Just a good simple song.
Just a good simple song.
We are very fortunate to have Anne O’Sullivan as our guest today. Her and others like her march on, in defense of the abused of our times. Thank you so much Anne for all you do. Anne is a mother, author and a true survivor.
Can you hear me now, on facebook.
#1. Between what ages were you abused and would you like to expose the extent of that abuse or describe the worst memory you have?
I was six months old when it started. I was told this for years by my father who claimed it was my fault because I started it. I was 16 when it stopped. I think because I shoved a shotgun into his face. My worst memories probably still escape me. There is much I don’t remember. Maybe the worst was when he violently sodomized me. I was in the 4th grade and I had no words for what had happened to me.
#2. Were you aware that others, siblings, friends or your mother were being abused or did it seem you were singled out?
For many years I thought it was only me. We were all brutally beaten. There were children who were not allowed to play with us. We were told it was because we weren’t nice.
#3. Understanding that many of us don’t realize the extent of how we were abused, when did you first comprehend that you were abused and when did it sink in and start causing problems?
It caused problems my entire life. I had no boundaries. My father would happily invite boys to spend the night. He was one of the kids. I didn’t even know that it was OK to say no! No at my house got you beaten. I have been married multiple times because I could not recognize a healthy relationship and would gravitate to one version or another of my own father. By the time I was 33 I couldn’t function well at all. By then even work suffered.
#4. How did your abuse influence the way you interacted with those around you, co-workers, spouses and later children if you have them?
I was afraid to have children, though I had 3 who have been the light of my life. I had secrets to keep or no one would like me, love me or even want to look at me. Deep inside I thought I was bad. I disassociated myself and actually made up a happy childhood that I told people. I don’t know when that started; one therapist compared it to building a huge house of cards that was not controllable any longer. I was popular, fun, but lonely, fearful of the truth. No one really knew me. Even today I sometimes find myself cautious sometimes. I have to be vigilant against depression, and not slipping into old ways. PTSD has colored my life, though now it will just be a moment, a shudder of disgust or fear. No one else notices, and I have come to accept it as part of my life that may not ever go away.
One of my children (well all of them have been in counseling at one time or another) one of them though exhibited signs that she had been abused. I taught her that behavior. I am very proud of all three of them. They have sustained relationships, good solid marriages and I have spectacular grandchildren.
It was a lot of hard work. I had to intellectualize some things because I couldn’t understand their point of view. I never had a first date. Boys were never a mystery to me. I took parenting classes. When they were very young they were out of control. I wouldn’t spank them because I was afraid of hurting them. I didn’t even know about time out, go to your room or standing in the corner. I would talk to them about dating and sex because I believed it was the right thing to do. I even took them to the doctor to help me do that.
#5. How did your children turn out, do you think your childhood affected their lives?
Of course it affected them. They have no family on my side. It’s as if I was an orphan with no one. It hurts them. One of my kids can’t bring herself to read my book. It’s too painful for her. And she lived thru my breakdown. She knows how hard it was for me. My children are amazingly stable. One of my therapists once told me to just keep loving them and be sure they know it and everything will turn out. Lucky for me…It did.
One owns her own business and has been married to her high school sweetheart for 15 years. One recently graduated from college with straight A’s. One is a little younger. Having a bit of a struggle deciding who and what to be. They are all caring, happy and in loving relationships. What more could anyone ask for?
#6. Are you comfortable discussing any substance abuse that may have occurred as a result of what you went through?
My father started supplying me with pot, Demerol and speed when I was 13. I quickly discovered that I didn’t care what he or his buddies did if I was high. Interesting though, once I was out of the house, I lost interest in all that.
#7. How did you overcome, if you have overcome this abuse?
Hard work, therapy, taking risk. Talking talking talking and talking some more. Art therapy. Anything that allows you to get it out. I talked about it till I was tired of talking about it. It lost its power. I have to admit though that I am afraid to have a relationship. I don’t talk about this often, LOL maybe never. I haven’t even had a date in over 5 years. I’m afraid. We (my kids) laugh and say I have a broken picker. Maybe someday.
#8. Have you tried to slow down the amount of abuse in our society and if you have, how?
My website, www.writersportal.org/canyouhearmenow
My facebook page AnnieOsullivan2009@yahoo
My fan Page Can You Hear Me Now, Annie O’Sullivan (also facebook)
And of course the big one. I wrote my book which will be out, if all goes as planned in April to coincide with national child abuse prevention month. It was published in three parts as an e-book. It has done so well that I got offered a hardcover. I talk to all sorts of people online. Help them find resources, sometimes I am their only cheerleader while they try to find help. Sometimes they just need me to be strong for them till they can do it themselves. That isn’t much to ask, just validate their feelings. Generally they don’t need sage advice (except I do encourage counseling) they just need to know there will be light.
#9. What would you say to those still lost in the horrors of their past, can you offer any words of encouragement?
You are having a normal reaction to an abnormal event in your life! What is normal? It was something held up to us and used as a tool to victimize someone who was helpless. Do not let this define you.
#10. This is not really a question; I want you to make up the tenth question. Ask a question you think I should ask and then answer it. You may make a statement here that expresses anything you think important, that I might have missed.
This I believe.
God did not allow this to happen. He gave us free will. My abuser here on earth and his friend broke a sacred trust and failed. I would not want to know their fate when they passed over. Revenge and the need for it will keep you sick. In the end, revenge isn’t yours. It’s in the hereafter; it’s in karma it’s not yours. I have learned that even had we gone to court and I won, it would not give me what I wanted. If I had indeed shot him that day so long ago, it wouldn’t have been enough. There is nothing to repay what was stolen from you. Love yourself enough to look at your life, find a way to understand it and learn from it. Starting this minute, love yourself enough to say to your inner child, who cries out, it’s over. You survived. Good job!
Anne this may be the most powerful interview I’ve done. At times it seemed you were reading from the book of my life. I understand and I’m there with you. Thank you for trying so hard to help others.
Break the silence, break the cycle.