I sat on the couch yesterday morning watching CBS cover something I didn’t even know happened over the weekend: #whyIdidntreport in response to the Brett Kavanaugh assault allegations.
Then today, I watched as the networks covered the Bill Cosby sentencing.
It got me thinking—I’ve never spelled out why I didn’t report my childhood abuser. And what happened when I started talking about it. In addition, I want to share what happened when I started talking about the abuse I endured as an adult.
I did not report my uncle because I repressed the memories of abuse, and subsequently didn’t put together all of the clues until I was 40. At that point, it was so far past the statute of limitations that I couldn’t even try to hold him accountable legally. I was 5. I finally understood what happened to me at age 40. (According to many psychology experts and my own survey work, this is common with extreme childhood abuse.) Not only did I have physical “proof” in the form of vaginal surgery at age 19, but as a medium, I also had help clarifying the harrowing visions I was seeing. My dear friend and internationally renowned medium, Necole Stephens, tapped into the rape scene and managed to describe (without knowing a thing) details like drapes, room set up, room color, bedspread detail, and much more. Now, I couldn’t remember it all to a T but when I shared what Necole said with my sister (whose memory is spot on), she confirmed it all. I finally knew what happened to me and connected the dots of my life. And it finally made sense why so many of the kids in spirit who were killed by pedophiles were coming to share messages with me.
But then there was the telling.
When I discovered it all, I told my parents who were devastated. I assured them it was not their fault. No one could have known. Most predators are just that good. I'm learning that year after year as I help law enforcement with cold cases (If you just thought to yourself, "WHAT??!! She works with cops?? I thought she built furniture??", go to HERE for an endorsement by ex-NYPD detective, Mark Pucci). Sure, there were clues but they couldn’t have known. They believed me, for the most part, but I still think that unsure part was mostly shock. I know it’s hard to receive that kind of news. They knew who he was as a person and what he’d done with hundreds of women so it wasn’t a far stretch to think he’d also abuse young children. I know I’m not the only child. There are at least 4 more who are now grown.
Now, when I told his ex-wife, I received what most survivors are told.
“You must be mistaken.”
“I don’t believe this.”
“ We weren’t together enough.”
Denial? Probably. Heart wrenching for me? Absolutely. It take so much courage to come out and share what happened because there's shame and fear around all of it. Deep-seeded, subconscious shame that keeps most survivors from talking, even childhood survivors like me. But also, if they do talk, they know they may get the shamed, blamed and/or dismissed…again.
I saw this happen AGAIN when I shared the narcissistic abuse I endured as an adult. Many of his long-time supporters can’t fathom he could be one way on social media and another in real life. So instead of looking at the facts. The public record documents like restraining orders and such, they call me crazy. Call me a liar. And here’s the thing: most of them are WOMEN.
If you are one of the folks wondering why women (and men) don’t report sexual abuse (and other types of abuse), maybe consider this: Not only is it dangerous for many survivors, we know we will likely be re-abused in more ways than one. We simply don't believe survivors as a society. Cosby drugged and abused 60 women. Some folks STILL don't believe he did it.
Bottom line: Stop shaming and dismissing survivors because you feel uncomfortable. Because you don’t want to look at it without rose-colored glasses. Because you believe the façade. Just stop.
Abuse is a silent epidemic and thank god many of us refuse to be silent anymore. It is not our job to protect our abusers. Never has been, never will be. #ENOUGH #TIMESUP
Today, I’m 45.
And I’m so freakin’ excited about it! The journey, as many of you know, has been less than smooth but I feel like I have my wings again. I'm waiting to hear if I got selected for Ted Talk Sedona and I'm about 30K words into a memoir I'm writing.
Scott brought me to a beautiful hotel for a day and a night of relaxation. It’s been just that. I even took a nap yesterday—something my go-go-go wiring doesn’t let me do often.
After we left the spa pool, we took a walk over to the Desert Zen Intention Labyrinth Journey. It looks like a maze but it’s anything but a left-brain puzzle. The way in is the way out—one path leading to the center of your deepest self and back out again with a broadened understanding of life.
