Saturday, February 06, 2010

You Are Not Alone, Lynn's Story (Blog-a-thon Post 17)

Dear Survivor,

Lynn wants you to know you are not alone. Here's what she has to say:

As a survivor of sexual abuse, including incest, and as an advocate for victims, I peruse internet sites in search of support, resources, and research. In September, 2009, when Mackenzie Phillips’ memoir “High On Arrival” was published, I watched her interviews. I wanted to hear what others were saying. That’s when I found the Facebook group: “We Support Mackenzie Phillips’ Decision to Speak Out Against Abuse.”

“You will remember… nothing.” I heard that phrase from my father repeatedly when I was a child. He was using pseudo-hypnosis to force me to forget what he was doing to me, which was, he said, my “duty as his daughter.” Then, when I was 12, my older brother forced himself on me, and used that phrase “You will remember…. Nothing.” (I don’t know if our father had used that phrase to hypnotize my brother, or if my brother over-heard it when our father was sexually abusing me.) I trained my mind to forget; the temptation to tell was replaced by the habit of not telling.

Incest was not the only experience I kept to myself. I did not know that I was not supposed to be in the corner bar with my father (when I was 8 and 10). By the time I was 15, my father’s doctor (a cardiologist) was giving me amphetamines, (Dexedrine and Benzedrine). My father told me that if I ever experimented with drugs, he would rather I get them from him
“than some scum bag on the streets.” When I was 17, I had to testify in court that my step-mother gave me Valium, and my father smoked pot with me. By the time I was 18, I was a full-blown addict, hell-bent on self-destruction by shooting meth and cocaine (see my memoir Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story).

Due to therapy after an over-dose, I was in my twenties when I stopped using speed. Yet I did not get to the reason for the drug abuse until I was in my forties. The secrets and shame shrouded me in silence until I was 43. It took me 3 decades to tell of what had been done to me! A return to therapy helped me put the fragmented pieces of my shattered heart together again.

Now, in my fifties, I share my story so others who are survivors of incest know that they are not alone. Groups such “We Support Mackenzie Phillips” have shown me that survivors can thrive in unity. “Our wounds are not a measure of one individual’s sad fate, but an indication of our unity with others.”

Stay tuned for more stories of survivors who gain strength from online support...

Watch the live UStream broadcast of this blog-a-thon by clicking here.

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