Day 91 – An Affair to Remember

Abuse perpetrators know how to manipulate their victims into believing it is their fault.

For two and a half years I went thru sexual abuse by a male family member.

He spent a lot of time, in the beginning, telling me how special I was. He told me I was beautiful. He told me I was so mature. He told me that I was different than other kids.

All of those things set me up to receive the abuse without question. Now I know that it’s called “grooming”.

But as the abuse becomes more agressive and violent, I decided to tell.

I tried to tell several teachers at school. But what happened was not intervention and, infact, set me up to blame myself even more.

As I’m sharing the story to these teachers, I am explaining it as an “affair” because that’s what I was told it was.

Mr. Perpetrator had me believing that all of this was because he loved me and I was his girl.

Anyway, as I’m describing this to other adults as an affair, I just got strange looks and brush off comments.

Maybe they thought I was having a school girl crush or something. Regardless, no one did anything.

This caused me to believe that I allowed this to happen and was totally to blame.

This was many years ago, so maybe the teachers just werent educated but I was 12 and 13. This man was in his 40’s. How could any adult feel that it was an affair?

The blame and shame have stayed with me all these years.

I’m trying to learn where to appropriately place the blame but its been a struggle.

The results of that abuse was low self esteem, withdrawl, depression, suicide attempts, etc.

As I’m learning to love me, there’s always that negative self talk lingering in my mind.

I’m determined to recover and show him that he didn’t win. I’m determined to educate others on the effects of childhood sexual abuse.

I’m learning to be thankful that I survived but I will never EVER forget that affair.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

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Day 90 – Let Them All Go

It’s the night before my next session with Ms. A and it’s the usual anxiety about what to talk about.

It took me a long time to admit to her and myself that there was more than one perpetrator. And even after that admission, I was still holding on to more secrets.

14 months of therapy and there still things I haven’t shared.

Why? Because it’s reality. Because it’s admitting to yourself and someone else that you were a “throwaway” child. It’s admitting that you had no control over who loved you and cared for you.

I was left alone in situations that no small child or teenager should ever be left in.

I thought it was normal. I thought being abused was part of life that every little girl had to go thru.

I thought that all parents were mean. I thought that all parents were disinterested in their kids lives.

I thought that God was punishing me for being born.

So when I say these things out loud, I can’t deny that it happened to me. I can’t deny that I’m broken and used.

I was ok with being numb. Much less pain that way.

I have a story and I hate it. I want someone else’s story.

My goal is acceptance. My goal is to bring awareness to others. My lifelong dream is to have peace.

But how can I do these things if I can’t tell the secrets?

How do I let them all go?

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 89 – What She Taught Me

I have a close friend who is also a co-worker. She beautiful, well-spoken, talented, and very professional.

When I first met her years ago, I thought to myself that she would never be friends with someone like me.

I always though of myself as the opposite of everything she is.

The one thing that stood out to me is how much she was respected in the office.

Two years ago, I decided to surround myself with at least 5 powerful and influential women.

I learned a lot my observing their dress, behaviors, and their personalities in the workplace. It motivated me to strive to be more successful.

Little did I know that I would be reaching out to these same women for support during my journey with PTSD.

Anyway, back to my friend, who I will call J.P. Last Friday night, I went thru a crisis with some emotional struggles and was distraught.

Without going into detail, J.P. appeared at the exact moment that I needed someone. She had no idea what I was going through or even where I was at for that matter.

She gave me some tough love while also being very compassionate.

Later that evening I was thinking again how put together she is and always knows just what to say. I felt so immature and wondered if she really thought I was crazy.

But after looking at all the details, we both know it was God that placed her there at that exact moment.

It was God who gave her the words to say to me, even though she had no idea what was happening.

A few days later, she and I were having a conversation in her office and we talked again about how that whole evening played out.

But while I was in her office she shared something very personal with me. And with tears in her eyes, she told me about one of her own insecurities.

My first thought was that she was probably just trying to make me feel better. But after I went back to my office, I realized that she was being real with me. She was being authentic and she trusted me with that information.

Two things I learned from that conversation. One, is that everyone is dealing with or working on something. And the second thing I learned is that I have value.

Can it be? Would someone trust ME with their thoughts or feelings?

ME?? The girl who lost her way at 5 years old and has never been found? Me who screams in her sleep and wakes up crying almost every night. Me who doesn’t feel worthy of anyone’s love or trust?

J.P. taught me something that day without even knowing it.

Being authentic tells everyone around you that you are human too.

And being compassionate and empathetic to other people’s needs also makes them feel valuable.

I’m trying to learn to be authentic but it’s hard not to hear the old messages playing in your mind. It’s hard to feel like an adult when your 5 year old self is always haunting you.

I’m working on me and this narrow lense that I view the world thru. Hopefully, I will see clearer each day.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 88 – It Comes in Waves

I know I keep saying this, but this healing journey is no joke.

Recovery is harder than going thru the actual abuse.

When the abuse is happening, you are numb and distant. You can block out everything that is happening simply by imagining that it isn’t happening. Or imagining you are on the beach, or eating an ice cream, or taking a hot shower.

