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Tree Climbers is a community diary series for survivors of childhood sexual, physical, psychological and emotional abuse and those who support them. Tree Climbers sustain each other, learn about childhood abuse, recover, and discover and create ways to protect children.

Trigger Warning - The next paragraph holds brutal words. Feel free to scroll past it.

In a typical diary, you might read of someone who survived the grooming (this does not mean hair brushing), the fondlings, the rapings, the beatings, the mutilations or the death threats perpetrated by a sadistic egocentric molester of an innocent. Criminals abuse their victims. For years. Families refuse to believe the victims. For years. Victims report being dead inside. For years. Families and society have stifled the voices of victims and magnified and perpetuated the abuse. For years. We weep. We rage. We heal. We inspire.

We invite you to climb or be lifted up in our safe tree with us. We have broad branches, sunshine, hammocks, cushions, and plenty of tissues. Comment on the diary, ask questions, and share your perspective or even your story. If you are too overwhelmed to speak, you can just witness. That's okay. A few of the Tree Climbers are as silent as a jury.

Tree Climbers Rule: Be kind.

No  T r o l l s. When we were children, we had no power. But we are no longer children. Climbing trees is not healthy for trolls - everybody knows that. If you act like a troll in our tree, we will calmly watch while you become invisible.

Please Note thet there are some very difficult passges to read in this diary.

Forty six finally now a father and a lifelong dream fulfilled, holding my beautiful firstborn child safely cacooned in this miracle moment I cradled this little life so gingerly in my arms, the soft swaddling blanket wet now with so many tears as the nurse happily announced a healthy girl. On the most joyful day of my life gazing at her little face and serenity blue eyes the busy of the emergency room noise faded, the all too familiar darkness often buried sometimes shallow, the sinister shadow of my childhood abuse dared whisper me this question on this of all days.

'Will you do those things to her?'

The moment then so unfairly interrupted, swept in a rage from so deep within my core it swayed me as I stood there under the dry flourescent glare of so many unforgiving lights. There was a sudden unsteady, my whole body tremored as if the floor was slowly being peeled away. Her mother invisible surrounded now by a blue crowd of doctors and nurses repairing her body from the emergency C-section, hours of waiting and pushing and breathing in a heartstopping instant turned into a frantic rush from our room through doorways and hallways to an operating room stacked with monitors and instruments and frenetic activity, so many intense eyes above so many masks muffling commands. Without warning her blood pressure disappeared, alarms sounded and concerned faces appeared as if from thin air, faces we didn't recognize after spending all our time in the private birthing room trying to make this miracle happen with as little trauma as possible, it was not to be. The classes we took together, the reading and the practicing did not and could not ever prepare for this traumatic turn of events and how could it really. It all seemed incredibly unfair and cruel to my wife, after nurturing this baby and her body for nine months and taking every possible precaution to ensure a safe and healthy delivery, her body now was seemingly not hers, taken over by others for what felt like an eternity as I stood there in my own scrubs and mask utterly helpless and afraid.

The darkness of abuse casts an eternal shadow and forever stains the psyche of the abused, the memories buried deep our temporary refuge but there is no true escape. We silently scream for a normalcy we suspect will always be denied us, reach in vain for some semblance of certainty knowing full well that whatever tentative calm exists in our daily lives might be shattered so unexpectedly, triggered by a rogue image, a random scent or a sound that reminds us of painful events no one should ever be reminded of. There is such a random unfairness to it all, the flood rush of helplessness and fear in the recall of events we had no control over as trusting, innocent childern unfolds over and over as adults as it did on this day to me.

I struggled all my life to unravel and understand the perpetual pain that was my childhood wondering where all those young years went, my innocence lost so early there exists no good memory other than that flood rush of fear that triggered this unfair recall. As a kid my ever vigilant eyes closed at night against my will only to be confronted with the anxiety of another day which always seemed to arrive, despite my unanswered nightly prayers for it all to end. The fairness of the benevolent God I tried to believe in did not intervene on my behalf, faith offered no protection from the blows to my psyche and never helped prevent the everpresent bruises to my body. As the years passed from First Communion to my Confirmation, these rites of passage seemed so empty and meaningless despite what I was taught, a refuge I so desperately needed became an emotional extravagance I could not afford.

The only belief that remained was hell, I knew it existed because I lived it everyday.

Mornings promised just another day to absorb punishment so random, so irrationally administered by a violent schitzophrenic father twisted and semingly hellbent on destroying anyone in his life. My deaf sister luckily escaped physical harm, she was simply ignored, marked as damaged goods and not worthy of any love or attention. My mom lived in absolute terror but remained defiant and did her best to shield me, tossed aside time and time again her maternal instincts to protect me never wavered. And just as I thought it couldn't possibly get worse, that I had absorbed all the blows and lost all value and self esteem there was to lose, evil found a way to somehow compound itself.

