I was so moved by a note that I received from a former client that I asked and received permission from her to share her story. She stated that if hearing her story helps someone else, she’s all for it. I am, of course, changing the details so that she won’t be identified, and the basic facts are true.
It has been ten (10) years since Chloe (fictitious name) started treatment with me. We worked together for approximately two (2) years. She had been referred to me by another client.
Chloe was a very attractive young woman in her early thirties. She was very bright and extremely creative. She had her own successful business, designing, making and selling beautiful handmade, expensive, usable items.
Chloe came to see me because she was having a “nervous breakdown” as a result of finding out that her sister had been molested by their father.
Her story was heartbreaking. She had been sexually abused by her father from the age of seven (7) until she was in her teens. At the age of ten (10), she started to think about suicide. She started drinking regularly and using drugs occasionally. She was in a major freeway accident in her early twenties, and hadn’t driven since. She felt she just couldn’t continue living the way that she had been. She wanted much more from her life than she was getting. She picked very unsatisfactory men and her relationships were unhealthy. She often deliberately cut herself. She knew that she had to do something. She couldn’t go on living feeling as though she were damaged goods, and that she would never find love.
Chloe had both male and female siblings. As we worked together and I heard her story, I knew that I had to report her father. She did not want me to do that. I was very concerned because she had another sister at home. We made a contract that if she found out that he had sexually abused her youngest sister, she would give me the information I needed to report him. She never would give me that information. I took what little I had and reported him. She was very angry and left treatment with me.
Before that happened, however, she met a man with whom she fell in love. Although still not totally sure that she really deserved love, after our work together, she allowed herself to at least test whether or not she could accept his love and caring. The last picture I have in my mind of her was the two of them, holding hands and walking away.
I thought about Chloe often over the years and wondered how she was doing. Suddenly, a week or so ago, I received a note from her that brought tears to my eyes. She thanked me for the work that I did with her, although she is the one who actually did the work. Since we last met, she wrote that she had closed her business and is thinking about opening a new one. She reported her father and is facing and coping with the consequences of her family’s wrath against her. She is with the man whom she loves and he loves her deeply and she has the most gorgeous little girl.
To quote her, “In a nutshell I have to say that I no longer feel like the abuse I endured defines me. I had to shed those shackles in order to get past it and be happy being me.”
Hearing from Chloe and learning how happy and content she is–this is what makes me so passionate about this work and so grateful to my clients for letting me accompany them on these extremely painful journeys.
BLESS ALL OF YOU!
If any of you reading this have any comments or questions, please feel free to get in touch with me either by phone, 415-474-6707, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.