Update 6Jan21

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I saw Angela on Wednesday.  We didn’t get to the green buzzers.  We talked.  She asked me if anything was percolating.   Well there was so much junk in this session.  Very personal.  Very messy.  At one point, I told her that Karen had said that I should have known by 12 or 13, that incest is wrong.  I knew what we were doing was wrong, but not why it was wrong, not particularly because we were brother and sister.  Angela was outraged, by that.  So I tried to tone it down, by saying she was pointing out that my experience was not normal — that if I had a normal upraising, than by that age I would have know exactly why what happened was not ok.  But that was just a little piece of it.  If I cannot say what it was here…. 

Wow, this has taken almost a week to complete.  If I complete it.  We talked about how I figure she isn’t judging me by the stuff I said to my younger brother to make him cry — pulling his chain.  I don’t know if you would call it teasing or bullying or what.  I do know that that shit ended before I was 11.  But we still fought a lot.  He was a little punk when he was young.  Spoiled.  Yeah.  And my older sister and I had the job of keeping him in order, for the most part.  We moved out here when I was almost 11.  He was a little less than 7 years younger than me, so he was 3-4.  My little sister was born six weeks before we moved here.  I used to walk my paper route, the half-way point was their baby sitter’s house.  I would deliver newspapers to that point, and then put my little sister, snow suit and all — she was born in mid July, so in the winter she was about six months old.  I put her in my paper bag and delivered the rest of the paper with Mark in tow, carrying Lisa.  When I babysat to make money, I took my brother and sister with me, as my parents and older siblings were going to college every evening.  I was the unimportant one, the not so smart one, the one that could stay home when the kids were sick to watch them.  I did the cooking, so I was the one that made everyone a cake on their birthday.  They didn’t make me one.  When I was in my twenties I finally bitched about it, and after that they did.  It’s funny, that I kind of blamed my siblings for not doing that for me, never my parents, but who does that to their kid?  My dad was an alcoholic when I was very young, but quit drinking when I was 4, and he became a born-again Christian, and got big in the church, taught himself to read, and got an electricians license, and worked all the time.  My mom was always working too.  I graduated with both of them, 1 year apart.  Mom went into public work, not exactly politics, but working for the local governments, and was appointed to an elected seat, and had to run for reelection.  She put her heart into her work, and would come home late, 11pm, and collapse in front of the TV.  

I wonder what I might have been if my parents could have given me just a little encouragement, a little self-worth.  I know you have to build that on your own, but going through life knowing I was different, and then so unimportant, not as smart as my older siblings, I thought I was stupid, though there was tons of evidence to the contrary.  Maybe if what happened never did, maybe I could be happily married with kids and grandkids, maybe I would have been a doctor or a veterinarian.  Everything I wanted to do, I was discouraged, I was laughed at when I had the idea of being a police officer.  I was not smart enough to be a doctor I was told.  Being a vet, you had to have someone vouch for you, you had to have money.  When I said I wanted to be a civil engineer, my dad said there were never jobs for civil engineers.  I finally took the same path he did in electrical/electronic, and the head of the mechanical department said that I should take a third year and get an associate’s degree in that as well.  So I did.  I took five years off school to go to work, then went back and finished up my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology while I was working full time.  You don’t do that if you’re stupid.  But I still thought I was stupid.  I got the department scholarship — you don’t get that if you are stupid.  But I thought I was stupid.  

That was NOT what I talked to Angela about.  I told her I didn’t think she thought I was repulsive because of how rotten I was to my little brother.  She asked “So I think you are repulsive for some other reason?” kind of incredulously.  I said, yes.  I said that because of what I let my brothers (older brothers) do, because I performed oral sex on them.  It is the most repulsive thing, I am still disgusted by it.  And I can tell you all about how kids who are years older can get younger ones to do whatever.  Doesn’t matter.  I can, with my brain, know that I did not let them, I did not want that, they should not have done that, and all that stuff.  Doesn’t matter. On some level, I can’t get over the fact that I did it.  It doesn’t matter that that probably started when I was between 4 and 6.  It doesn’t matter.  I have walked around my entire life as an imposter.  Once people knew that I did that they would know how repulsive I am, and I walked around with a huge sign all over me saying I was contaminated.  

Angela said I have to stop being so judgmental with myself.  She said I have to stop putting/projecting my self-loathing and repulsive feeling off on her.  She says that it makes sense, something makes sense, I think that I am so invested in what she thinks about me, because of how I perceive myself.  It seems to change, why the therapeutic relationship is so important.  It is one-sided, really, it’s about me, she cares about me or at least my mental/emotional health.  I have let her in far enough that if she approves of me, I am ok, and if she doesn’t, I am not ok.  I know that’s ridiculous, but it is what I do.  I just have no faith in my own judgement.  She said that I don’t trust anyone, I feel I can’t trust anyone (and with good reason), but because I don’t trust myself.  

