Memory, Pain, Hope and Healing

I am very glad I found you all. I need people who can listen and understand, and I, too, want to listen and understand.

I am 60 years old. I was raped twice when I was young by two different men. Once by my best friend's father, who was like a second, better father to me. He had tried to seduce me a couple of months earlier. I told him No and he said he understood. I convinced myself that he would leave me alone. I was stupid. I loved him and didn't want to lose him. The other rape happened when I was only 10 years old. I was in the hospital for a tonsillectomy. A man came to me in the night and raped me. I never told anyone. I forgot it ever happened (mostly) until 9 months ago.

These two events, combined with a profoundly damaged family, silently dominated my entire life until about 2 years ago when I began, with the help of a very dear friend, to unravel the prison I had been living in -- or more accurately the prison I had built for myself to deal, or not deal, with what happened to me and the feelings it generated.

Remembering what happened to me was I was 10 was the most difficult thing I had ever done. It was incredibly painful. I had been afraid of that pain for decades. I thought it would kill me. It didn't. I now know that pain can't kill me, but the consequences of avoiding pain can make my life a hollow shell and constant torment. Remembering, and telling my friend about it, changed me. It was like something let go inside me -- some knot just untied itself, some infernal motor just ran out of gas. The terrible thoughts I had always used to punish myself and keep myself under control were still there (less and less every day, thank God), but they lost their power over me. I could resist them and tell myself I didn't have to think and feel that way. I had moments of actual happiness for the first time in my memory. I could laugh more. I was much more open. I could love, and I could want to be loved. People actually enjoyed being around me.

It also ended my marriage.

I was always proud of never being lonely. I imagined myself living and dying alone after my wife's death, she was 14 years older than me, and that made me happy. Now I do not want to die alone and I really do feel lonely some days. It hurts to be alone, but I now know that pain won't kill me. It is better to risk loneliness and pain than live in prison.

Before I could remember I was raped at 10 years old, I had to remember that I had loved. I had to re-remember another event from my past that I had always used to excoriate myself for being cruel and damaged and evil, and discover the boy who had been in love and who did the best he could to love his beloved. I had to find the part of myself that never gave up -- that even at my lowest never became cruel, always looked to connect, even though he always sabotaged it -- the part of me that never stopped trying to find a way out and who never, never did to anyone what was done to me.

I am very lucky. I have a second chance at life. I have friends who love me and who will help and support me. I can feel Joy! I no longer want to die. I know that I can't do it alone -- that I need people to connect with and to support me, and that I need to tell my story and help and connect with others. Instead of using my intelligence, insight and energy to castigate and control myself to avoid pain, I now employ them to:

Never hide again
Never lie about who I am and what I want/feel
Give love as much and as often as I can
Choose being vulnerable over being safe
Love myself better

Thank you all for being here.
 
Welcome to MS Induna,

Thanks for sharing your story. You've made some great progress in the past 2 years! That's always nice to hear. I've had similar experiences of progress as you describe recently, like not being as affected by negative thoughts as I used to be. Although our journey will most likely be a lifelong one with ups and downs, twists and turns, and steps forward and backward, it really seems as though I have turned a corner. I would imagine you feel the same way. It sounds like it. Well, it's good to meet you, and, again, I'm glad to hear of the progress you've made in overcoming the effects of abuse. It's always encouraging to hear such stories.

Take care
 

MO-Survivor

Staff member
I am very glad I found you all. I need people who can listen and understand, and I, too, want to listen and understand.

I am 60 years old. I was raped twice when I was young by two different men. Once by my best friend's father, who was like a second, better father to me. He had tried to seduce me a couple of months earlier. I told him No and he said he understood. I convinced myself that he would leave me alone. I was stupid. I loved him and didn't want to lose him. The other rape happened when I was only 10 years old. I was in the hospital for a tonsillectomy. A man came to me in the night and raped me. I never told anyone. I forgot it ever happened (mostly) until 9 months ago.

