Hey guys, here is my story. I welcome feedback from you by private message or e-mail. According to the rules of this forum, we're not supposed to reply on the forum itself, but I would be grateful to know your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks.
By Steve Imparl
Like the rest of you, I, too, am a survivor of sexual child abuse that was perpetrated by people outside my family when I was ages 1-11. It is important now to share the story of my abuse in a safe place.
The pain from that experience has been devastating in my life. Every so often, I get a glimpse of just how devastating it has been. Severe anxiety, depression that has been nearly disabling on many occasions, panic attacks, dissociation, depersonalization, and reactions of shock to certain music have plagued me regularly since my early 20s. Memories of the abuse hit me very hard when I was probably most vulnerable and destroyed my relationship with the woman with whom I was most deeply in love and to whom I was very close to proposing marriage.
When I add to those things, the tens of thousands of dollars I have spent on my recovery through 17 years of therapy, more than 10 years of psychiatric care, and the lost productivity, income, and opportunities, I see that the economic costs have been huge, too. I guess this is pretty much the same for everyone here, so I think you’ll relate to what I am saying.
Despite all of this, I refuse to consider myself as a victim. I won't give away my power that way. Nor will I hate anyone, even my abusers. I won't let the abuse continue to harm me by prompting me to hate others.
I often wonder what life would be like if I had not had those experiences. Sometimes, I still feel in denial, like it really did not happen. The memories and the surrounding circumstances are so crazy, it's like a f***ing dream!
Even as I write this short message, I feel like I am dissociating from the whole experience. What a mess. What an awful, goddamned mess! Still, this “mess” is part of my life, a part that has caused profound consequences. Let me begin to tell more of the specifics about how I have gotten to this place.
My sexual abuse went on from ages 1-11, perpetrated by people outside my family. The first perpetrator was a family physician (yeah, go figure!) and the second perpetrator was my sixth-grade teacher, my only male teacher in elementary school. There may have been other perpetrators, but I don’t remember any others.
My parents cared a lot for my brother and me; they loved us and continue to love us now that we are adults. Sadly, though, there was so much crap going on in the extended family and with my mom’s own illnesses, that any subtle signs of the abuse got overlooked. The chronic extended family chaos included my uncle’s numerous psychiatric illnesses. He’s my mom’s brother and has been disabled from psychiatric illnesses as far back as I can remember. I believe he suffers from schizophrenia. That was really scary stuff, too—lots of delusions, extreme paranoia, turning off all the electrical appliances in his home out of some irrational fear, violent behaviors, extended stays in state hospitals, and so forth.
My mom has had her own illnesses. They included an erratic and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, addiction to pre>