Sunday, November 8, 2009

All in the Telling

Unknowingly, my family put me in the clutches of a pedophile - for about 3 years. Now that they know what happened, they have blamed everything on me for "telling".

They can't see past their part in it and hate me for "telling".

They have even gone so far as to tell me I'm lying and also blame my therapist, Mr.S, because I "told" him.

My family is mad at me because I waited to "tell" until the pedophile was dead.

My mother, in anger, shouted at me that if I'd "told" my father, he would have stopped it.

My sister promised lawsuits and restraining orders for me, if I don't stop "telling".

My brother wished me dead, because of the "telling".

My other sister advised I keep my problems to myself and stop "telling" lies.

My other brother decided he had to believe the others because they "told" him I'm a liar.

I kept the secret for nearly 4 decades, because I and my family was threatened with harm, if I "told".


The secret is out.

I have lost my family and my husband, but gained the respect of my daughter - all in the "telling". I have healed because of the telling. It was difficult to see and hear how my family reacted to my "telling" and I've spent many months missing them and crying for them, but I have learned to set boundaries and I have gained respect for myself - all from the "telling".

I have also found the blogging community to have been a great part of my healing - all in the telling.

19 comments:

Saving Grace said...

Good for youm, Ivory!
Your stregth and confidence is evident in the words you write here.
I know it still is so very hard, and took extraordinary strength for you to stay honest to yourself, even in the face of the people who do not understand and inappropriately direct their anger at you.
You're beautiful, Ivory!
(((IVORY)))
~ Grace

mmaaggnnaa said...

Hi, Ivory -

Choosing a healthier environment can be quite painful . . . I'm proud of you for doing so!

- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

hopefortrauma said...

Ivory,

I don't think families realize how few choices abused children have. Its really horrible that families can't accept that they screwed up.

Instead they blame the children when the children were essentially helpless. Its just not right to put the blame on the child when it was out of their control.

Familes may always stay set in their ways, but survivors don't have to. My T says the best revenge is to eventually live well.

Having this blog you are telling your story and helping other while doing it which I think is amazing.It hurts when people turn their back at the secret, but its good your daughter stands by you.

I still live with my family but I miss them. I miss the realtionship I had. But we can't go back so we just have continue our journey with or without them.

Take Care. Be Well.
Hope

Ivory said...

Grace,

My strength and confidence was won thru many tears and many visits to Mr.S. It was not easy, and is not infallible. It is often tested and sometimes has failed me.


Marie,

Often, I've thot healing was too much work and too painful I've blamed my T for encouraging me to continue on. He always takes the blame as if it's sunshine he can't avoid. I get smiles and honesty and lots of encouragement to get past those feelings. But you are right, it is extremely difficult to keep going sometimes. Thank you for you kind words.


Hope,

What I've found is that my family does not blame the 9 year old - they blame me. They blame the adult I am now, not the child I was then because they are going back to the situation as adults, with me as an adult. They cannot effectively see that I was just a child back then. The bad part is that they don't want to see it any other way because this way, they get off the hook.

Mr.S often tells me, too, that the best revenge is being healthy, healed, and happy, and prosperous. It's a difficult thing to do, but I agree with it.

I morn for what used to be, as well. My family believes they are "close" and in a way, they are. Just not emotionally. There are 5 of us and for the last 30 years, we and our children and their families have come together for every holiday, my parent's birthdays/anniversaries, etc. We had so much fun and now I have no one. At least it sounds as if your family will talk to you, I don't know. Mine wants me to "come back" to the holidays and tho I want to, it would be on their old and dysfunctional terms, so I cannot. They have no understanding of what it's like to "be there" for someone, or listen w/o judgment. I'm not holding out for perfection, just real and true acceptance.

Exhale said...

I feel for you..being true to all that you are and all that you where is one of the most difficult things to do. It takes great courage to stand up for truth when everyone around doesn't want to accept or face reality.

Michael Finley said...

In a way my family reacted and acted in the same way they did when I was going through the abuse.

That is just Michael. If Michael would only ... Well you know we all ...Michael has problems. Notice it is all framed with me as the cause and that it is just the way it is.

They have for what is for me a unrealistic view of authority and the world in general.

My family is considered close by the world and by themselves. We do know how to do family get togethers. Real sharing not so much.

I think that for me my family is doing the best they can and that is just not very well.

