Therapy today: Finally speaking the unspeakable

I don’t feel proud of myself very often these days. But I do today. I took a huge step in my therapy session; in trusting and in letting myself be vulnerable.

A month or so ago I wrote down a first person narrative account of the sexual abuse I experienced at the hands of my brother. I felt as though it was important I shared this with J. After working with her for almost a year, I still hadn’t said much about what actually happened. In fact I hadn’t said those words aloud to anyone before.

I managed to read the first half of this to J a while ago. I hated it. I felt awful, anxious and ashamed. When I got to the worst part I just couldn’t go on. It was too hard.

Since then I’ve taken my journal to every session we’ve had, but not found the courage to read the second half of the story. I don’t know why today felt like the day, but I made my mind up that I would push myself to do it. I hate having a difficult task hanging over me, and maybe I felt like it would be good to get it done before I go away for Christmas. That way I could start next year afresh.

So today I was brave. I summoned the strength to open my journal and give voice to that bruised little girl. I spoke those words that have felt unspeakable to me for the past 18 years. I shared things with J that I have never said to anyone before. The only other person who knows those awful things is my brother, and I didn’t want him to have that power over me any longer.

It felt so important to tell J what actually happened to me. It also felt terrifying. I was ashamed, mortified to say those things. It was like a terrible confession. Part of me knew she wouldn’t think less of me, while another part simultaneously anticipated her revulsion.

When I finished reading, I looked up from the pages and she was watching me with as much kindness and empathy as ever. She shared in my sadness, and even shed some tears for that miserable, lost girl. It meant a lot that my story helped her understand why I am so frightened she will leave me. Because in the moment I was at my most scared and vulnerable as a child, I was made to feel like I had done something wrong. I was left alone to deal with things no child could make sense of.

As usual when I do something particularly hard, I dissociated. But not as badly as last week. Often, when I go to that very young, fragile place, J asks me what I need. And often I need physical comfort, but don’t feel as though I can ask for it. Today I changed that. For the first time, I asked her for a hug.

I needed to feel secure. I needed to feel as though she would be there for me. I felt exposed and anxious and tearful. I wanted reassurance she wasn’t horrified by me. When she held me, I finally felt as though I could let something go. Being contained by her meant that it finally felt safe for me to cry.

Now I’m home and I’m feeling drained. Not the usual type of wanting to give up on life exhausted, but something a bit more satisfying. Although it is mixed with embarrassment at being so needy, I am trying to keep a reality check on that negativity and acknowledge what I’ve achieved. Because I do feel as though I have moved forward, maybe just by a millimetre, but even that is huge after so much time feeling stuck.

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh, such courage that took! For all the healing I have done, I have never yet uttered the details of my childhood sexual abuse. Honestly, I don’t know that I ever will. And so, I know what it takes and I am so very proud of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I am a little bit proud of me too! I guess you never feel like you have the courage until you feel safe enough. And even then, it isn’t always useful. For me, I needed someone to hear it, to hear me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Even though I can’t do it, I completely understand it my friend. Sometimes I wish someone else could know… maybe someday.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It has to be the right time for you. I’ve been building up to this for a while, and it wasn’t so difficult once I started reading it. Maybe just try writing it down and see how you feel x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I will try, thank you sweetness!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. noimnotok says:

    That’s quite a big step. Well done for doing this and for blogging about it. You have a lot of strength and courage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s kind of you to say so. I often don’t feel courageous, but I did for a short while today. That’s a little victory for me. Laura

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mirrorgirl says:

    Glad you finally took the leap of faith. That might lead you in wonderful directions 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I hope so.

      Like

  4. So proud of you! ,my therapist recently asked me for a timeline. I wrote the memories of my first three abusers. Very few memories, though they spanned over years, before I was too overwhelmed with the amount of abuse I still had to write about, I left it with her, instead of reading it. She commented yesterday- though I can’t remember what…. But just her acknowledging my pain and loss was enough. Now my assignment is counting my losses….. Ugh, haven’t been able to do it for two weeks. But I will soon enough. I’m so proud of you! That you opened yourself up, made yourself vulnerable and it was a good (as could be expected) experience. Hopefully this will Enable you open up more with her and others in the future. 🙂 hugs girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, lovely woman. I get how overwhelming it is. And it is so scary because as you write or recall things they feel more real. And they trigger memories that you didn’t know you had. You’ve got to be really careful. Hugs back x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re so bold and courageous. So happy for you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thank you so much for saying so!

      Like

  6. You were very courageous. I understand exactly where that little girl lived…
    I’ve replied to your comment on my own blog about a similar experience. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable enough to own this, process it, and move beyond is critical to our mental health. Forgive yourself, Laura. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thank you for those kind words

      Like

  7. ktessyman says:

    Such an achievement! I wish I was able to do the same.

    I have just discovered your blog (thanks for the like on mine!) but I am immediately proud of you and wish you all the success in your recovery. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      That’s so nice of you to say, such lovely feedback. It is important for every individual that they do these sort of things at their own pace. Just because you can’t now doesn’t mean it will never happen. Or you might realise it doesn’t need to happen, and that’s OK too. All the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nan Mykel says:

    I’m so glad you realize that you did take a gian sp fwd. You and yu herais have moved to a new level now

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kat Jayne says:

    I did this today. I wasn’t brave enough to read it out, instead I emailed my doctor an account of one abuser and the assault I had experienced. He read it, and today at my appointment he just talked kindly and gently to me, firmly reminding me that I did not deserve what happened to me. I feel like this weight has lifted from my shoulders. He was so proud of me, it gave me strength to face the hard stuff I know is coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Amazing! Well done you. It takes massive courage to share these things, but it allows us to be heard and to feel closer to the people we trust. Glad it was a positive experience for you.

      Liked by 1 person

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