It was a ton of stuff to swallow this week.  So it took forever to get it out.  I keep losing hope that there is anything better, that there is any such thing as healing from all of this.  I know what happened to me was outrageous.  But I immediately try to stuff that into some I-should-be-over-it-by-now, or worse, I-let-them-do-it.  It’s like I am afraid to admit that it was bad and that it changed the course of my life, it changed who I am today.  People say that the crap we go through makes us stronger, but that’s bullshit.  It’s bullshit to the truama survivor.  It doesn’t make us stronger, because we have no idea how strong we might have been had this not happened.  Maybe I am every bit as smart as my sister, only my brain was damaged and stunted by what was happening to me.  And maybe we can put shit into different categories where we can deal with them, and maybe we can make new pathways and fix the damage, maybe it is gone forever — after a certain age, the brain starts losing mass, and learning becomes more difficult.  I HATE the EMDR, but I have to say that at work, I rarely have to look at a procedure now, once I am shown something, I can remember long sequences of stuff without having to refer back.  This is a change, positive change.  

Ok, quick week update:  I did backwards summersaults off my parents front steps and hit each concrete step with a different part of my body.  I think I sprained both ankles, and my knee.  I ripped open my knee, and the hand where I got the stitches before Thanksgiving.  I may have further hurt my back/side/ribs where the shingles nerve is, and it gets really hard and cramps up.  Could be the meds.  Could be the shingles.  Sucks big time.  I took Uzi and Columbo to my friend an hour and a half away, and she has them for a week (Columbo), Uzi maybe a little longer.  I brought back Karma, who is pregnant, and Vera, her yearling pup.  I am setting up a double kennel for Cujo2 and Hepsi in the back yard, by rearranging some kennel panels and adding some igloos, putting down wood chips, and getting more straw, have to rake the whole thing out first.  Took Tuesday and Wednesday off to work on this project.  And I ordered some personalized aluminum plaques for each of them, so that I can put it on which kennel they are occupying.  They have their name, and the month and year of their birth below it.  The idea is that if I croak, whoever takes my dogs can then match up the paperwork to the individual dog.  Since Cujo is a boy, and Hepsi is a girl, there will be no question of who is who.  Bear is almost 11 and Tinny is almost 3, so they can figure out between them who is who.  It will make it easier.  And I can use zip ties, and move them whenever I move the dogs to different kennels.  I am excited about getting them.  And, the Browns won a playoff game against the Steelers — that is huge!  

Thanks for reading.  

Join the Conversation


  1. Chloe-Barnett Volunteer

    Hey Solongago, Thank you so much for the update. I always enjoy reading the updates of progress. I hope your body starts to feel better after your fall. We tend to degrade ourselves and you are worthy. You need to find a way to be yourself!

  2. meg Volunteer

    Hi Sue!

    How are you feeling? I hope your body is recovering from the fall! Someone in my family just got shingles and they said it’s the worst pain they’ve ever experienced, I am so sorry you’ve had to go through that. Angela is on the right track in my opinion, that you are your biggest critic. It’s incredibly difficult to get the perceptions others have forced on you when you were growing up out of your head. You’re not stupid. You are an intelligent, hard-working, sincere person. It’s easier said than done, but try to tell yourself the same thing in the morning when you wake up and before you settle in for the night. Come up with two or three mantras. I noticed an improvement in my trust after I began working on my self love (as silly as it sounds). Maybe this could be something little that will be helpful? Even if you don’t believe it at first, it might make you smile.
    Here are mine: I am capable. I am smart. I am worth it. I am human. I am here.
    I have said it before, but I am really very proud of how far you’ve come. Keep noticing the things you work on and how they’re helping in your day-to-day. The work you’re putting in is showing. You’re incredible. Give those puppies a boop on the nose for me.

  3. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi Sue,
    I hope your body is feeling better & recovering after your fall! We are our own worst critics. We tend to be more judgmental towards ourselves than any other. Therefore, I believe we are way harsher & don’t give ourselves enough credit. I can relate on how you felt like you carried an “invisible” sign. I hope someday you will see yourself not as “contaminated,” but see yourself for who you really are. There is so much to uncover from your past, but like you said, the age doesn’t matter. What matters now is you heal for you! You are certainly worth every minute. Continue working on you. Healing is slow & painful. The more the band aid comes off, the more deeper the healing goes. Go at your pace, & take breaks. I’m glad you continue with Angela as hard as it is sometimes, your dedication towards yourself at showing up speaks louder than words!

