It has been a very eventful week, it's not over yet, and the biggest part of all is still to come. Monday was a huge step forward for me and I have been happy and glowing inside ever since - or at least I would have been except that Tuesday was a horrible psychic attack of a day with some of my very worst triggers. Part of how I'm trying to get back on my feet fromTuesday is to talk about Monday.
I disclosed my abuse to my online friends on Monday. And they handled it so beautifully, I felt better than I ever really thought I could after all this shit came back to life in October.
I'd been just itching to tell someone - someone who I'd known from my normal everyday life, who I could tell and explain it to on my own terms. Not my T and psychiatrist who get paid for it. No offense to you guys here, you are wonderful and I only hope I someday can help another survivor as much as you've helped me, but - you already know, you knew the second I joined, and none of you have any separate concept or history with me as a person. And not my wife - who I was hiding it from due to how badly we'd already been hit by Hurricane Sandy, and who found my pills and then I had no choice but to tell, when I wasn't ready and made a mash of it and felt dirty and miserable doing it.
No, I wanted to tell people who knew me, on my terms. I was inspired by KMCVA's story about how his Facebook community was so supportive of him. So...
Ever since college about 50 of my best friends at the time have kept up an email list. We didnt all go to the same school - rather, we all met through collecting model kits and action figures, chatting online, meeting up to go shopping and swapping together, and going to annual collector conventions. For about 18 years we'd talk all the time and every year we'd spend one week together all of us at the convention. We also have an IRC channel but that's not conducive for serious stuff. The email list is where folks talk about really happy stuff: promotions, engagements, kids, etc., or just finding the best pieces for our collections. And also bad stuff: depression, watching your true love marry the "wrong" person, health scares, etc. Several "came out" on the list, on IRC, or at the convention. We all covered 9/11 in "realtime" and no one went to sleep tgat night until the last person from that area had called in. In 2003 one of our then-oldest members (33) got colon cancer - he kept updating us on his progress, we were all rooting for him, and when he died we were very distraught and kept emailing him to say goodbye; as it happens his younger sister had taken over his account, she thanked all of us for comforting him and they read all our messages at the funeral. Under our real names, not the screen names like DuoMaxwell23 or K0br4K0mm4nder. There have been 4 weddings among list members, and more hookups here and there. We go to each others weddings, to baby namings. Again, about 50 people, age range now is about 35-45.
And on Monday I told them.
I gave a bit of a preamble reminding everybody of how much it meant to me that we'd all been able to discuss pretty much anything over the years good and bad, and that I just had to get this off my chest. And I told them. Started: "About two weeks ago I successfully tracked down the man who sexually assaulted me when I was 8 years old."
I used the story of finding the perp as the focal point - because it is kinda dramatic. In the spirit of how I've practiced with my T to tell my parents, I de-drama'ed the story as much as possible, no physical details and trying to be very clinical about my emotional state and the factors that had forced me to confront the truth now. That I was getting help. That I hoped I hadn't shocked them and they wouldn't see me any differently.
I got about 40 responses each more accepting and heartwarming than the last. Folks said they couldn't believe my bravery in dealing with this at all, let alone calling up the perp. That they were proud of me that I'd still managed to build the life and family for myself that they'd watched and shared in the building of throughout 18 years. That the whole recovery process as I described seemed perfectly healthy and understandable. Three of the girls said some variation of how they felt proud or honored that I trusted them enough to share the story. Several of the guys offered me hugs - written out like "*hug*" - and these are guys I've known since we were teenagers, every year at the convention we go to strip clubs together. Unbelievable. Or how about this: "I can't say I understand everything you're going through, but if you want a good listener and no judging, you can talk to me anytime." One guy (an oft-drunk rowdy fratboy type, the "That Guy" at many a party) offered to assist in any revenge I'd planned.
And... yes. You're all wondering, just like I wondered, and the answer is yes.
Yes, there was someone else on the list who was dealing with this too.
Someone I'd known for 18 years, a very suave and self-possessed guy who does I.T. His response to me, totally empathetic, was a mini-essay and there were some concepts and notes I recognized. I emailed him *privately* and, after thanking him, gently said that some of his concepts were very familiar: that if he really had been abused himself too then I was sorry for whatever he'd had to deal with but it meant so much to me to hear it from someone I'd previously known from a normal, real-life context, where I could see he'd made a success of himself - and if he hadn't been abused, then he must just be much more perceptive / empathic than the average person.
His response: "You are right on both counts. Since you trusted me with your story someday I will share mine with you, but now it seems inappropriate at the moment since you so recently revealed and we shouldn't change the subject away from your own healing."
It was so emotionally intimate - I felt like we'd proposed to each other, lol.
I was glowing inside afterwards and still am; I reread every single reply every few hours, like I still can't believe I'm seeing it, that I did it. These people were at ny wedding and I was at theirs, when applicable. We will be friends forever and I know I was right to trust them.
Tuesday was a terrible day, full of public extreme humiliation and my heaviest triggering and worst setbacks since I started trying to deal with all this shit. I can't believe I got out of bed this morning. I wrote the "Monday" story so I could cling to it as much as the email replies themselves. I'll have to write the Tuesday story later just to get it out.
Edited by SoccerStar (12/12/12 09:47 AM)
"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny