Sharing My Life: Child Sexual Abuse Only a Small Part

Some numskull sent me a comment (which I did not approve) that has inspired me to post a sort of  ‘clarification article.’

The nincompoop, who says her name is “Caryn” called me several derogatory names, made some pretty ugly comments to me, mentioned my father’s death (as if she has any clue about my father), and then brought up the bible. I always chuckle at the bible thumpers who condemn, ridicule, impose upon and demean others, and then mention God and the bible in the very same breath.

Anyway, “Caryn’s” opinion is of no concern to me, but I thought I would clear something up…

Caryn thinks I am “obsessed” with child sex abuse and that it’s the entire focal point of my life.

So, just in case someone else who reads my blog has been given the impression that I am too consumed with child sexual abuse issues, I thought I would share what my life is like.

Maybe it’s my fault for giving the wrong impression? I just never thought that people would actually believe that I sit around all day and night obsessing about abuse. So, here is my life:

I wake each day being thankful for the roof over my head, the food on my plate, my limbs, and my very life. I then give love and affection to my three beautiful animals.

My morning is usually spent taking care of my husband of 23 years, cooking for him, etc. and then it’s off for a brisk walk with my dog.

I am fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautiful places in the United States. I breathe fresh air, walk near deer, rabbits, and even an occasional elk. Every spring, a bear wanders through the neighborhood. I swell with gratitude at the incredible mountains that I see every day of my life, and thank God for the gift.

When I return home from my walk, I spend about 45 minutes to an hour on my Blog. After that, it is time to start work at my paying job. I work from home so this enables me to keep up on trials on Court TV. I wish I could have been an attorney, I love law and the legal system intrigues me.

My afternoons consist of more walks, beautiful hikes, a bike ride, or maybe down to the lake to watch my dog swim like a champion. I might hit the local thrift store, or help my neighbor give her cat intravenous fluids. In the winter, I go for a snowshoe or snowboard. Sometimes I pick up a stray dog running dangerously on the highway and call its owner or take it to the local humane society.

I love taking photos and sometimes read books on The Essenes. Once in a while I will read a book on child abuse; like I found Mackenzie Phillip’s book High on Arrival at the thrift store for a dollar last week.

Sometimes I write letters to senators, or the local paper to try and stop war, or to protect the environment. Other days I go to a concert in the park, a festival, or visit the local animal shelter and give love to the homeless creatures who were abandoned or abused by human beings.

I enjoy just being peaceful in the yard with gardening or watching the birds. I love good films and watch an occasional baseball game, or even American Idol. Sometimes I just put on my favorite music and sing out loud.

My evenings consist of catching up on any comments on my Blog, making dinner, or enjoying an occasional beer at the local brew pub with friends. I often have great dinner parties because I am a pretty good cook and hostess to our amazing friends. After dinner we play board games or listen to someone play guitar. We laugh, we sing, we make cookies, and we talk about everything under the sun. We rarely mention child sexual abuse.

I wonder if Miss Nincompoop, Caryn, would like to know what I did prior to healing from child sexual abuse? You see, Caryn thinks my memories of having been sexually abused by my father are a figment of my imagination.

In 1994, I became very sick and dysfunctional. Some of the best medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and $30,000 worth of medical bills could not help or cure me. The doctors didn’t even know what was wrong with me for at least a year. When doctors finally diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (or CFS), they told me there was no treatment and no cure. One specialist told me, “The good news about this disease, is that you aren’t going to die. The bad news is, you aren’t going to die.”

You see, CFIDS is one of the most painful, debilitating, and frightening diseases that a person can have. He was right; about two years into the disease, I did indeed want to die.

So you see, my life was not always so beautiful. The CFIDS plagued me with countless physical symptoms that affected every part of my body, including my heart, lungs, neurological system, and bladder. I was also bed ridden for months, and suffered clinical depression, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, PTSD symptoms, an excessive hatred of women, nightmares, insomnia, and eating disorders that were virtually unbearable.