  4. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    Thank you for this update! It’s always great to hear about the progress you are making with Angela, and about what you discussed in your sessions. We are all always here for you! I hope you were able to enjoy the Browns game this week! I can’t wait to see how much stronger they are going to come back next year!


  5. aegardiner Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    As always, it’s good to hear from you! It can be so difficult sometimes to shake a feeling that we may have about ourselves, good or bad. You are not alone in your thinking that other people perceive us the same way we look at ourselves. It is just human nature and so please be patient with yourself as you work through this concern. It is obviously something that really matters to you and you want to have people think highly of you (again, you’re not alone thinking this way!) so I think it’s good you are taking the time to talk through this with Angela. I’m really sorry to hear that you were discouraged by others over goals you would set for yourself – that can really stick with a person, especially from a young age. I’m so proud of you for plowing through regardless of what people around you were saying and for doing what you wanted and being successful at it. Your statement: It doesn’t make us stronger, because we have no idea how strong we might have been had this not happened,” really stood out to me in your post this week. It’s impossible to know, of course, how a life could have gone differently if certain events had/had not happened. You should not be defined or judged by the events that have proceeded you in life. As you have recently been telling your story from your childhood to present day it is obvious to me that you have long been a caring, thoughtful person and that is what has made you resilient. That is what you need to remember about yourself. I’m sorry to hear about the continued health issues – I wish you a speedy recovery on all fronts. Sounds like you’ve been really busy with the dogs recently and I hope it’s all been enjoyable. It was awesome to see the Browns take down the Steelers last week and I was hoping they could pull off another victory today, but drat! I hope that the upcoming week is a good one!

  6. timms_andrew Volunteer

    Hey Sue!

    Thank you for letting us know how you are doing this week. I am proud of you for sharing the experiences that frustrate you. Venting out your frustrations is an incredibly important part of working through them. I understand the pain associated with what life might have been like had things gone differently. Although things have not gone the way you wanted them to go, I encourage you to keep doing the best you can. I know how difficult it can be growing up with parents who weren’t around much. I am sure the experience of realizing you were performing oral sex on your brothers was incredibly traumatic for you. I also hope you have a speedy recovery after your fall. Though there are things you are understandably frustrated about, I am glad to see there are things in your life that you are looking forward too! Keep on Keeping on!


  7. Mary Ella Volunteer

    Hi Sue!

    Thanks for the update. I’m so glad you were able to complete this weekly update and thank you for sharing this with us. I also admire how you’re able to communicate your thoughts, even though it can be painful for you. I’m glad, however, that you’re communicating with Angela more openly. For the record, the abuse you went through growing up does not make you repulsive. I know it can be hard to realize, but your experiences do not make you repulsive. You are so strong, and you’re also choosing to go on this path to heal which is amazing. Keep up the good work with Angela! You are making a lot of progress and we’re proud of you.

    On another note, I wish you a speedy recovery from the fall! That sounds painful, and I hope you feel better soon. Have a great week this week, and we hope to hear from you on your next update!


  8. sarahj Volunteer

    Hey Solongago,
    Thanks for the update, I am happy you were able to complete it. It seems like there have been ups and downs since your previous update. I find your thoughts very relatable. It is easy to wonder what things could have been like if circumstances of our past were even slightly different. In some ways, it is unfair (as you said) to say that our trauma makes us stronger. Though, that is all kind of.. objective, I guess. As always, I admire your courage and work with Angela on your path of healing. You consistently make big strides. On another note, I am hoping you are on the mend from your fall! Yikes. Also, was nice to see the Browns play again today — though it’s unfortunate they couldn’t pull the W! I look forward to hearing from you again soon.
    Talk soon,

  9. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you for coming back with an update. I agree that wasn’t fair of Karen to suggest that you should have known what was happening was wrong. You were so young. What happened definitely wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry that your parents weren’t there to support you when you were younger. I know like you said some of that is built on your own, but it’s also so important for your family to help you build that confidence and show you love and support. You deserve that kind of support. I promise you aren’t stupid. Like you said, look at all you’ve been able to accomplish! Congrats to your Browns too, they played really well today as well despite the tough loss. Big future for that team, and for you too!

