Hi, AC -
I went to therapy ostensibly to deal with grief issues with the sudden death of my father a few years back. My therapist was wonderful - he had me do all the work, guiding me with questions. His questions were tough - he was experienced enough to see when I was bullshitting him, when I was avoiding a topic. It was in one of the early sessions - a session in which I very reluctantly told him about my sexual experiences at the hands of an older neighborhood boy - that he essentially held up a mirror to me, reflecting back what I said. He just looked at me when I was finished talking - looked right into my eyes - and broke the silence by quietly saying, "So you were molested." Those exact words. I'll never forget it - it hit me like a thunderbolt, belying the casual matter-of-fact delivery of his pronouncement.
I didn't expect the tears to well up and overpower me right now as I write this - I guess it's still very powerful stuff...
My first response was something like, "Didn't you hear anything I just said?" Until then, it was MY fault. My fault an older boy kept having sex with me - my fault I couldn't save my little sister from him - my fault because I responded to his touch, because I didn't say "NO!" loudly enough or forcefully enough or physically enough. I was just a dirty little kid with dirty little secrets and my therapist was the first one I ever shared them with.
Grief issues? Let's talk about regret. Let's talk about a boy who was so ashamed of himself he couldn't face his father (no CSA issues with him). Let's talk about a boy who loved his father so much but didn't want his father to know him. The last words my father said to me - on what would be his last day alive - before being wheeled into a disaster of a surgery, were, "I don't know you as well I would have liked - but I know you love me." So I was left with that - all because my neighbor liked to party in my butt and I took all the shame for BOTH of us - perp and victim. I wonder if our molester feels shame now. For him it was all fun and we paid so dearly for that. He stole my relationship with my father, and ultimately my relationship with myself.
AC, I know the dynamics of your situation are different and I feel guilty for expounding on my own. But you did ask us to share - and I hope my response falls in line with the spirit of the thread. My journey has a bit of a twist that may or may not be anything you can relate to. But we both have regrets over the relationships we had with our fathers. Grief therapy? Indeed.
I remember telling my therapist - in fighting words - I wasn't just another victim and that I wasn't going to end up on Oprah spilling my guts. But I was a victim. It took a while - and a lot of work for that to sink in. I have since opened a dialog about the whole thing with my sister, who had similar issues dealing with it.
AC, I don't know where it goes. I don't know if there is such a thing as recovery. But I see a lot of people who look for adventure and pay dearly for it - safaris, zip-lining through the jungle, mountain climbing, exploring caves (spelunking). We are having an adventure though our own souls - our own past. Once I took that attitude, I was a little better prepared for the ride. It got rough (and still does), but I'm so much better for it. Maybe there is no recovery. Maybe there is only discovery. But if that's all there is, I'm there.
Click my pic to see why I'm here.