It started when I was 10-years-old. I don’t know exactly when it stopped. I guess when he moved out of the house, or when I moved out of the house. Even though I don’t see on a regular basis anymore, I still battle the after effects everyday.
It happened slowly over time. At first it was just a hug or a kiss or a caress that all just felt like too much. It was a hand up my shirt or down my pants. Nothing that was easily identifiable, just uncomfortable.
He took advantage of my trusting nature. He took advantage of my rule following nature. He took advantage of the trust my parents put in him. He took advantage of the situation in which they left him in charge. He took advantage of me.
He destroyed my confidence. He told me I was worthless.
He destroyed my sense of self. He told me no one would ever love me.
He destroyed my trust. He told me no one would ever believe me.
He left me broken.
I have fought for years to try to rewrite the message that plays in my head: I’m not good enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not worthy of love. Some days are better than others in believing it.
But… In my brokenness I have found healing.
In my brokenness I have found strength.
In my brokenness I have found hope.
Through that brokenness, I have used my own pain and experiences to help others. I have been able to help others know that while abuse shouldn’t define who you are, it will always be a part of you.
Through my brokenness I have comforted others and let them know that I understand, and I survived.
Through my brokenness I have been able (I hope) to help a little girl rebuild and redefine herself after a horrible event happened to her.
I think that as hard as it has been, and continues to be, if I can help one other person know that they are not alone, then my brokenness can be used for good.