I have written many blog postings about the dark side of the moon, where victims of child sexual abuse and incest dwell until they become survivors. Some never make it. Some live their lives as victims, pulling in more and more painful events until as they get older feel as if death, when it comes, will be a blessing.
I decided not to go that route. Married to my third abuser, my despair, my suicide attempts, my hopelessness had accelerated to such a high degree that I had to choose between death and recovery. My doctor, who had never believed me when I told him no my father had never sexually abused me, no longer believed the continual fantasy I spun about my happy Catholic family. He scheduled an appointment for me with Marcie Taylor, a renowned childhood sexual abuse specialist. Marcie was the only therapist out of countless others I had gone to over the years who identified the culprit. She started me on a journey that would take five long years. After the first year, I was on my own as Marcie gave up her practice to get married. I fumbled, I became lost, I screamed for help to an empty world. I begged for a Lamplighter, someone who would show me the right path to take. I wanted a thousand times to go back, to give up. But something kept me going. Was it God? Was it knowing that where I came from was so much worse than where I was going? Was it the knowledge that it was this or death? It was all these and more. I was sick to my core of being raped and beat up, held hostage by a maniac who told me what to wear, who to have as friends and even which jokes I could laugh at. I was tired of hiding all of the pain, the anguish I was living through. I no longer felt proud when someone told me how much they envied me being married to such a charming and handsome man. I felt sick. I wanted to scream to the world what I was really going through. And little by little, I did. I told my friends at Codependents Anonymous. I shared with my friends at Alternatives to Domestic Violence. By sheer persistence I finally made it across my Bridge of Recovery, rid myself of my husband, got a divorce, did six months of post recovery work and there I was, on the other side of the bridge, a place I never thought to reach.
I felt centered and serene. I had released that child inside of me who for so many long years had cowered in fear, overwhelmed with tears and longing for someone to help her. I felt happy, filled with joy; elated with life, all those wonderful feelings I had no previous experience with. I no longer blamed myself for a thousand holes I had fallen in as the result of being raped by my father when I was thirteen. I no longer thought I was no good and unclean, as my father had told people I was. Where previously I thought I was homely, had no value, was stupid and a bad person, I could now look in the mirror and see an attractive, kind hearted, loving and intelligent woman. Since I was thirteen I had written sad poems, hundreds of them, hiding my pain in the lilting verses. Now I no longer wrote sad poems. I wrote poems of joy. I had REPAIRed the damage done by my father.
My motto after I completed recovery was: “If I had known life was going to turn out this good, I would have started it sooner”. What are you waiting for?