WormHoles

I traveled last week. I shouldn’t have, but I did.

I did my very best impersonation of myself and for that I am patting myself on the back.

I learned new things about this latest me. Snow flurries on highways make me physically ill. My panic attacks are now lasting longer than the normal 25 minutes and I am getting headaches. I have cysts developing on my neck. I no longer feel safe in my normal safe places. Sugar is my go to food – and it might kill me.

All of this because I’m remembering.

All of this because I can no longer tolerate being disregarded.

All of this because I am tired of being the strong one.

This must be what purgatory feels like.

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Better

Floods and triggers are really interesting beasts. They are awful, but in the right context of therapy and recognition they can help to move you through the quicksand of emotional stasis.

I snapped last week. A big deep snap that took away my ability to create anything new with art or written word. I struggled deeply through work and social situations. I had a very hard time conversing with my husband over the phone while he is out of town. I really do not remember a lot of last week actually – except for therapy and then not too much of that. I do remember being sharp with people and I remember that because it is out of character for me and I feel bad that I had to work so hard to be pleasant.

I went back to the emotional level of adolescent  me – something about the series of events that started the domino effect brought me back to that girl. That was when the cutting was the worst. When the night terrors peaked. The drinking escalated and my drug abuse became very apparent.

The one thing that bothers me so much is that I can not remember much. But, I am remembering more of my childhood in these flashbulb moments that I really hate. I want it to be a movie in my head – I want to be able to link events for one straight day and I can’t. It is so frustrating.

I  pulled out The Courage To Heal Workbook that I have had for a very long time to see if there was anything in it that would help me remember. What it did was show me how far I have come since I bought that book and started wading through this swamp. I have photographs of the neighborhood and the place we lived. I can just about pinpoint in the pictures the before and after me. It’s nauseating. Last night I did an internet such of my old street – there is much that is the same and the street view cased me to have a mild body reaction – which is truly progress. I typically think about that place and experience painful nostalgia. This time I felt sick. I guess the body reactions are helping to validate what I can remember.

I’m not too sure about where I am headed in therapy right now – but I think some of what I am about to work through is dealing with the neglect of my caretakers. One of which is my Mother who is still alive and to whom I have a somewhat estranged relationship with. The other is my Grandmother who I always thought was the greatest thing in the world. She is deceased and I still have not fully grieved her and that was decades ago. I am afraid that the reality of her lack of care is going to really send me over the edge. She is who I was protecting. I was convinced my predator would kill her if I ever told. I can recall not being able to do sleep overs with friends because I would wake up afraid that someone had broken in and killed her in her sleep. She would have to always come get me. I fretted about her safety, but I am coming to see that she did not think so much about mine. That is a hard pill to swallow. What saves my psyche there is knowing so much about the cycle of abuse and the willful blindness it can create in caretakers.

I recalled a memory and shared it with my therapist. He told me that it would be grounds to call in CPS. I never thought of it like that.

I’m kind of in limbo right now – I feel like my soul is half in and half out of my body. I am afraid to sleep, but exhaustion is now worse than the fear.

I am better than I was last week. I believe that I can sleep tonight. I slayed a couple of monsters and even though I don’t feel the elation I think I should I know that I found a piece of my being that has been missing and I successfully sewed it back on.

Wishing I could unring the bell

Today I want to go back to the me I was before I decided I wanted to be happy. I was reasonably comfortable in my blissful ignorance of all that had been done to my soul.

Now I am sitting here trying to decide what I can do to push this awful energy out of my body. I’m so tired and I’m physically hurt because I was so agitated from all the recent triggers that I  did not feel when my body got hurt bad enough to do some damage. I walked around with a torn ligament and a torn muscle for a few weeks before the pain got too intense. Now I can’t do what I would do normally. Yesterday I was so agitated that I moved some heavy equipment across the yard – just to wear myself out enough to not cut. I thought about getting a tattoo, but I don’t want to mark my body permanently because when I see  the art I will think about how bad shit was today. I have not cut myself for years. Now does not seem like a good tike to take it back up. It’s a bit of a weird triumph actually to not cut – but it’s minute by minute.

I just want to go back to how it was – maybe for an hour or two. I need some respite from my fucking mind.

I know that I am doing great in the big picture – but this sucks balls.

