Last year, at age 62, I began seeing a psychiatrist for sleep problems. On my second visit, he told me I showed classic signs of depression and PTSD and asked how long I’d been depressed. I mentioned the verbal and emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of my father, but some of the traumatic events were blocked from my conscious thought.
One day, my wife asked why I was so angry. I told her about flashbacks I had of my father violently raping me as he accused me of being a reminder of two men he had sex with during his time in the army. Because I was named after those two men, he couldn’t forget what he had done.
My wife was dumbstruck. By the time I finished my story, I was huddled in a corner of the patio with tears streaming down my face. I had never told anyone. Who would I tell? Who would believe an eight-year-old child?
Back then I didn’t understand the sexual content. I just knew the physical and emotional pain and the betrayal. After the rape, my father never hugged me again. He never said he loved me, and he belittled my accomplishments until he died.
My psychiatrist transferred me to a psychology resident. He’s been wonderful help along this journey. But while reading your book Not Quite Healed, I realized that many of the trials and tribulations I’ve dealt with all these years aren’t unique to me. I see myself in almost every chapter, and I can usually read only one or two before tears overtake me.
When my therapist asked me what I hoped to get out of our sessions, I told him I wanted to quit hating myself. You’ve helped me take the first positive steps in that direction. Thank you!
My wife is reading your companion book and is trying hard to work through this with me. Just writing this to you has helped. I’m not quite healed, but I’m working on it!
Ben Franklin (not my real name)
Ben, thank you for sharing a bit of your story here. I'm glad you have had the courage to begin sharing with your wife, as well as with your counselor,(and now with readers) about the abuse you suffered as a child, and the pain you've lived with since.
I found myself encouraged as I read your post, because you are choosing the healing journey.
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