Back then, I could not walk down the street, much less hike a mountain. I could not ride a bike, or snowboard, or go to a party without extreme anxiety attacks or fatigue that sent me to bed for three days at a time. For fifteen years I was riddled with pain, fear, suffering, and sheer madness over not being able to live like others were. Life went on without me and I wanted to die. If it had not been for my therapist, who taught me how to go inside myself and get to the root cause of my suffering, I would have been divorced, on drugs, in a mental hospital, or dead.

The only thing that set me free was finally allowing myself to face the fact that I was a victim of incest by my police-officer father, death threats, rape, physical assaults, and that my mother did not protect me, or even love me. When I began to remember the incest, and began to finally come out of denial, I also began to heal. My symptoms were disappearing and I wanted to live again. I wanted to experience life, get a job, go running, and climb a mountain. I wanted to be with people, laugh and play. I had more work to do, I certainly did not heal over night, but the physical suffering and mental anguish was eventually wiped away with the therapy.

I suppose that in her infinite ignorance, Caryn would say that, because I had a belief that my memories were true, that I somehow miraculously healed from my living hell. If this were true, the medical industry would simply go out of business. Everyone with mental and physical disease could just invent whatever they like, believe it’s true and then rid themselves of all their suffering! That’s a nice thought, but it’s also impossible.

To date, I have about five symptoms left. That is five out of seventy-five. Pretty good progress I’d say. The remaining few symptoms are directly connected to having been sexually abused by a female family member, and being threatened to keep the secret. It took me years to finally grasp this truth. Thank God I did, because the truth will eventually set me free.  But healing from same-sex child sexual abuse has been more complicated than healing from the incest with my father. The symptoms that remain are dissipating, but a little more work needs to be done. Healing from child sexual abuse is work, it is not easy. That is why so many people avoid healing. They do not want to go through the pain of dealing with it, and instead choose to have comfortable pain, familiar pain. Unknown pain always seems harder, when in reality, short-term pain is better than a life-time of remaining comfortably numb with things like relationship problems, stress, physical illness, emotional imbalances, etc.

Caryn has brought up the bible in her comments to me, so I thought I would let her know that, in God’s infinite mercy and love for me, God has healed my life and my soul. I have forgiven my abusers, I forgave them years ago. I now choose to try and help other victims and survivors in a way that I see as just putting my little grain of sand out into the world. Sometimes I need to stress how victims feel and suffer in order to make a point. This does not mean that I am still suffering, or harboring rage, or that I have not forgiven my abusers.Forgiveness is not synonymous with forgetting, pushing it down inside or pretending nothing happened.

If my Blog helps some people, fabulous! If it angers others, then maybe they need to look at why they are so hate-filled for me. Maybe Caryn ought to take a breath and look in the mirror to see what exactly it is about me or my Blog that has caused her to be a very ugly person.

Some of my photography:

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31 Responses to Sharing My Life: Child Sexual Abuse Only a Small Part

  1. Anonymous says:

    I found your blog after searching for info on Marilyn Monroe’s childhood. I’m so glad I did. Your posts are absolutely moving. Some of what I’ve read so far is so intense that I’m at a loss for words right now. I truly respect that you enlighten others about the horrors of child abuse and the effects the abuse has on adult survivors.

    • Alethea says:

      Greetings.

      Thank you for your kind words. I know that you might not agree with some of my articles, but I am happy that something you have read has touched you. I hope you find more here that you enjoy or feel moved by.

      Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback.

      All my best,
      Alethea

  2. nadia says:

    I am happy you are healing.. It is a beautiful thing (:

  3. little nel says:

    Thank you for writing that letter to your sister and sharing it. It is so true.

    I was physically assaulted a year ago, at the nursing home, while visiting “mom”, by a brother who is still filled with rage. I am 61.

    I take two bodyguards with me when I visit “mom” at the nursing home now.

