In the course of the last four days, I have read every post on this site (thank you OCD). I was searching for resources regarding mental illness deriving from childhood sexual abuse and Google was kind enough to direct me here.
I've always thought that my issues were inconsequential. That I have had no worse experiences than any other soul on this earth. I've shared some of my experiences with a select few people, and the look on their faces has always puzzled me. This is my life, what is there to be shocked about?
Back on point. Spending these last four days reading about all of your joys, heartaches, pain and recovery has jostled a few memories of my own. Some things are always at the back of my mind, but others have been dredged from the depths.
Let's start with my diagnoses.
I've been diagnosed as Bipolar twice (but I contest it), Anxiety and OCD. The Bipolar was diagnosed during two full fledged breakdowns. The first was after a half-assed suicide attempt during a bad marriage at age 24 and the second during the first five minutes with the WORST PSYCHIATRIST EVER. Seriously. This guy grandly announced I was Bipolar after I mumbled it was a previous diagnosis.
But that's a story for another day.
I feel it's time to finally tell my story. I've avoided seeing this information in print for years. I've carried so much shame, self-blame and self-doubt that my soul is weary. While I'm not yet ready to delve deep into my experiences, this is a good place to start.
I was sexually abused by our 16 year old neighbor and his 15 year old sister somewhere between the ages of two and four.
My parents separated for work for six months and I witnessed my mother's breakdown when I was eight.
When I was fourteen, I had my first suicide attempt which was, thankfully, a rather pathetic one. When I was fifteen I had my first attempt at therapy but I did not say one word for the entire six sessions.
At seventeen I was raped for the first time at gunpoint by a "friend." The same year, one of my best friends committed suicide. I was the last person to speak with him. He told me that he was going to do it, but I did not take him seriously.
I made a second suicide attempt at age nineteen. Swallowed over 400 aspirin and ended up in the ICU for four days. There was some limited therapy to follow but I don't remember much about that. I told my parents at this point about the sexual abuse. It was the worst thing I have ever had to do in my life and 20 years later my mom still cries. It kills me.
When I was 24 I got married for the first time, and at 25 I had my first affair. I also tried to commit suicide for the third time. I was driving my car over 100 MPH on curvy back roads and attempting to run it into something. This landed me in a psychiatric ward for two weeks, with a Bipolar diagnosis. My marriage ended two years later.
At age 28 I was raped a second time by two men while I was drunk and in a foreign country.
When I was 29, I found out I was pregnant and had an abortion. The man that I assumed to be the father threatened to kill me if I even thought about having a baby while the man I am dating tells me that he will leave me if I have this baby. I was wrong. About it all.
I got married for a second time when I was 32, and it took all of three days for it to go to hell. Three years later I began having daily panic attacks, and within two months I am unable to leave the house. I developed paranoia and severe depression. I started seeing the WORST PSYCHIATRIST IN THE WORLD. Because of this man, I lost my job.
Shortly after losing my job, my husband told me that he really never loved me and that he just used me to get our house and the money I made. This does not assist with my recovery. He raped me. I moved back in with my parents.
After three more years, I was finally free of that man. I was broke as hell, and my credit was ruined but I was extremely happy.
Now at age 39, I have been out of work for two months with an injury. I am thankful that I have support, but the depression that started last April has blown up. I feel lost.
There is more, if I only could remember.
Thank you, all of you, for inspiring me to start this.
Band Back Together has been nominated for Best Group or Community Weblog in the 2013 Bloggies! Visit their site to vote and check out the other categories!
Band Back Together has been nominated for Best Group or Community Weblog in the 2013 Bloggies! Visit their site
to vote and check out the other categories! - See more at: http://bandbacktogether.com/all-posts/#sthash.iZSQRkS1.dpuf
Narcissistic Personality Disorder can permeate every family dynamic.
This is her story:
Smiling down at my beautiful three-month old daughter, her eyes the most beautiful dark, chocolate brown I've ever seen. Her tiny little lips perfect cupid bows, a personality as big as Texas shines from her eyes, lighting up her adorable face.
A crowd-stopper at three months of age - she already has two bottom teeth! I'd swear on a stack of Bibles that she understands me.
Of course, I keep my feelings to myself - ALL mothers must feel this way about their children, right? This little brown-eyed beauty WAS special; for a secret reason. Only one other human on the planet knew the horrible secret I kept locked deep inside.