In what was described as a fun weekend with a family with two kids who lived in a beautiful house on the shore of Long Island, my sister and I were taken by my father for the weekend. There I met a boy around my age and a younger sister and a woman of similar stature to my own mom and whose name was the same as hers. The father of this family never arrived that weekend, in his place was my own father lavishing praise and affection on these children and mother as my sister and I stood there confused and ignored.

We were twelve and eight years old and had never once seen this father at our house.

We had just met our replacement family and upon our return home, my father announced his intention to leave us and apparently wipe clean any memory in his twisted head that we ever existed, of the mistakes we were to him. Each night when he got home from work, we were woken up and herded into our livingroom as he paced back and forth for hours, exploring outloud the plans to kill us and make it all look like an accident so he could collect the life insurance and start his life over with his perfect instant family. This ritual went on for weeks and to punctuate his intentions, he poisoned my beautiful german shephard Flash, my loyal loving companion for so much of my childhood.

I loved that dog so much and nothing will ever repair that pain, I grieve her still.

The police officers shrugged their shoulders and chuckled the next day as my mom frantically told them how my dog died and begged them to believe what my father had planned for us. Totally defenseless now, we buried Flash in our backyard and that was the last day we spent in our house, we left in my uncles' car with only the clothes we were wearing. I've written several diaries describing the poor Brooklyn neighborhood we landed in, the confusion and the sexual abuse I endured at the hands of a man who offered me a place to stay for the night after I ran away from home at 14.

As a person who has endured emotional, psychological, physical and sexual abuse I've doubted my ability and fitness to be a parent more often than I can remember as the contemplation of having a child, the paternal desire to start my own family and somehow try and make things right, would surface from time to time. Even though I never inherited my fathers mental disease or the alchoholic DNA that existed in every extended family and in almost every aunt and uncle on both sides, there was an unbearable fear that I was possibly harboring a demon, that I would somehow, someday in a moment of weakness snap and become that horrible person, an abuser to my own child. I spent years repairing, reading, in consultation confronting my abuse and vowed if I ever became a father, the abuse in my family would end with me.

But there I was in the emergency room holding my own child hearing that voice daring to whisper those doubts again,

'Will you do those things to her?'

My beautiful, brilliant daughter just recently turned 12 and during one of her weekly sleepovers we started talking a little about my childhood, most of which she knows very little about, purposely so. I told her for the first time in general terms about my experience as a child, that I was hit a lot by my father, that there was always anger in our house when I was a kid, that I didn't do well in school because of it, that abuse is usually repeated by parents who have been abused by their parents. I told her about the moment I cried as I held her in my arms for the very first time and as the nurse came to take her to be held by her mom, I whispered in her ear a solemn promise that I would never, ever do those things to her.

She listened intently absorbing all this new information and after a few moments she looked up at me with those serenity eyes and offered the greatest gift I have ever been given,

'Daddy, thank you for not abusing me.'
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Follow the Tree Climbers.† If you click the red heart (♥) or the word "Follow" next to "Tree Climbers" at the top of the home page of the Tree Climbers, our diaries will be delivered directly to your Stream.
Join Tree Climbers. You are welcome to join us. To do so, send a private message via kosmail to SallyCat for an invitation to join the group.

Special diaries and a radio broadcast. If you missed the first few days of the Tree Climbers, we recommend that you read the following three diaries and also listen to a radio interview.

• F**k Joe Paterno by Rebecca, January 22, 2012.
• “No One Spoke Up for Us": For The Children Who Had No Voice and for Those Finally Finding Theirs by Rebecca, January 26, 2012.

• In Solidarity. There is No True Justice for a Crime That Lasts Forever by dear occupant, January 26, 2012.

• Roxine's radio interview. On Dr. Laura's radio show on November 11, 2011, Roxine read her letter on air (8 minutes). You can read the text in "No One Spoke Up for Us."
 Technical questions? See the Daily Kos Frequently Asked Questions, found also at the bottom of every Daily Kos page.  
 † Following. Once you become a member of Daily Kos, you can Follow (subscribe to) any diarist or group. From your home page, when you click on the tab "My Stream," a page will open that looks like an email Inbox. To see what a Daily Kos Stream looks like: SallyCat's "My Stream" page.

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1.800.656.4673.

5:28 PM PT: i'd like to thank the kossacks who are responsible for the community spotlight diary selection. we Tree Climbers are grateful for your support allowing our cause to be brought into the light.

thank you so very much.

Originally posted to House of LIGHTS on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 12:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Rape and Domestic Violence and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  again... (22+ / 0-)

    words that spill out honestly and poetically... and profound, but with deep hurt.  Like old scars from deep wounds.

    (((((((((((((((((dear occupant))))))))))))))))))))

    I'm glad to see you again - and hope all is well with you and yours.

    All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

    by kishik on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 12:44:33 PM PDT

  •  Tears for that little boy lost... (27+ / 0-)

    And good tears for the awesome adult you have become....a lot of loving and giving and caring.

    The cycle can be broken...you and other Tree Climbers are that proof. A lot of triggers there for me and that's okay. But I stand ready to give hugs and love to you. We are stronger together.  More later...

    Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

    by SallyCat on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 12:48:44 PM PDT

  •  You have won. (17+ / 0-)

    If you do not believe that there is an ongoing war on women, then you aren't paying attention. h/t The Pootie Potentate

    by glorificus on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 01:24:55 PM PDT

  •  There is a commentary in a local papers today... (18+ / 0-)

    By Raymond Broderick, who I believe has done a lot of good work to help kids try to heal after abuse. A print friendly version is here.

    Here is a little part of it.

    A national survey conducted by Hope Shining, in conjunction with the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center (the Washington, D.C., equivalency of Kids’ FIRST, Lane County’s child advocacy center), found that:

    Despite their personal experiences and their overwhelming concern with sexual abuse, many Americans simply do not get involved or contact authorities.

    When actually confronted with suspected child abuse, only 6 percent of Americans said they contacted authorities.

    So sad, and so stupid. Thank you dear occupant.
  •  Forgive my typing (18+ / 0-)

    I am crying and can't seee too good.

    I can only admire the fact that you broke the cycle and your daughter will have a very different way of parenting.  My story is not as sad as yours but I can remember being very young and thinking that I would never do what my parents did. I read parenting books since I was a teen and when I finally had children, I tried to parent from my "thiking adult."  There were times I got into the old tapes and scared myself.  Oddly enough, my children were not scared of me just tried to calm me when I got into the nasty tapes.

    But it sounds like you do an awesome job as a parent and and as a person.

    Blessings

  •  The abuse ends here. Our children will NEVER know (14+ / 0-)

    the pain, sorry, heartbreak...will never question their worth, value, self...will never take scalding hot showers trying to wash away a layer of filth that never quite gets clean...will never cower in the corner of the elevator when the scent of Irish Spring is present...will never run away from work experiencing, for the first time in 30 years post-abuse, their very first panic attack.

    No, my dear friend, our children will not know the history we have shared.  The abuse stops here.  The abuse stops now.  Our children will have the life we didn't.  And we will be all the better for it.

    Tears cannot convey how your story touched me, but just know they fall every so quietly across my keyboard.

    Thank you for sharing - yet another part of your story
    Roxine

    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley

    by Roxine on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 04:25:34 PM PDT

    •  roxine, i wish you could have seen the expression (13+ / 0-)

      in her eyes when she said those words to me, i will never forget that moment for as long as i live.

      she looked up at me with those serenity eyes
      when i mentioned in my comment to sallycat that it took so long for me to put this diary to words, i was 12 when all this occured, when her 12th birthday arrived it triggered the connections and the words started writing themselves.

      she is a miracle and she will continue to be a miracle. watching her in the world, unencumbered is worth everything i ever went through to get here.

      you have done the same with your children and you should be proud roxine, my freind. we have prevailed and we will continue to prevail and allow others to prevail. i feel so honored to be a part of the Tree Climbers.

      hugs and much love to you, roxine.

      And if I shed a tear I won't cage it, I won't fear love. Sarah McLachlan

      by dear occupant on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:15:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When my daughter was born... (12+ / 0-)

    ... I also swore that it ends with me.  

    Our stories are very different, dear occupant, and yet there is also so much that I recognize from my own experience.  I wish you peace and blessings, my friend.

  •  Thank you for sharing your story (12+ / 0-)

    While I haven't been abused, I know so many people who have been. The pain clearly lingers (and sometimes torments) but many have gone on to have beautiful families built on love, trust, and respect.

    I salute your courage, determination, and strength. You are doing the right thing by sharing so openly so that others will understand and/or know they are not alone.

    Heartfelt blessings and love to you.

  •  Thank you for the courage (12+ / 0-)

    to share your story, and to break the pattern of abuse.

    The optimist sees the glass as half-full. The pessimist sees the glass as half-empty. The realist just knows she's thirsty.

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 07:18:27 PM PDT

  •  Thanks. (10+ / 0-)

    I have been following the progress of this group.

    You will not ever repeat the cycle, because you know exactly what it is, and you are so very aware of it.

    That's a massive part of the battle.  And you are a strong person to talk about it.

    My oldest kids know about things that happened when I was a kid. Of course they are adults now.  

    Gah. OK that made me feel old. LOL.

    The cycle stopped with me too.  

    Peace.

    Fuddle Duddle--- Pierre Trudeau.... Canadian politics at......A Creative Revolution

    by pale cold on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 09:45:41 PM PDT

  •  I am so, so sorry about Flash (10+ / 0-)

    My dog was my lifeline through a childhood less nightmarish than yours: a sweet soul who did not survive my leaving for college. I understand the awfulness of that grief.

    I also know she loved you and would never have wanted you to suffer that grief.

    •  asym, Flash was such a gentle soul. all the kids (10+ / 0-)

      in my neighborhood knew her and would come to visit. she was a very large dog yet she was always so patient with all activity when kids got excited around her.

      she was especially popular during snowstorms, we had a huge red flyer wooden sled and we would all pile on and she would pull us around the neighborhood for hours. what a great dog she was.

      i'm sorry for your dog asym, it's very hard to lose our childhood pets.
      it really leaves a mark. thank you for your kind words and for giving me a chance to talk about Flash.

      peace.