I just keep wondering if I have had a fun life at all -because I don’t remember anything. I never knew how bad my disassociation was. I still do it. I’m too tired or overwhelmed most of the time to keep a daily journal. I am baffled by the blogs I see on here that document so much detail. I don;t know how anyone remembers.

I am afraid of remembering too much. I have to remember though if I  want to make a difference for a child.

I am in such a bad place right now. So different from last week or the week before.

I went to the market today and I wanted to shove people out of my way. I had to fight back tears before a meeting – I had to find the positive in all things today and remember that every single person I met had their own battle and did not deserve my wrath.

I am so incredibly fucked up right now – but so amazingly aware of wha is happening. It’s weird.

I just need a little break and I don’t know if I’m going to get it.

Trigger – not my favorite horse

I’m going to start with the end. I found my predator – The Original Him – on Facebook. This was the end result of many catches of the sweater on the barbed wire over the last few weeks.

I had to march backwards in therapy to see that I had been triggered time and again over the course of about  4 weeks . Unfortunately I decided to look him up on Google  after both individual and group. I did it because I’m the closest I have ever been to filing a report. At least I think that was why I did it. I never thought he would be on Facebook. He shares a name with someone who is going to jail for filming his violation of a 15 year old – how fucking ironic.

I don’t know how to feel. I should feel more, but I’m back to feeling nothing. I have not done anything bad to myself however – except to eat some really shitty food and now my entire body aches – but at least that is better than feeling outside of myself.

I guess I am grateful that I can look at all this and know that I have been triggered and I have chosen not to default to any of my normal destructive behaviors. That is progress, right?

Cleaning house

A while back, it was suggested to me that I take the time to relieve myself of the physical items that tether me to my ex husband. Because I lost so much, what little I have left is still so sentimental. I just move the boxes of stuff around and put them out of sight. I always stumble upon them at the worst times.

This week, for some God forsaken reason, I decided that I should get started on that.

When I think of the person I was with him, I just can not make sense of it. If you looked at all the photographs and scrapbooks you would think it was idyllic, my life with him.

I just threw out 4 years of those photos and albums. I kept exactly enough to fill perhaps 6 pages. Most of the photo’s are of a dog that gave her Soul to me during the years I lost mine to him. She had a tumor the size of a Watermelon in her the day I put her to sleep. She took so much shit on for me. I promised her I would leave him that day. It took me 3 more years to find the courage to actually do it.

I dont shake any more when I look at his picture, nor do I feel love, hate or regret. I feel empty usually.Today I feel sick. Nauseous. Like there is a piece of food stuck in my throat. These are some of my body reactions to triggers. I want to run until my lungs burn and my legs give out. I feel like if I could just cry I would feel better, but I can’t. I’m like a caged Tiger right now. Because I am aware that I am triggered, and I know that giving in and doing  my body harm right now is not the answer.

My pulse is racing and my head hurts from just sitting here putting this in writing. This is less destructive and more constructive. Like a panic attack, I know this will pass. I just have to find something more to sop up some of this energy.

I have already used one of my anchors today a couple of times. I’m really glad that I’m going to therapy tomorrow. I would really like to crawl out of my skin right now.

I take this as a win

Yesterday, I learned about a young lady who , after 11 years of abuse, decided that enough was enough. She told her Mother about what her Step Dad had been doing to her. She braved the disbelief that came from her Mother and the Detectives. She wore a wire and got him to confess and then again in the Police station she got him to confess further and got it recorded. He is being sentenced on Monday. The detectives feel strongly that he will get 75 to life.

That is a pretty great sentence – usually those people get out in 3 years.

Even though the Mother is having a hard time detaching from this man, she took her child seriously enough to follow through. She was also molested as a child – this is such a huge break in the cycle for this family.

For the girl, I don’t know her, so I do not know where she found the strength to stand up and tell, but what courage.

I spend so much time with people who have never told – I am always blown away by people who do it. I am also really impressed with her Mother.

I told my Mom when I was 13 – she told me ” Well, you are no worse for wear.” And that was it. I never spoke of it again – luckily he no longer had easy access to me at that point. Her statement told me that it was not worth pursuing. It is such a vivid memory for me – one of the few I have of my time with my Mother. I remember not feeling anything – just numb.

It makes my heart happy for the young girl who stood up for herself – she took her power back. What a victory.

