Friday, December 31, 2010
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
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.
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
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
Seems like, when you take things one day at a time, in little steps, it's much easier.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
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
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,
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
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
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
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
Sunday, November 21, 2010
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.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
1. Why do I feel I need to hurt myself- what brought me to this point? I have to go back to work tomorrow, with my dad. When he's showing my something on the computer, I just think, "those are the same hands that...nope- I'm not letting myself go there, not now." The work itself isn't bad, being around him isn't bad, it's not letting myself remember that is the problem, because sometimes the memories just come flooding in, and there isn't much I can do to stop them.
Also, I need to talk. But I can't find my voice. So I stuff things inside. That's ok, I'm used to doing that, and later, I might journal about what's bugging me. Much easier to keep it to myself and look strong.
2. Have I been here before? What did I do to deal with it? How did I feel then? Yup, I've been here before. Sometimes I cut, then I feel relief- if only in the short-term. Other times, I write, I cry, I talk, I take a bubble bath. And those things don't feel as good as cutting in the short-term, but longer-term I do feel better because I didn't hurt myself, I dealt with things in a healthier way.
3. What have I done to ease the discomfort so far, and what else can I do that won't hurt me? Well...I found these questions, and I'm answering them...that is distracting at least. I could read Outlander, or go take a bubble bath, most likely I'll do both.
4. How do I feel right now? I hurt, and I'm angry.
5. How will I feel when I am hurting myself? If you have never self-injured, this probably sounds absurd. But if I go cut, I'll feel relief, adrenaline, a wave of calm, followed by a short period of numbness.
6. How will I feel after I hurt myself? How will I feel tomorrow morning? When it's over, I'll feel slightly numb, a little more relaxed, but disappointed in myself. In the morning, I'll wish I hadn't done it, I'll feel weak and ashamed.
7. Can I avoid this stressor, or deal with it better in the future? I think trying meditation or writing or drawing before it gets to the point that I feel tempted to hurt myself would be dealing with it much better.
8. Do I need to hurt myself? No...no one ever needs to.
So...what I'm going to do is go take a hot bubble bath, with a nice mud mask facial, and then hop into a warm bed and read. Because I'm not SI'ing tonight. There are healthier ways to deal with my crap.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I'm a little excited. I even get paid for it :)
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
- I am: so much more than I give myself credit for.
- I want: to smile, and mean it.
- I wish: so much didn't have to be a secret, because it's tiring.
- I hate: that I don't hate him.
- I miss: I can't actually finish this one.
- I fear: nights, noises, intimacy.
- I hear: the unkind words in my dreams. But also the kind ones, when I'm awake.
- I wonder: if he's sorry.
- I regret: not telling sooner.
- I am not: what was done to me.
- I dance: only when I am very drunk at friends' Christmas parties.
- I sing: in the car.
- I cry: at night, most nights, as quietly as I can.
- I am not always: ok when I say I am.
- I make with my hands: representations of how I see the world, but sometimes they are disturbing. And cookies, which are not.
- I write: in my journal, almost every night.
- I confuse: people's busyness with uncaring.
- I need: to take better care of myself.
- I should: think positive.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
- Saying what I need or want
- Standing up for myself when something isn't right
- Managing the anger
- Taking things too seriously or thinking that when things are wrong, it's because of me
- Having fun (I know, it's actually dumb that that is on this list)
- Assuming that I'm not good enough
Perhaps I will print this out and bring it to therapy. So much going on right now with school and possibly a new job and my daughter's (lack of) potty training...it's causing me so much anxiety that my body is freaking out in some really weird ways. My head feels like it's falling or something, for a second or so, every so often. More often when I'm tired or trying to focus visually on something. It's been going on for a few days; at first it was really scary, now it's just frustrating and making me feel sick. My eyes are also really weird. When I shut them, it feels like they are still open, like they are dry or something. And I haven't been sleeping at all. I tried to get a Dr's appointment, but she is out of town for the week and the receptionist said I'd have to go to the emergency room. Well, it's not an emergency really. I do want it taken care of, like, yesterday, but it's not an emergency. I had a mini-breakdown after that phone call. I want to feel better! I think (I hope) after my last paper is in a week from today, I'll be feeling fine. We'll see.
Friday, August 6, 2010
- Continuing relationships with an abusive family- http://pandys.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=137562
- Why self-harm- http://pandys.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=105561
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
At another point in my conversation with my sister, I said that I didn't care who believed me about the "stuff with dad" (that is usually how it is referred to, or "the crap with Jessica"). And you know what she said? Quick background- she has never said she believes me; in fact after I told and my dad had to leave the house for a few months because of Child Protective Services or whatever, she was really mad at me for saying what I said and causing him to leave. She said that I shouldn't care who believes me because I know what happened. I was dumbfounded. I sorta expected...well, I'm not sure what I expected her to say, but it wasn't that. It really made me feel good, unjudged. It was so nice to have such a good conversation with her. Her and my middle younger sister (I have three younger sisters) and I have been talking a lot lately about family, about our parents, about ourselves, and it's been really nice.