    I too, live in peace with my experiences after years of therapy. I made a choice to heal and recover. I have freedom, happiness, and growth to show for all my time and money.

    • Alethea says:

      “I too, live in peace with my experiences after years of therapy. I made a choice to heal and recover. I have freedom, happiness, and growth to show for all my time and money.”

      Good for you Little Nel. You are a brave soul.

  4. Pam says:

    Thank you for being so brutally honest about your life. I was not sexually abused as a child but I was physically and emotionally abused and nearing 50 years old it still affects me in some way almost every day. When I heard my ex-stepfather passed from throat cancer 6 years ago I had to deal then with guilt of how happy I was that he suffered. Life goes on.

    • Alethea says:

      Hi Pam. I am very sorry about what you have endured. My father died of cancer when I was 12, and when he died, I carried a lot of guilt because, as a child, there were times that I wanted him dead.

      • Andre' says:

        did you ever figure out why your father may have done this ?

        • Alethea says:

          I believe my father was a situational offender, and a “regressed child molester.” These are people who have wives or partners whom they are sexually active with, but who still abuse their own children. When this type of man comes under tremendous stress, he degenerates to touching or having sex with the child. The preferred sexual choice of these abusers is adult women, even finding them more stimulating than a child, but these men have poor impulse control and when extreme difficulties occur, they turn to children. These men are often controlling, and may feel that their life is out of control. The only way to regain power is to assault a vulnerable child who cannot fight back.

          My father was a stressed out police-officer and was known to have a violent temper. He also had an alcohol problem and all of this is high risk for sexual offenders.

          “Situational” offenders are usually fathers, mothers, and other relatives that end up committing incest upon children who happen to be available because the child is a family member. Sometimes situational offenders are step-fathers or step-mothers who molest their step-children.

          Situational offenders end up molesting the child for various reasons. They may feel attracted to the child or stimulated by being close to them. Situational offenders often have low self-worth, cannot deal with stress, and can take advantage of the child as the result of extra pressure. Other dynamics might be a wife who has stopped having sex with the offender.

          Situational child molesters may be the kind of person who verbally abuses their wife, friends, or employees. They are also more likely to use force. The abuse of the child might only materialize in times of high stress. Therefore, it would be sporadic and impulsive. This type of perpetrator usually only chooses female children, and in the abuser’s mind, he feels the child is a suitable sexual partner because he can pretend that she is older than her true age. “Regressed child molesters” could account for why so many accusers in cases of repressed memory came from a middle or upper class home where everything appeared “normal” to outside observers.

          My father had all the characteristics of a regressed “situational” offender. I do not think my father would have gone out looking for children to molest if he had not procreated. His aberrational behavior most likely developed within the dynamics of my childhood home.

          I was told that my grandfather (my father’s father) was not only a severe alcoholic, but that he looked at us girls in a sexual way. My grandmother (my father’s mother) was a cold and strange woman. My father may have been sexually abused by one or both of them.
          _____________________________________

          This comment is taken from one of my manuscripts. This comment is subject to copyright. No portion of it may be re-written or re-transmitted in any way, means, or form.

  5. Melissa says:

    I love this blog and I really appreciate this post! I’ve just finished over 10 years of healing work from extreme sexual abuse and torture, multiple perpetrators, and what a difference it’s made, in terms of my physical symptoms and my entire life… just a total transformation. I’m glad you spoke out about what Caryn said. People who post rude comments deserve to have them refuted and rejected, and I really appreciate you did that. It’s beautiful to read about your life now, and what a difference healing has made!! Thanks for this blog, it definitely makes me feel supported and validated in my healing journey.

    • Alethea says:

      Thank you for saying so Melissa. I sure appreciate the feedback about my Blog.

      Thank you for mentioning the ten years of healing. I get irked when people criticize the amount of time it takes some people to heal. Many people put a time limit, or a number, on the years it “should” take to heal. They act as if there is something wrong with a person, or their therapist, if it takes more than three or four years to heal.

