Hello Still Alive,
Welcome to nomsv. This is a place where you are not alone with what you went through. That is its strength, because so often we feel like we are so different from other people that we don't deserve to live a normal life. Added to that is the lack of trust for anyone. How can we trust another when, as in your experience and with mine, our own parent betrayed us by abusing us. Here I have found relief for the horrible aloneness that I have felt, a certain amount of trust for exploring myself and sharing it with others who are not going to judge me as weird, and found information about how sexual abuse has effected others and how they have dealt with the symptoms.
Healing is a gradual process for most. It takes a lot of time and processing our memories, recognizing our symptoms for what they are, learning that we don't have to let the symptoms rule our lives, and that our happiness starts with accepting our damaged selves. Sometimes we can do the work of forgiveness and thereby relieve our selves of the denseness of the anger we carry. Other times we can learn to set appropriate boundaries to protect ourselves from the source of our abuse and then build healthy boundaries in our everyday lives, without which we are continually struggling with others on the basis of our own inner confusion about sex, friendship, trust, or not knowing what we really want or need for ourselves.
You wrote about your mother abusing you because of what her father had done to her. That must have been my situation. My mother had been raped by her father, and she abused me when I was very young. I don't have many memories of it but after it stopped, she continued the abuse emotionally for the rest of my childhood with few boundaries and without much nurturing. The return of these memories after 50 years has been very upsetting and has taken much time to process. I am trying to learn to live with it and be thankful that I can identify the source of my symptoms instead of just living out my symptoms as though they are who I am. It was a great relief to discover that my sexual identity confusion, my low self esteem, my recurring depression, my lack of good boundaries, my difficulty having sex, my physical sensations of discomfort, my distrust of everyone, …oh, the list goes on….. all of these are not who I am….they are the result of a real trauma that happened to me which was not my fault. That discovery was such an important step in healing and allowing me to understand who I wasn't and gave me the clues to begin discovering who I am or could be once I had begun to loosen the grip these symptoms had on my life.
You talk about growing up to then face the family trait of revenge and that you don't want to act out on others or to hurt anyone. That is so important. When I am feeling so low with no awareness of self-worth, I remember that I have stopped the family tradition of abuse in this generation and that it will not continue for my kids or anyone else. I am most proud of that and know that my ability to stop it will save countless unknown family members yet to follow through many generations. Just know that the work you do on yourself frees you to be more of who you were meant to be – and that person cares about yourself and others in ways that you did not experience as a child. You are freeing yourself to pass on the best of who you are.
Again, welcome to this place where who you are is normal. You are among friends.
"..this place isn't a discussion forum..it's a portal..." Lupin
"The truth will set you free, but first it will probably piss you off." dwf's AA sponsor.