“I want you. I want to make love to you. It is normal, all fathers feel it”. These are the words I heard, when my father showed up in my room, sitting next to me on my bed, with one hand on my thigh, ready to begin his long monologue. I was no longer there, I felt completely dissociated. That day, a part of me died.
“Come on darling, give your dear daddy a kiss”. These were the words that my father pronounced in the living room while masturbating”
I had never kissed anyone, it was the first time I had ever seen a penis: I ran away, went to my best friend’s house for two days. Then I came back and continued living, growing up, under the same roof of my abuser: my father. Even hearing these words is a trauma. Gesture incest is still psychological damage. So, when he starts with these words, you need serious and immediate support. Something I wasn’t lucky enough to have.
Traumatic amnesia, you know it?
It’s a tsunami of both body and mind that comes in a flash. And I live it today, alone and isolated with my two children. But in reality, it starts long before the flashes. It takes a long time to understand what is going on inside us. Three years ago, everything was already going on in my head. Our body tries to send signals to our mind.
“every time I hugged my mother or my brother, I had an unpleasant tickling in my vagina that I experienced as an intrusion. My body would stiffen completely”
And then as an adult there is this erased childhood. No memories until the age of nine. A complete void. My childhood memories were built up through family photo albums. And a year ago, my first flash. A memory comes back to me. I was so stunned by these images: I felt them with all my senses. And I realized at that moment that other things had happened to me, much more than words.
“sometimes I wake up vomiting. I feel phantom pains in my vagina, as if I had been cut with razor blades. I suffer from insomnia, bulimia without vomiting or complete loss of appetite. I find myself in tears, to the point of exhaustion, with very dark thoughts”
I am trying to understand this as best as I can, but it’s very complex. The images are monstrous, violent and raw. I still can’t pronounce the words, for the fear of not being able to escaping them. Then after these flashes, in the wake, you have to go on living your everyday life when you have only one desire: escaping.
The ostrich mother
At one point I even had the courage to tell my mother everything. I was hoping for the lioness mother, but in exchange, I got the ostrich mother. Violence destroys, but silence kills. For me it was an abandonment, a total rejection. She never asked questions. She never wanted to know how I was or why I was sick.
“For years I tried to have a dialogue for help. My mother’s silence was a second violence”
“I always had doubts about your father. I never left you alone with him”. This was my mother’s answer when I was 30 years old: a punch for me. I could not understand how such a kind and nurturing mother could leave her daughter in such danger. Because in the end, I had found myself alone with my father.
“After my first flashes, I told her: Mum, I know everything, and she replied by turning her back on me”
One by one, the people around me abandoned me in my grief. My family, my husband, a large number of friends. People run away from the ugliness of life, it makes them uncomfortable. We are angry, but people call us crazy, they don’t believe us. We trivialize, we minimize, we de-dramatize. I’ve had people replying to me with words that upset me:
“You’re boring us”.
“Stop your movie, you don’t have cancer”.
“You’re selfish. We all have problems”.
The people around you need to dedicate time, because looking inside this evil allows us to find the meaning of our existence. When you’re suffering from something like this you need support, a solid entourage around you.
Knock Knock, is there anybody in here?
I’ve been knocking on doors for two years. I’ve done everything, even going voluntarily to a psychiatric hospital trying to find quick solutions. We take two small steps forward, and then immediately three giant steps back. I don’t blame anyone. I blame the system, nationwide. In recent years I have met many kind people who have done what they can, with the means they had. But between the health situation and the medical desert in rural areas, I struggle to find adequate and regular psychotherapy. I was followed for a year by a nurse-psychiatrist from the medical and psychological consultation center before I could see a psychiatrist because the waiting list was so long. I had appointments that lasted fifteen minutes, after six months of waiting. “All this for no results!”
“I have received prescriptions for antidepressants, sleeping pills, anxiolytics and antipsychotics. All of this prevents me from living my daily life, because my brain becomes clouded”
In two years, we have never pronounced the word “incest” during my sessions. The word is replaced by “childhood” or “past” or “what happened to you with your father”. “We’ll see about that later”, they tell me, when I talk about what my father did to me. In two years, no psychologist or psychiatrist has wanted to address the subject. And no one was specialized in trauma and sexual violence. In more than 20 years, I have not been told “you are a victim”, neither within the people close to me (family and friends) nor from medical professionals.
“Madam, if you attempt suicide, we will take you seriously”, a doctor told me during an emergency. Do I have to kill myself to be heard?”
We should do better training for the medical professionals, in order for them to have more empathy. I also tried to find a discussion group to meet other victims. But there are none close to my home. I don’t know what to hold on to anymore. I don’t have a foothold anymore. Help me. For my children. To show that there is always a rainbow behind the storm. May the light rise after the darkness! And may my struggle not end in a huge mess. To keep fighting, I need two things: to find a psychologist specialized in traumatology and traumatic amnesia in the Vosges (or elsewhere, by video call). Help me creating a confrontation group in the Vosges. If you are a victim, join me. (Write to me at [email protected]). Together we are stronger!
This article was written by Audrey on 18 January 2021 and published on aufeminin.com – Translation by DonnexDiritti