Aside from all that, it's been a rough few days, but I'm doing what I have to do. Lots of homework to take my mind off things, finding new ways to keep myself grounded when I feel The Panic setting in.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I forgot or minimized lots of what happened, and made up rationalizations for the rest. I know now that this was to protect my younger self from being completely destroyed by what was going on. I still do this sometimes- it wasn't that bad, it could have been worse, it was me, he did it because I was bad...and so on.
When I started to really "know" that things had happened, with memories, one way in which I coped was by presenting a facade to the outside world. I was a "good" kid, got mostly A's in school, took advanced classes, joined clubs, helped people, worked, went to church... pleased everyone I could and acted like things were perfect. While on the inside, I was screaming for help.
Another way I coped was by hurting myself. I cut myself, not really deep enough to leave scars, but enough to bleed, enough to feel. I became hypervigilant about my eating and often skipped meals. I became quite promiscuous, using sex and sexuality to meet lots of needs.
One of the healthier ways that I coped was tapping into my creativity. I wrote a lot of poetry, and created a lot of art. Painting, drawing, sketching, inking, sculpture, anything that I could use to express what was going on inside.
When I left foster care at the age of 19, I got pregnant soon after and wanted to be a "part of the family" again. But how could I do this with everything that had happened? I put things in a closet in my mind, and ignored it all. I guess this also goes along with that facade I was presenting to the outside. From the outside, everything was ok- I was a good mom, in school, doing well; but it became impossible to keep ignoring things. Which is why I returned to therapy earlier this year.
Currently, I am coping by reminding myself that I am ok, that I am doing good things to work through this, by talking to the people I trust. I intend to go back to being creative, just have to force myself to find the time and get over my "it's been so long!" fears. Yes, sometimes I still skip meals- for the control, the pain, or to punish myself- and yes, sometimes I think about cutting, sometimes I just sit and cry. But for the most part, I have found much healthier ways to cope- and to go beyond coping to dealing with it, so that I can get better.
Honoring the ways I coped... Well, I think I have already done this. I'm not really ashamed of anything I did to cope anymore. I survived some horrible things, and I made it through. I'm here. I used whatever I could and did the only things I knew to make it here. And I can honor that.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
- I am worthless, or close to it
- I twist my self-worth to depend on the people I care about, so the smallest, most unintentional slight is taken with too much sensitivity
- I don't deserve to be cared for
- I am dirty, and bad
- I am at fault
...on my relationships:
- I trust people I shouldn't too quickly, and people I should, not enough
- I am emotionally needy, seeking constant reassurance that someone cares
- At the same time, I push people away, testing their caring
- Relationships with my parents are superficial
- Relationships with my sisters...were strained; now, they are better, but I am still unsure about how they really feel toward me
...on my views about sex:
- Sex is easily used for power
- Sex is easily made to be about control
- Sex is painful and causes guilt
- Sex is a way to make people want and/or need you, to make them want to be close to you
...on my life in positive ways- what strengths have I gained?
- For all my emotional neediness, I am pretty self-sufficient- I know how to run a household and take care of a family
- I am compassionate and empathetic
- I am not broken, even with all I have been through- this shows me that I am strong
- I know how not to parent
Writing Exercise from: Bass, E. and Davis, L. (2008). The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of CSA. (4th Ed.). New York: Harper.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I kinda wish I could describe how I've been feeling since I started this lovely "healing journey." It's difficult to name all the feelings going on in my head...or heart I suppose.
But there is a lot of anger. Which is maybe why I am depressed? I'm sure we've all heard the old saying that anger turned inward is depression. I am angry at everyone who hurt me, everyone who didn't believe me, everyone who turned their back. I am even angry at myself. But I am not willing to- nor do I think it would help anything if I did- rock the boat *again* by bringing all this up to the people I am angry with. So my struggle is, how do I stop turning this anger inward? How do I let it out or diffuse it in a "healthy" way? Is this possible? It must be posisble.
Maybe this is something I should have talked with my therapist about today ;) Instead, we talked about how I need to not get to stressed about the little things- she said to take things one day at a time (which another smart person also suggested) and stop getting so bugged out at the big picture things because they can always be broken down into one-day-at-a-time steps.
