I decided to continue healing myself and quit therapy. In early 2014, I hugged my therapist of numerous years goodbye, and set out to see if I really could make it alone, forever thankful for all the guidance I had received. Through all the hills and valleys, this road has proved to be the right direction for me. Recently, I returned from a trip abroad in the Caribbean. I am making healthy choices in my relationships and I am taking care of my needs.

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I moved to the West Coast 26 years ago and cut contact with my family. As some of you know, it did not end there. There was harassment, private detectives hired to find me, threats, and family members appeared on my doorstep trying to get me to return to my birthplace. In all the time I’ve been out here, the magic number seems to be 5 years. Five years has never gone by without some sort of contact initiated. At first, it would be a year or two, until recently, when I finally thought I had left that part of my life truly behind me, another attempt at 5.25 years occurred. To fight the harassment, I’ve called police to have family removed, filed child sexual abuse reports with Children’s services, I’ve completed written file after file and audio/video reports, telling my story over and over to police which have been sent across the country, I have been interviewed by the Ontario government and on it goes.

Freedom! At What Price?

Refusing to accept contact has come with a high price. My father passed away in 2002. In 2004, my lawyer called to tell me of his death. In February 2014, I came across my mother’s online obituary . It was dated November 2013 and from this, I found out about my younger brother’s passing in September of the same year.

I always wondered how I would feel when I learned of my mother’s passing. In the early days of therapy, I thought I would feel happy and free. I fantasized about throwing a party, as the means to express joy, rather than the sad occasion it should be. I thought of a daughter grieving over a loss of a mother who had loved, respected, and above all, gave her the necessary tools to live a fulfilling life. Then the demons would set in and I would be gone.

But I didn’t feel like celebrating, nor did I feel like crying. A year and ½ later, and I still haven’t felt any emotion for my mother. Nor, in the 11 years since my father’s death.

My feelings of sadness over my brother’s passing has affected me deeply. When I left the East Coast, I knew my mother would use him as she did me. I knew what his life would become. I knew what he would go through, and ignoring my training I put my own needs/wants/wishes first, and I left him. I stayed away. Worse even, I never appeared when summoned. I’d be lying to say I never looked back.

Years later, in the midst of a difficult place in my healing, a private detective attempted to connect him with me. I disregarded my brother’s needs. I wish I hadn’t. He had married, had two children, a son and daughter,  and two dogs.

I would like to think he healed from the many family abuses, and that he lived his days in happiness with his new family. His medical certificate indicates he suffered much. I wish we could now sit as brother and sister, the past forgotten and be a family. I hope one day to do so with his widow and talk about his last decades. They’ve deserved so much joy and freedom in his short life. He was 43.

As victims of childhood abuse, we turned to dissociation to survive. Our intelligence allowed us to create alters to keep us safe and yes, sane. Even those with the highest IQ’s can’t dissociate, but we can. That statement speaks volumes. On top of it,  I have done the unimaginable—I have survived. It never feels it, but I am as resilient as the bougainvillea at my friend’s house in the Caribbean.

I’ve turned back to writing my novel and my goal is to have the first draft completed by the end of this year. Writing fiction has given me an outlet for my creativity and I am enjoying the time we spend alone making words fit.

I’m writing for the Dissociated Survivor- Healing from Childhood Abuse. To help others is to help myself.

It’s great to be part of this online community of survivors.

…Whoever is happy will make others happy too…~ Anne Frank