Self Harm – The world will come after you with knives anyway. You do not need to beat them to it. ~ Caitlin Moran, How To Build A Girl.
I have a challenge for all the beautiful people who read this particular blog. Create a status on your Facebook or Twitter and ask your friends to click ‘like’ or ‘favorite’ if they’ve ever self-harmed. If you prefer, create a meme or use one of these. Not everyone will tell you, but I think you’ll be surprised at the outcome. After a day or so, please visit my author page and tell me about your results.
Today’s blog is the story of a young woman named Fae. Her story, like many others, is not an easy one to read. If you have comments for Fae or any of the other interviewees, please visit my Facebook author page and leave your thoughts there.
Cutting and trying to overdose on different kind of medications.
What do you feel caused your behavior?
There were multiple things that I feel caused it. I was molested at a very young age by my step mom’s son who was four years older than me. And also by her nephew who was seven years older.
How old were you at the time?
It started when I was five-years-old and didn’t end until I was fifteen. When I was younger I didn’t know any better. But was told if I didn’t do what they wanted me to, they would tell my step-mom or dad that I did something I wasn’t supposed to. At the time I was known as a liar, so I knew that I would get in trouble whether it was true or not. It kept happening over and over until I was seven when my step-mom and dad finally found out.
What did they do when they found out?
They called the police and my step-brother, the nephew, and myself were interviewed. Now I know that the purpose was for the boys to get in trouble and the police to find out from me what all that happened. But at the time, I thought I was in trouble too. So at the police station, the two guys told me that I needed to be more secretive about it and that it was my fault entirely that they got in trouble. At that time, I was a big people pleaser and didn’t like people getting mad at me or people getting in trouble if it was my fault. So I listened to them and was more secretive about it.
Ugh, that’s awful. So the abuse continued?
Yes. When I was 10 my dad and my step-mom officially split and my older step-siblings blamed me. They said if I had been more secretive about things and didn’t let on that things were happening behind their backs that they wouldn’t be splitting up. Even though I was getting older and started to know that it was wrong, at the same time I felt like I was being loved and getting attention. I didn’t feel like I was getting attention from anybody else, especially my dad. I felt like he didn’t really care about me. My step-mom had always treated me like crap. She would say we were going to have a girl’s day, but then her and my step-sister would leave, but I would be left at home. I didn’t feel like anybody cared about me in the rest of my family either. After my dad and step-mom split, my step-brother would still come over and visit my dad and my brother. If he stayed the night he would sneak in my room. He would always tell me that he loved me and cared for me. At that time, no one had ever told me those things. Not my father, my friends, or family. I eventually ended up telling my dad, because my step-brother got a girlfriend and I realized that he didn’t really care about me and that he was using me. My dad got mad and at the time I thought he was mad at me. We were at my grandma’s house and he had to tell everyone that was present what had happened. My grandma, grandpa, and two of my aunts, and some of my cousins were there. I was humiliated. My cousins told me I was disgusting even though they didn’t know the whole story. My aunts and grandma scolded me saying since I got in trouble for it the first time that I should’ve known better. So again, I blamed myself for everyone being upset and mad. After that, I never told anybody again. My step-brother finally stopped after my dad found a new girlfriend and we moved in with her. My dad’s girlfriend’s son was five years older than me, but he had a close relationship with my ex-stepmom’s nephew. Her nephew told my dad’s girlfriend’s son what he used to do to me. I was eleven when he raped me. Once again, he told me that if I told anybody that he would tell my dad I did something or stole something. So I didn’t tell. The guy and my ex-step mom’s nephew took turns raping me. That went on for a year before I couldn’t take it anymore and told my dad. My dad confronted the boy and he tried to blame everything on me. My dad never believed me about the nephew doing those things to me. My dad’s girlfriend’s son said I came on to him and seduced him. What hurt the most is my dad actually questioned me if that was true or not. My dad’s girlfriend found out what happened and told me at twelve years old that I needed to pack my sh#@ and get the f@%k out of her house. So I packed everything I owned and sat at the end of the driveway for four hours waiting for my dad to get home. When he came home, we had a talk. And after everything that happened he still made me stay there. I still had to live under the same roof of the guy who raped me and his mom that despised me then. Everyone treated me like crap, even my own brother. He liked living there and told me that if I was the reason that he has to move that he would never speak to me again. I felt like I was in my own personal hell. I felt like no one cared about me. That no one cared that someone hurt me. I felt alone. The nephew continued to molest me. But what could I do? No one would believe me that it was happening. Or my dad’s girlfriend would just call me a whore again.