Yesterday I put in an application for a research specialist position in West Virginia. (I am currently in NY). I meet the qualifications (and even exceed some) and it's in the field I want to be in. They don't have a current opening, they were just taking applications to start a pool for expected future openings. So, I put in an application. After initially being super stressed about it, I am a little excited and hoping they do end up with an opening in the near future. I think it might be a good opportunity, a good change. A chance to be a little farther away from my family, to not have to deal with them so often, to not have them RIGHT there to be involved in everything.... yes, there are so many reasons why a good job in another state could be good. But I'm also stressing about it quite a bit. I don't know why- there's no opening yet, I might not even get accepted, if I do I don't have to take it, and if I take it it's not forever, written in stone. So basically I'm just trying to relax about it and wait calmly.
Still depressed, still no appointment with a psychaitrist. We are playing phone tag.... But I am hoping to get in soon because I have been so blah. I want to scream sometimes- someone please, please help me. I want to feel better, want to feel normal, want to GIVE UP on this "journey" and go back to ignoring everything. Because that was easier, safer, more comfortable.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Until today. There was a link on Pandy's (can you tell I go there often- it's nice not to feel so alone) to their song "It's Not Me It's You." Like "Monster," you can't tell they're a Christian group from this song. But this song is I guess about putting the blame where it belongs- "I'm no longer choking/from the pain you put me through/and now I know that/it's not me it's you- you/it's not me it's you/always has been you." I'm not saying let's blame everyone for all our problems, but let's blame the people who hurt us for their actions, instead of blaming ourselves. For people who have been through CSA or SA or RA or any kind of A, that's a big struggle. So I am kindof glad I found this song...or that someone else found it and shared it ;)
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
So this Fathers' Day I have decided to try to think about only the good things and not the bad, as far is my dad is concerned. And to pretty much just try to make the day about my daughter's dad and other dads I happen to know who are great, even though they might not be my dad.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Maybe that is why we blame ourselves - even when we know in our minds that it wasn't actually our fault, even though we would never blame another survivor for her own experience - because somehow it allows us to keep from admitting that we were not in control. No matter why we do it, it IS going to destroy us if we don't find a way to make ourselves believe that it was not our fault.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
I felt shut out, I felt like no one cared, I felt alone, I felt that everyone had believed my dad's story (that I was crazy or had been "brainwashed" into thinking up the abuse, or that I was just coldhearted and wanted to ruin the family), and I felt angry. Last Christmas and the one before, I did get Christmas cards from some of them. But it still hurts that for a few years, no one was there.
I'm working on letting go of this, what was anyone supposed to do, really? And recently, thanks to facebook, I've sortof gotten back in touch with a few aunts and uncles. And cousins, who've been more than kind. I'm thankful for this.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I think it's these little moments that keep me from losing it, that keep me from letting the pain eat me up. There is a lot of good in my life right now. That doesn't take away the bad things that happened, but it does make it a little easier to bear.
I had therapy this morning. It's always a little difficult, facing issues and things you've done and things that have been done to you. Things have gotten a little bit more difficult since I started going- more panic attacks at night, more difficulty concentrating during the day. But at the same time, it feels good to know that I'm trying to move forward. We talked about accepting the possibility that my parents will not acknowledge what happened, or ever apologize. Accepting it doesn't mean agreeing or saying it's ok, just realizing that it won't change, and it's probably self-destructive to keep holding on to the hope that it will. So that is where I'm at; it's a little difficult to actually realize this- that it is highly, highly unlikely they will ever change, but probably necessary. I've been hanging onto that hope for the past 8 years, and it hasn't gotten me anything. Perhaps it's time to let it go.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Of course, there were good times. Lots of them. And maybe in general he is a "good" person. I am not really sure, I am still looking at my definition of this. But he can do bad things, he can cause so much hurt. It's been almost eight years since I moved out and it is STILL hurting, a lot. So when people talk about him as if he is a great person, it's upsetting and it hurts. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I want everyone to hate him, I would just like it if people wouldn't speak so highly of him. But, since I'm not going to go around telling everyone what he did, I believe I'll just have to deal with it. How?
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Background: I started therapy in the beginning of May to deal with some issues I'd been carefully trying NOT to deal with for some years. This includes CSA, and later SA, self-injury and eating issues, depression, body image issues (obviously), panic attacks, flashbacks and body memories (actually, I didn't even know these had a name until finding Pandora's Aquarium online while trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me), nightmares, insomnia, and general irritability.
I am really lucky that my bf was (and still is) so supportive and caring. I'm also lucky to have a kind cousin who is so encouraging. Without my boyfriend, without the few wonderful family members I have (I have lots of family, they're just not all wonderful), without my best friend (who is also my unbiological sister, and who I love dearly), and a few other nice people I am lucky enough to know, I would just not be able to handle this "let's go back and look at the trauma" stuff.
Well I think I'm starting to ramble. So that's it for now. More later ;)