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Author Topic: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery  (Read 116538 times)

Offline BrokenOkie

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Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« on: November 14, 2006, 01:26:44 PM »
The Moderator Team thanks everyone for their willingness to post about very personal and traumatic experiences recently in the 'How Brokeback Affected Me' thread.  Due to the nature and number of posts made there, we felt the discussion needed its own space and have added this new thread.

If you have experienced sexual assault, rape, inappropriate advances/behavior from others, have been bullied or beaten, or have been subjected to any other form of abuse and wish to share your story we hope you will consider this a safe place. 

Messages of support and/or encouragement are always welcome and are greatly appreciated as well.  Positive reinforcement is a vital part of the recovery process.

If you previously posted in 'Affected', whether as a survivor or as a compassionate & loving friend,  please feel free to copy and repost here.  If you would like to have your original post moved, or need help reposting, the Mod Team will be more than happy to assist.

Please be patient as we work to get this new thread set up and organized. 


Offline BrokenOkie

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2006, 01:34:26 PM »
Originally posted November 11, 2006, 01:54:21 PM in 'How Brokeback Affected Me' in reply to
Catia's post:

http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=101.msg577878#msg577878

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For Catia.......

As I read your post yesterday my heart shattered and there was an aching desire to reach out, grab you in a hug and never let go.  Damn the miles between us, but distance can't prevent that hug......(((((Catia))))).  I wish we could be sitting on those back porch steps together again right now, visiting, laughing and sharing a couple of Coronas.

{portions omitted}

I'm not trying to compare apples/oranges here - but I want to thank you because your strength and bravery to share encouraged me to post.  I'd considered it many times, but just couldn't until now.  Bless you, sweet dear friend.  I love you and know we will see each other again. 
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 01:11:48 AM by BrokenOkie »

Offline desertrat

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2006, 02:40:08 PM »
reposting...

*snip*I'm not trying to compare apples/oranges here - but I want to thank you because your strength and bravery to share encouraged me to post.  I'd considered it many times, but just couldn't until now.  Bless you, sweet dear friend.  I love you and know we will see each other again. 

glenn, you aren't comparing apples and oranges. you are very right. and please, learn to use the "r" word. it took me almost 10 years to finally use it. rape in a relationship is different than rape by strangers, that is true. one might not suffer the same injuries. but the isolation, the inability to talk about it, the ignorance by people around, by those who still deny that rape in a relationship exists and finally the repeated incident, over and over again, that is even worse. only by acknowledging that nobody, not even in a relationship, has the right to force you to do something you don't want to do, we can stop being vcitims.

my heart goes out to you, glenn, a big hug to you. i wish you all the strength of the world for your wounds to heal.
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Offline killersmom

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2006, 03:09:42 PM »
As we start this new thread and continue these discussions in this place, I want to thank from the bottom of my heart, EVERYONE who has shared their pain and felt comfortable enough with all here to bring their story here. I encourage all to please repost your story here for all those new folks who have not been present in the Affected Me thread, and come here due to the title. It is so important for all to continue these important discussions and support here in this place dedicated to these discussions. This being said....

I have been as drawn to the stories and comments as I have been wanting to stay away from them as they have opened up a place in my heart that has long been buried, and I have not ever wanted to visit again. It only comes back when I am at my lowest and my defenses are down. I did not want to share here, as I just did not want to go back and revisit any of it. Everytime I came in and read a new post, it took me back, and because of dealing with unrelated issues in my life at this time of year, I just felt I could not handle it. Not sure I still can. All of your posts have made me realize it is time to talk .

I realize that in sharing I can hopefully let this go and get on with dealing with the current issues in my life. Starting at about the age of 10, my brother who is 4 years older than myself, started molesting me. Did not have a term for it at that time, as it started out as just touching and then progressed to more uncomfortable touchings in what I called bad places. He warned me not to say anything as no one would believe me, I was doing it willingly  (although at that age I was unsure about any of this), I would get in trouble, all of the usual reasons the abuser gets the abused to not tell. This always happened when no one was around and as both my parents worked, the occasion presented itself more often than not.

