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
Could it be?
He once was a man of anger,
A man full of hate, full of hurt,
He vowed to be faithful and true,
For better or worse,
Many a days I begged him for love,
He turned away,
He hurt me more than anyone should allow,
Then one fall night I walked in on the most horrific scene I could imagine,
He chose the same,
The same sex over me,
Where did I fail,
Why did I choose so wrong,
I wanted out so
I ran, far away...
Not into the arms of another who loved me,
Once again I chose so wrong,
Always taken, never free, why do I torture myself so,
Never good enough, always second,
Once again this one too, chose another one better than me,
Better than me, he was supposed to be better than the one who vowed to be true,
Should have know he was never true...
I wondered for years, fighting back the one who vowed to be true,
He tried every day, to change along the way,
He gave without take and never spoke of hate,
He said that it was not his choice, but I couldn't trust him once again, for he betrayed his vows,
He said he would be true until the end...
Maybe he could I began to question,
No lust, no sex, but could it be love again,
He showed me every day, bit by bit that maybe I was wrong once again,
I let him in but just as friends,
He stood by my side, and I pondered is it til the end?
Nothing's for sure,
And needing to feel loved by the one who once vowed to,
I began to smile once again...
Nothing's for sure, but could I become me once again?
Could it be?
Teen dating abuse can give scars that last a lifetime.
This is her story:
I started dating him in March of 2008, my junior year in high school - that June, we went camping with his family.
That's when the emotional and sexual abuse began. When everyone was out, we were taking a nap in the camper. He started touching me - I felt violated and powerless - I couldn't say "no" because I had nowhere to go.
We were that on-again off-again couple.
He made me feel dirty, like no one else would want me after what he'd done to me. He made me feel guilty for not reciprocating the sexual acts he did to me. I felt like a possession; an object to him.
In April of 2011, we were looking at engagement rings. One of the jewelers asked when he'd propose. He said he'd propose before boot camp in June. It was like a train hit me. "I don't want to marry him! It's too soon!"
I explained that I didn't want to get engaged before boot camp, I'd wanted to be engaged for two years before we married. He was heartbroken - he didn't say so, but I saw it.
A couple of nights later, he told me he didn't see me as his wife before listing everything he hated about me: I was "just like my mom," I'm high maintenance. He couldn't make me happy.
I was in tears.
I felt like I couldn't do better than him - my self-esteem and self-confidence were destroyed. Rather than tell him off, I melted - told him everything I "loved" about him and begged him to stay.
Little did I know... he'd been playing online video games with another girl. He decided to pursue her, but keep me on the side.
His friends were always at his house; we never had time alone. He'd violate me, touching my breasts, messing around under the blanket, in front of his friends. He didn't want me to hang out with my friends - he wanted my life to revolve around his.
It made me mad so I tried talking to him, confiding in him, but he never had an opinion - he just listened. He never confided in me but confided in everyone else. After our fight, he pressured me to do things sexually I wasn't comfortable with. He manipulated, coerced me.
He began acting strangely, hanging out without me - his friends were more important. I just wanted to feel loved; like I was important.
In an attempt to keep him, I went against my morals and decided that even if he dumped me, I'd take his virginity. He acted like he "deserved" my virginity. Before he took my virginity from me, I asked if I was his first.
I knew he wasn't The One; it was all so wrong. I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with a person who wasn't right for me. He told me that the idea of "The One," didn't exist. I believed him. I felt no one would understand me, put up with me.
Three days after he took my virginity, I got my period and he was sad, disappointed. That evening shit hit the fan.
Memorial Day weekend, sitting on the couch, I asked him what was wrong? He was acting weird, distant, isn't my virginity what he wanted? His eyes wandered - I knew wasn't telling me something. I asked if there was someone else and he went silent, then nodded. I wanted to leave, I was sobbing. He grabbed me, on top of me now, holding me down so I couldn't leave.
I couldn't look at him.
"Was she your first?"
I punched him in the jaw.
I was in pieces. Love, trust, hope, shattered. Why would someone do this to me?
I thrashed underneath him, trying to get free, to run away, but this wasn't over.
