PTSD ~ Those ‘Dirty Little Secrets’

I’ve written many posts about my PTSD (childhood sexual abuse); which was a ‘dirty little secret.’  Have you held on to secrets for years and years?

Recollecting my past, at around eight years old, while my friends and I played in our yard, the predator next door sat on his veranda puffing on a cigarette or repairing whatever under the hood of his car.

I was panicked for them and me, wanting so much to convey to them of the sexual abuse at the hands of this man, yet at the same time felt bewildered.

I had a secret; an ugly little secret, to something that I didn’t cause – or did I?

There was the distressing apology, forced by my parents to blurt out and recite with sincerity to this predator for abusing me.  That sincerity was met with confusion wondering how I wronged in the first place.  All kinds of feelings swished around: guilt, helplessness, and I was embarrassed.

A 30-year-old man is forcing sex on a child.  Would that warrant an apology?

Perplexing also was permitting this predator into our home for Sunday dinners.  Were my parents attempting to soothe the predator’s feelings for being wrongly accused?

Seated across from him, while he adored his meal, I would gaze down at my supper, my stomach in knots.  Most times I felt like spitting out the food and vomiting, or screeching my brains out, but, I was a polite little girl sitting silently minding her manners.

That was the problem, I was a noble little girl and kept this ‘dirty little secret,’ not uttering a word to anyone.

Mental illness stigma and connection with those struggling with chronic pain:

Later, during my high school years, I remained silent about the sexual abuse.  The memories faded slightly. However, there were signs that impacted my life with unexplained suicidal thoughts and bouts of depression.

The ‘secret’ disclosed its facade in my personality also; I reflect in clinical terms a “C” Cluster type personality.  Sensitive, with the lack of confidence and worse of all, never believe you’re good enough; forever looking at the negative side of me, and never anticipating a positive future.

I felt degraded, dirty and most of all betrayed.

Years passed by, then unexpectedly flashbacks initiated by triggers.  I enlisted therapy, which wasn’t the wisest idea, and the beginning of the descent into hell.

This started the ball rolling on a new life; a black, muddy life spent the better part in hospitals, followed by suicide attempts, ECTs and a myriad of medications.


Any of us who have traveled through the therapy journey to conquer our demons were dealt a crappy set of cards.



At this moment, I remain in therapy (with an Experienced Trauma Therapist) having dealt with the sexual abuse then discovering that the catalyst of my suicidal ideation, depression and worthless feelings were instigated by the impact of my narcissistic mother. (All total, I’ve been seeing therapists for about 15+ years).

The harmful emotional abuse from her stinging words, lack of empathy and constant criticisms have had such an impact on my life.  I question which abuse was worse. Sexual or emotional?

I’ve decided to go NO CONTACT with my mother; it’s been three years of bliss!

So for anyone to say or criticize a person struggling with PTSD or CPTSD to ‘just get over it’ is unforgivable, ignorant and I’d like them to walk a mile in all of our shoes.

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy 2017







6 thoughts on “PTSD ~ Those ‘Dirty Little Secrets’

  1. emylovesbalance says:

    I have recently got into therapy dealing with a chronic leg injury and has left me with little coping mechanisms for anxiety and depression. I was sexually abused by a family
    Member at age 3. It was my first memory. While he paid for his crimes, throughout my life I was exposed to him, seeing him a family events and just hanging out because I guess my family thought that was completely fine. It messed me up so bad and I’m attempting to overcome it and talk about it in therapy. I still have dreams where he’s there. Not hurting me, just there. (He’s been dead for years now) Ill get flashbacks during intimate moments with my fiancé and I can usually ground myself to the moment and know I am safe and not being harmed. I have a perfectionist personality yet I am never good enough and never meet my expectations. My psych lady thinks I have PTSD from this along with traumatic family events involving suicide and manic episodes. Just thought I’d share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cherished79 says:

      I’m so sorry you had to experience sexual abuse as a child, and there is no excuse for how it was handled. Also, having him around you at different times afterward, I question your family’s lack of empathy and apologize for them for placing you in trauma all over again. Thank you for sharing, you are courageous and strong and it shows that you are a survivor. A survivor of PTSD is a Warrior! Hugs to you xx Deb

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mariah says:

    I love this. I have been told so many times to “just get over it” or “just stop thinking about it.”

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences in order to educate and benefit others.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lyndyh says:

    I kept my mother’s secret until I reached the age of 52. I released it during therapy. It was the best thing I ever did. I now have no secrets and am I free … the best feeling ever.


    • cherished79 says:

      I apologize for my late reply to your comment, but you were in my spam folder 😦 I’m so sorry you had to carry around your secret for so many years and start “peeling back the onion” (revealing) later in life. But, you’re free now and can breathe with no more crap to carry inside. It takes courage to tell your innermost thoughts and secrets to a complete stranger, however, you trusted him/her enough to ‘let go’. You are a strong survivor and a warrior! 🙂 🙂


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