When it feels more true to say #ITSMYFAULT vs #METOO
The life and times after abuse, that I call “Surviving the Surviving”
I remember how I struggled with guilt, shame, suicidal thoughts because of my own inner conflict… was I a victim or was it all my fault?
Im wondering if with all this #METOO exposure, as fab as it it… if its trigging others to feel bad or confused… Id like to share a few of my “situations” in hopes it may help others understand and maybe get some clarity and compassion for themselves and others.
TRIGGER WARNING. I AM USING THE LANGUAGE FOM THAT TIME AND MAY BE UPSETTING TO READ.
Do you remember those slide projectors? One photograph on a slide at a time that would click one after another as fast as slow as you pressed, next slide button?
When the #METOO blew up on social media my inner narrator transformed into the mother of all slide projectors and my mind was clicking to one image after another of all the sexual assault situations that I believed where…
Sometime between 18 & 25 I was seeing a born again christian shrink for weekly one on one sessions and weekly group therapy for women with panic. One of the exercises we did in group was to sit on the floor and beat a piece of paper with a rubber hammer. The paper had images of our abuser with sentences that reminded us of our pain, as if we could forget.
I couldn’t do it. I felt no anger, never mind rage.
The group did… they were pissed off…at me!
They wanted me to be at their level of healing at the same time as they were.
I didn’t believe I had been a victim at all. In fact, far from it. I wholeheartedly believe that had been an utter WHORE. Period.
I was white trash from the wrong side of the tracks who lied, stole, and fucked in the most perverse ways imaginable. I was disgusting. I was no victim… I was unworthy scum.
…and then I would quote the Bible, “Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as dark as scarlet, they will be as white as snow…”
I saw myself as a saved sinner.
It was #MYFAULT and I was redeemed by the blood my Lord and Savior gave as the ultimate sacrifice for Gods children… so that, people as disgusting as me could be washed clean and begin life again.
Nothing could do or say changed my core belief about this for me.
I was 25 yrs old. Though a chain of events I found myself in a room with one of my childhood sexual abusers. He leaned back on the couch and exposed himself to me referencing something about “the good old days”…
I walked out of his door and into a total disruption of my former reality. My head was spinning, my heart racing… image after image… I was laughing and crying…
That situation opened my eyes whee twice weekly therapy didn’t…I realized that if I really was or had been a whore, I would’ve acted like one then. No one would’ve known. But I didn’t. I didn’t.
And if I wasn’t a whore as a child in elementary school and ongoing with all the sexual assaults that happened to me before I even had pubic hair… then I was victimized. Oh shit. Now what?
The Universe continued to drive home this perspective of whore vs victim:
Its harvest time and its all hands on deck to move trucks, combines and get the grain to the grain elevators to sell. Im in the truck, middle of the front seat. Father in law jumps in the passenger side and puts his hand on my knee… and feels it “that way”… I say nothing. My husband jumps in the truck on my right and off we go. Every shift he makes he rubs my leg. I am frozen stiff and loudly silent. In my head… instead of normal tone inner critic telling me how the world is ending… there is screaming…
SAY SOMETHING YOU STUPID BITCH! DO YOU FUCKING WANT THIS? ARE YOU A FUCKING CUNT WHORE AFTER ALL?! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONGGGGGGGGGGG WITH YOU! MY GOD YOU ARE FUCKING PATHETIC!!!!!!!
Ohhh I get emotional even now writing this.
Seriously, someone could have put a gun to my head and I wouldn’t have said a word.
I was saved again later when I was alone with this man again and he flat out told me we should be lovers because no one would ever suspect us… and I calmly made “other” options seem more probable.
And that what a “non whore” does…
I tried to get out of it without losing whatever piece of my survival puzzle piece this person had for my life. Understand?
Then at 27 My husband left me for another woman and my fundamental bible church ladies abandoned me stating “You are giving sexual energy to our men” …. Ya. Fuck you.
Now I am 27 and alone in the world. No husband, no church, no friends. (The church was my everything)
I am fresh blood in an ocean of men sharks… I am vulnerable. I had been a home maker with no resume or skill set… I worked at a local gym for $4.25 an hour and worked 12 hour days. It wasn’t long before I was a striper a “The Shady Lady” making $350 a night, dance only. Still no friends… I was so ashamed. #MYFAULT
When you not self sufficient by your own beliefs and standards…whether real to anyone else or not…
Let me rephrase… when “I” felt vulnerable I was FAR more tolerant to inappropriate and even abusive words and actions. I may even walk right over to an unhealthy option thinking it was my only or best option, and totally put myself in harms way for some perceived greater good.
“Honor among thieves” is what I call my personal ethical boundaries.
