Tag Archives: disclosure

Another disclosure

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Well, as if the anniversary of an assault isn’t already enough in one week, I have my second disclosure tonight in group therapy.

A disclosure I can’t even see in my head at all.  I don’t know how it starts or how it ends or what it looks like in the middle.  I’ve been rather quiet about this round of group therapy.  Mostly because I’m still blaming myself for a lot of the stuff involved.  The group has been helpful in many ways, but I’m avoiding things and fighting myself every step of the way.  And I feel shame.  Blame.  Disgust even.

I’m really hoping to break through those barriers tonight. I’ve talked through the disclosure issues in my individual therapy and I’m kind of a believer in the fact that whatever needs to come out will come out during the moment the facilitator says go.  I couldn’t write it down because I didn’t know what to write.  And reading it would probably mean I would disconnect from the feelings and read it as if it was about someone other than myself.

Parts of this disclosure have sometimes come out in my relationship and I like when I just blurt out something and it is ok.  Validated even.  The freedom to work through this stuff out loud and sometimes completely at random is one of my favorite things about the comfort, support, and love I feel in my relationship.  I have never had that before now.  This kind of unconditional love is absolutely amazing and I cherish it every single day.

Tonight is about the Girl in the Corner.  I hope I can have some compassion for her and provide her with some forgiveness.  I want to be able to see her as a person who is worthy.  I want to be able to incorporate her into myself and accept that she is a part of me.  A part I don’t have to be ashamed of because wanting to be around someone doesn’t mean I asked to be humiliated or coerced or forced to have sex.

Part of me wants to run the other way and not show up.

But I have to do this for that girl.  She deserves so much more love than I give her.

KK

the girl in the corner

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I don’t want to do that. That seems like it could just stay like that. Avoiding her seems to be working so far. I just don’t want to work that hard. I don’t think I ever need to face her now.

Those are things I said in therapy this week. It’s hard to admit that, to read those, and to feel like that.

It seems that I could be standing in my own way right now. The former me, the pre-me, the ashamed me is hiding in a corner. She’s trying to get out. But she’s shoved way back in the dark where nobody would dare to go to drag her out. And I just pretend she’s not there. In fact, I really never thought about her as a separate person who needs to be discussed or healed in any way. She’s a separate person to me and I’ve been ok with that because nobody has ever pointed her out to me. Very few people have ever seen her or know she’s there. And then all of sudden this week a giant light lit up right in that corner and I was stunned for awhile. And now I can see her so clearly. She’s the reason I don’t have my maiden name, but instead a name I created for the me I like and the me I am most comfortable with being each day. Nobody needs that girl in the corner, least of all me. So why unlock the door and clean out the cobwebs at all? I mean, I like the me I am today and life has been really wonderful most of this year. Right?

But can I really rediscover me AND avoid the girl in the corner? Maybe for a while. Apparently my therapist feels that is unlikely to be a good path to a healthy future. Of course, she is probably right and she makes good points. But I just feel like I’ve done SO much work already and doing more isn’t really what I expected to have to do. After all, I made it through a 12-week group which included A LOT of really challenging steps and the ENORMOUS moment when I made a full disclosure of my sexual assault to my peers. I’m healed, right? It’s over, yes? I mean, that is what a lot of people say–it’s good that is all behind you, now you can move on, at least you don’t have to think about that anymore, and now you can be done with therapy.

In some ways, those things are what I was thinking would happen after group just as other people thought. I did take a break from my individual therapy after group ended because I didn’t feel I needed weekly support and processing if I was done with group. I was just waiting for my original therapist to come back from maternity leave so I could go in for a few weeks to tell her how well group went and how much I was able to get in touch with the vulnerability that was hiding inside me and holding back the healing. And I was feeling so thrilled after that disclosure and group that I sometimes couldn’t imagine what I would need to talk about anymore with her. I made it through the messy feelings I had before deciding to move out, I worked through how I felt living separately from my husband, we worked on our marriage to see if there was still a marriage for both of us, and I struggled and then faced the decision that-at least for me-it was no longer a marriage I could remain in and be happy. I worked hard in therapy to come to terms with the fact that my marriage was over and worked through my feelings of failure and grief over the ending of the marriage. Therapy is the reason I felt confident enough to go into group and was the support I needed to get in touch with my individual feelings which came out during the group sessions.

