The nightly terror is real. And so are the words... Shhhh ... this is our little secret ... don t tell anyone. On the outside, Lori Golden had a perfect childhood. A perfect family. A perfect upbringing. What Lori really had was a perfect house of lies. To the outside ... and within the confines of the walls. The sexual abuse that started at the age of five for Lori Golden became a wall of silent screams. Screams that were hidden from herself and from the world for decades. Until she could do and did the tell. When sexual abuse occurs, you are alone with your abuser, creating a unique kind of aloneness. One that is dark and sinister. You feel hopeless in the belief that you could get better, or the pain could end. Your aloneness becomes so profound that it makes you want to self-destruct, even feel suicidal. You should embrace your story and let your inner abused child speak out. Learn how to love your child within and dedicate yourself to achieving your own personal freedom from its bondage. You lived through the worst of it as a child and survived. You can live freely once again. Lori Golden learned that life is possible after a decade of sexual abuse. Her story ... her recovery ... and now her work as a therapist and speaker have opened doors for thousands.
As an Incest survivor I was guarded around my mother. Everyone "loved" her. She was head counselor at a large day camp where people of all ages sought her out for counsel. I would watch her interact with people and wonder why I felt so differently about her. I never knew what to believe. I also had amnesia with Complex PTSD. Because of this my behavior around her was thoroughly confusing. I ended up believing that I was crazy. This led to mistrust of myself. I always wanted to hurt myself around her and my interactions often led to self destructive behaviors.
My needs never mattered in my family. My father's sick cravings were all that mattered and my mother's refusal to see what was going on. I felt like a prisoner in my childhood home. I was never free to be myself. My whole childhood was about survival as I was robbed of innocence.
For the first time I witnessed my dissociation. This was a turning point in my recovery from incest. Prior to this I would leave the moment, feel myself disappear but not know what happened to trigger the switch. It felt completely out of my control. I realized then that I had to pay attention to the moment prior to the switch. Notice what occurred to trigger the shift in me.
My sexual abuse felt like monsters in the closet. As long as I kept the door closed I was safe. But then I lived in constant fear of what was inside. I had to open the door, shine a light into the darkness in order to heal. The energy it took to survive became the fuel to thrive. Don't be afraid to open your door.
As I opened the door to each locked room inside myself I discovered my creativity that was buried along with my abuse. I successfully cut off from passion. I deadened myself, I went into hiding using my eating disorder to mask my passion and eventually found drugs. I turned my passion to create into my need to self destruct. Wow It was truly freeing to connect with this energy. I began to pursue my long lost love of drawing and painting.
In my recovery from Incest I remembered how often I went round and round in my head thinking...Could he have just done what he did? Back and forth in an endless cycle of trying to figure out what was real and unreal. I got away from what I was feeling in the moment, the sensations in my body. In adulthood I continued to go back and forth in my head thinking should I or shouldn't I feel a certain way, or Is this real or not real, Is this ok or is this not ok. An endless cycle leading to absolute confusion and an inability to trust myself.
I purchased a police trained guard dog in 1990. Nothing made me feel safe at that time. I was flooded with sexual abuse flashbacks. FoPo became my personal protector. He slept outside my bedroom door and for the first time in 40yrs. I slept with my back to the door. I stopped looking to see if my father was entering my room. What a sense of freedom. Truly a miracle at the time.
In early recovery from Incest I won a Runner-Up-Award for Student Photography at the Del Mar Fair. I entered an underwater picture I took in Belize. When I saw my picture hanging up with a ribbon I immediately had a shame attack. I felt exposed for all to see, I realized when I left the building that my recovery from Incest was also recovery from my shame. It was an eye opening experience since I always wanted to sabotage my accomplishments.
Out of fear of being alone I stayed in relationships that were not ok. My recovery taught me that I repeatedly lied to myself. My intuition was always spot on but I learned to mistrust my inner voice. Trusting myself was the key to making better choices.
Every time more was revealed about the sexual abuse I endured the gift was finding the good that was also blocked. I reconnected with my passion for drawing and painting which was lost in my dissociation at age 13. Finding my hidden treasures made the hard work worthwhile.
I lived in beautiful San Diego. The sunny days were an escape from my nighttime prison. Before I remembered incest the nighttime terror felt awful. Until I identified my father as my perpetrator nothing made sense. He was the evilness that lived inside of me. Amnesia was my protection. Remembering my sanity.
