I wish I could tell you when I wrote the following words, but I don't know when they were written. As I was getting organized for the visit of my daughter and her family this past week, I was going through some boxes before putting them away in the attic. I found a notebook with writing in it. Since I have started writing about my journey from incest to where I am today, I have decided to show you where I was just a few years ago. I didn't date the writing so it could have been written any time in the past 20 years. Here goes.
"When children are abused, why can't people see, why can't people listen, why can't people act to prevent the hurt? Why do parents hurt their kids? Why do children have to be hurt? Why do children die?
Why did my dad abuse me and my mom ignore the signs? Why didn't they love me?
How do I feel? I'm crying. I can't breathe. My stomach hurts. My head and heart hurt. I can't talk. My throat is too full. I can't see through the tears. I am trying to stay with the feelings.
Hurt, Heart Hurt.
What is being done about children dying from child abuse in Arkansas? What actions are being taken?
A child doesn't always tell you the truth when they are being abused. They're too scared of the abuser, scared they won't be believed, scared they will be called liars, scared they will die from the shame.
My cries are silent. I don't make any noise. I can't. My cries have always been silent.
Five children die every day from abuse from their caretakers."
This is just one day in the healing journey of an incest survivor.
What do I feel today reading what I wrote several years ago? I still get a knot in the solar plexus and a shortness of breath. The tears are not there so the feelings are not as intense as the day that I wrote the above words. That, in itself, tells me that some of my pain has been healed since that day.
My heavy heart tells me that I feel compassion and love for that wounded child that I still carry around within the adult me. That is as it should be. I don't want to ever forgot her or the lessons that I have learned from being an incest survivor.
Am I still that wounded child? At times, yes, but for the most part, no. I am not terrified of life and of people as I was then. I have forgiven myself and my abusers. Does that mean that I no longer get angry with them or with me? I wish that I could answer no to that question. I am not perfect. I still find little pockets of hidden anger and fear that come out sometimes. The fact that they show themselves to me tells me one very important thing about myself. I have grown strong enough to deal with this new anger or new fear. With this awareness of my process, I can address these feelings and get them out of my body where I have been carrying them since the abuse first happened.
My first memory of being sexually abused happened 44 years ago when I was 11 years old. Some people would ask why are you still dealing with this issue so long after it happened? My answer to those people would be, "Because I have to."
For many years I tried ignoring the issue telling myself that it would just go away if I pretended it didn't exist. I wish it were that easy. The answer is never that easy. At least, it hasn't been for me or the other incest survivors that I have known.
I was one of the lucky ones who found help. I no longer have to do this thing called recovery on my own. I have a support network of family and friends who love me. And, the most important part of my recovery is that I have learned to love myself.
If you found this article interesting and want to read some more articles on this subject, here are the previous articles that I wrote about incest:
Biography---Part 1 at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/biography-part-1.html
Forgiveness, Done In Layers at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/forgiveness-done-in-layers.html
Happy Father's Day, Daddy at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/happy-fathers-day-daddy.html
Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Introduction at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/08/incest-may-be-part-of-my-life-series.html
Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 1 at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/08/incest-may-be-part-of-my-life-series_05.html
There's A Hole In My Sidewalk at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/08/theres-hole-in-my-sidewalk.html
Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 2---Sadly Normal at http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/08/incest-may-be-part-of-my-life-part-2.html