Hey, CF -
the first time istarted to read this ... i just couldn't do it. i guess i was anticipating a trigger and had to get prepared for it. now i've read it a coupel of times and want to tell you that i know what you mean. i had verbal, physical and sexual abuse as well - and it is a confusing and complicated mess to try to sort out.
I've realized something huge. Up until now I thought of CSA as my number one issue, like if I fixed it, I'd be healed. But I was missing a whole part that I've not talked much about. My brother and the physical and emotion abuse he caused me growing up. You see, he's number two. And I think I can lump my brother and my cousin both into similar categories, since a lot of CSA Survivors also endure violence and emotional attacks. I always wondered why I can relate so well to people who tell me about being beaten and raped by someone older than them, and I think that's because if I combine the rape from my cousin and the terror my older brother caused me, together they form an almost identical psychological response. I know the feeling of terror, but I never gave it much value because I thought my problems stemmed solely from my cousin and CSA. But my brother terrorized me growing up. And I'm just realizing the impact he had on me growing up when combined to the fact that my cousin was raping me. I experienced sexual, physical, and emotional abuse growing up as a child, with NOBODY to protect me, in fact I relied on my abuser to protect me.
this is a big realization for you and i can see why you didn't at first connect them. for me, all types of abuse came from the same source - the step-father - but it still took me a long time to figure it out. (there were other perps later, but that is another part of the story.) that's why it was so mixed up in my mind and feelings - the different kinds of abuse kept spilling over into other categores so that i couldn't tell one from the other. the verbal taunts sometimes turned sexual and the physical punishments had that same edge to them sometimes. it took me a long time to admit that - i had been abused - i guess i thought that it meant something bad about me - and then even longer to recognize that all 3 kinds of abuse had been present.
You see, it wasn't my CSA that caused my night terrors and sleepless nights. The EXTREME and uttermost fear I've ever felt in my life, it was my brother. I'd have nightmares, so fucking real, I couldn't distinguish them from reality, and the fear I felt was the greatest fear of my life.
I felt powerless. And this was in my own home, and nobody did anything to protect things like this from happening.
i too had night terrors - and can still remember the helplessness and total panic that they brought on. what made it worse was that the one responsible for the terror was the same one trying to get me to come back to reality. and it was like - what is the difference? i remember one time i was almost out of the "dream" state - and deliberately choosing to escape back into that unreality because the objective waking reality seemed even worse to me. NO kid should ever have to endure that. my heart goes out to you because though the details are different, the results are the same.
My brother played a huge role in the damages in my psyche, but he also played a huge role into the beginning of my CSA. He is as much a part of my CSA as my own abuser.
i believe that. i can tell no difference between the fear and damaged self-esteem and self-loathing and insecurity and anger and whatever other effects were produced by one type of abuse or another.
Looking back, I made myself, I had nobody. I fucking MADE myself. I was forsaken by even god himself, so I built myself from ground up. I raised myself alone, only learning from other's mistakes. (At least it FEELS that way)
i have felt that way too, in the not so distant past. i think it is a step in your recovery that you are giving yourself some credit for surviving and overcoming some of the overwhelming odds that were against you. you are a survivor and deserve to take some satisfaction from that.