I told a group of friends that I was multiple and had experienced trauma. Two people said it was not true as they had checked out my family and my family was great.

In a real way by family is great. Just not to me.

In a real way I want more from life than they have and they resent it.

Ivory said...

Exale,

Yes, it is so difficult that at times I question myself, I hate myself, I miss them so much I'm almost willing to lie and say it never happened just to have them back.


Michael,

You have revealed the biggest obstacle for me: everyone who knows my family believes them to be the most wonderful people on earth. My family name is old and well respected here. I don't tell anyone about what happened to me because I don't think anyone will believe me; they all think so highly of them.

My family, too, thinks they are close and they are doing the best they can. That is no excuse, tho, to do what they did, once it was brought to their attention. Not one of them stood by me, instead, they all actively took part in trying to quiet me and emotionally beat me into submission. Instead, what they chose is to keep the facade of perfect harmony within the community. Oops.

Kate said...

Hello Ivory dear,

You are doing a great job of telling. And look, none of them and none of their threats or actions stopped you. You have a lot to be proud of.

I went through some of this and then underneath all of that was fear and more abuse I couldn't remember yet. I know telling is scary, even for them. But you deserve their allegiance and loyalty. Good and healing thoughts to you.

Kate

Ivory said...

hi, Kate!

Thanks, telling can be damning; that's one of the most difficult pieces of abuse. Telling lost me nearly everything and I don't see that there is any way to get it back.

Michael Finley said...

I have been thinking of the extreme of what I was experiencing as a child and what my family thought I was experiencing and what my siblings were experiencing.

Pretty much my childhood was trying to deal with the trauma and those that caused it and trying to conform to what my family was experiencing.

In a real way I did that my whole life and if that was all taken care of then I would have some time to try and heal.

The amount of time that I need for myself is incredible. Now that I know why I know that is reasonable. Hard to know when you are not aware of the exact cause.

Ivory said...

Michael,

Child abuse, torture, and sexual trauma are all so complex. I take it in waves. There are times I don't really care, and then I move to obsession of remembering what happened to me. I often feel as if I'm on a run away bungee.

Paul from Mind Parts said...

Ivory, I am so sorry that you have lost so much in your journey, for your "telling". But I am sure you realize that if you didn't "tell" there would be other consequences, and perhaps you would not have survived those.

Ivory said...

Paul,
No, I would not have survived those, as it were, I was just existing. There have been many times since then, tho, that I am sorry I told, sorry I have caused so much pain, and sorry I survived.

Thank you for your kind words and support.

beautifuldreamer said...

Oh Ivory, I'm so saddened (and outraged) by your family's treatment of you.

Isn't this so typical, that the victim is revictimized by those who should protect her and help her to heal?

I'm proud you had the courage to stand up to them all, even though it meant losing every last one of them. Sometimes there's no help for it--we have to choose in our own favor (for once), let the chips fall where they may.

Bless you!!

Ivory said...

BeautifulDreamer,

Thank you for your encouragement. I'm hoping some day that things will soften them and we can at least 'visit' without all the heartache.

Patricia Singleton said...

Ivory, your family is doing its best to keep you a silent victim. I congratulate you for having the courage to not let them do that.
I know from personal experience how hard it is to break the silence of sexual abuse.

The family system does everything to keep itself going in dysfunctional families. The message of your family is to keep the family's secrets no matter who is being hurt by the secrets. You are not to blame for the abuse. You should not be blamed for the abuse. You are courageous for speaking up. You are an inspiration to others by your words and actions.

Ivory said...

Patricia,
I'm so glad you took the time to stop by and comment. Your encouragement means a lot to me. I was warned by my therapist that my family might react this way, but it didn't ease the blow. If I could change one thing about sexual abuse (other than to prevent it) it would be to set up resources for families so when someone speaks out, they are not re victimized by the very ones who should be supporters. When someone speaks out, everyone suffers. Thanks, again!

Marj aka Thriver said...

My mother turned almost everyone in the extended "family" against me and my sister for "telling." But, wouldn't go back to the way it was before I broke my silence for any amount of money in the world. It's difficult, but I'm glad we are breaking the silence.

Thank you so much for sharing this brave post with us for THE BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE. I so appreciate your contribution.

Ivory said...

Marj,

you are very welcome.

I am learning that silence is not the best action to take - I wish it hadn't taken me so very long to see it that way...