The Truth About My Abuser’s Threats

Jul 8th, 2012 | By | Category: All Posts, Christina's Blog

by Christina Enevoldsen

When I was ten, I wet my pants in school. We were taking a very long test and our instructions were to remain silent at our seats. No talking, no asking questions, no moving around. Since that ruled out raising my hand to ask to go to the bathroom, and I wasn’t even allowed to wiggle in my seat, I only saw one choice.

As a child, I went to great lengths to avoid getting in trouble. Following the rules felt like a life and death matter. I didn’t need any type of punishment; it was punishment enough for anyone in authority to be displeased with me. The worst thing I could imagine was being labeled a bad kid.

That fear followed me all my life and it crept up when I started talking about my childhood sexual abuse. The first time I told my story publicly, I heard a little girl’s voice within me say, “You’re going to get in trouble now.” For a moment, fear gripped me and I was at the mercy of my parents again, subject to their judgment and the abandonment that went with it.

I comforted myself with the knowledge that I’m not that vulnerable child anymore and I continued to talk openly about the things my dad did to me and the things he let other men do to me. After a couple of years of sharing my story publicly, I didn’t know how much that old fear of getting in trouble still haunted me. I hadn’t had contact with my parents during that time, though I’d heard from a few people that they didn’t like what I was saying.

Then I got a certified letter from my mother:

Jan. 31, 2011

Christina-
I am writing to inform you that your malicious slander of your father has not gone unnoticed. You have built an entire world out of your fantasy. In dreaming up your sexual abuse you have maligned your father’s character and deeply hurt his heart and mine. Your lies shall surely catch up with you.

I want you to know that if you have any plans of writing a book, we will sue you and anyone who has anything to do with it. Your defamation of your father’s character will stop. You will not enjoy one penny from any book published about this gross lie.

And I should let you know that we filed some of your inflammatory statements about your father and me, along with your threat against me, with the Mesa Police Dept.

And I will always be your mother whether you recognize me or not as such.
Your mother-
Mary [name withheld]

When I got this, there were two voices in my head. I heard my adult voice, who had healed enough to see the truth behind the threats, but I also heard the voice of the little girl inside of me who was still vulnerable to abuse and rejection. I had to dissect this letter to face my fears and to recognize the lies behind them.

“I’m writing to inform you…”

The way my mom phrased that statement was so impersonal, as if to emphasize her distance from me. My mom distanced herself from me all my life and this was a painful reminder of that. Though it didn’t appear to be a threat, it served as a threat to my child-self. Even though they’d already walked away from me a few years before, it was a reminder of the original abandonment of childhood that said, “You’re not good enough to be around, so get in line or we won’t love you anymore. You’ll be all alone in the world and nobody will ever love you.”

The fear of abandonment forced me to comply as a child, but I’m not forced to comply anymore. The key people in my life did reject me for telling the truth, but I’m not alone. Even if the consequence for telling the truth is rejection from everyone I know, that’s not the same death threat that it was when I was a child. I’m a self-sufficient adult and abandonment no longer means the end of my life.

Actually, separation from my abusers has brought me a much more affirming life. I haven’t had a relationship with my parents in years so I know I can live very easily and happily without them, but it was good to remind my child-self of that.

“I’m writing to inform you that your malicious slander of your father has not gone unnoticed.”

The little girl inside of me panicked. “Oh no! They don’t like what I’m doing and they caught me telling”. I’d learned from my family that it was acceptable for them to violate my innocence, but it was unforgivable for me to talk about the violation. But I don’t live by those incest family values anymore. I didn’t do anything wrong by talking about the things my dad did to me.

“Malicious slander” sounded so evil. It was that same fear of being labeled “bad”. That’s a huge part of my need to follow the rules. Being treated like trash gave me the message I was trash so I tried to perfect my way out of the shame. Even though I’d dealt with the majority of that, I still needed to assure myself that I’m not the bad one here. I carried my dad’s shame for what he did to me long enough. I wasn’t the one who had done anything wrong—he was.

“You have built an entire world out of your fantasy.”

When I first started talking about my abuse, it felt like I was lying. I didn’t feel connected to what I knew. It all felt distant and surreal, like a dream. Added to that, I didn’t have any emotions about it for a long time. It was as though it happened to someone else. I didn’t think it was possible to experience such horrible things and not feel anything about it, so on some level, it seemed like I was making it up. Eventually, the emotions came and I KNEW those things didn’t just happen, they happened to ME.

Even though I couldn’t be shaken from the truth anymore, my mother’s claim that I was making this up was crushing. I’d felt invisible to my mother my whole life and now she was tossing me aside with the same dismissive attitude. “Your abuse didn’t exist and neither do you.”

In my mind, I was a small child standing before my mother, pleading for her protection and comfort. Not being believed or acknowledged was life threatening then, but I acknowledge my own life through my healing and I don’t need her to believe me now. Coming face to face with this pain showed me what validation I needed to give to myself.

“In dreaming up your sexual abuse you have maligned your father’s character and deeply hurt his heart and mine.”

In their twisted world, they are the victims and I am their abuser. This kind of manipulative guilt trip used to work on me. I was trained to take care of their feelings in the hope that if they were fulfilled, they’d finally take care of me. I waited for the “validation” for most of my life that my needs were important too, but it never came from them. Their manipulations stopped working when I realized my value and stopped needing their permission to put myself first.

“Your lies shall surely catch up with you.”

I heard this as, “It’s not only your dad and me who will act in opposition to you, but powers bigger than us will ‘get you’ and you’ll be sorry you ever crossed us.” That struck such a nerve and I realized that I’d always been afraid of that. I had a vague fear that God or some cosmic force would punish me for talking about my abuse. Sometimes while I was driving, I was sure another driver would be an instrument in the universe’s hand to pronounce judgment on me. I was afraid I’d discover some gruesome disease overtaking my body. I was always on guard, never knowing which direction retribution would come from.

I’d pushed that fear aside and dismissed it as silly, but reading my mother’s words showed me just how much power that lie still had over me. As a child, my parents were gods to me. They were all powerful and they held my life in their hands. The child within me still saw them as gods and to cross them was to cross the Maker of the universe. When I confronted that lie, the illusion shattered. Not only are my mother and father not God or gods, they don’t represent God or his interests. When I stand against my parents, I’m really standing against injustice, abuse and lies. They do not represent anything to do with God and they do not have any power to pronounce judgment on me.

“I want you to know that if you have any plans of writing a book, we will sue you and anyone who has anything to do with it. Your defamation of your father’s character will stop. You will not enjoy one penny from any book published about this gross lie.”

I thought it was interesting that the threat to sue me was only if I wrote a book. The audience that I’ve reached through my story has reached tens of thousands already. Yes, I plan to write a book, in fact, several books, but why not sue me now? If they truly had a case against me, there is plenty of “evidence” of my “slander” and they don’t need to wait for me to write a book.

