Saturday, June 22, 2013

Finding My Joy ***Trigger Warning

Hi. I'm James. My wife is Joy Greggs.  I've been asked by my lovely wife to share a public dialogue about my experiences with her as a survivor of incest, rape, kidnapping, and all of the byproducts that accompany these horrific and impressionable episodes.  
Before we begin to do so, I thought that I should make her audience aware of a few things about both Joy and me.  First, I will get this out of the way. I too am a survivor of sexual abuse as a child.  Fortunately for me, I was not left as overtly scarred and damaged by the aforementioned as many reading this have been left.  I can also tell you that in my opinion, that fact has much to do with the fact that I received a great deal of psychiatric care as a child. For this, I am extremely grateful and thankful to not only God, but my parents.
Another thing that I feel is germane to what we will be sharing over the coming blog posts, is that it was not without a great deal of perseverance, kindness, pain, perceived betrayal, research, therapy, and of course, love, that Joy and I have been able to enjoy the relationship that we now enjoy.  
Let me explain.  When I first learned of my wife's past, I was not told the truth by her.  This was extremely confusing. I fought a nearly constant battle between trying to understand the motives behind the lies, and understanding that she was suffering greatly.  I sought the wisdom of books, medical papers, therapists, friends, and family to help me to understand the mind of a woman that was suddenly not what I'd imagined.  In no way did I think less of her because of what happened to her.  I did however have an extremely hard time with the dishonesty.  You see, the lies were sustained without consistency.  If you will, Joy had a hard time keeping her lies straight.  There were many times both before and after convincing her to see a therapist that I'd thought I wasn't going to be able to be with her.  Somehow though, I've remained by her side and continued encouraging her toward becoming a healthy survivor and shedding the victim mentality.  I was terribly offended by the power that her horrible past had over her, and more unfortunately, me.  Part of the problem was in the fact that she was unable to admit that she was even raped.  It took a very long time for her to use that word.  She would instead say things like, "he took advantage", or "he had sex with me" (never, I had sex with him), or, "he forced me to"...  Now this may not seem like strange things to hear from your perspective.  I however found these exchanges most troubling.  For one thing, I have had zero experiences so much as pressuring a woman to engage in intercourse, least of all, forcing myself on someone.  I also have never experienced a freeze due to fear.  My instinct is to fight or fly.  This made things very difficult to wrap my head around.  Joy actually lived with the people who were doing her harm and more than that, sought no escape.  Again, very troubling.  When you couple that she didn't try to fight or run with the lies she'd tell me, I'm sure that you can see my struggle.  Again, something inside of me would not only not allow me to walk away from her, but had me fighting for her as well. 
Another thing that you should know about me is that I am acutely empathic, and sensitive.  I "know" things about people without being told.  This "gift" acts as both friend and foe. I have had to learn to discern that facts are not always representative of truth.  This realization is something that was learned recently.  The hard way.  
I will relate one final thought in this introduction.  If you are a survivor, please allow me to insert, if you are with someone that you are presently or plan to engage in sexual congress, please be honest with your partner as much as you can.  Truly there is no interpersonal experience so empowering and revealing as making love.  If you are a partner to a survivor, and you plan to engage in sexual congress with your partner, please don't take what you don't plan to keep.  The level of communication that you enjoy with your partner will be directly proportional to the mutual enjoyment of a healthy and happy sex life.  
Joy and I will be jointly posting over the next few days.  We look forward to seeing you all and encourage you to dialogue with us as you will.  

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