Owning My Pain Induced Fault Lines

I’ve recently come to some hard realizations regarding my past and how they are impacting my present. This may be the only time in the immediate future that I can get this out so I’m taking the plunge without editing so that I won’t erase the honesty of my situation.

I’ve thought that my mental illness presented itself when I was eight years old, but now I think it was childhood abuse and trauma that was coming through. I was standing in our ugly shower that’s the color of unhealthy bacteria laced phlegm sobbing with my mom’s disposable pink lady Bic razor against my wrist. I have no idea what upset me and how I learned that cutting one’s wrists could end one’s life, but there I was. For the last few years I’ve thought that that was the beginning of me becoming crazy and fucked up. I’ve viewed it as the start of me being damaged goods, but the reality is that it was the abuse in my house that led me there. I can’t even remember anything but bits of pieces of my childhood before the age of eight and I don’t have constant memories before the age of ten. This is also something I’ve only recently come to understand and grip the gravity of as unhealthy and abnormal.

I was raped when I was fourteen by my then nineteen year old boyfriend. I’ve always known that that I was young and just a kid when that happened, but because I had been through so much already and was smarter than average I never really thought of myself as a child. I didn’t see it as childhood sexual abuse. I never saw myself as a victim of childhood sexual abuse. That’s what it was though.

I’m not sure why seeing this all for what it was has been so difficult for me. Maybe it’s my own internalized self-blame and hatred. Perhaps by seeing myself in the role of more of an adult I was able to give myself more power when it was all taken away. I’m not sure, but I know that this has been unbearably painful and has rocked my sense of self-worth and ability to further cope in my current shitty life circumstances. There are things that have been a part of my life for the past several years that I can’t publicly speak about for a variety of reasons, but they only add to the trauma that I face. They add to the alienation I feel from people. This is all such a large part of why I’ve further pushed people away. Granted, I haven’t found many that are understanding and patient for me to let in, but the few that have come my way I somehow kick out of my life through a series of tests. Only a few people have had the understanding and compassion to stick by me through this all.

I don’t blame those who I don’t understand and it’s too much for them to deal with, but this is a small taste of what I’m going through. Every minute of every day I’m in pain. Between the fact that my body is a worthless hunk of junk that has continually let me down (now I have a lump in my right breast to contend to) or the trauma that I carry in my soul without any relief or comfort I simply don’t know how to let people be close to me. How do you let yourself open up to the idea of being loved when the overwhelming majority of your life you’ve been told time and time again that you’re so unworthy of life that you deserve abuse? Seriously, someone tell me how because I really don’t know.

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2 thoughts on “Owning My Pain Induced Fault Lines

  1. I don’t know what to say but I want you to know you are seen and that I hold you in my heart even though I’ve been distant myself. It’s so wrong that you are the one who has to deal with the lifelong aftermath of this abuse and that it continues to make connection and happiness difficult for you. Culturally we have done such an incredible disservice to every teenager by talking about how people can be mature for their age and letting teens believe once you start being like an adult you can’t go back to childhood. Although I’m sure you know this on an intellectual level at least I am going to say it again.
    You were a child, nothing that was done to you was your fault, nothing that was done to you was acceptable, nothing that was done was deserved. You did not bring this on yourself. As a child you did not have the agency to make the choice to be in a relationship with a 19 yr old. I don’t say this meaning that you shouldn’t have made that choice, but rather that the power and control in that situation was always in his hands and he used it every step of the way even, and especially, if he led you to believe you were equal during the build up of the relationship before the abuse.
    There is a book called Boy Toy by Barry Lyga that has helped me to gain a small level of understanding regarding what it can be like for those who experience childhood sexual abuse during the early teen years. There is so much about the agency we think we have at that age that we can’t recognize was not true agency until many years later. In the book the teen hides from the fact they were preyed upon by believing they seduced the teacher rather than that the teacher picked them from day 1. Once he shifts in that understanding it changes everything about how he feels about himself and how he relates to what happened to him. At first it makes everything more painful but it leads him a new place of understanding himself and his past from which to work on recovery.
    The pain we are capable of feeling for our childhood selves can be immense when we see the truth that we were not responsible for pain inflicted upon us. I hope that someday seeing the truth of your past helps you to a less shame and blame filled relationship with yourself and thus a more positive one.
    with love and empathy,
    Gwen

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