And I should let you know that we filed some of your inflammatory statements about your father and me, along with your threat against me, with the Mesa Police Dept.”

When I first read that, I was a little girl again, terrified of getting in trouble. It was one thing to be sent to my room and another thing to be sent to jail. But what had I done wrong? I’ve done nothing illegal or wrong. My dad is the criminal, not me. I’m doing something right in telling my story. I’m standing for the truth and making it easier for other abuse survivors to tell their story. As more of us speak out, maybe more abusers will think twice about hurting other children. Maybe more parents will be diligent. Maybe more survivors will heal. I’m helping to make the world a safer place by talking about how dangerous my childhood was. If telling the truth was illegal, I’d still tell the truth.

Though my mom claimed she and my dad reported me to the police, I don’t know if that’s really true. There’s one thing I have to keep reminding myself: abusers lie. They will say anything to preserve themselves, which to them means maintaining their position of power.

One of the biggest things that stands out to me about this letter is that it’s written by my mother. In fact, this is one of three letters I’ve received from my mother since our “divorce”. In the years that I’ve spoken publicly about my abuse, my father has never contacted me directly. He’s never made any effort to clear up any “misunderstanding” or to ask me why I’d “lie” about him. Though my mother is claiming to speak for both of them, my father has been silent. He’s told plenty of other people that I’m lying, but he’s never faced me. I can only conclude that he doesn’t want to face me because he knows that I’ll never be manipulated into silence again. His feigned protests to other people and through other people are an attempt to manipulate them, not me.

This threatening letter was a turning point in my recovery process. A few days after receiving it, I realized that I hadn’t really been standing up for myself enough and decided to report my dad to the police. Seeing how much my parents discounted me stirred something in me. I saw how much I’d been discounting what my dad did to me.

I’m more motivated than ever to stand up for the truth. Even if my mother and father do sue me, the burden of proof is on them and I’d actually love to have my day in court. I doubt they want to give me any more opportunities or other platforms to expose them, but if they pursue legal actions, I’d welcome the chance to tell a judge and jury what my dad did to me.

My mom did everything she could to appear as powerful as possible. That’s as much as she had and it was nothing. She meant to intimidate me into silence as though I was still that little girl that she could manipulate and control. She did her worst but she can’t shut me up.

Now that you’ve heard my experience and thoughts about this, I’d love to hear yours. Please comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to the comments so you can continue to partake in the discussion. If you would like to protect your privacy, you don’t have to use your real name. Email addresses are never made public.

Related Posts:
Peace and Protection From Abuse
The Fear of Being Re-victimized
Domestic Violence: The Signs I Missed
Standing Up For Myself: Reclaiming My Self-Worth
Dealing With Triggers of Abuse

Christina Enevoldsen is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Christina’s passions are writing and speaking about her own journey of healing from abuse and inspiring people toward wholeness. She and her husband live in Los Angeles and share three children and four grandchildren.

[read Christina’s story here]

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66 comments
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  1. Christina,

    Great blog. I love how you dissected her letter and shared exactly how you felt and what you were thinking. I can’t help but feel the pain and hurt of receiving such a letter and I’m so glad that you didn’t allow it to “scare you away” from exposing your abuse. As I’m sure that is what her intent was in sending it.

    It amazes me how people will take up the fight to protect the abusers, even against their own children and this is the perfect example of that. I’ve always said, as you stated also, that those who treat us bad now because we spoke up, have always treated us that way. it took me a long time to admit that, but the more I heal and face the truth, the more I know it to be true.

    Thank you for sharing your heart and speaking the truth. Love ya, Patty

  2. Christina
    This is such an important article! When I first started facing the truth about what happened to me I felt so bad for even thinking about it. When I first started talking about (speaking publically in mental health seminars) I found myself jumpy and looking around every corner; expecting those “consequences” to be waiting for me. My mom threatened to sue me too when I told her I was going to write a book about my recovery from chronic depression and low self esteem. She didn’t even know that I was talking about her yet when she threatened that! I was so shook up that I called a friend of mine who is a lawyer for advice and information. Then I started to wonder what the heck my mom thought I was going to write about and why she thought it was going to be about her! (all this was way before I started my website) Eventually I realized that her threat was a truth leak about her own guilt. For several months after that phone call I jumped when ever the phone rang. Even though the layer had reassured me that I was not in any danger, I had those same fears that you had, the same self doubt too. When I started my first blog (which no longer exists) I didn’t want anyone to know about it because that fear of “the consequences of talking” was so huge. I had been told for so long that I was a story teller that I questioned my memories all along and as you said I too had been really disconnected from myself and from the abuse perpetrated on me and also I was caught up in living in my fantasy world that I had parents who loved me and would not hurt me so it was weird facing the whole truth about it and reconnecting to myself and the feelings of betrayal and shame. I kept hearing them say “well Darlene is such a story teller” and it was really confusing. Story teller in that context was just a nice way of labeling me a liar and when you are called a liar long enough as a child it is easy to just accept the label. In a way my mother threatening to sue me did me a favour! It confirmed that she has something to fear or she never would have threatened that.
    I love how you dissected the letter; that is what I do too! Your mothers letter was so demeaning. Reading it I pictured her looking down on you (I have never seen your mother so this is just in my minds eye) as a small child with her angry accusations and her pointy nose like a witch; “how dare you?” “you nasty disgusting child” “you will be sorry, you will pay for this” and I picture your whimp of a father hiding behind her skirts. I always wanted to think that my abusers didn’t know what they were doing was wrong, but if they didn’t know it was wrong then why did I have to hide it? Why was I taught to keep the secret? Why are they so afraid of being exposed that they go to these great lengths to paint me as a story teller and a liar? The truth always leaks out…
    I agree, I would welcome my day in court too. I am not the bad guy here!
    Hugs, Darlene

  3. Patty,
    Thanks! The way I examined this letter is the way I take everything apart so I can see what I’m really hearing and why it bothers me. Once I see that, it’s easy to get to the truth. After discounting my thoughts and feelings for so many years, it feels good to be in touch with what’s going on inside of me.
    Christina

  4. Darlene,
    Yes, yes, yes! I agree that my mom’s threats actually did me a favor too. Through this, I confronted those things in me that were hidden, though no less potent to cause me destruction. Plus like you said, it showed her hand. Though she was trying to appear so powerful, it revealed her vulnerability. The message in the subtext is where most of the abuse came from so it’s wonderful to use subtext to heal. You’re so great at looking under the surface too and communicating how you do that. Thank you for sharing that!
    Hugs,
    Christina

  5. Good for you on reporting your father to the police. That was excellent.

    Has your mother attempted to contact you since that last letter? I ask as I wonder if reporting her would benefit you as well if she continues to give you grief.