      Each case is unique. Each soul is unique. There are SO many aspects, dynamics etc. in each case of abuse. Multiple perpetrators is certainly a big one, incest is another. So is the severity of the abuse, like rape, torture, trauma, death threats.

      Thanks Melissa!

  6. little nel says:

    Great story. It takes a lot of courage in addition to work to heal from childhood sexual abuse. I too was abused by a same sex offender in 1959, while incarcerated, in a “county home” which was really a children’s jail in Los Angeles. It was called Julia Laythrope Hall. It is no longer in use as it was replaced by McClaron Hall. My abuser was a “matron” who had a sick need to hurt children. I had committed no crime. My parents were guilty of child neglect, so the children were taken away in a police car, while the neighbors watched.

    It is interesting to note that when a family member decides to find recovery from all that trauma, the rest of the family is angered by the exposing of the problem. The family denial system is usually so ingrained in the children that when a member finds recovery, they are considered “traitors”.

    I suffered all kinds of insults and name calling for my efforts to heal. I too had many of the same symptoms that you had. I don’t believe that my parents loved me. They did not know how to love, only use.

    “Caryn” sounds like the “queen of denial”.

    • Alethea says:

      Hi Little Nel. I always appreciate it when someone else is honest about being abused by a person of the same sex. Thank you for sharing. It helps others, and me, to not feel so alone in that situation.

      It is so maddening when an authority of the court system (the “matron”) is put in a position to sexually abuse or hurt kids.

      “It is interesting to note that when a family member decides to find recovery from all that trauma, the rest of the family is angered by the exposing of the problem. The family denial system is usually so ingrained in the children that when a member finds recovery, they are considered “traitors”.”

      yep! Quoting a survivor (and it’s what happened to me with a sister of mine), “In my family, there was a code of silence; when I broke that code, I lost my membership.”

      I endured name calling, being cut out of my sister’s lives, being ostracized, vilified, told I had a “malignant brain,” and I am now considered dead to one sister. You might like to read my letter to her:
      https://ordinaryevil.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/you-can-flush-my-letter-down-the-toilet-but-you-can%E2%80%99t-flush-the-truth/

      It took me a while to figure out that she is the one with the problem, not me. I approached the whole thing with prudence and with love, but she attacked me with ugliness. My sister ought to look inside herself and see what it is that has caused her to have so much rage for me. She never will. She will probably die with her hate.

      Good for you for being strong and standing up for truth against your family.

      My parents didn’t love me either, and you are right, they did not know how.

  7. Shana Dines says:

    Thanks for sharing this, not only the insanity expressed by Caryn, but your beautiful photography and your life that shows how much you are healing. We are not our abuse. I know that sometimes people think that because we write about this a lot that that is all that we are. I also am an artist, painter, writer, sculptor, singer and love people.

    • Alethea says:

      Hi Shana. Thanks for the wonderful feedback. I almost didn’t post it because I worried that I would bore people with my life.

      You sound like a very creative person!

      • Shana Dines says:

        Thanks Alethea, You obviously are a very creative person too, not to mention a very brave honest one. I too had a hard time with women until I got into recovery. Not saying I don’t have any trouble with them anymore. I am more likely to trust men, which is odd in a way because I was almost abused and molested by men too. I did have some that I could trust though better than most women. I have women friends and surrogate family now which helps.

        I am glad to hear the guy share his experiences. Both of my husbands, ex and current are survivors, although they really didn’t deal with it. My ex is a very active, abusive, destructive addict. It is sad, he had so much potential and was very smart. I wish more men would come out about their abuse so it would be safer for others to do the same. My father and brother were also molested, My father by my mother, at 15. He is a psycho and Haven’t had a relationship with him in over 20 years. Ding dong the witch is dead now, and they still remain loyal to her even after her death.

        • Alethea says:

          Shana, I too wish that men could feel safe to reveal their abusive experiences. I feel there are so many more men who were sexually abused as kids, by a male, than we will ever know.

