My guest poster today is J.E. from her blog “This is My Silence”. (Trigger Warning)
Hello, I am J.E., 23 years old, and a PTSD survivor.
I’m married to a wonderful man who has been my rock and encouragement throughout those days when I didn’t believe in myself, nevertheless, he believed in me. I’m also delighted that I’m a working mother of two children (‘superheroes’), as the joy I see in their faces every day provides me with every reason, now realizing how past abusive years has an enormous impact on your life.
Writing is cathartic for me, and I’m using my healing journey to perhaps healing others. “This is My Silence” is my first blog, and here is my story.
A Little Piece of Me
Typing and deleting, typing and deleting. As I am sitting on my couch, I’ve come to a realization that this is now my second draft and remain struggling with a conundrum. It’s challenging to write about your journey, even though you may have memories floating around inside your head, writing them down on paper (computer) is difficult.
So, Where is my beginning?
I lay my jars of memories around me and search, and peering into each jar I take a moment to remind myself to breathe for a moment after each one. As I continue my search, slowly opening and closing each jar, I come to a standstill, noticing that every single one of these memories speaks my story, but only one conveys the beginning of my life. So I will begin like this:
Between the age of nine to eleven years old, my sexual abuse involved all four family members; my grandfather, two of my uncles, and my father.
I’m unable to remember how my life was before my abuse. The vivid or enjoyable memories appear to be few, flooded with clear memories of all the distressing years I endured. My family gave the impression of being ‘perfect’, one that appears beautiful and impeccable from the outside, however, all of us were shattered on the inside. We were a family living with secrets and most of all deceits.
How do I know this? Let’s just say that I became my mother’s counselor at a very young age. I knew everything about everyone, and I understood to stay quiet and not question anything.
My sexual abuse started at the hands of my grandfather. I was confused and frightened at first, but after a while, I came to a realization that the adults had the control in my household. This known fact was validated once my father and my two uncles had their way with me. I had to please them. I had to make them happy. I came to the conclusion they ‘owned’ me.
I learned to suppress my emotions, so the next time these perverted adults abused me, I would not shed a tear. I learned to act like an ordinary child because I had to be believable. Every day I had to reboot myself to please someone. When the time came to stand up for myself, I was shut down. Imagine being betrayed by the person who was the first image you glimpsed at on the day of your birth?
At age eleven, the assistant principal summoned me to her office stating a police report was filed for sexual abuse; a statement that my sibling had been sexually abused! I kept my mouth closed and admitted nothing.
No. No. No.
The sexual abuse inflicted on me I regrettably accepted, however, when it began affecting other members of my family, this torture had to stop. I felt it was my duty to protect them.
After the principal had related what my sibling said in detail, I realized that I had failed. I remained quiet until unexpectedly guarded secrets of my abuse blurted out. Tears flowed, hands trembled uncontrollably, and I felt myself crumbling into nothing. Puzzling though was this incredible moment, a joyful moment where I could breathe without feeling guilty.
But, this ‘incredible’ moment would not last long.
Family members were now aware of my ‘secret,’ and expectedly when word spread, rage followed.
The predators denied the allegation, my siblings were bewildered, and my mother was in denial and refused to accept the truth. My brave siblings protected the truth; I denied mine.
After months of courts, police officers, and a plethora of unfamiliar faces, it ended. Even though our predators departed, my life had not improved.
Bizarre as it was, my mother, pleaded with us to continue communicating with our father, followed by secret visits. I complied, continuing to talk with him daily as if the past ‘was swept under the rug.’ I felt chained to the ground.
I quickly found remedies to my emotional turmoil; self-harm and emotional detachment. Self-harm helped me suppress. Emotional detachment helped me continue, but, still, something was missing. The more I scarred my arm, the emptier I became. The truth is, it did not solve anything; it just helped me release my pain. It was my out, and I loved it.
The day I met my husband, at age 14, was the day my life began to change. I can undoubtedly say my husband saved me from myself and most significantly, he is the motive why I was able to move forward leading me to my life mostly beginning.
At the age of 17, while making the daily call to my father, he insisted on a picture of my daughter (who was a few months at the time). My only response was, “soon Dad”, yet in my mind, I thought “you’ll never lay your fucking eyes on my daughter.”
My husband overheard the phone call, and realizing I was becoming uncomfortable; he snatched the phone from my hand. His first words to my father were, “Hello. I’m J’s husband.” Then he stepped outside. I watched him walk away, confused on what was happening. I was overwhelmed with rage towards him.
How dare he?
This is my life.
I’ve worked hard to keep this going.
My husband came back inside, handing me my phone. He told me about their conversation, and how my father denied everything.
My father never phoned after that.
I was in disorder; I couldn’t function or focus. I was angry at my husband because he took all my hard work and ended it in an instant. Truthfully, what hurts the most was that my father threw me away so quickly. As messed up as this may sound, I became accustomed to pleasing him, and everyone else which became a purpose forced upon me. I was okay with that, because that is what I was to them and eventually to myself. My life was never my own.
My life took a leap forward after that day.
Now, at the age of 23, I am still learning how to live my life how I see fit. I struggle with my emotions and PTSD. I struggle with myself and others around me, but I found a way to cope; with words. For a long time, my words were hidden from the world. Now, I have gained the courage to free them, so the wind can take them and be received by those who wish to grab them. With each word that I speak or write, I heal.
Solitude hid my words.
My courage released my words.
I do not sit in silence anymore.