Hi guys! So, how was everyone else's Saturday?
As the saying goes - "NAILED IT!!!"
Upon arrival my parents were obviously upset over the school shooting. I had prepped for this - told them there were babies born today, weddings, birthday parties, etc. Life had to go on for the sake of the living. And then I up and said I'd come under false pretenses - and we needed to talk. Quickly appended that I was fine and everything was fine, but we had to talk.
And I told them.
Started by saying something had used to not bother me, but it bothered me now, I'm dealing with it, and as part of that I had to tell them. I reminded them of how growing up they always said there was nothing I could do or say that would change how they saw me or loved me, that I was keeing that in my mind and so should they.
They nodded. Visibly bracing.
"When I was 8 years old I was sexually assaulted by a playground monitor / substitute teacher at my grade school, inside the school. It only happened once but it was ugly enough while it lasted. Now that obviously leads into "why I never told you" and "why I'm telling now," but I know first you might have questions. I've been practicing with my therapist for 3 weeks, I'm okay answering any questions you might want. Physically I can rule certain things in or out, if you want to know. So..."
And on it went. Disassociated visual external memories, not understanding for 4 years, not feeling anything about it, no damage, not wanting to be treated different, not wanting to dredge up all the pain and shock and shame that I saw from all of them when my sister's boyfriend was arrested for raping those boys, and not wanting to be categorized as bad-off as those boys, the tragic whispered stories of damaged goods and vampires. Always knowing I COULD go to them when actually upset, citing cases for each of them: bullies, girls, grades, a mugging. Then - a horrible 2012, unwithstandsble stresses and shocks, plummeting, re-associating and flashbacking, and treatment.
They took it better than I could ever, ever have hoped.
Mom, a doctor, knew all about disassociation. She looked sad but kept it together and did not cry.
Dad, for 35 years a dean in an inner city school, immediately knew what to say to the reporting child, the bruised and frightened child. He seriously did not even pause. "The most important thing is what you're doing right now. It's like a boil, you have to drain the pus out."
Mom: "I'm upset we weren't able to protect you. We never noticed anything different about you."
I told them how GOOD that made me feel - was really really worried they would have said "aha, you became such a weirdo at suchedy-such age, this is why, isn't it?"
Me: "Parents don't say 'do X and this will never happen.'. They can't prevent it. They say 'IF IT DOES HAPPEN, do X'."
Dad: "So what are your next steps? Where does this lead, treatment-wise?"
And I explained my 3 goals:
-Compartmentalizing the CSA so that it was something I lived past, not a daily burden
-Restoring a state where I could sleep without pills
-And most important - making sure my good close relationship with my parents didn't change, that I could relax around them and not feel like I was keeping a secret for all the decades we hopefully would still have together.
Dad said "Let's test that out," and told some more of his same lame jokes. And we all laughed. And I ad-libbed along and we laughed too.
Then I got long, very strong hugs from both of them, how proud they were of me and how "you didn't turn out so bad" [while grinning] Which was nice
Oh yeah - the perp. They asked and I told them all of his tracked down details. My folks started out almost bemused, but when I got to the part where he's still alive, my dad got real angry. Scary angry, murder angry. I swore them both to not do anything, because now the letter of the law is on his side and not ours and it's not worth any risk.
They didn't ask a single question about the incident itself, though I said I'd answer. I described it as "sexual assault", an "attack," and the guy as a "child rapist." They didn't want any more.
We all hugged, we talked, there were casual jokes..... they were totally accepting, encouraging, emotionally stable, and normal. I told them there was no need for anyone else to know, but if they needed parent coping help they had my permission to tell the parents of my former friend, the one my sister's boyfriend raped and everybody knows. They flatly refused - so I said "Ok, that makes it nobody then." Implicitly, including my sister. They agreed.
And.... then we talked about normal stuff. My mom and wife went makeup shopping; wife texted me to say how well I'd dine and how proud she was of me. Dad took me to a bookstore. Slight touchy moment: I had to say I was so distracted and overwhelmed that I couldn't drive, no biggie, Dad drove.
With he and I alone, I said: "Please don't be offended by me asking when I think I know the answer, but - man to man, knowing a bunch of that stuff got done to me, do you see me any differently as a man?"
Zero hesitation: "No, not in the least. Things like this have no effect on that. And you can ask me any question you want that helps you feel better, anything you need asked."
Later, I pulled Mom aside and reminded her of that "innocent victim" comment from the food poisoning incident. She said she had seen me start to cry at that and had wondered. I told her about this place. Told her how many guys had praised her as a parent. Then it was her turn to cry.
I was.... delirious. Floating. Unreal. Couldn't believe it had happened, that I'd done it, that there had been no stuttering, no drama, no tears - that it really WAS as it had always been. That it wasn't a secret, that I had achieved my goal. That it was okay. That they hadn't cried or died inside, hadn't excessively blamed themselves. Were still proud of me. I was dazed and almost blissful the rest of the day. It felt that good. I told someone here via PM that if anything could convince me to believe in God, it would be the way I'd felt then. And I have kids already.
Later that night, with a few drinks in her, Mom got choked up and told me of a childhood friend who'd been raped. She said she couldn't believe she couldn't protect me, that she hadn't seen signs, and now she was so worried about her grandkids, especially the 9-year-old who might start sleepaway camp next year. I actually have something of a warning / defense / ironclad escape excuse strategy for that now and shared it with her. I'm fairly confident it would work. She is still scared but is taking the plan seriously.
I spoke to Dad again: "Mom is NOT to blame herself for this and neither are you!"
He blinked. "Blame herself for what?"
"This!! Go talk some sense into her please." He said he would.
We hugged goodnight again and left. I was so happy and relieved when I got home and got in bed I was actually hugging myself. So glad I did it and so glad it worked.
And if that all sounds too good to be true, I'm afraid it is, because it's nit the end. For the next ~18 hours my wife and I had such a destructive detonation that it at least briefly ruined the whole thing. It ENDED UP FINE, and the whole thing was undoubtedly worthwhile and hugely healing. I'll post more about what shit she pulled and what it did to me and how we got past it - a little later.