          I feel safer around men because it is a natural occurrence for male/female sex. Female/female abuse is so much more out of harmony with nature. I feel natural around men, whereas, women remind me of the unnatural and unwanted sexual contact that happened to me by a female abuser.

  8. Andre' says:

    Nice photos! 🙂

    • beckiburrows says:

      Don’t let the small minded woman upset you… she obviously does not understand the horrendous nature of abuse and how affecting it can be. She would probably rather live in a world where it was swept under the carpet. It is good you are talking about it and not letting it affect you subconsciously.

      Screw the haters!

      • Alethea says:

        “She would probably rather live in a world where it was swept under the carpet.”

        You are right on Becki.

        “It is good you are talking about it and not letting it affect you subconsciously.”

        In my experience, people I know personally, and who were sexually abused as kids, but who don’t talk about it, are also the LEAST healed people that I know.

  9. One of the ways that I healed from incest was to talk about it. Talking it out of my mind and body took about 10 years for me. I didn’t talk about it to everyone because everyone wasn’t safe but friends and my 2 12-Step groups that I used probably did get tired of hearing me talk about incest and its effects upon me. Thank God they were patient with me. It was like once I opened the gates that kept the secrets in, the words flooded out of me. It took about 3 years of talking before the feelings returned and then another 4 years for learning how to do feelings in healthy ways rather than the destructive ways that my parents taught me. Talking is sometimes the only way that we have to heal or at least the cheapest. I had about 4 years of counseling but couldn’t afford it after that. Talking became my therapy.

    • Alethea says:

      Hi Patricia.

      By not talking about it, my body had to do the talking. That is why I was so sick.

      When I first began to remember the incest, and broke free, I openly talked about it for a while to people in my life because THAT was HEALTHY. It also defied my father’s death threats, so that was even more healthy. After a while, talking about it so openly was not necessary because I was healing in other ways. Now I only talk about it in my daily life in conversations where someone has already brought up the subject of abuse.

      I might do public speaking one day, and still want to publish my book, but otherwise, I only talk about it on my Blog.

      “It was like once I opened the gates that kept the secrets in, the words flooded out of me.”

      That’s how it is for those of us who had repressed their memories of abuse. When we first remember, it is just like flood gates opening. Suddenly it’s okay to tell the secrets –to defy our abusers.

      All my best to you.
      Alethea

      • When I first started talking about the incest, I had 6 years of memories from age 11-17. I never forgot those memories. I had them all the time, I just kept silent about them until I found 2 12-Step recovery programs that provided me with a safe place to talk. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered that I might have lost memories from earlier ages, maybe as young as before 3 years old. I have also always known that something major happened when I was 7 years old but still to this day don’t know what that major happening was. No one has ever told me that something major happen, I have just always known it.

        In the beginning, it was enough to talk about and learn to deal with the memories that I did have. Thanks for writing your post. Like you, I don’t talk much about incest in my daily life. I do talk about it a lot online with other incest survivors.

        • Alethea says:

          Hi Patricia.

          I don’t let people in my daily life, who are uncomfortable with the subject of child sexual abuse, stop me from expressing myself when I feel it is needed, but discussing it online is healing for everyone involved. When we validate each other with similar experiences, or share ugly truths, then other victims and survivors take such a sigh of relief to know they are not alone. In turn, they often feel safe enough to open up.

          When we talk about it in our daily lives, we often face denial, silence, strange looks, or someone has to suddenly run to the kitchen to check something on the stove.

  10. That is an intriguing tale-thanks for sharing. In this day and age a person would think this type of offense would have been all but eradicated; apparently not. It seems to be getting worse.

    I’ve known a couple of people who had the same experiences. Both raped at an early age by a minister-one Baptist, the other Pentecostal.

    One woman couldn’t get out of bed but for two or three hours a day. The other worked furiously to overcome fears. When her abuser died, she said she went to the funeral-she had always wanted to see him dead.Another, I suppose, became lesbian because of it-and, dangerous.

