Both my parents were abusive. My mother is an alcoholic. My wife claims she heard stories that my father's family knew "he should never get married" when he was young. I'm not going to drag out old tales of beatings, terror, and neglect.
When I was 16 and my parents were divorced, one of my mother's coworkers raped me. I don't know how many "incidents" there were. I recently learned that it went on longer than I had believed. I've written elsewhere about some specifics, so I'm not going to pull that crap up again.
In August of 2002, I told my wife about that man. She had heard several stories about the life at home. I always dismissed them and wouldn't consider that the past, even the parts of the past she did know, could have any effect on me now.
Later that month, I found this site. I didn't come by regularly until the winter. I followed links to Jim Hopper's site, where I found David Lisak's content analysis of interviews. I found myself in too many of those quotes.
In February, 2003, I registered here and in March I started posting. By this time I was seeing a psychologist about the perp from my teen years. She was the same counselor my wife and I were seeing for couples' therapy.
I made friends here. I met some of the greatest people in the world through this site. Some I've seen in person, some I never will. But I've met people of great courage, compassion, and character here. You have given me much and I do thank each of you for that.
After a while I thought I needed to see someone separate from the psychologist, someone that my wife wasn't seeing. I can't explain that any better. I made some calls locally, went to intake interviews at two rape crisis centers, and eventually began seeing a therapist at the center only 3 miles from my house.
Therapy is hard work. I don't know if I could have done this a few years ago. I don't even know how I did do it yesterday. I'm learning new ways to think about my life, the people in it, and the roles that they have had. I apply my own criteria now to past events, asking, "Would I do that to a child? Would I allow someone to do that to a child?" I'm not quite at the point where I can identify with the child that did live through my past, but at least I'm beginning to recognize abuse for what it is.
I have a wonderful family. We went to a restaurant tonight to celebrate our oldest son's report card and we all had a great time. Playing "Hangman" with my daughter, laughing with the boys over farts ("a low rumble spread through the house like a tide rushing in...."), joking with my wife about the kids' summer schedule or the lyrics of a song on the radio.
It's dark outside as I type this. Dark is not good these days, or as I said somewhere else, bed time is a bad time for flashbacks and fear. But they're not going to win. The dysfunctions and fears and lies and pains are all going to fall. I have learned enough from my wife, from therapy, from people here, from God, that I can not believe this evil will rule my life.
There's a chunk of my Survivor Story. No gory details about the abuse this time. These, the present and the hopeful future, they are as much part of my Story as any horror from home. They are the part I am writing now, and they will be different from what went before.
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse