Episode 80

318 15

It’s Wednesday again.  I have so much trouble getting started in the session that I wrote out what was bothering me beforehand and then I read it in there.  Of course, first I was late, and then we talked about Thanksgiving and stuff and I was feeling the time sliding by and sliding by and finally she got out the buzzers, and I grabbed my notebook, and, well, I avoided the buzzers this week.  This is what I wrote: 

“A few weeks ago, you suggested that when I feel vulnerable, I function at a child’s leve..  I am not sure if I have that right.  It may not be what you said or even what you meant but that is what I perceived.  This was in reference to my question, “Do you like me?”  You said that is a question a child would ask and you kind of asked if I agreed.  I don’t know if I do agree.  I have worked all my life guessing at what normal people think.  If I cut the bullshit and decide that I am normal, then I’d have to say that adults would ask that question if they had the need and the balls.  

“Can’t you tell?”  Well, I can see how that can be frustrating if a part of what you do is to make folks feel safe, comfortable, believed, validated, cared about, accepted, liked. But I am actually not worried at all about you being frustrated about that.  You said your self-esteem is strong enough.  I suppose you wouldn’t last long in your job if you get depressed or angry every time some damaged client didn’t get something however clear you make it.  You know my history with Nancy and Karen and that alone is probably cause enough to not trust my perceptions about this question, but there is so much more to it.

I could go on for half an hour about how little positive and how much negative there was growing up.  And how hearing affirmations and encouragement , positive stuff from Pastor Mark and Nancy blew me away.  But there is more to it than that.  I feel guilty when I think someone likes me, when I want to be liked, for hoping.  If someone, anyone is nice to me or complements me, it is because they do not know me.  I must have given them a false impression.  That is why it is so important in here.  I expect to be considered repulsive.

There is a part of me that knows that even the worst thing that I did, when I seduced my brother and had sex with him, even that wasn’t my fault entirely, and does not make me a disgusting person, undeserving of being liked.  I can trot out the arguments:

    1. My brother was 2 months shy of four years older than me, he should have said “no.” 

    2. I was begun, sexualized, way early, and used by this brother a number of times and by the other many times, it was normal.

    3. My brain wasn’t all there yet and I had no way of knowing what the long-term effects would be, and for this reason, I should have been protected from making such a choice.

And on and on. 

But there is another part of me that says: “Look at that!  You wanted it all along.  You never told.  You hid the evidence.  You kept it secret. You accepted bribes and payment.  And you initiated it that one time.”

No matter that there were maybe a hundred times.  Maybe hundreds of times. 

I did not over-power with strength or age to make it happen.   Didn’t have to.  But there was no betrayal.

Whatever.  Does it even matter?  When someone is kind or nice to me, I say to myself that they wouldn’t be if they knew.  

If I function at a child-level when I feel vulnerable was my reaction/response to Nancy/Karen Unreasonable.”

End of what I wrote and read.  Then we talked about it.  She said that I was a pretty harsh judge, jury, and executioner.  Or something like that.  We talked a lot of not being protected, and not being safe.  She asked me if I wanted and answer for the question or if it was hypothetical.  I said yes.  She did answer, we talked about how I might have acted differently in that situation, had I not had the experiences I had, but that the letter was not anything wrong.  She said she would have written it the next day and not months later, but months later it was still bothering me.  She said it was not whiny “you hurt my feelings.” It was, this is what you did and was feedback.  

She tried to drive it home that I was not to blame.  I told her that I know that, but I don’t know  that.  I kept her longer than I should have, especially since I was the one who was late. 

I don’t know why I have to beat myself up with this old stuff.  I got a call from work while I was there, there is no work today, and they said I could stay home.  So I have the day off.  I went to Moms and after a while I went in to talk to her.  We were talking about the family, and it came around to my brother’s step kids.  I know that their father is in prison for what he did with his other kids.  This came up because we were talking about dogs being seized and how Jamie was taking care of his father’s dogs and a couple got loose, and they came and took them all, about 40 pit bulls on chains.  I said that the girls, also show symptoms of having had that happen — multiple bad choices in guys, problems with drugs, neglect of their own children.  I said I wouldn’t be surprised if their father had done stuff to them.  Then I said I just hope my brother hadn’t.  

Mom said she did not think so.  I asked why.  She said because he is a father figure now.  I said “so?”  I said stepfather/step daughter is like the most common.  We talked about what happened to her.    We talked about making bad choices, Kathy chose that husband, and then Bob.  Her mother chose her father, and then John.  She said that it happens all the time.  That everyone has a story and most just don’t talk about it.  I tried to talk about John, but I couldn’t.   We got onto the topic of Christie Ford and roundly abused her for throwing victims under the bus for personal gain.  And got onto the much safer topic of politics.  

Other folks worry about fighting about politics during the Holidays.   Well, folks that don’t have buried family secrets that can come up and make everyone really, really uncomfortable.  Politics?  That’s easy, and kind of boring.  

Join the Conversation


  1. zelda Volunteer

    I’m glad you talked to your therapist about how you felt when she said those things. It’s really important to air out what bothers us, even if it takes us months to do it. Holidays can be a stressful time of the year, especially when you have deep, dark family secrets you’d just rather forget. I feel a lot like that when I’m around my dad or when my mom mentions her father. You’re right, compared to things like incest or molestation, politics is a much safer bet. Anyway, I hope you’re doing really well. You deserve to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! If you ever feel like you need to vent or get something off of your chest, you can always come here. We’ll be there for you. ❤️????