    I’ve also dealt with the harassment, threats to sue, etc. My brother was the most aggressive about it. I had to shut down a website because I saw his and my father’s IP address on a web counter, so it was clear they were monitoring it, looking for information to use against me. My brother left bizarre communications online, I found possible evidence that he’d smeared me on a website where they never take down any content. He’s been ordered by my local police never to contact me again, and that was what finally got him to stop.

    I’m relocating to an area about 250 miles from where my brother lives very soon (right now we’re 1100 miles apart). It’s bringing up worries – I wish it didn’t. I haven’t heard from him in 3 years. I’m just hoping he doesn’t find out for a very long time and that his own life keeps him too darn busy to be able to make any plans to bother me if/when he does learn I’ve moved.

  6. Christina,
    This may be strange comment to make but I find your blog posts, especially this one refreshing in the sense that you can confidently look at your abuse and declare that it happened even considering the hateful and hurtful letter from your mother. I never spoke out because of fear until my uncle was exposed as an abuser. I have a very large extended family and for a time after being exposed everyone was angry with him. My aunt made him leave. But very quickly, I would say 2 weeks the rest of the family started taking him back, he moved back home and no one talked about it any more except me. After all he was punished for 2 weeks. Wasn’t that enough? I very quickly learned that if I didn’t keep my mouth shut I would become the outcast. I could not keep my moth shut even though it really was nothing more than a whisper. And because of that I was rejected by my entire family. Since then, over 30 years I have never done much more than a whisper but have decided that it’s time to shout. It’s the scariest thing I can think of and it is taking me a while to find my voice. I started my own blog but have kept it private for now. I want to do this right and by that I mean right for me. I have stopped writing temporarily because of doubts and fears that I will have to endure a firestorm of criticism and I don’t know if I’m strong enough for that yet. Your posts have been inspiring for me and I hope that soon I will be able to say “I was sexually and physically abused and you can’t shut me up!” and to face my own fears and stare them down every time they come up and try to bring me back to being that small scared child who did nothing wrong!
    Thank You! <3

  7. Stanley
    Ya, your uncle paid for 2 weeks while you paid the rest of your life! That is the insanity of the dysfunctional family system. It is so crazy and it makes me so angry and it is universal! This is so common that it makes me feel sick! Something I learned about the “firestorm of criticism” is that when I started to stand up to that, (even if just with myself) it stopped getting to me and when I learned to be my own best friend and to re-parent myself I got so much stronger that my abusers and my family were afraid to confront me at all! (they just stopped talking to me). The more that I empowered myself with knowing that it wasn’t me who did anything wrong and that covering it up the way they wanted me to spoke volumes about them, not about me, the more I was able to find my voice. The process builds upon itself. Facing my fears has always been really wonderful after the initial pain. I have learned to nurture that scared small child that I was and that has been amazing!
    Hugs, Darlene

  8. This blog post is a direct answer to the prayers for community and connection and understanding I was praying for last night.

    After I posted part of my story on your blog in January Darlene it stirred up some serious havoc for a lot of people and its been kind of eating at me. I keep my focus on the power of telling my own story and the people that that served but I have been ravaged with guilt and even a little paranoia and definitely shame. I actually put my book project aside for a little while but got really clear that it was time to pick it back up.

    I find this blog entry extremely helpful to giving me the encouragement I need to take the next empowered steps forward, its awesome to know I am not alone.

    Sometimes that is all I really need. :)

    Love

  9. PS,
    My mother contacted me twice after that letter. They were emails through the contact form of this website, though they weren’t addressed to me. She wrote as though she was addressing the webmaster, but I run this site, so I’m not sure who she thought would read it. It’s like she was telling on me to the person in charge here. She said I pretend to be an expert at overcoming, but I was never abused. I responded by asking her for her side of things, but she only responded by saying what wasn’t true, nothing to substantiate her claims.

    I’m glad that by then, I’d given up on trying to convince her of the truth, but my response was very validating to me. It felt good to stand up for myself that way too. I haven’t heard from her since. I think she was quite shocked to see that she couldn’t push me around anymore.

    I glad you’re standing up for yourself too.
    Christina

  10. Stanley,
    I think that’s wonderful that you’re doing what’s best for you as you step out a little at a time. That’s what I do too. Sometimes, I write a post and don’t publish it for months because I’m not ready. That’s part of my self-love that I’ve been developing. It’s easy for some others to say, “just tell” as though that’s always the best thing to just blurt everything out. But it’s naive to think there aren’t consequences. What has helped me to keep moving forward is to acknowledge the fear, ask myself if it’s exclusively a fear from childhood or if there are present day consequences. It’s amazing how that little exercise has helped me confront those things so can make decisions I can live with. That way, I can afford to be bold since I’ve already counted the cost.

    I’m SO glad that I can inspire you. You’re such an encouragement to me! I look forward to hearing your voice increase in strength. You deserve to be heard.
    Christina

  11. I love the insights you share in this article, Christina. Several years ago (before I even knew about all the incest) my mother wrote me a letter after I had cut off contact threatening to ‘press charges…’ I only ever read the first sentence of the email, but it awakened irrational childhood fears in me to such an extent that it crippled my life for a long time. I couldn’t see that the threat was empty, because it had little-nothing to do with my knowledge of the legal system, but was all about my old terror in the face of this punitive, violent, sexually abusive monster that was my mother and how she wouldn’t hesitate to do and say anything she wanted to me. And since a portion of my memories were buried, the fear was heightened even more since apparently that was the only emotion that could access the full picture.

    But I see now that in the real, modern, adult world, she isn’t all-powerful, no matter how much she fumes or yells, it has little chance of reaching me and can’t really control my life now. I’m beleiving myself to an extent that there’s nothing any of the family could say that can deny what my body told me happened. Those fears and concerns are melting away; I can see my former family now as just a group of pathetic human beings, and I hope they feel afraid, that I might expose them for their criminal behavior. I plan to, I won’t limit my life anymore, because I’m not the one who’s done anything wrong. It’s great to take our power back.

    thanks,
    -Caden.

  12. I find it so interesting that often the abuser threatens legal action for slander to try and keep the victims quiet. When my youngest daughter was 18 she told me she had been abused by her father for most of her life. He was continually harassing her and she was in a very bad place. I rang him to tell him that she had told me what he’d done and he was never to contact of us again. He threatened to charge her for slander and that he would continue to haunt her until she committed suicide because of her lies. Thankfully my brother was there to witness this phone call. My other two children, a daughter and a son, have since revealed that he abused both of them continuously, my daughter even after she was married. The evil that he has perpetrated is beyond comprehension. Even more astounding is that he continuous to try and control them into silence through harassing phone calls and vague threats.

    Slowly the children (who are all in their 20s) are beginning to find courage and strength to move towards healing from the abuse, as well as healing from the addictions and pathways that the abuse took them.

    Thank you for the courage to share, it helps to know we’re not alone and that the evil and horror is not unique.

