Monday, July 23, 2007

A Little More History

By the mid 1980s we learned that my oldest daughter had been molested by her father while on court ordered visitations. Her secret had been exposed unexpectedly and her response was to spin hopelessly out of control. She was skipping school, doing drugs and all manner of destructive behavior including running with a hoodlum who ended up threatening the lives of all of our family.

To protect the younger children from the danger involved in her destructive behavior, we made the difficult decision to place her in a foster home. As part of the negotiations to get her back home, DSHS located a treatment facility for me that specialized in group as well as individual therapy for victims of sexual abuse.

The goal for DSHS was to get me and the family emotionally healed while my oldest daugher worked on her issues. My goal was to find the key what kept me trapped in bad relationships. I didn't want to be responsible for my children being victimized anymore. We all hoped that our family would be able to be reunited in a much safer and emotionally healthy environment.

Thanks to Oprah and other talk shows I was beginning to realize that the "things' that had happened between my 16 year old brother, Danny, and 11 year old me were sexual abuse. I was informed enough to know that group therapy was considered to be the treatment with the most success for sexual abuse victims. While I didn't have much memory of the situation with my brother, I had enough to identify it as abuse and I knew it was probably at the root of me picking destructive relationships.

Granted the thinking was very simplistic and only much later would I realize how simplistic it had been but it was a start.So it was that I began therapy with a therapist who specialized in dealing with victims of sexual abuse. For the first time in my life I was feeling like I had some control.

My birth family* was aware I was in therapy but had no idea why. For all they knew, I was still trying to figure out why I picked bad relationships. I didn't feel the need to change their perception. I just went on about my journey keeping them in the dark.

Before I could begin in group therapy, I was required to have an session or two with the therapist who moderated the group. The idea was to figure out what I knew and didn't know to determine which group would be the best for me.

I hardly remember those first meetings. I just remember how glad I was to finally be going somewhere in this quest of mine to "fix" myself. I do remember the place and the size of the groups and, of course, I have extensive notes in my journals (yes journals, I have lots and lots of journals) about my process.

But what sticks out in my mind is how easy it was for me to plow through the "issues' associated with the sexual abuse by my brother. While the other participants of the group struggled with their memories, their denial etc, I wrapped mine up in a neat tidy little bundle.

It seemed that every week I went in I got stronger and stronger. I began to learn how to identify what I needed or wanted and I got pretty darn good at expressing myself.

In six months I was a totally different person, I had gone from being a horribly submissive dominated personality with no opinions of her own to an outspoken liberated woman who even dared to have a dream. Well, that is as long as I was away from my birth family.

I knew at the time that it was odd that the process was so easy for me. Not that I didn't experience any pain because I did, I just didn't experience any denial. As the memories flooded me, I welcomed them with open arms seeing them as the stepping stones to freedom they were. I saw them as the pieces to the puzzle of what made me who I was. With each new memory came a new piece, I put it into place and I moved on.

I healed and I wondered. I wondered what it was about me that was so different from these other women. Why was I so driven? Why were there so many black holes in the memory of my early life. AND I wondered was I like the woman in When Rabbit Howls ? Even though I was assured by therapist that I was not, I was pretty sure that I was very much like Trudy. I was sure that I had Multiple Personality Disorder. Now the big question facing me was why!

(*For the purposes of trying to keep families straight I'm going to refer to my children and my husband as my family and my mother, step-father and siblings as my birth family.)


Kahless said...

Thanks for linking back to relevant posts, they are really good to read.

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm glad that I was able to locate the darn things. I knew I'd written them but didn't know when. And figuring out labels for later sorting has not been my best skill! lol

Missing In Sight said...

you write of memories just come flooding back to you. I hate the way this will sound, but I wish that could be that way for us. Our walls our so defense-proof that nothing is getting through or getting out. It is so frustrating. That along with the face some don't want to get better. It was good to read some of your history. Thanks for including it. For me, the worst thing about this diagnosis is feeling alone, and I truly, truly feel alone.

Take care. We'll keep reading.

Missing In Sight