    Stay strong,

  10. t3nnis_player18 Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,
    Thank you for always keeping us updated on your life and your thoughts. I want to say I am proud of you still for seeking help despite it being painful sometimes. I am sorry for the way your family treated you and how they made you feel unimportant despite you being the one to take care of your siblings while working and helping in every way. You are not unimportant and I am proud of you for recognizing what happened to you was wrong and not normal. You are taking all the right steps and are trying to help yourself so I just want to remind you to remember to be kind to yourself. even when you don’t feel like it. Take your time with healing, there is no right or wrong amount of time to take for yourself. I am glad that you spend a lot of time and energy on your dogs though, it must be a good way to relax. Dogs make everything better! I hope you are healing up physically from your fall as well. Take it easy this next week! I wish you nothing but the best!

  11. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey Sue,

    Thanks for updating us again. I’m so sorry for how your family treated you and it makes sense that it took you a little longer than usual to type everything out. It sounds like it was a tough pill for you to swallow. What they did to you was not right and you didn’t deserve it at all. You’re right – you are not stupid at all. You have accomplished so much for yourself without the nurturing of those around you. You’re self-sufficient, strong and, frankly, a badass woman! (excuse my language)

    I think it’s worth mentioning that you’ve explained everything your brothers did to you and we don’t think you’re repulsive. You were a victim of terrible circumstances and were taken advantage of. It sounds like Karen was victim-blaming you which is terrible practice and completely irresponsible for someone in her position to do. Yeah, she is a certified psychologist, but she was wrong. She treated you badly and I am so glad you got out of that abusive relationship. I know you hate EMDR, but I’m glad you are able to look past that hatred and see a positive impact it’s having on you! I hope that makes you feel a little better about the practice as a whole.

    Regarding the other updates – Oh no! I hope you are okay and that you are taking it easy. I would hate if you overextended yourself and got even more injured! The kennel setup sounds very lovely. You work so hard taking care of your dogs and I don’t think you give yourself enough credit. The dogs appreciate you (and we do too!).

    Go Browns!

  12. lizzi

    Hey Sue,
    Thank you so much for sharing this update with us. It sounds like a really tough session, but really productive as well. Sometimes the best sessions are when you talk about the hardest things. I don’t believe it’s your fault what happened when you were younger. You aren’t repulsive for what you did. Maybe some children at that age would’ve known it was wrong and why it was wrong, but you had a different upbringing and you didn’t understand fully. Obviously now you wouldn’t do something like that, and that’s what matters. It sounds like things were tough growing up, and you had to grow up a lot faster than if your parents had been around more. I wish that people had been more supportive of you and believed in you, but I’m glad that you didn’t let that stop you from going to college and getting a good job. You’ve done well in life for how things started, and I hope you recognize that and give yourself some credit for everything you’ve done. I hope you’re not too injured from the stairs, and that you heal up soon!

  13. pinksky92 Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    Thanks for updating us. I think you should let Angela know how you feel with respect to you feeling like you need her approval in some way. This can really hinder therapy and your success in therapy. It may be that Angela is giving off these subtle cues that signal this to you. I know it would be a lot to open up to someone new at this point, but I’m wondering if communicating this to Angela would be beneficial? That way you can both work on a plan together. It really will not benefit you in the long-run if you feel like you cannot be your authentic self around her. But, that’s just my own suggestion.

    You are a very strong writer and are able to communicate so much of what you’re feeling with great clarity. I think you raise a good point about trauma survivors. I do think you all are very strong individuals, but it’s not necessarily the case that they are strong 100% of the time, all day, everyday. All of your feelings towards that is entirely valid. It would be overly obvious to state that most trauma survivors likely wish they had not experienced what they did, but I think having experienced what they did gives them a new lens to process things. It is also true that your path to healing may look different from another survivor’s and that is entirely okay. You are doing great, and you should just take each day at a time. Do not be too hard on yourself, because it really is a process. Some days and weeks will be easier, and some will be harder.

    I hope things go well for you this week, take care!

  14. haesol Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you for updating us! sounds like the session was indeed very heavy on what you guys talked about. I think you’re doing a great job at processing your feelings, your thoughts, and whatever else these memories evoke on you by sharing your words here every week.

    You’re not wrong for wanting to have had your parent’s support before—we all need a little reassurance. You’re really smart and capable for still moving forward and choosing the path you did. About what you discussed with Angela—trust is a really difficult thing to do and it comes differently for everyone. Maybe thinking about how you feel about trust can help you figure out what it means for you. Adding to that, only you can really define how your past experiences affect you in the present. If you don’t think they made you stronger it’s completely valid, no one will blame you for that. And of course, healing is a different road for everyone. You might not feel like you’ve moved anywhere but by simply sharing these words with us I think you’re moving just right, just at your pace.

    I hope you have a good week and that you and your pups are alright. We’re always here for you!

    Stay safe.