  13. Kylie,
    I’m glad you’re encouraged and that you know you’re not alone. That’s wonderful that you’re picking up your book again. Thanks for sharing!
    Christina

  14. Caden,
    I love what you said:

    “But I see now that in the real, modern, adult world, she isn’t all-powerful, no matter how much she fumes or yells, it has little chance of reaching me and can’t really control my life now. I’m believing myself to an extent that there’s nothing any of the family could say that can deny what my body told me happened. Those fears and concerns are melting away; I can see my former family now as just a group of pathetic human beings, and I hope they feel afraid, that I might expose them for their criminal behavior. I plan to, I won’t limit my life anymore, because I’m not the one who’s done anything wrong. It’s great to take our power back.”

    Yes! It’s so liberating to see the truth and to take our power back!
    Thanks for sharing that with us.
    Christina

  15. Christina, thank you for this article.
    It gives me motivation when I see someone be able to stand up for themselves against their parents in this way.
    I’ve been abused by my brothers and I am thinking of telling my parents real soon. I’m so scared of my mother reacting the same way your mom did. I’m scared she will not believe me and i’m scared she will think that i’m saying this just to mess with her.
    how did you tell your parents and how did you know you were strong enough to hold yourself up against their lies?

  16. Netty,
    Yes, abusers will use anything they think will work to remain in their position of power. How awful that your children are still being abused by their father. I’m so glad that they are beginning to move toward healing. They deserve to!
    Christina

  17. Nicole,
    Before I remembered that my dad was my primary abuser, I told my parents that I remembered being sexually abused. It never occurred to me that they would be anything but supportive since I’d created an imaginary family in my head. I wrote about my experience and what I learned from it here: http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2010/08/19/how-do-i-disclose-my-abuse/
    Christina

  18. Thank you everyone. The post and the comments are giving me some hope that I have longed for my whole life. Darlene, thank you for the kind words of encouragement and validation. I want to be my own best friend but all too often I am my own worst enemy. I sabotage any good things but saying “yeah, but…” I however am learning and know that some day I will have that strength which comes from self-love. Christina, You continue to encourage me and instill in me a sense that I deserve to love myself and will have the courage and strength to someday do that. I AM always inspired by your posts and am so glad I was led to your blog. Stanley

  19. U r showing me great survival skills and strength. Thank you for sharing :)

  20. Thank you for being the voice of truth for those of us who have yet to find our own.

  21. Christina,
    Thank you for being so open in sharing your healing process. I found this website a few days ago and reading the insightful blogs has helped me heal – and continues to help me heal. I just started to confront my childhood sexual abuse and cope with all the aftereffects as a young adult. I feel like I am going crazy most of the time. On top of it all, I have recently discovered – or rather stopped denying – that my mother is emotionally and verbally abusive. It has been challenging to admit to myself that my over-protective parents did not protect me from my abusers and labeled me “the problem” throughout my life, while maintaining my relationship with them to keep the “peace.” The anger I harbor toward my parents for not protecting me strained my relationship with them. As a result, my mother has become more verbally and emotionally abusive – which is how I was finally able to recognize her behaviors and words as abusive after becoming “immune” to them.
    I have been struggling between feeling anger toward my parents and then withdrawing emotionally and physically from them – which causes the “family peace” to be disrupted and my “attitude” faulted – to feeling guilty (because of what my mother does and says to me) for being angry at them and withdrawing from them – which causes me to pretend all is well and then hate myself for invalidating what little voice I have managed to get back. I felt like I was on a fast, out-of-control see-saw ride and I was getting very sick.
    Reading this blog post enabled me to take control of the see-saw because your insight helped me to understand my emotions and what was causing them. Sitting on one side of the see-saw is my current self and sitting on the other side is my little girl self. My little girl self is afraid of being abandoned if my parents are not pleased with me and my current self is realizing the truth of my past and my capacities to take care of myself. Both were reacting strongly to my external and internal experiences, which caused the other one to be jolted into disorientation. But now I can separate my past voice from my present voice and process each one in order to find a balance between the two while I decide how to handle my relationship with my parents. My decision is not going to be easy. I am completely financially dependent on my mother – and now I believe she made it that way so I would never feel able to leave her. Plus, the guilt, shame, and worthlessness I feel keep me emotionally in the victim role.
    -Laura

  22. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story. I too have always wanted to please everyone “above” me. I will have to go back and read the full detail of your blog. Again, thank you for sharing.

  23. Thank you for this article.. I’m a writer, & been feeling I need to write my own story of my mother’s abuse & father’s negligence to protect me. I wrote quite a bit & had to stop a few months ago. Partly because of feeling wrong & guilty for “airing our dirty laundry” as my mother used to say. You are helping to give me the courage to continue my work. Thank you & God bless you!

  24. Thank you. This was very powerful for me & came on the tailend of a huge guilt trip that my abusers family is hoping to put on me. I’ve been thinking about writing a book for the past 18 years. I’ve even started it twice, but never seem to get very far, as I start to imagine the backlash. I know I’m a grown-up now and don’t actually need them, but the thought of facing them with the truth in hard ink, rocks me to the core of my inner child. Kudos to you for your courage and continued courage. You are an inspiration, one I hope to mirror very soon.

  25. Thanks for sharing part of your journey, it actually affirms mine and even gives me a new point of view.

    I totally get how we are afraid of getting in trouble, how it is so backwards. When we, the abused did nothing. I am proud you called the police. It takes courage to stand up, and you did.

  26. group hug everyone xoxo

  27. Christina / Bloggers,

    I still have a family who would rather not know or understand what I went through! I had an ex husband who treated me like damaged goods. Note ex husband! I’ve learnt to never forget or deny what happened to me as there are far too many that are in denial!! I’ve told my eldest child (20years old) what happened to me… she now understands why I am the way I am and why she has no family members on my side in her life. I have NO regrets by distancing myself from these people…. I have my self esteem and know my worth.. shame these losers didn’t!! Love and Light to my brothers and sisters xoxo

  28. Brilliant and beautiful. It’s like you wrote my story except my mom was the abuser and my father was the enabler. I too have had a lot of fear about writing a book. I have a blog, but I’m so scared for anyone to read it that I have it locked down with a password. I think this is what I needed to read to be free to post my blog publicly. Thank you so much!

  29. Laura,
    This is an excellent way to describe this internal conflict:

    “Sitting on one side of the see-saw is my current self and sitting on the other side is my little girl self. My little girl self is afraid of being abandoned if my parents are not pleased with me and my current self is realizing the truth of my past and my capacities to take care of myself. Both were reacting strongly to my external and internal experiences, which caused the other one to be jolted into disorientation. But now I can separate my past voice from my present voice and process each one in order to find a balance between the two while I decide how to handle my relationship with my parents.”

    Thanks for sharing this and welcome to OSA!
    Christina

  30. Sarah, Susan and Teresa,
    Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you’re here!
    Christina

  31. Cynthia,
    I’m so glad you’re inspired to keep writing! It’s YOUR story to tell.
    Christina

  32. Getting There,
    I’ve been there too. I was so concerned with how the truth would impact everyone else, the same way I took care of everyone’s emotions since I was a child. I’m glad you’re finding your voice again.
    Christina

  33. Beth,
    Yes, it’s so backwards that I was the one afraid of getting in trouble. I felt that about my original abuse too. I was afraid of getting caught as though I was a participant instead of the victim. Everything about the abusive system is backwards! I’m glad we’re getting free. Thanks for commenting.
    Christina

  34. Sarb,
    That’s so great that you’ve taken your power back! We may not have a choice about how others respond about our abuse, but we have a choice in what kind of a relationship we have with them now. Thanks for sharing that.
    Christina

  35. Andrea,
    Did you happen to read Darlene’s comment (#2)? Darlene started out with a blog she didn’t want anyone to read and now she can’t be stopped. The blog she has now is a very high traffic site (Emerging From Broken) and she helps thousands and thousands of people by telling her story about how she found freedom.

    Whenever you’re ready to go public, there are people who will relate to what you write.
    Christina

  36. Thank you so much for the words that ring truth and validation for so many of us. Yes, I am one of those adult children who has had her parents accuse her of lying about an uncle’s molestation. His behavior has always been “out-of-bounds” with his kids and God is good… Out of his three children only one has JUST had a child in his thirties, first grandchild. I often have been able to make sense of this and have thanked God for stepping in however He may have- or, maybe my cousins (though they also accuse me of these lies) might have made decisions based on a suppressed memory of their own abuse- and I do believe there had to be. When you go through any formal therapy for incest survivors (I attended singly and in a group environment) you begin to see patterns and textbook-type behaviors. All signs are pointing to this being a family-wide problem. Anyway, doesn’t really matter thoguh, does it? I am “crazy”- and I am a “liar”. And my own parents turned their backs on me. It is a time of extreme loneliness and alienation…. but it is through this time that I found the spirit that soars inside me. I have grown from this casting out. It has given the greatest insight and awareness… and helped me to be the proud mom I am today- not perfect, but wise and proud. Your article was indeed very touching and again, thank you from the bottom of my heart to speaking for so many of us. We are not as alone as we feel- we are instead in very good and healthier company!! XXOO

  37. ” it was acceptable for them to violate my innocence, but it was unforgivable for me to talk about the violation
    thank you Christina..this is so true for me,they reacted MORE on me talking and writing about my abuses..THAN get mad at the ABUSE that was done to me.so disgusting.G

  38. I have read through your comments but I am very sorry to say that I don’t feel that any of your stories could help me with overcome my pain. As much as I’m happy to see you are all feeling better about voicing your feelings and speaking out the want of revenge made me feel even more pain. As much as I understand the pain you feel I can’t see punishing the abuser as a way out. I have lived with it for over 30 years and spoke about it straight away, my mum totally blanked me and pretended it hasn’t happened and my step father carried on until I was a teenager. It hasn’t been mention since then – I was 4 at the time and I’m 38 now and I do not wish to bring it up anymore. It has affected my life in a huge way, I can’t bear a touch from any man but my partner not to mention other problems in having a relationship or generally in life but I feel I want to forgive both of my parents and I know that they both also suffered knowing they both have hurt me.

    I also feel that to abuse someone is a cry for help and I’m sure my stepdad was himself abused one way or another and so was my mum. I feel that if I set off to try and punish my dad by telling him he’d hurt me and how it affected my life I will be causing more pain and how could this make anyone feel better? I also feel that by doing this you only bind yourself to that person for the rest of your life, sooner or later they will come back into your mind and every time they do you will associate those thoughts with pain. I recently have managed to overcome an equally big problem in my life and I decided to forgive, you can’t imagine the overwhelming power you gain when you do that, the weight had lifted in an instant and I feel no more pain. I am so much happier that I chose to do that rather than cutting the guilty person out of my life. I tried that and it didn’t work because the fact they are absent does not change your feelings and emotions, they are still there even when the person isn’t. The way I looked at it was to accept it has happened and stop perceiving it from a perspective of myself at the time it happened but rather look at it from where I am now (what I know about life) – it helped enormously. I understood why it happened and what it caused in my life and I decided to stop the grieving as I realised I was the only person punishing myself with my emotions and nobody else. I feel that unless we learn to stop the emotions of grieve, pain, anger to overtake us every time we remember the abuse we will hurt and whatever we do it will not stop until we learn to accept it as something that happened then and that it no longer is and try to forgive. I believe in getting rid of the cause of pain rather than the effects of it and the cause here are emotions and nothing else. The abuser is no longer here, the abuse is no longer here but the emotions are still here. If I can overcome those I am going to be trully healed!

    I would like to know what you think, I can imagine that some of you might not like the idea at all but I would like you to know that I am hurting badly and I know it’s not going to be easy but I don’t want to fool myself any longer that pushing it out of sight will help.

    Loads of love to all of you
    M x

  39. TerriK,
    It was shocking to learn about the dynamics of an incest family and how very common they are, though I agree with you that it really doesn’t matter the reasons for the family rejection. The pain is the same and the healing is the same whether you are the only one or if there are many victims of incest in your family. I’m glad you’re finding strength in the midst of that. Thanks for commenting!
    Christina

  40. G,
    Yes, it is SO disgusting that incest families react more to speaking about abuse than to the abuse. There are so many awful rules that they have and it’s taken me years to recognize them (since they were my “normal”) and to reject them. Thanks for your comment.
    Christina

  41. Monika,
    I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that I’m saying my healing has come from punishing my abusers or from revenge. Quite the contrary. My healing doesn’t have anything to do with my abusers. It comes from validating the pain, identifying the wounds, and giving myself the caring attention that the abuse denied me. None of those things are dependent on my abuser playing any part of it. Part of validating my pain is to stop denying it through excuses, through directing the blame toward myself, through forgiveness or the anything else.

    I used to think that bringing up all the “negative” stuff was useless, but that just kept everything buried and the lies continued and the abuse continued. Now that I’m facing the truth and my pain, my healing has been very fruitful and I’m thrilled with my life now.
    Christina

  42. Dear Christina,

    Thank you for your reply. I’m happy that this way of dealing with the abuse has worked for you it’s just that therapy and bringing it all out hasn’t really worked for me. I just don’t feel the need to bring it up anymore and it’s not a denial of what happened. I have found my peace and I am able to have a loving relationship with my parents without having to point out their past mistakes, they have already acknowledged it themselves and it’s not necessary to voice it. I have sensed a lot of fighting in your article and in some of the responses and this is what has upset me the most – I just didn’t see I would ever want to go back to that. I came here to see if I could learn from other people with the same experiences and what i have learnt is that I need to work it out for myself and that I’m beyond that point where I’m angry and need to shout. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR THAT. We all find our own ways of dealing with the past and none is the right way for everyone as we are all different. What helped me is a realisation that I have kept myself a prisoner of my own emotions and feelings about it and that I was the only person who could release myself from it. It worked for me with my other issues and I can see results now as I feel no more anger or fear and that was my desired result. If the abuse is over and the abuser is gone out of my life how can he still be causing me pain. I have regained my power to the point where I can face my abuser and tell him I love him, how much he means to me. I accept that many people will not agree with me but that’s not what I’m after.

