Saturday, July 28, 2012

Confessions of a Survivor who Wanted Love

The following post is a confession series submission on the topic of sexual abuse. Drug abuse and death are also mentioned. This post might be triggering. Please continue with extreme caution.

2012 Submitted Anonymously

"Love and affection are craved by every child. And our responsibility as parents  is to show our children appropriate boundaries. Unfortunately, my mother was a single mom doing all she could to provide, so she entrusted that “chore” to my aunt and uncle who were a seemingly happy couple and recently married.

They took us in when my father ran off and were more like parents than extended family. As a small child, I always wanted somebody to be in bed with me as I fell asleep. It was almost tradition. We’d snuggle up and once I fell asleep, they’d leave to their own rooms. This was normal to me and I never knew these special snuggle times could be robbed from me and replaced with inappropriate touching and fondling. Once my cousin was born, I had a hard time seeing my role as “baby” replaced, so I demanded that snuggle time would continue every night. When my mom was away working at night, my aunt and uncle would split duty and I’d always have one of them laying with me.

I developed rather early at around 7-8yrs old. During these late night snuggles till I fell asleep, my uncle would fondle my breasts, and kiss on my neck while he touched himself. I never realized that was inappropriate because he was the only male in my “home” life. I thought it was just special time where all the attention was on me.

As a pre-teen, I became very promiscuous but the breaking point was when I wrote a note to a little boy in my class telling him what I wanted him to do to me. Again, even at 12 yrs old I had no idea this wasn’t what everybody who “loved” you did. I thought if this little boy loved me, he should touch me and I would touch him like I did during those special snuggle times I used to have.

By this time, it wasn’t happening at home anymore since we had moved in with my mom’s new husband. I never understood why he wouldn’t come to my room and “love” me like my uncle did. I thought my new step-dad hated me so I tried to find that affection through other boys at school. As I grew up, I learned what ‘rape’ was from a sexual health class. I thought and thought but came to the conclusion that I WAS NOT raped, since there wasn’t actual intercourse but almost everything else. I refused to face the facts that I was in fact molested and a victim of sexual abuse. I felt shame and guilt because on TV, rape victims were upset, mad and hurt;. While I actually enjoyed my “snuggle” times and wanted to feel that way again. I wanted the feeling of warmth, closeness and love.

When my mom and step-father divorced I went to him and thanked him for truly loving me. He was very confused but after telling him that for years I really thought he hated me because he didn’t “love” on me like my uncle did, he soon realized what I was saying. I begged him not to tell or do anything because at that point I was not ready to face the truth. I knew what he had done was wrong but I loved my aunt so much that I didn’t want to tell her.

At 17 yrs old, after 6 months of being in an abusive relationship both emotionally and physically, my aunt sat me down to “talk." Her first question was “Why don’t you care about yourself enough to leave him?” My response, “Why should I care about myself when you didn’t for so many years.” I broke down and told her in tears what had happened and asked her why she never stopped him when she was just in the next room. She looked at me with such disdain and basically said it was my fault because I dressed so slutty. Then said, we’ll talk about this later.

Well, 6 years later and we have still never discussed it. We went for almost 3 years pretending nothing had happened because I needed her in my life too much to bring it up. My mom was recently divorced and acting like she was my age, partying and dating. I was living on my own and trying to just keep my own
life together, while taking whatever affection I could get from whoever would give it to me. I am not proud in any point of that life but I had to escape, I had to get out of that cycle.

I became involved with an older man, who was only a couple years younger than my uncle. While he was never physically abusive, he was controlling and belittling and made me feel like I needed him to live. I endured almost a year of that relationship, laying next to him every night and feeling so much disgust I would often cry after he fell asleep.

At almost 21 yrs old, after leaving my “old man” relationship, I had a nervous breakdown. I locked myself in my car, convinced my uncle had sent the cats and dogs of the neighborhood to spy on me and torment me. A very good friend checked me into the hospital, where they gave me meds. No amount of meds in the world could make me forget or forgive. A year later, in 2011, I found out I was pregnant and married my boyfriend at the time.

At that point, I had not been to therapy since I got out of the hospital. I just didn’t want to deal with any of it. When we found out our baby was a girl in May 2011, I cried on and off for almost a week. I could not imagine a worse thing because I knew I couldn’t protect her. I mean, my own mother trusted her sister and my uncle with her life and me, but look what happened.

It has now been over 3 years since I’ve spoken to my aunt and uncle. I have a beautiful 9 month old baby and a wonderful husband. I have everything a girl could ask for in life. Everything except closure; I don’t know if I will ever get it. It took me years to even realize I was abused, let alone take the time to deal with it. Limited people in my life know about the abuse.

This issue caused a huge rift in my mom’s side of the family, since she still talks to my aunt and my grandma does, too. My grandmother never understood why I quit coming to family functions. My mother finally told her and she’s having a very hard time believing since to her my uncle has been the best son-in-law she could ask for. I rarely talk to anyone on that side because I am filled with such shame, guilt, and anger.

I see the effects of this abuse daily in my life; my trust in others, my trust in myself, my protectiveness of my daughter, and just my general attitude. I try to connect with my husband intimately but other than just plain sex, I don’t want the snuggling and fondling. It’s just too similar and disgusts me. My husband craves intimacy, not just sex. I don’t know how to give him that, and I feel I’ve been robbed of the ability to truly be affectionate with him.

As a Christian, I believe things happen for a reason, and I know that I must forgive my uncle. I try my best not to let it affect my relationship with my own daughter, but it’s made me so overprotective, I fear she may end up anti-social and mistrusting. I hope my story helps others know that it is OK to be confused about feelings. It is OK to wonder why. It is OK to be angry. BUT, it is NOT OK to feel like it was your fault. I do struggle with guilt over my “enjoyment” of those times. But after therapy, I have realized I was a child, he was the adult and it was inappropriate. Bottom line, it was not true “LOVE.”  Most of all: You do not have to be raped to be a victim of sexual abuse!"

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1 comment:

  1. This is a very powerful story and I am glad this mama shared it. It's very true - you do not have to be raped to be a victim of sexual abuse.

    I'm so sorry she wasn't able to find the proper closure with the family. My uncle was a child molester. He touched my brothers. How my dad managed to not kill him, I'll never know. My parents told my grandparents about it. They treated my parents like THEY were in the wrong and we have been left out of family functions since. They absolutely HATE my mother for speaking up.