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.