It used to be comforting. It used to help. It used to make me feel good and less crazy. See, I had all of these doubts about myself, my story, and its impact on my life. I actually thought I was or I was going crazy. Because at the end of the day, we’re expected to be functional in this world, this present world, despite our pasts and how they’ve shaped us. But for some, life’s experiences have a profound impact on a person’s ability to process and function in this current world. As a survivor, I know firsthand how truly difficult it is to “fit in” like everyone else. To “pretend” like everything is okay when it truly isn’t. But what else is there to do? ”I’m sorry you were abused… now get back to work.” That’s what it feels like, what it sounds like to the person just starting their journey.
So when people validated that my story is in fact pretty horrific, it made me feel less crazy but didn’t remove the need to continue to be functional in this world. At first my friend, then my therapist, then colleagues and friends. It felt good to tell my story. And validating. But I still felt a little crazy… something was a little off.
Then came The Meadows. I was the only person in a group of six who was sexually abused. Wait, what? We’re at a highly respected, sought after institution for all kinds of recovery and I was the ONLY ONE in my group of six who was sexually abused? Wow!
And then the tears came from my group members. They told me things like “I’ve never met anybody like you.” and “I’m so proud of you.”
I had experienced the freedom and joy from having my story validated, from having my life and response to my abuse affirmed. This time, it was sad. So very sad that my life’s journey had taken me to to the need for a place like The Meadows. It is very painful to know that I went through something so horrific. Sad. Just really sad.
Because now comes the acceptance that I don’t have a family the way I think others do. Every family has its own dysfunction, sure, but how do you seek advice, acceptance, and affirmation from a father who raped you? I’m not sure I can. I know I don’t want to.
And that’s just sad. Because if I’m being honest, I had wanted that, held on to that notion for so long, even well into therapy.
Now, I am starting to accept the truth. The truth that while he may not have intended to “hurt” me, he did. While he may have just been dealing with his own depression… he did so poorly, very poorly. The truth that I won’t have the kind of family I had always wanted.
Truth, my commitment to my recovery this year. And it’s revealing itself.
And it hurts.