Monday, October 7, 2013

Frustrated!

I am just so frustrated with parts of my current living situation! I love, love, love my job and it IS a great professional job with good benefits and above-average pay. However, I am having a hard time making ends meet. The BF (with whom I recently moved in, with each of our daughters) is very positive and has been working extra hours and such, and has offered to watch my daughter if I wanted to start a second job to earn more income. But the fact that I am seeing people, other single parents, who have so much disposable income, in part because they are being unfair to their exes in terms of child support or other reasons, after I worked SO hard for my education and my job has been really, really frustrating. I realize that I'm being silly and jealous and childish. But I have worked SO, so, so hard to get where I am and it's still not good enough! When will I be good enough? When I have yet another degree? A second job? A prettier face? A better figure? I am just so irritable and angry lately and I don't know how to fix things and I am tired, so tired. I am hoping to be able to post an update this week.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Trust issues and discomfort with things going well

So...it is clear that in relationships I have trust issues. Even if there is absolutely no reason for me to distrust someone, I still have trouble completely trusting. And when things are going well, that's when I freak out. Things don't go well for me- they just don't, when things are going well it just means that they will hit the wall soon. So...these things in combo..means that when a relationship is going well..I freak out and look for any little reason to push someone away. Even if that means doing things that include violating their privacy to find reasons to push them away. Why? Well, my history..life has taught me that trusting is fucking stupid and will get you hurt. Being raised in an environment (and this goes for my foster parents as well) where, for your own safety you simply cannot trust the people who are supposed to protect and care for you..well, it fucks up your ways of thinking. And it just snowballs from there. People totally violate your trust, hurt you, etc, and you are just generally distrustful.

But that does not excuse my behavior or the ways in which I handle things. How do I fucking handle this better??? Today I kindof realized that I need to learn to trust and just trust. Because without trust, it can't work, we all know that. I'm scared to trust someone fully. Really scared. But I have to suck it up and do it. Because I care about the relationship I'm currently in, because I want it to work out, because I am stronger than my past. Because I deserve to have things go well. I also deserve to be treated with honesty and respect and kindness. Things have been hard but the past couple weeks I have actually been taking good care of myself, being strong, being calmer..with the exception of Monday, yesterday and today. I need to be able to express my feelings and let things out (bottling them up is never good) and get back on track. I know that I can do this. I am strong and intelligent and overall a pretty good person ;)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Taking Care of Me

So lately I'm having a hard time doing the things I need to be doing to keep myself healthy. With the IBS and HPV my Dr said I really need to be quitting smoking, working out, and eating well. Well...the quitting smoking isn't working out well at all. I'm hoping my Dr can/will prescribe me Chantix but I know it can be bad for those with depression so I'm not sure she'll think it's a good idea. The working out..I have no motivation because (a) I'm tired all the time and (b) I'm already a healthy weight for my height so it's difficult for me to want to exercise or find motivation because it's not a visible need. And the eating well..I am still not eating enough calories. This is something I have struggled with on and off for years. Disordered eating. I also likely drink more than is healthy; on a normal night it's 1/2 to 3/4 of a bottle of wine. To be fair, I do have a really high alcohol tolerance - I don't even feel the wine until the third glass or so. But I really am having a difficult time lately and lowering my alcohol intake is not something I am willing to do right now. It is a crutch I know but it is a crutch I need while living with my parents.

I am really looking forward to my Dr's appointment next week. I am hoping some antidepressants will help and get me feeling like a normal person again. I hate needing help and support. I hate the panic. I hate the shame and feeling like maybe it was my fault. I hate needing to talk. I hate feeling like there's something wrong with me. I hate feeling like I need so badly to talk about it and be understood and feeling like I can't because what I've been through is disgusting and shitty and horrible and I don't deserve to be listened to. I think I need to find a productive way to get rid of this hate...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Feelings..and a Tattoo

I think part of my problem is that I've been feeling like the issues I face are too much, too abnormal, especially for people I'm close to. Then I feel like I'm too abnormal. Too disgusting. Too shamed. I try to remind myself that of course I'm not normal- what I have been through is terribly abnormal. But that doesn't mean that I myself am terrible or horrible or dirty or unlovable or gross. It just means I have to deal with things most people don't. I'm getting a tattoo soon meaning "strength of the soul" - a good reminder to myself that I am strong. Even when I need help and support.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Feeling very vulnerable lately

So it's been a tough month and I just need to write. I started a new job the end of January and there's been some triggers there and it's just been stressful. It's a job I really wanted, and I'm really enjoying it, it has just been a stressful transition. I've been pretty depressed and feeling very vulnerable and really wanting to cut. On top of that, things at home continue to be difficult. I'm feeling really like I have to act like everything is fine and can't talk about the things that are bothering me with the people who I'd really just like to talk about it with. Which kind of leaves me feeling hurt and resentful and not wanting to trust. I feel like asking for help is so difficult and you can only do it so many times and be rejected before you just take on this attitude of fine, I don't need your help anyway - I don't actually need anyone's help and I'll manage perfectly fine on my own. Except that isn't how it works, you don't manage perfectly fine. You try harder at not feeling feelings - ironic, being that feelings were something you worked so hard to feel! - you start not talking about anything that even remotely bothers you, you put a bandaid on everything you're struggling with and act like things are ok when in fact, on the inside, you are screaming and wishing, hoping that someone would hear you. Enter more hurt and resentment. It is just really difficult and I simply want to feel heard and supported and loved. I'm going to see my doctor in a week and a half for sleep issues and depression issues...hoping she'll have something to help.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Underhanded Comments from the Parents

So hi there. It's been a while since I've written. I thought I was "done" blogging, done dealing with "it," and wanted to be anything but focused on the past. I moved back in with my parents at the end of July...and it has been rough. The IBS and GERD have been awful, I've been having more headaches, and haven't been sleeping well. I've been trying over-the-counter acid reflux meds and those are helping a bit for the GERD, and I've been trying over-the-counter sleeping meds as well but those aren't helping much- they make me tired and I'll fall asleep fairly easily with them but I wake several times during the night.

I am not even sure exactly what my issue is being there because I think it's a lot of things. It's being around the abuser; it's being around my mother who didn't believe the hardest thing I've ever had to say; it's feeling that I can't trust the people I live with; it's feeling like I don't live in a "home;" it's their underhanded comments at the dinner table- not even just about me, but about my sisters as well; it's the way my dad talks to my mom so disrespectfully; it's worrying that their negativity will take a toll on my daughter's self-confidence as it did (and perhaps still does) mine...

Both parents will make underhanded comments about one of my sisters and how she "dropped out" of an expensive college (to which she had some scholarships) and "left them" with some student loans they'd gotten for her. This was a few years ago and she has since been going to a good school much farther away in an area she's much happier studying. She has also stopped talking to them. No calls or cards on holidays or birthdays, she told them that as long as they continue to treat her with such negativity she will not have contact with them. She is strong and brave and I look up to her for this decision. I can witness how difficult it is to heal scars while in the presence of those who caused them. Because they make underhanded comments about me as well. Just last night- at the dinner table- we were talking about kids and their food choices and when it's appropriate to stop monitoring "Did you eat your vegetables?" before they're allowed a sweet treat. I said something about 16 seemed an OK age to stop worrying about this (though in retrospect I would think 13 or 14 should be old enough to have this discretion). So my dad says "Are you sure 16 is a good age for that? 16-year-old girls are about the dumbest people on the planet. Their thought processes..I just do not understand." Why did he say this? Because when I disclosed the CSA, I was 16. That was the age I "told on" him, or in his-and much of my family's eyes, that I "went crazy and lied."