  15. brookeallnutt Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you for coming back with another update. It sounds like you and Angela were able to talk through a lot of things, and I hope it helped to put some of the feelings you’ve been having into words. You’ve dealt with a lot of stuff, and your feelings are definitely understandable. By the way, it’s so impressive that you got a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology and the department scholarship!

    I’m sorry to hear about your physical ailments, and I hope they heal quickly! Say hi to your dogs for me, and take care. I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

  16. Edjay Volunteer

    Hi solongago,

    It seems like you’ve had a particularly heavy season with Angela this week. It’s definitely understandable to wonder what could have been if you had parents that were more supportive. You’re right that the things that you did to get your degree is proof that you are not stupid at all and that you definitely are a smart person. It’s good that you are finding some positive changes from doing EMDR though. Take care.

  17. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hey Sue,

    Each time you post I find that I learn a little more about you. I had no idea you did all of that hard work in school. Going to school while working is very difficult and that is a big accomplishment! You have a lot of resilience. I know you mentioned that you feel like you’re losing hope in the healing journey but it’s not over yet. You have made a lot of great progress. One of the strange things about slow moving progress is that after just two weeks we feel like nothing has changed, even though so much has. I once heard someone call it a ‘new baseline’. Just because it doesn’t feel like we’ve made progress doesn’t mean we haven’t.

    I also saw you mentioned that you should be over it by now. This is why ‘should’ is my least favorite word. It has no benefit. It replaces someone’s story with a simple verb, and takes so much out of context. It’s easy to tell ourselves what we ‘should’ have done, but when we dive deep into the story we realize that we often did the best we could with what we were given, and that the healing journey isn’t over. This word takes away the fact that you have done a lot of great work!

    I hope you have a better session this week!

  18. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    I am so sorry that these feelings of inadequacy keep haunting you. Feelings are tricky that way sometimes. You are not repulsive for surviving your childhood environment the best way that you knew how. You are not dumb or less than any of your siblings. That is amazing that you chose to pursue your education in electrical engineering! Seeing how you care for your dogs, too, indicates that you are a very intelligent and caring individual. EMDR can be difficult to work with. I understand how you feel about it. I’m glad it’s helping even a little bit. You are doing wonderful and amazing things in terms of your recovery. I’m sorry that it’s taking a lot of time to get where you want to be, but you are still moving forward and that is amazing. You are strong enough to admit that you made some mistakes growing up in how you treated your younger brother. So many people are unable to say that they made mistakes. That takes a huge amount of strength and really is a testament to how much growth and healing you have accomplished. Hang in there! We are always here for you. I’m looking forward to reading more from you soon.

    All the best,

  19. DY17654 Volunteer

    Hi solongago,

    I am still getting to know your story a little bit as I am new here. But from what I do know, you’re a smart and resilient young women. I am sorry for what has happened to you and it seems you’re getting a lot out of your head with with Angela. You’re worthy and even if it is tough to realize, you’re stronger having gone through what you did, and the steps your taking to overcome everything looks evident. I think it’s just the understanding aspect that is difficult in certain situations. I look forward from here on out to hearing from you; and as a browns fan, you must be excited especially since it is against a division rival such as the steelers. I hope you have a great weekend/week.


  20. ajklessig Volunteer

    Hi solongago,
    Thank you for updating us. I always look forward to seeing how you are doing and how your week went, but it sounds like you were really in your thoughts this week both out-loud with Angela and by yourself. You are right, it is definitely a lot to process, but you don’t have to unpack all of it at once. It is a great step that you are thinking about all of it and working through it, even if it is little by little.

    I do not think you are repulsive. I think you are a strong, resilient survivor. You were going through a lot as a child, and what happened was not your fault. I know it is so hard to break that thought about yourself, but we do not view you that way at all.

    The Browns game was crazy! I hope they continue to do well in the playoffs!

  21. musicislove

    Hi Sue,

    It sounds like this was a heavy session with Angela. Thank you for sharing an update, especially since it was so much to process. I know it’s already been said, but I just want to reiterate, with you being so young it would be incredibly hard to understand what you were going through. You lived through some really terrible experiences and it would be wrong to expect you to know why something was wrong and to stop it. Growing up in the environment you did could not have been easy, you had so many responsibilities on top of the trauma you were enduring, that all shapes you differently and changes your outlook. You can’t be blamed for what happened, that’s not right and I agree with Angela that you shouldn’t be so judgemental on yourself. The experiences you went through growing up were traumatizing and it’s understandable that you struggle with trust. I also agree that the things people go through don’t make them stronger and it’s not fair to survivors to say that. Trauma is horrible and causes more pain than one should ever deal with, and we can never know how different our lives would be without the trauma we’ve experienced. I know the EMDR is frustrating but I’m glad you are starting to see a change in some aspect. I’m sorry you got injured, I hope that the physical healing is relatively smooth, good luck with your pups though! And congrats on the Browns winning the playoffs! Remember we’re always here, I hope you have a relaxing week.


