I find it difficult to speak to friends who have not experienced childhood sexual abuse about what happened to me and how it has affected me. It’s not the same as talking to my counselor or to women who read my blog and have experienced the same.
When I am feeling low or sad or just having one of those black-hole days, I don’t know how to articulate the pain I feel. I feel there is a disconnect between me and them and that I can never make them understand just how bad it was, and just how bad it feels. I don’t like that there has to be an ‘us’ and ‘them’ but this is what it feels like.
Of course, I know that nobody is lucky enough to have a charmed and flawless childhood but childhood sexual abuse is a severe form of abuse that causes profound harm for survivors.
When I am sitting with friends and they talk about how much they miss their parents, brothers and sisters, I feel so alone. Do I mention why I don’t have parents anymore? Or do I keep very still in uncomfortable silence? When they talk about vivid dreams they have had in a playful way, I freeze. How do I make them understand the dreams I had when I was little about black snakes wrapping themselves around my body and how I have vivid dreams now about my parent’s betrayal. My stories are always darker and words like ‘family’ and ‘parents’ are loaded for me. How do I make them understand what it means to be triggered or what a mother wound feels like
Only two of my friends know about the abuse and with the others who I haven’t told, I feel like a fake. But it’s not something that I want to tell everyone I meet. .
Maybe they will think I am being overly dramatic? I can imagine them thinking ‘what’s the big deal, it happened when you were five?’ Or maybe they will think I am just plain crazy?
I am a fish out of water wherever I go, the one who is swimming against the stream!