Kel (joyfulkel) wrote in _survivors_,
Kel
joyfulkel
_survivors_

new to the group

Hi, im kelly, and im new here. I am a survivor of both childhood sexual abuse, and rape as a teen. I was mostly doing ok with things, after having been in some really good therapy earlier...but the last six months of my life have been really beyond stressful, and i find that when i'm under stress things i thought i had conquered seem to come back to haunt me, and i could use some support. I've x-posted from a recent lj entry to give you some background on me.

The other day at my feminist group I began filling people in about my life the last few months, and, as I usually do, I started out being funny, trying to make my life sound like some bizzaro-i love Lucy episode...except once I was done and I started thinking about how awful it all was, I started to cry. It’s a good thing. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t really had time to *feel* much of anything. Life has been so hard lately that I’m amazed I can even stand up.

One of the toughest things about the last few months was seeing the man who raped me at my grandfather’s funeral. That whole era of my life was just so hard and so painful, and seeing him, and being HUGGED by him brought a lot of that back for me.

My mom was diagnosed with
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Hi, im kelly, and im new here. I am a survivor of both childhood sexual abuse, and rape as a teen. I was mostly doing ok with things, after having been in some really good therapy earlier...but the last six months of my life have been really beyond stressful, and i find that when i'm under stress things i thought i had conquered seem to come back to haunt me, and i could use some support. I've x-posted from a recent lj entry to give you some background on me.

The other day at my feminist group I began filling people in about my life the <a href="http://www.livejournal.com/users/joyfulkel/3093.html">last few months</a>, and, as I usually do, I started out being funny, trying to make my life sound like some bizzaro-i love Lucy episode...except once I was done and I started thinking about how awful it all was, I started to cry. It’s a good thing. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t really had time to *feel* much of anything. Life has been so hard lately that I’m amazed I can even stand up.

One of the toughest things about the last few months was seeing the man who raped me at my grandfather’s funeral. That whole era of my life was just so hard and so painful, and seeing him, and being HUGGED by him brought a lot of that back for me.

<lj-cut text="life for me then">My mom was diagnosed with <a href'http://www.nmss.org/">Multiple Sclerosis</a> when I was about 13, and it completely turned my life upside down. One day, a few weeks before Christmas, we woke up and my mom couldn’t move. There had been weird medical problems before, and she was in an out of the hospital a lot, but all the sudden she was paralyzed and nobody knew why. Later on, as mom got sicker and sicker, I had to take on more of the household responsibilities...cleaning, cooking, shopping, laundry, helping my sister with her homework. My dad's drinking got worse (I think he might have an alcohol problem, and has ever since mom got so bad), and I became the *reliable one*. The pressure on me was incredible, and my extended family couldn’t cope and just vented by yelling at me for how badly I did as a housekeeper. I was called a selfish bitch on more than one occasion because things weren’t up to par. I wish I could say I was a good housekeeper, or even that I was pleasant about it, but really, I was pretty resentful and angry a lot of the time, and I think I took it out on my sister and my mom more than I should have. I feel like I should have done better back then, and that I failed them in a lot of ways. I try to have compassion for myself, because I was young and nobody was helping, but I wish I had done better, and been less of a resentful brat sometimes.

Life in our family revolved around my mom’s illness. I used to get so sick of seeing MS literature and hearing people talk about it. Between mom being sick and my sis acting out, there really wasn’t any room for me to have any problems. My dad's policy was that everything was fine. If anyone ever asked, mom was fine, we were fine, and everyone was FINE. There were days where it hurt so much to watch my mom disintegrating before my eyes, and some of the meds she took made her mean. She would scream at my sister and me and throw things at us. It got to the point where I wanted to take my entire mom's pills and then call 911 just to get people to pay attention to me and take care of ME for a change.

Enter, the boy. The first boy to ever ask me out. I always thought I was too ugly to have a boyfriend, and he asked me out. And even better, he took care of me. I would go over to his house and he would make me dinner and clean up and I didn’t have to do ANYTHING, and it was the most wonderful thing EVER. To this day when people cook for me I get somewhat emotional, because the act of being cared for means so much to me. He even protected me from my mean uncle. There was a day where I was at my house and he came over and started lecturing me about how I didn’t do a good job taking care of my mom and how I was a selfish bitch (a term that got used about me frequently in the family), and I just walked out. I couldn’t STAND it anymore. I don’t understand why they couldn’t see how much I was hurting, and how much I needed help. Why couldn’t they SEE me? Why didn’t they care? I mean, I know a lot of it had to do with the pain and fear they had about my mom, and how while they wanted to help her, she was awfully unpleasant on her meds, so they figured they could help her by lecturing me into taking care of her. I became the family whipping girl. My uncle was so mad about me leaving he followed me to the boy's house and almost broke the door down trying to get in to yell at me more. He finally stopped when I agreed to talk to him at his girlfriend’s house (which unfortunately was right next door). The boy seemed to be the only person concerned with me and my wellbeing. All anyone else cared about was my mom.

