Posts Tagged ‘sexual abuse

The mind is a fascinating place. It can create a world and a life that is heaven on earth, just as quickly as it can trap you in the depths of its mental despair. The differentiator? I’m not sure anyone is really sure. The value we place on our own sanity perhaps? The strength of our spirit to overcome the mind? Genetics? All of the above?

Coming from a family with deep mental health issues, I am no stranger to the dark side of the mind. I have a sister that lost her mind, I suspect, to due guilt and grief after she was involved in a tragic accident that resulted in the death of her best friend. As far as doctors can diagnose, they have labeled her as schizophrenic, but I’m not totally sold on that. My sister was incredibly smart, and sharp minded, and after the accident, she just seemed to check out of life. She couldn’t face her pain, and the guilt that she felt. Slowly, over the years, I believe those emotions have manifested as all kinds of mental ghosts in her mind that are always haunting her.

When you’re in the middle of it, and the terrible pain around you seems so real, how does one overcome those demons?

That is a question I have spent the past few years trying to find the answer to. My verdict? Love conquers all.

Throughout my life, I too have wrestled with my own emotional/mental health demons.

Three years ago I started doing stand up comedy. I was not great by any means, but my raw vulnerability had a way of connecting with the crowd that was I think just very real to people. It was exhilarating, and when I went on stage it was a rush like I had never felt before.

Somewhere around the end of my first year of doing stand up… I lost my ability to be vulnerable. I had gotten into a relationship, and slowly, I lost my confidence and started becoming very insecure about everything.

At the time, I knew something was going on. I knew I was losing myself, but I had no idea why or how to stop it. Sure enough, as the months went on, I subtlety became someone different. Someone that was not quite the Christine that I once was. I looked the same. To the unknowing person, I probably seemed the same, but to those who loved me… to the man I was in love with… I wasn’t the same person anymore… I was a slightly less version of the me that we both knew was possible. A slightly dimmed down version of my amazing self.

At a certain point I left the relationship, because I was so lost. What I knew, but couldn’t quite put into words, was that I wasn’t okay being me any more. I wasn’t comfortable opening up and being real with people. When this all started, it was about three months into my new relationship. Right about the time when one would typically start to open up on a deeper level. Except I had never shared my depths with anyone before. I had never even really looked deep at my depths myself. Perhaps because subconsciously, I knew the demons that lived there… and I was terrified of them.

Instead of facing those demons head on though… I retreated in fear. My best self, my mind, decided it would rather be less, than to have to share my shame with the person I loved the most. My mind, my emotions, told me that he couldn’t possibly love me if he knew the real me, and so without even realizing it… I submitted to those thoughts and locked my best self away for “safe keeping”.

My soul, on the other hand, was not content with this lesser version of me. My soul could not sleep, could not eat, could not function at the thought of living the rest of my life in this place of fear. My soul is what pushed me forward and compelled me to fight the walls of the mental prison which were keeping my beautiful self locked down.

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you might be familiar with some of the demons that I am speaking of. Alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, and one I haven’t quite figured out just yet, but that I’m working on, which is a highly repressed sexuality. The side effects of all of these equaled low self worth, low self esteem, depression, anxiety, insecurity, distorted thinking, grandiose fears, and overall inability to cope with life. Before I confronted and dealt with the sexual abuse, and my repressed sexuality, I was a ticking time bomb of mental anguish. I had successfully masked my pain with drugs and alcohol for most of my adult life, but when I got into a real relationship, and my true self was mirrored back to me (as real love tends to do) there was no hiding from it any more. My soul saw what my mind had been hiding. The broken pieces of me that I always tried to pretend weren’t really there were front and center for my soul to see. At first this was quite frightening. I was frozen a bit in fear.

The hardest part of all of this was that what little self love I had built up for myself throughout the years, was suddenly completely gone. I was so angry with myself. I hated who I was. I hated that I wasn’t strong enough to not let this situation get so out of control. I hated that I had seemingly lost not only myself, but also this person that I loved so much, the first person that ever worked his way into the true depths of my soul. As a perfectionist, the worst thing that could happen was happening. My imperfect self was ruining my chance at a happy life. These were the thoughts my mind convinced me were real.

Slowly, what my soul began to see was that this was my purpose in life. These were the traumas I was given to overcome. Slowly, I stopped being so afraid of these demons, and I began to go to work on myself.

Over the past two years, I have worked my way through the world of jilted emotions and false realities that my mind had created which swallowed up my best self. It was not pretty, it was not easy, it required professional help, a new level of spiritual understanding, and a lot of asking the Universe to please help me figure this thing out, and then learning how to listen and look for the signs that the divine universe was sending.

During the past few years, I knew my stand up wasn’t what it once was. I wasn’t trying. I didn’t have the energy to be funny when all I felt inside was dark. I didn’t put in the effort that it needed, and every time I went up I didn’t get the same rush that I once did.

