Through the last few years, I have had this… inkling, that there was something deeper than just what I knew was causing my PTSD.
I knew the statistics of a mother whose child(ren) were assaulted by their spouse, that it’s extremely likely that she herself had been assaulted (though not always), but that was not factoring in to my quite infrequent wondering of, “why do I use such strong words about things unconnected to assault, relating it to assault?” and other such ponderings.
In my early 20s, in context, I’d say things to friends about how sick my biological father was, and if he had ever assaulted me, I was okay with blocking it out and never knowing. It never struck me as odd to say that, despite that I’d never heard anyone else say anything like that.
Things from my childhood would come slowly bubbling up to me that didn’t make sense, or my reaction to those childhood happenings as a child that once made sense, now bothered me that I once thought “that’s normal.”
One example is that, as a young child, when my biological father came to pick me up every other weekend, I would hide – anywhere my young mind could think up. I was terrified, I felt abandoned my my mom and (step-, but I hate that because he’s my true father in every way but one) dad, and I remember saying simple desperate prayers like, “God, please love me and don’t let me go with him.” Looking back, I remember my mom saying goodbye to me with tears in her eyes. I know she must have felt helpless and scared. But I didn’t understand that then.
Once, I thought that was normal behavior, to not want to go with the “dad” you only see every other weekend, but in my 20s and now 30s I’ve recognized clearly that *terror* isn’t normal when your dad comes to see you for the weekend.
There are definitely memories I have of him being horribly evil in his actions, like watching him throw my pregnant step-mom down a flight of stairs. Memories of questionable behavior, like him giving me and one of my half-sisters wine cooler, while on his lap. Memories of his sick mental health, playing mind-games with me, my mom, and my step-family. While those certainly factor into my knowledge, something else has made me wonder…. did he ever harm me and I blocked it out?
When I was in my late 20s, I found out that in my childhood, he molested my half-sisters. I was devastated for them. This was around the time I learned Melody had been assaulted, that another family member of mine in their childhood had been assaulted. It was overwhelming, crushing the spirit I once knew within myself.
Before I worked on shutting off my genetic mutations, I had a “window” of sleepiness around 8-9, for about 30 minutes. If I missed it, which I did because I have children, I was wide awake and couldn’t even force myself to sleep until I got tired, around 2-4am.
Since shutting these defects off, I no longer have windows. I am just tired non-stop from about 9pm on. And yet, I resist sleep until I literally collapse from exhaustion. Only having Daryl in the room with me, have I been able to sleep when I’m tired, early. (I love that the Lord has brought me someone to feel safe with.) I’ve seen it, acknowledged it briefly, but passed it by.
Until I began pre-reading a book for Melody about incest recovery.
There is a list in this book, of symptoms of incest victims, that can be displayed throughout their lives. And I had well over half of them. Including resisting sleep. I’d never stopped long enough to think about why I was resisting sleep. But reading that bothered me. It felt like it just… fit me… but I didn’t want it to, at all. I fought it, but that book brought things into the open that wouldn’t go back into hiding
I began experimenting to see if I’d go to sleep earlier. I couldn’t, without something on in the room with me, a light and a book, my tablet, something. As I’d lay in bed with nothing, I just could not sleep. I would lay there, then after over an hour, I’d get frustrated for not falling asleep.
One night a few weeks ago, I deliberately lay in bed to find what made me resist sleeping. Was I afraid I’d miss out on something? No, I valued sleep far more than activity (I’m a Type 4, after all). Monsters under the bed? Nope. My ex? No. An intruder in the house? Psh. Ghosts? No. And then, I closed my eyes and prayed, and I asked God to show me what was causing this resistance to – the fear of – falling asleep. I saw the shadow of my biological father, standing in a doorway, and my breathing grew rapid and shallow. It was that, and only that. I knew it made no sense. He is a world away from me and I haven’t seen him since I was 6 years old. And yet, it was him. I thought this experiment would prove it was something else, but it only leaned towards confirmation.
This motivated me to seek therapy.
Back to that memory I had of watching my pregnant step-mom get thrown down the stairs. Her daughter was standing next to me and saw – but I’m the one that remembers that horrific scene. I know that people can repress traumatic memories, because I’ve experienced traumatic things that someone standing right next to me doesn’t remember.
I went to a recovery therapy appointment on Saturday, the first time I’ve attempted this, simply to ask the therapist about how they perform their therapy. I don’t want leading questions or anything like that, just body work to potentially release any trapped memories.