My youngest sister has also made some comments about how I made her life worse by forcing our father our of the house, making CPS have her talk to the police investigator, and basically turning her childhood for the worse (she was 6 at the time). I have a lot of guilt about what my younger sisters went through as a result of my telling about the abuse and sometimes I wish I'd just kept my mouth shut and kept dealing with things on my own until I was gone for college. But part of me was trying to protect them. Her comments hurt more than my parents'.

So disclosing CSA makes you one of the "dumbest people on the planet." This got me thinking about the other meaning of "dumb" - the archaic and totally non-PC meaning, mute. I had finally broken out of muteness and secrecy at this age. Although I don't bring it up with them at all anymore, and haven't since I initially disclosed, mostly because it was clear I wasn't and am never going to be believed by most of the family and I've accepted that it's pointless to try. Making the ones who don't believe change their minds (mostly, my mother) is futile and doesn't really matter- I know what happened and though validation helps it isn't necessary.

It is just so frustrating. My parents will both say they have "forgiven and forgotten" - about anything negative in the past, my sister's student loans, my disclosing the abuse (even though that isn't really anything needing forgiveness from them- it should be the other way around, but in their eyes it wasn't disclosure, it was a lie) yet they continue to bring things up with underhanded comments for guilt or manipulation or I don't even know what. And I am not sure how to deal with this, short of telling them outright to shut the hell up (which isn't something I'm very good at). Because of my financial situation it looks like I'll be there for a few months to a year. Aghhh! I just want to get my daughter and myself out of that negative environment.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Letter to Survivors

Dearest Survivor,

I am sorry for what you have been through. It is not your fault; you are good and intelligent and beautiful and you will learn to live and be happy again. One of the best things you can do for your healing is surround yourself with positive, supportive people, including a counselor or therapist. What you have been through isn't something any of us can work past on our own, and it's OK to need help and to ask for it. You have a right to use your voice and to do whatever you need to do in order to heal. Find something that you enjoy- painting, riding a bicycle, reading a book- and take time to do it; you have a right to be happy. If there are people in your life who are negative, or who don't believe you, or who bring you down more than they support you, you have a right to not spend time with those people, or to do so on your terms. You have a right to be angry, upset, sad, and do deal with all of these feelings in a healthy way.

...unfinished? I'm not sure.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Letters to Survivors (by Matt Atkinson) and New Year's Goals Update

I recently bought a copy of Matt Atkinson's Letters to Survivors. It is really a great book and I recommend it to any survivors. I am reading it slowly, it makes me a little emotional. I'm going to be writing my own letter to survivors to bring to counseling this week...I will post it when I finish.

My New Years Goals...I have been really not doing well at working toward some of them. I have been learning to use my voice more, in small ways. I went to the support group (which went well and I'll be going back in February). I am back on antidepressants. However, I haven't been drinking more water and I started smoking cigarettes again (I quit a few years ago and usually only smoke when I drink, but I have been having wine every night...and that led to smoking a cigarette every night...which has lead to having two or three each day...). I have also not started exercising. To get back on track- I am not going to buy another pack of cigarettes, and this Saturday I am making myself get up and go to a Pilates class. I am not sure why I am having such a hard time with this, I don't think I'm under any more stress than usual. AGHH.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why Do I Care What My Family Thinks...

I was recently asked what my thoughts were about weddings and fathers giving away the bride and all that jazz. I've always thought that whole tradition doesn't make much sense. I hate the idea that fathers have any right or standing or necessity to "give away" daughters, that we need this kind of permission or blessing or presentation, that husbands should accept "ownership" from fathers after a wedding (so not what weddings and marriage are about). But when I think about my future possible wedding, I actually get a bit panicked because I do not want this stupid tradition to be part of my wedding, yet I can't imagine not including it. Why?

Because my family would be totally freaked out. And upset. And hurt.  The past 5 or 6 years I have been playing by their rules, at least on the surface. I don't bring up the CSA as far as most of them know, it's been swept under the rug and I think most of them think that because I am involved with the family now, it is some kind of admission that I was in fact making it up in the first place but now I've "come to my senses" and everything is A-OK.

It is frustrating to me that I care so much about how they think of me and whether or not they approve of me especially when that concerns a tradition that would make me super uncomfortable on what many women think of as the biggest and one of the best days of their lives. So many of my family members- aunts, uncles, my parents, grandparents- were cold and even cruel when I disclosed the CSA- and each one supported my parents and their view that I was making it up- so why do I care whether they approve of me? ...especially on my day? Why do I care whether my choices for my own wedding hurt their feelings? GAH!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why I Need a New Job

If you've been reading here, you know that I am working for my dad's company. He gave me an admin job in November 2010 after I was laid off from a grant-funded position with a research agency (that I loved! but working with "soft" money...grr). Things are just boiling up and boiling up and this morning they started to boil over, here is why I need a new job:
  • Because I am not enjoying what I'm doing. It's boring and tedious and often frustrating.
  • Because I have a graduate degree in a field I love..but it was an expensive degree and I'd love to be using it!
  • Because it's really difficult working with someone who hurt you in the way he hurt me, who made you feel like you were crazy, who made other people think you were crazy, who betrayed your trust, who sometimes says mean things for the sake of making you feel like a piece of sh*t, who is a reminder of how you were hurt. Certain ways that he laughs or things he says are really difficult for me, they are huge triggers that leave me feeling short of breathe, tense, jumpy, and just awful.
  • Because my dad is so negative about many things and that is not what I need in my life right now, for 9 hours a day, every week day.
  • Because I think my family thinks that him getting me this job and helping me out temporarily erases all the bad things he did. (It doesn't.) And even to myself, it's difficult to justify the anger I have toward him because he is helping me out. But I still have a right to be angry about the things he did. A fellow Pandy's user said, "Your father getting you a job to help you out temporarily doesn't erase what he did to you and how he hurt you. You have the right to be upset and angry that he's not acknowledging what he's done, apologized, or offered amends... of course you're grateful to have a job, I think anyone is in this economy. But that doesn't rescind your right to process how you feel about the abuse or be able to talk about it." Just because he helped me out with a job doesn't negate all the nights he used to come into my bedroom and all the other things he did- and it doesn't negate my right to be angry/hurt/whatever I choose to be, about it; it just doesn't work that way.
  • Because working here just gives my dad power and authority over me. Another Pandy's member pointed out, "The fact that you have to depend upon him to make a living to feed your child is power that you never want someone who has hurt you in such a way to have." And you know, I hadn't even realized before that that bothered me. But it really does. I have been trying to distance myself from my parents (partly because I don't agree with their views on many things) so that I can be myself- stand on my own two feet; allowing my dad to also be my boss isn't very conductive to that end.
  • Because it's not good for my self-esteem. I need a job that can be a career, that I can do well and where I can feel like I am helping people.
  • Because all of the above is getting a little stressful lately and I have a couple minor health issues that are worse when I'm stressed and it's getting to be too much!
Maybe moving out of my parents' house and seeing how nice it is being away from them a little has made me realize how damaging they actually are and how unhappy I really am here. I have been putting in applications/resumes wherever I find something that I might be qualified for...I'll keep doing so until I am out of here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Housekeeping: A Couple Changes to the Resources Page

