This post has been a long time coming… I’ve written so many posts about abuse and how I feel toward my abuser but according to my research I’ve never actually written something aimed at him… I guess the obvious reason for this would be that I’ve been too scared with how hard it would be, and also the fear that it would bring forward a lot of memories that I might not be able to cope with.
So why is now the right time to write it? I think that even though I’ve been unsafe recently, now that I know my medication is being increased, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and the hope that the increase will work, gives me the strength to write this post…
I found out a long time ago that my abuser was reading my blog so there’s every chance that he’ll see this post and my words will actually reach the person they are intended for. On the chance that they don’t though, I hope that these words help other survivors of sexual abuse to see that the things they might be thinking of and the things they might want to say to their abuser, are echoed by other survivors. That having experienced something that can leave you feeling so completely lonely, we can be united in our achievement of having survived!
To my abuser:
Ø After finding disassociating during the abuse helpful in allowing me to get through it, I began turning to it as a coping mechanism years later whenever something difficult happened. Disassociating became very dangerous and unsafe though when I would find myself bleeding or standing in a field with no idea of how I came to be in such a position. I’ve slowly learnt grounding techniques to prevent me from disassociating and I’m still trying to put them into practice because I know that staying in the present is much safer but having used disassociation to survive once – with you – it’s hard to resist utilising it when I’m struggling.
Ø At one point I had to tackle the thought/worry that my mental health would never get better because I would never get rid of the memories. So, I had to learn to accept the memories and realize that rather than dismantle them and throw them in the bin, I have to own them as part of my past and learn ways to cope with them in a healthier and safer way.
Ø I spent years blaming myself for the abuse and holding myself responsible because it was so hard to accept that the person who was to blame, wasn’t going to receive the punishment and justice for it. I also struggled with resisting the urge to blame some of your colleagues, especially after the Police told me that upon interview they’d all said that while they hadn’t witnessed anything, they could believe it to be true and that knowing it had occurred meant a lot of things made sense. I debated holding them responsible for the fact that the abuse managed to continue across six months because all those people hadn’t reported their suspicions!
Ø It took me a long time to determine a label for myself because for some time, the Police referred to be as the ‘victim’ but then mental health professionals repeatedly discouraged that term. And I thought ‘if that’s not who I am, then what’s left?!’ Survivor is what was left. To be honest, I don’t mind either because it is true that I was not the perpetrator in the abuse so that makes me the victim of it, but it’s also true that I – somehow – survived it.
Ø Do you have any ideas how many triggers I’ve had to learn to cope with? Things that have reminded me of my time with you! Things that have reminded me simply of you! There’s this one song I associate with you and when it came on while I was in Hospital, I had a full-on meltdown! In the end, I had to listen to the song on repeat so that it would lose it’s meaning and impact. They call it flooding but it felt like a tsunami!
Ø I still hold so much hatred and anger toward you; and I honestly can’t imagine that it will ever disappear or even lessen because I believe that it’s ‘ok’ for me to be that angry with you. It should be deemed ‘normal’ or at least ‘understandable’ after what you’ve done to me. The hate used to be stronger and more debilitating, but I had to learn that I couldn’t live with it at that level. I was forced to find a level that I could tolerate, and which wouldn’t stop me from living.
Ø I know you got promoted. It took me ages to come to accept that they couldn’t fire you because it would be unfair dismissal, but to hear you’d been promoted into a position that will provide you with even more opportunities to hurt others…? Well that was near-impossible to cope with! I mean, how could I bare knowing that whilst I was suffering, you were just getting on with your life and achieving accomplishments left, right, and centre?! I’ve had to constantly remind myself of my blogging achievements and hope that they counteract your wins.
Ø When the Police told me, you’d groomed me prior to the abuse, I realized that was why what you’d done had left me reluctant to trust anyone ever again. I’d confided in you, told you so many deep, dark thoughts and feelings and you’d used it all as an opportunity to trap and hurt me. After that, how could I ever open up to someone again? It took me a long time to realize that I couldn’t allow your behaviour to mould and impact all of my other relationships.
Ø A little while ago my Mum and I were talking about our childhood and I told her that there was only one thing I’d do differently when I have my own children. I’d make sure they knew more about what I went through – that they knew categorically that those things are wrong and that they knew what to do if those things happened. When I was younger, we barely had any sexual education at school so I didn’t know the terms of ‘rape’ and ‘grooming’ and I only knew it was wrong because it felt wrong that someone should be allowed to hurt another person the way you hurt me.
Ø Reporting what you did to the Police was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make and one of the hardest and scariest things I’ve ever had to do. I understand they need all the nitty-gritty details to make for a believable witness statement, but that didn’t make going into so much detail about all those horrible moments any easier! It was almost like reliving everything all over again.
Ø Having you switch from being a helpful, respectable person to this horrible, disgraceful… man(!), meant that I’ve had so many difficulties coping with change in general ever since. I hate the uncertainty and unfamiliarity and feel completely deserted because I tend to see change as having the rug pulled from under me – even where the change is planned! This has made growing up very challenging because there are so many changes in life – moving to a new house, relationships, career/education… Eventually though, I’ve began to see them more as opportunities to grow, change, and improve.
