A few years ago I was married to my third abuser, living part time in a women's shelter, suicidal and filled with despair. Today I'm the happiest person I know. What happened? What did I do? I resolved the problem. Sound simple? It isn't, but then it wasn't easy to get to where I was. It took me years of addictions, domestic violence partners, suicide attempts, time spent in psychiatric wards and talking to therapists about my happy Catholic childhood and getting nowhere.
In my early 40s I hit my bottom. They tell you in 12 step programs that this is where most of us go before we start fixing our life. The first thing I had to do (and I didn't need a therapist for this) was to admit that what my father had told me in my mid thirties about the incest relationship he had with me when I was a young girl was true. I had to come face to face with the reality that the "nightmare" I thought I had had about someone coming over me in my bottom bunk where I lay sound asleep and doing something so horrible that the pain and shock had me screaming and screaming for help was in fact, child sexual abuse. My mother eventually (she was a heavy sleeper) came into my bedroom and told me I'd had a nightmare. I begged and pleaded with her to believe me but it did no good. So I put that "nightmare" into a closet in my mind and everytime I had another "nightmare" I did the same. My mother eventually found out what was happening, chose to believe that I was the culprit, my father an innocent victim and had him beat me as a regular punishment. I ran away from home when I was 18 after a beating that almost killed me.
By the time I was in my 40s that closet was so full it burst its seams and forced me to look at the reality of what had happened. That began my recovery. It wasn't easy. I needed courage and I found I had some, much more that I'd ever dreamed. The battle to overcome my childhood sexual abuse began.
Is this where you're at? If you are happy and your life is working well you don't need any help. If the partner you are with treats you with care and respect and your world is people with those who make healthy choices you don't need any help. If you have no dark and painful shadows from your childhood lurking in the corners of your mind you don't need any help. But if the opposite is true then you do need help. I get so many email where the subject line says simply, "PLEASE HELP ME". I wish I could take my arms and wrap them around everyone that was ever sexually abused. I wish I could take them from where they are to where I am just by snapping my fingers. But I can't. I can tell you that if you follow the advice I have to give you your chance of having a happy life accelerates to a high level.
First, check to see if there is a Lamplighter chapter in your area. You can look on our Blog Site at http://www.thelamplighters.org. If there is none near you consider starting one. It's so simple. I can email you the Lamplighter Facilitator Guide that takes you step by step through what you need to do.
Second, start going to a 12 step program. Call information and ask for the phone # of CoDependents Anonymous or Incest Survivors Anonymous. It might be uncomfortable at first. Give it six meetings. Something magical happens by then.
Third, order the book REPAIR Your Life: A Progam for Recovery from Incest & Childhood Sexual Abuse and start working the program. You can order it from the publisher, Loving Healing Press, you can go to the Lamplighter website and order it or you can go to any on-line book distributor's website such as amazon.com and order it. Amazon has 11 five star reviews on the book. After I completed the REPAIR program my motto was: "If I'd have known life was going to turn out this good I would have started it sooner.
Fourth, stay in touch with me. If you run into any road blocks or need encouragement that's what I'm here for.
Get started, especially if you have any children. Children of an untreated child sexual abuse victim stand a five times greater chance of being molested themselves. Painfully, I know this is true as I found out in mid recovery that my second husband had sexualy abused my two older daughters when they were four and five. My younger daughter had been raped at gunpoint while working at Taco Bell when she was 17.
Don't put it off. Start now.