I found myself drawn to activities that were destructive and led to nothing but trouble. I began drinking wine and beer, smoking marijuana (reefer).
I got in so much trouble during this time skipping school, and breaking curfew.
By the time I was 15 or 16 years old I was going to nightclubs and living an all consuming lifestyle that consisted pf indulging in drugs and alcohol to the extent that even I can’t fathom how it didn’t kill me and worse yet I loved it, anything that was against the norm I was all for it. Drugs were similar to leaving this world I felt good all over and I never wanted that feeling to stop. The only time that I felt normal or laughed or seemed to enjoy life was when I was high half out of my mind. In my drug hazed state nothing and nobody could touch me; all the pain and dreadful memories didn’t exist and I nearly killed myself trying to stay in that world.
I finally my mother about being raped and she held me and cried with and for me for a very long time. For the first time someone told me that it was not my fault and I exhaled, I let wall down, opened the floodgates and I cried, really cried. I felt validated, loved, and safe. Her anger at whatever it was I had done subsided. I thought that we had crossed over a hurdle and that we would become close again.
Some days later she came to me in tears and said that she didn’t believe me about the rape. She had thought about it and decided that I made up the lie to get her sympathy and to go unpunished. She compared me to the boy who cried wolf. She said that if she was wrong she was sorry but I had been so sneaky and dishonest about so many things that she just couldn’t believe anything that I said.
I was devastated. Didn’t she know me well enough to know that I would not make up something like that? No she didn’t, the reality was that no one really knew me, the true me, the real me. People had no idea what I was capable of, what I felt, or what I thought. Here I go again taking the blame, believing her and feeling like the guilty one. Yes I was difficult and lied about where I had been and things like that but would never lie about being raped. How could she not believe her child; what was wrong with her?
I grew bitter and resentful I thought I’d never forgive her. From that day forward I began to behave even worse spiraling completely out of control. Anything my mother told me not to do I did with a vengeance with no care of the consequences or her feelings I was breaking her heart and I think that I wanted to hurt her. I wanted her to feel my pain, and wrath and to feel betrayed and unloved like I did.
Do you blame yourself? Self blame led me to self hate/disdain, self hurt, drug addiction, overeating, and lack of trust and love. I spent much of my life listening to the voices in my head that said “you’re nothing, what you think and feel don’t matter” and I’ve hated and hurt myself more than anyone else ever could. I felt responsible for my abusers actions. I believed I was bad or guilty and felt ashamed. It didn’t help being told at a very young age that the molestation committed on me by my grandfather was my fault. I tried to figure out what I did or didn’t do or what I said or didn’t say that made this happen. I couldn’t come up with anything specific so I figured it was just me, my mere existence. As a result I willed myself invisible, rarely, spoke, moved, smiled, or laughed. If you could not hear or see me then you couldn’t hurt me. Right? I heard the words “it was your fault” over and over they played in my head as if a recording had been turned on and kept skipping and repeating. Even when no one was around to say the words I heard them, they were a constant reminder of what a bad girl I was. I decided that it was me against the world and that I had to look out for number one it was up to me alone to take care of and protect myself at all costs because no one else would. I became very quiet and introverted locked away within myself, emotionless. How else could I survive and somehow continue to live in this unfamiliar and cruel world that I now found myself in? I made the decision to disengage; I threw in the towel giving up emotionally, mentally and physically. I tried to no longer exist it was a kind of suicide a way of leaving a place that was too much for me to handle. I felt that I couldn’t be as I once was because that person was subject to being hurt and I swore that no one was going to hurt or control me ever again so I buried every familiar aspect of myself. I looked the same but was not, something was missing.
Even though the cousin who molested me was no longer in my life I was left with a sense of fear like I’ve never felt before. I became afraid of the darkness of night and being alone in it and sounds that I’d probably heard before but paid no attention to like my mother’s movements in the next room, or my grandparents walking around downstairs. The shadows on my walls of my favorite doll and other toys became menacing to me.
I had a beautiful room fit for a princess with a white and gold canopy bed with a pink comforter and wallpaper of dancing ballerinas in pink and blue tutu’s, it was once my sanctuary, my favorite place in the house and even though it looked the same it was somehow different, I guess I just didn’t feel the same in it. My haven had become a dark, creepy place with danger lurking in the corners and my imagination ran wild to something or someone sinister out to get me.
I’d go to bed at night and suddenly I’d jump out of bed seeking safety and comfort and would run to my mother’s room. I’d climb up in her bed on the pretense that I would go back to my own room after some TV show we were watching went off but at the end conveniently I’d be asleep. Of course I wasn’t really asleep and I’m sure that she knew it too but she didn’t bother me she would just turn over and go to sleep with me nestled against her. Perhaps she too needed to know that I was safe.
Until the age of 4 or 5 life was wonderful and carefree and still brings a smile to my face when I look back. I was happy and thought that the world I had come to know was perfect and I took for granted it would always be that way. I had a secure expectation and faith in the goodness of life and people, as most children do, unless that faith is shaken.
I woke up shocked to find my cousin Aaron. He shushed me as I asked him what he was doing and he began touching my private parts and whispering commands for me to touch him there in that place that I didn’t even have a name for because I was too young and innocent to know about such things.
My heart was racing I sensed danger but at the same time didn’t understand the things he wanted me to do and that he was doing to me. I lay there in confusion this was all too complex for my young brain to wrestle with.
He’s telling me “it’s okay” but this was not the cousin that I trusted and played and danced with. I’ve heard it said that adults tell a child its “okay” to gain their approval, like it’s up to them, their decision. This was not okay, and certainly not my choice.
I cried silently and went numb, mentally escaping telling myself it was a nightmare and not really happening.
This was my first experience of sexual misuse.