That IS all behind me now. So what would I even need to say? I’m healed and happy. I’m successfully navigating my life as a divorced woman with two kids. I bought a house and have a job and lots of supportive family and friends. I’m even dating which I really didn’t think I’d even consider for a very long time yet.

But…there she is, that girl in the corner. Peeking out once in a while now because the past and present are colliding in some ways. And because with some of the major shame lifted off my shoulders I can see other layers of me that need healing. Layers that I didn’t recognize as needing healing because sexual assault clouded everything else and took over who I was since it happened.

She was just sitting there looking smug during last week’s therapy session. And I ignored her until my therapist said, “so let’s talk about the girl you just pushed off into the corner, how is she feeling?” What??? How did she see that?? I’m sure you know by now that I have some issues with inappropriate laughter. So naturally that’s what I did, I started laughing. And then I got choked up and realized that she really is there in that corner. She’s another piece of me, the former me, the me I put away a LONG time ago and never really wish to see again. My therapist wondered if that girl in the corner is really hurt, or angry, or scared, or all of that and more. She suggested writing that girl a letter, giving her a break for what she went through, and trying to understand that girl in terms of what I would expect of someone who is the same age today.

I haven’t written a letter, but I keep thinking about that girl. I know it’s true that I don’t give her a break. That I don’t respect her and that, in fact, I don’t even like her or recognize her as having worth. She’s pissed off and has reason to be, but instead of having compassion for her, I punish her for not being good enough. For not being better. Smarter. For not seeing what wasn’t right and making better choices at 15, 16, 17 years old.

I’ll keep thinking about how I want to handle that girl in the corner. I know from my disclosure how she got there and I think I know why she’s trying to step out. I’m not looking forward to it and I’d really rather forget she’s there.

But I’ve got to face everything if I really want to move forward completely. And I really do.

I’ll look at the girl in the corner and I’ll help her come out of hiding. I know I have to do it. I know it’s time.

KK

Moments of doubt

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Moments of doubt come at me when I least expect them.  Sometimes without me even knowing that it is doubt.  These moments feel like many things, none of them very pleasant.  I get tired of these moments.  I get frustrated and lazy and anxious.  I get unreasonable and crabby and negative.  I want to do nothing and just wait for the moments to pass.

Sometimes they do.

And sometimes they don’t pass very quickly, but fade into the background of my days.

I love to laugh and even on my worst days I can normally be found making jokes or having a good time.  But I still may be feeling lost inside.  Struggling.  Lacking the vulnerability that allows for full healing.  I ignore the moments and hide them in hopes that they will pass quickly.

Thankfully, I haven’t had many days like that for awhile and that is really nice.  The disclosure still comes to mind when I think of how far I have been able to go toward healing and not having to go back to certain doubts and certain thoughts that keep me from rediscovering the full me.  That disclosure seems so long ago and also seems like it was just yesterday.

Seeing The Monument Quilt was powerful for me.  I’m certain that it was not a mere coincidence that when I found out about the quilt, it was only weeks from being displayed in an area that I could travel to very easily.  An area that had additional anxiety and healing qualities for me.  It would be displayed on the very campus of my assault.  It never crossed my mind ahead of time that the location would keep me from going to see it.  I never felt a moment of doubt leading up to that day.

And then it was the very day I was to see it.  And then the doubt and the tears came as I decided I didn’t know if I could go.  But more of the fight inside me took over and I went.

I read stories and looked at the designs people made to release themselves from some of the burden of being a victim and becoming a survivor.  It is always difficult to read other stories.  I find myself thinking that some have suffered so much more than me and, at times, it is difficult to see other stories and not let the terrible doubts of rape culture creep into my head as judgment.  A terrible feeling and one I don’t allow to stick around for long at all.  It is so easy to pass judgment, on myself and on others, but in those moments it is SO important to remember that all suffering is terrible.  ALL trauma is true for that victim and I absolutely believe in every one of those people and their stories.  Our stories are no worse or no easier than others, no less rape and trauma.  The mind is so complex during trauma that many leave a situation not even fully understanding that what they experienced is rape.  THAT is why it is so important to believe someone if they tell you they were assaulted.  And to stand by someone who may be turning to you for support if they aren’t even sure that something happened or that what happened really was rape.  The feelings a victim experiences are so full of guilt, disbelief, shame, and so many other things, that many deny that it happened at all.

