Brian and abcd,
Wow, you guys rock!
Those are powerful words, and I hope that they help some people to heal themselves.
I can definitely identify with the need (well, maybe "calling" is better) to help other people. I come from a family whose jobs are improving other people (Dad: teacher, Mom: teacher, then paralegal, Uncle: minister, Aunt: social worker), and helping others just feels right.
It is odd that I found myself in a job dealing with abused kids, because when I got into this work, I hadn't had any memories of abuse. Until about 9 months ago, I worked with probation AND social service teens. I was getting burned out doing that, so I moved to working with 4-12 year olds, and they're ALL social service kids (physical, emotional, sexual abuses, or neglect).
But before I made that move, I was convinced that I needed to get away from the population of abused kids, and work with "normal" kids; I planned to become a grade school teacher.
Now that I've found my fit with the new job, and recovered my memories, I'm convinced that I want to STAY in the field, working with abused kids, and somehow share my knowledge, and help the healing of others, so that they don't have to go down the paths that most people here had to. Isn't that how species evolve? They learn from the mistakes from the past, and move on to a future. If humans didn't have to waste so much time re-inventing the wheel, we could spend our time blazing new territory.
The agency philosophy for my work talks about "ending the cycle of abuse" by helping our kids to break out of the patterns of behavior (acting out, taking responsibility of actions, etc) that they are used to exhibiting, and help them grow to be full-functioning human beings. We provide a safe environment, and teach them as best we can right from wrong, how to play nice with others, and hopefully to trust adults again. I really love my work, and these kids' lives would break my heart, if I didn't see them growing and changing even in the short 3 months that we have them; I see hope for their futures (as long as the place they go to is as nurturing and consistent as our place).
The fact that my memories waited 24 years to show themselves means that I've had time to grow mostly into the person I wish I was. I've stumbled a few times along the way, but one of those stumbles woke me up to becoming who I wish I was: a man of integrity. That part is intact, mostly. But integrity also means "being whole," and admitting my abuse to my friends also included admitting my doubts about my sexuality, which was only compounded, due to a desire to crossdress since a young age. So, yeah, there are some new challenges involved.
I don't really know why, but I get so much more hopeful as I write on this board, compared to the fears that I share with my best friend.
But that hope also leads me to wanting to work as an advocate in the world at large for victims of abuse. I'm still working out what exactly I want to do, but I want to be a part of "the good fight." This is kind of simplistic (coming out of my recent experience at the San Diego Comic Convention), but I want to be a hero. Not a superhero, but one of the ordinary people in this world that decides that some things are worth fighting for, and fights them. Anyone see "Three Kings?" One of the best lines in that movie:"The way this works is, you do the thing you're scared shitless of and you get the courage after you do it. Not before you do it." "That's a dumb ass way to work. It should be the other way around." "I know. That's the way it works."
I've worked with abused kids for just over 4 years now. The earlier we can get them out of the situation, the better shot they have at a normal life. But far better than removing the kids from an abusive environment, is for there NOT to be one in the first place. That's not realistic, but until our society takes these atrocities seriously, and we decide, as a culture, that incest and abuse are not simply taboo, but something we will DO SOMETHING about, things will remain the same.
I feel something like a hypocrite talking about breaking the silence, when only 4 friends, and therapists (and you guys) know the situation, but I hope that will change in time. I want to be one of the people that will help affect that change.
[ 07-29-2001: Message edited by: Just Call me J ]
[ 08-01-2001: Message edited by: Just Call me J ]
We're in this together. - Nine Inch Nails