I could allow myself to be used/abused for what I believed to be fundamental needs… rent, food, utilities, car payments, medicine, car repair ie brakes & tires, anything educational or therapeutic.
Not: clothes, plastic surgery, fancy car, jewelry, high end shoes etc unless any of that was needed i.e. the right mid price outfit for a job interview.
Steel what you need, not what you want.
Somehow that made me feel more honorable.
Step up by step up… using others and being used in return… making my way to the next level of learning skill sets and getting therapy… the higher my self esteem and boundaries the harder life became without “helpers”.
Its typical for victims to feel utterly responsible for the abuse they endued even, as in my case, it happened when we were little children. So conditioned to be abused, its totally understandable that survivors get confused/lost/shut down like I did when my father in law made a pass.
Fast forward to being in honorable sales. I was 100% commission and totally earned my 6 figure income. Still having to deal with very important men who hold the door to very lucrative opportunities … if “you play your cards right Catherine”. Ya. And you know what happened when I didn’t “Play his cards” ? I lost those sales opportunities. And I won many others. Id rather live on an honest $150K a year than a dishonest $500,000.
Fastword to I leave that job for a man who goes crazy and leaves the country… leaving me with debt and without a job just as the recession hit: A very powerful elderly man takes an interest in me… he has the power to get me in the door to a sales job opportunity at the same pay as the one I left and could totally save my loosing everything I had worked so hard (and honestly) for. Im watching everything dissolve and Im financially sinking! I have maybe 4 platonic dinners with this guy and Im hoping for this job… well on our last dinner he makes me an offer… $110K base, 10% sales commission OR …. A condo in the Ritz across from the Public Garden, all the jewelry I could ever want and travel the world.
What do you think I did?
I asked for the job.
What do you think I walked away with?
How do you think I feel about that?
Proud of myself.
So after loosing money because I wasn’t earning enough to make ends meet … you would’ve thought when after my first lunch with a very handsome, intelligent surgeon told me he was in love with me, that I would’ve put on my whore hat and ran with it…
He was vulnerable. A beautiful Soul. He had no business getting in a serious relationship until he had been divorced for a year. I told him to look me up in a year. Another woman swooped in and had him in her claws with weeks. I was harassed by a cyber stalker calling me a gold digger who couldn’t land the mark. The police got the IP address and it turned out to be someone the doctor and I both knew. Ya.
The man I did want was so afraid I’d cheat (he was listening to stalker people) he just couldn’t settle in with me. But my time with him helped me to emotionally get back on my feet. Going from $12K a month income to $2K made me feel like a total failure and think about killing myself. It was during this time of my boy friend not wanting me, my saying no to men w money, and watching all my equity and savings drain out that I found the truth about myself… I am kind. If I made a lot or a little, I didn’t act or treat people differently. I am consistently generous and kind. I also met some wonderful women at this time.
My rule was to ask myself the question, “If I had $500K in the bank would I be at all interested in this person?”
It served me well. I just kept doing the right thing, and the next right thing… based on what I knowledge and resources I had at that time. When I knew better, I did better.
Authenticity is a mother fucker. I own alllllllll of the reality of me. All of it! This is what has set me free! Im not afraid of anyone outting me… I outted myself and do so on a regular basis. Its humbling. Its lonely.
Yes, #METOO, I was victimized. Yes, #MYFAULT, I victimized others. Im not a good or bad person. Im a perfectly Imperfect person, like everyone else.
Grown ups come from children.
Wounded grown ups are usually abused children, at least the vast majority of the time.
Children are our ground zero.
If you want less fucked up, abusive, addicted grown ups… nurture, protect, love… the children.
The answer to #METOO and #MYFAULT is heal you… and protect the children.
My slide projector slides these days are usually filled with such beauty, joy, sincere gratitude for the results earned from the “better” choices/reactions/behaviors… from waiting for the man I love vs one I think I need (even though my mom told me to go for financial security!) For choosing women I long to be like vs ones that make me feel better than. For telling the truth about myself and staying true to who I am and not selling out. I believe the life I have now is my reward. In the world of cause & effect, I am humbled and blown away by the love and friendships and opportunities I have to serve… I am so grateful!
Slide: waking up next to the man I love
Slide: waking up exactly where I want to wake up (a lake in Maine)
Slide: watching my Wolfpack play on the shore while the sunrises and loons call out as the eagle flys over head
Slide: my daughter calling me with my grandkids in the car on their war to school, calling for I Love Yous
Slide: being asked to speak a large group of people who want to know more about keeping kids safe
Slide: being messaged by friends encouraging me
Slide: feeling connected to love and having faith in the unseen that fills me with hope. I have purpose.
Slide: the joy I feel when my husband comes home to our little tribe of love
Slide: going to sleep happy… a day in balance, great workout, good food, serve to others, self care, love
I believe in you,