For a Season and a Reason

I have two favorite, I guess these are poems, that stick in my head whenever I think of friendships and how hard they have always been for me. It never seems hard in the beginning. It’s when some time passes and our foibles begin to surface.

One is by Ralph Waldo Emerson and it’s called Success. I even have this one framed and in my home so I can see it everyday to remind myself not beat the shit out of my psyche whenever something happens that causes me to over analyze my behavior in any situation really, not just when things crop up in relationships.

SUCCESS

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; TO KNOW THAT EVEN ONE LIFE HAS BREATHED EASIER BECAUSE YOU HAVE LIVED. THIS IS TO HAVE SUCCEEDED.

In this one I am reminded that I am a good person. I do things everyday without an agenda . What I do for a living causes me to be with people having intimate conversations on a daily. Whenever I make a poor choice and invest myself in a social relationship that ends because of a lack of respect, too much give or take, betrayal, etc. I look at these words and remind myself that I have been the difference for someone and my Lifetime friendships speak louder than my Seasonal friendships. I just have to remember to listen for the Gold and dismiss the whispers of self doubt and heart sickness. Mr. Emerson helps me do that – and now I have motored through enough layers of the onion to honor myself in friendships as well and to let the eager to please no matter the cost part of me die a peaceful death. She’s just misguided, and the flaw is not worth the time invested in mental anguish.

The other piece I don’t know who to give credit to, but I feel like I have known it since the beginning of my time here on Earth.

REASON, SEASON OR LIFETIME FRIENDS

When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. S/he has come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

S/he is there to meet a need. Without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, s/he will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes s/he dies. Sometimes s/he walks away. Sometimes s/he acts up or out and forces you to take a stand. What we must realize is that the need has been met.

When a person comes into your life for a season, it is because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. S/he may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. S/he may teach you something you have never done. S/he usually gives you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons. Those things you must build upon in order to have solid emotional foundation. You must accept the lesson, love the person/people anyway, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

This has always resonated with me and only this past year have I been able to put it all together.

One of the very first things a child is stripped of when they are violated sexually or emotionally is their ability to be intimate. Each act after the first tears a bit more out of their soul. They are left with an overwhelming sense of self preservation – for me this started when I was 5 years old. As a child, you have no idea what has just been taken from you. You are either a survivor or you’re not. You don’t understand why you withdraw from normal group and playtime activities – you don’t understand why you never feel like you belong somewhere – you don’t understand why you gravitate to one person and are more comfortable having one friend rather than many. I became more introverted and withdrawn, I did not do well in group sports or team activities and when my weirdness was picked on or pointed out I was defiant and fractious, usually ending in a playground or classroom brawl . I still have a piece of pencil lead in my palm from when a girl picked on me in line and I went to slap her in the face and she stabbed my palm with her pencil. An ugly little reminder that I am an Outsider.

I unconsciously and historically have chosen my friends very deliberately – they fall into two sub categories : The Weak and The Wild . Both are worthy of RESCUE, the main category . The weaker and meeker friends, I was the great protector and it felt unreasonably good to make their lives easier. These were the friends that I could smell the anxiety and trauma on. Some of them were mentally ill, some of them were addicts, some were bullied. Some were just such soft creatures, like a baby deer or rabbit. How could you not reach out to them and envelop them?

The Wild ones, the ones with a death wish , a lot of them were Narcissists or Sociopaths. They were fun and we did stupid stuff and everyone wanted to be around them because the crazy was infectious. With these types I was the one that had enough hold over them to get them to stop  just short of driving off a cliff and that kind of power felt really fucking good.

None of this shit is healthy. Those relationships were fucked up – I chose lovers based on the same criteria with the added layer of they all needed to have some characteristic of my original predator.

I have a handful of friends that are Lifetime – 4 to be exact. These are relationships that I have worked on over the years and there have been times where up to 15 years has passed without contact. All of us are broken people. One of us is a Sociopath. All of us have necessary Narcissistic qualities that I think were developed out of trauma and are not genetic. Ours was born out of necessity. The trick is to deflate that and get on with healthy relationships.

