How the pain of abuse lasts a lifetime

A few days ago, Bill Zeller, a 27-year-old graduate student at Princeton University, died. The cause: suicide. The reason: He was tormented due to being repeatedly raped as a child.

Zeller left a 4,000-word suicide note that eloquently explained the effect that the devastation had on his life. There is a link to it in this article:

Princeton student kills self over rape as child, on CBSNews.com.

Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.

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180 Comments on "How the pain of abuse lasts a lifetime"

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I was abused mentally, emotionally and physically as a child from birth to my teens when I moved out and fled. My mother was an alcoholic matriarch who controlled every move my father and sisters made until the day she died in May 2006. I remember when I gave birth to my daughter in 1985 and no one in my family was there for me during this time even though they lived very close in the area. I realized 10 years later how abnormal it was for a mother not to be there for her daughter during the birth of her 1st and only baby….what is sad is that it took me 10 plus years to realize how abnormal this was, I never gave it a second thought before.When we grow up as children being told the grass is blue and the sky is green that is what we believe and All that we know, it takes being away from it all in society to see the truth. When my mother passed away her goal was to have all of us alienated from each other, even on her death bed she acknowledged nothing of the truth. I can remember trying to get her to validate her alcoholism and abuse to the end…she did nothing of the sort, I got no validation….none. my father who hid his head in the sand thru all of the years of abuse finally admitted to me last year that “I realized your mother was mentally ill a year after I married her”, yet he had 2 children with her after that year. Today it is impossible for me as an adult to understand why we as a society continue to bear children with unstable relationships and people? We are selfish and desperate. I feel for this person who took his life, somehow he couldn’t find that hidden strength to reach down inside himself and be a survivor instead of a victim….hopefully the next person will!

Beth, I’m sorry you had such an awful childhood. It’s very hard to have a normal life after growing up under such horrible conditions. The fact it took you 10 years to realize something was off about your mom not being there when you had your child speaks to how normal ‘abnormal’ is to survivors, and how much bad behavior survivors will tolerate from others.

Bill Zeller’s suicide letter is heartbreaking.

Reading Bill’s suicide letter is so deeply painful. Even as he was planning His final escape the evil bond he had with his “perpatraitor” could not be broken. He should have outed the SOB.
I have the feeling that Bill did not even touch the tip of the iceberg. He had been betrayed over and over and it caused him to build a wall around himself. He knew he had been touched by evil. A child.
God have mercy.

This letter will burn in my memory forever.
How I wish he had been able to trust someone, but in truth that avenue was cut off from him during the abuse. The ability to trust is one of the first things to go.

OMG, what a waste of a beautiful person. I always thought that my xspath if he ever told me what had happened to him would have had this kind of story. no matter how much he wanted to… he just couldn’t trust in anyone to tell them, which led to his abuse of me. I will go to my grave not knowing. OH Well!! His loss!! After what he did to me…. he deserves whatever comes his way. “do unto others….”

I haven’t been here in a long time. My ex husband took his life last September, sent me a suicide letter the day he did it. He’d been molested as a kid by his summer camp counselor, over and over and over. My ex was a psychologist, counseled many, many molestation and rape victims. The horrible thing, or another horrible thing, is that he never discussed his molestation when he himself was in therapy, not ever. I assumed he had; he said he’d never talked about it in therapy as it “wasn’t a therapeutic issue.”

Yet he counseled victims and referred them to services. But for him it wasn’t an issue for therapy? WTF? After reading Bill’s letter I have a better understanding—maybe he was too afraid of people finding out or maybe he was too damaged to even go there in any depth. He told his friend of 40 years about the molestation a year ago. He told me (I think because I’m a survivor myself), I don’t think he told anyone else.

I don’t know how much that affected who he became, how much it contributed to his having a personality disorder. If it did contribute…but carrying that around for almost 60 years had to have been very, very hard. He became an expert at compartmentalizing and was pretty split off—thousands of pieces of a human being with no real core.

He’d been on anti-depressants for decades. Had a long history of substance abuse as well. He was never happy, never content. His friends describe him as “tortured.” I agree, but he also became a torturer.

His suicide letter in no way resembled Bill’s letter. The letter my ex sent me blamed me for him taking his life. I wish he’d had enough insight, and enough courage, to write a letter that really explained why he did what he did.

I read this letter today when a friend sent me a copy of the letter. It broke my heart. I don’t have words right now to express my deep feelings concerning this young man’s act and his letter.

CAMom, my condolences to you for what I know must have been a painful experience no matter how you slice it. God bless.

Thanks Oxy. It’s been hell.

If there was ever a chance for a grown man to come clean of this kind of childhood abuse, it would have been your husband. Sorry for your loss through this and you know it wasn’t your fault.

OMG…………I don’t even know what to say…..

So much of what he says, I have felt myself. The impact of “the darkness” follows everywhere….what a tragedy..if I could, I’d hug him…what a powerful message…

Such incredible clarity through intelligence and pain.