At what point did the molestation finally drive you to cutting?
I was thirteen when I started cutting myself. I just needed a release. I needed to actually feel something. The day I first started cutting was when I found out that my dad’s girlfriend went all over town telling everyone that I was a whore. Besides the two guys that raped me, I never had sex with anybody else. When I would see the blood run down my leg or my arm I would feel alive. I would feel like I was still me that all I had to do was tough it out until I was eighteen, then I could move away from everyone. But it started getting worse and worse. The longer the time went the more I felt alone. When I was fourteen my half-sister moved in with us. It was nice because I finally had someone to talk to. Plus for some reason my dad’s girlfriend did not like her. So she got treated worse than I did. When I was fifteen my dad’s girlfriend’s son finally moved out and my dad’s girlfriend blamed me. Said it was my fault that her son wanted to move. That he couldn’t stand the sight of me. That night I took a full bottle of pain relievers. I wanted to die. It wasn’t to just have that release. I truly wanted to die. I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like I wasn’t meant for this world. And that everybody would be better off without me. I felt like no one would even care if I was gone. Why would they since I got blamed for everything? It was always my fault that my dad and his ex-wife didn’t work out. It was my fault that he and his girlfriend weren’t getting along anymore. So if I was the reason behind all these things that could make other people’s lives better, than why not just get it over with and leave this world? My half-sister found me on the floor going into convulsions. She shoved her hands down my throat and made me puke and then took care of me for the rest of the night. Even though at this time she and I didn’t get along very well, she knew that if she went and got my dad’s girlfriend (dad wasn’t home) that it would be just another thing for her to use against me. When I came to and realized that I didn’t die, I was angry. I was angry at everybody and at myself. After that I would start cutting deeper. Because there was no way that my sister could save me for loss of blood. I kept cutting and trying to overdose on pills until I was close to my seventeenth birthday.
How did you feel after cutting? It sounds like you used it to help you cope at first, but not later.
I felt even more alone. After I would cut, I felt a release. I felt pain and if I could feel pain then I could feel other things. But the one thing that cutting or trying to overdose didn’t bring me was love and attention. I think at one time I made a cut long enough to see if anybody would actually notice. To just say ‘Hey! Someone please just pay attention to me. Just show that you care.’ But, like I thought, no one ever did. Everyone always seemed too busy for me. My dad always paid more attention to my brother than me. My dad’s girlfriend didn’t like me at all. Even though I had friends, it wasn’t them that I wanted to turn to for comfort, love, or attention. I wanted my family to do that.
Do you still struggle with urges to cut?
I don’t struggle with urges to cut or try to overdose. I do still have the thoughts or urges to do other things to harm myself. One of the biggest reasons I don’t do them is because of my kids. I know that if I did something to myself that actually ended up killing me that my kids could never forgive me for taking their mom away from them like that. But I do still have thoughts about killing myself. I know I would never act on it. But there are times that I think if I ran my car off the road and got hurt or killed… would anybody care besides my kids and my husband? I still to this day believe I don’t matter to a lot of people in my family. And it hurts to feel like you’re not wanted by the people that should love you no matter what. I know my husband cares about me, but sometimes I think he might be better off without me. He knows I rely on him to comfort me when I feel abandoned and lost. I know that in a marriage that is what a husband is supposed to do, but I rely on him to make up for it all. I know that it isn’t right, but I don’t know what else to do.