      And if I shed a tear I won't cage it, I won't fear love. Sarah McLachlan

      by dear occupant on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 04:30:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My God, to kill a dog.....there are no words (9+ / 0-)

        really dear occupant.  But then the people who abuse helpless, defenseless, loving little kids.....there are no words for that either.

        Republicans only care about themselves, their money, & their power.

        by jdmorg on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:08:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  jd, living in that environment all my life, the (6+ / 0-)

          abuse was my 'normal', it never occurreed to me as a kid that others didn't live this way too but when he killed my dog, i remember being really terrified all of a sudden. my mom certainly saw this as a serious escalation and got us out just in time.

          i not a person who hates very often, he made me understand what hate meant for the first time. i will never forgive him for doing that to her.

          And if I shed a tear I won't cage it, I won't fear love. Sarah McLachlan

          by dear occupant on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 02:52:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  "it's very hard to lose our childhood pets" (8+ / 0-)

        It's hard as an adult, too.  As a kid, we had cats, but I was never particulary close to them.  And I was actually rather scared of dogs.

        But when my son was about 15, he brought home a stray puppy who had been abandoned.  Carrie was some kind of golden retriever mix.  And she was my constant companion for the next 13 years.  We went jogging together.  She was my only company for many solitary trips to our ranch.  If I went outside to work in the yard, she was right there with me.

        We lost her about 5 years ago.  Other than my parents' deaths in the last decade, I grieve her loss more than just about any others.  I didn't know you could get so attached to ana animal.  But she was more than that.  She was my best friend for many years, if that makes any sense.

        But to lose your Flash, when she was yur only true support in the world.  I have no words.

        Politics is like driving. To go forward, put it in "D". To go backward, put it in "R".

        by TX Freethinker on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:31:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  tx, i just recently wrote about my wife and i (7+ / 0-)

          losing our 13 year old Lexi. it was just so hard, they are our 'always' freinds, they never let us down, are always there with that always love. believe me, i understand how you feel, it makes a lot of sense to me, tx.

          yeah, Flash was something special and she was my support, she protected me many times just guarding the doorway to my bedroom, she knew exactly what she was doing too. what a wonderful dog she was.

          And if I shed a tear I won't cage it, I won't fear love. Sarah McLachlan

          by dear occupant on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:01:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I can totally see Flash pulling you kids (7+ / 0-)

        around, tumbling off the sled into snowbanks, piling on, laughing, having the sled slide out from under you when you were the last one on it, being sandwiched between your friends's legs, stabilized by their knees and stabilizing the one in front of you. And you kids totally insulated from the cold with layers and layers and scarves and red wrists and cold laugh sniffles.

        I think Flash loved all that ruckus and knew she was the source of all the tumbling laughing. She was the source-of-laughter dog and knew it.

        Please sign angelajean's petition to FLUSH RUSH from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

        by 2thanks on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 02:26:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  2thanks, that's exactly how we did it too. we (5+ / 0-)

          would all squish tight together with each others legs wrapped around each others waist, like a kid chain. it was awesome fun, Flash would get impatient with us when we tried to fit too many on and took too long and she would start to howl like a wolf, which got all us kids howling too.

          she was the best, thanks for letting me talk about her and remember her so well. it helps a lot. i had the weeps all week thinking about her, 2thanks.

          And if I shed a tear I won't cage it, I won't fear love. Sarah McLachlan

          by dear occupant on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:08:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Blessings upon you, dear occupant, and upon (7+ / 0-)

    all who resonate with your message.

  •  Bless you for your daughter's childhood (9+ / 0-)

    I too grew up in a very abusive environment (when not with grandparents) at the hands of an adoptive father.  I vowed the abuse would not extend to the next generation and I am happy to say that I did it.  I have three loving, wonderful children (can we still call them that after they hit 21?).

    The teen years will test your patience, but I know you will make it too!

    Thank you for the courage to tell your story (and all the tree climbers).  

    Namaste

    I will speak out whenever and wherever I see racism. Silence is not an option! Please support NFTT 2012

    by Actbriniel on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 04:42:25 AM PDT

    •  all these stories of so many of you ending the (6+ / 0-)

      abuse with your children.....that makes the difficulty of writing this diary so worth it. thank you all for that.

      actbriniel, thank you for telling us about your great success in ending the abuse in your family, that does my heart good to hear that. i'm so happy for you.

      the teen years are upon me, texting has arrived :-O

      And if I shed a tear I won't cage it, I won't fear love. Sarah McLachlan

      by dear occupant on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:24:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you dear occupant. I too worried (9+ / 0-)

    endlessly about having my own children.  I grew up after the abuse thinking I would not be fit to raise children and lived in the horror of the possibility that I would snap or that because it was "baked in the cake" so to speak with the abuse starting at 8 yrs old, that I would certainly too be an abuser.
    God knows how I worried about this.  I also knew that I would break that cycle of abuse in my family.  I gave birth to 3 beautiful children and broke that abuse cycle I am happy to say.  My kids have had a good, nurturing life.  Not perfect ~ I can be a screamer from time to time, but overall a very healthy loving life.  So the cycle was broken with me.
    This here:

    'Daddy, thank you for not abusing me.'
     
    is unbelievable!  I am speechless and sobbing with sadness and wonder.

