We all have scars, some deeper than others. Without the right care, some wounds simply heal on the outside, leaving a scar and the pain remains underneath. I learned very quickly that you can’t heal from what you don’t reveal.
Session after session I made no progress. I had finally confronted those on my list. All but one that is. How could one name bring me such pain? I thought that confronting all the others and deciding to focus on my relationship with my mom would bring me closure. At first it did. I felt a bit of relief and felt proud that I was able to stand up to my abusers and confront them. I felt untouchable. I was so grateful for my then boyfriend for going on the journey with me and we were back home and focusing on living our best lives. I focused on moving forward but in the back of my mind, that last name remained. Every now and then something would trigger the memory.
See I grew up in a close-knit family. We were raised that Family is Everything. Every summer my mom would take my cousins for the break, and we all became more like brothers and sisters. Still till this day many of them get together for holidays and birthdays and other celebrations. People would always make comments like, you’re so lucky to have a big family or I bet no one messes with you since you have so many brothers. I have seven of them to be exact. However for me, from a very young age that concept of Family being everything was torn from me. How do you learn to trust anyone, when the person you looked at as a protector becomes one of your abusers? How do you not let the anger and pain consume you? For so long I simply hid from the truth, buried it as if it didn’t happen but life had a funny way of showing me that the things I try to run away from eventually catch me.
My family was used to calling me the bad guy, cousins were used to referring to me as the mean one. I’d gotten use to my aunt calling me to tell me to be nice. It was a constant roller coaster. Being called out of my name or being referred to as a b***h simply because they lacked the understanding or compassion to even ask why I was the way I was. It just became something that they all embraced. They’d tell girlfriends to stay away from her she’s mean and don’t like people. For so long I simply wanted to fit in with them, be liked by them, have them care enough to ask, but they never did. All but one and her and I have been like sisters for as long as I could remember. I never had to beg her to stay behind. No matter how much fun was on the agenda for the day for all the other kids, all I had to do was say stay with me, and she did just that. No explanation needed, she got it.
Two more years had gone by since I started to tackle my list and I knew that even if I kept my truth from my mother, I needed to tell my closest brothers so they could understand me, and so I could truly heal. It was becoming so annoying and painful that everytime I met a new girlfriend, she'd be terrified of me because a brother or cousin told her I was mean.
But who would believe me? It happened so long ago, I was young and how do I know I won’t be blamed for what happened? Everyone already thinks I'm just this evil and mean person. I was afraid. Once I let it out, there was no taking it back. I had to be 100% sure that I was ready to deal with the outcome. Feeling like I'd be blamed, I put the thought to the side and went on vacation and upon returning I got the piece I needed.
My abuser had left a message recounting everything he’d done to me and asking for us to talk. I took that message and forwarded it to my brothers and simply cried in disbelief. The message made it to my mother and while I cried, I became unsure if my tears were for me or for my mother. I knew as a mother it would never be possible for her to hate my abuser. I knew the bond among my siblings would never be the same. I simply wanted them to understand that to me family wasn’t everything. Family was indeed the source of my scars, my deepest pain. My actions were not driven by meanness, but simply a method of coping and protection. My counselor had said it many times and at that moment I knew it was true, revealing everything that had happened to me to those I cared about most was the first step of the journey and only then could the healing process truly begin. The journey would be painful and difficult but it had finally begun...TO BE CONTINUED.