Hello :) First I wanted to say, thanks for reading and encouraging me- you guys are awesome. I hope that this blog has been a source of inspiration or hope or comfort, even if just to show you that you aren't alone. Second, I wanted to let you know about some changes I have made to the resouces page  today- I added some new links and also changed it so that when you click a resource, it will open in a new page (or tab, depending on how you have your browser set up). I have found this easier when I am going back to look for something. I hope you have found the resources helpful <3

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What I Resolve To Do In 2012 (New Year's 2012 Part II)

Here is the second installment of my blogging about New Year's. I am not really one for resolutions, but I have a lot of goals I want to reach in 2012 :) I realize some of these are big things and those kinds of goals aren't always attainable when written that way so in my journal, I have broken them down into smaller, manageable goals. These are just the main ones:

  • Speak up! I resolve find my voice and practice using it.
  • Take care of myself physically! I will drink more water, take vitamins and all prescriptions as prescribed, exercise at lease once a week at a Saturday morning Pilates or yoga class- to get myself feeling physically fit and well.
  • Become a survivor! I wrote a few weeks ago that I think I'll see myself more as a survivor (rather than a victim) when I can say it wasn't my fault and believe it. I will continue seeing M, reading about healing, and writing, and will do the work necessary to move from victim to survivor.
  • Learn to feel emotions! Anger, sadness, grief, happiness...I will remind myself that the world won't end because I cracked and felt a feeling.
  • Save up to cover a month's worth of expenses! This will mean not using shopping as a coping method when I'm feeling depressed or upset, which will be difficult. But I will do it!
  • Live in the moment! This will become my mantra. If you can enjoy the moment, be present in right now, then you aren't agonizing over the past or worrying about the future. I will spend more moments this way.

Things I Learned In 2011 (New Year's 2012 Part I)

The end of the calendar year is often a time we reflect on the year that's coming to an end and look at how we want to change in the next year. I'm going to write a 2-part blog post about what I learned in 2011 and what I want to change in 2012. This year was one of the most difficult I've ever had- my relationship of 5 years with my daughter's father broke apart, I moved in with my parents (one of whom was cause of CSA, the other didn't believe it), my daughter had surgery and a subsequent ER visit which was pretty scary, I entered the dating world and had some tough experiences there, and a few other reasons. However, it has also been a good year in that I decided to go back to counseling, I got my own place :) and even though it's small it's mine (and my daughter's), and I have made some wonderful friends.

In 2011, I learned:

  • That I've been allowing myself to be a victim rather than stretching my limits to become a survivor.
  • That it's possible to electrocute yourself while changing a light bulb.
  • That often, you have to take a step into the scary unknown in order to grow.
  • That it is OK to speak up for myself, that I should have a voice.
  • That I don't value myself, my body, or the things I have to offer...but I want to.
  • That a five-year-old says just as many, if not more, completely hysterical things as a four-year-old.
  • That going out of my comfort zone to make some new friends (and become better friends with people I've known for years) was one of the best things I could have done for myself.
  • That I am capable of standing on my own two feet and living on my own- no parents, no roommate, no boyfriend, no help- just me.
  • That I have marketable skills that can be freelanced for extra income.
  • That the prep you have to experience before a colonoscopy really is as bad as everyone says.
  • That I am scared of feeling emotions.
  • That I have a lot of pent up anger.
  • That I want to do some of the hard work it will take to get where I want to go.
...and probably a few more things I might add as I think of them :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Finding My Voice

This is something I'm going to be working on- speaking up for myself when something inappropriate is said. A couple weeks ago my dad made a pretty mean comment that, to me, was just meant to get in a jab basically saying I'm a slut. It was regarding how the first time my parents met my daughter's father, I was already pregnant. My mom followed suit later in the night, not nearly as mean, but still not really appropriate or kind. Both comments were made in front of my daughter.

Yup, I've been pretty promiscuous (you can see my blog about CSA and promiscuity here ) but (1) that was in the past- my daughter is now 5 years old and I was with her dad until earlier this year!; (2) it's not really any of my parents' business- I'm an adult; (3) it is certainly not an OK thing to make comments about especially in front of my daughter!

But, I didn't really say anything. I didn't say "hey that's not OK" or "that was really inappropriate" or "that was a long time ago, is it necessary to bring it up over and over?" or even "that really hurts my feelings when you make unnecessary comments like that" or anything. So...I am not good at standing up for myself. When I did, it backfired majorly and instead of getting understanding, I was the one who was ostracized. So after that I think I tried really hard to just not make waves at all- any form of standing up for myself was equal to this huge confrontation in my mind- and that was reinforced at the foster home I lived in. I have spent a lot of time trying to be silent and hide my voice.

So in counseling last week we talked about how it's supernecessary for my to find that voice and use it- not to be mean or inappropriate or bitchy back, but to stand up for me. Because it would be good for my daughter to see, because I couldn't before, because I need to like and love and respect myself enough to kindly demand respect from other people- even my parents.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Labels for Blog Posts

So today I was looking at my blog and at the labels which are shown in a word cloud on the lower left-hand side. The way these word clouds work is- the more frequent the label, the larger the text size; so smaller text labels are used less frequently and larger ones are used more often, to label my blogs. I choose the labels after I write an entry.

So what I was noticing is that two of the biggest words are "healing" and "trauma recovery." This kindof made me smile. Over the course of the year and a half (about that) that I've been writing this blog, I am sure that those were not always two of the most frequently used labels for my posts. I still have a ways to go, but I have come a long way... Pretty cool :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Victim vs Survivor Journal Activity from "Resurrection After Rape" by Matt Atkinson (see Resources tab)

So I started reading this book again. I'm going to make me do the journal activities. This is the first one. I'm sure I'll have more to add later on.
"What is the difference between a Victim and a Survivor? How do you think you will recognize the point when you have transformed from victim to survivor?" (p. 15)
A Victim is defined by her pain. She is still being victimized by the act that left her a victim in the first place. She is held hostage by memories, by hurt, by experiences. She copes ineffectively or not at all. She doesn't have hope of healing. She blames herself. She may feel numb about her R or SA or CSA experience, being able to talk about it as she'd talk about the weather.

A Survivor is who she is because of her pain and because of what she has been through, but she is not defined by it. She continues to live and function despite it. She has recognized that she deserves to heal and can begin to take steps to see this happen. She likely still struggles with self-blame, but she recognizes, intellectually at least, that she wasn't at fault. She is hopeful that healing is possible.

I will feel more like a survivor when I can say that it wasn't my fault and mean it; when I can direct my anger where it belongs without feeling guilty; when there is emotion attached to my story; when I grieve for what was lost; when I am no longer afraid to tell my story to people around me (after I wrote that, I thought, will this ever happen? would it even be good or healthy?)...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

IBS and Trauma, and a Nice Quote about Loving Yourself


 
"I tried to forgive them, I tried to forget them, but then I decided to love myself instead." I saw that in someone's  signature on Pandy's today and it stuck with me.