  22. AlisonDKaufman


    I am so happy you found the strength to finish your sharing this week, clearly, you had a lot to process and write – you are strong but NOT because of your experience just because you are, period. I agree with you to a trauma survivor to say ‘it makes you stronger’ or ‘God only gives us what we can handle’ is BS because we don’t know what could have been without IT, right. However, I truly believe such trauma makes us resilient and teaches determination because it is awfully hard to pick yourself up day in and day out, go to college to get an electrical engineering degree, receive the department scholarship and be the manager of the department – WOW! That is a fighter and a determined person to NOT be kept down – which you should be incredibly proud of and (well) impressed with yourself — because I sure am impressed and I find you inspiring to be honest. It certainly sounds that you are just as smart as anyone in our family, just not given the same opportunities and did have part of your youth stolen from you. However, you are determined to continue moving forward and shape the life you want!

    Best of luck with the pups – so much LOVE how exciting! Also, I am not a Browns fan typically BUT! they beat the Steelers so I am thrilled and I will be rooting for the Browns from here on out!

  23. chompyapple1 Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,
    Thanks for sharing with us. Congrats on the Browns win (coming from a Ravens fan)! It seems like Angela has your best interests in heart, and the two of you are working together to deal with difficult emotions. I hope you continue to try to improve! Stay strong and you can do this!

  24. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    This is quite a big update. Thanks for taking the time to share with us. I can see how it’s hard to stay optimistic about healing after all you’ve been put through. But I think it is possible. It sounds like Angela is continuing to challenge you and working with you to overcome your feelings of repulsion and self-loathing and other things. That’s great. And it’s great that you can find little joys in things like football wins to help you get through.


  25. Caitlin Volunteer

    Hello Solongago!
    I am so happy you took the time to share. Sometimes these mountains can be so tall! You have a lot going on and hearing someone say out loud, things you might be thinking and feeling already, is so hard! You cannot take on that blame, you didn’t know, understand, nor could have known.

    It sounds like you are pretty hard on yourself and I might say with good reason (there have been many challenges in your path). Be kind to yourself dear. Unfortunately these things do not change overnight, but every day you are working on bettering yourself; EMDR, sharing your thoughts and feelings with a therapist, reminding yourself you are not what people say, sharing your stories here on this platform. It’s all very brave and all of it matters!

    I think you are incredible! Saying a few things you are grateful for each day can some times help turn your self judgment around over time, at least it has for me. Good luck with your dogs and puppies! They all sound like a lot of work and a lot of laughs!

  26. tania Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    It is good to hear from you again and congrats on the Browns win! It sounds like you were able to cover a heavy topic and I want to say I am proud of you!


  27. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hey there Solongago!

    First things first, congrats on the Browns winning (I’m a Steelers fan, so that was a hard game for me to watch lol)!

    It sounds like you had a pretty heavy week but that there was a lot of good that came from it, also. It was definitely wrong of Karen to tell you that you should have known better–that’s such a discouraging and disparaging thing to say to a survivor. I’m very glad to hear that Angela was compassionate about that part of your story and that the two of you are working through those hard feelings. The added nuance of working through your relationship with yourself will hopefully put a new layer of healing into your life, too! You didn’t deserve to be harmed by your family in any way.

    I’m glad to hear about the kennels and how that project is going! Hope you’re healing from your accident and are able to take some joy from your pups. Keep us updated, and take some time to rest this week!

  28. jcastle38 Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,
    First of all I would like to say that I am deeply sorry for what happened to you early childhood and all of the trauma you experienced in your life and growing up. You are extremely strong for talking about it and I thank you for doing so. I think talking is a great step into getting you to heal. You are incredibly smart don’t put yourself down! You are doing great, keep hanging in there and we are all here for you!

    Sending hugs,

  29. colton95 Volunteer

    I’m sorry about what happened with Karen and that Angela didn’t understand you right away. I hope that the next session will be better and that you are doing well and safe.

