A fish out of water

fish out of water

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!

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7 thoughts on “A fish out of water

  1. I so understand what you mean. I always also wonder who actually has endured sexual abuse that I come across and just hasn’t had the fortune awakening to disclose or confront such things. Are they being real? That’s the question I sways wonder. But yes them and us is what it boils down to inevitably. So glad for this site! Thank you to Adjust remembered for introducing me to us warriors 🙂

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  2. Although I have not experienced what you experienced, I can totally relate when you talk about how you feel left out when your friends mention their parents or family members fondly. Childhood wounds are for real and they could stay with us our whole lives. Over the years, I have let go of the need to feel the same thing as my friends feel. I have also found different ways to heal my emotional wounds. It is a slow and long process. Each one needs to seek out the best way for himself or herself. But I do believe our pain serves a particularly purpose. If anything, it gives us the gift of understanding, and helps others feel less alone in their struggles. Thank you for your honesty in sharing your pain. In empathy, Louisa.

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    • Thank you for your empathy and support. I am glad that you have been able to heal from your wounds. I get what you are saying but I don’t think it’s about wanting to feel the same as friends. My point is that incest and sexual abuse are taboo subjects; not your ideal dinner conversations which means that survivors of sexual abuse feel more cut off and alone. If we were able to talk more openly about it then maybe we would feel less alone.

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  3. Not here, you’re not. You are a shining light.
    I feel the very same. It’s only on-line where I have found a place where I am understood…and accepted. Though I highly value it and it has given me a place where I feel a belonging and a purpose, I want flesh and bone people who I see and look at, into their eyes, see their smiles…or tears.
    One friend who I only knew about five years, died two years back. She knew me, really knew me. I try to look at that loss as more of a gain in that I do what it feels like to loved to my depths and respected without having to relay every tiny detail. She just got me. She had been snatched off the street as a child and raped. But her parents view on it was not to talk about it and therapy was not needed or beneficial. So she too had to stuff her critical wounds down deep. She could talk about it to others, unlike me, because her attacker was a stranger. But it also affected life-long because of her parents stance on being stoic; the PTSD symptoms including panicky feelings of being with groups she didn’t know etc.

    Childhood sexual attacks traumatize deeply, yet for the most part the child is expected to stuff critical, gaping wounds still spurting blood deep down inside of her. That’s the part that wounds, the stuffing it inside, not processing the trauma.
    I wish there were a platform to teach the world how our little girls suffer. Where women talk about this so it could stop or at least diminish instead of carrying on with the same drastic statistics of occurrence. I have a hunch if more talk occurred, more women who have held silent would feel capable to also share what they have held in. There’s so many. It is just that so many won’t talk about it so we don’t know. I suspect many women I’ve met have suffered in such ways but just keep it inside.

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    • I never thought about it like that before but yes you are right, there are many who don’t say they have experienced the same. I know what you mean about wanting someone in th flesh. If only you lived in the same country as me 😄.
      I am so sorry about your friend but you are right to look at it as a gain not a loss, to be seen and understood the way you were by her.
      When I move to London I hope to go for group counselling and meet other women survivors.
      Thank you for always understanding me !

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