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
This post contains information of a graphic nature.
Please do not continue reading unless you understand that sensitive content about rape is contained below. That said, please support this brave woman as she shares her story.
Three in four women (76%) who reported they had been raped and/or physically assaulted since age 18 said that an intimate partner (current or former husband, cohabiting partner, or date) committed the assault.
This is one woman's story.
She didn't know how she had gotten here.
Well, that's not entirely accurate. There was a green semi in the parking lot, that was how she'd gotten here.
Here, in this smelly truck stop, where she's crying softly in the corner, curled up on a ratty old couch. Here, a stone's throw from the Canadian border, with nothing more than a handful of change to her name. Here, with the blood smeared on her thighs, staining the last clean pair of pants she owns.
She should have listened when they all told her there was something not right about him.
Blind stubbornness - she wanted them to be wrong. Even though she knew, deep down.
She thought it was sweet that he asked her to marry him in the aftermaths of losing her brother. Love for loss, it seemed a good way to get her life back on track. Did she love him? She's not sure.
At first, it seemed like an adventure to go out on the road with him. The thought of seeing places she'd only dreamed of was an intoxicating drug. She packed a few things, and he told her he'd see to the rest. In the first few weeks, he spoiled her. Little treasures in each place they stopped. Hotels instead of truck stops, nice dinners out.
She had no money. He paid for everything. She had a prepaid cell phone that he gave her money for.
Until he didn't anymore. Until it became a bartering tool.
If she wanted a phone card so she could call home tomorrow, well then she needed to perform oral sex tonight. If she wanted a postcard to send to her son, she needed to give in to his demands, no matter what they may be.
Eventually, the money started running thin. And he stopped caring whether she got anything in return. He was her husband, he said - it was his right. She was his wife, he said - it was her duty.
Whether she wanted to have sex or not, it didn't matter. If he was in the mood - and he was ALWAYS in the mood - she had to be, too. Even through all of that, he never pushed her too far. He never really hurt her.
Tonight, he'd had a few drinks. He never drank.
Tonight, he'd wanted to try something new.
Tonight, he didn't want to hear her refusals. Each whimper, each cry earned her a slap, a hit. There were a few times he whipped her with his belt when she wouldn't position herself the way he wanted. There was blood, he either didn't see it or didn't care.
There was no preparation, no readiness made. He was ready, that was all that mattered. He shoved into her, and she screamed as her skin tore. Her screams earned her a fist to the side of her head. With her ears ringing, she bit her lip through the next tearing thrust.
There was salt in her mouth, her tears. Iron, blood from her lip. He grunted with his completion and whispered in her ear that he loved her.
She waited a few minutes, then asked if she could use the restroom. She dressed carefully and gingerly stepped down from the truck. It took everything inside of her to not start running the second she was out. Where would she run to? They were the only truckers here tonight.
She tried to clean herself up in the restroom, but she was still bleeding. Not knowing what else to do, she padded her underwear with toilet paper. She washed her face, wincing as the water hit the cut in her lip. She'd bit through an old scar; it was going to be sore for a few days.
She saw a payphone in the lounge area; she dug through her pockets for some change. She was a nickle short of a long distance call. The tears started streaming down her face without her knowing. Defeated, she collapsed on the battered up couch and buried her head in her hands.
How had she gotten here?
Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark. And now?
Your bandmate needs a sounding board.
It's time to Ask The Band!
I've come to realize I live in a very selfish household.
I certainly expect selfishness from my kids, but I've begun to notice my husband’s selfishness of late. There are days I dance in ignorant glee, but most days, like today, it drives me insane.
And he wonders why I’m so “cold” and “distempered” lately.
Maybe it’s because I have no help in parenting, except for when it’s convenient for him. Maybe it’s because I am a night owl getting up at the butt-crack of dawn to see my four kids off to school, three of whom can get themselves ready, while he snores or lays there until he gets dressed for work (he is his own boss).
It has nothing to do with his expectation that I never keep him waiting, yet I wait for him forever whenever I need something necessary, like gas money. Did I mention he always leaves me broke?
Maybe it’s his attitude that prevents him from giving me the respect I deserve or even putting the damn toilet seat down so I don’t fall in when Mother Nature wakes me in the middle of the night.
Maybe he's got things far too easy, but... I’m supposed to lift him up, make him feel like a man.
Can you please tell me how to do this when he doesn’t act like one?
I’m tired of nagging. I’m tired of talking. I'm wasting my breath.
I’m tired of “being married” when my husband (who won’t replace the wedding band he lost TWICE and flirts with other girls right in front of me) doesn't act like a married man.
No, I’m not perfect.
I’m far from perfect. I bet there are a thousand things I do that irritate him. I can handle those things, if only he would stop being so damn selfish and show me the respect that I deserve.
Before it’s too late.
Thanks for letting me have MY selfish moment, The Band, and for listening.
The Band, what advice would you give this woman about her husband's behavior? Do you have any suggestions to help her?