  30. laurenp34 Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m new to your journey but I am so moved by your story. Healing can be a long and hard journey, but you should be so proud of yourself for making the effort even if it can be so difficult. Don’t blame yourself for what happened to you as a child. Karen shouldn’t have said such a heartless thing– don’t blame your 12-year-old self for not knowing better. She has no idea what you endured and the environment you were raised in. A piece of advice I received that has always stuck with me is that people that don’t even know you or your life shouldn’t have the power to judge you and change the way you see yourself. It sounds like you are an incredibly resilient and smart person and I am definitely rooting for you. Sending love to you and your dogs!!!
    – Lauren

  31. alexiswilliams


    I understand that therapy can be hard sometimes, but I hope you are able to trust that Angela wants the best for you, and always has your best interest at heart. Also, I am so glad that you have those sweet pups to keep you company. My dog is an ESA, and he brings me absolutely so much joy. Thanks for the update, keep your head up!

    Sending love,

  32. Neesha Volunteer

    It makes sense that you didn’t know why exactly incest was wrong, after all you grew up with it being a normal practice. It speaks a lot to you internal integrity, as kid, that you knew something was wrong about it. You grew up in a family dynamic that was unhealthy, to say the least. It is expected that you participated in that dynamic, before you knew better. Unsticking yourself from that dynamic is hard work. Yeah you are going to be repulsed and feel all sorts of awful feelings. You keep showing up to do therapy/EMDR and you keep writing to us. I admire your consistent strength so much. I trust that you will move through and know a new freedom.

    Thank you for the update, keep writing to us as you need.

  33. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Sue,
    It’s good to hear from you. I know you don’t like EMDR, so I bet you were happy to talk this week instead. I agree in the sense of talking is good and I think it helps you to heal because everything is out in the open. Talking can also calm nerves down and clear the air if you are worried about something.
    What Karen said to you is absolutely horrible. There is no such thing as a “normal upraising.” There is no “perfect” way to raise kids. Every kid needs different things. Some need kids need parents that are hands on and others kids might be more independent. Karen can’t blame you for not understanding or knowing that you didn’t know what was going on was wrong. When something like that happens to you at an early age sadly you get used to it/think it’s “supposed” to happen, which is not your fault. It’s your brothers for doing that to you and not allowing you to have a safer childhood.
    You are so smart! You should never compare yourself to your siblings. I used to compare myself to my older sister and I always worried that I’m not following in her footsteps. I know now that it’s better to not be a mini version of my sister because I get to be me and I’m happy being me. Just like you should be happy to be you.
    Traumatic experiences I think can shape who you become, but your right you will never know if they make you stronger or if you would have been stronger without them. However, I believe things happen for a reason. For example, I hate that my ex best friend abused me, but if I didn’t “let him” I would have never met his then girlfriend/now ex girlfriend, I would have never become friends with her, and I would have never become a volunteer here. I love working here and getting to help give advice/listen to your story and other stories. Anyway, what happened to you, you didn’t deserve to happen, but just remember it’s not your fault, you will/are healing. You might not be able to change the past, but you control yourself future don’t stop yourself from doing anything that you want do because you’re not stupid, your trauma doesn’t define you, and you can do anything that you want to do.
    Thank you for updating us. I know I always say this, but it is true, it’s always great to hear back from you!

  34. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Sue,
    It sounds like you had an intense session and a busy week. I have a lot to say, so here’s my novel. As for what Karen said, I disagree. You were young, and you couldn’t have had a full understanding of what happened and why it was wrong. You were also raised to believe that certain behaviors were normal, and you might not have questioned these behaviors until you were in a different environment. This environment could have been a different location, consuming different things (such as social media, books, education, etc.), you could have been talking to different people, etc. Another thing that could play into this might be your headspace and how you feel about questioning these behaviors. There are so many factors that play into this, and it’s not as simple as Karen made it out to be. I can see that it’s difficult to have these conflicting thought streams: one stream is that you’re not repulsive or at fault, and the other stream consists of stubborn, unhelpful beliefs that won’t go away. You’re not repulsive, I promise.
    You were dealing with a lot as a child. I would say you took on adult responsibilities at a young age when you shouldn’t have had to. It’s awful that your parents didn’t encourage you when you were thinking about your profession. I believe that when you’re young, it’s important for your parents to help you develop the skills necessary to build your self-worth. You’re not stupid. Based on what you’ve written here and the self awareness and growth you’ve shown throughout your journey, I can confidently say you’re not stupid.
    I also can’t stand when people say that the trauma made us stronger. For one thing, as Roxie said, there’s no way to assess that. It is frustrating to hear someone say that what abusers did when we couldn’t consent makes us stronger in some way, and I don’t believe that is the case at all. Trauma can also be debilitating to cope with.
    I hope you take some time to rest and heal from your injuries! It sounds like you’ve been working on many projects and taking care of your dogs, which is awesome. Thank you for updating us on what is going on in your life. We’re happy to hear from you, and I hope you have a great week.