This child was almost an abortion.
At twenty-one, I found myself pregnant again, thirteen months after giving birth to another baby, married to a man so horribly abusive that I'd pray for a fist to my face just to get it over with.
I was bound to a theological system misinterpreted by the men who preached it. Looking back, I wonder how many of our religious leaders were covert Narcissists, using a Loving and Benevolent God to abuse the women in their lives and congregations. I'd see it Sunday after Sunday, women in impossible relationships seeking answers to their pain.
Divorce was unheard of; separation with "the intent of reconciliation" was the "Christian" term for what to do when you finally ask for spiritual guidance from the "Leaders." You'd see these women each week, desperate for solace, battered from years of being "obedient," weak from loss of hope.
Surely, God must hate me.
Or, I have to work harder, pray more, be a BETTER wife. I knew he was a bad man when I married him - I made my bed, I must lie in it.
At home, I have one beautiful, precious green-eyed blonde baby, thirteen months old. She doesn't have a mean bone in her little body. She's a sweet, loving baby with a tender heart, not an drop of malice.
We can tell. Moms. We know.
When my beautiful sweet daughter was thirteen months old, I found myself pregnant again, unable to get a divorce. I know that I cannot have another child with this man.
I told no one.
Finally, I told the only person I knew would never judge me if I decided to have an abortion; she knows I cannot have another child with this man. My loyal to the death sister-in-law, best friend, wife of my favorite brother.
She took me to Planned Parenthood.
Abortion had been legal less than ten years at the time; pretty bold move, if you ask me.
She and I sat in the waiting room, silent. My brother was watching all the kids, never ever saying a word about the choice I was making. He never judged me, he knew my husband.
As we sat in the waiting room, I prayed to a God I desperately needed to hear from. I was considering the Christian unthinkable.
My decision wasn't the baby's fault; my decision was based upon the monster I'd willingly married. I hadn't known that he was a Narcissist and a misogynist. He no longer tried to hide it. I know that another baby was NOT part of his diabolical plan for world domination.
Needless to say, I changed my mind about the abortion.
I stood up, looked at my best friend and said, "Let's go."
Now, here I was, my second daughter cradled in my arms, about to nurse her. Her sparkling chocolate brown eyes, smiling, her cupid bow lips curved in what appeared to be adoration, her two tiny, sharp as hell, teeth visible. I'm thinking, "Look at her. I almost lost all the joy I feel this moment." Love washed over me as we locked eyes.
With her eyes still locked onto mine, grinning widely, she bit me - a pain sent shock-waves through me. Still, she was smiling.
I reared back, flicked her on her cheek and said, "NO." She just looked at me.
I picked her up, looked into her beautiful sparkling brown eyes and said, "Don't you EVER do that again! Do you understand?"
She started howling like I'd broken her arm.
I put her back into her tiny little bassinet, letting her cry it out. I was PISSED: that kid just bit the shit out of my nipple and ENJOYED it.
From that moment, I knew this child was different from her sisters.
My middle daughter has an off-the-chart IQ, and she was mean. She lied compulsively, even if the truth would've better served her. She created chaos between her sisters. She'd steal.
She was beautiful. Charming. Gifted student. Master manipulator. Opportunistic. Seemingly innocent while being precocious. Musically talented, she sang like an angel, gifted at piano.
Rage was one of her tools. Fear of upsetting her caused an entire family system to revolve around her until she was three.
Then, I outwitted her.
There are consequences for EVERY decision to be bad, do bad, or cause bad and a parent must be consistent, each and every time. Once I understood her motives, it was easier to separate her bad behavior from age-appropriate behaviors.
My kid had to know that if she was going to choose to misbehave I'd move Heaven and Hell to reach her, make her apologize, sit on my bed for 15 minutes. THEN, she had to tell me what she'd done wrong and why. If she decided to be stubborn (and she always did), I had to be more stubborn.
She had to sit on my bed for 15 minutes for me - I knew I had to be calm to discipline her. If I tried while I was angry, it fed her own calm. She fed off chaos. If I removed any scintilla of what she was trying to get, forced her to accept responsibility for her deviant behavior, we both won.
I gave my beautiful, talented, gifted child the gift of shame.
Shame to my little girl equated rage. Discovered doing something intentionally and deliberately wrong, hurtful, deceitful or self-indulgent didn't cause her to feel badly.