Ø Since you’ve been reading my blog, it’ll be no surprise that I want you to know about my self-harm. I actually debated including it because I didn’t want to attribute the entirety of my self-harm, and subsequent scars, to you; but self-harming as a coping mechanism did completely stem from what you did to me. Back then – being a teenager – I thought that only I had the right to hurt my own body and so I wanted to take back that control and prove my point! I wanted to hurt myself worse than you were hurting me.
Ø It’ll also be no surprise to talk about my suicide attempts. Again, not every single one of them was solely because of you; but what you did to me definitely created the belief that killing myself was the best way to escape memories, thoughts, and feelings. I wish that knowing I ended up on life support and in intensive care because of your actions was enough to make you feel regretful and confess to the Police, but I know you aren’t that big a person. You aren’t that brave. You aren’t that thoughtful or caring.
Ø Talking about the life support machine, I hope you realise that you almost robbed my Mum of her only Daughter. You almost took me from a lot of people who love and care about me. I’ve learnt to take responsibility for my actions, so I completely understand that a certain degree of this is on me; but, I also think that I wouldn’t have been so desperate for a coping skill if you hadn’t done what you had to me.
Ø Hallucinations may seem less obviously about you, so let me explain: when you were hurting me and I would disassociate, it separated pieces of me from me. Or at least, that’s what the mental health professionals think happened! These voices; they each say something different – stand for something different. A different part of my attitude. Part is childish because that’s all that I was when you did this to me. Part is furious. Another is self-critical… Whilst they may associate to pieces of me, I can’t seem to accept – or tolerate – them being there and so they’re medicated away.
Ø For such a long time, I pretended nothing was wrong. I denied the startlingly raw memories a place in my mind and filled it instead with thoughts of the things in life that I could control. I think that whilst this allowed me to cope for two years, it was maybe my greatest downfall because I wonder whether if I’d reported the abuse sooner, then it might not have hit me as hard as it did doing it two years later. The ability to cope for two years is overshadowed by the difficulties that came with reporting things so long after it’d happened.
Ø I was reluctant to tell anyone what had happened to me because I knew that as soon as I did, that person would have to choose a side. With you pleading innocent, they’d have to decide whether they believed me… or you. Whether they trusted me. Whether they trusted that I hadn’t deserved it. I was so scared of being judged by everyone I knew and loved. I’ve been so lucky that I’ve never had that response though, everyone has always
Ø One response when someone has been told/found out what has happened to me has been the sympathy and then – often – condescension of their response. There’s been so many people who’ve started to look at me as some fragile little thing that could break or snap at the slightest of comments.
Ø Probably the saddest response I’ve had when telling people what you’ve done to me has been empathy. Of course, it’s helpful to know I’m not alone, but it’s also incredibly sad to think that there are others out there who have gone through – or are going through – what you put me through. To think that there’s someone experiencing that level of pain and hurt is so upsetting.
Ø If it weren’t a crime, I would name and shame you on here and on all my social media. I thought a lot about the decision to do that because part of me agrees with the lyrics from Ke$ha’s Praying: ‘by the time I’m finished, they won’t even know your name.’ I think that it means that I’ll have achieved so much in life that no one will give your name any thought or attention. However, I believe that I’d much rather have people be aware of who the ‘person’ is that could do such a thing. I want people to know that they shouldn’t have trusted you. That they shouldn’t have respected or appreciated you. I want people to know who to blame.
Ø If I were able to name you it would be because you’d finally admitted to it and had been found guilty at court. I’ve thought a lot about what it would mean if that were to happen because I don’t know that you serving a jail sentence would matter too much to me. For me, the punishment I’d want for you would be whatever would stop you from doing this to anyone else.
Ø I know you’ve abused others, and you have no idea how much that makes me feel like a failure. To think that nothing I do or say is good enough to stop you from hurting more and more people. As though it’s my responsibility to stop you from abusing children! As thought it’s my fault that you’ve continued to do so. I have to constantly remind myself that I’ve done everything in my power to stop you.
Ø What you did to me has meant I hold so much importance to the word ‘no’ and being able to have some control over something. This can range from little things like telling someone I’m not hungry to refusing the lifesaving treatment for a suicide attempt! That is the hugely wide impact you’ve had on my life.
Ø It’s fourteen years later and I’m being referred for ‘Complex Trauma Therapy’ because so many other things haven’t proved curative! They’ve helped – being in a psychiatric hospital for two and a half years helped. Learning Dialectical Behaviour Therapy helped. The medication helps. But none of it has been the answer because even this many years on, the most I’ve ever talked about what you did was to the Police; and as brilliant as they are, they aren’t the right people.
Ø Finally, I wanted to finish by telling you that the success of I’m NOT Disordered and all of the opportunities it has afforded me will never overpower what you have done to me. But it has taught me that there’s a reason why I survived it all. There’s a point. I have a purpose.
Well, that was so therapeutic! Apologies for how long it is but I thought that if I was going to do something like this then I might as well get it all out! I hope that this post has maybe provided some comfort for others to realise that it’s ok to want to tell your abuser something. It’s ok to feel that things are unfinished, and know that writing it all down has really helped me so maybe it’s something you could try too? I also hope that this has shed light on a lot of behind-the-scenes thoughts and feelings that the professionals might not realize are going on.