  35. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Sue,
    Wow!! What a week you have had! I hope that you are healing quickly from your winter gymnastics stunt; it sounded very painful! It is good to hear that Angela will take the time to have these types of discussions with you. The EMDR is important (as long as it is working for you) but these conversations seem to have the biggest impact on your healing process. I completely agree with your thoughts on the whole trama makes you stronger bs….no one can assess that because your normal progress was halted in a horrific way and your life is changed forever. It is just something people say to make themselves feel better about other people’s pain.
    It’s good to hear that you have stuff to do for the dogs and that you will have puppies again soon. Take care of yourself.
    Sending you love and strength,

  36. semperfi Volunteer

    Hi Solongago ,what I see is a woman that has the smarts to do most anything she wants, except for finding a way to put this history in a drawer and out of sight. You are not saying it wasn’t real or wrong. It is more to say this is not you today. Try to remember that as a child you knew only what your family and surroundings gave you to learn from. I guess, for you to find that path to that drawer, give yourself the credit for trying to make things better for you that can clear that path to whatever.

  37. Breanna Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    Thank you for coming and sharing another update with us. It sounds like you worked through some really important, tough things with Angela. I’m really proud and impressed by how you can articulate what has been going on. Remember how far you’ve come and I hope that motivates you, even when things are tough. I hope your body is doing okay after those injuries. And getting those pups sounds exciting, and go Browns! I hope you have a nice week and keep your chin up!

    Sending love and support,

  38. ryannlashea Day Captain

    Hi, it sounds like y’all covered a lot of heavy but important topics this session. I agree that the way you’re raised affects you in so many ways. But I want you to know that you are strong and brave. We are all so proud of you.

  39. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thanks for coming back to update us. I’m glad you are noticing a positive change and that even though it’s hard, that Angela seems to be helpful. Come back and share anytime.


  40. Starling Volunteer

    Hi Sue,
    Thank you for continuing to share your story with us. It sounds like you covered a lot in your session with Angela. You’re always so good at expressing yourself in these posts. You show an understanding of your emotions and why you are feeling this way. You’ve come a long way and should feel proud of that. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  41. rachelb098 Volunteer

    Hi Sue,

    Thank you for the update! It sounds like you and Angela definitely covered a lot in your session and you should be immensely proud at how much progress you’ve made. As always, I’m impressed by how you’re able to express your feelings and thoughts so clearly. You are worthy and deserving of encouragement, and I’m so sorry your parents didn’t give you that and that you were made to feel stupid. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been for you, but I’m glad to hear that you’re able to recognize your incredible accomplishments now. Hope you have a great week!

    All the best,

  42. zelda Volunteer

    Hi, Sue! Before I dive in, I just want to say that I love that you named your dog Cujo! I watched that movie recently, and it’s great, but I probably won’t watch again. (I can’t stand hearing kids cry, or see them in pain.) Anyway, there’s a lot to unpack with your post this week.

    I do agree with your statement on strength and trauma; I’ve always hated the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” In my opinion, if anything, trauma can make you weaker. You have to put in so much work to overcome, and that strength to overcome will make you stronger. But, God knows, it takes work. You’ve been putting in that work, so definitely give yourself some credit for that. Reliving years of incest and abuse is not for the faint of heart, and you’ve been diligent and resilient throughout the therapy and EMDR process, which takes a massive amount of strength.

    I understand feeling “repulsive,” but you’re not. Their actions are repulsive; their decision to force these acts on you, is repulsive. Shame on Karen for that comment. Maybe she was trying to mean well, but how could you have known incest was wrong? Even if you had been in your twenties or thirties at that time, this abuse was your normal. It was your reality.

    I like to talk about my “black box” analogy. Let’s say someone lived inside a black box for all or most of their life. They had never (or rarely) seen sunlight, trees, parks, etc. All they knew was darkness. Should we expect that person to know anything outside of this reality? What may be someone’s abnormal, its another person’s normal. Only with exposure and time, can we start to see what we’ve truly been through. At the age of 12 or 13, even though you might have felt something was wrong, you were still a child. At this point, it’s not on you to figure out your traumas or to figure out your life. That responsibility should have been headed by your parents and other grownups around you.

    You’ve had to overcome a lot, Sue. And not only are you continuing to overcome, but you even furthered your education, in the process. That is huge!!! And you’re right; a dumb person could not have accomplished so much. I’m in my second semester of my junior year, and it is very, very tough. But I’m hoping I can graduate just like you did.

    Thank you for giving us another update, another glimpse into your world. We appreciate your posts, and we hope to hear from you in another week (or sooner). Have a great day!

    Go Browns!