No, she became enraged when she got CAUGHT.
I could always tell, like only a mother can, when she switched into survival mode. I called it, "Making her sit down while she was standing up on the inside."
Self-will is incalculable. The strength inside a person cannot be measured.
If this power is used for good, we see people like Mother Teresa. If this human spirit is used for personal gain, we see people like Hitler.
I was raised by a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Munchhausen syndrome, married a misogynist monster narcissist.
When she was fourteen, she chose evil over kindness. By then, I was a newly separated mother of three teenage daughters. Her behavior went into overdrive, becoming worse each day. Every attempt to help, use therapy, use love failed.
Her fangs grew before my eyes. Her rages kept our home in constant fear of upsetting her.
I got pissed.
I told her that I knew and understood how she thought. Why she behaved the way she did. What her motives were and why. The only explanation of my knowledge was divine intervention.
She sat transfixed as I spoke to her.
As I did, she began to cry genuine tears - I did not take mercy on her. I continued explaining, using vivid adjectives that finally reached the shame deep inside her.
My hope, my prayer, was that she would choose to use her genius for good, rather than personal gain and self-indulgence.
Nobody gives a shit about a genius who's an asshole, I explained. Your choice, I told her. Now YOU get to pick whom you will serve. You've just reached the age of accountability.
Self-indulgent genius and future criminal?
Or earn multiple masters degrees? Master many languages? Become a world traveler and consultant?
The choice was hers.
We all have letters we'd like to send, but know that we can't. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser. Letters where actual contact is just not possible for whatever reason.
Do you have a letter you'd like to send but can't? If so, send it to us.
Please, The Band, keep in mind the mission of Band Back Together and the Guidelines for Submissions are very clear in that we are not a rant site - the purpose of our posts and our mission is to be able to share our stories in a safe manner while encouraging healing.
Hello Ex #1. You were wonderful. You were kind, thoughtful, loving, attentive. You were there for me through a very rough time when my parents were divorcing. You were loved by all of my family. You were an amazing first boyfriend and I loved you with all my heart. Thank you for being such a wonderful first.
Hello Ex #2. You were revenge on my parents for splitting up and "ruining everything". You were MANY years older than me. You were fun because you provided everything I needed to escape my shitty teenage reality. I drank and did drugs. You became a heroin addict. I became pregnant. I made an incredibly difficult decision to abort and then a really smart decision to leave you. Please stop trying to "friend" me on Facebook. I am never going to accept the request. You are in the past. Stay there.
Hello Ex #3. You were my self-punishment for the abortion. You were incredibly gorgeous and charming. Then you weren't. You picked fights over everything. I could never give you enough of my time and energy. I let you isolate me from my friends and family. I hated myself. You hit me. I only ended it because my friend would have killed me (figuratively speaking) if I went back to you. After all, she got a black eye when she stepped in front of me to protect me from your swing. You suck. I was stupid.
Hello Ex #4. You were very charming, sweet and funny. We had so much in common. Eventually I moved in with you. Then you stopped working. I supported us (and your friend) for two years. I kept giving you chance after chance to make something of yourself. How could I leave you high and dry? You had no job. You'd be kicked out of the apartment. Where would you go? What the hell was I thinking? When I finally left, I did it all wrong, but you were just fine. You found someone else to take care of you. I pity her. I was proud of me for thinking more of myself and wanting more for myself than what you were giving.
Hello Husband. It took these exes and so many more for me to grow up and learn self-respect; to learn how to love someone else correctly. And to learn to be loved the right way. Yes, sometimes we argue, but you know what? Those arguments are healthy. It took me a lot of years to learn how to argue healthily. We communicate, we share our feelings and our points (sometimes loudly, but always respectfully), we compromise where it's appropriate and give in sometimes, too. We work together to make us work. You always think of me, my needs and how things will affect me before you make decisions. I've learned to do that, too. You love me so much. I love you equally. We have a beautiful life and three beautiful girls. We have had some REALLY hard times in the nince years we've been married. But we work through them together and we are stronger for it. My love for you grows and my respect for you grows. You have my trust.
Thank you for growing with me.
One in every four women will have an abortion in her lifetime.
This is her story.
I am in my 20's. I have a great job. I have a wonderful family and the best friends a girl could ask for.
He is in his 30's.
