(*Trigger Warning: non-explicit content)
I feel beyond blessed to have connected with comedian Paul Gilmartin (of Dinner and a Movie fame). Today, Paul shares with us a bracingly honest account of dealing with covert sexual abuse and incest. I honor Paul’s forthrightness and honesty in dealing with his past, and helping so many others with theirs.
Writing Your Story Helps You Thrive
I tell people right away I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (either face to face, or through my writing), but I didn’t used to. I held that shame and fear of judgment in tightly for years, a filmy veil of anxiety separating me from everyone else. I didn’t feel I could get close to friends or even lovers, always holding back this ugly secret. If anyone saw the real me, the tainted, used me, they wouldn’t want to pursue any kind of relationship; either that, or they’d use it against me somehow.
Am I Permanently Damaged?
This is just one of the many questions a survivor of childhood sexual abuse asks ourselves every day of our lives. People who have not been traumatized in this way will likely scoff at this question, thinking, “Of course you’re not! Why would you think such a silly thing!” or will actually say to us, “Don’t be a victim,” or “Get over it, move on,” — and when you’ve thankfully never experienced abuse, this kind of question does seem silly, and so of course your responses to get over it make perfect sense to you.