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