Finding out I was sexually abused as a child (or at least finally having someone substantiate my strong suspicions), has been the single most relieving moment of my life.
The thing is: I always knew something wasn’t quite right with me. As a child, due to innocence you assume your environment and everything that happens in it is the normal way for things to be. You believe that all your fears and quirks, thoughts and feelings are perfectly natural and you question nothing… I’m triggering myself here – thinking of church(Question nothing!). You never see your symptoms as being on a list of the DSM lol ..
I read a theory recently that put forth an explanation of why most childhood survivors forget the abuse until a later age. It was always believed that the trauma was so great that the brain hides it in repressed memories to deal with the pain that couldn’t be handled by a child. However, if the child in his/her innocence doesn’t see the abuse as wrong why would the brain interpret it as a traumatic event? Hmm…
The new theory states that we forget because of that, exactly! It was a normal event in our history from our young perspective. We forgot in the way that we eventually forget a childhood toy unless reminded by some random happening (trigger). I like this theory. I have fresh, clear memories of being inappropriately touched by an adult male as a child. However, it didn’t feel inappropriate at the time.
To the point of this post though… (I detour A LOT :))
I have BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) – It is by no means as terrible as it sounds and is at least partly due to childhood sexual abuse/trauma. As I research this condition (empowerment is priceless), I realize that almost every strange thing about me has a cause and most of my fears can be traced back to this occurrence.
I now feel as though I can move forward, head held high knowing that most negative things about me are a product of what happened to me at an age where I was too young to understand. In other words I am not inherently a ‘monster’. Persons with BPD get a bad rap on the Internet, mostly described as overly emotional, moody, manipulative etc. Like any thing else, if we take the time to understand that which we ourselves do not experience it makes a significant difference in what we are able to tolerate… and maybe even empathize?
[Note: I had adopted the false belief that I was inherently a monster after my experience in a spiritually abusive organization.]
BPD, Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD)
Labels that do not define me. Instead, they serve as a road map with a code; showing where I’ve been and the horrors I have survived. Most importantly, they grant direction on how to continue the journey of life in a healthier way :). Am I proud of them? Hmm… Well, I am definitely NOT ashamed. I had no control over the events that led to these diagnoses, but I will certainly do my part to spread awareness, reduce stigma and support other survivors both personally and professionally.
I stand by my belief that there is always an explanation or cause for people being the way they are. It may not justify their actions but at least they can be explained.
The human being isn’t inherently good or bad. S/he is inherently human – Sylphe