Dear Dr. Archer,
I am a survivor of childhood sexual and physical abuse. I was raped when I was 9 years old by a group of older teenagers. At home I was sexually exploited, beaten and at times, not allowed to eat. By the time I was 11, I was beaten, raped and sodomized by a pedophile which lasted for 13 years; I was also bullied at school.
I was in my 20's when he was murdered, and I was early in treatment at the time. During this time I was attending college, recorded an independent gospel album, but then became ill.
I suppose it was PTSD. It was bad; I could not leave the house. After 11 years on Social Security disability, broken dreams, poverty, sexual addictions, drug abuse and an eating disorder, I am still here.
I worked for nearly 12 years in New York City helping people with mental illness. I earned two bachelors degrees, one AA, my CASAC-T for substance abuse counselor, and I am a member of ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). I have done plenty in my life.
Over the years I have written and published my story, and even won writer of the month in college. Now, I have six self-published poems on Amazon.com. I helped many people in my work who are survivors of abuse, incest, rape, male to male rape, cutters and self injurious behaviors.
Yet the one thing, (and please know I am so blessed I have come this far; my deep faith and my spirituality has helped me so much with inner strength), with all this I still feel completely damaged inside. I have good days, but sometimes I don't feel the ability to feel love, a sense of belonging.
I feel detached, uncaring and unable to function in social events, or have a stable relationship. I am 48 years old, and I have just settled. Sort of like the movie, this is as good as it gets.
I have grown accustomed to my life, but I can't even keep a pet! I cannot commit; it takes too much for me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I know all this has to do with PTSD and having to deal with so much abuse growing up.
Although it all sounds so gruesome, I am grateful to be here, even if it's only to share my journey with others. I even survived a brain tumor in 2005. Kabbalah teaches, when there is suffering, we must still love and worship God and be thankful for these moments because they teach us so much about God, faith and ourselves.
I have suffered much, and I have learned much. It's the internal damage that abuse has left me with, that appears to just linger....forever......
What challenges and tragedies you have experienced. You could have given up, wallowed in your own self pity and become a psychological victim for the rest of your days. But you didn't! You wrote, baring your soul and expressing your pain to the world, in order to help others who may be suffering through the same situation.
You have also written books
, which I've linked to, and you have lived through a nightmare and come out the other side. You know we can never turn back the hands of time; the past is the past and it is what it is. But what we can do is deal with our past so that it remains there behind us. Yes, it is a part of you, but it doesn't have to linger with you forever. Forever, Lucian, is a long, long time.
I want you to treat yourself to a therapist, one who specializes in childhood sexual abuse. You are a psychological survivor, and while I say this, survivors need help, too.
Please don't sell yourself short; you deserve all you can get, and therapy with the right person can work wonders. The first thing you must do in therapy is to figure out what you want out of life from here going forward.
You say you can’t commit and you can’t keep a pet, but those are not necessarily bad things. You need to discover what it is you want. Your life at this point is not bad or good, UNLESS you want it to be something else. If you do, then you need to make that happen. I think talking it over with a therapist could help you figure that out.
Your faith will carry you through this, Lucian, but you must make the effort; God will not do it for you. It is true that what you experienced was horrific, but that doesn't mean you have to carry it still and let it torment you. Yes, I can see it has taught you much, but you can overcome and still carry the knowledge you have learned.
It can be done, Lucian. I suggest you put forth the effort to make your days as wonderful as they can be -- and they can be! Be patient with yourself, and know that you have a purpose in this life. All the best and please keep us posted.