I’m not going to go into how it all went down. We had sex once, and decided not to again, except then later he decided for both of us. He knows, and even admitted to what he did. And to this day, I have a REALLY hard time with anything that puts pressure on my windpipe...which made my asthma even worse, because the sensation of the asthma attack would bring up flashbacks, which would cause me to panic, making the attack worse.

Anyhow, the day after, I tried to tell my dad. We were sitting in the car, and I started to cry as I searched for a way to tell him. He turned to me, and said in the most desperate voice I think I’ve ever heard..."Kelly, don’t cry. I can’t handle it when you cry". And that was it. Ok, no crying. I was so scared that dad would do something bad, that the pressure of mom being sick and Melissa acting out was too much and if I added anything to it he would either get into a drunk driving accident (he's been pulled over quite a few times but only got a ticket once...got to love the ole boy network), or that he actually might kill himself. That terrified me more than anything has ever terrified me in my life. If dad was gone, that left me in charge of it all, mom, my sister, everything. I couldn’t risk it, so I just stuffed everything down and went back to being the reliable one. I didn’t really tell anyone, although a few people found out (one friend found me in the hall in HS clinging to the stair-rail after a bad panic attack and took me to a guidance counselor who gave me....a phone number to a hotline. Yeah, that helped :(.) A friend killed himself a few weeks later, and I was just so numb. Everyone around me seemed to be a wreck, but I couldn’t feel a thing. I remember being at the funeral handing out tissues to my friends and just standing there feeling NOTHING. Most of the rest of that year is a complete blur to me.

The worst part, and the part I have the hardest time forgiving myself for, was that I stayed with boy. Life was just so hard, and he was the only person I felt I could go to, which was awful, because he was also the one who hurt me so much.... I feel like, if maybe my family had been more concerned about me, and less concerned about my ability to do housework, *sigh*. I just wish someone would have maybe asked me how I was, and not if all the laundry had been done. I just felt so alone and scared and boy was the only one who seemed to care or want to help, and I guess in a way staying with him seemed like the lesser of two evils. I needed the help, and if it came at a price, so be it... and really, I wasn’t able to feel a whole lot of what was going on around me, so getting hurt really didn’t matter to much, I just needed someone to take care of me. Life took on the quality of an improve skit, where I was taking my cues from the people around me...if they're happy, then I acted happy, if they were sad, I acted sad. Between mom and what happened with boy and what was going on in my family, I couldn’t afford to feel, because if I had felt those feelings then, I wouldn’t have been able to be the reliable one.

I finally left boy after a year of living away at college. It was once I got away from the family and boy and all the other stuff, and actually spent time figuring out how to take care of just myself, that I started to see my own value, and I decided I didn’t need or deserve to get hurt anymore. Genesee saved my life. Most freshmen have a hard time balancing all the responsibility with academics, for me it was a breeze because the only person I had to take care of was I. I entered therapy for the first time towards the end of freshman year because I was having chest pains that couldn’t be explained by the doctor (really they were just spasm of the muscles around my brachial tubes, which were mostly stress induced).

</lj-cut>
Fast forward to April, when boy shows up at grandpa's funeral, and GIVES ME A HUG. I felt myself sink into the ground as I stared at the floor not really listening to him tell me about his kids and his job and simultaneously fighting the urge to deck him, and to run away screaming. I can still feel his hands on me. It’s like an imprint on my skin that goes beyond cellular level. I want to shed my skin like a snake except it feels like even if I could, his handprints would still be there. I can’t stand the smell of polo cologne, because that’s what he wore (is it just me, or is that the cologne of choice for sketchy people?) Part of me wants to tear him limb from limb, and part of me wants to tear myself limb from limb. I can literally feel the fibers of my heart tear as my heart breaks. Its not every day. I’m a lot better. I’d even say I’m recovered, as much as anyone ever recovers from something like this...or at least I’m 80% there. I even had a pap, and it was ok, which is a huge improvement from the past, where I got so dissociated I walked straight into a telephone pole.

It’s just, sometimes, like now, all the heartache from the last 16 years bears down on me, and I can’t believe I can even stand for the pain of it all. I feel flattened, crushed, broken and bruised and *sigh* sometimes, when it all hits, it seems like it’s impossible, like this couldn’t have all happened to one person, let alone me. And I know other people have been through worse, and probably handled it better. Still, my life can be overwhelming at times. And this is one of them.

Thanks for listening
Tags: abuse: child, abuse: emotional, abuse: sexual, abuse: verbal, alcoholism, family, introductions, rape
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