I learned on Monday that I have IBS, so I've got to pay attention to my diet and how I react to certain foods and start cutting things out. Not really cool since I have some eating/food issues to start with. I also learned that IBS is more common among:
  • "People in their late 20s.
  • Women.
  • People who have panic disorder or other psychological conditions.
  • People who have a family history of IBS.
  • People who have a history of physical or sexual abuse or other psychological trauma. Several studies have found a link between a past history of abuse and gastrointestinal disorders.
  • People with other conditions such as depression, migraine headaches, and fibromyalgia (which causes widespread muscle and soft-tissue pain and tenderness)" (from Web MD ).
I underlined the risk factors that apply to me; it made me laugh a little. My Dr also told me that for some people, IBS can get worse when they are stressed out. I also have GERD (acid reflux) and I know for me, that is worse when I am stressed so I wouldn't be surprised if the IBS is also worse.

I think it's interesting that studies have found links between GI disorders and past history of abuse. (An interesting article I found is here Relation Between Physical or Sexual Abuse and Functional GI Disorders by George F Longstreth, MD .)

I am kindof like are you fucking serious, I have more things to deal with right now while I'm trying to move and get packed and unpacked?! One more issue that comes up that could be linked to or caused by the CSA/SA. *Sigh.*

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Believing in Me

I have been thinking lately a lot about my self esteem. About why it's so shot, about how it's negatively affecting my life and the choices I make, about how to fix it. I came across this quote:
"Rebuilding our self-esteem can be a difficult and long journey. As difficult as reclaiming ourselves may be, we must remember that we are worth it. We deserve to feel secure about what we need and want out of life and others. We deserve to stand up for ourselves. No matter what others do or say, we deserve to have a voice and feel empowered."
(From "Low Self Esteem and Relationships: How to Reclaim Yourself" on Pandy's -also linked on the Resources tab.)
Unfortunately, I have been letting others' words really affect how I feel about me lately. Also unfortunately, there's been plenty of opportunity for me to be hurt by others' words lately- people I care about have been downright mean. But I have been trying to remind myself that I am worth reclaiming myself- I deserve to have a voice, I don't deserve to let other people make me feel like crap about me.

A smart person once told me "You don't need them to be you." I have been trying to remember this as I let go of people who are bringing more hurt or negativity to my life than positivity. Because I don't need that, and shouldn't have to deal with it, and it's ok to let those people go and give them a second-place spot- because I really don't need them to be myself, and myself is a pretty good person. A person who deserves to be happy and work past the pain and not be hindered by people who clearly don't have my best interests at heart.

And as for the people who do truly care, who do have my best interests at heart...those people are the ones who will be there in the end when I can smile and say that I've come a long way and am finally happy, healed, comfortable in my own skin.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SI (sortof), Forgetting, Anger

Last night was so bad. Body memories and crying and my eyes are very puffy this morning. I am really struggling. I keep picking the scabs on my head and picking them again and they hurt so bad and bleed and I just can't stop. And it hurts to even wash and brush my hair; and I can't even ask about it or talk about it on Pandy's because they changed their posting guidelines in that forum.

Trying to stay strong and be gentle with myself. I didn't take the antidepressants for like 3 days in a row because my throat was really hurting and the pills are huge, maybe that is my problem. Took them today, only have one left and I have to refill them tomorrow and I am not sure if my insurance will still cover it (insurance is going to be changing, one will be running out before the other takes effect) and it will cost $109...so that is adding to the stress. Backtracking a little- I think maybe part of why my  throat has been hurting is because the lymph nodes on the back of my neck/head are swollen because of all the scabs on my scalp.

I don't know how to stop remembering, or how to make my body stop remembering. People say, don't let it control you, don't think about it, forget about it, get over it, just don't let it happen....

Dealing with a lot of anger. Well, I have always had a lot of anger I suppose, just wasn't really aware of it. Trying to figure out, with M, how to constructively let it out of my system so it stops sitting in there seething.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Some Things I am Struggling With

The topomax I'm on for migraine prevention has my appetite wayyy down. I can eat lunch and that's it, and I'm not hungry the rest of the day. I try to force myself to eat a little dinner, so I don't lose too much weight, and because I want to set a good example for my daughter...but when I weigh myself and I see the numbers falling, I get that old feeling back. The being extra careful about what I eat (and, especially- what I don't eat), the struggling to not let on there's a problem, the small, beaten down voice within that whispers "You don't control me...you can't make me eat, you can't make me listen, you can't make me pretty or desirable or healthy...you can't you can't you can't." So even though I am not starving myself, I am finding myself facing an old struggle...odd, no?
Another thing I am struggling with recently is a fear of saying no. (See Overcoming the Fear of Saying No (Pandy's) -that article gives reasons why survivors struggle with this and how to deal with it, and is also added to the resources tab.) I think I'm struggling with this for lots of reasons...and it kindof makes everything else a little tougher.

Aghh!. It's been a tough few days. Just wanna scream.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Also, see "What is RTS?" Secton in Matt Atkinson's Book...

There is also a good section on RTS in Matt Atkinson's book Resurrection After Rape (it's also linked in the Resources tab), toward the end of page 22 (if you're using the .pdf reader page finder, it'll be page 24).

Frustrated and Upset and RTS?

So frustrated with the memories and psychosomoatic symptoms. Frustrated/upset with myself. Just. Be. Over. It. It is so simple... And yet...it's not. Tried writing some things down for counseling tomorrow. AGH! I cannot do it. Tried asking myself how I felt - please, just feel something- just don't be so goddamned numb about it all. But nothing.

I can't take being at work anymore! I can't take being at home anymore! I want- I need- my own place. Not just the memories...my parents are so negative. I don't need to be around that! And I don't want my daughter around that! She is 4- she should be learning that the world is full of fun things to do and explore and learn.

This morning...I hurt. I think actually I feel something, and it hurts. Part of me wants to break down and cry and cut and yell and cry some more...but I won't. I haven't cried in a while...not sure I could manage it. No need to go feeling weak anyways.

Also kinda wondering about RTS. Read a few articles about it. Put one in the resources tab: http://www.giftfromwithin.org/html/journey.html

Friday, August 12, 2011

Anxious

A little anxious today, panicky...can't breathe very well, lungs are tight. Trying to do some grounding exercises (see the Resources tab)...agh.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Adding a "Resources" Tab

Ok so since there have been a lot of useful resources here that have gotten "lost" among the other posts, and since my readership has grown quite a bit over the last year and a few months and I want everyone to be able to easily access those resources, I've decided to make a separate tab page for them. I'll list them with links in alphabetical order for easy finding. It may take me a little while to get them all up, so please bear with me :)

New Med, Memory, and Resources

I am on a new medication to prevent migraines; it's an anti-epileptic. And wow does it screw me up. It makes me fuzzy-headed, I sometimes can't think of the right word I'm looking for, I'm forgetful, dizzy, sluggish, food and drink has an "odd" taste, and I don't have much of an appetite. These are all common side effects, and I'm hoping that after a few weeks, as my system gets used to the medication, they'll go away- or at least lessen. To have fewer migraines, I'm willing to deal with a lot :) But in the meantime, I'm a little down. I'm intelligent, well educated...I'm not used to being like this, to having to ask, hey..what's that word...? Feeling slow or dumb..brings me back I guess. And I'm really having a hard time.

And on that note, there's a  new sentence in my journal. The one and only sentence in the journal that is a telling of an event, a memory, a part of my story, rather than my analysis, my thoughts, my rambling. It sits alone on the page, trailing off, begging me to erase it. Because it burns, each moment it's there down on the paper. The shame and guilt and all the things I know I'm supposed to feel but can't- the anger and betrayal and hurt...it all churns around, searing my insides, but my mind says- if you erase it, in some twisted way, he wins, because writing that one sentence is one step closer to telling your story. So it's out, and you can forget it, leave it, turn the page.