This was a point in my recovery that I began to understand my nighttime hyper vigilance. It was awful to not know why I was so scared. When I realized I was the result of incest I felt relieved. Maybe this awful fear did not belong in my adult life.
He always justified his reasons for sexually abusing me. My pain and suffering went unnoticed. I cried, begged, pleaded but to no avail. Only his sick need for power and domination was the priority. There was no winning. I was trapped.
This flashback helped me to see that every time I reach for my door handle to open my door to my home in San Diego an automatic switch takes place. Regardless of my mood I become a robot in hiding.
In my sexual abuse recovery I started to witness my abrupt change in mood. Still not understanding that I was triggered. I knew something occurred but not sure what. I realized I had to be patient with myself. Pushing didn't work. I only became frustrated.
Learning how I separated from myself was all consuming. I was present to my ability to leave the moment but it happened so automatically left me so confused. One minute Im here the next Im not.
I was terrified to confront my father. "never tell" was all consuming. I flew back to New York and confronted him in his office at work. I did not want to be alone with him. He immediately tried to take control calling me psychotic. His words did not threaten me this time. I proceeded to tell him what I remembered. It took so much courage to do this and I felt like I slayed the evil giant that tormented me my whole life.
In earlier recovery before Incest memories at night I felt an "evil" presence. It was consuming and getting larger. Not knowing was intolerable. As awful as it was to remember Incest I finally knew who I was afraid of...my father.
Being a survivor of incest created a separation with my mother. My father told me how jealous she would be to know he was giving me "special attention". Around her I felt shame when she recognized any of my accomplishments. I always downplayed them and adopted the belief "it's no big deal". So much so that I could never appreciate anything I did. Therefore I "hated" compliments.
One of my first memories on my Incest Journey was remembering sitting huddled in a corner of my hall. I know it is late, I am terrified. Once again the questions. Why am I sitting in the corner alone at night? Why am I trying to get to my parents bedroom? I see my parent's door at the end of the hall but I have to pass this ape that lives behind the second floor bannister. The ape was real to me at 7
As I remembered my incest I also couldn't sleep. I kept saying to myself I am JUST A CHILD I JUST WANT TO SLEEP.
After I realized my father was my perpetrator I kept asking these questions over and over again. The enormous belief that this took place in my home. I thought if this is true how could I have functioned as a little girl after a night of sexual abuse? I was completely dumbfounded and I did not have answers yet only questions
When I remembered my father tongue-kissing me at my wedding at 21, I recalled while it was happening how I went up into my head thinking this can't be real, and left the sensations in my body. I realized how often I went into my head trying to figure out what is real during this recovery.
I reached a point in my recovery from Incest where I understood that dissociation no longer served me. As a child it was adaptive, as an adult it was maladaptive.
I often felt terror as nighttime was approaching. Before I had incest memories it never made sense. My terror inside never matched my outside world just leaving me feeling crazy.
Whenever I received special attention for something I did I felt shame. Every accomplishment led to my wanting to hide. Special attention equaled Daddy's special love.
I only knew to implode with self blame. I had to learn to rage outwardly and not direct it at myself. I was tired of self blame.
Telling my secret was essential to healing from incest. It was a frightening step but necessary. From a young age I was threatened to keep quiet. Confronting these threats was freeing and helped me to feel like I was no longer alone in this.
It was not my shame to carry; it was my father's despicable and shameful behavior that belong to him. Healing from shame is a critical part of the survivor's journey.
Four months into Narcotics Anonymous I remembered this recurring nightmare as a child. I could feel my terror and helplessness in it. I felt I was getting closer to something but what?
I knew there was something very bad in my midst. I still had no memory of incest but was seeing the disparity between my daytime and nighttime functioning. I had come off of drugs and identified myself as a drug addict. I was trying to make sense of something I could not yet see. I just was very aware of my terror at night when the sun went down.
This shows my feelings prior to my remembering the sexual abuse I experienced as a child. I didn't know that I had amnesia so my symptoms of terror seemed crazy. I could not understand why I was so gripped by these fears particularly the paranoia of someone "going to get me".
I was tenacious in achieving goals as my life was spiraling out of control.
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