A Great Hill

Sharing resolutions and lesson learned from a personal experience with the hope that it might one day help someone.

Sharing resolutions and lesson learned from a personal experience with the hope that it might one day help someone.

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
Nelson Mandela.

Eleven years ago today, I climbed a great hill.

Sitting in the mall parking lot in the passenger’s seat of my mother’s white Oldsmobile, I told her the family secret that I had harbored for over twenty years; that her then husband of twenty five years sexually abused me as a child.

When the words finally came out, my body decompressed like a flattened tire.  I thought I was done, fixed, as if sharing this piece of information would easily mend everything and solve all problems.  That New Year’s Eve morning I stood at the top of my great hill expecting to see a welcoming horizon.  And at first, I did.  But understanding that I couldn’t stand in one spot forever, I continued on my way.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones.  I was born into a generation of women and men who, when experience trauma, are often encouraged to talk about it and seek help.  I eventually had someone to tell and immediately had someone who believed me.  I had the guidance of a talented, dedicated professional who worked tirelessly to give me the tools I needed to work through the rises and falls.  And I have a husband who has supported me every step of the way.  Even the bad guy went to jail for a short time.

These fortunate circumstances coupled with determination to live clean, if you will, helped me to move forward.   As a result, I have been able to scale more overgrown, rocky, and unmarked hills than I thought existed.  And although I couldn’t reach the top every time, I’m content with where I ended up.

However, one of many things I’ve learned in the last ten years is that there are consequences to pursuing one’s truth.  Expecting people to reflect, discuss, and perhaps change is a tall order.  Maintaining thin relationships, living in a box, and avoiding issues are seemingly much easier paths to take.

So why rock the boat?  Because as I started to value myself, I realized that regardless of what I was going to get back, I had to let people know where I was coming from.  Several times I’ve been pleasantly surprised; other times, not so much.  I’ve had family members haul off like a Real Housewife of New Jersey, friends just throw in the towel, and to mourn relationships of key people who weren’t able to meet me half way.  It’s unfortunate and sad but as my grandfather says, “That’s the way it goes.”

I’ve often wondered if it is worth some of this residual agida to continue my version of clean living.  It may sound reminiscent of a Kelly Clarkson song, but for someone who lived the first third of her life putting up walls, keeping things surface, and feeding the elephants in the room, I intend to spend the next two thirds of it living the most honest, genuine, meaningful, loving, and forthright way that I can.  For myself, loved ones, husband and most importantly our children; this I resolve to do.

As we welcome a new year, I wish you a year filled with health, truth, cleanliness, and the courage to climb.

19 thoughts on “A Great Hill

  1. Pingback: A NY Times Modern Love Reject – The Loss of a Therapist | Red Said What?

  2. Reblogged this on Everything I Want To Say & Can't and commented:
    Someone shared this post with me earlier today, someone who has already climbed the hill that my little boy and I must travel to regain our lives back. The more people that hear our stories, the more educated parents and society as a whole become, and the more we can prevent child sex abuse from occurring. There are many great resources through The Mama Bear Effect and MOSAC ( Mothers of sexually abused children ) online that have resources for prevention and support if a family is living this nightmare. We need to out an end to Child Sex Abuse NOW!


  3. Thank both of you for sharing this blog. When i started reading your story, how long it took you to share your story with your mother, my heart went out to you. I am very thankful that my little boy and I’s relationship was strong enough and he trusted me enough to share his sexual abuse by his older step brother shortly after it occurred. Although it broke my heart and shattered life as we knew it, I am thankful it was mere weeks instead of years before his disclosure. Both of our therapists have said that the length of time from abuse to disclosure is directly proportionate to how quickly one begins to recover. My little boy is making leaps and bounds and his resiliency is much stronger than mine. I move through Kubler Ross many times a week, if not every day. This house, the photos, the memories…they all trigger the memory of my stepson sexually violating my little boy. I can’t say that I’m not progressing, because each day I am taking pride in seeing him feel normal again, and maybe when he feels normal again, I will too. I just know (and it terrifies me) that someone’s therapist is going to mention family reunification within the next 15 months while my stepson is in residential treatment for sexually aggressive teens. My hope in blogging is that someone, even if just one person, can identify with the highly secretive and socially taboo of family incest and sibling sex abuse. I’ve searched for other bloggers, for other mothers that are going through the grief, the anger, the denial and disbelief that someone stole their child’s innocence. No one wants to talk about it. Family and friends don’t even know how to react to the disclosure. My own husband has days that he is denial that his 13 yr old son sexually molested my 7 year old son. I am still trying to comprehend, to understand. Some days I believe that I will never find my answers and it pushes me harder to seek out the truth, the reason, the rationale… But realistically, I doubt I will ever truly know why or understand it. My hope is that as I see my silly little, freckled faced, blue eyed blonde feel normal, that perhaps I will someday feel normal again too…
    Much thanks for sharing your story. You can say that your story did help at least one person…me. And by you helping me, you helped my little boy. 💙


    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment and kind words. I agree, some adults don’t like to talk and I find don’t know how to talk about sexual abuse; it is icky, unthinkable, and paralyzing. But it is also very common, so if talking and empowering translates into helping one child or grown up who still lives with a secret, then I think it’s worth the discomfort.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My thanks to both of you! I am very fortunate that my little boy disclosed his abuse to me shortly after it occurred. Both of our therapists have said that we have a strong relationship and he trusted me to tell so quickly after the abuse occurred. I’m told that the short time is directly proportionate to how quickly he will recover. He is making leaps and bounds, and it is my resiliency that is failing to keep up with his. I move through Kubler Ross stages multiple times a week, my mood so easily triggered by the smallest things. The mere thought of family reunification scares me to death, haunts my dreams ( yes, I woke in a panic this morning, and only when my husband reach out and pull me close to him did I allow the deep sobs of salty tears to flow ) and makes me leery of getting too comfortable with my step son being locked away for the next 15 months in residential therapy.
    I want to eventually reach the point you are in your life, where in find comfort in the truth and able to climb beyond this dark stage in our lives. My little boy and my marriage are my inspiration to be whole, and to be normal again.


    • I am so sorry that your son and family had to experience the unimaginable. It is wonderful that your little boy felt safe enough in his relationship to tell you immediately and kudos to you for listening to him and acting on it. Keep doing what you’re doing and hang in there; everything will work out.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so glad I found this. There is another blogger online in this situation right now with her own child and she’s really struggling to help him through this. I’m going to share this post with her to show her there is an end to the tunnel.


      • I think she has to work through this on her own, but her blog (I don’t actually know her except for on here) is just so powerfully written and I’m just glad to give her ‘proof’ that she and her son will come through this and it will be a good place. I don’t expect you have all the answers for her, but at the very least by seeing your post, I think one more thing showing her she and her son aren’t alone or the only ones can only be a good thing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • If my story helps one person, then it was worth telling it. The most important thing is that her son told her and that they are doing what they need to do to heal. Thank you for taking the time to share it with her. All the best.


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