    Republicans only care about themselves, their money, & their power.

    by jdmorg on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:52:47 AM PDT

    •  so much has been lifted from my heart hearing all (5+ / 0-)

      your stories. jd, i worried just as you did. it was horrible and how do you tell your partner about these doubts, how could that possibly sound 'normal' to someone who hasn't experienced abuse the same way? it's a terrible secret to have to keep, i'm just so glad it's over.

      and you succeeded too! i hope you're very proud of yourself jd, you deserve it! thank you for letting me know i wasn't the only one.

      much love and hugs to you, jd.

      And if I shed a tear I won't cage it, I won't fear love. Sarah McLachlan

      by dear occupant on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:39:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  DO, I had those same thoughts (7+ / 0-)

    when I found out I was having a girl I was terrified. My abuser involved me in the abuse of his daughter. I could never have relationships with other females because I was always haunted by that, and bombarded with the intrusive thoughts. Always afraid I would develop a kind of tourettes syndrome and offend on them. I had the same fears with my daughter. It made it very difficult to bond with her. I was afraid to breastfeed her, like it might flip some kind of switch or something. Diaper changes were terrifying.

    What are you supposed to do? You can't exactly bring this up at mommy and me. I knew that if I talked about it no one would understand and I would probably seem suspect. I could lose custody of her.

    It remains a barrier. As she is getting older now-closer to the age I was when it happened, and starting to do what kids her age do and explore her body, its getting harder and harder. It is ultimately one of the reasons I finally disclosed. I do not want my issues to affect her. I want her to grow up with healthy views on sexuality. I want to be able to let her go on playdates, sleepovers...I found out that my thoughts were not uncommon at all, and almost every Csa survivor experiences them if they become parents. Many choose not to even have children because of the fears. But our children are in fact less likely to suffer abuse at our own hands. It is not contagious or genetic. These thoughts are symptoms of PTSD...knowing that does help. But it still robs me of a full  relationship with my daughter :(

    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

    by SwedishJewfish on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:44:10 PM PDT

    •  But... (7+ / 0-)

      it's what you set forth in this little human being that is part you, SJF... it's what you put forth as her legacy.

      Relationships, even family ones, are ever-evolving.  Ever-transforming!

      It may be that one day, your daughter will reach back and teach you a thing or two... like first say Thanks... and then let you understand that you did everything right, and nothing wrong, and you have nothing to forgive in yourself as a mother.  That's when you will be fulfilled.  It will come.

      IT WILL COME.

      My mother told me growing up she couldn't put aside her anger with her mom, because her mom allowed her to be beat by her father.

      But her relationship evolved, transformed and grew as she grew older, as her kids (my sibs and me) grew older, and when she gained a certain perspective through her own life's experiences.

      Have hope, SJF.  

      ((((((((((((((((((((((((Rebecca)))))))))))))))))))))

      All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

      by kishik on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:34:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  sjf, this was a total PTSD episode. i knew it at (7+ / 0-)

      the time it was happening too and there was nothing i could do to stop it. it made me really angry because it was my fathers voice and he had no business being there.

      i was hoping someone would bring the PTSD issue up. i didn't want to say it in the diary, i wanted to try and write about how it felt and why it happened, to maybe give those who don't understand, a window to how it feels.

      sjf, your story is an example of why abuse never ends, its tenticles are far reaching throughout our lives.

      What are you supposed to do? You can't exactly bring this up at mommy and me. I knew that if I talked about it no one would understand and I would probably seem suspect. I could lose custody of her.
      i've also been faced with the 'what are you supposed to do or say' predicament more times than i want to remember, it's awful. you feel trapped which ever way you choose, it's a minefield.
      I could never have relationships with other females because I was always haunted by that
      i been there too sjf, 99% of my relationships have been with women, never really trusted men throughout my life, it's something i'm getting a little better at these days.

      i'm so sorry you experienced so much pain sjf, you are such a brave soul. i admire so much. your courage started this group and we are all so grateful for that.

      much love and hugs to you.

      And if I shed a tear I won't cage it, I won't fear love. Sarah McLachlan

      by dear occupant on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 04:06:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  dear dear occupant, I never had death threats (6+ / 0-)

    to me, to my family members, or to my pets from a parent. Nope, never had that.

    When you tell me about death threats and your poisoned Flash, my heart is eggs spinning in a bowl, whooshed by a metal egg beater. My heart is the eggs. My sternum spins and flails at the eggs, and something in my chest rips.
    ... ... ...
    As usual, my right eye ups and cries first, but my left eye is never far behind.  

    Thank you for telling me (us) about what happened to you. I am sorry it did. With these 5 words I lift your inner child up (not futilely, I hope) above the tsunamic tide that tried to sweep you under. But of course you lifted him long before I did.

