I am the keeper of secrets. Not only my personal secrets but also the secrets of others. I am so skilled at keeping secrets many people entrust me with their deepest darkest secrets and I keep them to myself. I keep secrets so very well people are completely unaware of all the knowledge I have garnered over the years. A lot of secrets have been collected, stored, and held for safe keeping.
Last night on twitter I was having a private conversation with another person and learned  we share the same type of secret. I have only told a few people the largest secret of my life and only 1 person (now 2 knows the full story). See. I am such a good secret keeper because I was trained to keep secrets at an early age. The secret I hold could destroy my family. So. I kept the burden of this secret for years. It is my cross to bear alone. However, talking to someone else about it was freeing. I felt so much better saying it aloud. So. I am going to say my secret out loud again. Give it life. Make it real again and not let it hide in abstracts and the recesses of my mind. It has been too long and it does not need to fester inside me anymore. My secret is. A family member molested me at a very early age and it continued for years.  Not a scary old uncle, or a distant cousin, or a wicked step father either. This family member is in my generation of children in the family.
From as far back as I can remember, the abuse was going on. I didn’t consider it abuse because I was so young I had no idea what abuse was. I knew it hurt. I knew I didn’t particularly like it, but I knew it made him happy and since I idealized him, I went along with it. My abuser was my hero and I sensed if I told my parents about what was going on, he would get into trouble.  I didn’t want that. So I kept quiet. Plus he made it seem like our special time together. His attention was something I craved.  For years the knowledge of what happened to me went dormant. Then one day it came flooding back like some sort of memory tsunami. All my senses were overwhelmed with the recollections. They overtook me. I can recall the places, times, what happened, scents, feelings.. I can really clearly remember what it felt like to have my young underdeveloped body violated by parts of another, which did not fit. My eyes do not have to be closed to taste what was forced onto my taste buds and forever imprinted into my psyche. I remember everything. I especially remember the instructions of not to tell a soul. So I didn’t.

Where does that leave the adult me? Keeping this secret. I can’t tell my family because it would destroy us. So I have to be the strong one and suffer alone without the support of the people who love me the most. I used to find strength in keeping this secret. Like I was saving the family from great heartache, shame, and pain. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I’m not. I am not worried this person is out molesting other children as they are safely incarcerated where they belong on unrelated crimes. So for that I am thankful. I would hate for another child to keep such a burdenous secret. 

Do I see this person as a monster? No. Do I fall into the cliche of psychologically challenged tragic adults who have been molested as a child? Time will tell. I do know that by sacrificing myself, I saved my family. To me, that is worth a thousand nights of any torture. If I had to do it all over again, I can’t say I would change a single thing I did. The thought of my parent’s devastation rocks me to my very core, but being raped doesn’t.  It is no accident I got into psychology. It is not a coincidence  I work with sex offenders and victims of sexual abuse. They just have no idea I have first hand knowledge of their situations. Maybe this all happened for a reason. I now have the ability to heal many people as atonement for my personal pain. I can’t tell, but I can teach others to. So. For that I am grateful. I will continue to sacrifice myself, for the good of others.

Comments (1)

On May 7, 2010 at 2:36 PM , Poor Kate said...

Thank you. Just THANK YOU.

xoxo j