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Aug 10 2009

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My Life In Thirds

When one’s life has always embraced writing, publicly and privately, it’s hard to leave it behind for awhile. But I managed to do just that, however misguided the impulse.  Then I cast about forlornly wondering what was missing.

I spent the first third of my life in a daze, reeling from profound child abuse issues with relentless consequences. I thought I was crazy, literally, and designed my entire existence around not letting anyone else find out. I had no idea who I really was, or why bizarre things constantly happened to me.

I spent the second third of my life trying to answer that question “Why?” To that end, I wrote and published Becoming One: A Story Of Triumph Over Multiple Personality Disorder; founded The Survivors Forum on CompuServe; and talked with hundreds of child abuse survivors over the years. I managed to “integrate” all of who I was into one, and it held … until it didn’t, which coincided roughly with my father’s death. (To be clear, my father was not my abuser, but his death opened some mental doorways I wish had been left closed.) The next couple of years were very dark.

Now I am in a good place, after much struggle. And I figure I have about a third of a lifetime left to do all or most of the living I would have done if I’d never been abused. Because that is the true test of recovery, and all of that therapy. Your experiences that held pain are not gone, or hidden, but your resolution of them results in a kind of neutrality. Whatever happened, happened. But it does not own you or define you anymore.

So I write again, with more joy and freedom in it than I’ve felt in a very long time. Good to be back.

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Permanent link to this article: http://thirdofalifetime.com/2009/08/10/my-life-in-thirds/