We all have the same sort of story, so I'll be brief. I had only one memory of abuse and that was a recurring memory of my father commiting oral sex on me as an infant. I could make no sense of this memory and all of my life simply brushed it away as a a type of inexplicable ugliness.
But my life was all wrong. Nothing I did really worked out and I tried very hard, always to make things work. I knew something was wrong and believed that the problem lay in the world, not me. I got into radical politics in a major way. Change the world (well, there are things wrong with the world...one of which is that CSA happens).
At age 46, my marriage failing, my life deadened, and a lifetime of failed potential behind me ... my best friend gave me a book by a psychiatrist, Russell Meares. In it I read a sentence that just jumped off the page. That: "survivors of very early age sex abuse often have one crystal clear memory which they cannot explain". Bang.
Everything started to fall into place: my fear of my father (whom I had avoided for most of my life); my mother's peculiar behaviour; my unfulfilled professional endeavours; my failed relationships; my fear of intimacy; my overprotective anxiety about my children; unrecognised disassociative episodes; my years of martial arts training; my deep sense of difference from and fear of men; my commitment to Buddhism; half a lifetime of sexual profligacy and conquistadorial attitudes coupled with drug use and a profound need to be off alone in the wilderness, where I am safe. All of this I did before realising the significance of the memory.
If I had not had that one clear memory I would never have accepted that I am a victim of CSA. For a long time the hardest part was believing it. But the memory came before the therapy and my life story filled in the gaps.
After years of therapy I confronted both of my parents by telephone. My father, unable to listen to me, did not deny and did not acknowledge the abuse. He simply put the handpiece down and walked away while I continued talking. Like Musashi the samurai confronting his arch enemy, I watched him throw away his scabbard because he knew he was about to die and would not be resheathing his sword. My mother said: "No, your father never did anything like that, he couldn't have because I never left you alone with him".
I did EMDR. Back through the layers of memory to the pre-linguistic and pre-cognitive memory where the trauma lived. That set the cat out of the bag. Two years of literally 'unspeakable' physical sensations. The abuse, the threats to kill if I told, his pathological anger. I am convinced my father is a killer, but cannot prove it. Years of Buddhist meditation training helped me go there. The love of a remarkable woman helped me to come back. I became abusive towards her and lost her. Tragically, but understandably, she doesn't like who I am anymore.
The only fitting image I can find in popular culture to describe the experience of going that far back in human memory is Gandalf the Grey falling into the pit with the ancient demon of the Earth and emerging as Gandalf the White. I am very proud to have trusted my T (a man) enough to allow myself to go that far back.
I am very sad that I have lost the woman who loved me through this.
I am safe now and trying to make a life. There are people who love and respect me as I do them. Especially my shining children. That is a good enough platform on which to build. I have a preference these days for people with strong spiritual practises. I don't care what sort, just so long as they actually are engaged with upright and straight moral and ethical ways of being.
Thanks for reading.
For life and love.