    I wish you all the best

    Monika

  43. I think Monika had no choice except to live in that abuse because her mother wouldn’t support her… So I feel really bad for her.

    But I am concerned that she doesn’t want any help with it, or to deal with it anymore – possibly doesn’t think she deserves it. I almost get the impression that she might have some shame…

    What troubles me the most is that she is identifying with the abuser. That’s something my Narcissistic mom has always done (although she identified with MY abuser). She’s minimizing her own ordeal just because she thinks it would be morally bad to get someone in trouble for doing this to her, because she thinks he was a victim like her.

    But I don’t think denying or ignoring the pain is going to help you get past this kind of thing. NOT doing anything will not stop the cycle of abuse. It’s got to be Stockholme Syndrome. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1920301,00.html

    You don’t have to feel shame for something someone did to you when you were a child. You were powerless. Your mother should have listened and your stepfather’s behaviour should not be excused so easily. I must point out that lots of abused children do NOT become child abusers themselves. Not reporting a child abuser is enabling them and opening up the possibility that they will continue to abuse other children.

    Was my abuser abused? Yes. Does that give him an excuse to do what he did to me (and some other young children)? No. Was he related to me? Yes. Does that excuse him from doing what he did? No.

    You said your parents acknowledged their part in this. Did they admit it and apologize for it? How? Did they report who did this? How can you forgive someone who doesn’t admit what he did was wrong and who is not accountable for what they have done? How can you forgive someone who doesn’t want forgiveness and blames you for your part? Why do you protect someone who did this? Blame the victim? No.

    Who says anyone has to yell and scream? You want to be a rug people walk over because you excuse them for their behaviours? You want peace at any cost, not wanting to care about yourself, only them. You don’t care about yourself at all, it seems.

    I just don’t talk to my parents anymore. It’s very peaceful. I am not their inconvenience, I am not their pawn, I am not something they can suck the life out of anymore, and I am not an object they can abuse. I have empathy for them, they were messed up, but I can’t have a safe and loving relationship with them. I couldn’t stay and continue my self-imposed torture. I just don’t understand how you could forgive them and NOT stop all contact. Because for me it would either be easier to forgive someone who was unable to abuse me anymore because I severed all contact, or else I wouldn’t be able to forgive them because then I would be in contact with them and they would still be abusing me. I understand forgiving the self, http://www.durrance.com/FrAl/tract_on_forgiveness.htm in order to have peace about abuse, but I don’t understand forgiving/excusing an abuser just because he admits to you that he abused you.

  44. This blog post catalyzed a really deep and transformative process for me and I wanted to share it. In the last two years I felt a deep soul calling to start sharing my story in a more public way… and so… I DID! And it felt really awesome, deeply empowering and it helped me to realize I can validate myself and I can create my own support systems out of nothing more than determination and the willingness to be raw and real.

    This was after years and years of reaching out to therapists starting when I was 17… I think I went through at least 4 – none of whom would directly address my sexual abuse with me. One of whom said it probably never happened, that “the mind” is always making things up as catastrophies to feel special.

    Anyway that shut me up for a while so when I finally took my process into my own hands and trusted my intuition and started sharing, I put a guest blog post on Emerging From Broken. I wrote it in a very conscientious way to speak ONLY about MY process, my experience, my feelings. That was real for me, I wasn’t ready to directly confront anyone but I did have a valid point to make in my writing and it touched people.

    After that post went up I started getting a lot of phone calls from people who were deeply disturbed by my accusing them of abuse and that was pretty far out. Apparantly close relatives couldn’t sleep for days, started not talking to each other, one of them wanted to find my abuser and beat them up.

    This really shut me up. For 6 months.

    I was writing a really awesome book and I stopped. I stopped writing about anything on the internet except for marketing which is my “career.” Even though writing is a gift that I have always had, it’s a gift from my Creator, I made the fear of “telling” or “hurting” anyone through my truth more important than my God given gifts.

    That is the sickness of sexual abuse.

    After I saw this post I started working on my book again. I am not willing to allow my creative process to be stunted by others past acts of atrocity. I silenced myself long enough.

    Darlene & Christina – I see so many people on your forums thank you for being the one to save their lives or be the only one who understands them. For me, that is kind of a pedastal, and I don’t feel like that is seeing either of you fully. However, what I do experience, is that you are trailblazers who are willing to put yourselves out there fully. I see you both as having walked miles ahead of where I am at, and that is such an amazing relief because I know that no matter what I am going through I can go to either of your sites and find that next little piece of what has been missing for me.

    What an awesome gift to give to the world.

  45. Hi Kylie
    I am shocked and sickened that a “mental health professional” told you that “the mind makes things up as catastrophes to feel special” That is disgusting, damaging and SO devaluing. I am so happy to hear that you are taking your power back and overcoming the fear of telling (the truth) or “hurting” anyone with that truth.

    Thank you so much for your compliments to Christina and myself and the work that we do. I don’t want to be on any pedestals, (that is what abusers want) but I can accept the title of “trailblazer” and hope to continue to be just that! Sometimes I see myself with a torch leading the way into a dark scary cave (one that I have been in myself many times), assuring everyone that it is okay, we have everything we need to venture forth into that cave and we have each other. There is the most beautiful vista, breath taking views, the brightest sunshine and freshest air on the other side!
    You comments here have made my day brighter! Thank you
    hugs, Darlene

  46. Thanks for your encouragement Darlene. I sincerely appreciate you. Through our interactions I am learning to be nicer to me and not quite as nice to people who don’t deserve it. THAT’s a breakthrough!!!

  47. Oh my heavens!!! I am so with you on this!!!
    For some people it’s too terrifying to imagine your life outside of the dysfunction so they never leave it. You represent truth and have shed a light on the dysfunction in yours and they are terrified. If someone else isn’t ready to see the truth, and may never be, the only thing they can do is to make you into a liar or make you so uncomfortable and guilty for talking about it that you fall back in line. If that doesn’t work they try to dim your light down or extinguish you entirely by making you the crazy one or they just plain cut you out of the family for good.
    I think the hardest part of it is, learning how to “be” outside of the dysfunction.
    What a rocky and bumpy road to be on. .
    But at least you are on it- at least a mile down the road from crazy town . It’s better than being on the smooth road inside of it.

  48. Hi Constance,

    Were you addressing my comment?

    I wasn’t completely sure, and if so I had some things I wanted to clarify.