Sounds like you have a good man there, Fae. Is there anything else that has been a help for you in this journey?
What made me truly stop the acting on it was when my first daughter was born. That was the first time in all my life I felt loved. I felt needed. And I felt the attention that I always wanted. I knew my daughter would always love me. That she would always need me for help or to show her the way in her life. I felt like I was going to do the right things by her no matter how I felt before. My daughter made me feel like I wasn’t alone anymore. All three of my kids have been great help for me. When my second child was born I had depression really bad during the pregnancy and then had postpartum depression. It was hard and I didn’t feel like myself. I wanted to harm myself. I wanted my husband and son to just go away. I wasn’t there for him when he was born. I just couldn’t do it. When I finally got on medication he was nearly three months old. I felt like the worst mother in the world. How could a mother not want anything to do with their own child? Even with the medication I felt like harming myself. Finally, with help from my husband, and my two kids at the time, I finally got on the right path again.
What words of wisdom would you offer someone who’s going through what you went through?
That the world is not a better place without them in it. That there is something out there that can make them feel whole again. I know from articles I have read some suicides are caused by being molested. The one thing I can say is even though, yes, I know that it was wrong I can’t say that I would necessarily regret it happening. Yes it would be nice that I never had to experience anything like that, but if that didn’t happen, I don’t know who I would be today. Even though I still feel hurt and alone sometimes, I like who I am. Don’t be afraid to tell. Don’t blame yourself. The biggest, most important thing I would say is, don’t let someone tear you down for what has happened to you. I can’t give too much wisdom though for the fact that I still have some of the same feelings. I still feel hurt when I put my whole heart to my family, but feel like no one ever returns it. I’m not the person to always expect something in return, but it is nice every once in a while to know that they care. I still feel sometimes that I caused my dad’s relationships to end. No matter how I look at it and even though I know it wasn’t my fault, I still have the thoughts.
You’re still dealing with so much. I know that to some degree, maybe it never ends. Sometimes knowing the truth doesn’t change how we feel about things right away. Do you have something you’re working on to help you heal? Faith? Or counseling? Does your husband have an understanding of who you are? I know… a million questions, but it’s more than plain that you’re still having trouble coping.
I have gone to counseling a few times. I did not care for it. I don’t like sympathy. The very first time I went I think I was fourteen or fifteen, but I was not allowed to talk about the things that happened to me so it was pointless because that was most of my problems. The next time I went, they wanted me to forgive the people that had done the things to me, which I already had before then. I don’t want to live my life with hate. The next one I saw kept telling me how sorry they were that those things happened to me and how that it wasn’t my fault. I understand the things that happened were bad, but like I said before I don’t like sympathy. I grew up with how I felt with no love or affection so when people show me they care I don’t know how to take it sometimes. I have always believed in God ever since I was a little girl. One of the things I have always done is prayed to him. I pray to him to show me how to be a strong person, to show me how to forgive people that have done wrong to me, and to show love to the people that have done those things to me. Truthfully, if it wasn’t for God, I don’t know where I’d be. I have always asked him questions when I have concerns in my life and I always feel he has always helped answer them for me or led me to a path that has had me find the answer. So yes, I have a very strong connection with God. As for my husband, I told him my life story a year after we got together. I wanted him to know who I truly was. I didn’t want to do something that made him feel different about me. He knows who I am and he loves me for me. Sometimes I know it’s hard on him when I get depressed because of family, but he always consoles me when I need it or tells me the things I need to hear to get back in my right state of mind.
Fae, thank you. I appreciate how candid you were with your answers. It’s an amazing journey and you came out swinging. I’m ecstatic to hear about your relationship with God. Never let that go. Please always reach out if things get too heavy. That has been the constant message from everyone I’ve interviewed… You’re not alone.
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