We were both in tears on his front porch, his friends filed out, watching the end of our dysfunctional relationship. Why hadn't they told me?
He confessed he'd hoped I was pregnant. I tried to wrap my mind around it. Trying to justify staying with him.
"Will you stop talking to her?"
I could not live with that.
"Is she prettier? Does she have bigger boobs?"
He'd had sex with her because I didn't believe in sex before marriage. The next day, I went to a party at a mutual friend's house. She told me he'd had sex with the other girl all the time, he'd come over and talk sexual details.
Before that night, I was a strict goody-goody Christian girl, I didn't smoke pot, drink; I didn't want to be around those who did. I thought my morals made me better than everyone. I was wrong; naive.
At that party, I drank until I passed out. That summer, I went to a lot of parties, but I didn't pass out, sleep around, or wake up and say, "I don't know what happened last night." I just needed some time to discover myself; to let loose, to be carefree.
I accomplished that.
I went on a few dates until I met someone from church, my "dream guy." He was a complete player, knew what to say, everything I thought I wanted.
He was the last lesson I learned.
My dream guy treated me well. We spent a night with friends with a beach bonfire drinking. We fell asleep on the beach for awhile until he drove us back to his place. We spent the next day together lounging around. It was the epitome of a summer fling.
He didn't want a relationship, friends with benefits, so after two months, I was done. He pressured me to do things I wasn't comfortable with. Manipulated...again. Since he preferred drinking at the bar to hanging with me, I couldn't handle feeling that I wasn't worth the effort.
He taught me not to fall so fast, to avoid doing things against my morals to please someone else.
I didn't bother breaking up with him, I just stopped talking to him.
My ex sent me a letter and apologized. He was dating the girl he cheated on me with, they were engaged after six months. I saw him in his dress blues after boot camp, when I told him that he'd been an asshole; that we'd never date again.
I explained how he'd hurt me - he didn't care; he was glad I was hurt. His fiance knew he'd cheated, but she "put it behind her." They married in April 2012. Doubt I'll hear from them again.
I decided to go to a college party with my coworker in September of 2011. We waited in the parking lot for our host to let us in. Finally, he strolled up, smoking. I was introduced. He flashed his smile and I was intrigued. That smile. His face. His eyes.
I was spellbound.
Inside, he was playing beer pong, his smile seemed so familiar. He caught my eye, asked what I was looking at.
I yelled, "You look familiar!"
He couldn't hear, so he walked over, and chatted it up with me. He's smart, funny - we have the same sense of humor. His ex cheated on him too. I wasn't entirely sold - he could be another jerk-bag. When I was leaving, he asked for my number, which I gave.
I thought it'd be the last time I saw him.
Over the next two weeks, he courted me. He texted me, I visited him at work. I gave him a chance. It was effortless, natural. The beginning of something new, something I didn't know existed.
On our first date he picked me up and took me to a really nice restaurant. He held my hand, kissed me goodnight on the forehead. It was as though we'd known each other forever.
At the beginning of October, I told him about the last decent sunset of the season. He said he'd take me after work. I had no idea what was in store for me. We walked along the sandy beach, the colors in the sky like a painting. We took pictures as we headed towards the pier. At the end of the pier, I continued taking pictures.
After the sun finally set, he turned to me, holding my hands nervously, and asked me to be his girlfriend. I was all smiles. I was shocked, happy. I told him it was the best question he'd asked; I'd be happy to be his girlfriend, to be his.
On the drive home, he told me that my ex-coworker had told him that he knew a girl he thought was his type. I was that girl. My coworker was right
We've been together over a year now. All the struggles were worth it. Without those, I don't think I'd fully appreciate all that he does.
It's been hard to let go of the emotional and sexual abuse, to embrace the blessings in my life. My past haunts me - I need to work through my trust issues, and the guilt I feel.
It hurts my boyfriend that I can't trust him, but I'm afraid that at any moment, he could flip a switch. I know that's not who he is, he's my best friend, my lover, my soundboard, my everything, and I love him with all my being.
With him, it's okay to be the real me.
My boyfriend is the man my ex said didn't exist.
