If you see a therapist, counselor, or life coach, you know that sometimes in a session you have those “breakthrough” moments. Those talks where you learned something about yourself that you never knew before, or at least never realized it to the extent that you do now.
I had just such an experience in a session on Tuesday. It was one of those times where the session had to be changed from the normal Wednesday time frame, so I was definitely a bit out of sorts walking in because I’m so used to my routine of Wednesday and Friday evenings. I should have taken that as a sign of things to come.
Before I get to the guilt part of this post, let me lead into it first with a bit of background on another emotion I have problems with, which then leads into the guilt.
We continued our work on the exercises in The Courage to Heal, and the topic currently is about how we express Anger, both in general and in relation to my past abuse. Trying to understand Anger is so difficult for me. If you follow this blog or my Twitter account, you probably heard me mention about how I have a tough time expressing Anger. We talked about this in the session, about how I just want to be able to express it and feel that emotion to try and help myself.
I’ve never been an angry person, I don’t have inner rage, or a violent streak. My parents rarely expressed anger when I was growing up. They just hardly ever fought with each other or with me, except when I was being a stubborn teen ager. So I didn’t grow up in a house hold that expressed that particular emotion very much, so therefore I just wasn’t around it in general. Even throughout elementary and middle school when I was often bullied, I rarely got mad about it, I was just hurt, sad, and beaten down emotionally to the point where I didn’t want to leave the house or confront the bullies. Depression was a big thing for me then too but I just didn’t realize that’s what it was.
So one of my major hang-ups in this healing journey is questioning why I can’t use anger as a healing tool and direct that in a healthy way on the guy who took my innocence from me. Every self-help book that I’ve read so far recognizes that anger is a healthy emotion and you need to utilize it, to some degree, to move forward.
Since I can’t use anger, at least not yet, I resort to a guilt trip and put that squarely on my shoulders. Or should I say, squarely on the shoulders of that 10-12 yr. old kid inside me that was sexually abused. In my mind, all I see is a kid who kept going back to his abuser for more and more. A kid who was so taken in by the cool kid down the street who had the mini bike that I wanted to ride. A kid who wanted to fit in, was tired of being bullied, and needed an older teenager who was cool to validate me as being cool too. Then I could tell the kids at school who picked on me, that I had a friend at another school who was older and he lets me ride his mini bike. That would show them who was cool! Or so I thought.
Obviously that didn’t work. The kids still picked on me, and I as far as my abuser was concerned, I continued going back time after time, when I knew darn well what was coming afterwards. If I wanted to ride that bike and hang with the cool kid, I had to do what he said and deal with the actions afterwards. Why did I keep going back, why was riding that bike so important? It did nothing for me but give me temporary happiness only to be followed by pain, shame, and misery as payment for the bargain I made with him and myself.
You can tell me, “you were just a kid, you didn’t know any better”, “kids are easily influenced”, “he groomed you and used your self-esteem issues against you”. Those are things my therapist says too, and that’s what Rational and Wise mind should tell me. If I could have just never gone back after that first time, or told someone what happened, maybe I wouldn’t be where I am today. I was too ashamed to tell anyone, and he told me that it was our secret, that cool kids did this and that I was special. In my desire to fit in and be accepted I was willing to do whatever it took. So I bought into his scheme hook, line, and sinker.
That’s how I see myself right now, at this point in my healing journey, with a total guilt trip. We are going to continue to work on this in sessions because it’s important for me to try and get it through my thick head that I need to forgive, love, and help my inner child heal instead of casting blame on him. If I don’t, I’ll never heal.
For what it’s worth I can see progress being made, but I have accept that progress and not minimize it.
This was a big step telling more of how the abuse actually happened. I feel kind of numb right now, and quite anxious but I’m going to leave this story as is and not go back and change it.