However, last night I sat down and I started writing. I wrote a new five minutes on my messed up mind. As I was writing, I noticed that I wasn’t holding back. I wasn’t afraid to address the crazy, I was raw, I was real, I was vulnerable. I wasn’t afraid any more. I had conquered my fears, and was finally in a place so good that I could look back and laugh at my crazy fucked up thoughts, rather than cry about them. When I finished writing, I sat there in an overwhelming state of peace and gratefulness; much like Andy Dufrane… I felt like I had tunneled my way through 500 yards of shit, but came out clean on the other side.

I performed my new five at an open mic, and for the first time in a long time… I felt that incredible rush that I used to get. For the first time in a long time… I felt like my best self.

The mind is so incredibly powerful. Whether you believe you can, or you can’t, you are right. Fear is also very powerful. Stronger than fear though, is love. The hope for love is what kept me going the past few years. The knowing that I could never have love until I conquered my fears and faced my depths, is what pushed me forward every day. Because you see, the man that I was dating… I loved him more than I have ever loved any other soul. It was the pure love that I had for him that made me able to see my depths so clearly. Any time my mind tried to make me forget about working on myself, and tried to tell me how everyone else was the problem, not me; that man would come to my mind, my love, and I’d remember the truth, I’d remember my lost self. I’d dig deeper, and I’d continue forging forward through all of the pain. Love was the lighthouse that saved me during the storm.

Life is a constant balance between Love and Fear; heart and mind. There is no easy button to overcoming the pain and the trauma that we each have to go through, that is a battle we each have to figure out for ourselves. The mental strength that is required to do that though… is only found when decide to chose the heart over the mind. Love truly does conquer all.

My advice to anyone going through their pain, and hurt, and suffering right now?

Follow your heart. Find your love. Face your fears. Be your best self. Every. Single. Day.

No matter how long you have to fight for it, keep going. You are worth it.

Much love and light to you all,

– Christine





Okay, time to get real honest and gritty about myself with you guys. (Yes, more honest than yesterday even.) I have been becoming very self-aware lately and I have a confession … I’ve never openly admitted this to anyone, not even my therapist. I can feel the fear welling up in my throat as I type … Oh well, here goes: I’ve cheated on every person I’ve ever had a relationship with.

Even the ones I considered to be really good relationships.

At some point, typically when a conflict was not addressed, I’d find myself being drawn to people outside the relationship, I’d start checking out of my current love and into a fantasy, and eventually the relationship would deteriorate and I would cheat. I used to blame it on the fact that I always dated terrible men or tell myself that if I had an urge to cheat, it just meant the relationship was never going to work out anyways.

However, when I cheated in my last relationship, which was with an incredible man, I was beyond upset with myself. I had even taken precautions to cut all ties with people who I knew I’d be most likely to be drawn to and took note to quickly end any thoughts of other people as soon as they entered my mind. Yet still, one night during a rough patch, I let myself get sucked into someone and I let it go too far. Despite my best efforts, and the fact that I was dating a wonderful man, I still cheated. When this happened I was devastated, and I felt as though I was simply living proof of the old adage: “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”

After spending the past few months in self-reflection mode, I now know that my cheating was actually manifested by the fact that I have a severe fear of intimacy. Which is the fear of rejection combined with the fear of abandonment on steroids basically. I am so afraid of being close to someone and it not working out or of them abandoning me that I self-sabotage my relationships in many ways. But eventually, particularly if there are problems in the bedroom, I cheat. (Spoiler alert: since I have a fear of intimacy, there are always problems in the bedroom, eventually).

As I was reading about the fear of intimacy, I read how victims of sexual abuse were more likely to act out sexually in relationships when the fear would surface, specifically by cheating. I was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. As painful as it was to read that, after thinking it over, it gave me my first sense of hope about the matter. That’s when I realized it wasn’t that I was once a cheater, always a cheater… this was just another side effect of childhood trauma, which I simply needed to unlearn. That’s slightly better… right? Right!

I am also realizing that because I was sexually abused at a young age, I discovered the power of sex before the power of love. And then, I never really developed the patience for true love. So as I was going through relationships in my life, when I would start to feel like I was falling in love, I would develop an impatience and move very quickly with people, particularly in the bedroom, because impatience was my defense against having to actually open up and be vulnerable.

Since I never got that to that true deep love level with anyone, due to my impatience, I learned to master the level that I was at. The level of intimacy fueled by sex. The level that is afraid of real intimacy. I mastered the art of what so many people today think is love, sex without true vulnerability. I have been accepting that level of “love” as true love my entire life. It wasn’t until I finally realized how much patience is required for true love that I discovered that I have never really experienced REAL love. That was a tough realization to swallow, but also possibly the biggest break through I’ve had thus far in trying to understand myself and love.