Because of its nature, I was hesitant to share with my parents about it, thinking they may think it was garbage or something. It was an assumption I wish I hadn’t made, but I did.
My mom called me right after my therapy appointment (not knowing I’d been) for a prayer request, and I ended up sharing everything with her, including that I realized what “bizarre” thing was causing me to resist going to sleep at night. I thought I would hear a skeptical “ah…”
But instead, my mom told me she believed that real happenings could be so traumatic for someone that they repressed them, then shared a part of my childhood I did not remember, honestly traumatic in nature, which confirmed the exact thing I am beginning therapy for.
What happened was my parents, hearing me begin to talk in my sleep, have night time issues (I was a bed-wetter for a long time and I do recall that), and saying some off things when they would pick me up from my biological dad’s house, started audio recording me when they picked me up.
So, they had recorded on audio what she detailed to me, which was that I was scratching my crotch repeatedly. They asked me to stop, but I told them it hurt really bad, that my bio-dad had taken me somewhere, and that another man put pink stuff inside of me there.
Terrified and confused, they rushed me to the hospital and had me examined. The Dr came out from examining me and was not happy. My biological dad had apparently already taken me in with someone else, and a doctor HAD put stuff inside of me.
And that’s when I said to my mom, “oh my gosh…. he did that very shortly before he made me talk to the police, didn’t he??”
Yes. Not very long after this, he took me into a police station and had coached me to report my real dad, my maternal grandfather, and my maternal uncle of raping me in a cult-like fashion. The police KNEW I was being coached, because I told them, at about 3-4 years old, the exact time it started (a crazy number like 6:27pm), exactly how long it went on for (example: 19 minutes), and exact time it stopped. There were other details that clued them in to it being coached, but the time thing was pretty big.
Now, this is the only part I remember: a state trooper came to our home and questioned me, and separately, my parents. I don’t remember the questions, just feeling intimidated, like maybe I’d done something wrong. I remember being in the trooper’s car and he let me turn his lights on and run the siren after it all. I remember giggling and seeing him smile at me. But most of all, I remember feeling like that officer saved me from my biological dad that day. I had a literally glowing image of him in my mind for about two decades.
What else I don’t remember from that day was that when the trooper asked me why I’d told the police about this, I told them that my sperm donor told me that if I didn’t, my mommy, daddy, and sister would be killed. This was put on record, but it’s not my own memory… even though it did happen to me.
I saw that trooper in 6th grade, through the DARE program and I immediately started crying. I felt so compelled to tell him thank you, he had saved my life in some way I didn’t know how to describe, that I asked my teacher to let me talk with him. He remembered me and said something about the case to verify he did remember me, but said he didn’t save me, he just did what he knew was right for my family and seek truth.
I asked my mom if she found those tapes, if I could have a copy, and she said she would as soon as they found them. I’m so grateful I decided to tell her, for several reasons, but the first two are…. I’m not crazy. I feel scared of that man for a lot of reasons, but reasons that were deeper and darker than I have allowed myself to remember, and still, I could FEEL it deep in my guts. I could feel it pooling up inside of me during the years of severe PTSD.
I am grateful I shared because I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong in my assumption of her/them and what they’d think about repressed memories. And, after telling me she would send them when they found the tapes, she wrote me later and told me that dad had told her he thinks he knows where they are, and they’d try to have them to me on CD in a few weeks, hopefully. Not just believing me… but trying to help me put these pieces together.
I don’t know if my biological dad did do anything sexual to me, but I do know he sexually assaulted my half sisters with a friend of his, repeatedly, and… in a ritualistic fashion. They do hold their terrible memories. 😦 I do know he was giving me alcohol. That he had a sick mind that could conjure up a tale of ritualistic rape of a child, threaten that child with the murder of her family, and force her to tell the sick tale to the police.
Had he sexually harmed me the day he took me to the Dr, and he was trying to cover his tracks, trying to blame my dad instead?
Not that I want it to have happened to me, but…. I am *not* somehow more special than my half-sisters, so why not me as well? There was nothing to protect me, just as there was nothing to protect them, despite our desperate parents.
I begin the journey of seeing if there are old memories that are trapping my emotions in an unhealthy pattern that can be released. I’m okay if nothing comes up, but I’m finally able to say I’m prepared if repressed memories do surface. So I can move forward in healing.
So I can sleep at night without a light on…