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 $ 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 can't make me eat, you can't make me listen, you can't make me pretty or desirable or 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'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 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:

Friday, August 12, 2011


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 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 ( 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'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 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 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 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" 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 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 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.