1. Were you silenced by someone? How?
I was raised into silence. Growing up in my family it was assumed that children are liars. I was often told what the true story was by my parents and older brothers.
My parents words "Don't talk back" is what I remember most. They would ask me to explain how something happen and then the words " don't talk back" would be yelled at me or "don't laugh ... this is not funny" ... I remember that I was definitely not laughing. I was crying with tears running down my face ... how could my parents think I was laughing. Also they would ask for an explanation and then immediately accuse me of lying or to not talk back. It got to the point that I would just wait for my parents to tell me what happen because they were not going to listen to me anyway. My parents also did not like the words "I don't know" so it was better to have some sort of explanation (even if they would accuse me of lying) than to say "I don't know".
My parents also had very intense arguments that were compounded when they drank alcohol. That behavior indeed left me silent. My mother was also in a lot of depression and pain as I was growing up. I normally was afraid of her. And she would have to spend a few weeks in the hospital here and there for depression or anorexia. This was never explained to me. My mother normally looked angry towards me so it was better not to disturb her.
My brothers were the primary abusers and they helped to intensify my fear of my parents with stories from their own childhood about being beaten. My brothers also instilled in me not to be a "ta-tile-tail" through malicious taunts. My brothers were frequently my baby sitters so keeping silence was key if I did not want them telling something on me (like I really didn't eat my dinner or the mess I made when I poured my milk)2. Have other, beside the abuser, betrayed you? (In relation to your abuse?)
My parents - I have to say that the most painful confrontation was with my parents when I was 16 years old. This disclosure was not my choice and did not lead to anything except more pain. My mother found my journals and within the journals was all my pain around the sexual abuse. My parents were shocked, hostile, drunk, and mostly concerned about the reputation and disruption of the b-family. It was my parent’s version of the inquisition. My parents accused me of lying, questioned my sanity, pressed me hard for details of the abuse to prove if I was telling the truth, blamed me for breaking up the family, offered me counseling but then told me that only weak people get counseling.
The ER staff - In 1974, I was 7 years old. I was taken to the ER for lacerations inside my vagina. I was released to go home for sitz baths. They released me because of my mother's frantic hysteria. The ER staff did not know how to deal with her and she got more upset when they recommended that I stay over night for observation. They also released me because the only answer I gave to the ER doctor was that a swing did this to me.
I remember this event somewhat clearly. I remember my mother crying and screaming that I could not stay over night when the doctor suggested that. I remember my mother's other worry was whether my hymen was intact or not. I remember the doctor telling my mother that he did not see how my story was possible. He did not see that there was anyway that a swing could have done this and that the shorts I was wearing were not torn. I remember the doctor shacking his head and saying to his nurse "this is a mess".
I remember the embarrassment of having a doctor have to look at me there. I remember thinking to myself that I really could not remember how this happen but I could not tell the grown-ups that because I didn't want them to think that I was stupid. I remember my brother being on top of me earlier that day and him hurting me more than other times but never making the connection between me being in the ER and what he did earlier than day ( I did not make that connection until after I had children of my own and seeing them at the same age of this event)
The ER staff betrayed me when they let me go home with no follow up and within a few weeks my brother was back on top of me again. My regular pediatrician never received this ER report. I can't ask for the hospital record anymore because they destroyed records over 30 years old.
My ex-husband: He betrayed me because towards the end of our relationship after he tried to strangle me and slammed my head against the wall he turned everything that I kept in confidence with him about the CSA into a way to belittled and humiliating me. Even going so far as to bring up to the divorce lawyers that I am an unfit parent due to this past CSA.3. Did you "tell" people in a way other then words about your abuse? (anorexia, withdrawing etc)
Going to the ER with a torn bloody vagina at age 7. Being placed on phenobarbital at age 7 because I complained of a stomach ache all the time and was nervous (they were sure this was from school stress). Going to the my pediatrician for returning UTIs. Unexplained bruises on my thighs. Severe depression through out my adolescence and adult life.
My school records showed: I struggled through out grade school and was in special low groups for Math and Reading. I went to speech therapy at school for lack of “TH” sound usage (that blended consonants represented the sound my brothers used for what they did to me). My low productivity in school all turned around when my brother moved out of the house and joined the armed services.4. "The damage of betrayal is deepening the conviction that relationships can neither be enjoyed, trusted, nor expected to last" Do you agree with that statement? Why or why not?
This is a very deep question. The betrayal that I have experienced has lead me to those thoughts of despair. I can not deny that I have very few friendships and stray from intimacy but there is another part of me that does not want to give up and still strives to enjoy, trust, and endure relationships even if it is on a very small scale. I have kids and I would not have given birth if I did not think that this part of me was dead. However the betrayal still haunts me so I do have to address this despair at times. When my depression is greatest is when these convictions shout most loudly.5. How do you see yourself now?
A messy depressed woman with few friends that still struggles with her past. I use humor as my way out of the muck.6. Have you begun to tell others about your abuse? What have your experiences been like?
The telling with my parents and my brothers can me summed up in this post I wrote a little while ago:http://pandys.org/fo...&...st&p=429551
The telling to other people...
Within my extended family (cousins, Aunts, Uncles, grandmother) it has been frighting and greeted with awkward silences and minimization on the part of the relative ( I am sure it was not that bad because you brother is really nice) and people wishing to remain impartial because they really like my brother (I am sure you are just over reacting or forgive and forget ... he is your brother after all)
Telling friends about this ... I normally did not have the friend anymore. I am normally greeting with awkward silence.7. Do you trust others? Do you trust yourself?
I am learning to with both others and myself
Edited by Zebrina, 28 March 2007 - 07:27 AM.