Sue Julsen's Blog - Posts Tagged "nightmares"

I watch them. Strangers walking down the street, smiling and laughing, and I wonder: What was their life like growing up? Did they have a normal life? Did their parents love them; tell them they were wanted? Were they told they were, and are, cherished?

As children, did they easily fit in with other kids, or go out of their way trying to fit in? Did they succeed, or were they laughed at? In a crowd, did they slink into a corner trying to be invisible? Did they get beatings—or whippings—or just grounded? Were they told how useless they were and they never should’ve been born?

As adults, do they have self-confidence or are they intimidated easily? Are they afraid to voice an opinion? Afraid of being ridiculed? Afraid of doing something wrong?

While watching these seemingly normal, happy men and women I wonder: Are their smiles are fake? Are they laughing outside, but crying inside?

Thanks to my father running off with me, most of my life I cried inside while faking a smile. I felt alone. Unloved. Unwanted. I didn’t have a mother to confide in…to be my best friend. That dreadful night, as he drove away from the only home I’d ever known, I had no idea how much my life was about to change—forever.

Starting at age three, my life was filled with sorrow, neglect and abuse—a life no child should ever experience. Hurt time and again by people who claimed to love me, I grew up in the shadow of fear, uncertainty and hate. I lived life on the run, starving, abused and terrified. So terrified, in order to survive, I split into multiple personalities. This disassociation allowed me to detach from the abuse as if it was not happening to me.

The first disassociation was with Daddy, but the number of times and the duration increased over the years as the abuse escalated. Just when I thought my life couldn’t get any worse, Daddy left me alone in the car for days while he went off with a woman. When he finally returned and told me he’d married her, I was devastated! I begged him to leave her, but he slapped me so hard I saw stars.

During the next two years, living with the evil stepmother, I found out just how bad things could get. She did awful things, but the worst—she sold me to her male friends for twenty bucks and a bottle of booze.

All my life I tried to run from myself. I tried to forget the horrible things that had happened, but I couldn’t. I’d been left with scars from so many bitter memories, voices in my head, and nightmares. Horrendous nightmares that I felt sure would haunt me for the rest of my life.

For years I always wondered if I’d be a better person today if I’d had a normal life? What is normal anyway?

I wonder how many adult survivors have asked themselves that question? I’ve asked for as long as I can remember, and I still don’t know. How could I? My life was as far from normal as it could possibly get.

Although unnerving, Bitter Memories is a gripping account of the extremes a child can undergo—and survive. Written from the heart, taking on a life of its own, I relived those memories of heartache, sadness, extreme hunger, and intense fear in hopes of helping other adult survivors find a path toward healing their “hidden” scars. My story deals with explosive topics that former child victims of mental, physical, and sexual violence will understand.

My life was a living hell, one of extreme worst. But it doesn’t take extreme to mess up a child’s head. It doesn’t take extreme to drive a child beyond the breaking point.

Without professional help to deal with abuse issues, long term effects include fear, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor self esteem, tendency toward substance abuse and difficulty with close relationships.

Without help, abused kids continue to experience the trauma. Fear, insecurities, a sense of hopelessness prevents the child from living a happy, fulfilled life. Many times, as I did, victims relive their abuse in recurring nightmares.

Pain of abuse is so intense, yet victims feel they can’t talk to anyone about the abuse. They feel ashamed. They have low self esteem. In a crowd, they feel totally alone. Feelings of despair sets in; they believe the abuse was their fault; they’re being punished for being bad; life isn’t worth living. When this hidden pain inside becomes overwhelming, the victim is more likely to attempt suicide.

Child abuse, neglect and/or abduction are national epidemics. Sweeping it under the rug, or choosing to believe it doesn’t happen, won’t make it go away, nor does it change statistics: (1) Almost five children die daily from abuse in the United States. (2) Three million abuse reports—physical, emotional, sexual and/or neglect—are made every year. (3) It’s estimated nearly 10 million cases will go unreported. (4) It’s estimated 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse live in America today. (5) Girls are three times more likely to be sexually abused than boys, however, boys have a greater risk of emotional neglect and serious injury than girls.

It doesn’t matter how abuse is inflicted, it still leaves a lasting impression on the victim. Homes in which women are beaten are at greater risk of having abused children. Children abused, as much as they don’t want to, often subject their own children to abuse.

If you see, or even suspect a child is being abused, report it immediately. It would be better to be wrong, than to be right and do nothing, and you may help save a child from a lifetime of heartache.

All an abused child needs is a chance and an environment full of love and kindness to show them how truly important they are.
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If you missed Bill Murray's blog radio show last night where I was the guest, here’s the replay link. Enjoy!


Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) - 298 -- special guest Sue Julsen

Tonight's special guest is Sue Julsen from Nevada, a survivor and thriver and author of "Bitter Memories: A Memoir of Heartache & Survival." Largely autobiographical, Ms Julsen has chosen to use fictional names so as to protect some of those in the story from the horrors that actually occurred. Abducted by her father when she was three, the book's main character, Sarah, found herself in a world of criminal neglect and unfathomable oppression as her father and stepmother perpetrated more and more horrible acts of verbal, mental and sexual abuse on the innocent girl. So continually terrified was Sarah, that she began to form separate personalities so that she herself did not have to face the hideous reality of her day to day life. Only through the nightmare pictures that the other personalities sometimes presented to her while she slept did Sarah have any hint about the horrific abuse she was being subjected to. The personalities would block out time for Sarah and bear the horror of the experiences themselves so that their dear Sarah would not have to. This tale of the author’s early life, a life on the run, featuring starvation, fear and molestation, is a truly unnerving and gripping account of the extremes of neglect and mistreatment a child can undergo. "Bitter Memories" is dedicated to all adult survivors of abuse and is written with the hope that exposing these horrors will help to prevent them from happening to others. "Trophy Murders" is the fictionalized sequel to her first book, and she is currently working on the third book in this series that will be out later this year.
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Excerpt from Bitter Memories: A Memoir of Heartache & Survival:
For once, I didn't care about food or anything else. I just wanted to sleep until the pain inside went away. I felt more sadness than I ever dreamed possible in my short three years, but I didn't know that was only the beginning of much more misery—and pain. NOTE: Strong language and heart-breaking content -- not suitable for children.

Excerpt from Trophy Murders, second in the bitter memories trilogy:
Henry lowered his voice, and stated, "Olivia, I'm dealing with murders all over town and I'm not coming home to this shit. I'm only going to tell you this once. If you ever beat Sarah like that again, I'll use that damn paddle on you. Do I make myself clear?"

Excerpt from Cutter's Revenge, the last in the trilogy:
He had to come home with new prey tonight to stop the racket; the persistent hammering in his head. He had to put an end, even temporarily, to the chatter, the laughter, and the nightmares that were driving him insane.

Visit my website to learn more about these books, and also my poetry book, From The Heart.

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Bitter Memories: A Memoir of Heartache & Survival
True Story of a little girl (me) kidnapped by her father...

First off, this is NOT a cozy, feel-good book! It is a 'no holds barred' story about my life dealing with extreme child abuse and my will to survive under the worst conditions.

Bitter Memories is not an easy book to read. Comments from my readers have been numerous, with most saying they felt every emotion possible while reading my story. Most also said they cried, numerous times. Many had to read in short spells because the content was too heartbreaking to take all at once.

However, these wonderful fans, many who are now lifelong friends, continued to read. They continued to learn what it can be like for a child living with abuse.

Bitter Memories was forty plus years in the writing. In the beginning I tried to write it as fiction. I wasn't ready for the world to know what had happened to me all those years.

But, that didn't work.

Next I tried to write it with "clean" language, and that didn't work either. I felt I wasn't being honest. You see, there's no way to "sugarcoat" what I lived through.

Finally, I decided the only way for me to get my message out to the people who needed to hear it the most, was to write my story the way it actually happened.

Let me tell you this: It wasn't any easier for me to write than it's been for people to read. I had to relive all those painful memories! All the things I tried for years to forget but couldn't. Recurring nightmares made sure I didn't forget!

Many times the pain became so strong that I couldn't continue writing. I had to put those memories on a shelf for a while. And, I also had to cry, once again, from all the pain that still lived inside of me.

But I still knew, in order to help others, and myself, Bitter Memories was a story that needed to be told.

I knew by exposing my life and all the bad things that happened, I could help other abused kids, with or without abduction, because those still suffering needed to know they were not alone.

There are others just like me -- many more like me -- and there is hope for kids living with the hidden scars of abuse. There is help for abused kids to heal their heal their shame.

And, yes! Kids who have been abused feel so much shame. We feel what happened to us was our fault. We feel unloved. We feel we were "bad," not our abusers. And it doesn’t take extreme abuse like mine was to mess up a kid’s head!

As much suffering as I lived with, I was one of the lucky kids. Abducted at age three, living a life of pure hell for six long years, and then to be found in fairly good health…physically, that is. Mentally I was a mess! And I remained a mess for many, many years.

Statistics would say I should have died. And I'm sure I would have, if not for a protective part of the brain.

To be continued…

If you’re ready to read and to learn from my story, please head on over to my website and pick up a copy of Bitter Memories: A Memoir of Heartache & Survival. Then go back for the other two books in this trilogy, Trophy Murders and Cutter’s Revenge to learn the rest of the story. Once you read these, why not grab a copy of From The Heart: A Collection of Poems and Stories, also based on my times in my life. Or, get the audio version and listen to From The Heart narrated by Beth MacEwan. Beth is absolutely awesome the way she brings my poetry to life!

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