Wednesday, May 13, 2009

LIVE FREE OR DIE

On the way to the pool this morning, I listened to The Partridge Family. Made me feel melancholy. I started to think about the time I first heard them. I was a child, living in Singapore. It was a fascinating place for me. I remember it with a mixture of excitement and awe and pain. Excitement and awe because it was so different to England and Germany, the only places I had lived up to that point. Pain because it was here that I was first sexually molested by a stranger, and the first time my father almost killed me in his rage. It is only by luck that he didn't.

I already knew I was not acceptable to my parents, that I was a bad loathsome child.Yet his hatred of me grew during this period in Singapore and it was also the time I knew I didn't love him. The day he nearly killed me, by throwing a case of books at me which hit one side of my head and smashed the other side into an ornate coffee table leg. I also knew my mother was not on my side either and I was just as despicable to her. She lay me down and sponged my head with cold water all the while telling how bad I was and if I behaved Dad wouldn't get angry. (In case you are thinking she was a poor little victim-she wasn't. She was as cruel as he when she felt like it and he was never violent to her.) That night I did not kiss him goodnight and never did again. He thought I was becoming 'a man'. Fool.

I had been walking in the jungle when an Asian man, Indian or Malay, grabbed me, stripped me and masturbated over me. I was horrified and afraid. His sperm revolted me and I stopped eating or drinking milk stuff after that for a while. I did as I was instructed and did not tell a soul. Until something similar happened to a neighbours child. I then spoke up only to have my mother slap me, show her disgust and blame me for the attack on the other child. Further proof I was just an evil boy.

I was so ignorant then. I spent my life seeking the forgiveness of my family for not being what they wanted. As a result of this I laid myself wide open for more abuse. I never once saw the wickedness in others. I blamed myself for everything. I made friends with people who abused me, who had no respect for me, who found me wanting. I had sex with men (and women) who I didn't want to have sex with because I was unable to say no. I did not know I had been sexually abused as a child. I saw it as me having been sexually precocious and thus to blame.

The cruelty of my elder brother toward me, the hatred of me by my younger one, just added to my conviction I was a bad worthless person.( I now know that their hatred of me protects from feeling the pain of knowing they were not loved by our parents.)

We truly do experience life according to what we believe. My belief that I was a bad person, at core, ruined my life. It caused all sorts of painful behaviour. An eating disorder, self harm(cutting), sexual promiscuity, recklessness with my health. I was unable to cope without acting out in some way. all the while professionals treated me as bad, as sick, as deranged. No one saw the pain I was in, no one saw that I was merely the result of my experience and no one saw how I was telling them of my abuse by acting it out on myself. The arrogance of the so called mental health experts, social workers, shrinks, astounds me to this day.

I sometimes have difficulty forgiving myself for having thought as I did for so many years. For believing them. When we came from Australia to England, I came without a fuss because my parents agreed to bring one of my dogs with us. The others were sold to the first person who wanted them.

We came to England and I immediately got a job at a quarantine kennel and my beloved Sally, a yellow Labrador, was booked into arrive from Oz on August 5th, 1975. On August the 4th the owners of the kennel allowed me to call the people, family friends, who had taken care of Sally, to be sure she had been put on the plane. I was informed that my parents had had her destroyed the day we left Oz.

Despite this, I still believed I was the one at fault. That the treatment I was subjected to was deserved. My feelings of worthlessness and wickedness was compounded by the Xtian religion, in it's various forms, being taught to me at school and elsewhere. There was no shortage of people telling me I was going to Hell, that I was evil and spawn of Satan. I didn't realise then what I now know - I was already in Hell and the people teaching me this rot were themselves disturbed, or wicked, or deluded or abuse victims.

Now I see that the enormity of the pain I would feel when and if I realised that I was not evil, that in fact I was unloved and unwanted because of a deficiency within my parents, was pain far to great to allow myself to feel until such times as I was strong enough to do so. Plus something had to happen to trigger the healing, and the realisation that I was not at fault.

This came about in an odd way. Odd in that it could not have been better planned and it does make me wonder about 'outside power' influencing my life. Thru the 'net I had met a person who clearly did not like me from the moment we met. I spent two days in their company. I had no choice as we were in a foreign country and anyway, I had disassociated more or less str8 away. I was treated with utter disdain and disrespect. Their attitude and manner and the look in their eyes was just as my father's had been. I was found severely wanting in their eyes.