I hate what you did to me.
I hate that you stole from me; that you used me for years.
I hate that I couldn't leave my purse unattended.
I hate that you made me feel worthless, unsexy, and unwanted.
I hate that you brought drugs into my life.
I hate that you made me feel like the few nice things you did excused your behavior.
I hate that you stole the best years of my life.
I hate that you called me "crazy" when I didn't think what you did was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
I hate how it ended and how you berated me until I couldn't take another second of it. So I blew the fuck up and tackled you.
I hate that I had to call the cops and beg them to take you away.
I hate that you were lucky enough that the stupid cop that showed up was your "boy" and did fucking nothing.
I hate that I ended that night with a black eye and fingerprint bruises around my neck where you picked me up by my neck, my feet not touching the floor.
I hate that for the last five years of the seven that you lived with me in my guest bedroom, I didn't get one minute of affection from you.
I hate that you called me "crazy" and "irrational" when I expressed my displeasure about this.
I hate that you took advantage of my family's generosity. That you'd still go with us on family vacations, sneaking out each night to sleep in another bedroom.
I hate that you destroyed my faith in myself; told people that "I could not exist without you."
I hate that I tried so fucking hard to make you better. I tried so hard: I bought you a truck, replaced the engine, while trying to restore your bad credit.
I hate that you are now dating a woman old enough to be your mother. A relationship that may have started while you were still living in my guest bedroom.
I hate that you're probably doing things with her that I'd always wanted you to do with me.
I hate that you've given up the drugs for her - but wouldn't for me.
I hate myself that I allowed all of this to happen.
And I most of all, I hate that I miss you.
I've been bullied by my mother for my whole life. Now? I live with her.
It took me a long time to get my affairs in order, a long time to realize my limitations, to start being an adult. I was always broke, moved around, always feeling things weren't my fault and that nobody would help me.
Then, I realized that no one would ever help me, not if I wouldn't help myself.
So I changed.
I got my life together. I got a good job, settled down, stopped being wild and started thinking about my future.
I began to do everything that my mother couldn't do for herself. She's nearly sixty and still can't keep her bank account in the black. She's filed bankruptcy a few times, is still in massive amounts of debt, and blows her weekly paycheck within a day.
This wouldn't bother me or be any of my business if it didn't directly affect me.
See, it's like this.
She pawned the title of her vehicle to pay her federal tax debt and purchase a $1500 dog. She has another expensive dog that lives in a crate. She hardly ever pays any attention to the poor dog.
Now she owns another expensive dog. She bought the new dog with the expectation that it'd be a Family Dog that we'd all help to care for it. The thing is, we'd all told her we didn't want another. I have two kids and one more on the way.
My significant other works long hours and isn't home often enough to take responsibility for the dog. We're already stretched beyond our means and she wants to add to the burden without our permission?
That poor dog now sits in his own crate most of the day, next to the first dog. Of course, her taxes were never paid.
Then the swing set.
My mother has this habit of buying things for my children, spending every dime of her paycheck - until she's crying over her checkbook: she doesn't have money for bills. She doesn't have gas money for her car.
Then she'll turn to my family, insisting that we owe her money. She starts pointing out all the things she's bought us. She starts threatening to take away our things if we don't give her money. We've addressed this with her in the past, and this week it's happening again.
Over a swing set.
She pointed at the ads, gloating that she was going to get it for my boys since I couldn't afford it myself.
Newsflash: We haven't purchased a swing set because we can't afford a swing set! Unlike her, we pay our bills first, put money away for the unexpected expenses, and we do without what we can't afford. That swing set doesn't entitle her to money out of my bank account. If she wants her money back, she can get a damn refund!
It isn't simply that her fiscal irresponsibility is affecting my finances - now she's threatening the home my family lives in. It's always been her fallback move.
Anytime I didn't do as she wanted, even when I was a child, she told me to get out. When I was a child, she took my house key, locked me outside and wouldn't let me back in. I stayed with a friend until she called the police and reported me as a runaway. Because of that move, I was sent to live with my dad.
As an adult, when we both fell on hard times, we thought moving in together - a shared lease - would be a great idea. I was so wrong.
She got angry with me, broke the lease, and threatened to put all of my stuff in a yard sale if I didn't get it out right away. I received a housing collection of over $3000 on my credit thanks to her stunt.
I thought that maybe now, seeing as how we are both on the deed of a house that's paid for, it wouldn't be a problem.
Tonight however, I got threats of a lawyer and "We'll just see about that," all because I wouldn't give her $20 for gas. I don't have any money. My pregnancy is high-risk and I'm on bed rest and short-term disability now. That means 65% of my normal pay before my health benefits and taxes are deducted.
I don't know what to do.
If I leave, it'll be a major burden on my family of five. I can't kick her out, not that I would want to stoop to her level, because she's also on the title of the house. I can't sell the house without her permission, and I don't think she'd give me that.
For now, I'm stuck living with a bully.
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