Actually, I'm finished with swearing and there isn't anymore, but this is a continuation of the previous post, so I'm keeping the title.
Following that online conversation, I actually talked with a couple of other trusted friends, revealing the extent and nature of the abuse and allowing myself to express anger about it. Their reactions were similarly accepting, loving, and supportive. I was surprised. This led me to an exploration of my feelings about Person One. I had not realized how much I despised this part of me. I did a lot of writing, and for the first time, I shared some of that with close friends, allowing them to see what I was thinking and feeling.
I told more people. Some of them took it well, and wanted to be of help. Others expressed their inability to cope with the nature of what I was talking about. Rather than feeling rejected by them, I felt I understood them--relating to my feelings of abhorrence when I first began confronting the problems of my past. Some of those who stepped back, have since come back to touch bases and find out how I'm doing. I'm realizing that people cope in different ways, and I'm working on not taking personally things that are not aimed at me. It has been a welcome surprise to have those who were appalled by my past, return to try to support me as I work through things.
There have also been some who have been solidly behind me for many months. Without wavering, they've listened to what I've needed to say, offered physical and virtual support, and loved me no matter what. This has been extremely important as I try to understand my own beliefs about my self-worth and feelings of guilt. Also, at this point, my parents and all of my siblings know of the abuse I suffered (although I haven't told them details--the time for that has not come, and it may never be the right thing to tell them), and three of the seven siblings also know of my sexual orientation.
A large part of all this, but also the newest part, has been the process of learning to cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and all it's side-effects. I have finally finished researching the illness and understand how it affects my everyday life. With Tolkien Boy's help (which he has offered for more than eight months--even though I asked for it for "two to three weeks"--silly me!), I've once again been able to control my nightmares and get some sleep. And in spite of my recent visit to the hospital's "Behavioral Health Unit", I feel better today than I have in more than a year.
I've noted some interesting things as I feel stronger:
1. My feelings are much more level--sometimes I worry that I'm reverting to my past numbness. But I don't really think that's it. I think I'm just not a highly emotional person. I cope with emotion slowly and methodically. I'm not ignoring things, or burying them, just waiting until I can process without interruption.
2. I don't feel the desperate need for human interaction that I've felt over the past year. I don't think this means that I'm less interested in friends or wanting to become isolated. I've always been happy in my own company, and I don't feel lonely when I'm alone. Solitude is important to me. I seek out other people, still, fairly regularly, but I can't deny who I am or force myself to be who I'm not. I spend more time with my chat windows off, not because I'm avoiding people, but because I'm thinking, processing, and at this point I need to do that without as much input from others. I have to know what I think. But if you've given me ideas, advice, or help of any kind, you should know that I'm thinking of that, as well. It's time for me to put everything together, and that requires quiet thought.
3. There is an amazing feeling of peace when I reflect on my past. I've met the man who abused me. That meeting was rather horrible, but also amazing, because I'm no longer afraid of him. There are two reasons for this, one is that he's just sort of a pathetic, middle-aged man, the second is that I arranged, met with, and controlled that meeting by myself--and thanked God that in the restaurant, Tolkien Boy's hand pushed me forward when I actually caught my first glimpse of my cousin and wanted to turn and run away. However, I did complete the meeting, and the times that I view myself as less than dirt are much less frequent. I'm slowly coming to realize that I'm okay, I'm not a contagious disease, and that good, worthwhile people actually care about me regardless of my past, but also as a result of past events, because those who love me want me to become whole.
4. Many of the overwhelming yearnings I've had are becoming more level. The urge to cut seems to have gone away. I'm eating well and had gained at least 10 pounds at my last weigh-in (and I look normal). For awhile there was a gnawing need to find a source of non-sexual touch outside of those who are related to me by blood or marriage (the ones who have to love me--it's required). That need was making me feel more dependent than was comfortable for me. I fought against it in every way I could devise. When I finally gave in, asked someone if he was willing to provide that for me, and accepted his affirmative answer, the need seemed to diminish. Today, it feels non-existant. For me, that's an amazing relief, because if someone hugs or holds me, I want it to be a mutually beneficial experience. If it happens because I'm horribly needy, I'd rather be dead. I know, extreme, but I'm just expressing how I feel.
5. I'm still an overachieving nut-case. I think I always will be. There are many things I thought would change as I've explored my past. The truth is that while I was definitely affected by the things that happened, most of who I am today is based on the person I would have become under any circumstances. The difference is that now I no longer despise the little girl who was trapped and harmed. I don't hate her for not seeking help--she didn't know how. I don't blame her for not making the abuse stop--it was not in her power. I do wish she hadn't had to endure the sadness and pain--rather, I wish I had not had to endure it. That is something I will always wish. But I also know that my life today is beautiful.
I am left with memories, occasional nightmares, and a trauma disorder. I have found friendship, courage, love and self-worth. I discovered a part of myself I had ignored. For months I watched her, nightly, as she coped with pain, cleaned up the mess, and longed for love. Vicariously, I gave that to her as I controlled my nightmares, and with his permission, used help from Tolkien Boy who held her as she slept, and eventually helped her to stop the abuse altogether. I have seen how she survived and grew into a successful businesswoman, creative musician, mother, and wife. Who can despise that? I can no longer.