I am a survivor of sexual and physical abuse by my parents and step parents. I am a single woman in my mid 30's who lives in Manhattan. I am from New York - born in Manhattan and raised as a shared custody kid in Brooklyn, Westchester and Rockland coutnies. My parents and step parents have all had substance abuse issues on top of mental health struggles...Not very good odds for my siblings or myself, so it's not a surprise really that things went horribly wrong in our "family." Growing up in that environment my siblings and I stuck together for our survival and sanity. We were thick as thieves. My being the oldest, I was the main protector and took the brunt of the overt abuse - both sexual and physical. I tried to do what I could to spare my younger brothers and sisters, but I was a child myself and not really capable of saving them the way an adult could. For this I can't help but feel some guilt. These days each of us cope with our beginnings differently, and for the most part there is distance between us all. Perhaps the memories of all that pain is just too powerful when we are with each other that it's too much for them to bear. I wish we could stay closer, talk through the tough memories and more importantly build new and healthy ones together. Unfortunately I seem to be alone in this wish. My brothers and sisters are more comfortable with the head in the sand approach. They each keep their distance from one another and from me. The worst part about that is that now more than ever I feel completely alone. I cannot turn to my parents for any type of emotional support - obviously, but now I can't even get comfort from the closeness I used to share with my siblings.
That is why I decided to return to SIA, when I went back to my old SIA meeting place two weeks ago. That group was a type of family to me. Sharing and listening in that SIA meeting was the first time in my life that a room full of people could relate to the complicated feelings and problems that come with growing up in an abusive world. It was sad to see the pain that all these other people were struggling with, but the fact that it was so unbelievably familiar opened my eyes to a new idea. I could see enormous value in the people in that meeting. I believed in them, even though I could see they struggled, I could see the strength in them, the bravery, the courage and inner beauty. And if I could see that in them, and they had been through things like I had been through, that must mean that I have a chance to be a worthwhile human being too...at least I had a chance.
At this time therapy is not something I can afford. I am hopeful that this online support group might be a good place to share some of my struggles with people who can relate, and that I can find fellow survivors to help inspire and motivate each other toward positive directions in our lives.
I am very familiar with the rules of the SIA meetings - the actual live meetings, but are there rules that might be different in this format that I should be aware of?
I am open to any feedback or questions if anyone would like to respond.
I hope I can become a positive part of your online group.