I had disassociated so I was not consciously aware of this at the time. Upon my return home, I began to have night terrors again, I began to get sick, I began to feel terribly afraid. More afraid than I had ever felt in life. I thought I was dying. I was convinced I was. This terror built up over a period of months, with days of crying and me trying to stop it and not knowing at all why this happening. I did not connect it to my past nor did I connect it with the visit to that person.

However, I did begin to realise I was grieving. I felt so bad. Really bad, bad enough that I thought I'd die just from the pain. I had felt nothing yet. Worse was to come. The very root of me was about to be torn out and banished form me forever.

That day I will never forget as long as I live, and longer. I was in my bedroom, unable to leave it. I was terrified, really, really terrified. I was losing my mind. I called out to whatever Power may have been there and I said: If you f'ing well love me, then I need you to show me NOW. The telephone rang and it was the person who has known me the longest, a close female friend. She seemed to instantly know what was happening and she spoke to me as I were a little boy, soothing me with her voice, telling me how it was not my fault, how I didn't deserve what had been done to me. She was not perturbed by the animal like noises I was making, the retching, the screaming as this pain I had kept buried for most of my 49 years finally left me, ripping my guts out as it did. I finally KNEW it was not my fault. That I had not been abused because I was me but because they were them. I was free.

It took months to physically heal from this epiphany. As I healed, I began to change. I began to sleep well. I could sleep and go to the loo when we were away from home. I stopped feeling afraid all the time. I stopped having people in my life who hurt me or made me feel bad.

I developed a need to wear colour. Lots of it, and bright. No longer was I going to drown myself in black and grey and brown. I was going to express myself and LIVE.

This is what I am doing now. At 50 I am finally alive. I am free. Free from them and free from everyone else. I no longer care a damn what anyone thinks. I do as I please and dress how I please. I treat others well regardless of how they treat me because to do otherwise would diminish me.

This life is short. Too much of it was stolen from me. Almost 50 years of it. I intend to live the rest of it to the full, as far as my wrecked body will allow and I will not allow that, the wrecked body, to stop me either.

This is the Presidents Office.


10 comments:

Indigo said...

Indigo Incarnates

I can so relate to your history. My dad was an abusive, sadistic momster. My mom was a irrational, narccisistic drunk that put away a quart of vodka every day. I have also been beaten and molested.

My dad poisoned the family cat because he was too cheap to pay for boarding when he went on vacation once.

I'm also pissed off at Christianity for their mixed messages of "honoor the father" even when the father is a psychopath, but then saying that gays are hellbound no matter what.

There are days when I feel pretty much okay and there are days where the urge to self-harm just crushes us.

I will not forgive the father-monster for destroying the original personality that used to occupy this body. I am an alter -- like the other four. Dad killed who we once were. But the Christian god seems to have rewarded dad his whole life. Go figure.

BammerKT said...

Brainwashed. That's the only word there is for what was done to you. I wish I could do something to help, but the good news is: you can and HAVE reprogrammed yourself.

You should be very proud of what you've done. I don't blame you for being angry and you should be. You have a lot to be pissed about.

You idn't deserve to suffer all that. No one does.

Iris said...

You have triumphed! Hold you head high - and higher by the day. Like they say here in the states: "Go Colin, Go Colin, Go Colin!"

Susan said...

Colin, I can not for a moment relate to the horror that was your life. I rejoice that you have found within yourself the strength and fortitude to lift yourself up. The evil in this world astounds me, especially when directed to children. My petty complaints pale in comparison.
You have surrounded yourself with friends personal and "cyber" who appreciate your talents and your contribution to life.
By speaking out you will help open the doors that have remained closed and allowed this to go on.
Fanatics in every religion will condone unacceptable behaviour in a guise of holiness and guilt. This evil is not of the "higher power" I acknowledge. I was taught that our responsibility to each other is to support, encourage and nurture to be the best we can be.
We can choose to colour our lives by the friends we cultivate. Thank you Colin, for continuing to colour to my life experience.
Warmest regards,
Susan

Nan said...

While my up-bringing was nothing like the horror you went through, I can relate to being unwanted. It haunted me from the time I was 4 and I spent most of my life apologizing for breathing (figuratively).

There is no adequate punishment for those who abuse or diminish a child. Perhaps they are their own punishment, but if they don't think they are suffering, is it truly punishment? (see how my mind works.) But I have to believe that what one puts out into the universe comes right back at us, else there is no justice and I wouldn't know how to deal with that. We may never know what it is that others reap, but I believe that they do reap it.