These two events, combined with a profoundly damaged family, silently dominated my entire life until about 2 years ago when I began, with the help of a very dear friend, to unravel the prison I had been living in -- or more accurately the prison I had built for myself to deal, or not deal, with what happened to me and the feelings it generated.

Remembering what happened to me was I was 10 was the most difficult thing I had ever done. It was incredibly painful. I had been afraid of that pain for decades. I thought it would kill me. It didn't. I now know that pain can't kill me, but the consequences of avoiding pain can make my life a hollow shell and constant torment. Remembering, and telling my friend about it, changed me. It was like something let go inside me -- some knot just untied itself, some infernal motor just ran out of gas. The terrible thoughts I had always used to punish myself and keep myself under control were still there (less and less every day, thank God), but they lost their power over me. I could resist them and tell myself I didn't have to think and feel that way. I had moments of actual happiness for the first time in my memory. I could laugh more. I was much more open. I could love, and I could want to be loved. People actually enjoyed being around me.

It also ended my marriage.

I was always proud of never being lonely. I imagined myself living and dying alone after my wife's death, she was 14 years older than me, and that made me happy. Now I do not want to die alone and I really do feel lonely some days. It hurts to be alone, but I now know that pain won't kill me. It is better to risk loneliness and pain than live in prison.

Before I could remember I was raped at 10 years old, I had to remember that I had loved. I had to re-remember another event from my past that I had always used to excoriate myself for being cruel and damaged and evil, and discover the boy who had been in love and who did the best he could to love his beloved. I had to find the part of myself that never gave up -- that even at my lowest never became cruel, always looked to connect, even though he always sabotaged it -- the part of me that never stopped trying to find a way out and who never, never did to anyone what was done to me.

I am very lucky. I have a second chance at life. I have friends who love me and who will help and support me. I can feel Joy! I no longer want to die. I know that I can't do it alone -- that I need people to connect with and to support me, and that I need to tell my story and help and connect with others. Instead of using my intelligence, insight and energy to castigate and control myself to avoid pain, I now employ them to:

Never hide again
Never lie about who I am and what I want/feel
Give love as much and as often as I can
Choose being vulnerable over being safe
Love myself better

Thank you all for being here.
@Induna - this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.
 
Welcome to MS Induna,

Thanks for sharing your story. You've made some great progress in the past 2 years! That's always nice to hear. I've had similar experiences of progress as you describe recently, like not being as affected by negative thoughts as I used to be. Although our journey will most likely be a lifelong one with ups and downs, twists and turns, and steps forward and backward, it really seems as though I have turned a corner. I would imagine you feel the same way. It sounds like it. Well, it's good to meet you, and, again, I'm glad to hear of the progress you've made in overcoming the effects of abuse. It's always encouraging to hear such stories.

Take care
Thank you!!

Forward and backward for sure... Today I have to try to work through the feelings of desolation I often have after I expose myself. Those emotions are one of the ways I used to punish myself for breaking the "rules" I made and being visible or especially showing need...

And so it goes.

Take care as well and keep going!!
 
@Induna - this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.
Thank you for finding beauty in my story.

In my very best moments I feel that all I have to do is to try to be fully present and open and that everything will take care of itself -- that what happened to me and what I did to myself to cope don't determine who I am and that I am really free to be the person I want to be... It doesn't last. It's hard to be that way, but at least now I want to be better. I know there is a better to be.

Hope is in the present, but the past is a real stubborn PIA.
 
Thank you!!

Forward and backward for sure... Today I have to try to work through the feelings of desolation I often have after I expose myself. Those emotions are one of the ways I used to punish myself for breaking the "rules" I made and being visible or especially showing need...

And so it goes.

Take care as well and keep going!!
My pleasure! I have similar rules now that I think about it. And so let me say you are not alone in that as well. See, you've already provided someone (me) with an insight he didn't have before just by being open about your own experience. So, now it's my turn to thank you. Thank you.
 
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