It progressed until I was 13 and he attempted to go all the way. Up until this time it had only been touching. It got broken up as one of my sisters came home unexpectedly. I told him at that time if he tried anymore or ever again I would tell our parents, despite any repercussions to me. I think he finally realized I was serious and never attempted anything again. I kept it secret from everyone.

This next part I am not sure of, but will share it as part of the bigger picture. That summer, I went to a workshop for deciding about entering a religious order, the Sisters who had taught me all through grade school. I decided at that time, that this was the path I wanted to follow and entered the order that next Fall. I was there for 7 years, and then left at age 21, and left due to totally unrelated issues. I do not know if any of this was as a direct result of the abuse. I felt at the time that this was the path chosen for me and by me. At the time I did not know this, but feel now that this was a time of healing for me, a time when I was not anywhere around where it could happen again, from him from anyone. A refuge.

As I said, none of this occurred to me till much later in life, when I had learned much more through life's experiences. When folks ask me if I would enter the convent if I had it to do over again, I tell them unequivocally yes. It was a place that allowed me to become the person I am today. If I am sure of nothing else in my life I am sure of this. I realize now it was a refuge and a place of healing for me.

Have I forgiven my brother? That I am not sure of. I have as little to do with him as possible. I still am obligated to be around him at family functions. He is an alcoholic and when gets very drunk gets too familiar, and I either stay as far away as possible or leave. My family has always wondered why I have no use for him and I tell them  that I have no use for drunks. At this point it would be useless to have this conversation with any of my family members anyway. My parents are elderly and in poor health.

Thanks for listening and as I am sure with all of you, it is extremely, extremely hard for me to hit the post button, but if you are reading this, I did. I take my strength from all of you.

Linda
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Offline Elevation

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2006, 03:36:14 PM »
((((((Linda))))), as much as it breaks my heart to read your story, I am at the same time filled with a kind of hope for healing as with anyone telling others about their experiences. It is like lifting off a heavy burden of responsability and put it (if only symbolically) where it belongs--to the offender, your brother.
I would not be surprised if you find that the decision to join the Sister order had quite a lot to do with your past experiences.
Thankyou for hitting the post button.
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Offline Elevation

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2006, 03:39:30 PM »
Originally posted November 11, 2006, 01:54:21 PM in 'How Brokeback Affected Me'   

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For Catia.......

As I read your post yesterday my heart shattered and there was an aching desire to reach out, grab you in a hug and never let go.  Damn the miles between us, but distance can't prevent that hug......(((((Catia))))).  I wish we could be sitting on those back porch steps together again right now, visiting, laughing and sharing a couple of Coronas.

While reading what you endured, the injuries you suffered and how that awful experience affected your life, my mind started doing 'flashbacks' to something I rarely allow myself to think or talk about anymore, something that happened to me shortly after I came out.
(...)

(((((Glenn))))), thanks for reposting. Now I can send a big, big hug to you as well.
Well there's a bridge and there's a river that I still must cross...

Offline Amiennis

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2006, 06:38:21 PM »
As we start this new thread and continue these discussions in this place, I want to thank from the bottom of my heart, EVERYONE who has shared their pain and felt comfortable enough with all here to bring their story here. I encourage all to please repost your story here for all those new folks who have not been present in the Affected Me thread, and come here due to the title. It is so important for all to continue these important discussions and support here in this place dedicated to these discussions. This being said....

I have been as drawn to the stories and comments as I have been wanting to stay away from them as they have opened up a place in my heart that has long been buried, and I have not ever wanted to visit again. It only comes back when I am at my lowest and my defenses are down. I did not want to share here, as I just did not want to go back and revisit any of it. Everytime I came in and read a new post, it took me back, and because of dealing with unrelated issues in my life at this time of year, I just felt I could not handle it. Not sure I still can. All of your posts have made me realize it is time to talk .

