So, I guess its time that I gave an effort to explaining what has been happening in my life of recent to prompt such joyous messages in the last couple days. Bear with me, for it will take quite a bit of a diatribe to explain everything that has occurred.
Where to start... I suppose I'm going to start out by saying that I have a great therapist. She is very understanding and was formerly an elementary school teacher and is very strongly familiar with how children act and react and understand and perceive the world.
She has explained to me that when we're in the therapy setting, we're not dealing with the 26-year-old Brian, we're dealing with the 6-year-old Brian... She's also very perceptive and notices, and calls me out, when I attempt to apply 26-year-old logic and reason to a 6 year old's mindset. It just doesn't work. I know this but it doesn't stop me from still doing so.
Now, to back up to a few weeks ago, I had a session with my therapist in which the EMDR technique was used. In this session, I had a fairly groundbreaking discovery. My therapist started out by asking me, "If you could sum up what happened to you in one memory, one single representation to sum up all 9 years." I took some time to think on this and finally settled on the phrase "Don't Tell Anyone". I could hear in my mind my abuser saying this quietly. I knew it was from the first time I was ever abused. So my therapist took this and ran with it.
She started asking me about what surrounded that phrase, I couldn't really put my finger on it at first but I soon came to realize I could see in my mind my abuser, standing up from his desk, and he said, "I'll show you [what sex is]"... This first time... We were spending time in my abuser's bedroom and he was working on homework and had mentioned something about "Sex"... I had no concept of what that meant, so like any curious 6-year-old, I started bouncing off the walls wanting to know what that word meant. He then went to the door of his bedroom, looked down the hallway, and then actually walked down the hallway and checked the various rooms and such that were in the basement... To ensure no one would see or hear what was about to occur. I could tell that it was about this point that I realized that this thing, "Sex", wasn't something that I should know... Which in turn made me more excited to learn what it was going to be.
I hadn't previously remembered just how cautious my abuser was being and it was a big breakthrough for me to explore that and see it in this memory for the first time since this detail had been long forgotten... He knew what he was doing at the time... I had really no concept and was being a curious 6 year old. My counselor went on to talk a bit about how 6 year olds are just generally curious, and generally trusting. This EMDR session let me really put away the thought that... Yes, okay, I wasn't responsible for the first time. I left the session saying, "I'm still not sure about the times after that, but, I know I can't hold myself responsible for that first time."... The realization has been a huge stepping stone for me. I have always been hard on myself for bringing the abuse on myself... Having felt responsible just for asking what sex is.
So, Let's fast forward a week now. I tell my therapist at the beginning of our session that I don't think it's a good idea for me to do EMDR that session because I have to function afterwards (EMDR has been extremely exhausting). She says that's fine and was busy flipping through some books trying to find some information. After a couple minutes, she says "I think we should talk about how little kids behave anyways, so this is good."
Now in hindsight, it really was good. First of all my therapist showed me a few different texts from various books in an attempt to reassure me that my inquisitive nature was simply natural in progression with my childhood development at the time. The next thing she pulled out was something that may have changed my life. It was a table found within some sort of Clinicians book. The table was titled, "Normal Sexual Development". It had various age ranges and below each age range displayed what was within the realm of "Normal Sexual Development". I read over this sheet, and as the age ranges became higher, I could think back in my own life and see how I had deviated from this normal sexual behaviour as the years went on. In the early ages, up until 5 years, all was the norm according to my memory. However by age 8 I was doing things that were listed under the 13-15 years category. Thinking about those higher age brackets, I couldn't identify with anything on that chart under that section, because it had all occurred when I was so young... By the time I had gotten to this age, I could think back and realize I was nothing more than a sexual drone programmed by my abuser. I could see that there was definitely something "missing" or "severely wrong" with my development. It's funny, it has never occurred to me to look up and read up on normal sexual development. It's only ever occurred to me to study my own abnormalities. It really highlighted the contrast there is between my sexual development and that of what is called "normal".
Another point my therapist was trying to hit home with me was how children react to every day regular situations. She asked me a few questions like how long it had been since I spent any amount of time with children. I said that it had been probably a decade. She was trying to convey the fact that children that age are just generally very trusting, and it doesn't take much to gain their trust because really, their world is about "play with me". That's all it takes. I was still trying to resolve why I would 'decide' to remain in the room with my abuser, and I was trying to resolve why I 'decided' to continue going back to the abuser knowing it made me feel guilty. She explained to me that my abuser could've said "2-by-4's" that day, and I'd have had the same curiosity for it was something I didn't know.
My therapist finally told me to STOP thinking of these things as decisions! They aren't decisions based on calculated risks and benefits and drawbacks. 6 year olds have enough on their mind trying to spell their names and learn what letters and numbers are. The 6-year-old brain is all about simplicity. She asked how I could expect someone who doesn't know how to spell their name to make an informed decision about their future and calculate the ramifications of that... The answer is, I can't expect that!
I understood it, but couldn't still quite convince myself that I just wasn't responsible for this. The idea is just too new... Too different to really be convinced. My therapist asked me if I thought it was right that I have been beating up my inner child all this time for these 'decisions' which weren't decisions at all, they were just a child acting as a child. She asked, "Don't you think you've punished yourself enough?"
It was disturbing to say the least to picture myself 'beating up' my 6-year-old for 20 years. But she was right. I do exactly that, constantly. I am always hard on myself and still relapse often into self-blame mode. All at the expense of that little 6 year old inside.
2 days after that session, I'm reading the MS.org forums, and I come across a post by Bryan (BJK). I'm going to quote that post here so I hope you don't mind Bryan!
I was deathly afraid of taking this 5-year old's hand to cross this parking lot, so I put it down by my side towards her just slightly in her direction so she could grab it if she wanted to. I felt a tentative child's hand in mine. It was cold and shaking. I looked down at her, and she looked up at me with the most frightened eyes I had ever seen at the time. I gave her a tentative smile, and her eyes got bright. Her grip on my hand tightened, her shaking stopped, and she smiled wide.
This was exactly what I needed to hear. I stumbled upon the thread blindly and couldn't believe what I was reading. A very perfectly detailed de>