    Much Love,

    kyliedevi

  49. Kylie,
    No, I actually didn’t read the comments of anyone else before I wrote. I was actually moved by some of the process of Christina’s orginal article. I saw things I could resonate with and that prompted me to write a comment which I rarely do.
    In my experience when you grow up in a home where this has gone on, it is very hard to speak the truth about it. First of all, everyone has done such a good job of rewriting history that it’s hard to find the truth in it, let alone speak it. To speak it means everyone has to face it and not everyone is ready to talk honestly about it.. To talk honestly about it means that you are stirring the pot and causing ripples in an environment that up till then, has run fairly smoothly even in it’s dysfunction. Every one is assigned roles within the unit to make it function well. Everyone’s roles are dependent on the other. When you stop, it puts a kink in the machine. It’s not even about the act of abuse anymore, it’s about needing you to play the role that best suits how they have chosen to cope- most of which is still the same way they chose in their childhood. The coping mechanisms have not evolved. Some of have chosen to go along with the dysfunction, they have rewritten it as normal. Some have chosen to try to control everything and everyone around them. Some have chosen to lash out and rage whenever they feel like it – not to the offending parties but to the innocent bystanders some of whom have no idea where it’s coming from. Some have chosen to create an image of themselves to the world as perfect and coming from the most wonderful perfect background and have built their subsequent relationships and lives based on that. Even though they have cried over the same things and are frustrated at the same things and have the same painful memories that they openly shared with you, when they walk out your door, they put on a different face .
    If you speak out, openly, publicly, they are terrified that the people who they have surrounded themselves with won’t like them or will judge them. So that’s when they try to censor you, make you crazy, make you a liar. You represent the truth and the truth is icky. It is not the stuff of made for tv movies. It is not the pretty picture in the family magazine.
    When I am quiet, I am the most sought after guest. I am brilliant, and wonderful and talented and amazing and I am a woman of knowledge and wisdom and honesty.
    When I speak, I am an abomination, a trouble maker, I am trying to gain attention, I am liar, I am crazy. I am hurting people, I am cruel. This cycles every year since as long as I can remember. I put some pretty good years in trying to encourage everyone to heal, to reach for more, to see themselves as beautiful and wonderful and amazing and to be honest. Thirty years and I couldn’t save anybody.Now they have to save themselves .
    Recently there is a little progress, I am allowed to speak as long as I keep it to myself.
    Hah! That is crazy town, and I just high tailed it out of there.

  50. Constance,

    I am glad you hightailed it out :)

    I really appreciate this:

    “First of all, everyone has done such a good job of rewriting history that it’s hard to find the truth in it, let alone speak it.”

    I often find myself wondering if I made my story up, and then reality hits and I wonder how could I think I made it up. It goes back and forth.

    In the last several years I have made a lot of progress in many of these areas as well, and then I chose to put myself in a situation where I was spending time with my abusers. And while that was happening I was really kind of freaking out and I was relying heavily on all these forums which I don’t usually do, and a little voice in my head was like “Your reaching out too much, you shouldnt need help, someone is going to find out, your going to get beaten up, your in trouble,” etc, etc.

    I was luckily aware enough to realize that this voice is part of the mechanism that I was heavily conditioned into. Reaching out for help wasnt allowed and now that I really NEED it it is super triggering. But I’m not willing to be controlled by that unhealthy part of my mental structure that feels validated and a sense of belonging by playing into the game I was taught to play.

    And I know that I will never put myself into that situation again, so that is the lesson learned.

  51. Kylie,
    I’m so glad you’re validating yourself and working on your book again. I love that you’re getting your needs met and challenging the voices of the past.

    I can relate to the fear of reaching out for help. Whenever I needed anything from someone, I heard accusations that I was wasting their time or that I “just wanted attention”. I felt so much shame for needing anything. The way my parents treated me when I needed my emotional or physical needs met led to me believe I didn’t deserve help and I carried that belief with me for years. I felt so guilty when anyone was helping me or paying attention to me. I’m glad we can challenge those old beliefs!

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us!
    Christina

  52. Constance,
    That’s a great description of a dysfunctional family. Then those roles and those rules extend beyond the family into whatever group, organization, or system we find ourselves in. Their “truth” is sometimes violently defended as though their lives depend on the lie. I’m so glad we’re finding our way out of that sick system! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience on that.
    Christina

  53. Thanks Christina, I agree, it’s nice to let go of the old paradigms.

    My last month has been messy, it’s been scary, it’s been dark.

    And I am no longer willing to let that be a stopping point. This is my life and I am not willing to give my power away to the past. :)

  54. I am 57 years old and Christinas’ story was the first story I have read about her story of sexual abuse. Some of the words leapt from the page and said those things, those feelings that have been deep inside me nearly 35 years.
    “Following the rules felt like a life and death matter. I didn’t need any type of punishment; it was punishment enough for anyone in authority to be displeased with me. The worst thing I could imagine was being labeled a bad kid.”
    That has followed me through my entire life. Absolutely NOTHING was worse was being labeled “bad” or having done wrong.
    Intense remorse would set in at the smallest slight, I needed no punishment, because I was my own worst punishment, or so I thought, until I married my husband. Each story that I have read has elements of my life. I married a man that is a mental abuser. He’s never touched me inappropriately, but his words and actions….
    I am at a crossroads in my life in that I am in the middle of filing personal bankruptcy, and once that is done,
    most of the time I am planning to divorce my husband. Every once in a while when he is nice, I think perhaps I should stay. We have been together 33 years. I believe in the words “for better or worse”, richer or poorer, till death us do part.
    Then, there is this little voice inside me that knows I have to acknowledge the childhood sexual abuse from multiple family & friends, and the verbal/mental abuse from my husband. I know his family will never believe he was abusive to me. He has already turned relationships with family members against me, and I nearly lost our son because of how he spoke to our son about me.

    Anyway, there is a little voice that says “I want to be happy for this last part of my life”. I have been on anti depressants for nearly 14 years. I believe I could be happy without the drugs if I were living alone. It is scary, I am in poor health, have no money, will lose health insurance, and a 16 yr old car that wants to go to car heaven when I divorce my husband.

    All that I won’t have, I still feel I will be better off. I can go home (whatever that will be) in the evenings from work and know I won’t have to worry about a mood, or interrogation, or looks of disgust. I stay away up to 12-16 hours a day, just so I don’t have to hear/listen or see him.

    I realize all your life experiences have been an inspiration and a jumping off point for me.

    Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you as you all continue to recover.

    Deb

  55. I’m shaking because this rings true to me with my extended family.

    Thank you for being courageous. Also, it disgusted me when I read that the letter was signed “your mother” as if you are some kind of child again and she has control. No, she has zero control and probably is disgusted with herself tho she won’t admit it.

