Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Taking Back History


I am similar to many survivors of early childhood sexual abuse and rape: in the beginning, we blame ourselves for what is happening or what happened in the past.  We do this because we are taught explicitly by the abuser or we learn it implicitly because in a child’s head the only way abuse can make sense is in a black and white world “I’m good, I don’t get hurt” or “I’m bad and deserve to be hurt.”  

It took years to begin speaking about what happened, and even though my adult mind could logically know that I was not the one at fault, I still felt like it was my fault.  I couldn’t get passed the years of being told that I deserved it; I couldn’t get passed the years of living in fear; I couldn’t get passed the believe that I didn’t deserve intimacy or care as an adult. For awhile, as I told the my family therapist when I was admitted to the hospital the next-to-the-last time, I honestly believed that I was “over it.”  And then because of events that happened in therapy, all the memories came back, and I discovered that I was anything but “over it.”  But during that stay, working with an excellent trauma therapist, I did begin to let in the idea that I was not at fault in any way shape or form.  And over the next year, those ideas grew stronger until I fuller accepted and believed them.  I could place the blame on his shoulders, even if it took some mental processing to do so.

Today I was at my favorite little hole-in-the-wall mexican restaurant and was re-reading part of my manuscript to prepare it for a guest lecture I’m doing.  And I got to one of the abuse scenes just as my order was called.  And I started to eat and re-read, looking for typos, and I thought, “Maybe this isn’t the best scene to be reading while I’m eating.”

And then I thought, “This bastard kept me from enjoying meals like this for over twelve years.”

This was the first time that I honestly went directly to that correct conclusion without any intervening mental gymnastics to get my head in the right space.  I placed the blame where it belonged with ease.  

And it felt amazing.

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August 13, 2009 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, recovery, trauma | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. GOOD.

    Comment by SK | August 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. You go girl,Take BACK that power!!

    Comment by Diana | August 13, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thats so awesome. I hope you feel proud of yourself and all your progress!

    Comment by nightgodess | August 13, 2009 | Reply

  4. Alexis,

    YOU FUCKING ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You are still an inspiration to me! I’ve never been able to get over my own guilt for what happened to me, but I’ve definitely done good trauma work.

    🙂

    Comment by Beth | August 13, 2009 | Reply

  5. small thing, maybe, but i hope your meal was good. you deserved it to be.

    Comment by Michelle | August 14, 2009 | Reply

  6. awesome.

    Comment by Andi | August 14, 2009 | Reply

  7. You might be interested in this. We used this story to help Sichuan earthquake victims. The story deals with trauma lightly and teaches children how to recover in an engaging way. Leads to many opportunities to discuss with caregiver.

    Comment by Jonathan Wilson | August 16, 2009 | Reply


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