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September 01 • Victim of What?

Day 419

The first time it was ever suggested that I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I laughed. It was absurd. Even though this was coming from a trained counselor, it was in the context of an employment process, and I just racked it up to some sort of meatball diagnosis or personality testing misinterpretation.

Nearly twenty years later, when I started seeing a therapist about my acting out, she began asking about my abuse as if everyone knew about it. I argued with her for a while, then she began connecting the dots for me and even telling me things she shouldn't have known about me. As I started facing my addiction instead of denying it, those dots took on more profound significance, and the connecting lines even more.

I spent a little time trying to figure out when someone might have had the opportunity to do something to me as a child. Although I now have identified some occasions when certain individuals may have done something, I still don't remember any specifics. Frankly, right now, I'm glad that my memory remains blank on this.

I don't like the possibilities that are out there, and that can now never be proven. There may be some thought that it's important to dig down into those "repressed memories," but I'm content that the results would be more damaging than redemptive.

The point is the injuries with which we are inflicted as children have clinical and predictable repercussions. Sometimes we remember what caused a particular scar, and then sometimes we even deny that the scar exists. Sometimes we figure out how to move on without life falling apart, and sometimes our brokenness is too much for us to endure on our own.

Too often, we do stupid things in search of relief from that kind of pain. Yes, I did.



Can't remember seein' all my hopes goin' up in flames

I can't remember reachin' for the closest thing to dull the pain

I can't remember feeling I could be healed by a stranger's hand

But it must have happened, yes, it must have happened

–Mary Chapin Carpenter, ”It Must Have Happened"



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