Strangers with Familiar Faces

Sometimes I think of things to write about on here and then I don’t, I think I don’t want to sound as though I am depressed or only write dark kind of posts. I am not after pity, mostly support, and sharing my journey. I think sometimes I lose track of that. I post here to help me, but also to help those that might come across my words with the same issues. I know, realising  I am not alone and that one person understands means more to me than any form of sympathy.

So I think I lost sight of what I started this for and so have not posted many thoughts.

A few weeks ago, when the weather was great I had a barbeque at my house, it didn’t actually start that way, but it’s what it turned into. In many ways I am glad, what started to be something for one of my children became a day where lots of things happened for me.BBQ

For starters, I ate barbequed food. That’s huge for me. I love food cooked on a barbeque, but my OCD had stolen that from me and really it had been a good ten years since I have dared to enjoy food like that. I ate crisps with my hands (potato chips to my American readers).

I had people in my house and I didn’t watch what they touched, didn’t freak out internally every time someone wanted to use my bathroom. I didn’t freak out later that many people had used it and now I had to clean it.

I didn’t panic at my children eating food with their fingers. I didn’t panic when the children and friends took their empty plates and things into the kitchen or when someone other than me opened bread rolls or salad.

Maybe these are little things, but to me, these are things that would have sent me on some odd kind of anxiety day until I couldn’t breathe.

Perhaps though, the most important realisation was my father. I hadn’t seen him for the best part of a year, my choice really. He came with my brother and they sat away from everyone else. I talked to them and I was pleasant enough, but really, I didn’t fit there anymore. I didn’t want to. I realised that I didn’t belong with them. They were just strangers with familiar faces.

When he asked me how I was doing with my schooling I wasn’t afraid to tell him, maybe it was because there were a lot of people around and I knew that he wouldn’t belittle me then or maybe it was just because I’m happy and I wasn’t letting him spoil it.

Afterwards when he left and I saw him out, we stood around the front of my house and for the first time I looked at him, really looked at him. I thought to myself, I know what you did to me. That kind of thing has never crossed my mind before, I don’t know where it came from, but maybe that in itself was another achievement for me that day.

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Little boy little boy,
Curled in a ball.
I know your secrets,
I know them all

I write in my journal as much as I can. I talk to Mr. Ted. He is my only friend. He understands when the bad man comes. He holds my hand when I have nightmares and my mummy doesn’t hear me cry. Mr. Ted doesn’t tell. He won’t say when my daddy hurts me. He keeps my secrets and my stories. I love Mr. Ted. He is the only one who loves me back.

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I’d rather break my leg

Sometimes I wish that I was missing a limb rather than suffering with various mental illnesses. At least if I had no legs or no arms, or something that disabled my physically, people would see it and understand my difficulties, but mental illness is much worse. Even to myself when I try to snap myself out of it and understand that it is just my mind. It doesn’t matter though, no amount of pep talks seem to work.

Yesterday my OCD was at a high point, I am not even sure why, something usually triggers it. I think perhaps if anything it was the fear of something going wrong and the only way to cope was for my OCD to come out.

I’d been about to cook dinner as I do every day, but something felt wrong with it. Perhaps it was that I was making something that wasn’t planned, I don’t really know, but that feeling inside that tells me something is wrong with the food wouldn’t go away. I cooked it though, cooked it for longer than it needed. But as I tried to eat it, I found myself analysing every mouthful. In the end I decided I couldn’t eat it, that bad feeling was too much for me and there had to be something wrong with the food. I gave my excuses and said I wasn’t hungry today and then put it in the trash.

I dislike the days like this, when I can’t do something just because, even though I could do it yesterday.

Innocence

For many years of my life I thought that what my father was doing to me, could not be classed as abuse. I was very confused by it. I really did think that I was bad or that there was something wrong with me. Abuse has and probably always is portrayed with a crying child being forced into something they don’t want and having no choices.

I would see these when I was younger and think, I am not like them, yet what I was going through was not really the same. Yes there were adults doing things with me that I knew were wrong. I was partaking in sexual activity with adults, and society told me that this was wrong. It was abuse. lady-and-the-butterfly

However, what would make me quiet was my part in it. My choices to go to my father and the fact that received pleasure from what he was doing. In short, I liked the abuse.

I couldn’t deny it, not even to myself. For so many years this rolled around my head, I must be bad because I liked what he was doing.  It wasn’t until perhaps two years ago when I had talked to someone, and she simply said, congratulations, your body works like it is meant to.

I remember the moment reading those words. I was shaking and I could hardly breathe, was it really true that my enjoyment didn’t mean I was like my father? That there was something wrong with me and I was as sick as them all?

The relief inside was so tremendous, because it had been part of my biggest battle.

Today however, I see someone that appears to be an advocate to stop child abuse and child trafficking, post a comment, that any child who enjoys sexual abuse has been turned away from God and become the antichrist. Whilst I am not religious, this kind of comment a couple of years ago would have been so devastating to me and I am sure others like me.

So today I felt like I should write this post and hope that maybe anyone who was where I was a few years ago, will realise, no matter what they enjoyed, they were not bad.

Facebook Messages

On my Facebook I have liked several pages that look or talk about mental illness and different things in child abuse. Often these pages have many inspirational quotes or things that are really food for thought.

I saw a couple of them today, they both kind of link in and probably caught my attention because of personal matters. One of them states that abuse survivors suffer many losses and it isn’t until the healing journey begins do we see these losses. This I find myself to be very true, once I opened the box to the hidden pain I’ve carried for such a long time, I also got to see what I have lost and as many times I have seen there has to be a period of mourning.

The repercussions of childhood abuse seem to be never ending. First there is the loss of innocence, something that is so freely given, yet for people like myself it was taken so young I don’t remember having it. We lose our families and parents. Not in the physical sense of the word, but what they are supposed to be we never experience. I do not know what it feels like to have my mothers arms around me, or to see my father smile proudly at something I have done. My family was stolen from me and I became just someone that lived in the house with these people. I do not know what it feels like to lie safely in my own bed or to share the excitement of a family gathering. My birthdays and other members of my families were nothing but pain filled dates for me to dread with that burning inside my stomach as I would wonder what cruelty I would suffer this year. Such simple things, the list is endless, but I lost them, not that I ever had them to begin with.

The post also mentioned the loss of friends, friends who do not understand and yes I have had my fair share of that, often the loss of a friend just reinforces the messages from parents, that I am not good enough. I was never good enough to be loved as someone’s son and my parents were right, if my parents couldn’t love me, how can anyone else? With the loss of friends along the way, it seems that whatever my parents saw that made them treat me that way, other people see too. But it isn’t just that, there is the loss of the friend who doesn’t understand, or can’t listen.

Which brings me to the other post I had read a couple of days ago that said, as survivors we should limit what we tell to our friends, they can only take so much and whilst we ask for understanding with whatever repercussions we face, we must do the same.

I see the point of it, I understand that not everyone can take hearing these terrible stories, it makes me ask which is fair? Is it fair for the survivor to have to be quiet and continue the silence endured a life time already, or should the friend just listen and deal with whatever they are being told even though they have not had the same years of conditioning so it’s all very hard for them.

I know I hear often a true friend listens etc, and whilst that is also true, I realise that it is another loss. Child abuse doesn’t just steal from the past, it takes from the future too. My health, my friends and simple things that just hurt too much.