    I too swore to my child when I first held her that I would not repeat the horrors bestowed on me. It was a wordless soulcry and a lifecry. I too vowed I would not deliver these crimes unto the next generation. And did not.

    My vision of the tree we climb, the lights floating, has shifted. The lights are not now just ourselves, candles inviting others; the lights are now the stories we leave hanging in the tree, to guide others to and along the branching paths of healing.

    May many visit this your story, dear occupant, and heal from it, as I have.

    May peace prevail in life.

    Please sign angelajean's petition to FLUSH RUSH from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

    by 2thanks on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 02:10:24 PM PDT

    •  You know what's scary? (6+ / 0-)

      All of the kids who were abused as children, but don't have the support of a group like Tree Climbers.  I'm afraid many of them won't be able to break the cycle like you brave souls here have done.

      Politics is like driving. To go forward, put it in "D". To go backward, put it in "R".

      by TX Freethinker on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 02:44:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that... (6+ / 0-)

        there are many strong and resilient souls out there.  Many, yes, that may not ever have that support to break the cycle, but many still that say -

        NO MORE!

        My mother hinted at severe beatings she got growing up from her father.  Considering that she never brought us to visit her father when we were children, you can imagine then, that the beatings were real.  She did go to his funeral.  But she rarely spoke with him.

        She was the only one who got these beatings.

        But she never ever inflicted physical abuse on any of her children.  She probably also made that vow to never inflict harm on any of her kids.

        So the cycle can be broken.

        But I know it helps, too, to have a place where people can speak their fears, tell their stories... at a place where there is no judgment.

        ((((((((((((((((((((TX Freethinker))))))))))))))))))

        All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

        by kishik on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:26:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  oh 2thanks!!! (5+ / 0-)

      what you wrote was so beautiful.

      Thank you...

      May peace prevail in life.

      Absolutely!!!!

      All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

      by kishik on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:22:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  2thanks, i was little worried about you, thanks (5+ / 0-)

      for checking in and writing such a hearfelt response to my story. i was so anxious about this diary, i thought this would all be too much to absorb and maybe it is but look how many other stories are being told....it's really amazing what we have here.

      My vision of the tree we climb, the lights floating, has shifted. The lights are not now just ourselves, candles inviting others; the lights are now the stories we leave hanging in the tree, to guide others to and along the branching paths of healing.
      i'm right there with you, 2thanks.
      you are vey special, much love and hugs to you and your children.

      And if I shed a tear I won't cage it, I won't fear love. Sarah McLachlan

      by dear occupant on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 04:18:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I had to call the NSA hotline this morning (7+ / 0-)

    (sorry to hijack do, but I can't bring myself to write a diary about this)

    Trigger warning....

    I had one of those nights where you fight sleep because every time you start to fall into it you wake up gasping for air, because I kept seeing his shadow in the doorway and I just knew I was going to have a dream about it. I was going to get raped in a dream...it was going to feel and seem as real and vivid as the day it happened. I kept fighting it till almost 5am and then he won.

    Worse, he involved my daughter. I couldn't even bring her to school. I can barely function today, and it's horrible. I know it was a dream, doesn't make it feel any less real though.

     This really sucks. 17 years later and that pos is still able to hurt me.

    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

    by SwedishJewfish on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:25:42 PM PDT

    •  I'm so sorry (6+ / 0-)

      I really don't know what else to say.

      Politics is like driving. To go forward, put it in "D". To go backward, put it in "R".

      by TX Freethinker on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:28:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know it sucks... (7+ / 0-)

      but it's because all of what you're doing recently, pushing to accomplish Tree Climbers, opening up, telling your story - putting yourself out there supporting others... listening, advising, researching... calling....

      all of what is going on will bring up these memories, feelings, nightmares.

      But you have power in your dreams, Rebecca.  If you fall into the realm of sleep and nightmares, your power is there.  You can change your dreams.  You can change the endings.  You can. fight. back.

      You need to tap on that power.  they're dreams.  Just dreams.

      You are here.  You are strong.  You will defeat the nightmares.

      All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

      by kishik on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:48:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  On a further note and a serious one ... (6+ / 0-)

      it is good to know that Survivors of CSA can call the Hotline for real conversation.

      I missed that in all my learning.

      Others probably did too.

      Please sign angelajean's petition to FLUSH RUSH from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

      by 2thanks on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:42:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I actually called them to see (7+ / 0-)

        if they had counselors or something...I have Medicaid which covers basically nothing, no real clinical services. I spent most of the morning trying to find a place that would take me but there was nothing.

        RAINN will provide me with 6 counseling sessions, completely free of charge. They also have survivor groups. I did one of those when I was 17, for adolescent rape survivors (after a second incident) and it was really helpful but probably didn't work as well as it could have because I did not address the Csa. Kind of figured no one would believe it happened to me twice...come to find out now that Csa often results in repeat re-victimization into adulthood. I had 3 more sexual assaults before I turned 22, and was in multiple abusive relationships (including, unfortunately, my daughters father) including one that almost killed me. Also had a gun held to my head twice, and many many fights (I loved picking fights with big mean men, for some strange reason)

        I had no idea until I talked to other survivors that this wasn't all that abnormal, within our unfortunate little community.

