Monday, December 3, 2012

Time Does Not Heal All The Wounds Of Incest

"It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.'
I do not agree.
The wounds remain. In time, the mind,
protecting its sanity,
covers them with scar tissue
and the pain lessens.
But it is never gone."
    - Rose Kennedy -

I borrowed this quote, with permission, from . The page is called Rape Survivors Unite.

I don't get angry when I hear someone say, "time heals all wounds." but in my mind I add the words, "unless you are a child abuse or incest victim/survivor." I don't get angry at these people because I know they are well-intensioned and probably feel helpless in the face of the horrors of child abuse and incest. Just imagine how those of us who have lived through child abuse or incest must feel. We don't need platitudes from well-meaning people. We need authentic love and support and we need to be believed when we tell our stories.

I have never questioned whether my memories are true, but some survivors do. I have too many memories of being told I was going somewhere with my dad in his truck. I lived with the knowledge and stress of knowing that before we came home my dad would find some quiet dirt road or an empty pasture to pull into to rape me before returning home to pretend that nothing had happened and to pretend that everything was normal.

For a long time, I didn't call the sexual abuse by its name of rape. I always thought of rape as being physically violent. Someone then told me that rape happened anytime you are threatened or coerced into having sex that you didn't want and that you didn't give permission for. Incest with a child by an adult counts as rape because a child can't give his or her permission to be sexually violated. My emotional scars are much deeper than any physical scars might be. Physical scars affect your body and eventually fade and disappear. Emotional scars are much harder to heal and may never completely go away. As Rose Kennedy says the pain lessens but the scars are still there.

I would love to believe that "time heals all wounds." Incest and rape affect your mind, emotions, and your body on so many levels. Some levels heal quickly. Others don't. At almost 61 years old, I am still waiting to see if time heals all. I have been doing this healing work since 1989. If I lived to be 1000 years old, I might could say "time heals all wounds." So far time has not healed all of my wounds.

When I was 38 years old in 1989, I finally had the courage to open the door to incest and to look it in the face. I didn't know, that at almost 61, I would still be working to clean out that room of issues. The cleaning out is still taking place but isn't as intense or of long duration now but it is still going on. Because of my own healing journey, I know that your life can get better. Mine is so much better now than it has ever been. The support and love of my husband is the greatest blessing that has enabled me to work on my own healing. I love you, Daniel.


Tracie Nall said...

While time might heal a lot of wounds, I'm with you looking at myself and realizing that hasn't been true for me (yet). I remember in the first days of admitting to myself what had happened in my childhood, the healing work was all day/all the time. Now there are breaks, and times when I can look back and see how far I've come. That is good. But I still see that there is a ways to go on this path as I continue to dig deeper and work on the woulds that I received in those years of incest and abuse.

I have one of those wonderful, supportive husbands, and he is such a blessing to me. It makes me happy that you have one too.

Patricia Singleton said...

From Tracie, thank you. You describe what my path has been like too. I believe having the support of a loving spouse is such a blessing and makes such a big difference in how we heal. I, too, am glad you have a wonderful, supportive husband.

Unknown said...

I agree with both of you, time does heal some wounds, but I don't think it heals incest. I will never forget what my dad did to me. Every time I close my eyes, there is something that I will think about that happened to me when I was young. It does make it a little easier for us to go on and live in the present, but it doesn't heal completely. All those years growing up with it, thinking about it, hiding it away, took a toll on me, and finally burst through that shell, that wall that I had built up inside myself. I think I was about 47, when I finally let it out to a friend at work, and from there received help, but not without the pitfalls that went with it. The two suicide attempts, being hospitalized for 4 months then for 2 months, but with a wonderful therapist and the support of my husband, I have worked through it, but still at times I know I still need to clean up the residue that still resides inside of me. But I can call myself a survivor, because I am here today to talk about it, to speak out openly about it and not hide my head in shame for something that wasn't my fault. hugs Patricia.

Vigabo said...

As always Patricia, right on point. Couldn't agree more. Lovely finish too. Aren't we lucky, you and I, that in both our cases we found a good, caring man and true love. I wish that for all incest survivors. We can come out on top and we do!