Being married to a Narcissist can be one of the most devastating types of marriage.
This is her story of being married to a narcissist:
At seventeen, I had such low self-esteem that when I met my future husband,I truly believed he would be my only chance to become a wife and mother.
That's all I'd ever truly wanted to be. Sure, he had some horrendous character defects, but I was too immature, too inexperienced to recognize what that meant.
Since my narcissistic mother hadn't had a "real wedding," she wanted one for me. She got her way - I had to suffer through my own wedding, full of people I didn't know, and scheduled when it was most convenient for them.
He warned me before we married that he didn't believe in God. Of course, I didn't believe him. He also said he didn't ever want children; he went on to tell me exactly how he felt about kids. I knew he would change his mind once we had a beautiful baby of our own.
Boy oh boy, was I wrong.
Those only times in his life he ever told me the truth, and I didn't believe him.
My husband was a pathological liar, cheating on me at every opportunity. Of course, having been raised with a skewed family model, I never questioned him, never raised a fuss when he'd come home late. I was never allowed to ask where he'd been.
We got married on a Saturday afternoon.
We spent our "honeymoon" in a broken-down mobile home usually reserved for the ranch hands. The mobile home had no locks on the doors, no telephone. We had Saturday night to ourselves - I cried myself to sleep.
He was already disgusted. He had to work the graveyard shift the following night; I'd be alone in that dilapidated mobile home, two miles down a dirt road - no locks, no phone, no vehicle.
Did I manage to convey just how terrified I was?
I was the only girl in a family of six children and I thought I was marrying a man like my dad. Instead, I married a monster of a narcissist - just like dear old mom.
After our disastrous wedding night, he left the following afternoon, telling me he'd be home the next morning. I didn't sleep for the first month of my nightmare marriage.
That Monday morning, I waited for his return with the hope that I'd misunderstood something: he'd return, we'd have something in common and things would be, well, better.
Man, was I a target for his plan.
He finally arrived home, seven hours late. I was hysterical, weeping - weak with relief that he was alive. Just getting to our little "abode" was a hazard; I just knew he was dead in a ditch.
He merely looked at me and said coldly,"When you see the whites of my eyes, I'm home. Don't ask me where I've been or what I've been doing or who I've been with."
I was terrified.
I never asked again where he'd been or what he'd been doing or with whom.
After multiple failed attempts at birth control, I became pregnant after our first year of marriage. He was furious; he didn't want me to get "fat." I was slender after the initial horrible morning sickness, pregnancy agreed with me and I never gained an ounce of excess weight. Of course, it helped that I was nineteen years old and in excellent shape.
However, he found me repellent and disgusting. He had absolutely no interest in our baby and frequently left me without transportation. I frequently caught him "pleasuring himself" to avoid having sex with me. I was so confused, so hurt. I was relieved as well. I'd had no idea I was married to a man who hated women thanks to his overbearing monstrous mother; he made sure I toed the line.
I got pregnant again quickly; I only gave birth to daughters. My little girls gave me a reason to live. He ignored his daughters unless it was to receive the accolades they amassed, he continued to live his life apart from us unless it was to terrorize us. I'm grateful he never hit us, although he had a special gift for vicious verbal abuse that caused such damage, I sometimes wished he'd hit me.
My precious little girls were in constant terror of their father, yet one daughter was like him. It took every ounce of patience to break that child's vicious will without destroying her soul. She was sneaky; lied even if the truth was better. She stole money, hoarded candy, and tortured her sisters.
However, when I got down to the heart of her, she had a tender heart; this confused her when she indulged her evil behavior. I could see she was genuinely perplexed by what she did and frequently we would have talks, punishments. She even signed Behavioral Contracts. A three-year-old who could sign a "Behavior Contract" was a lot of work, but I refused to give up on her.
Her father recognized her as being just like him - he loathed her. She didn't have much use for him anyway, which I found funny. I always told her, you get what you give.
I finally left that monster when my daughters were fourteen, twelve, and eleven, when he became more verbally abusive, aggressive and had taken to abusing them when I was at work.
