Jer, you write:
Clean n sober 16 months now.
Thank you for having the courage to post your truths and questions.
Thanks, Jer, for saying that. I donít feel courageous; I feel like I blathered on about me, me, and more me. My brotherís life and mine are all tangled up together, which is I guess part of what it means to be family. Iíve realized in the past couple of days that when I finally put all these pieces together it was like he was a mirror in front of me. Yes, the image is reversed, but I could easily recognize that person in me. And this was pretty freaky for me. So at the risk of more about me and this being the wrong place to say it, I have to tell you how these responses impacted me, too.
The scope of my minimization, even now, is out of this world. I suppose both the denial and minimization have enabled me to survive all this years.
I always knew there was something wrong with me but I could never understand what it was. I always remembered what my sister did to me but I didn't know what to make of it.
Iím wavering, still. I could describe to you in detail everything that happened, from that first incident with my brother when I was 7 to being raped at 14, without shedding a tear. This from the woman who bawled her eyes out watching ĎNicky, Wonder Dog of the North.Ē! I have always remembered everything - I just canít attach any emotion to it. And, supposedly, as a woman, Iím Ďallowedí. It makes it hard to connect the abuse with what happened in my life afterward.
Sometimes knowing the horrific things that other people suffered makes it easier to feel that 'Oh, it wasn't that bad', too - that Iím being weak, looking for excuses to abdicate responsibility for my own mistakes. No one in my immediate family ever abused me, my parents didnít even believe in spanking, we were only dysfunctional in the garden variety way that many non-abusive families are. Lots of people have endured far worse than I have. Of course, I know it isnít a contest, but it sometimes hard to keep that in mind.
At least I don't deny I have many addictions any more.
Iíve been able to deny or at least minimize my addictions for years. They have been more socially acceptable or hidden Ė work, cigarettes, food, and a secret fantasy life that has insulated me from ever having to risk any honest emotional connection with a lover. I feel lucky that I havenít struggled with substance/alcohol addiction. (Unless you count nicotine.) But my refuges are perhaps easier to disappear into.
I canít tell you anything about recovery. Iíve just recently realized that I have anything to recover from and I am struggling with it. And I canít tell you anything about what it means to you as men to be survivors. All I can say is ďYeah, I know what you mean.Ē And, for whatever reason, I really need to say it.
Jer, Mike, I know what you mean.
This has been a remarkable week or so. I didn't expect that I would find here what I did find. I really don't know how to adequately express my thanks to everyone for your support and your intended or unintended counsel.