I realize that in sharing I can hopefully let this go and get on with dealing with the current issues in my life. Starting at about the age of 10, my brother who is 4 years older than myself, started molesting me. Did not have a term for it at that time, as it started out as just touching and then progressed to more uncomfortable touchings in what I called bad places. He warned me not to say anything as no one would believe me, I was doing it willingly  (although at that age I was unsure about any of this), I would get in trouble, all of the usual reasons the abuser gets the abused to not tell. This always happened when no one was around and as both my parents worked, the occasion presented itself more often than not.

It progressed until I was 13 and he attempted to go all the way. Up until this time it had only been touching. It got broken up as one of my sisters came home unexpectedly. I told him at that time if he tried anymore or ever again I would tell our parents, despite any repercussions to me. I think he finally realized I was serious and never attempted anything again. I kept it secret from everyone.

This next part I am not sure of, but will share it as part of the bigger picture. That summer, I went to a workshop for deciding about entering a religious order, the Sisters who had taught me all through grade school. I decided at that time, that this was the path I wanted to follow and entered the order that next Fall. I was there for 7 years, and then left at age 21, and left due to totally unrelated issues. I do not know if any of this was as a direct result of the abuse. I felt at the time that this was the path chosen for me and by me. At the time I did not know this, but feel now that this was a time of healing for me, a time when I was not anywhere around where it could happen again, from him from anyone. A refuge.

As I said, none of this occurred to me till much later in life, when I had learned much more through life's experiences. When folks ask me if I would enter the convent if I had it to do over again, I tell them unequivocally yes. It was a place that allowed me to become the person I am today. If I am sure of nothing else in my life I am sure of this. I realize now it was a refuge and a place of healing for me.

Have I forgiven my brother? That I am not sure of. I have as little to do with him as possible. I still am obligated to be around him at family functions. He is an alcoholic and when gets very drunk gets too familiar, and I either stay as far away as possible or leave. My family has always wondered why I have no use for him and I tell them  that I have no use for drunks. At this point it would be useless to have this conversation with any of my family members anyway. My parents are elderly and in poor health.

Thanks for listening and as I am sure with all of you, it is extremely, extremely hard for me to hit the post button, but if you are reading this, I did. I take my strength from all of you.

Linda

Dear Linda,

First of all, I'd like to applaud your courage to come out. I will do so within 10 days, I promised myself (and some of my PM friends). I'm already dreading hitting that button...
It must be really tough for you that you still have to be around your brother now and then, the rest of the family not knowing. The only thing I can say now, try to be as indifferent to him as possible. Forgiving... I don't know about that, I really don't. Some things are simply unforgiveable. They've been telling me for years to forgive, for I would free myself by doing so, but no one was ever able to answer my question HOW to do it. The theory of it seems good, but to put into the practice...

For now, I'd like you to know that I've been very seriously considering to enter a religious order, in my case, the Franciscans. In the end, it didn't work out because of my poor health, a direct consequence from the abuse and torture in my childhood. How cynical is that?
On the other hand, my not becoming a Franciscan has probably allowed me, in some strange way, to find this place, so... mysterious ways, indeed.
And I did learn a lot from them, the 4 years I spent with them.

I must say that I was a bit angry at first that my safe haven, the Affected thread, was taken away from me (in my perception) and that I was kind of forced to move here.
But in the end, I think you're right to have a separate thread. Especially for "us people", it is so vitally important to feel safe, to feel understood, to feel comfortable - a place where we can be ourselves, where we are accepted, however bruised and battered we may be.

May this thread become that safe place.

Marc
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Offline mcnell1120

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2006, 06:55:39 PM »

I must say that I was a bit angry at first that my safe haven, the Affected thread, was taken away from me (in my perception) and that I was kind of forced to move here.
But in the end, I think you're right to have a separate thread. Especially for "us people", it is so vitally important to feel safe, to feel understood, to feel comfortable - a place where we can be ourselves, where we are accepted, however bruised and battered we may be.

May this thread become that safe place.