I didn't find out about the abuse until much later. It's baffling that a child will protect an abusive parent; abuse does not preclude the shame of the abusive parent. The child always finds a way to blame themselves for the horrible acts.
What I've learned from this man are universal truths: Men tell the truth. If they say they don't believe in God? Believe them. If they say they hate children and do not want any? Believe them.
They cannot help but tell you the truth when put to the test. The lies come later, when the verbose, full-of-lies storytelling begins. These men never use three words when two will do, so when are caught red-handed, the stories are fantastical and wordy.
Now, I can laugh at him.
At the time, I was genuinely perplexed as to why he was going into such detail about going fishing. The truth was, he wasn't fishing at all; he was on his way to see some woman, the car broke down and he had to come up with a story.
What the idiot didn't realize is that I'd called the tow company for the bill to give to the insurance company. I knew his story was a lie. Of course, as I'd been trained early and hard, I NEVER brought it up. I just left the tow bill out where he could see it so he'd know that I KNEW.
I got away from him for my daughters sake; he'd done enough damage. They still haven't healed. They still blame me for staying as long as I did.
My advice for someone else in my shoes? Do the best you can, leave as soon as you can. The best way to avoid these extremely bad people, is to run, not walk, from them, no matter how desperately they pursue you.
Listen to your instincts - they're there for an excellent reason.
Every once in a great while, someone comes along and changes the way you feel about life, the world, the secrets of love. This is that story, told my own way, with hope and confusion and frustration all around.
My story begins seven years ago; a number I've checked and rechecked this past week. Seven years ago, I was working at a retail-type job with a boy I fancied but barely knew.
It was adorable.
We laughed and flirted and created all sorts of giddy cuteness. Quickly, this coworker and I began dating, but not before I made friends with a customer of ours, Steve. I remember the very first conversation I ever had with Steve. He’s that kind of friend.
There was drama from the beginning.
My coworker and I were each being kicked out of our houses, both seeking roommates, so we moved in together, a process that forced us to become exclusive. Hard not to in a one-bedroom apartment, which was all that we could afford.
Steve, believing he was simply helping me move, helped us move. Steve became friends with the two of us, laughing, having fun being included. He helped us keep our cars on the road, invited us to family parties, and found ways to show me that he had my back - no matter what.
We - The Three Stooges - worked together at a nightclub a few nights a week. I’m sure I was quite a trip – 20, female and not exactly scary. I had my team, though. Who cared? Those were the good times - I felt amazing.
So it started. No, rather, it continued.
Steve and I - from the moment we met - were smitten. We were those people. Meanwhile, I was still dating my coworker. We'd had a fling – though it didn’t feel like a fling – Steve and I, the first time my coworker broke up with me. Alas, Mr. Coworker and I still shared a one-bedroom apartment, our reunion was inevitable.
That reunion changed so much of my life.
Steve, my coworker, and I all worked together, at another retail store. This was the place I earned the nickname "Girly Eyes." Oh, how my eyes twinkled!
Everyone knew. It was hard not to. Even my coworker. The jealousy, the tension, felt GOOD. My coworker knew about the fling. He'd known it would happen.
Then I turned up pregnant – a pregnancy that occurred during my reunion with my coworker. I knew that Steve wasn’t the baby’s father, but oh did I wish he'd been.
I still look for pieces of Steve in pictures of that child.
That son was placed for adoption at birth, and my coworker and I moved across the country. We weren’t happy together, but it was the best I had.
When I moved, Steve was in a pretty bad position himself.
His fiancee was pregnant, still married to - and living with - her ex who was a police officer. Her ex didn't know he wasn't the DNA match for her growing pregnancy. I didn’t know this until later, but we were both living in hell.
One day out of the blue, Steve called. He was now the father of a beautiful little girl. My heart grew that day just as it did when I'd birthed my son. There was a certain pride in his voice I’d never heard before. He finally loved something more than himself. I desperately wanted that baby to be ours.
My joy was hard to hide; news did not make my coworker nearly as happy. The news was hard to share, my coworker was (understandably) biased against Steve.