Patricia Singleton said...

Mary, thank you. I am sorry that your parents threated you as badly as they did. Yes, you are a survivor. I have seen you grow so much in such a short time. You deserve to have a good life and to live without shame. The incest was never your fault. You are stronger and more courageous than you think, my friend.

Patricia Singleton said...

Cruiseroo, thank you. Yes, we are blessed to have good husbands who have supported us thru issues and emotions that no one should have to deal with. I could do the work that I needed to do because my husband helped me to build a safe place to do the work with a solid foundation of love.

Jayneen Sanders said...

61 or 101 time as you said does not heal the mental wounds of child sexual abuse and if people say it does, than that person has not opened the door to 'that' room. I am a teacher, a mum of three, an advocate for sexual abuse prevention education and an author of a children's picture book called Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept . I am pushing for parents and educators to educate before the absue begins. My spirituality is much like yours: my mantra is: I don't have to believe in one particular god to live a good life and try to make a difference. I, too, have been to India twice and the last time was to Varanasi. I love India! Here is my website:

Patricia Singleton said...

Jayneen Sanders, welcome to my blog. Some of my issues no longer bother me but the scars, as Rose Kennedy said, will always be there.

I love the Indian people. I have only been to southern India which was very harsh appearing when I was there first during the Summer and then during the end of the monsoon season. I have mixed emotions about the country itself. I definitely grateful for being born an American each time I am there.

Even though I didn't see it, I know a lot of child abuse happens in India, especially to little girls. The children and the conditions that many of them live in make me cry sometimes.

I honor the spiritual beliefs of everyone I have ever met and I expect them to do the same for me. A few don't. That is their loss.

Thank you for sharing your website and children's book. I am now following you on Facebook and Twitter.

Sofi said...

For me its all the more painful as times goes by, I have felt very lonely, somethings I can never forget. Thank you for writing your story, love and light.

Patricia Singleton said...

Sofi, you are very welcome. When we are in the middle of acknowledging and healing from our abuse, it can get very painful. As we feel our pain and go through it and the memories, it can be horribly painful. I shred a lot of tears and felt a lot of rage and gave back a lot of shame to my abusers during that time. Today, sometimes an issues comes up and it is painful for a little while as I process and feel the emotions but then the pain lessens and finally goes away. Peace and joy and laughter are more prevalent in my life today than even before. Sofi, I know you can get thru the hard times because I have. I don't have any strength and courage that you don't also have. Love and light to you, my sister survivor.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to all whom have left comments... Reading these are helping me process, heal and hopefully live my a 35 year old woman. Stay strong; I hope to take my own advice too! Serena

Patricia Singleton said...

Serena, I am glad that reading the comments here has helped you to do your own healing. Thank you for saying so. Have a Happy New Year.

Unknown said...

I do agree with you, Patricia. Traumatic experiences such as what you have gone through cannot simply be healed by time. Each and every one of us goes through different traumas and hardships, and cope with them in different ways. I admire your bravery in opening up about the experience you had because it means you have found the strength within you to admit that it happened. You can start talking about it to someone. Psychologists always say it’s helpful and healthy to talk about how we feel. This is going to be a long journey, Patricia, but your family and friends would always be behind you, supporting you through your journey of healing.
Vesta Duvall

Patricia Singleton said...

Vesta, Thank you. As a new visitor to my blog, you don't know that I am not at the beginning of my healing journey. I started it back in 1989 and worked through most of my issues in the 10 years after that. Today, issues still come up for me occasionally but with a lot less intensity usually. I have been blessed by the support of family and many friends through out my life. I write this blog because today I am an advocate for children and for other survivors offering encouragement and helpful information to prevent child abuse and to help other survivors start their own healing journey. With writing my blog articles over the past 6+ years, I have found a wonderful community of survivors all over the world through the internet. Now, no one has to suffer in silence and fear and no one has to heal alone. I thank God that men are finally joining all of the women that have been sharing their stories of incest and sexual abuse. I checked out the link to your name and thank you for the work that you represent also. For too long incest survivors have been silent. Breaking that silence brings healing and awareness so that we can prevent future children from being abused.