Marc

OMG...Marc...at first I thought we were being hushed away..I'll be honest too..I thought we insulted those who just wanted it to be Brokeback's Affected thread....I figured it was because of Brokeback that allowed us to vent and open up,so why not keep it in there....but know now that it isn't so...these conversations are so deep and so many of us have come out with such stories...so many more will come....but this going back and forth is killing me...hahahahaha

My only problem now is if I decide to move all my post over here...it's going to be out of order...that's okay
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Offline Amiennis

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2006, 07:01:38 PM »

I must say that I was a bit angry at first that my safe haven, the Affected thread, was taken away from me (in my perception) and that I was kind of forced to move here.
But in the end, I think you're right to have a separate thread. Especially for "us people", it is so vitally important to feel safe, to feel understood, to feel comfortable - a place where we can be ourselves, where we are accepted, however bruised and battered we may be.

May this thread become that safe place.

Marc

OMG...Marc...at first I thought we were being hushed away..I'll be honest too..I thought we insulted those who just wanted it to be Brokeback's Affected thread....I figured it was because of Brokeback that allowed us to vent and open up,so why not keep it in there....but know now that it isn't so...these conversations are so deep and so many of us have come out with such stories...so many more will come....but this going back and forth is killing me...hahahahaha

My only problem now is if I decide to move all my post over here...it's going to be out of order...that's okay

¡Hola hermana!

I am truly glad to hear I am not the only one who felt that way...

I'd say, just put the URL's to your most vital postings here, that'll be sufficient, I reckon.


Tengo que ir a la cama ahora, esperando dormir un poco.
Un bbbbbbbbbbbbbbeso para tí, ¡hasta la próxima!
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Offline mcnell1120

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2006, 07:02:35 PM »
I also wanted to say...Linda,I know how hard it must of been for you to post this about your brother.....your own flesh and blood,which hurts even more. I'm sorry you had to go thru this alone and for so long. I'm so glad you took that jump and told us your story...you know it's going to get easier for you and it may surprise you that it may even help you when you see him face to face...you may never want to be alone with him,and that's okay,why should you?...but at least it will be less and less of a struggle. I'm very proud of you,Linda...and very glad you shared with us.

Love ya,

Nellie
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Offline mcnell1120

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2006, 07:04:57 PM »
Tengo que ir a la cama ahora, esperando dormir un poco.
Un bbbbbbbbbbbbbbeso para tí, ¡hasta la próxima!

Tu eres tan bueno con migo...siempre tienes algo que decir.....now go to bed...hahahahaha

Un beso para ti tambien..

Nellie xxoo
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Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2006, 07:56:18 PM »
Repost of my post to the "Affected" thread  Originally posted on 11/12/06




Well, I don't know if I've ever posted this story in this thread or not.

I had posted it in another thread a while back, maybe it's time to bring it out again, given what has been said here lately.

I was a freshman in high school.  Abuse was my daily life.  It had started as early as 2nd or 3rd grade.  The other kids had seen something in me that marked me as different, and I became a target. 

Having gone to Catholic grade school, I was totally unprepared for the culture shock of a public school.  Already withdrawn and fearful, I tried to pull the shell as tightly closed as possible.  On top of that, the kids I went to Catholic school with ended up going to the same public high school, and when the other kids saw me being picked on, they decided to join in.

Spent much of my time being pushed, shoved, spit at, punched, and being called every name in the book.  Bullies would turn to me to do their homework, knowing that I was getting high scores, and wouldn't have the courage to refuse.

One day, my study hall was moved to the auditorium, and when class ended, everyone began to file out.  One of my bullies met me at the back of the auditorium, to force me to do his homework.  I looked at my feet, and then saw his hand land on my chest, and push me to the wall, it was then that I realized we were alone in the auditorium, and then his other hand was on my crotch, rubbing me up and down.  I can still see the evil look on his face.

It felt like forever, but it was only a few seconds, and then someone walked into the other side of the auditorium, and he let me go and left.  If that other person hadn't come in, I have no idea what may have happened.  I never said anything.  The bully was one of the popular kids in school, and if I said anything, it would only confirm what they were saying about me anyway, and I couldn't risk that.