        The challenge is how do you talk about all of this outside that group? Most people would think you were making it up. I probably would too if I didn't actually live through it myself.

        The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
        Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

        by SwedishJewfish on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:42:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Therapy ideas (6+ / 0-)

          I have obtained much benefit from many therapy styles and structures. From psychologists, social workers, ministers, Alanon-type support groups. I have also NOT benefited from certain styles and structures. Finding the right fit takes time.

          Universities sometimes have low-cost clinics/sessions in which grad students are supervised by teachers in required year-long internships. The best therapist I ever found was referred by a friend and charged sliding-scale fees.

          Another time a group of us got together who wanted to work on a particular life-skills life-growth method (based on a John Bradshaw book). Once we had the group, then we searched for and negotiated with a therapist. Actually, that therapist did something unethical, and we had to fire them and find a replacement.

          (This comment is not just for you, Rebecca.)

          Please sign angelajean's petition to FLUSH RUSH from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

          by 2thanks on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:31:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  One thing I definitely want to do then (5+ / 0-)

            in addition to finding that myself (I will look into it for sure) is make it easier for other people to find help like that. I could not even believe how bad it was out there...i called all these places and as soon as I said Medicaid they acted like i was some bag lady...I just called the NSA hotline because I had no idea where else to turn.

            My current "therapist" is a 20 something grad student and a frat boy. Its a residents clinic, so I get a new one every year. My last one was amazing...this one sucks. He has a major attitude problem and he's a man. I am expected to sit alone in a room with a man younger than me who lectures me like I'm a child and find this therapeutic somehow...I only go there because he dispenses my meds.

            The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
            Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

            by SwedishJewfish on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:03:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  great. (4+ / 0-)

              great that you can get your meds. Not so great for at least 3 reasons.

              does your university have a social work school?

              talk therapy changes brain anatomy.

              My best, most empathic, listening, understanding-me-as-me and making-great-nonjudgmental-comments teaching therapist was a social worker in private practice. She was the best by orders of magnitude.

              One of the best things she taught me was trying never happens.

              They could learn a lot from you and you could have a meaningful female connection. They would understand the trust origins of requesting a female. Plus there are more female SWs than males imho, although that is changing/has changed. You can get a lot done in a year.

              (Again, not just for you, Rebecca. I sense others needing this thread.)

              Please sign angelajean's petition to FLUSH RUSH from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

              by 2thanks on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:47:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm going to be moving pretty soon (4+ / 0-)

                so I'm not sure how invested I could get with anyone here...I  will certainly look into that though for the future, maybe try to set something up for when I move. I have had not so great experiences in therapy, but my therapists have mostly sucked.

                I have read a lot on trauma psychology in the past 3 months though, and now realize that it is important to get some kind of treatment. I have also been misdiagnosed my entire life. I probably wouldn't even need most of the meds I'm on now if I was properly diagnosed and treated.

                I think a lot of people need this info....if you are lurking reading this, read this book right now!

                http://www.scribd.com/...=

                It changed my entire outlook and was one of the most helpful things I've ever read. I'm reading it for the 2nd time now.

                The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
                Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

                by SwedishJewfish on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:03:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Dreams - Nightmares - and Discoveries (5+ / 0-)

    I wrote this on November 25, 2011 - 14 days after I went "public" with my story on the Dr. Laura show.  I was attending a training course and had been "outed" by one of my classmates who had heard the interview.  This was day 2 of the class and I had horrible dreams that I documented below:

    I had a dream last night – well, if truth be told, multiple dreams.  The visuals are quite disturbing and have left me feeling unsettled this morning.
    And as horrific these dreams are, I think they are telling me something.

    In the first dream, there are twins, infants, who are in a crib and they have drowned.  They are covered with a layer of water but it is too late, their voices will never be heard.  The image in my mind is innocence buried, you can see the innocence, but the child has died.

    In the second dream, I am driving along a road and I pull over to stretch my legs in front of a house on a quiet street.  As I get out of the car, another car rips into the driveway of the house on my right and a man jumps out of the car with a gun.  At the same time, I can hear a woman being subdued by her husband at the front door, as he pushes her back in.  She is screaming and it sounds like he is beating her.  The man with the gun runs into the house.  I am in shock, but I feel the need to help.  I walk towards the door and it suddenly swings open, and the woman is there with tears streaming down her face, a little girl about 8 years old standing in front of her.  And she says, “Please, hide her, hurry!  They will kill her!”