We had been together for a little over a year. Our relationship was unhealthy (to say the least). Constant arguing and fighting. Yelling and screaming. Many nights of drinking and physically fighting.
I don't know why we were still together. I don't know why we are still together; I was unhappy then and I am unhappy now. Maybe it's because he is the only one who knows my secret. It's OUR secret.
I found out I was pregnant two days before my best friend's wedding. I took two tests and both were positive.
I was terrified.
The three days that followed were crazy and emotional. I was surrounded by friends and family. It was so hard not to tell someone, but I told no one. I already had my mind made up.
I have always, always, always maintained I would never have an abortion. But, I also believe that every situation is different. Everyone goes through different things and I never felt that it was my place to tell someone else what was best for them. I never thought I would be in this situation. I never thought it would happen to me: I wanted an abortion.
I didn't want my family or friends to know. They wouldn't understand.
I was very early in my pregnancy, so I opted for the abortion pill. We went in a week later and I was given one pill in the office and 4 tablets to take later. I expected it to be awful with lots of pain and cramping. I felt nothing and within a few hours the "worst" was over. I slept a lot. I don't even remember much of it.
In the days and weeks that followed, everything went back to normal. At least as normal as things could be.
I started having dreams about being pregnant. The dreams turned into awful nightmares. Nightmares about me physically murdering my child in the hospital.
The nightmares have turned into self-hate. I cannot believe what I have done. I thought it was over and I thought I was okay. It is not over and I am not okay.
My due date is on our two year anniversary.
I am surrounded by pregnant women. I wish more than anything that it was me. I can't eat. When I do eat, I binge.
I can't sleep, and when I do sleep, my sleep is filled with nightmares and tears.
I can't talk about it because no one knows this deep, dark secret and the one who does know has no idea how to help me cope. It makes me hate him even more.
I don't feel worthy of this amazing life I have been given. I took the life of an amazing little person because I was afraid. Because I was too selfish to take care of my responsibilities. Because I didn't know what to do.
I cannot stand the person that I have become. My relationships and my job are suffering.
I feel like I am dying inside. I feel lost and empty. I feel worthless. I am destroying everything and everyone around me, and I can't tell anyone why I feel the way I do.
I feel alone.
Will I have the opportunity to be a mom? Do I even deserve the opportunity to be a mom?
Will I ever be okay again?
One in every four women will have an abortion in her lifetime.
This is her story.
I don't want kids.
My mother was an alcoholic, verbally abusive, emotionally manipulative, and has an eating disorder that deeply affected me. Every fiber of my being has always screamed that I didn't want to become her or treat a child like I was treated. My mother has killed my maternal instincts.
Naturally, when I found out I was pregnant, it terrified me. All I could think about was how I needed to get rid of it because somehow it would turn me into her.
In addition, I had been on an anti-psychotic medication for the first nine weeks I was (unknowingly) pregnant, and when the doctor said there was a huge likelihood that the baby would have severe neural tube defects - possibly even anencephaly - he agreed that terminating the pregnancy was a wise course of action. I felt relieved - I had wanted someone besides my fiance to tell me I was doing the right thing, even though I had already made up my mind to do it.
There were no complications with the abortion procedure itself once I had it. I felt relieved that I had saved a potential child from being a burden or resentment, and that I had been saved from becoming my mother. At the same time, I felt deeply, deeply saddened.
Relief and sadness still war inside of me. I know I did the right thing but I still regret even having to make the choice. My father taught me that there are always two roads, and that whichever choice you make will have its own consequences. He said that I should always make sure that a decision is my own so that I can live with myself later. I live with myself just fine - I'm just sad.
Mister E has seen the corner of the ultrasound in my memory box, but he doesn't acknowledge it and we don't discuss it. I don't mind. I'm not quite sure why I kept it, but it felt important to me so I did. To remember the tiny thing that was inside me for almost four months, I added a peony that symbolizes the month it would have become a reality to a tattoo on my right arm. It would have been born August 11, 2011.
When I look at the image on the ultrasound that I keep in my memory box, I feel numb. Somehow I grieve for it even while knowing that I would have resented and regretted it and everything that came along with it.
That's not how a mother should feel and I wouldn't want a child to grow up under that burden.
Until I found The Band, I couldn't talk about these things. My family and many friends would say that my strange sadness meant I should have continued with the pregnancy, that I would be "such a good mother," but I know it's not the truth.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm sadder for what lived inside me or for myself.
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