumstances even when you do not feel like it; you will feel a sense of relief or freedom after sharing parts of your trauma; you find yourself looking forward to your future and seek no sympathy or pity from others and you will learn to live with the symptoms of your trauma while being at peace with it. You are a survivor. I am not completely at peace with my trauma yet but it is my goal; and I will continue to work on it until……until my peace no longer is disturbed by it.

Here is how I see or envision my experience with healing: each time I share parts of my experience, the poison that is within me is being released. The more I share, the more poison I get rid of. When I dwell on my experience and do not speak or write about it, I will internalize it and lock the poison inside of me. That poison will eventually make me sick and lead me to walk in darkness until death. I will continue to release the poison making room for my light to shine.

What side of that thin line are you walking on?

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

Ouch! That One Hurts….again and again.

When will it end? When will the memories stop coming? How? How do I get through one day where I am not constantly reminded of the horrible crime that was forced upon me? “Get over it”; this is what I try to tell myself but to no avail. I know it must be difficult for others to understand why, after 24 years, would I still want to even talk about my abuse. I do not enjoy sharing my story, I wish I did not have such a story to tell. I do not like the lack of control that I have over the thoughts that creep into my mind. I do not like the fact that washing my dishes trigger memories of my abuse because my grandfather would approach me from behind to hug me, while slowly slipping his hand down my shirt through the collar. When I told my grandfather to stop touching me, I was washing the dishes and never forgot the look of terror on his face because for the first time in 6 years I actually said “no”. I do not like that I am triggered every day by activities that should be normal or enjoyable. Taking a shower should be a simple task, yet no one would know that stepping in a bathtub is a process for me. I literally have to be consciously aware of how I stand under the shower. If I turn to face the shower and the water hits my breasts, I become numb instantly. Why is this a trigger? While my grandfather was touching me, I would go numb and find something to focus on until he was done. In the first two years he did a great deal of touching and feeling; my breasts were his first choice of touch. I have tried so hard to expose myself and face the shower but find out quickly that it was a mistake. Its a mistake because the numbness sets in and stays there for a day or two. It is the worst feeling ever. It is the feeling that prompts me to try to “feel” again. So I find myself eating late at night as a form of comfort; or I wrap myself in my blanket and want to stay there until the numbness goes away.

I wish I could stop talking about this; I wish it would go away; I wish I did not have to work so hard at feeling better. I wish I could enjoy my little girl without having the fear of that she is in some form of danger when she is around any male figure. Two years from now when my daughter turns 8 years old, it will be a trigger because that was the age I was when my ordeal began. So here I am two years prior, preparing myself for what might hit me two years from now. My birthday was on January the 6th and my grandfather’s birthday is on the 8th. I have never been able to enjoy my birthday without thinking about his birthday as well. I think about how much he would use our birthdays as a way to convince me that “we were meant to be close”. I spent so much time with my grandfather doing regular everyday things that everyday I am haunted by something that reminds me of him.

In my last post, I talked about Dylan Farrow who was triggered by the idea that her father was going to receive a lifetime achievement award. Every time she sees his face on t.v., she is triggered; and it gets worse when you have to watch everyone talk about him like “he’s the cat’s meow” it irritates her because she knows who he really is. He gets to live and move on while she struggles to live a normal life everyday. It reminds me of being at my grandfather’s funeral listening to people talk about him. Everything was said except the truth; that he was a pedophile who preyed on young girls and got away with every time he violated them. He died and my family buried the truth with him. But I cannot bury it because as long as I am alive the pain will be alive. I have accepted that since the pain and hurt does not go away, I must learn to live with it, manage it and not allow it to destroy me. It is like having a disease and finding out that there is no cure….you take care of yourself and do whatever it takes to be better.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is very real and when you have it, others tend to feel that it becomes an excuse to be the way you are. I use to hear about this disorder and think nothing of it. I thought it only affected soldiers who went to war. When I began to show signs of PTSD, I went in denial for a couple of years but then the symptoms kept getting worse and I could not deny it anymore. I did not want to be “that girl”; I did not want to be weak or show weakness. But when you feel that you are loosing your mind and that you would sooner “off yourself” than to continue in this nightmare, it is time to get help. So I attend therapy every week and I share my journey towards healing. Sharing my story and the process of healing helps me to feel better. I imagine Dylan Farrow wants to feel better too. But more importantly, we just want to be heard. Yes, it may seem as if we are throwing a tantrum, but for some reason no one heard our cries for help when we were kids; so forgive us for crying and asking for help as adults. So the next time you find yourself saying “ouch!”, tell yourself to “get over it” and see how well that works for you.

