Full circle

12 Dec 2020
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My teachers said I had a gift for languages. Learning French, and German felt like the most natural thing in the world. I was also passionate about English, studying it through the romantic prism of a Jane Austen novel and the drama of a Shakespeare play.

Every other subject at school left me cold, apart from Physical Education, but this was probably less to do with the class itself, and more to do with the sports teacher, Mr. Keogh, who was my first schoolgirl crush.

From the age of about 12 to 16, I despised school, so perhaps, unsurprisingly, I flunked half my O’Levels, but my disappointment was tempered by the fact that I had joined a professional theatre troupe and was getting ready to launch myself into a full-time acting career.

However, mum persuaded me to reconsider my decision and re-sit my failed exams, after which I went on to do A’Levels, and a French degree.

When the dot com bubble burst in the early noughties, I was made redundant from my dream job as an editor on a digital TV platform, (a forerunner to BBC iPlayer and Netflix).

Fed up with the competitive world of media and worried about the increasing threat of terrorist attacks post 9/11, I accepted a job offer overseas where I spent a decade working as a bilingual secretary in an international school.

A year ago, today, I joined a French trade magazine, as a journalist, which ties in neatly with my childhood love of languages.

Professionally, I appear to have come full circle.

On Bonfire Night 1975, I was just another 8-year-old enjoying the fireworks’ display outside my bedroom window, when my uncle appeared behind me in the dark.

In an abusive act of power and domination, he stripped away my innocence.

Today, as I approach my mid-fifties, I wonder if childhood trauma has impacted my ability to form healthy relationships with men.

In February, I had a brief affair with an Italian nurse-cum-pizzaiola - the latest in a long series of failed romances. We shared a mutual love of languages, and, amongst other things, cooking, I should have known he would turn out to be a Casanova.

Prior to the Italian, I was involved with an emotionally unavailable, Franco-Spanish chef for many years, and before that I wasted an equal amount of time trying to convert an on/off liaison with a commitment-phobic, out-of-work actor, into something more substantial.

My penchant for unsuitable, trophy-hunting types may have sabotaged my chances of finding “the one”.

In forgoing marriage and childbirth, I feel have come full circle back to my earliest beginnings.

As I go to sleep alone at night, I am safe in the arms of Morpheus, and I reclaim the innocence of my lost childhood.

Love

Cappuccino

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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Comments

Xiaoao

Dec. 12, 2020, 7:20 a.m.

What a powerful story you've written, Cappuccino! I feel very grateful that you've shared those lines with me. It sounds to me that you've definitely gone through a full circle of life and it deeply touched my heart (hello to my glassy eyes). I personally can't understand, why a person would do such a horrible thing. Through my years of therapeutic attendance, I felt that most of my failed relationships have roots in my early childhood: Lack of emotional proximity to my parents. Because it is partly due to cultural reasons that we've neither talked about our feelings, nor hugged each other. For me, this kind of "treatment" plays a crucial role. Your tenacity is remarkable, Cappuccino. For overcoming all the stumbling blocks through your career and private life. I really appreciate your honest and courageous words. Sincerely cheers, Xiaoao

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Sally

Dec. 12, 2020, 7:22 a.m.

Oh Cappuccino! A powerful blog and I felt so sad for your 8 year old self. I presume you kept what happened to you a secret? And the shame that came with it? It’s awful, isn’t it! The unspeakable happens and one is powerless to do a thing. It’s happened and leaves one feeling dirty, degraded and a nobody. Or so it was for me. I was also 7 or 8. I can’t remember the exact date, except that life was never the same afterwards and I attribute my early depressions to that act. The perpetrator turned out to be a paedophile I later discovered. I am absolutely convinced that single gross act made me the person I am today . You may think I exaggerate. But only I know the effect it has had on my emotional life. Anyone who has been through similar will know I think. In those days it was trivialised, hidden, a nasty happening, let’s not think about it. Like poverty, turn a blind eye to it because it’s distasteful. If I sound angry, Cappucino, it’s because your blog has touched a raw nerve that lies dormant after 60 years but is ever present under my skin albeit much attenuated by some robust and effective counselling when I was in my forties. Ever thankful for that. The moral of my experience is : don’t ever trivialise other people’s experience and emotions. Cappuccino, thank you for this powerful and wonderful piece of writing. Good luck to you , and all the very best in finding a good relationship. If that is what is still your heart’s desire.

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Salt Water Mum

Dec. 12, 2020, 12:31 p.m.

Dear Sally, thank you for sharing with us too. I am sorry that happened to you. You have every right to sound angry. Your words: '..ever present under my skin...' are so powerful and express so much. I am glad for you that you found a good counsellor. And you are so right about not trivialising other people's experiences. We have no idea what others have been through. I wish you strength and love and peace of mind, swm x

Nicco

Dec. 12, 2020, 3:52 p.m.

Sally, i feel for you, too. Incest was rife in my family &, as you say, trivialised & swept under the carpet. My mother, when i told her, said everyone in the family knew about it all & told me never to mention it again. She somhow made me feel that it was my fault.