But revisiting the abuse is not so pretty.

You can’t pretend anymore. You can’t disappear in your mind. You can’t unsee what has happened.

It’s a movie that plays on repeat in slow motion. It’s a horror movie that’s not fiction.

It’s reality. It’s your reality.

It’s as if you are on life raft with ocean waves breaking all around you.

No lifeguard. Just you waiting to drown in the next big wave.

It seems like everyone has forgotten that you are stuck out there. They have gone on with their lives and asked you to pull yourself out.

The one thing I know is that if you keep treading water you can get your head up and just breath.

Sometimes you have to go back under to appreciate the big breath you can take when your head is above the water again.

Not knowing how you will make it out is the scariest thing.

But keep your hand outstretched for those who can help you.

You will make it to shore. You will breath again. The waves are a powerful teacher.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 87 – It Couldn’t Be Smooth

Yesterday I saw a picture of a mountain. It was rough and rocky terrain all the way up the mountain.

And I heard the voice of God say this – It had to be rocky so that you would have a place to brace your hands and feet.

I pictured in my mind what a smooth mountain would look like and how one would be able to climb it.

I wanted so badly for my life to go smoothly. It literally has always been rough and rocky.

I couldn’t have elevated myself without those bumps and hurdles. I wouldn’t have grown or learned.

I needed those rocks to determine my next step. I need those bumps to teach me how to climb.

I knew if I could ever get to the top of the mountain, or even a plateau on the side of the mountain, I would be able to see the most glorious sites. I knew if I made it above those rocks, I’d be able to see the bigger picture.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? Just to be able to look on the past and know that I learned all of those lessons, and got all of those bumps and bruises just from climbing what seemed like an insurmountable journey?

I’m not always grateful for the skinned knees and blisters on my hands, but once I get higher on my mountain, I can reach down and help others climb.

Reaching down to grab a hand will give meaning to the journey and help me to leave the dark valleys below.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 86 -Walk a Mile

I’ve had a lot of health challenges in the last few weeks. Currently my foot is broken and I’m having trouble with Anemia.

It has caused me to come to a sudden halt. Not working. Lying around, and trying to be still. Not an easy task for me.

My foot has been broken probably at least three weeks. I talked myself out of the pain.

There aren’t too many types of pain that I haven’t felt in my life. Severe burns, knee injuries, car accidents, sexual abuse, physical abuse, just to name a few.

I was think today how important walking is. And it came to me that walking can be physical walking or emotional walking.

I stay super busy so I dont have to do the emotional walking. I am always on the go. Always busy. And then sleep. Not really much in between.

But now that I have a broken foot, it’s a good time to start emotionally walking again.

It’s just as painful as walking on a broken foot. My life was broken. I just never took the time to stop and listen to my own pain.

Part of my abuse was emotional or verbal. If I cried or didn’t feel well, I was just wanting attention.

So when my foot start hurting, I became a soldier. I work 60 hours each week on it. The pain was a lot but I felt that if I went to the doctor and nothing was wrong, I would feel stupid. Maybe be chastised by the doctor. So I just keep going. When I finally couldn’t handle the pain anymore, I went to the doctor. I told him I thought my potassium was low or my feet were tired from walking on the tile floor. He looked at me as if I had a third eye.

When the x-rays came back, he said it was fractured. I was sad and happy at the same time.

At least the pain wasn’t in my head.

But when I got back to the car, I started to panic about how I would work, drive etc.

Now I’m down. Seeing the ortho doctor tomorrow. Don’t know what the outcome will be but I’m going to walk in there with a smile.

Because what I know is that even though physically walking will be hard, I can still keep walking toward my trauma and PTSD recovery.

Thank you God for carrying me when it hurts to walk. I’m kicking down the brush on my new path.

Happy New Year and thank you for caring about my journey.

Make your own path. Walk towards your own healing and well-being.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 85 – Holiday Haunts

I’ve been quiet. Not blogging because getting thru the holidays is a job in itself.

Between working two jobs and not feeling well, this past two weeks have been miserable.

Holidays in my family usually consisted of some type of drama and for many years it included sexual abuse.

Getting extra attention from a male relative is “cute” and should make you feel special. Everyone notices and comments from time to time, but no one is suspicious.

Why wreck a family get together by suggesting that someone is innapropriate?

Just keep the silence. Just keep the peace. It is your job. It is your responsibility.

As the holidays pass without the traditional family gatherings, the guilt adds to the haunting memories that gather around your quiet time. Sleep time doesn’t exist.

Even drinking alcohol doesn’t drowned the memories.

I woke up this morning being thankful that it was the 26th and we could move past this time of the year.

Healthwise I have some challenges that are contributing to the lack of energy and sadness that has been swirling around in my heart.

I’m missing the enthusiasm I had to heal from this disorder. I’m missing the passion to change the way I feel about myself.

It feels like a vacuum. It feels like a tidal wave. Like a black hole.

I’m praying that I can get back to the business of wellness.

I’m praying for me all the time. Would you join me in those prayers? Not only for me, but all who are trying to heal their broken hearts?

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.