Dear Dr. Archer,
My story is one of success. I grew up in a home that, on the surface, would have been considered normal. The truth is I grew up with an absentee father and a domineering, perfectionist mother. Don't get me wrong, love was present, but it was conditional.
Perhaps the worst thing that happened was that, in the absence of my father, an uncle became a surrogate. He treated me with lots of attention and we did many fun things together. For example, I remember at age 12 he allowed me to drive his MG convertible.
Then, one night while staying over at his house (he lived with my grandmother), the other shoe dropped and I was sexually molested. This happened on repeated occasions until one day I had had enough and refused to be in his presence alone.
What I did not realize at the time, and only came to grips with years later, was that my innocence was taken from me. Yet, over the course of several years I came to understand that, though I was victimized, I was not a victim.
I had responsibility for my own life, my own decisions, and the course of action my life was to take. At one point, I was even able to help someone else achieve their healing from sexual abuse.
I am well aware that what happened to me has happened to many others, and that their stories don't have such a happy ending. But, there is hope for healing over sexual abuse. I'm living proof!
Your story is indeed one of success! You have made the journey to survivor and continue to show courage and determination as you move forward with your life. Congratulations!!
No longer defining yourself as one who is injured or destroyed shows the power we each have to define our life on our own terms, regardless of what comes our way. You have become one who carries on despite hardships and trauma; you persevere and see yourself as reliable and trustworthy without fault or blame for the destructive behaviors of the adults in your past.
Pat, the positive hope you exude is the one trait that every psychological survivor demonstrates.
My only advice is to make yourself available to help others if the occasion should ever arise. You can definitely make a difference in the lives of others with your success story. Continue your journey and keep moving forward Pat, I wish you the best.