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A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hidden Pieces ~ Sexual Harrasment ~ Work

***TRIGGER WARNING*** ***TRIGGER WARNING*** (Graphic Description of Sexual Abuse)

I decided to begin retelling what I wrote to my therapist and I in the Winter/Spring of 2007 after four years of intense flashbacks and repressed memories emerging. [Current commentary is in brackets.] I wrote my seventy page "biography" because I needed to write out what I remembered and what I experienced to make it more "real" rather than a "story." I am ready to take the next step and putting more of it in my blog. This was the original reason for starting my blog and using my journal as a starting point. I am still struggling with believing that the following is the truth of my life:

[During my process of remembering, I began to have flashbacks about different work situations which I write about below.  Remember these occurances were from 1989 to 2000, but I am only making connections or remembering in 2007ish] 

I really feel like I caused the stuff with Frank [a coworker] because I may have been too friendly or dressed improperly. He was married, had two girls, and was an alcoholic an had a history of psychiatric hospitalizations. I didn’t say anything, push him away, or make any sound…I was actually afraid that we would be “caught” and I would get into trouble. I did make some comment to our HR person, but she just said that is how Frank has always been and that the owners have had complaints, but they will never fire him. They just send him on paid leave.

At the beginning, my desk was where my back was in front of the main hallway, so everyone past me with my back to them. Frank came in early and often times; I would be there early, as I had to make up the extra time that it took for me to see you [my therapist]. I am having a difficult time staying present as I write this as I am extremely embarrassed and feel humiliated, angry and scared, but didn’t at the time. I basically just shut down and ignored it.

Frank would come by and rub my back, neck or shoulders, make kissing sounds or if I was looking make kisses at me or stick his tongue out and wiggle it. He would kiss or lick my neck or behind my ear and whisper something lewd in my ear even if I was on the telephone. He was always making suggestive comments and faces at me. If I had to use the ladder to get into the files where he was often working due to his job, he would do the same. He always managed to be lower than me and would look up my skirt. He would put his hand up my skirt and some times feel my rear or my inner thigh and occasionally, would go a little higher and try to tickle my crotch. The whole time he would be making lewd sounds and suggestive comments. Sometimes, he would lick my leg, feet or toes.

As I write this, I keep going away and feeling something very intensely, but not sure what it is. If I was wearing pants, he would touch my rear, try to put his hands up my pant leg to feel or just play with my feet and toes. Same comments and sounds as always. This occurred at least three to five days and several times during the day if we were both at work. I can’t believe I never told anyone…I feel really sick right now and buzzy.

I was really disgusted by him and wanted him to stop, but couldn’t bring myself to say anything or do anything more…I just let it happen…I was old enough to be able to stop it and should have. I did not enjoy it. Why didn’t I stop it or tell anyone else or tell the extent?

Maybe with Richard  [A previous co-worker/supervisor] I was too friendly and dressed improperly too? Did I lead him on? Maybe, that’s why he did what he did. It really still scares me that I completely went away and didn’t remember what occurred until this go around. [Second go around in therapy was the part after a five year break.] (Given what I now know about my past, the PTSD and dissociation reaction to Richard makes sense even though I did not have a memory of any of trauma or sexual abuse.)

Richard's  just closing and locking my office door reminded me of my step-father and his father and the garage. This is probably why I went completely away at that time. Now that I remember what happened, being pinned up against the wall probably terrified me as my step-father used to do this to both my mother and I. So when, Richard began kissing me and putting his tongue in my mouth, I was really scared and was immobilized especially when he untucked my blouse and started feeling my chest and stomach.

I think that I am still somewhat angry that you [my therapist] didn’t take me seriously and felt that I was being attention-seeking, manipulative, so we didn’t talk about it when it happened. And, I know most of my anger is really toward my mother for not taking me seriously or letting me talk. I think that added some to my repressing the memory for so long. I’m not blaming you…just still a little angry…and sad that I was misunderstood…so many people misunderstood me and still do. Not that I expect everyone to understand me, but it has taken so long…I am tearing up again…feels like I just need a good cry…it is stuck in my eyes as they are just watery and in my throat and chest…both really hurt. Unfortunately, it is a very familiar feeling. Feeling very bad and confused.
[My therapist at the time was quite new at the time and the only thing that he had to go by was that he knew that I was borderline and that Richard kissed me]

Even with just dating, I had a difficult time and seemed to be attracted to and attract men who went too fast or had an aggressive manner about them…not that I had many dates. Usually, by the 2nd or 3rd date, I would end up being pinned on the couch or put into a position that trapped me into one spot and they would start deep kissing or putting their tongue in my ear or on my neck. (Even though, I didn’t feel it at the time I must have had some flashback at least neurologically.) After each date, I showered, bruised and sometimes cut. One of my dates pinned me to the couch and started kissing and stuff, then, he started to rub against me…I remember feeling panicked and somehow got the date to end. After he left, I immediately showered, bruised and cut. Then, I sat in my closet rocking and silently crying…I guess, that really isn’t crying, but what I would do instead of crying.

[I had never remembered or shared any of this in detail until this point in therapy.  The scariest thing for me was when I totally lost time with Richard.  I disocciated when he locked the door and the next think I knew was that I was sitting at my desk writing reports.  Although at the time, I didn't have have any conscious memory of it, obviously my reaction indicated otherwise.  It was also what led to my being on medications again and a hospitalization.

My therapist said that what I said above validates my abuse even more as most victims of childhood sexual abuse mention repeated similar situations.  Although I know that I was not at fault it bothers me that I could have spoken out as I was an adult. My therapist said that I had to remember in order to speak out...duh!!]


Anonymous said...

Hi, Clueless. I followed your link here from my blog. I can totally relate to so much here. I was not abused by family, but by a trusted family friend when I was very young. However, the feeling of being frozen in time and then not remembering is so very familiar. I still freeze in situations of personal afront, but when it's someone else who is in trouble, I'm wonder woman. Go figure. Anyway, you are very brave to write it all down. Most people don't understand what it's like to not be able to stop unwanted advances/sexual activity from someone so the more we post it, the more they will begin to understand.

Clueless said...

Hi Ivory and thank you for visiting and commenting. I'm glad that you could relate. Not glad that about what happened to you though. I agree, my hope with my blog is that people understand more about themselves and others.

take care,

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