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#183254 - 09/29/07 03:19 AM Still a secret
onlyakid Offline

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 1577
Loc: New Jersey
Even though I've disclosed to my mother and my best friend about the abuse, its still a secret. A family friend who is also a real estate agent is coming over to look at the house because we are thinking about moving. So I need to clean up my apartment and make it look nice. I have several books on a book shelf that are about sexual abuse, so now I feel like I have to take them out and hide them because I can't even have him knowing I'm a survivor, doesn't matter that he would not know its my brother or anything just that alone creaps me out. That and when I'm at work we don't have private pcs so I'm always making sure that I clear the history after I'm done, because I don't want anyone at my job to know.

Almost 4 years of working on it and it still a secret.

"Being with people that understand you...Priceless"

"and i don't want the world to see me, cause i don't think that they'd understand"

"You don't know what love just do as your told"

"My life has changed. What you take as a simple thing, is not so simple for me anymore"

#183260 - 09/29/07 03:53 AM Re: Still a secret [Re: onlyakid]
Bewlayb1 Offline

Registered: 08/04/07
Posts: 243
Loc: NYC
I don't tell many people about my childhood sexual abuse. My closest friends don't know. Once in awhile, I'll tell someone when I'm drunk who is a casual acquaintance. Usually it's because I get a compassionate vibe from them. It's a catharsis and a fleeting comfort. But afterwards, things are awkward between us, probably owing to my own regret over saying it.

I need to confess it sometimes. Once, in college, I wrote a non-fiction piece about it for a writing course, so the whole class knew. Erratic, huh? When I won't even tell my best friend. Maybe it's easier with strangers.

I wrote a novel, still unpublished, a few years ago. It's the story of two sexual abuse survivors who fall in love in college, but are too unstable to be together. A writer friend of my mother's who had a literary agent asked to read a synopsis, not knowing the plot. Warily, I e-mailed it to him. I never heard from him again.

So, it's not just our own issues. There are plenty of people out there who can't handle our stories. Sometimes I think that they wished we didn't exist.

#183290 - 09/29/07 08:31 AM Re: Still a secret [Re: Bewlayb1]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

Maybe you could turn this around and look at it a bit differently. After all, this is your life, your past and your information. It belongs to you, not to anyone else. No one has a "right" to know.

I think it's often tempting to look at ourselves in a negative light and consider that we are still keeping the abuser's secret, like we did in childhood. We link our silence with fear, guilt and shame because those feelings were what kept us quiet back then. We suspect that our silence may mean we really are guilty and shameful.

But Jason, silence doesn't have to have that meaning anymore. If I am silent in front of certain relatives because they are toxic assholes and I don't want the grief and hassle that would come with them knowing, I'm just doing what's best for me. If you put your CSA books away, you are doing that for the sake of your feelings of safety, and those are good for you to have. We don't need to prove our innocence by playing the hero and needlessly exposing ourselves to new trauma, stress and anxiety. Who needs that?

See what I mean? As a kid you were keeping the secret because you were a defenseless victim and had no choice, now you're doing it as a matter of your own decision, which you are taking in order to secure what you need for yourself. That's okay. One day you may feel differently and able to open up more, and if you think that would help you I bet you will do it. But for now just remember you are making the decisions now and doing what's best for yourself.

That's a big part of what recovery is all about.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#183307 - 09/29/07 01:18 PM Re: Still a secret [Re: roadrunner]
Paul1959 Offline

Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 525
Loc: NYC
Private does not equal shame. No one should ever know 100% about you except your life partner. It is inappropriate for many people to know about your CSA unless you decide to become an advocate and take that public stand.
I have good friends who have never seen our bedroom/bathroom. It's private. I'm not ashamed of it. It's not a public part of our house. If asked, I would show it too them or if looking at the house, yes. But many things in life - clothing, books, movies, spaces - can all be private. That's part of establishing healthy boundaries.
You are wise to make the books less obvious. If you feel anxiety about them being seen - then take care of yourself and remove them. that is making yourself feel safe and establishing boundaries. no shame in that.

#183467 - 09/30/07 12:15 AM Re: Still a secret [Re: Paul1959]
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
all my friends who have kids know about my abuse ,believe me they pay attention to where their kids are and who thay hang is embarresing but i think its worth it to open their eyes

its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

#183495 - 09/30/07 03:26 AM Re: Still a secret [Re: shadowkid]

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 983
I still have kept the people that know that I was raped to a very select few people . There is nothing wrong with wanting your private life to stay private .
As the Army says "It's on a need to know basis "



"All I can do is be me, whoever that is"

#240899 - 07/29/08 06:56 AM Re: Still a secret [Re: OKIE MIKE]
petercorbett Offline

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2509
Hi, I'm Irishmoose, I'm new here too. There is only one person who knows about my secret, it is also the person who has triggered my deepest stored memories, she is my niece, my sisters daughter. She was sexually abused too and after 2 marriages and 2 kids, she had finally found her sexuality (lesbian). Well I had lost contact with her (being in the military) one isn't usually close by. So in my trying to tell her that she and I are more alike than just uncle and niece, and if anybody in whats left of our extended family understood her it was me, I've been there CSA, well this triggered my memory so here is where I am today. I have an appointment with my military docton on this coming Monday, I hope that I will still have the courage to ask him to help find me a PTSD doctor. So all we can do is keep each other (male survivors) in our hearts and good thoughts overcoming our recovery. Hang in there.

Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.

#240905 - 07/29/08 07:49 AM Re: Still a secret [Re: petercorbett]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: durham, north england
I think Mike put it best, it's a "need to know" basis. For me, there are different levels I use for different things.

1: I've been ill.

This is handy to explain absenses, work not done etc, and covers a multitude of sins. This is one I use quite a lot, and funnily enough by not disclosing the cause, some people get the idea that I don't want to say more.

2: I'm really! not well.

this is actually a different thing, it's not just "I haven't been able to do X because I've been under the whether" it's "there is something actually wrong in my life"

I've used this with less close friends who are compassionate.

3: There's a psychological problem"

this is an odd one. i have several friends who have mental problems, ---- one for example who has clinical depression and actually take the same tablets I do. it's bizarre, but I've occasionally discussed things practically with them. I've admitted there is a cause, but usually i say "well i'd rather not say what that is" and people are willing to let things stop, though I have had people out of compassion who have asked.

4: i was raped.

this is what my family know (what my mum intuited), and a couple of other people. when my tutor had a major crysis at the lack of work I'd done on my phd, i got my mum to phone him (sinse I was too guilty even to speak to him), and because he's a fantastic man i have huge amounts of respect for, ---- not only a great philosopher, incredibly learned but very compassionate I asked my mum to tell him that much as an explanation for why i wasn't able to work and why i wanted to go to part time.

When writing up my application he just put "for severe mental health problems" on the form.

also, on the one occasion when someone went from the "there's something wrong with my life" stage upwards, this is what I told her. She was so shocked that I didn't want to tell her anymore, ---- I hate seeing people hurt by this.

5: all the gorey details, my feelings, what precisely happened.

this is something I've only shared on this site and with two incredibly close friends, and something I really! want to keep private. Even with a T admitting this is hard as hell!

When i'm writing on this site at home with my parents, i always firmly shut the bedroom door and request that people knock before entering, ---- even though they know I was raped.

One day, I'd love to write about this. Sinse my field is ethics, and I do think I can hopefully say something helpful about it, ---- but that's a long way in the future.

sorry about the long rambling post, i just have this hole thing fairly well layed out, and it actually helps me to know what I'm doing.

#241104 - 07/29/08 10:24 PM Re: Still a secret [Re: dark empathy]
deck Offline

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 109
Loc: Indiana
This all seems like very good advice. It's your information to tell. I've only told (with varying degrees of detail) a very few people. I have a great amount of trust and confidence in all of the people that I have shared this with. It is private. You tell who you are comfortable telling.

And I'll also say this. I wouldn't think seeing a book on the shelf would be a good way for a person to find out. It's like accidently walking in on someone at private moment. That person could very well want to be supportive and not know how to approach the situation. So you're not only protecting yourself but you're being considerate of the other person.

If you want to discuss this with a person then you'll feel comfortable and know where and when.

#241233 - 07/30/08 02:55 AM Re: Still a secret [Re: deck]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: durham, north england
One other thing I do is the people I told in stage 4 or five (apart from my family and my tutor), i actually asked them if they wanted to know. this actually makes things easier for me and gets me some good responses, and also gives them a bit of control.

the first friend I told everything to after registering on this site actually said "look, I've known you for almost 7 years, nothing you could tell me could change my opinion, but I know there's always been something wrong in this hole area"

Also, it lets people decide if they can handle it.

one friend of mine had been ill throughout our degree, I wouldn't see her for ages then she'd turn up again suddenly. In our third year she invited me for a drink and actually told me the problem. i don't feel I can betray her confidence, but lets say it was a mental problem (and one many people missunderstand0.

because of this, when i admitted I was having problems myself to her, i offered to say more about them if she wanted on a mutual trust basis.

sinse we're very much in the honesty and space business, she actually said "no, i don't want to know, sinse I'd probably change my opinion of you" and that's how it's stayed.

we've discussed tablets and practicalities, ----- it was actually her who put me onto the university counceling service, but that's as far as it's gone.

Giving people the choice also makes me feel a bit more in control of the hole confession business as well, though of course this could just be my own personal experience.

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