Lastly, I had a reader ask me for links to some resources that they couldn't find again, so here they are :)  (I realize that sometimes when I put resources up here they can get lost in with the other posts so if you ever want me to re-post any resources you've seen up here that you can't find again- just send a message or comment and I'll be glad to!)-

A Man's Guide to Helping a Woman Who Has Been Raped (Matt Atkinson)

Article about Adult Survivors Continuing Relationships with the Abusive Family (Pandy's)

Tips for Friends and Family of Survivors (Pandy's)

I would also like to throw in here that if you are really close to someone who is a survivor and have a lot of questions or think you would benefit from networking online with other supporters of survivors, I would recommend Pandora's Aquarium (http://www.pandys.org/index.html). Even if you don't think you would benefit that much- I encourage you to give it a try. You can sign up as a Secondary Survivor (the supporter- someone close to- a survivor) and have access to some great forums and support from other secondaries. As survivors of sexual violence, we have a lot of emotional issues to work through, and those who support us certainly don't come out without needing to talk, vent, and find some support of their own. Pandy's can be a good place for that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Feeling Emotions...Trying Again

So for therapy homework I am supposed to work on identifying my "rocks" - the rocks that weigh on my lungs when I wake in the night...I am supposed to identify what each represents, maybe one is anger at my dad for what he did, another is anger at my mom for not believing me...and so on. The idea is, I am supposed to feel the emotions that I haven't been able to feel/haven't let myself feel, etc. And this is...hard. I don't want to feel the way any of it would make me feel if I let myself feel the way it makes me feel.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you might remember I had similar homework about feeling feelings from the therapist I saw last year...and I was just as reluctant to do it then as I am now. However- do I want to be in therapy next year, again, with the same homework...? No, no I most definitely do not. So...that means...I do the damn homework.

Tonight when I wake up, and can't breathe, I write about one rock. Just one feeling. I don't even have to feel that feeling right then...just have to identify it and write it down in the journal. And then I go back to sleep.... Let's see how this goes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

For My Survivor Friends...

When do you stop blaming yourself? Stop believing that you deserved it because you are worthless, dirty, a failure (just look at everything else you have failed in)? When do you sleep through the night and not wake up with your stomach in a knot and your lungs begging for air? When does your heart start to open up and love yourself? When does it stop being scared?

I'd love to know...because I'm not sure how much more I can take. It's kindof funny because, I am not even sure how much of these feelings are from the CSA and SA and how much is from the breakup. Today is a rough day. I'm hoping once the coffee sets in and I wake up a little more...it'll get better...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Some days...

Some days I just want to disappear. I want to crawl into the earth and hug the ground around me like a blanket and be unseen, be swallowed up by mother nature.

Some days I want to scream- "I am MORE." I am more than a single mom, more than a pretty girl who likes knockoff designer accessories, more than an employee at my dad's company. I am more than you see. I want to beg someone- anyone- to see all of me, to really know me, and to accept me as I am- not how they'd wish me to be.

Some days I want to let out the rage within me. To pound my fists against the pain until they are bloody and unrecognizable. I want to scream and cry and rage and hurt and let out the anger about what was done to me. I want to yell that I am no longer afraid, I will no longer hide my anger and turn it inward. I want to unleash the fury that lives in my heart, turn it against the ones who deserve it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Great Quote

I have started browsing through a book, to go along with a new counselor :) It's called Resurrection After Rape by Matt Atkinson. It is.....hard to believe that this guy- or any guy- could know so well what it feels like to be a female victim of R or SA. A great, great quote from the book that I wanted to share is:
"...begin to change the language we use when we talk about rape. You need to see it as a hurt done to you, not a permanent source of filth and badness about you."
I have real issues with self-blame. I think it would be good to start thinking like that...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Great Article for Men who are Close to a Survivor

Stumbled across this today on Pandy's and wanted to share because it's helpful, and because most people know someone who has been SA'd (even if they don't know it):

A Man's Guide to Helping a Woman Who Has Been Raped by Matt Atkinson

I'd recommend it to any guy who is close to a female survivor.

Counseling and Moving Forward

So I found a counselor who has evening hours and who specializes in psychosynthesis and life coaching (more information about psychosynthesis here ) and went to see her yesterday evening for a consultation. One of her premises is that we should take our strengths and positives and what we are good at and what works for us, and maximize those to get what we want out of life. I really like that idea. It was only a consultation, but she was already into the difficult questions...I could tell she is not going to let me take the easy way out, minimize or ignore, or rationalize my problems or situation or issues. She is going to  hold me responsible for where I am in life- which is good. I am not stuck working here at my dad's company- there are, I just have to work hard to find another job where I can be happier.

So I wanted to let a dear friend, S, know that I think I have finally found a good C. She even gives her clients her cell phone number and e-mail address in case they think of something important after the session is over. She seemed supportive and positive and good and skilled at listening to what you are not saying. She suggested I set up an easel in the garage or somewhere quiet...which I have been saying I will do for a while but haven't done. I should, painting and drawing is just what brings me peace.

Also I finished a freelance project recently...that was nice. I have put proposals on more of them, so hopefully things will pick up :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Am... A Healing Exercise

I am not weak- I have lived through a pretty good amount of trauma and I keep going.
I am stronger than I think- I always bounce back, even when I don't think I will.
I am a good mom- my daughter is well-taken care of, happy, confident, and caring toward others.
I am a good friend- I listen and care and try to help.
I am not what happened to me- I am not a victim, I have survived and become my own person.
I am beautiful- inside and out, I am not stained by what was done to me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

...PS- As soon as feelings are involved...

Since my ex and I have broken up, I've realized that a lot of my issues surrounding sex and sexuality really only occur when there are feelings involved. Maybe this is an issue in itself...Fucking around is one thing- I can do that, I am even good at that, but once you throw feelings in there or someone that I care about, forget it, it's a whole other ballpark. What the hell. Just something that occured to me. Thought I'd get it out so I can stop analyzing it and get back to work.

Having To Be Ok is Forcing Me To Be Stronger?

Living with my parents this last month and a half or so (has it really been that long?), I've kinda been forced to be ok. I can't have panic attacks, can't have flashbacks, because I refuse to be that vulnerable around one of the people who hurt me. I think somewhere my unconscious kindof psychosomatically knows this, that I have to be stronger and cannot- absolutely must not- be so vulnerable in a place that isn't entirely (or didn't used to be) safe.

Nights have not been good; I haven't been sleeping well. Dreams, waking up every couple hours and not being able to fall back asleep...I come into work with lots of coffee ;) Sometimes I find myself listening for a creek of the floor that I know won't come, or looking for a shadow that I know isn't there.

It's kindof difficult trying to heal from all the sexual abuse and incest my father put me through (that's right, I spelled it out...I just wrote that...and nothing bad happened...except I'm having a difficult time not deleting it...) and dealing with seeing him at work every day and living with him and I can't show it or talk about it because he's ALWAYS THERE.