Scott reminded me that when we were separated, he visited his aunt and uncle in Birmingham where they installed a labyrinth in their back yard. He stepped into the walking meditation asking the question about us. Specifically, he was hopeful that we would find our way back to each other but unsure what he should do. He walked with purpose asking this question and heard something to the effect of, “patience.” Or so that’s what he remembered but he couldn’t quite remember exactly what the line was that helped him understand his role in 2016.
Yesterday, he walked the labyrinth again with the intention of gratitude. The exact line he’d heard the first time came back to him. It was “stay the course.”
And I’m so glad he did. He stayed the course of being kind, loving, and concerned all the while owning his part of our separation. We both grew and healed.
When I read the directions for the labyrinth, I was reminded that it is truly a way to focus your body on an activity so that you can open yourself to your intuition. When I first started channeling messages from kids in spirit, most times, I was doing something physical like building furniture. Or driving a car. Or walking.
Many people feel they need to take classes and meditate hours on end to access their own inner knowing and channel messages from spirit. It’s never been that way for me. Plus, let’s call a spade a spade: I’m way too ADD for that. I think all of that is useful and to each his own, but I don’t necessarily think you need to study intuition to access it. Pay attention to when you get “downloads.” Is it in the car? Shower? During exercise?
You might be wondering what happened when I walked the labyrinth. Well, because I was so focused on walking it, I thought about what we were doing for dinner and concentrated on not tripping. Some kind of spirit medium I am, right?!?!
P.S. Last night at dinner, spirit did come in wanting me to share a message with a fellow diner. But I’ll keep that one to myself because it’s not my story to tell.
People smile when they see the bracelet Scott surprised me with out of the blue. Not just because there’s a cuss word on it, but because when you read it, it just says exactly what he wanted me to know.
To keep fucking going.
This was one way of saying keep speaking out. Despite what it all means for him—me talking openly about a past relationship and all the pain it brought to our lives—he wants me to keep going. To keep lighting the dark spaces of our world that are pretty scary to talk about for a number of reasons. He knows what it means for me when I do speak out.
It means retaliation.
It means nasty, bullying messages and covert operations to keep me from speaking out. It means bullying people (as recently as few weeks ago) who are standing by my side.
It means lies being put out into the world about me. I remember reading awhile back that my ex claimed I said “If you leave me, I’ll ruin you.” Of course, I said no such thing. Anyone who knows me, knows that’s not something I’d say. It took a lot for me to start talking about what happened because it’s hard to admit that I would allow it and that I wasn’t strong enough to break free long ago. And he’d done a fabulous job of grooming his followers and friends to believe I was the one who was abusing him. The old “flip the script” tactic my psychotherapist told me about is in full swing.
Now, will I stand up for myself? Yes. Will I protect myself and my family and go as far as to stand in court in front of a judge in order to be granted a restraining order based on REAL EVIDENCE that he was trying to “ruin me” and bully me? Yes. None of his exes or current wife have ever fought back publicly but I heard from many privately that they endured very similar abuse, and in some cases, worse. I certainly wasn’t begging him to stay, I had already packed up his stuff and carried all of it to UPS and shipped it to his place near Seattle. Not really the kind of thing you do if you’re trying to keep someone in your life. I was fighting for my life.
It means potential danger for me. And now you know why.
Keep fucking going has now become my mantra. As long as I breathe, I will share the good, bad, beautiful, ugly, embarrassing, and messy about life before, after, and during abuse.
I never want my children or their children (or anyone in the world) to endure what I allowed for a brief time in my life. But first, they have to recognize the signs of narcissistic abuse before it turns abusive.
If you’re in a relationship that has turned abusive, keep doing the hard work to figure out how to save yourself. Even if it’s not right this minute for a variety of reasons, keep pushing towards a life without abuse. Learn how to not absorb the verbal and emotional abuse being slung at you. Baby steps until you can take one big, giant leap.
You’ve got this. Keep fucking going.
You’re so worth it.