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Abuse, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rape

WE MUST STOP HIDING

Its been a long while since I have written in my blog and there was a good reason for it; at least that is what I thought. My intention for writing my blog was to share my story freely for the first time. I knew it would stir emotions in my family, and so it did. I watched my family react to my “coming out” like a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off. Everyone was suddenly communicating with each other on social media, trying their hardest to calm the situation. But as usual, when my grandfather’s issue of being a pedophile arises, everyone talks about it until I “shut up”; then it dies, unit I bring it up again. I knew if I stopped making entries in my blog, everyone would slowly crawl back into their corners and hope that it stays that way. However, the real reason that I quit writing in my blog was this: I did communicate with a few family members and was told that the elders were concerned that my grandmother is very sick and (as if I need another burden on my mind) news of the abuse arising again may just kill her. So as you can imagine, I decided to shut up once again. The thought of being responsible for the possible death of my grandmother was to much to bare. Besides, everyone is quiet again, continuing to live their lives. Me, well….I am still dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, trying not to think about how invisible I am to my family…I tried really hard to go away, I really did. BUT THIS MORNING I WAS SENT A LINK TO READ AN ARTICLE THAT WAS PRINTED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES. IT WAS ABOUT DYLAN FARROW AND HER ABUSE BY HER FATHER WOODY ALLEN.

After reading her letter, I was inspired. 20 years later, and she too has PTSD. 20 years later and she too feels the need to share her story again with the world. 20 years later and she still has questions that will never be answered. 20 years later and she wonders why the adults in her life did nothing to support her once the abuse was revealed. 20 years later and she cannot look at a toy train without being re-traumatized over and over again, a feeling I know too well. And to think that some people want her to shut up and go away; yet we cannot go away. We cannot go away because our trauma does not go away. The feeling of numbness does not go away when we are constantly triggered by things that remind us of our sick relationship with our abuser. The fears that arise when we are parenting our children, does not go away. The battle of being in a state of peace against remaining in a state of anger, does not go away. The horrible memories and flashbacks do not go away. We do not choose to dwell on the issue, the issue dwells with us. It takes on a life of its own and we have to learn how to live with this life and care for it….be with it….move with it. We cannot pack it away; it goes where ever we go. The issue follows us to work or to school. It follows us to the bathroom and our bedroom. It follows us to the grocery store, so much so that I have walked out of a grocery store because a man resembled my grandfather and I could not stand to be in a room with someone who even looks like him.

As a survivor of incest, the word “family” becomes a trigger because it was “family” that violated us; so our concept of “family” and what that means is very twisted. It is twisted because what happened to us is twisted. And when your family does nothing to support your healing…..that is twisted even more. The adults are the ones who cover the pedophile; the adults are the ones who decide to press charges or not, usually because the victims are too young to make such a decision. Yet it is the victims who must become survivors. We survive by working very hard to live. We survive in absence of support by the ones who claim to love us the most. We survive because we want to help others…….come out of the darkness.

It is in sharing our stories that we heal, grow and help others. THANK YOU DYLAN FARROW, THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME TO STOP HIDING. I am not going away and I will not shut up; nor will I be blamed for any circumstance or situation that takes place due to my speaking out. I will not carry that guilt. I am sorry for the pain that my story may cause but Dylan Farrow showed me that while some may feel pain, others will be inspired. It feels great to know that others are dealing with similar situations. It feels great because the feeling of loneliness becomes too familiar. I know every feeling that Dylan Farrow is feeling and I stand with her because it is what I would want for myself. I was very inspired by her letter to continue sharing my story…and that, I will surely do.

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