But not having a choice is causing me to find strength I didn't know I had. I'm finding that I can be a normal person even when it hurts so bad inside I just want to take a razor to myself (I don't, of course). I can be strong even when I feel like breaking down. I can smile even if I'm crying inside. And maybe, eventually, those things will become real- I'll just start smiling naturally, feeling normal more often, realizing that I've always been strong, and most of all, really believing that it wasn't my fault/I didn't deserve it. Not just about the things my dad did, but the other things, too. *Sigh* Slowly, it is getting better. Even by accident ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shame, and some Random Ramblings

Why is it that we feel so ashamed as survivors of SA and/or CSA...as adults, as survivors, we know, in our minds, that it wasn't our fault,so why do we feel so much shame because of it? Maybe because we are used to it, because of the secrecy, because for so long it was ingrained in our beliefs (at least in the case of CSA, and sometimes SA) that we caused it.

I have been trying lately to lay down the shame. It feels really strong the past couple weeks, being that I'm living back home with my parents. Being around my dad is...ugh...sleeping there is difficult. It's been really a rough few weeks. But I think that it will get easier. I just have to save some money so I can get out on my own, and take things one day at a time, stop blaming myself...

My ex and I have decided that we may try working things out. I am not sure I'm optimistic about how that will go...we'll see. My daughter is doing good, we have been enjoying the warmer weather...I am trying to take things slower and enjoy one day at a time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When People Say They're Sorry

When people find out what I have been through (or part of it...no one really knows every thing), many people's first reaction is to say they're sorry. And this doesn't happen very often, as its not like I go around talking about it- usually I prefer to pretend none of it happened. I realize they're not saying it because they had any hand in why or how it happened, they are simply sorry that I went through it. Which is a nice thing to say and really I do appreciate that kindness (especially since if I'm telling someone, they are someone I truly trust). However, it always makes me feel awkward, or bad, when people apologize like that for any of the CSA or SA's. I wasn't sure why, or hadn't really thought about it, until I read someone else's take on it at Pandy's. Now it makes sense that it's partly because it makes me realize that I actually went through something really horrible. I am used to minimizing it, or having other people minimize it- it wasn't that bad, it was a long time ago (most of it), just don't think about it, etc. But when someone apologizes in a tone or with a look that shows genuine sincerity...it reminds me that it WAS actually really bad. Not that that is a good reason to dwell on it or wallow in it or anything, I just thought it was an interesting insight into why it's weird for me when people say they're sorry.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And Moving Back "Home"

So...my relationship is ending. My daughter and I are going to have to move in with my parents. We looked at the finances, and there is no way I will be able to afford living on my own. I looked into assistance, but my income is pretty far above the cutoff...so I am stuck. I don't qualify for assistance yet I will not be able to pay the bills living on my own. My parents have some extra room...and they've put the offer out there...and there isn't really another choice right now. My plan is to find a better (read: higher-paying) job ASAP so that I'm not living there for any longer than possible.

This breakup is hard, it sucks, I hate it. We were together for 5 years...and we both kindof started to realize that we want different things for our futures. I am completely emotionally and mentally worn out, thinking about how I'll miss him, how our daughter will react, whether he'll be ok staying with his parents, whether it's the right decision, whether it's what I really want, how soon I'll be able to get a place of our own.

I am super stressed about living with my parents again. I am having moments of pure panic...because I know there are lots of triggers there, I know there will be nightmares, I know there will be flashbacks and I really just started to be OK - starting to get past all those things. The answer, I suppose, is that I have to be stronger than those things. I have come a long way and I'm pretty sure I can get out of this with minimal backward stepping. But I'm a little scared. As dumb as that sounds.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Good Doesn't Necessarily Cancel Out The Bad

So I spent a little time this morning on Pandy's, responding to people's posts, trying to offer a little support or encouragement, when I realized something. For a while I have been struggling with good memories I have of my childhood and of my father; it wasn't always bad- we had lots of good times. It's difficult for me to place the blame of the CSA on him when there are good things I remember and good things about him- he isn't this completely evil monster, he has lots of qualities that people think of as good. So this is where part of my self-blame comes from, I look at it like here's this man who is really an ok guy, a good person in some ways, so it must have been me. The good memories and the good qualities he possesses makes it really difficult for me to (a) be angry with him for the CSA, (b) believe the CSA was his fault and not mine, (c) see that I didn't deserve it...and so on.

So today I read a post on Pandy's from a woman going through a similar mental struggle- and then it sortof just hit me... all it takes is that ONE time someone hurts you, and no amount of good qualities or memories can "cancel" that out. As soon as that line is crossed the first time, the person isn't all "good" anymore- but that doesn't mean he is all "bad" either. Clearly, obviously, people are both- we all are. My father has good qualities, but he also SA'd me for years. I don't have to mentally label him as good or bad, because it's ok for me to see him as both.

Ok this probably all sounds obvious and silly. But it was kindof a big "lightbulb" moment for me, realizing that  just because there are good things about him doesn't make the bad things he did ok. I think this is a really good step in my path to really seeing it as not my fault, not something I deserved.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Stages" of Healing


(c) Jessica McCormick
I just liked it today ;)
 First I want to throw out there that I'm seriously looking forward to going back to the support group on Monday. I've only been once so far, and didn't talk except the courteous hello and nice to meet you. But the people were really nice and welcoming and open. And I could get hot cocoa, which always makes me smile :) I really think that I will feel comfortable enough there in time to be able to talk a little and get some things out- let me tell you it is really nice to hear others' stories and know that I'm not alone and that other people are going through the same things.

Ok, now for what I'm really going to write about: stages of healing (from CSA/SA). I've been thinking about this a little lately as I'm trying to re-vamp my healing efforts. The University of California: Santa Barbara notes that there are five stages of recovery (see the article here):
  1. Before the assault (self explanatory)
  2. Denial (the assault is suppressed and deemed "insignificant")
  3. Awareness (sometimes with flashbacks, awareness of the assault sets in and seems all-consuming)
  4. Healing (life begins to even out and lots of "work" goes into working through the emotional tumoil as the survivor learns to reclaim her life)
  5. Recovery (the assault has a place in the survivor's life and sometimes needs more attention but then takes its place again and the survivor becomes stronger and more hopeful)
I think I am coming out of awareness and moving into healing...in a cycle sortof, like I'm not really all the way finished with one and into the other...I think. There are still flashbacks and dreams but I am learning to deal with them and work through them and try to work through everything that I have been through.

UCSB notes (in the same article linked above) that:
"Recovery from sexual assault is not a smooth, linear process. Although recovery here is presented in 'stages,' a survivor does not move from stage 1 to stage 2 to stage 3 in a simple manner until she is 'recovered' and then leave it all behind. The healing process may be accurately imagined as an upward spiral in which a survivor moves toward recovery, but moves back and forth through the different stages. ... For example, survivors may tap into denial at any time as a way of coping with other life stresses, or a survivor who has recovered greatly may suddenly be overwhelmed by an event and find the rape is consuming her once again. This is completely expected, and is not moving 'backwards' in recovery; rather, it often provides a new perspective on familiar feelings, or an opportunity to work through feelings which may have been too difficult at an earlier time."
I thought this was such an important point. Often we expect (or others do) that once we have worked through some part of the SA, we are "ok" with it and it will no longer bother us, that once we have talked out one aspect of it, it need not be visited again. This is simply not how it works, and expecting the impossible will only result in disappointment and hurt and frustration with the healing process.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Link to Info.

Well, this is the only helpful thing I found tonight so far and I don't have the energy to keep looking. I was trying to find information about what to do when I'm remembering, because I think with all the stress lately it's been happening a lot.