I believe.  I support ALL survivors.  And I was honored to see the quilt.  I’d like to reconnect with my group members to make a quilt square, but I’m not sure if I will or not.

I’m glad to have overcome my moment of doubt to see it.  There were squares for each city where it is being displayed and on those squares were blank fabric where anyone could write.  Part of my message was this:

It happened here and I will leave it here.  

And I am glad that I could do that.

KK

Success, Healing, Connections

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My group is over this week which is really difficult to believe and a little sad in some ways.   I can’t believe that 12 weeks has gone by so quickly!  I wasn’t sure I could get myself to go and now I am looking at the ending of the process and the beginning of renewed hope and healing.

We will have a celebration and wrap up for the last time together and it is really difficult to imagine not seeing these amazing women each week.  There is no way I can describe just what these women mean to me and how much I admire each one of them.  They are beautiful people, courageous, strong, and inspirational.  They have touched my heart in ways I can never thank them enough for even if I have a lifetime to do so.  They are no longer victims, but survivors and friends.  People I will think about often and cheer for even from afar.

We all began this group worried and feeling defeated by our stories, by the victims inside of us.  We pushed against the process and tried to get out of the toughest parts of facing our pasts.  We made it!  We pushed past our fears to our disclosures.  We owned our stories and released the shame from ourselves to give it back to the criminals who deserve to carry that burden.  The shame is not ours anymore.  I am so very proud of each and every one of us.  The power in the room each week as we reclaimed ourselves and took control of our lives and our stories is something I will never allow myself to forget.  The support I received from these women as I began to rediscover myself without the burden of the sexual assault shame will remain a powerful force for me each and every day.

I have begun to heal in ways I never realized I needed to and in ways I never imagined were possible.  Healing has opened my heart in a way that makes me feel completely ready to trust and love myself and others.  I don’t wake up anymore with the heaviness that I have carried for over 20 years, and that is absolutely the best feeling in the world.

This week is a big ending to an emotional process, but an even bigger beginning to the rest of my healing and the rest of my life.  I love that group therapy was placed before me and placed on my heart as something I was ready to accept and trust.  I love that I understand healing now and that I understand that I am no longer a victim, but a survivor.  I love that I can now leave the shame behind me for the most part and move on to the rediscovered me.

KK

Mixed bag week

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This week could not have begun any better for me. I had a ridiculously fun Sunday and Monday. Plus, Monday mornings I have my individual therapy. And this week was worth every penny I’ve spent to come this far in my progress.

When I arrived and sat down, my therapist said “your entire spirit feels differently to me, tell me about that.” I can’t say I was shocked that she feels that way, but I was a bit surprised that it was the first thing she said. I told her what’s been going on in my life and how much I’m beginning to look forward to each day. Days where I don’t even think about all the challenges I have faced. Days when I am true to myself every minute.

My spirit feels free. That’s probably the best I can say it. I feel amazing, excited, joyful, hopeful, and at peace. I feel confident in my ability to trust again. To love. To be fully me and to share that with the right people.

This week was also a low point for me. I really struggled in group this week and I’m having some trouble getting past it. It was the most intense group has been for me and it just knocked me right back to a place I don’t want to be anymore. It’s heavy on my mind this morning and I’m digging up skills from my coping group to get through each five-minute chunk of my morning.

Betrayal. Disgust. Guilt. Loss of self. Loss of safety. Desire to hide.

Shame. That heavy shame.

Having intense moments like that in group is necessary and I understand that it’s part of the healing process, but it made my breath catch and a lump form in my throat. For the last few weeks I honestly felt I was done. I was on such a high from my disclosure and the relief that it brought me that I had days where I didn’t think I would even need to continue therapy at all. I guess it was ridiculous to think that it would be that easy, but after soooo long I just really hoped that this was my past and no longer a part of me.

One of the women in my group said “it’s a part of me, but it isn’t who I am.” I think that’s a great statement and one I really needed to hear.

