Waiting in his parked car towards the end of this awful chapter, I pulled the handbrake so hard I nearly snapped the cable. I had finally found a way to stay ‘Stop right there!’. He got the message.
But that didn’t resolve the trauma, of course. Soon after the ‘external’ assaults by him stopped, the ‘inner’ assaults – self-destructive actions I inflicted on myself – began. They continued until the day I crashed my motorbike and nearly killed myself. I’d been riding recklessly, and that serious accident reflected a desperate, lost young man on a hiding to nowhere.
After that painful descent, I started on the long and difficult path towards self-respect and self-care.
With help, I learned to have a decent relationship with myself. Then with others. I took myself seriously, developed my career, raised a family with love and recovered my creative capacities.
Now I work in private practice as a psychotherapist and sex therapist, and I love what I do. I believe that I have managed to fundamentally transform my pain, rather than transmit it.
Speaking the truth about what occurred seems to be necessary for recovery and healing. This may be to a trusted friend or therapist rather than publicly. Commonly this involves naming the events, acknowledging personal impacts, learning decent coping strategies and ‘working through’ emotions and the legacy of trauma over time. That sounds much neater and tidier than the actual process usually is.