  2. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    I’m sorry you had a difficult session on Wednesday. I agree with Angela. Your letter doesn’t look childish or whiny at all. It can be difficult And uncomfortable to transition into new behavior patterns, especially with a history of abuse. When all you know is dysfunctional, behaving in a healthy way is very unnerving. It’s okay that you’re still struggling with this. Everyone heals in their own time. I think it was very brave if you to speak with your mom about your brother even if the conversation fell flat. I’m sorry that you’re feeling a bit discouraged. I think you’re doing great working through your healing journey. You got this! We’re here for you.

    Take care. I look forward to hearing from you again soon,

  3. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    Thank you for coming and sharing this with us. I know it can be difficult to manage thoughts when they’re in your head, so I’m glad that you were able to write it out. I hope it was helpful and I’m glad you spoke about it with Angela. You are not repulsive, and you are not a bad person. You were in a very toxic situation when you were growing up, and you were just a kid. None of this was your fault. Usually we are our own harshest critic, but healing gets easier once you can be compassionate with yourself. I hope you can be kind to yourself while you’re working through this. Stay strong!!

    Sending you love and support,

  4. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m glad that you were able to write out how you were feeling and talk about it with Angela. It is a natural feeling to want to be liked and accepted by the people around us, and you’re not wrong for wanting to belong. You’re not inherently repulsive, and you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. We tend to be harshest on ourselves, and it can be difficult to cope with feelings of self blame, etc. You’re not at fault for what happened to you, and I agree with the three arguments you wrote above. I’m glad Angela told you that writing the letter wasn’t wrong because it wasn’t. I think it’s important to give people honest feedback.
    Thank you for being so honest about your journey and what you’re going through. We’re here to support you in any way we can, so please let us know what we can do. I hope sharing continues to be cathartic for you.

  5. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Solongago,
    It is great that you are able to talk to Angela about your relationship with therapists. Being able to understand that dynamic and how it is affected by the trauma you experienced is an extremely important component to your healing that it doesn’t seem others have been willing to work on. Your honesty and vulnerability in this process is admirable. I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and that you are continuing to feel better.
    Sending you love and strength,

  6. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,

    Thanks for sharing. I agree with what others have said – I think writing and sharing is a really great way to get everything out there for you. I hope this site does the same thing for you! Thanks for being such a big part of AVFTI. It obviously isn’t great that you had to go through everything that brought you here, but your posts are always so thought provoking and helpful for volunteers and those that post their own experiences, alike. Let us know if there’s anything we can do for you.


  7. Ryan4121 Volunteer

    Thank you Solongago for Sharing. You are so intuitive and made me think about my on life with this post. We really appreciate you being an important part of our community. Please continue to share with us.


  8. Kayla Volunteer


    Thanks for updating us. Writing and sharing seems like a great way to express your thoughts. I hope you can accept that you are likeable and that Angela really has your best intentions in mind. She seems like a good fit. I hope you had a great holiday.

  9. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi Solongago!
    I’m glad that you had the opportunity to share with your therapist about your thoughts! Keep journaling! The cool thing about writing thoughts down, is it’s also a release which can be therapeutic. Sharing what is written takes courage. By sharing what you wrote, I hope you found some comfort. How something is said can so easily be misunderstood, but talking about it can provide clarification. Thanks for giving us an update. Continue pressing on.

  10. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m happy that you got to talk to your therapist about what she said to you. Writing all that out was a good idea, especially if it was hard to say out loud. When people have hard childhoods, it carries on into adulthood, but it is okay for you to say, “do you like me.” You have freedom of speech. You can say anything that you want. If you want to her that, do it. I hope things are getting better. Thank you for updating us.

  11. Lizzi

    Hey Solongago,
    I’m glad that you got to talk to your therapist about her comment about you being child-like. I think a lot of people with rough childhoods or people that experience abuse can be really hard on themselves and also seek people liking them. I’m sorry that being with your mom was so hard. I hope you have a good week, and try to be gentle with yourself. You deserve it!

  12. Megan Volunteer

    Hey Solongago,

    I think it was good that you were able to write down your feelings and express them to Angela; that shows progress for you and also development of trust in your relationship with your therapist, which is awesome! The feelings that you have about all of these things are quite normal for people who have been through what you have. And I think Angela makes a good point that you are a harsh judge. I think you are being too hard on yourself. The idea that no one should ever be nice to you is quite absolute and I don’t think anyone doesn’t deserve others to be nice to them. You deserve to be treated well, just like anyone else. Also, you can definitely be a person that others like as well. You seem to be pretty nice and care about others, which is a really good trait. Yeah, you have been through a lot in your life, but that doesn’t automatically mean that people won’t like you or that you aren’t a good person. You aren’t giving everyone false impressions; you are just being yourself and if it people like you it means that they like you for who you are, regardless of all the reasons you think people shouldn’t like you. People can know you, including all of the dark parts that you keep hidden, and still like you. Trust me on this. I know it can really hard to change your thoughts, especially ones that you have had for a really long time, but I think it would be good to work on these automatic thoughts you have about people liking you. Because sometimes our automatic thoughts lie and tell us that we are not good people and we are not worthy of love when really none of that is true. I think it would really help to improve your self esteem and help you be less harsh to yourself. You are a good person. People like you (maybe not everyone, but no one is liked by everyone!). You deserve to be happy and you are worthy of love. Believe in yourself. I do.

    We are always here,

  13. musicislove

    Hi solongago,

    Thank you for sharing with us again. It sounds like you’re doing well in therapy and are getting along with your therapist, that’s great! I hope you had a good Thanksgiving holiday. Try to be gentle with yourself because I know it’s so easy to do the opposite, we’re always here when you want to share again.


  14. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thanks for sharing an update with us. I hope you had a good holiday, though I know this time of year can be difficult. Let us know how else we can support you.


  15. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for updating us. I am glad you are progressing in therapy! People tend to be very harsh on themselves, especially after going through the trauma you have. I hope you continue to do well in therapy and heal a bit more each day. Stay strong! <3