Friday, November 28, 2008

Why Can't I Forget?

Survivors of child sexual abuse are often asked this question - why can't you just put it in the past and forget about it? My father - my abuser - has often asked me that question as well. There is no simple answer. I dedicate one chapter of my book to this question. And here is an excerpt:
... Forget? How can I forget?
I remember every time I speak to my sister and she is depressed and talks about admitting herself to the psychiatric ward in the hospital.
I remember every time Rich and I have sex. Sometimes I have a flashback in the middle of lovemaking and I have to remind myself that I am with my husband, not my father.
I remember every time I beat up on myself and am reminded yet again that I have such low self esteem.
I remember every time I feel inept socially or put up my walls when someone gets too close or wants to be friends.
I remember every time I hear a story about some child who was molested. And I want to scream and I want to cry.
I remember every time I get needy and insecure and fear losing the love or approval of someone I love.
I remember every time my mother wants to talk about the incest as she works through her own feelings.
I remember every time my father wants to talk to me about anything.

And Father’s Day. I remember every Father’s Day ...
This comes to me now as part of that same ol stuff again. It must be the holidays that does it. So many childhood memories and of course, family get-togethers. I am going to visit my mother and siblings next week. Must be why those old feelings seem to be surfacing again.
So I just pray my favorite prayer - Help!

2 comments:

Cheri said...

Well posted Colleen....and great answer for those who continually ask you that question.

My best childhood friend said to me recently that she notices everytime I spend time with my parents, and it's not in a public setting, I start to feel down on myself a bit. I tend to be very sensitive to the spiritual 'air' about a place as well....and spending too much time in their home always makes me really uncomfortable. My point is...this most definitely must go back to more difficult times.

Colleen said...

Cheri, Thanks for your comment.I have often found that when a feeling seems to come out of nowhere, I need to try to trace it to see where it leads me. Speaking for myself, any kind of strong reaction that doen't really fit the situation usually comes from some other place and/or time.