When a persons life, a child’s life is stolen through abuse this way, it is a deep pain that is so real on a daily basis that others simply cannot see. Cannot feel. Cannot understand.

This young man’s ending of his life is so terribly, irrefutably tragic for so many reasons, yet I understand his pain…

He accepted the darkness that followed him. To the point of obliteration of self.

I see the reasons why so many, including myself, minimize our abuse or cannot share it all. This man explains it in terms that I totally understood. That I understand.

But I’m still living. I will still try. I realized, that with every single male in my childhood, I was a sexual toy, a simple exploitation. Nothing more. From the stepfather, to bio dad, to neighbor…to subsequent relationships, molestation to rape. My entire being was to serve what happened to this young man. Without asking for it, but knowing just what to do: Submit to darkness…

But I’m still ALIVE…….and there is a spirit within still willing to try…

And I WILL keep trying…….darkness follows me, but I can’t allow it to envelope me. I WILL survive this.

I will fight the darkness.

As long as I am allowed to live. 🙂 I will keep trying, keep trying in any way I can, to fight the demons of hatred, pain and exploitation that follow me. I refuse to believe I am permanently tainted, but want to believe, that somewhere out there, somewhere within my heart, I’m permanently loved…that I can learn to get rid of the demons of hate, to give into God’s love and grace that sustain me every single day of my life…

I’m believing on that, even with the “darkness” that threatens to follow. He can’t have me. I’m God’s child. And I WILL survive all of that.

I will.


Lesson, I can relate to a lot of what Bill wrote also. I’ve spent most of my life running from that darkness. I don’t want to imagine what it’s like to live in it, as Bill did. Keep going, Lesson, keep at it. You aren’t “permanently tainted.” You deserve much love and peace.


CHICA! please call me in the coming days! you don’t answer the phone and i have lost your postal address. Happy new year’s Mujyer!! besos.

Are you OK tonight?

Hey ONE,
How are you?


notcrazee – good. tired. off to sleep. night night.

Sweet dreams one! i know you are working hard right now! get your rest.

ONE–te llamare esta semana. Phone is unplugged, too depressed to answer it these days. Espero que estes bien, mujer.

Hola SC, ah, it’s not bilingual yet! Or make that “todavia no es bilingue!” Sorry ’bout that, SC!

Sorry CAmom!!!

I’ve known and cared about two people who have experienced what Bill had and more. I just have to wonder whether Bill might have chosen to trust had he had parents who loved him. Toward the end of his letter, he speaks of their fundamentalist beliefs system with all it’s harsh judgments and black/white mentality.

He certainly didn’t have a good example of what unconditional love is to draw upon from his parents. Had he had one person who showed him regard and warmth and was able to demonstrate real compassion during all his formative years, he would have had a road map to find his way to trust someone at some point in his life.

Isn’t that what Jesus’ life and teachings stand for? Compassion and love?

What a tragedy to exist in a prison without walls.

Rest in peace, Bill.

You are so correct!! What a prison he lived in ! So sad he wouldn’t be honest and confess with anyone. there might have been a chance for him if he did


Those they reach out to and ultimately abuse are their attempts at opening. What’s sad is that they didn’t construct
their prison and abusing those who want to care about and for them isn’t going to shatter those walls, only cause more pain.

Not to sound crewl… but I hope my xspath is on the edge of the ledge…. if anybody tried with him I did. He was in the grandiosity stage of his euphoria…. there was no stopping him!! After all he wrecked in my life….. it wouldn’t bother me if he committed suicide. NOT AT ALL!!!

SC1—please don’t think that. My ex threatened me, was vicious in every way. It should be a relief that he’s gone. It really isn’t…I hate that got to the place where he took his life, thought that was his only recourse.

We didn’t have the children, life or fun that I was promised. So the only thing I lost was myself and my money. We had nothing to bond us. A dog… big deal… he kept that from me too. We were friends for 12 yrs. That’s all I lost. A real friend wouldn’t do what he did to me. So that isn’t even a loss. I could care less if he dies!!! I would actually dance on his grave when he dies!!! SNOOPY HAPPY DANCE!!!!! Remember you don’t know my story of abuse!!!

Where can I find Donna’s email, and is hers the only one available?

Her e mail is [email protected]

Thank you.

I read the article, the suicide note, and I understand why he ended it. It saddens me that this young man was abused, in the end destroying his life. I know what he means about the darkness, being touched by evil. Some people can never recover, being permanently marred by what was done to them. My hope is that he HAS the peace that he deserves.

In reading comments that people made about their memories of Bill Zeller through the link in the CBS.com story, it made me wonder if any of those people ever told Bill in person that they valued him or appreciated his friendship.

He was described by many as a loyal and caring person.
Funerals and memorials are for the living.

Perhaps a lesson is to take time periodically to let others know — while they are alive — when we appreciate something they’ve done for us, or that we are simply glad to know them.

How hard is that?

Very sad.

It is true the pain of abuse will last a life time if you are unable to settle the score. If justice is done and you are even then there is no pain .