    I had never heard of such until I was an adult. I suppose people didn’t talk about it if it happened. Or, they were committing other offenses.

    Some Bible (thumpers) are like a disease. They spread their own brand of sickness.But, she may have a point… if even a minute one. I used to think that about a woman I knew that had the same problems; she’d exhaust me with her tales.It wasn’t until I was away from her that I could see the significance of her experiences.

    Thanks for sharing your other activities and it’s great to know you have a wonderful husband.

    • Alethea says:

      Good morning Thinker Belle,

      “One woman couldn’t get out of bed but for two or three hours a day. The other worked furiously to overcome fears. When her abuser died, she said she went to the funeral-she had always wanted to see him dead.Another, I suppose, became lesbian because of it-and, dangerous.”

      Marilyn Van Derbur, the former Miss America, who experienced a similar childhood to mine with my father, used to become paralyzed as an adult. She was re-living what she did as a child when her father would come into her room to rape her (she froze).

      I know a few women who run from their pain by working like crazy. Regarding the woman who you said became a lesbian because of sexual abuse –thank you for saying that. Many people won’t admit that people’s sexual choices are often due to child sexual abuse.

      “Some Bible (thumpers) are like a disease. They spread their own brand of sickness.But, she may have a point… if even a minute one. I used to think that about a woman I knew that had the same problems; she’d exhaust me with her tales.”

      If someone does not want to hear about abuse, they shouldn’t read my Blog. As far as my personal life; my friends and husband rarely hear about my abuse.

    • Is child sexual abuse getting worse or are more people just coming out of the closet and talking about it for the first time in the history of this world? More and more of us are breaking the silence of abuse. Talking about it helps us to heal and it gives people like you the awareness that child sexual abuse is happening and has terrible consequences for the person that it happens to.

      • Andre' says:

        Ive been on top of childhood sexual abuse for over 30 years, probably one of very few males, in America who have taken an interest in the subject, mostly because Im finding that at least half the women I have liked, were abused on some level as children, and I know a few guys who were also abused. There is something terribly wrong in America to allow this to happen on a level that is unprecedented. This is coming from institutions that we hold in high regard too, such as police, churches and public school etc. I very much appreciate Alethea’s guts to speak up and out on the subject. Most women its seems cant speak up, because of the shame and fear of doing so.

        • Alethea says:

          I personally know ten women and one man who was sexually abused as a child. These are all people who I knew prior to remembering that I was a victim. I did not know that any of them had been victims too until I remembered the abuse and spoke of it to them. Each of the ten people then spoke of their abuse to me. The majority of them were grateful that I spoke up because it gave them the opportunity to share their pain. A couple of them shared their stories –to a point– but did not want to speak much of it. You could tell that it was not because they had healed, but because they did not want to heal. They did not want to face their pain and had chosen to try and ignore it.

          You’re right Andre’, most people cannot speak of it, and especially not until someone else does. It’s one of the reasons why I do, and so openly. For me, it wasn’t guts, it was a willingness to be free. I got very sick because I could not speak the deadly secret with my mouth. My body did the talking. Once I realized that the only way to be free was to let it out, I spoke about it whenever I needed to. I choose to be free and I want to be free. It’s scarey as hell to talk about it. I don’t feel strong when I do, I feel afraid and still sometimes feel like there is something wrong with me, like I am damaged goods. But I know deep inside that I am not, so I’ll keep talking about it.

  11. Thank you for writing this post. I posted it on my Facebook page with a note of my own saying that just because I write about incest and other forms of incest, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have joy and happiness in my life. One of the reasons that I write about incest and post it on my FB page is to educate those who are not incest survivors. The second reason that I blog about incest is to let other survivors know that they are not alone. Thank you for your post. It is very valuable information.

    • Alethea says:

      THANK YOU Patricia! I appreciate that you shared it on Facebook. The more survivors out there that find hope or validation, the better the world is.

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