  56. Loved your posts and facebook page. I am a social worker and would like to know if you do any training for facilitators or speakers.
    I will be posting your site on my blog.
    Thanks
    Irene

  57. Deb,
    I can SO relate to the struggle of that decision to stay or to go. I considered marriage to be a lifelong commitment also and took a certain pride in sticking it out, no matter the cost. I recognize that there was a lot of self punishment in that like “you made your bed, now lie in it.” I stayed three more years after I knew how miserable I was, so I know it’s not an easy decision. I hope you know you deserve life, not just a life sentence.
    Christina

  58. Cristine,
    Yes, that fact that she signed it “Your mother” disgusted me too. Actually, the next blog post that I’m working on addresses that. My response to her was that if she wanted the honor of that title, she needed to act honorably. Thanks for your comment!
    Christina

  59. Irene,
    Welcome to OSA! Yes, I work with fellow advocates. You’re welcome to contact me through the contact form on this site to let me know what you have in mind.
    Christina

  60. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story . I’m so glad I found this site I just feel a little better I guess knowing there are other people who have been hurt by family members . I was taken away from my mother when I was 6 due to her beating me and just plainly being a psycho , the court placed me with my dad’s older brother and his family . At first it was ok and I kind of liked it there because he had two daughters and I was an only child and it gave me playmates. Then he started coming into my room at night to “tuck me in” which meant doing weird things like rubbing my legs or my back and telling me how worthless I was, then somehow it led to him having me to touch , lick or do things to him and would always talk about how bad I was at it… which I feel the most ashamed of I think . Then after a while the that didn’t quite satisfy him I guess and he started doing worse things like rubbing himself on my privates and then actually putting part of it in me …… and would always say I was disgusting and that I enjoyed it and that he knew I liked it . Which thinking back on it , maybe I did ? I mean I never told anyone what was happening and it went on for some time, I obviously didn’t go for help when I could have . What does that say about me !? I really didn’t think it would do any good to tell because nobody ever believed me , I never mattered and I definitely wasn’t ever loved . He made me believe that what he was doing to me was Love ……and I really believed that he was the only person who did and ever would or could love me . It’s Sick . Repulsive. Disgusting. Shameful.
    I don’t know how to deal with my guilt . I hate myself honestly .
    I’m 20 now and married to the guy I ‘ lost my virginity ‘ to …If you can even call it that ?
    He’s so great and I know now what Love really is and how it should be . We recently had a baby girl ,I Love her more than I ever knew I could love . I know her dad loves me and thinks I look good or whatever and wants to be with me but for some reason I have never been able to let myself or make myself believe all the things he thinks about me . To me , I have always been I guess.. scum , nothing , a burden I suppose . And I have never learned to be ” Happy ” , I have all I could ever want and I’m never happy and I really want to be and I don’t want to hate myself , I want to see what my husband sees or at least says he sees . All I see is fat and stretch marks from having our baby .
    I want to love myself like he and my daughter love me. How can I do that ?

  61. Very powerful post! I came across this Overcoming Sexual Abuse while finishing up on writing Beautiful But Broken. The back cover of the book reads:

    A glimpse in the mirror hardly tells her story. Though things appear normal on the outside there is a war raging on the inside. A war caused by abuse: sexually, physically and emotionally. This war has manifested itself through the insecurities she now faces. It has all taken its toll; where does she turn? Everywhere she turns others try to tell her who she should be from magazines to television shows, music and even those in whom she holds dear to her. She has carried this burden long enough! In an attempt to keep from hurting she builds walls to protect herself from further hurt only to realize that the walls she built to protect herself is now the prison that keeps her bound. She is “Beautiful But Broken.”

    You have a very powerful testimony and the courage it took to come forward is very inspirational. Thank you for sharing!

  62. I’ve read some of your posts before. This post of yours is linked in the post “Breaking Through the Fear of Speaking About Child Abuse by Kylie Devi” on the Emerging from Broken site. In turn that post was linked within “When Mental Health Providers are not Helpful by Kylie Devi” on the same site.
    These posts are so helpful to me. Breaking down what the abusers say here deeply touches me more than a counseling session ever could. It is comforting to find that these abusers are known and that their modus operandi are being publicly exposed and dissected. Not because I want revenge. I want no part of the cruelty that is involved in someone thinking that that kind of behavior is permissible or normal. I do want to heal myself. For like the first article I have sought “help” enough to know that the mental health machine is about business and I’ve been told basically that I have to develop my own program and I am responsible for knowing what to do to heal myself.
    These articles are making it much easier for me to recover any love I have for myself. They haven’t given me confidence yet but the tools and rapport support me whenever I want to read them. Maybe someday I can attain some hold on clearheadedness. I would like some inner peace for once.

  63. Bipolar Bear,
    That’s wonderful that you’re persevering through your healing even though it’s not easy. You deserve the clearheadedness and peace that you seek.

    I agree that revenge isn’t the answer. It’s powering over someone else, which is abuse and I don’t want any part of the abusive system. It certainly doesn’t add anything to healing. I’m all for seeking justice, but even that can’t do the healing work that we need. I saw that when my ex-husband was sentenced to 15 years in prison. It was good to know he can’t hurt anyone else for that period of time, but it’s not really justice. He deserved a lot more and it doesn’t give back what he took. Only healing can do that.

    Thank you for your comment and I’m glad you’re a part of our community!
    Christina

  64. Hi I was searching the web for some answers on how to deal with the denal of abuse and came across your site.A little back ground,I am 40 years old,I have one grown daughter and 2 awesome grandsons.But I have been living with this thorn in my side of being sexually abused by my step father for over 2 years,on a regular base.It started when I was 12.When I was 14 I told my mother and all hell broke loose.She blamed me but still left him but also left me.So I ened up in a foster home until my blood father was located in Canada and I moved here.So about a year ago I came across his new wife(of a few yrs) on facebook through a mutural friend.There was pics of him on there and it effected me in a bad way.The nightmares started back and things like that.I started reading self help healing books and sites.I came to the understanding I had to express forgiveness to him in order for me to move on.This anger was killing me.But I didnt want to hurt his new wife because she didnt have anything to do with it.So I wrote her(I didnt have anyway to contact him alone) and told her her husband adopted me in the 80’s but we dont have contact can she please tell him I am doing well and wish him well.It was my way of saying I am healing and I forgive you.But what I got was a letter back saying I had a lot of nerve contacting him after my lies that he molested me and he is bothered that I would even try after all I did.I am so upset I dont even know what to do.i feel like a victim all over again.

  65. “To those who abuse: the sin is yours, the crime is yours, and the shame is yours. To those who protect the perpertrators: blaming the victims only masks the evil within, making you as guilty as those who abuse. Stand up for the innocent or go down with the rest.”
    ? Flora Jessop

    Love this quote. Its so true!!!

  66. Christina,

    You are awesome. Keep up the good work. I have the same thing with my parents. No sexual abuse but severe physical/emotional. I distanced myself from them when I was 15 while I was still living in that house/Hell. Still fighting my battle. Still angry and still seeking constant validation against their constant invalidation. Keep validating yourself and keep sharing your inspiring story.

    Love and hugs,
    B

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