Today I am 53 years old. When I was 13 I thought I would be dead by 23 of some grandiose act of selfishness that people would call accidental but was actually a long winded suicide like hitting a truck at 120 mph in a car. I self medicated with alcohol and occasional drugs. I was a very unhappy teenager. My parents did not love me. No one loved me. No one would ever love me or could ever love me.
This of course was a horrible devastating lie. But it was one given to me by my abuser. If you tell your mum and dad they will give you away to a home because they won’t love you anymore. If anyone ever finds out you did this with me then they will hate you because you are a disgusting thing filthy and smelly and everyone knows you are they can see it on you and they know it’s your fault because you wanted to do it, you made me do it to you.
When you are a small child and the person saying this to you is also a child only they are 14 and you are 4 and they are doing this to their stepbrother too you will believe them. This belief will stay with you all your life or until you find a way to make yourself whole again. Some survivors realise on their own that what happened was not their fault and people will not judge them. Those are the lucky ones.
Others have to live with their abusers for many years until they escape as teenagers. Or die by their own hands unable to live with the horror of a life without love, safety and compassion. It is the lies that poison your life even more than the physical abuse. The lies that live deep inside telling you you are not liked or loved are not worthy of good things.
It makes you sabotage the things that are good in your life. It either makes you a slob (who cares right) or a perfectionist (I can’t clean up today I will not be able to do it all the way I want it). Then there is the acceptance of neglect. Many young people abused within their community often accept the continuation of abuse by neglect long after their abuser has moved on to someone younger their acceptance of their worthlessness is total.
It leads them to push away the very people in their lives who love them unconditionally and who have their best interests at heart because How can they help they don’t know what’s in your head they just want you to be like them. They don’t love you anyway they just want you to be “good” so they get an easier life don’t they?”
NO they don’t They are heart broken to see the person they love destroying themselves. At this point many of us turn again to self medicating with alcohol and drugs. I was at my first stage of sabotage in my life as a teenager. At 14 when a lot of my peers had their first steady boyfriends and their first sexual encounters I decided to loose my virginity. Yes just like that as if it were an umbrella to be left on a bus.
I approached the person I wanted to loose it with (he was 17) and I told him that I wanted him to help me do this on Saturday night. I told him this whilst actually on a bus to a music store in town to buy Lou Reeds Sally can’t dance album which I still have and love unlike him who turned out to be arrogant and spitefull. He was quite shocked for someone who was supposed to be the coolest guy in the gang of cool guys. Along came Saturday I can’t remember what we did before but I know it included a lot of alcohol and then the deed was done and I went home and woke up on Sunday thinking was that it!
This is how my life went from then on. I had intimate but short interludes lacking in passion or romance with adolescent males. I did not enjoy it how could I none of my lovers were experienced enough to know about the female orgasm and the fact that not all women orgasm during penetrative intercourse. Why did I do it again and again then if it was so awful. Because I was told that’s what you do when you love someone and they will love you if you do. Naive yes, self destructive certainly, painfully sad yes it was so painfully sad to go from one to another without any hope of love and feeling this was the only way I could get love because my parents did not love me did they?
I stayed out all night I ran away from home. If I had been a teenage superhero my name would have been “Get the Fuck away Girl” A friend from school once told me that all the boys he knew in my year were scared of me. I was unpredictable an sullen. I put people down with my words and hated myself when I saw the pain in their eyes.
I was bullied by senior girls for 4 of my school years and as soon as the most senior year left the next one took up the cudgel and it went on for my whole school life. Right up until I left myself. I had successfully built a wall around me and it was impossible to break for anyone. Or so I thought.
There was a girl one summer when I was 15. She was staying on holiday with her aunt and uncle near our local park and we met when I was walking my daft Labrador (the holder of all my secrets). My dog ran up to her and started barking and wagging her tail and sticking her head in her jeans pocket. She had liqourice.
We walked she made me laugh so much and she listened to me. Not the way everyone listens but the way only some people do quietly not thinking in their head what they have to say next that is more important. We talked about space and science she wanted to be a seismologist because she had been in an earth quake zone more than once and seen the devastation.
She made me interested in science and the world. She was there for 6 weeks of the summer holidays and I told no one about her we met when everyone had gone home for the day. Then I fell in love one night and I was heart broken when she had to go home to her parents. Of course I did not realise it was love at the time because I did not know what love was because my mind was warped so badly out of shape with my emotions. I have never until now talked about her to anyone.
At 17 I took an over dose of Paracetamol and tried to kill myself. I had been telling my mother for days how miserable I was and she had been I suppose trying her best to find out what was wrong with me but she had no understanding of what she was dealing with how could she, she did not know what had happened to me. She did not know I had depression she thought I was just trying to use histrionics and emotional manipulation to get what I wanted.
So when I sat at the dinner table and took 100 paracetamol tablets right there in front of her she did not believe I was doing it. It was not until my father arrived home and took one look at me that I think she even realised what was happening. She went in the ambulance with me to the hospital and I had my stomach pumped and was kept in over night. I could never discuss this with my mother in later years because she was unable to “talk” about difficult emotional things with out believing there would be an argument. This attitude always meant that there was an argument.
It must have been so painfully hard for them not knowing what it was that made me so unhappy. The Psychiatrist and social worker did no better because my parents thought I was “playing up” and the social worker agreed with them. Had there been someone trained in abused children they would have spotted all the signs and maybe things would have been better. Then again they could have been worse.
It was around 2004 when I was having therapy for my depression and over eating that I admitted to someone I had been sexually abused as a child. It was then that the flood gates broke and my heart which was fit to burst was opened and freed. My father had died by this time and our relationship had been very good for the last years of his life. I never told my mother about the abuse. Why would I want to fill her with the pain of knowing what happened to her child and the self blame that went with that because she had placed me with someone she trusted who had abused me. Instead I counted to ten every time she pushed a button and laughed instead of screaming.
How am I now today on the day I am 53. I am medicated for my depression which works most of the time. I have decided I am so crap at relationships I don’t want one until I have only hand baggage to deal with as the rest is happily in storage having been aired dry cleaned and moth proofed up the wazoo.
If any of this has switched on a light for you please show this to who ever you think needs help. To go back to my mother and her favourite saying when I was ill as a child “come on better out than in”