Here's a link to a Pandora's Auarium article in a public forum.

http://pandys.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=49460

Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Back at This Year, and What I Learned

I think that 2010 has been one of the most emotionally difficult years of my life. It started off with what I looked at as a "last straw," the last tax on my strength. I soon learned that it wasn't, it was just another bump in the road, and it forced me to take a look at how I'd been dealing with all the other things. Not well. So I started looking at what I could do to heal from all that I'd been through. This has not progressed as well as I'd hoped, but I'm ok with that- all I can do is try harder, think more positive, and remember that it will take time and strength and work.

There's been a lot of ups and downs this year, lots of highs and lows. I learned that it's ok to hurt, as long as it doesn't stop you from living. I learned that  I am strong, that I can work on moving past the bad things. I learned what it's like to feel safe, to really know that nothing bad would happen. (This is a little sad when I think about it, because I don't feel that way all the time, but at least I know it's possible.) I am in the process of learning that I can't justify any of what happened, I can't make it my fault or make it make sense- because it wasn't, and it doesn't. I learned that there are good people, people who will listen and who won't judge and who won't hurt. I also learned that even good people have flaws. And that's ok.

I learned that the only way I'll be ok is if I work at it. Work on healing, on moving past all the CSA and SA and trauma, and on being the person I want to be, not who my family or anyone else wants me to be. I'll be starting the New Year off on a positive note- January 3rd I'm going to my first session with the new support group. I've gotten my books out again and am writing for healing, meditating on self-kindness, doing all the things I should have been doing all year long.

I have only one resolution for the New Year- and that is to leave the negative behind- negative emotions, people, events, etc.- and focus on the positive.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas, and Letting Go

Well we had a really good Christmas here. I got to see my sister who's home from college, and spend time with my other sisters. We also spent time with my grandparents and my boyfriend's parents and brothers- I love his family, they are so kind and fun to be around. Christmases were a good memory for me. My dad would take on other jobs so we could have their definition of a "good" Christmas- and we kids always thought we did. But what really made the Christmases good (and I don't even know if my parents realize this) was the time we got to spend with family, the slow days of school break, the "cheeriness" of Christmas spirit that seemed to linger throughout the house- there was less fighting between my parents, they seemed lighter and happier. And that made things better for us. At Christmastime, I felt safer, didn't feel so much like I was "bad," I felt more like a normal kid.

Sometimes something will trigger and old memory and it's as if this record player goes off in my mind, telling me that I'm not good enough, I'm stupid, I'm weak, I'm a slut, I'm bad, useless, a horrible person, a bad friend, a bad girlfriend, a less than good mother, not good for anything... And I stop the record and think, No. No, you know better- you are good, you are OK. And then I find reasons why none of those things are true. Because, they aren't.

So, I have been thinking lately that...why don't I just let it go? Just kindof decide that none of it bothers me anymore. All of it was a long time ago now, so I should most definitely be over it. I should stop being so weak, stop dragging it out, just stop. Why is it that difficult, to just get over it?! It's so frustrating! I'm sure it's frustrating to other people, too, from the outside, when a friend or family member is sortof stuck- for no good reason- in a place that is painful and tiring, and can't seem to let it go. So that's what I'm trying to do, to let it go.

It's in the past, it's over, there is nothing I can change about any of it now and I shouldn't live so restricted because of what I've been through.


I'm going to the support group next Monday the 3rd. Starting to look forward to it, meeting up with other people who have similar stories, taking a positive step toward healing and being able to fully let things go back into the past where they belong.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Support Group, and Why It's Difficult to Talk About

So, I have "applied" to join a support group. Finally. I hope this works out. Mostly cause I do not think there are any more in nearby cities and I don't want to end up driving a million miles away. Now, once my new insurance forms come in (hopefully correct this time!) I'm going to see a new Dr, my records are in the process of being transferred over there. I seem to have gotten it a little more together :) I have also been looking at jobs. Nothing in the field I'm looking for yet, but I'm still looking.

I am a little nervous about the group, but also feeling a little like a weight has been lifted. Like a bit relieved that I'll be able to listen to other people who have been in similar situations and maybe eventually feel comfortable enough to get some things out, maybe find some understanding, maybe understand my own self a little more and start to feel comfortable in my own skin again. That would be nice, wouldn't it?

Going to a group reminds me of a discussion I have been following on Pandy's. About why it's difficult to talk about. So far people have said:
  • because of shame and/or guilt
  • because we don't want pity and that is a typical reaction
  • because putting it out loud makes it more real
  • because the words can be triggering
  • because we are afraid of what people will think of us
I think all of these are true for me. I guess at some point I'll feel ok enough in the group to talk, right? I think once the words are out, it's ok, it feels a little better (it has to, right?), it's just saying them that is difficult. But I don't even have to worry about this yet because I still have to be "accepted" to the group and go and find out whether I like it and feel safe there for talking.

Seems like, when you take things one day at a time, in little steps, it's much easier.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some Homework: A Letter

I would like to tell you how I really feel. How much you hurt me, how much you screwed up my thinking. I grew up never feeling good enough, because I wasn't. I was always looking over my shoulder waiting to hear what I'd done wrong. And then there was what you did physically. Which I am so not ready to write about. But I think about it lots. Because of you, I struggle with anger- rage, even. And self esteem, and body image issues, and panic attacks, and flashbacks, and depression. Not all because of you, but in part because of how you are and what you did.

Sometimes I can still feel you. Have you any idea what that's like? I wish you did. I wish you could feel as miserable as I do sometimes, when I'm in the middle of a depressive episode and am thinking everyone would be better off without me, or when I'm in the middle of a flashback and I can actually feel you touching me, or when I wake up from a nightmare in a cold sweat, or even when I'm so angry my heart is pounding out of my chest and I'm digging my fingernails into my skin to keep from losing it. Well, I suppose you have felt the last one, haven't you?

There were good times, too, don't get me wrong. But I think knowing there were times when you were good makes it more difficult to deal with the times you weren't. Makes me doubt myself and my own goodness. Makes it difficult to justify how it wasn't my fault. Makes me realize why everyone took your side.

You are done controlling me. I'm a strong adult who can stand on her own two feet. I don't think I'm so very strong yet. But believe me I'm getting there. You got to win for a little while. Now it's my own turn.

Monday, December 6, 2010

CSA and Promiscuity


One experience of being SA'd as a child will teach you things. Several years of it will teach you lots of things and ingrain them into your ways of thinking and seeing the world. One of the biggest ways it's affected my life was by teaching me that my worth lies in sex. So young people who've grown up thinking this end up promiscuous pre-teens and teens and usually young adults, sometimes even older adults. We believe that our sexuality is what makes us important to people, what makes people care about us, stay around us, like us, and love us. And promiscuity has rewards (such as attention, superficial caring,
popularity, sometimes gifts or money) that reinforce these beliefs.

Unfortunately, this promiscuity we adopt as a pattern of meeting our needs (although it doesn't work), also puts us in many situations perfect for revictimization. We flirt a lot, we dress for people to look, we are sexual with people we don't know well, we drink and use drugs to numb ourselves- we create a recipe for sexual assault. And when a revictimization occurs, we know that we, ourselves, got into that situation. It wouldn't have happened if I had/hadn't... There's guilt, self blame, self loathing, shame, which is all terribly difficult to get rid of, even years later. After this, some of us jump right back  into our liftstyle- to prove it didn't bother us, we're "strong," we're not broken, or simply because it's the only way we know to find caring and love, even if it isn't real.