Molly

Dec. 12, 2020, 7:53 p.m.

Sally, I don’t think you sounded angry, it didn’t come out that way, it just came from your heart. I think, along with Nicco’s comment, that it is helpful for others to know they aren’t alone and it’s brave to come forward and share own experiences. Gosh what went on back then. The subject makes me feel sick, I can’t bear it really. What worries me is that although it’s not acceptable now, the thoughts must still be in the heads of these people. Strangely I had a dream last night along these lines. I find it hard to trust anyone. Enough! Love to you Sally xx

Orangeblossom

Dec. 12, 2020, 8:04 a.m.

Thank you for your blog & sharing what must have been a very scary experience. Hope that you find some therapist who is able to help to heal the impact of this horrendous experience for you.

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Jul

Dec. 12, 2020, 8:35 a.m.

Good morning Cappuccino I was shocked stunned and saddened when I read about the sexual abuse/ rape you suffered as an 8 year old. I wasn't expecting that at all. You have come full circle with your career but not full circle with the abuse you suffered. Only you know what full circle would mean in that context. You say you have reclaimed the innocence of childhood when you go to sleep. Perhaps now you will meet the person of your dreams and establish loving mutually giving equal relationship. It's never too late. Jul xx

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Oli

Dec. 12, 2020, 9:42 a.m.

Cappuccino, you are definitely not alone. I don’t work with trauma and I won’t go looking for it (because it’s way outside my scope). But people sometimes talk to me, (since I started listening I think), and that’s when childhood sexual abuse might emerge in their story. And it’s definitely not, absolutely not, everyone’s story who is in pain, or who wants to lose weight, or who wants to get unstuck from the way they always self-sabotage anything important they want for themselves, but it has happened/ happens more than I ever knew. Thank you for your blog; you’re definitely not alone.

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The Gardener

Dec. 12, 2020, 11:39 a.m.

Cappuccino, I think you have managed to have a full and successive 'professional' life. We were used, in India, to most of the girls in the refuges we worked in having been abused, and still regarded as 'flotsam', as they were 'unclean'. But that was India. It is absolutely shattering the amount of abuse which happened in these 'civilised' countries. And 99% by somebody you trust - and no help because you would not be believed. It HAS to affect relationships with men for life - always that old scar of fear and mis-trust. Perhaps you can accept that you HAVE done so well, despite history. Go well.

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Salt Water Mum

Dec. 12, 2020, 12:26 p.m.

Dear Cappuccino, I have read your blog twice now and it is so powerful and so honest. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. My heart goes out to you at aged 8, that beautiful innocent child. I am beyond angry at that disgusting excuse of a man who dared call himself your uncle. I have so much admiration for you. Your professional life sounds intriguing and fascinating. Wonderful career choices and it's not over yet, you're only in your early fifties. I wonder might you revisit that dream of acting...? Even to join a local theatre group perhaps (when we all get back to meeting in groups again!)? Just a thought. Like you, I do think childhood trauma does have an impact on our adult relationships. I wish it wasn't so but I think it is. It is something I work on with my therapist. But that's a whole other story! You strike me as a strong, intelligent, warm, fearless beautiful warrior and I have so much respect for you. If it is a loving, committed relationship that you seek, I wish that for you. Set your bar high, you very much deserve to be loved. swm x

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Sally

Dec. 12, 2020, 2:42 p.m.

Thank you Salt Water Mum for your message of understanding and support. It is very kind of you. I didn’t mean to sidetrack to me from Cappuccino’ s words...You go well, with your brood , and enjoy your seaside location this winter. Xx

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M

Dec. 12, 2020, 3:03 p.m.

Hi Cappuccino, I read your blog with an uncanny familiarity and am absolutely cold with fury and rage for your despicable uncle - how dare he rob you of your future. Like yourself, i am single, unmarried, no children, in my '50's and formerly had a career in the creative industry. I've just discovered a book I wanted to share with you. "The body keeps the score", Bessel Van der Kolk. I'm only 3 chapters in, but already the margins are littered with sticky tabs of recognition. Too early to say if the content will bring about change, but it may be of interest to you? You sound strong, capable, resourceful, interesting, articulate. I feel sure you will figure out what it is you need and how to get it.

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Molly

Dec. 12, 2020, 7:03 p.m.

Hi Cappuccino Such a well written blog, as others have said, powerful.... You have had a real colourful career and some great experiences. I hope you are proud. I agree with SWM, about getting into acting again, joining a theatre group, if you don’t already belong to one. That certainly would be full circle wouldn’t it. You were obviously very passionate about it to have wanted it to be your career, although maybe you don’t feel the same now. I wasn’t sexually abused, can’t imagine the effect that would have. Just terrible for you. I was emotionally abused. I had a narcissistic step father. Nice as pie one moment, horrid the next. I wasn’t comfortable with either and he’s still like it now. I’ve decided I want nothing more to do with him but it’s taken me this long. I have been quite lucky I guess with partners, but I slipped up once, got sucked in by another narcissist when I had tried so hard to avoid that type. Not much affection was given to me, so I’m not very affectionate. I find any physical contact difficult. Childless as well, I sometimes wish things had been different. However, Cappuccino, you do have a life to be proud of, you really do. Thanks so much for sharing your story. With love, Molly xx

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Patricia E

Dec. 12, 2020, 10:04 p.m.