Sometimes it is so disappointing to me that the person I was is gone. And that I have to carry this piece of me around in my life. It makes me so angry some days that I can’t even get out of bed. But that woman is right, it isn’t who I am. I’m not willing to let it consume me. Not anymore.

I’m thankful I have plans for a great weekend which I’m fully confident will help me get past what I’m feeling right now.

I can’t focus on the great weekend ahead and also be consumed by disgust and doubt. They don’t go together, I won’t let them.

KK

A giant step in an awesome direction

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I cannot stop smiling this week. For a few reasons. And that feels awesome.

Having that disclosure behind me feels so so good. And it’s not just that saying it out loud is over, but that I have realized it has really and truly released me from the victimization I have felt all these years. And I just cannot believe it. It feels like this enormous weight on my heart and my shoulders is lifted. Like it can stay in the background instead of being so present each and every day.

And what that has allowed for me is true healing. Healing I’ve never felt before now. Healing in a way that makes me feel a lot like the girl I remember. And trust. Wow, trust!! Trust in myself and the new ability to trust other people when I would normally have a wall up so high that most wouldn’t dare try to climb it.

I have a freedom in my heart that is making me excited and hopeful and possibly a little bit nuts. It’s like everything I always wished I could feel and say and be fell into place. All at once. And I know it will last because I refuse to go back to that girl who held back and was frozen when feelings were present.

Losing that victim weight is a giant step in an awesome direction.

Understanding boundaries and how and when and why to set them is a work in progress for me. But I feel this is also going in the right direction.

I have ridiculously cool people in my life. People I’ve known for so long-they’ve been patient, loving, and understanding. They’ve loved me when I’ve been scary quiet (yes, it happens, I’m quiet sometimes), crazy, a mess, a bitch, when I wouldn’t talk about feelings, and when I wouldn’t shut up. I can be a little much for a lot of folks. Thanks for standing by my side through it all.

And all these newer people around me-you rock! I cannot even believe it sometimes. I SO look forward to the new friendships and the supportive relationships in my future. I look forward to exchanging stories, and having laughs or cries or whatever you people need in return for what you have given me.

I look forward to long conversations that turn nights into mornings.

I am excited to take more steps forward. I’m excited to contribute whatever support and friendship I can to those people around me now. I am so excited to continue to heal.

I didn’t know I would say this so soon, but I’m back, bitches!! I’m me again and that is fucking cool.

KK

I did it!

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I did my disclosure yesterday.  I’m super proud of myself for standing up to the fear of judgment and for getting through the disclosure with honesty and vulnerability.  There were some moments I didn’t expect and some memories that I had buried so far inside me that they came out for the VERY FIRST time while I was talking.  It was extremely intense.

The response from my group was truly incredible and awesome.  I have formed new, and hopefully lasting, friendships with these women I have grown to learn from, admire, and cherish.  It is a group of ridiculously brave and beautiful spirits.  They helped me understand the victim I was at those times I described, and also helped me to see that the woman I have become is so much better than I feel inside sometimes when I wake up or feel triggered in daily life.  They helped me validate that victim inside me and see that I overcame a lot of injustice to be the survivor I am today.  Those women rock!

The heavy shame is lifted up to another level, a level where I can actually face it and begin to work through each piece of it.  I can actually see the future me enjoying daily living without that blanket of shame on my shoulders.  I can see myself dancing freely and feeling joy instead of hesitation.  I can look forward to being brave enough to fully trust and to love again, in ways I never really have before now.

Even after feeling so good, I could hear the tapes in my head starting to self-punish for not facing all of this sooner, not healing sooner, not trying hard enough.  The “I should have done something” starting to creep inside my head.  But this time I put a stop to it and spoke right out loud to those tapes to let them know I just did that – disclosed fully – and I will no longer be held hostage by those negative cognitions.  Sure, it will take some more work, I’m not under the impression that all of the burden left with the words that came out while I told my story.  But I have shed the secret in a way that feels like an ending to a lot of it.

That.  Is.  Awesome.

I feel crazy excited today like this is another new beginning for me.  A more aware me, a further healed me, a really, truly rediscovered me.

I did it!

KK