I saw my CMHT case worker yesterday. The usual questions and answers. The usual praise for the mundane.
Yes, I do see that I am being negative. It is indeed nice to receive recognition for making progress, however small. Yet there is always that critical internal voice reminding me that it’s still only progress towards normality – the feelings and behaviour that everyone else manages without a standing ovation.
On the whole though, I was feeling good and had been all day despite not having slept at all the night before. Then towards the very end of the session she dropped a bombshell.
The psychiatrist I saw a few weeks back, when seeking my very own yellow brick road, had noted the childhood sexual abuse described as part of my history and was concerned that my uncle may still be a threat to others. He had contacted the CMHT to ask me if my uncle lives with any children at present as he is bound by duty to report the matter to social services if there is any potential risk. I explained that his three children were all in their twenties but that he had since separate from their mother and now lives with his girlfriend who has a boy in his late teens.
This has stirred up a lot of thought and emotions for me.
Obviously those related to my trauma and it’s impact.
Yet now, and in this context, primarily emotions related to a concern for others. That when I did face the abuse head on, when I dug up all the repressed memories in my mid twenties and told my family about it, I chose not to report him because I didn’t want to destroy my cousins lives. All three were young children and their father being arrested and going to prison would have ruined their childhood. In my naivety I honestly thought that his vile actions were a thing of the past and that I was sparing my cousins unnecessary pain.
I now feel doubt, regret, and anger. I should have reported him back then. What if he has abused his children? Or any others?
How could I be so stupid! 16 years ago I spared him the full force of the law for the sake of his children, yet ultimately there remained a risk that the very same children, or others, could have experienced life changing trauma due to a misguided desire to protect my cousins. I don’t think I could forgive myself if the life of anyone else is destroyed because of my inaction.
I cannot adequately describe the impact it’s had on me. It’s a large contributory factor of my BPD. It has caused issues with the relationship I have with my father. It has affected the joy of being a father myself. It has affected my self esteem to the detriment of friendships and employment. The list goes on. To think that anyone else could suffer in this way because I have failed to take the right action is extremely distressing.
Regardless of what happens through the actions of that psychiatrist I am beginning to think that perhaps I should report my abuse.
Perhaps it’s not too late.
Perhaps justice is needed for my own peace of mind, if nothing else.