Graduated, and celebrated being away from those people, and got my first job in a local supermarket.  Two or three of the guys who would give me grief at school also got hired there, and the abuse continued.  At that time, I had no idea about lawsuits or discrimination on "sexual orientation", and I just took it.  I wouldn't quit, wouldn't let them do that to me, but I never defended myself.

Two things made me happy.....shopping and food, and by age 30 (having only finally coming out two years prior) was in debt with 4 maxed out credit cards and a line of credit at a bank, and nearly 300 pounds.

2 years before Brokeback, I went to a friend's wedding.  I love to dance, and can stay on the floor all night long.  After one song, I was out of breath, and knew I had to do something.  Diet and exercise helped me drop a bunch of weight, and i budgeted to get my stuff paid out.

When I saw Brokeback, I realized I was headed to a life like Ennis.  Ending up alone.

although I had started my own improvements before BBM came out, Brokeback reaffirmed to me that to live my life, I had to stop blaming my past for what I had allowed myself to turn into.  Ennis was too consumed by what other people would do to him, or what they would think of him.  Having lived through it, it helped me realize that I refuse to give anyone that power over me again.

It's my life to live, and I'm not going to run and hide or deny myself anymore.  Tire iron be damned.

Offline Brokeback_1

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2006, 08:29:26 PM »
repost of what I originally put in the affected thread, Nov 14, 2006:   


Brad, Vincent, Chuck, Glenn, Catia you are... I don't know what. While reading your posts I had to get out of my chair, fiddl with my email and finally say screw this BS, just tell them how you feel without using a dictionary.

Here you are, one after the other baring your souls--all of you-- speaking about things we are NOT supposed to speak about. We are supposed to whisper these things; we are supposed to  bury these things as it appears to 'be the best way to handle it'.  We are supposed to just get over it. We are supposed to get on with life.

' To bury it would be best  for whom, exactly? People who won't hear the dirty little secret?'

 I asked that question many years ago, directly to the face of a "friend"  I'd decided to share a few things with. I was sick of his attitude towards anyone who seemed to have a problem of any sort and  shared  a few very specific  details about being repeatedly raped right after my 12th birthday, how they had manipulated me into silence by promising the same for my kid brother; that nobody would believe me; how they would make sure my parents thought I'd done it willingly; that I was queer anyway so what's the problem: " If you weren't  a homo nobody would have bothered you. You DO understand that don't you?"

It certainly would make someone like the jerk I told feel better! We are supposed to 'get over it' and 'tough it out' and 'live life'. He never managed to actually tell me how to DO that however...and didn't really want to. He just didn't want to deal with 'stuff like that.' Exit one unnecessary friend <g>.

When one of the guys who raped me told me/asked me that rhetorical question I denied it was true and just stared back, probably in that way boys have of just looking at you when you perpetrate an injustice which they can do nothing about.... But part of me figured it must be true or it would never have happened to me in the first place. I was one of the most clueless and  sheltered urban kids around, from a very loving and protective family [ How ironic.]--no debate about that whatsoever, I didn't even realise women were built differently from me until I was almost 12.  From that instant, with that ONE STATEMENT what was left of my personality fell apart. Children are more resiliant then people realise, they have enormous capacities for self preservation....but that one statement did me in.   It tore away ME from myself. Out of everything which was done to me that  was the worse,  that one line which took away who I was and might have been.

Why?  Because it made everything my own fault.  From that moment on I was guilty of my own abuse. I deserved it. To compound it in my traumatised head, I'd ignored what I call my inner warning system when it could have been avoided--sensing extreme danger, I blew the feeling off because they seemed cool. The result was weeks of being bent over with freaks violating everything I was and had while I told absolutely no one and showed up when told to out of fea and manipulation so incredible I still want to vomit when I think about it.  " What i did on my summer vacation."

