Abuse, I never talked about it, any of it. It was my dirty little secret. My shame that I carried with me everywhere I went. I was dirty, because what I had done was dirty and wrong. In my family, possibly like yours, everything was swept under the rug. It wasn’t talked about and if you did talk about it, you would be silenced and told to get over it. I carried the shame from when I was 6, being sexually abused by two people I trusted and later from when I was 10 and my friends grandfather sexually abused me. I was silenced, we swept it all under the rug. I believed the shame was mine to carry.
I can remember one specific instance as an adult in which this happened, this sweeping it under the rug and being silenced. My twin sister and I had been given a book by my aunt entitled “Miss America By Day” By Marilyn Van Derbur. Upon reading this book my sister recalled an incident when we were 11 years old, in 6th grade, we ditched school with some friends and went to a friends house to drink. I had blocked out what had happened until my sister brought it up after reading the book my aunt had given us. When my sister brought up the incident a flash of highly disturbing images popped into my mind. I won’t get into details, as I don’t want to trigger people. I will however say that me, my sister and 4 other girls were there and there were older high school boys there, as well. Everyone was drinking and the older boys said they needed to take the girls into the shower to “sober them up.” I remember trying to get my best friend out of the shower, in which 2 of the boys had her, and the last thing I remember is grasping for dear life onto the door frame while screaming as they tried to get me in the shower too. The rest is still a blank. I figure my mind will release it when it is ready to. I have done many EFT Tapping sessions on the incident and I’ve been able to release a lot without actually remembering anything. I did however vomit during one session.
When my sister disclosed what happened to her I was in shock, everything came flooding in. My first instinct was to call my mother who I was unaware was a Narcissist at the time and tell her everything. I asked her not to to mention our conversation to my sister. Huge mistake! She immediately called my twin sister and bluntly asked,” Were you raped?” After I asked her specifically not to. She betrayed me and was completely unsympathetic and invalidating about what had occurred, in true Narcissist form. Of course it was our fault for ditching school. Knowing what I know now about Narcissists, I would expect nothing less. My step dad was more sympathetic, but after the second day my mother and he decided that I should stop talking about it. A full 48 hours to process it and that was it, I was not to talk about it again. I remember that when it all happened we got caught and got in trouble at school. We had to be picked up by our mom who said we smelled like a brewery and made us take a shower. A shower was probably the last place we wanted to be right then. We were not to talk about what happened and we never did. It went into a safe little compartment in my mind and was never thought of again.
I was working with a therapist at the time. She wondered what made my aunt give those books to my sister and I. My aunt did disclose at that time sexual abuse at the hands of her father, my grandfather. The book is an excellent read, but highly triggering for sexual abuse/rape survivors. It was sort of the catalyst that pushed me further into recovery, so I guess it was a blessing in the long run. I however would not recommend reading it unless you are currently working with a therapist who can help you to process everything that may come up.
My sister learned the lesson of not talking about it very well, she still carries around her “dirty little secrets.” There are many things wrong with doing that, one being ” The silence is what keeps the abuse alive.” Second is the “Silence feeds the shame.” Each time you talk about it a little piece of the shame goes with it. She hasn’t gotten the message yet, that “Abuse is never your fault, it is not your shame to carry.” For that I am sorry, because through sharing your story you inspire and encourage others. There is power in the telling and healing in it too. Everyone has their time to share their story if they so choose, some never do, however it is never too late to start talking about abuse.
I used to picture myself finally on my death bed disclosing the sexual abuse/rape and releasing it before I died. Can you imagine holding it and the shame that goes with it for that long. I am so grateful that I found the courage to disclose it and start to heal from it. If anyone who is reading this has not disclosed sexual abuse/rape. I encourage you to do so with the help of a trusted professional to help you work through it, to help release the shame and to start the recovery process. It is a necessary step in the recovery process. If you do not feel that you can do this or do not have a trusted person, I would like to offer the contact form on my website as a safe confidential place to tell your story anonymously and start to release your shame. It is the first step and I hope you will take that first step today. “Together we can heal.”
Wishing you well on your healing journey. – Anne-Marie Wiesman