I say all of this because I know I am not alone. In today’s culture, many people have mastered the power of sex without vulnerability, maybe because many people also have a deep-rooted fear of truly being intimate with someone or maybe because of some other fear that has manifested in their life. To quote Beyoncé in Lemonade: “When did true love become illusive? No one I know has it.” That statement is so true. So many people think they have love, but they are only scratching the surface of what true love is.

True love itself is scary at first. It shines a light on our own darkness and faults and in order to truly master love, you must first love yourself, ugly parts and all. That is where a lot of people are going wrong, I believe. They aren’t fully acknowledging all of their own darkness because they are so afraid of facing those things and taking responsibility for their own actions. That’s the hard part of true love, but it is ultimately the best and most important part of life. Until we illuminate those issues and work to correct them, we aren’t truly living as our greatest selves, and we certainly aren’t capable of truly loving another.

So I guess this is me, facing my ugliness. I have a fear of intimacy and a propensity to act out sexually in relationships when I choose to give in to that fear. Now that I understand that about myself, I am hoping that in my next relationship, I will finally be able to overcome my fear, let myself be truly vulnerable with another person and possibly finally find true love in my life. I hope to finally disprove the “Once a cheater, always a cheater” theory, because I am in fact not a saying or cliché. I’m a real human being who has the ability to learn, grow and be better.

Cheers to being better.

– Christine


P.S. This post originally appeared on on 5/26/16, because sometimes it takes a year of loving yourself before you are ready to truly share your truth. And sometimes you are lucky enough to be offered a way to anonymously write out what you are really feeling. I will forever be grateful to creator Joel Murphy for that opportunity.

Does anyone really know you? Like, all of you? Every dark secret and hidden truth that has made you who you are. Have you ever admitted all of those things to another person? Have you ever really admitted all of those things to yourself?

Until about 3 years ago, no one really knew me. Not my closest friends, not my family, hell, I barely even knew myself.

You see I had spent the better half of my life, lying to myself. Telling myself that I was okay, when in fact I was far from okay.

That’s just what I knew though. I knew I had to be okay, I had to be strong, I had to be perfect.

After years of keeping up my charade of perfection and lies, even to myself, I finally broke down.

It was a summer night, and I had just spent the evening with all of my closest girlfriends. Most of whom were now married, either with children, or with them on the way. In fact my best friend was pregnant at the time. After spending the evening with my girls, and celebrating everyone’s accomplishment, I went home, alone, to my small apartment.

As I walked into my apartment that night, I closed the door behind me, and then I just crumpled into a ball on the floor and started bawling my eyes out.

Everyone was so happy… but me.

I had so much happiness in my heart for all of my friends, but all it seemed to do was remind me of how unhappy I was with myself.

I sat there and cried for over an hour. I let my pain flow from deep within me, and I cried a river that night… a river of pain straight from my soul.

What I realized in that hour, was that I was upset because no one knew what I had really been though in my life. No one understood me, because I had never been able to be honest with the people in my life. I was too ashamed.

When I finally was able to pick myself up that night, I grabbed my notebook, and started writing. I started writing about how upset I was. I was upset because of what had happened to me in my life, and how I felt that it was my duty to keep my past a secret. Only, I didn’t want to keep this secret anymore. I didn’t want to be unhappy anymore.

Three weeks and one therapy session later, I told my two best friends my truth.

I was sexually abused as a child. I felt responsible for what happened, and therefore resolved to never tell anyone in my life about it. What I went through was confusing, lasted many years, and left me with a very distorted sense of self worth. I never believed that I deserved anything good in life after it. How could I? I was no longer perfect. I was tainted.

What happened when I told my two girlfriends my story, was very unexpected for me. For the first time in my life, I felt free. I felt loved for who I truly am, and I felt relieved.

That was the beginning of my new life. That was the beginning of my journey towards really loving myself.

It has not been totally easy. I had to tell my parents what happened to me. I have slowly told other close friends. And finally there came a time where I had to confront my abuser, and tell him that what happened between us was no longer a secret I was willing to keep. I lost people I was very close to in life because of that.

What happened as I owned my truth though, was that I finally learned to love myself. What happened to me, no longer defined me. I was no longer a victim… I was a survivor.

Slowly, talking about my past has gone from being something that brings me great pain, to something that I can do openly, without tears, without shame, and without guilt. My past no longer dictates my ability to be happy. I owned my past, so that it could stop owning me.

My advice to anyone out there struggling with their own truth, with their own secret past… Talk to someone. Anyone. Do not let your secret destroy you from the inside out, because it will. Don’t let your past steal moments of happiness from your future, you deserve better. The truth can, and will, set you free… so talk to someone, it will be okay.

Much love to you all,

– Christine