I agree that we should let those people we love know how much we love and value them, but if a person is emotionally injured, sometimes they will discount those affirmations of love and not be able to receive them. That is part of the damage that abuse does to people I think is that when people affirm their love for those injured souls, they are not able to fully accept that love. Abuse kills the ability for some people to accept real love or to value themselves, ending up in low self esteem or self hate that ends in suicide or “living death.” I’m not sure which is worse the suicide or the “living death.” They are both horrible.

Oxy, I think you are right.
Bill Zeller said, “I feel an evil inside me. An evil that makes me want to end life. I need to stop this. I need to make sure I don’t kill someone, which is not something that can be easily undone.”
Those emotions cannot be undone by just being loved or treated well. In fact, the evil feelings were intensified by relationships.

Heaven – there is no real justice for a spath in my book. If he owes you money you won’t get it etc. They do not ‘play’ fair so how can you win against a cheat?
The best we can hope for is that they leave us alone and that we walk (or crawl) away with some dignity and sanity.

I think the level of abuse we feel diminishes with time but it’s like a scar – it never really goes away.

The best we can hope for is to find a place in the corner of our mind for all of the cr*p, and keep it as a timely reminder and a resource to be used in the future to protect ourself should another spath cross our path.

candy what you said is so true but i feel if there are consequences of their actions ex they end in jail it helps ease the pain

Has anyone ever came upon an old box or cleaned out a closet and wondered if maybe ‘he’ left a note or a card for me to find year’s later? Some little something to say he cared? Maybe a ” I didn’t mean too hurt you”?


we all have our denial fantasies hens.

ok I needed that Onestepper’s Thanks..back outside – gonna take the weiners for a drive..


do you put them in buns to take them out?

Hens, do you know what a “stoooopid question” is? IT IS ONE YOU ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER TO. LOL You knew the answer there my friend, and I’m in agreement with One stepper, I think you are having denial fantasies here~ (((hugs))))


I have a weiner 🙂

I love my long black weiner 🙂



Hens, I called home and asked son D to put the phone up to the Dog’s ear, and son said that it freaked the dog out. As soon as the dog saw my suitcase he got really upset cause he knew I was going on a trip–bless his heart! “I’d a brung him vid me if I cud of.” But he will be glad to see me when I get home.

LL I go to bed every nite with 3 weiners ~! We saw 3 bobcat’s and found some really cool rock’s on our drive. Ox I think I told you before but when I am gone I call my dog’s and talk to them on the answering machine, I tell them when I will be home and there better not be no peein in the house.
Onestepper’s no buns for the weiners. They hate dog clothes, one time I put a coat on Posey and she fell over like she was dead and refused to move…ok so gonna go fire up the charcoal gonna have me a ribeye tonite…


Someone has to be at home with the weiner all the time. He gets separation anxiety. He’s also a habitual bed hopper. One night with me then off to the next family member (is my dog a spathLOL, kiddin), and lately he’s been peein and poopin in the house (no matter how many times a day we take him out), cuz we recently took in my N daughter’s chee wow wow, and now there is a territorial issue. **sigh**.

I love my weiner SO MUCH. He was paralyzed a couple of years ago. I used all of my rent money and then some going vet to vet to figure out what to do. ALL but one said either surgery or put him down (he has IVDD). But then an angel vet came along and told me to crate rest him for eight weeks, heavily medicated. It was like taking care of a sick infant. But I loved him so much, I just had to give everything a try before I would put him down and ya know what? As suddenly as this came on, is as suddenly as he walked out of his kennel one day walking. He has a gait now, and the vet said that if it happens again, given the spot on his back where the IVDD is, we would probably have to put him down next time. It was worth the risk.. a pet can be like family. I wouldn’t have put my kids down if they were that sick and another alternative could be found. That’s what it’s like for me with my weiner 🙂

And you have THREE? God bless you Hens. They’re a handful, little heaters, but sooooo worth it!



Now THAT is doggie luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv!!



LOL! snort….wheeze…ah, it’s the asthma season!

the doxies in my family (one sadly departed recently) LOVE their rain jackets, go into spasms over their PFDs (that’s personal flotation devices, folks), and are bizarrely attached to their electronic fence collars – which must be horrible to waer. but as their yard is on hardrock it’s the only way for them tohave freedom to roam.

One of my clients had to get rid of their dog because the new baby is alergic to dog’s. it’s a good thing that wasn’t my baby cause I would of had to find it a new home…


Skip above post. I claim TOTAL financial IRRESPONSIBILITY when it came to my weiner being sick 🙂


Dear LL, I spent $400 vet on a baby calf once! Should’a knocked it in the head wasn’t even attached to it! LOL TGhe darned thing grew up to be too tame, and was dangerous as a result. Ended up killing it after it tried to run me down. It violated the “bigger AND meaner” rule around here. Anything that is bigger AND mean’er than me dies! Smaller and meaner okay, bigger and noit so mean, okay, but bigger AND meaner, NOT okay. LOL But she tasted okay!

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