And you are to be congratulated for overcoming it. Not everyone is able to do that.

Claudia said...

Tears are streaming down my face right now for the injustices done to you. Children should never be shown the face of evil. ugh!

Your last paragraph is absolutely amazing in the face of what you've endured. God bless you for rising above it all.

FugueStateKnits said...

Colin, I mean it when I say that I often think of you when I'm at work. I wonder if there are things my clients don't tell me (of course I know there are and the longer I've been doing this, the more I realize it). I've seen some social workers, so-called mental health professionals and others "blame the victim" by assuming that they will have these "character flaws" as a result of the abuse.
You and I know this is utter bullshit. I do believe that there is a higher power and my only argument with Indigo is that it's not the xian god or the "angy desert god" or allah or buddha or krishna or vishnu, it's human beings understanding of "god" that twists the reality until it becomes something none of us recognize.
You have been blessed. You have been blessed in a stupendous, miraculous, supernatural way. You have received healing from others, near and far, and yourself. I believe - and don't have any proof, so take it as you like - that there is something pretty amazing behind this.
Thanks for sharing your pain and your triumphs and most of all for sharing your love. It takes love to do this. I'm so glad they couldn't take that from you!
Hugs,
Joan

Lia Nord said...

I think it was very courageous of you to write all of this down; to be able to do that shows that you have overcome so much of it. Your life was not wasted, though it's a shame you had to go through it. It makes you what you are today--a very caring, brave, perceptive person. And if you hadn't been who you were, would you and John have gotten together then? Even during that horrible period you maintained some kind of purity, a quality that you still have. And if you weren't who you are now, would you have been able to put it in words and be of so much help to others? You can be proud of yourself. I'm glad to know you.

Macy from Buffalo, NY said...

Colin,
Every one of these comments has something I wanted to say to you!
First, BLESS you for being you, for being courageous enough to share everything you did.
I rejoice that you triumphed and found the strength within YOURSELF with YOUR Higher Power to do more than survive life, to LIVE it on YOUR terms.

You wrote:
"My belief that I was a bad person, at core, ruined my life. It caused all sorts of painful behaviour. An eating disorder, self harm(cutting), sexual promiscuity, recklessness with my health. I was unable to cope without acting out in some way."

I read this and began to bawl. I could have written the exact same words, not as articulately or as clearly, but they describe the last 33 years of my life since a relative raped me when I was 12.
Every single thing you wrote.
I have NEVER in all my years of therapy met a single person who could relate to the pain, the self-loathing, the insane belief that I deserved what I got. I've never known anyone who coped my way with the eating disorder, the cutting, the sleeping around recklessly and the risk-taking. Never.

I don't even remember when or how I found your blog, but I'm glad I did. My DH says we should come to England from Western NY just to thank you for being strong enough to share your triumphs over the darkness. Especially this week - since it has been a VERY dark week for me - I NEEDED to see that there is hope, that it is possible to receive healing & love and to experience joy in my life by you allowing me to share in yours.

I've tried to use words, but my heart is just too full. You are loved, Colin, and I'm proud to have experienced a tiny bit of that love. I honestly love you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Macy from Buffalo, NY said...

Colin,
Every one of these comments has something I wanted to say to you!
First, BLESS you for being you, for being courageous enough to share everything you did, for coming through it and finding the strength within YOURSELF with YOUR Higher Power to do more than survive life, to LIVE it on YOUR terms.
You wrote:
"My belief that I was a bad person, at core, ruined my life. It caused all sorts of painful behaviour. An eating disorder, self harm(cutting), sexual promiscuity, recklessness with my health. I was unable to cope without acting out in some way."

I read this and began to bawl. I could have written the exact same words, not as articulately or as clearly, but they describe the last 33 years of my life since a relative raped me when I was 12. Every single thing you wrote.
I have NEVER in all my years of therapy met a single person who could relate to the pain, the self-loathing, the insane belief that I deserved what I got. I've never known anyone who coped with the eating disorder, the cutting, the sleeping around recklessly and the risk-taking. Never.

I don't even remember when or how I found your blog, but I'm glad I did. My DH says we should come to England from Western NY just to thank you for being strong enough to share your triumphs over the darkness. Especially this week - I NEEDED to see that there is hope, that it is possible to receive healing and love and to experience and share joy in my life by you allowing me to share in yours.

I've tried to use words, but my heart is just too full. You are loved, Colin, and I'm proud to have experienced a tiny bit of that love. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.