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 outdated?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.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eating, and Other Things Related

This eating thing is more difficult than I thought it would be. About two years ago, my boyfriend's cholesterol was borderline high so I got into some really good grocery shopping and cooking habits- whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, lean meats, no frying, fewer processed foods, that sort of stuff. But I never really ate good myself; mostly because I really only eat one meal a day- dinner- and maybe a snack for lunch. So, in my effort to start eating "real" food for lunch (as opposed to only an apple or some crackers), I started getting some of that frozen crap, you know Healthy Choice or whatever, and it sucks. And my boyfriend has this whole spiel about how it's not even healthy because it's so processed and has so many preservatives in it. (Shhh, he's probably right.) Whatever, so I'm not eating it anymore. I think I'll start doing salad for lunch. Maybe with chicken? Definitely with some cheese.

Breakfast is a whole other can of beans...let's add one meal at a time, thank you, and not get paranoid of getting fat in the process. Adding lunch has proven difficult enough right now... Is it completely insane, the guilty feelings surrounding eating? Who feels guilt about eating, something we must do to survive and stay healthy? I have some theories about where it came from. Feeling like I don't even deserve to be healthy, feeling like I have to be "perfect" and eating too much might get me fat, and all of this was most definitely compounded in the foster home I was in. Sooooo many issues there, all of which have served to lower my self esteem, undermine my quest to be a normal person, and some of which have aided in rendering my eating into the "disordered" category for a long time now.

But, given my new found strength (not sure where I found it, probably where the missing socks go) I'm not going to give up on this eating thing. Or the self esteem thing. I think it would be ok to put on like 5 pounds. Clothes would still fit, and my doctor probably would stop yelling at me once a year when I go. Keep going, keep eating, and start taking vitamins, too. One day at a time. That's my plan. I think I'm going to be ok :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You SI

I found this tonight (on Pandy's) and thought it was a good resource. Exercises like this can be helpful when you're in pain and feeling the temptation to SI.

Questions to ask yourself before you SI (self-injure), and my answers, for tonight:

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.
And work tomorrow won't be so bad...knowing that when my student loan bills come in, we'll be able to pay them, is good.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Article Published

Yay my article "What Survivors of Sexual Assault Want you to Know" was "published" on Associated Content:


I'm a little excited. I even get paid for it :)