One rhetorical question from a freak on a powertrip completely destroyed me. For years. It was the straw which broke my back, the ultimate rape. A rape of someone's future.

"Afterwards" I had hard thinking to do. I knew I wasn't queer even though inside I knew I had to be or none of those things would have happened to me. I  knew I wasn't straight.The confusion was complete... the sex had sometimes  felt good, so long as it wasn't anal. THAT I hated hated hated. I had hidden bloody underwear, washed it myself so my mother wouldn't know. Once I couldn't, so i used a shaving razor to cut inside my nose, and stanched the blood with my shorts. My appalled mother didn't have a clue that the blood wasn't all from my nose, which was fine with me, just what i intended [ years later, when she found everything out I thought she would have a nervous breakdown. I had written it down as it happened, and she found and read it]. But sexually i had enjoyed other things...sometimes:  If it wasn't meant to be I wouldn't have liked it. In such ways do traumatised boys think.

  I found myself  looking at both sexes: she has great boobs, he has a nice butt, she has a face, he is tall & has cool hair... I don't know how I got through it. I wasn't the most popular kid around to begin with, but now there really WAS nobody to talk with. And if you were adult, male and NOT related to me I had no trust for you whatsoever. I was scared of all girls, simply knew that if they got close to me they would KNOW. I acted as if everything was OK, and turned into this passive aggressive little brat who never opened his mouth. When asked why, always the same answer: nothing to say, better to listen. Safer, too.

The confusion would have been there anyway, I understand i was just born bisexual.. Looking back at my boyhood  I liked to play with  good looking friends AND pretty girls. But the abuse changed the process radically...I was this strange unqueer bisexual 12 year old fantasizing about muscles & breasts who had acquired a penile vocabulary whores would have respected. And no innocence  left whatsoever, I was 12 going on 20 with nastier secrets then the CIA.

 On my 13th birthday i coldly sat down and decided that if what looked to be true was the real deal, it had to be compartmentalised. There was no way i could sleep with a boy if I slept with a girl.  A few weeks later it hit me that if this was true, the reverse had to be just as true: if I had  a boyfriend, no sleeping with girls. It was all academic because i didn't have either but it was something I never ever forgot even when I ended up finding the crutch of beer at 17.

Everything was warped. Everything. Attempts to talk about it with buds in HS had been a complete catastrophe,  caused me years of misery. To gain--won't say regain-- a sense of who I was took years of time, thousands of hours of work and more self inflicted punishment in every area of my life then  a war criminal should endure but the bottom line is that it ended up with me being what i like to think is a pretty nice person. I went through hell before it became OK, before i learned to love myself, but it happened.

It looks like it happened and is happening with all of you as well. I want to apologise for writing all of this when intending to say things to you who posted. But maybe I have, in a way. I'm one of you and love you. There are a lot of us out there, more guys then anybody would believe, and more women. Thank you all, thank you for your love, thank you for who you are, thank you for your guts.
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe but nothing could be done about it, & if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it

Offline Brokeback_1

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2006, 08:30:22 PM »
No Fritz, i know it. It took years but I feel it and know it.

thanks fritz.
There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe but nothing could be done about it, & if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it

Offline fritzkep

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Re: Surviving Abuse - The Effects & Recovery
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2006, 08:35:41 PM »
For the sake of completeness, the post by Jack just before this (#14) was a response to this one in response to Jack's previous post (#13):

Oh Jack and everybody, I know I've said it before, but only my imagination can tell me how terribly you all have suffered from the betrayal that you endured at such a young age. I know that intellectually you know it, but a part of you still rejects emotionally the fact that THIS ABUSE WAS ABSOLUTELY NOT YOUR FAULT. NO WAY, NOW HOW. Sorry to scream it, but we all have to repeat it to you as many times as possible until you all begin to realize it deep down in your heart and gut. As so many of you have pointed out, the betrayal of trust is in many ways worse than the physical or mental abuse in itself. I pray for the gift of true and complete healing for all of you.

Werd ich zum Augenblicke sagen, "Verweile doch! Du bist so schön..."