    I grab the girl and run to the next door neighbors.  The house is full of people and I am frantically begging them to call 911 – but they do not seem to understand what I am saying.  I ask if they have a phone and I get no response.  They look at me as if I am speaking a foreign language when I try to tell them of the horror occurring next door, and the party continues.  I finally find a cell phone and dial the number – 911 – to no avail.  It won’t connect.  Finally, I get through, but they can’t track my location, and I don’t know where I am, so again, I beg the people around me to tell me the street address.  But no one responds.  I walk outside and look at the street signs…

    The dream switches and just as I walk outside, I see a huge 747 flying over my head, obviously headed for disaster.  It is so low that I can physically feel the sounds of the engine’s roar, shaking me to the core.  The windows of the house rattle,  and I watch in horror as the plane dips over the horizon and explodes into a fireball, right in the middle of the city.  As I hear the deafening noise of the plane’s final moments, I quickly realize that there will be a dust cloud of debris headed our way.  I run back in to the house to shut the door to mitigate some of the smoke and dust, but it is too late, and I am struggling, choking to tell my mom, sitting in the corner, what just happened.  The horror of what I had just seen.  Through the darkness, I stumble into the bedroom, and awaken my husband to tell him of the airliner’s demise.  He reaches for the phone and I hear him clearly “Hello, police?  We need you to come immediately.”

    This morning, after waking, I was in the shower, trying to piece together the snippets of this dream and trying to rationalize what it all meant.  Suddenly, I look at the shower curtain and I realize that I am crying.  I was showering in the second bath instead of the master which we lovingly refer to as “Tommy’s bathroom” (our six year old).  We remodeled it when we first moved in the house and I decorated it in what I considered to be “silly little monkeys”  But upon closer inspection, I didn’t like the message I was receiving. Nor the message I was sending to my little boy.  This is the message I was sending:  

    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley

    by Roxine on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:40:45 PM PDT

    •  Continued... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TX Freethinker, dear occupant, kishik

      We have been conditioned since we were young NOT to speak up.  So is it any wonder that when child sexual abuse occurs, that children don’t talk about it?  We have told them since they were young, in our imagery, in our words, in our nursery rhymes, to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.  What about do no evil?
      Is this also why adults don’t want to see what is going on before their very eyes?  

      My son came to me and said “We can’t tell the family secret or our parents will go away forever!”  And I stopped cold in my tracks.  Calmly, I looked at him and said “Sweetheart, what are you talking about?”  And he smiled and said “Like on the Fairly Odd Parents , if we tell the family secret that they’re super heroes, they will go away forever, so we can’t tell anyone.”  

      I sat him in my lap and hugged him tight, reassuring him that it was just a TV show, but that “in real life, we don’t have ANY secrets, okay?  There is never a secret that would make your mommy and daddy go away and you are not required to keep any secrets ever, ok?”  He smiled, hugged me, gave me a kiss and hopped off my lap.  But I sat there fuming!  What messages are we giving to our kids?  Similar to the “silly little monkeys” here again we are telling kids they aren’t allowed to tell and now we’re ratcheting it up and telling them that their parents will go away if they do!  Threatening is one of the steps of grooming.  My grandfather used to threaten me that he would hurt me, kill my mother, that no one would ever believe me if I told.  So, in essence, “if you tell the family secret, your parents will go away!”  

      "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley

      by Roxine on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:31:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I used to hear no evil (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        2thanks, dear occupant, kishik

        Child sexual abuse was just something that happened to some unfortuante anonymous kid, "somewhere out there".

        But you and Rebecca changed all that for me.  Your diaries were powerful.  But it was the fact that I saw your faces, and I knew your names that made it REAL for me.

        I certainly understand victims who want to maintain their anonymity.  But turning those anonymous victims into real people, who suffered real and horrible abuse, is what makes your efforts so powerful.

        Politics is like driving. To go forward, put it in "D". To go backward, put it in "R".

        by TX Freethinker on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:46:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  As the dreamer, you have imho total control (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dear occupant, kishik, TX Freethinker

        over the interpretation.

        And dreams offer meanings at many levels.

        One dream tradition that I know of says "If you dream that your car has a flat tire, the very first thing you should do is check your car and see if a tire is low."

        At one level that dream led you to the monkey-curtain bathroom and you opened your eyes to something you did not want. You gave yourself a wonderful message for protecting your child.

        One simple way to redecorate would be to draw red X's through or a circle with a bar sinister  around each monkey. Depending on the child, you might not want that child to participate with you. I know certain kids who regularly drew on walls with lipstick or anything they could get hold of.

        No eureka for you? ... Not your interpretation.

        BTW, way to go, recording so many dreams. That is a skill.

        What do the dreams mean for you, Roxine?

        Please sign angelajean's petition to FLUSH RUSH from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

        by 2thanks on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:11:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My interpretation - My dreams (0+ / 0-)

          Because both  my sister and I were abused (and we're so close in age - only 13 months apart) I think the twins drowning represented our childhood lost - our voices silenced.

          The mother giving me her child to save was me wanting my mother to rescue me.  Going to the next door seeking assistance was the reaction most people have to a crisis situation - not my problem, I'm not getting involved...

          The plane crash was my realizing after the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke that there are so many victims out there

          And my husband calling the police is because he did save me in a lot of ways...

          Too literal?

          "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley

          by Roxine on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 07:18:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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