(For specific information about childhood sexual abuse, its repercussions and counseling practices, see the following link: The Long-Term Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse: Counseling Implications )
It’s not that I haven’t been aware of the results of long-term sexual abuse, it’s just that I have had this unrealistic expectation to be free from the adverse symptoms. Many of the effects are still a part of my daily life and therefore inescapable. Reality dictates acceptance, at least mentally, if not in practice.
In doing this, I acknowledge my inability to attain certain goals which I have long-held. I just didn’t get the message as I idealistically pursued dreams that were destined to be unrealized.
One would think this revelation would further entrench depression and enhance the negative characteristics that I have experienced. On the contrary, I actually feel a sense of freedom. It might seem a contradiction to allow dreams to fade and dysfunctional reality to prevail, but it is OK, really.
This point of view helps me to understand why I have had so much difficulty building lasting relationships over the years; based on my at times, erratic behavior. I can also accept myself a little more willingly with a deeper understanding of how trauma can work in someones life; Knowing that essentially, no two people experience the same exact outcome. Finally, I can put a more realistic face on my remaining years, give myself a break, and have a measure of peace I haven’t known for the majority of my life.
Am I still trying to cope? Yes. Do I fail at times? Yes. But I can accept myself and not be as concerned about the people that have decided I am not worth their effort to really know and understand. It’s OK.
I am living a genuine life, and it is one that has suffered unspeakable pain. I continue to work daily to understand and combat the negative outcomes and feel true freedom from guilt and shame.
A special acknowledgment to my wonderful wife who walks this journey with me. I could not do this without you honey. You have endured so much and yet continue to press in and pursue me with unconditional love. Thank you for saving me. I love you.