Thank you for this blog Cappuccino. Nothing can change the abuse that was part of one's childhood. Everything thereafter can have an effect on what the lasting impact of it is. If one is not believed. If one simply cannot tell. If one has to live with the abuser, sometimes for years. If, if, if. If one then absorbs the theory that the abused child will in turn become an abuser (popular theory in my young adult times), then maybe you deprive yourself of the experience of becoming a parent. Issues of trust can taint any relationship you develop as an adult, in your personal, emotional life and also in your professional life. It taints or colours every relationship with family members, siblings, friends, lovers, colleagues and on and on. I know that all of that is true. I also know that I am not the abuse that I was subjected to. I will not, and never have, allowed it to be what defines me. I am the person I am. Whether it's because of or despite the abuse, who knows and it's irrelevant to me. I am still who I am.

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Molly

Dec. 12, 2020, 11:36 p.m.

Not keen on what you say here about not having children in case you become an abuser. Utter nonsense. I’m quite sure that a potential abuser would not have the sense not to have children for this reason! I would have made a good mum, I would never have made the mistakes that my parents did. There are many reasons why people don’t have children. I can give you a list. Parents are probably screaming at the screen now, however, as I know it’s the toughest job ever. I just really didn’t like your theory. It’s good that you have survived your experiences. I like your take on how you deal with it. Too right, you are who you are. No one should rob you of that xx

Patricia E

Dec. 13, 2020, 8:39 a.m.

Hi Molly. It wasn't my theory, but one that was prevalent when I was a young woman. No Idea if there's any truth in it, but it did add to how damaged I felt and very much influenced why I didn't have children.

Molly

Dec. 13, 2020, 3:53 p.m.

I know some repeat the same mistakes, but some also learn from them. I always thought I would have children but the time was never right. Then the older I got, I thought too much about it, I suppose! The tough world we live in, the responsibility, the fear of passing on mental health issues etc. I didn’t meet my husband until I was 39 and he didn’t want children anyway! Then I went through an early menopause! That was that! I realise it wasn’t your theory personally, society brainwashing us again no doubt? What angers me is the opposite, those that had children because it was expected, whether they wanted them or not. Thanks for replying xx

Marigold

Dec. 13, 2020, 9:02 a.m.

Capuccino, I have thought about your blog and I'm not sure things are circular. I think there is a forward path available to you, I very much hope so.

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Cappuccino

Dec. 13, 2020, 10:01 a.m.

Thank you all for your wonderful, kind, and thoughtful words. I had tears in my eyes reading your comments. I have wanted to get this off my chest for a while now but could never find the right angle. I am glad to have finally found a way, and I am touched that you feel able to share your own stories in return. Keeping this secret from family and friends can be very isolating, so I thought if another Moodscoper finds themselves in the same situation, then it might enable them to open up too. Personally, I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Thanks for the book suggestion, I am actually reading “The Body Keeps the Score” as we speak – it was recommended by another Moodscoper. It warms my heart to be part of this community. x

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Molly

Dec. 13, 2020, 6:50 p.m.

So pleased you feel a weight has been lifted Cappuccino. You expressed your experiences so very well. You didn’t let the abuse dominate your blog, although somehow it did. I felt like I almost knew you, sharing your achievements and your disappointments all in one story. So touching, so connecting and as I said earlier, so well written. You found the right angle for sure. Very brave to share as well. There is something I have never told anyone, not sure I ever will, it’s minor really, but had a big effect on me. I’m quite sure I’ve come to terms with it now and I know the perpetrator did not mean it, in the way I saw it. So that’s totally different. Anyway, well done (patronising sorry) but I can’t think of any other words. Just glad you find relief on this site. As someone said recently, it’s better than therapy! Molly xx

Salt Water Mum

Dec. 13, 2020, 10:15 a.m.

Good morning Moodscopers, I was going to do my usual Sunday morn swim but it's lashing rain and windy out there so I'm on my second cup of tea, radio on and laptop in bed!! So lovely to read your words above Cappuccino - 'I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders' I am so glad for you. We are all cheering for you, please know that. And I'm sending positivity and strength and lots of joy your way Cappuccino and Sally and Patricia. You are wonderfully brave and strong women who deserve so much happiness. Virtual hugs and I hope all Moodscopers have a peaceful day, swm x

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Daisy

Dec. 13, 2020, 5:54 p.m.

Dear Cappuccino Your blog really moved me, I thought about it all yesterday- I cannot imagine the impact of what happened to you on your life. I really like your writing Take care

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