The important thing, I think, is to realize the fucked up patterns and ways of thinking. After that, we can attempt to disarm them. Which is a very difficult thing to do, but I'm sure it can be done ;)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sex and Love, Love and Sex...?

I apologize in advance if this is not very coherent. I'm working on only a couple hours of sleep and I'm still not feeling well so my writing skills aren't really in tip-top shape tonight. I thought this picture was appropriate because it's often how thinking about sex and love makes me feel- torn, broken, ruined, sad...


I'm confused about a whole mess of things and my views of some things, like sex and love, are maybe a little fucked up. Which is maybe normal given what's gone on in my life- I don't think you live through CSA and multiple SAs without some distorted views of how things like love and sex work, right?


I don't even really know completely what I do think about "making love" versus "having sex." Except that I know very much about one and hardly anything about the other. Sometimes I think that sex and love have little to do with each other; that there's nothing loving about sex itself- it's just something that you have to do to get to love. Because no one (at least, not anyone male) is going to love you unless you put out. So even though I don't see how sex is loving, you can't get to love without sex.


My brain says, this is ridiculous; not all men are the same, you know your views on this are all twisted. But another part of me also says don't be an idiot and ignore what experience has taught you- you think the way you do for a reason. ... I guess that's all I got on the sex versus love stuff tonight.


I think I am also confused about what I need right now to be ok. To get better, stop the bad habits and get healthy. Maybe I only need some guidance and reassurance. Maybe I need more. Maybe old habits are just getting in the way. Maybe I am just a stupid slut after all. Maybe I don't actually deserve to know the difference. Maybe the stupid support group was right and I am scared to let myself be "ok" because being in crisis mode is so familiar and I'm so used to it. I have no idea what to think tonight.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Warning- Time to Write About the Early Stuff

I might not "publish" this post. I might delete it. Or I might save it and do something with it later. But right now I'm feeling horribly sick and am a little drugged and just need to get some things out.

When I was little, I don't know how old because it was happening ever since I can remember, my dad would come into my room at night. Sometimes I would be asleep and I'd wake up when he started. Other times, I'd be awake, heart pounding, dreading the moment I heard his footsteps coming down the hallway. He would usually smell like a bar- like beer, liquor, and stale chips mixed with cigarette smoke. I would never move, I'd pretend I was sleeping. I was scared. He was angry sometimes after he'd been drinking; I heard him and my mother fighting countless times after he got home from the bar. I was also ashamed. I blamed (blame?) myself, told myself I was dirty, bad, should behave better...why else would he do it? His hand would slide under the sheets and up the nightgown. Always a nightgown. Is it weird that I even now so many years later I usually sleep in shorts or pants?

Usually it was just touching. Other times...other times it was "worse." "Worse" with quotes because...can you compare any of it in that way?

When he was done, he would leave. I don't think he ever said a word. Which I think is part of the guilt/self-blame I have. He never threatened, never told me not to tell. So why did I wait so long to do it?

I feel sick just writing about it. But I've been wanting to talk about it for a while now...with work, working with him, seeing him almost every day, the dreams of it have gotten a little worse (as the dreams of the other things have gotten a little less frequent), the flashbacks have started again. I think maybe it would be good to talk about it, to get some of it out. But I'm still ashamed. Even in an empty room, trying to say it out loud, I end up feeling like an idiot because I just can't do it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Fatherly" Protection

Now, I think it's safe to say that some of Freud's work is looked at by a fair number of contemporary psychs as a little... outdated? However, much of it has also formed the basis for many current psych theories and is still used today. One thing that Freud said, that I like, was "I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." I'm not sure why I'm attached to that quote, but it stuck with me. I like the idea of letting children know that they'll be protected, kept safe from harm, that someone reliable and safe is watching out for them. Of course, Moms do this, but it's often Dads that are seen as the "family protectors" since they're...well...men, and are usually stronger, bigger, better built for protecting, all that kind of stuff.

I was thinking, first, that maybe part of the reason I have issues feeling safe is because some sort of childhood need was not only not taken care of, but was broken by the person who was supposed to be protecting. (Does that make sense?) I think that when a parent hurts their child, clearly, the kid takes a pretty hard beating psychologically. Well, now I'm almost 25 and still having feeling safe issues. Time to get over that I suppose.

I was also thinking that, in my own childhood, there was a certain extent of protection from my father. However, it never felt like it was because he wanted to keep us safe from harm or anything like that. It was because we were his. And no one was going to mess with his girls.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

If Your Injuries Could Speak...


...what would they say?

A healing exercise I found on Pandy's, which...I haven't really been visiting lately because it's been too triggering. I went today to look for some ideas for journaling exercises to get words out, and decided to give this one a try. It was titled "Letting Your Pain Speak," and that's sortof what I'm trying to do, to get it out, so it doesn't threaten me from inside anymore.
I don't really have "visible" injuries most days anymore, but if they could speak, what would they say?
She's scared.
She hurts, enough to take it out on herself.
She hates herself, her body, her memories.
She is so angry, but has no idea what to do with her anger; she only knows that she's scared to let it unleash the way anger has been unleashed on her.
She feels dirty and ashamed, for what's happened to her and for not making it stop.
She feels guilty for being such a burden to the few people who she let in, who are safe, who care; part of her wants to push them away so they just won't have to deal with her ups and downs anymore.
She thinks sometimes, maybe by destroying her body, she can destroy the negative things she believes about herself.
She has so much she wants to say, but she's scared to talk about it, but not talking is killing her.
She is not ok, everyday is a battle.
She can't take anymore disbelief, belittling, unreliability, insanity.
Her confidence is broken down, she doesn't see good or worth in herself.
She needs love and caring- to be shown love and caring, not told it; she's heard the words enough and words no longer mean anything.
So, if my injuries could speak, that's what they would say. Except a few of them, I think they would have screamed, not said.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Growing Up with An Alcoholic

So, I don't think of this as a "big deal," lots of people grow up in families with an alcoholic. I do think that this played a part, perhaps a small one, in the secret-keeping about the SA, and in my thinking about my own self, as well as serving as a basis for some behaviors that have become so ingrained they're part of me: my avoidance of anything that might cause disapproval from others, my need to clean up other people's messes, to take care of people, to be "perfect," not to mention other issues I sure as hell don't feel like getting into right now.

I found a wonderful way to sum up how many alcoholic families work- mine included (or, how it worked when he was drinking, though some of these still ring true)- a quote from author Stephanie Brown (from http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=144): "The alcoholic family has been described broadly as one of chaos, inconsistency, unpredictability, unclear rules, arbitrariness, changing limits, arguments, repetitious and illogical thinking, and perhaps violence and incest." And another interesting thing I found was a proposed set of "rules" that people who grow up in alcoholic families learn (from author Claudia Black, in same article linked above): don't trust, don't feel, and don't talk. How true these were. I was dumb enough to break the first and the last, and it got me right into foster care. Which, maybe was what I needed.

Still struggling tonight...Thanksgiving coming up, a holiday with lots of family and lots of food- two problems! Well, the best way to keep peoples' eyes off your own plate and to seem happy and normal is to make yummy food to heap onto other peoples' plates, so that's what I'll be doing. Wednesday is going to be a busy night for me.