I had my own frustrations with Steve – for a long time he was the boy no one could pin down: he was here and there and everywhere. Full of fleeting truths and whatever it took to get him what he wanted, still giving me the butterflies. When he had a baby, he wanted a family. Oh that ache - I knew that ache. Steve's voice told me that he did, too.
We talked occasionally that year. I bought clothes for his daughter but couldn't bring myself to send them. He didn’t get to play Daddy anyway, another complication that broke my heart.
We’d talk about his daughter, my son, how much we wanted our kids to be ours. He became one of my best friends, someone that understood what many others couldn't. I'd been dating my coworker for four years by now and I was still unhappy.
Steve and I spoke as often as I could steal the time away. Steve split with the mother of his child and the baby went with her. We fell out of touch, both hurting, both scared.
The next summer we reconnected.
I'll never forget the feeling of the sun on my shoulders, the laughter in the air. We'd talk for hours. We'd daydream, talking about we wanted from life. We talked though his break-up with another woman he'd loved.
We talked about my son, the heartbreak for a child I don't know; likely never will. We planned to meet each others children: he'd meet my son through our open adoption, I'd meet his daughter during his weekend visits. Our friendship glowed.
That, I think, is when I really fell in love.
Contact waxed and waned awhile. I visited home and got a tour of Steve’s new house. I took a third wheel with as I knew I would never leave the state if I didn't.
There were sparks when we touched. He was magic. I was strong; stronger that I could've imagined. I left without a single thing to feel guilty about - I was still dating my coworker, unhappily as ever. He'd previously cheated on me; I didn't want him to feel the way I did after he'd done that.
The desire, the possibilities, the hope - oh how I can still taste them.
We finally split, my coworker and I, in a manner he deserved - leaving in a police car. Meanwhile, my spark with Steve grew forever stronger. He owned my heart, a heart more broken than he realized.
See, my coworker had been abusing me for years. I didn't know how to ask for help from a friend; how to accept the love, how to heal.
Here it was again, dancing in front of me: what was I going to do about it?
Like an idiot, I did nothing. I planned to move - I quit my job, lined up a new one and rented an apartment. The plan, however, was to move home to be with my coworker. What an idiot.
I was in love, yet couldn't shake a bad habit. Looking back, it was probably my last chance.
The move fell through. Time and again, Steve's asked me to move home; to start OUR family. For two years, I've seriously thought of it.
I said something to him, during that first fling, that I tell him now, when he is beyond the walls I built around my heart. "Don't tell me that," I say, "or I just might believe you." It's true. I've given him the chance to wiggle out of our relationship, but he always comes back; still meaning it.
Now here I stand.
He is engaged again. We've both lost all contact with our children - six months apart in age. I'm still oh-so far away.
Last week, my phone jingled.
A text, from a number I cannot forget. Like always, we picked up where we left off. There was no dancing around it this time.
"Marry me" and "I love you." I'm in a relationship now; one that's winding down and away. One I cannot stand to fight for anymore. How does Steve manage to show up when I need a reminder that someone loves me?
Then it happened.
His fiancee found out that he was talking to me and threw a fit. Apparently, he tells women who've never met me about me. Whatever it is that he tells them, they feel threatened.
I can't begin to blame her. His ex, the mother of his child, tried to get Steve and I together when they split. It's obvious. I had to play the friend card; to act like he hasn't held my heart for many years. My skin jumps at the thought of him, yet there I was, telling her how proud I was that he's finally settling down.
That’s what a friend does, right?
I decided upon that I'd have a new role as his friend.
But I'm in love with him. I love the idea of us with a future together. I'd been entertaining the daydream of moving back for years.
But I can't.
Right now, my job is to be his friend, to support him as he he starts a new chapter of his life. They haven't set a date, I don’t believe he will marry her, but (for now) I need to be supportive. For now, love means being bigger than myself.
I say that, I mean that, yet you haven't seen the way my face lights up when I hear his voice. The "girly eyes" are certainly not gone. I simply know that no matter how in love with him I am, no matter how in love with me he professes, right now this is what we are. Friends.
Maybe, maybe one day I'll get to live out our daydream.
After all, he told me (again) that he's not putting a wedding ring on a woman's finger until it is my finger.
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