I have been taking a stand lately, due in large part to my therapy, and this is why I am writing this. I had some friends that I made in recent years . I was the one that wanted to develop the friendship. There was something so comfortable to me about this couple. My husband on the other hand, was skeptical and resistant. He really did not see the point in the beginning. But I really, desperately wanted friends in our neighborhood and I met these people via a common goal. They live extremely close by and they were fun loving people with what appeared to be a strong sense of community and family spirit. They also would be a couple that would be a new friendship for both my husband and I. No past attachments – they would belong to US – not just Me or Him. I’m really big on “Tribes”. Another thing that comes from being an Outsider. I fall prey to that lulling sense of safety it brings on and the Honeymoon phase for me in this type of situation causes me to completely ignore the warning flags.

Looking back I can see the signs and what caused my husband to balk at first. Everyone I met with the exception of this couple was a dick – men and women – but I went back for more . Now I can see that I was there to prove my value to these people. I explained why it was important and my husband just said that I should think it through and he did not see this group being a good match for us or for me. He did agree that this couple was nice however, and for my happiness he did show up eventually and he was my ticket in. We are doers – so with him and I together, they were able to see value. My Husband has never met a stranger, so he helps create an approachability in me that does not exist otherwise. And back then, he just wanted me to be happy – putting me ahead of himself and his instincts. Through therapy, I recognize this behavior manipulation in myself, so I tend to not put him in this type of situation anymore.

It was like being accepted by the jocks and cheerleaders. I was giddy. This was going to be so cool – we were going to be a real part of this community. My first outing with them showed me why I was so comfortable with them. The husband is the party guy with mood swings and she is the one who manages his moods. Just like my previous marriage. This time, I was the observer and not the entertainment. If I’m honest, I am pretty sure that I recognized that within the first 20 minutes of being alone in a car with them. By the time we had reached our destination I was so anxious that I had diarrhea and could barely breathe. I chalked it up to nerves over the function we were attending. I’m so good at corking that shit. I called my husband in a panic -he talked me off the ledge and all in all it was a good day. It was weird to see this man talk to his wife in a disrespectful way that was erring on the side of humor and just watching her manage it. I immediately started giving him shit – in a “fun loving” way – in a way I never would have done to my ex husband because I was afraid of the repercussions – and it felt really good. I was stopping the “wild” one and protecting the “weak” one – protecting the wife I had been not that very long ago. I was hooked on that friendship at that point. Ignoring the second big flag.

The third flag was when the wife informed me that she thought I was going to be “trouble” and had not wanted her husband to include me in anything. But that she had amended her opinion and really could not put her finger on why she had felt that way initially. I was crushed. I started to inwardly take inventory on my personality, my facial expressions, my body language, etc. Racking my brain for the one thing I must have done to inspire that – I could not come up with one thing. Above all, I immediately took responsibility for inspiring that in her, not once thinking that any of it could be her shit. Outwardly, I overshared about my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, my Panic Disorder and that I had some past events – which I also shared – that affected my personality when I was feeling uncomfortable and that maybe that was what made her uncomfortable. Like an eager child who wants to be liked so much that awkward sharing is the go to in a stressful situation. If you have PTSD then you know that when she said that to me, my adrenaline spiked and I went on a friendly rant to expel the energy. Its a wretched side effect.

The fourth flag was when she chose to share a deeply humilating and personal story about her husbands infidelity with me within a short time of us becoming friendly – with the added statement ” I don’t want this to change how you feel about him. He has such a hard time making friends.” It’s what I did every time a new person came into my life when I was previously married. My ex husband did the same. We were collecting people and forcing them to take sides almost immediately. I should have walked away then. But I didn’t. She and I became extremely close at that point. I pitied her and I took him on in a way that most  people did not. We went to their home for parties, family dinners, Holidays. We became instafamily.

Over time the relationship has soured for many many reasons. A few weeks ago I realized why I had been hanging on to any thread possible – I had chosen the wife and children as my pound puppies. I was going to be the rock for them, I was going to be the rescuer and I would suffer anything to be part of their lives. Trauma Triangle. Always perpetuating the cycle. In this one I am the rescuer, the victim and the perpetrator. The good news is I am not pacing about, wringing my hands and wondering why they don’t like me or why I’m no good at friendships, generally beating myself up . I am  able to recognize what I did here, how I manipulated things. I am honoring myself and knowing that any relationship that consistently causes you to feel bad about yourself is not a good one to stay in. These people were Reason and Season for me. I had a lot of fun and laughs and I learned such a valuable lesson. The hurt I feel over the recent events that are not reconcilable for me will fade and I will always remember fondly the events that made my life richer. I do not feel bad for standing up for myself and being clear about the boundaries that were crossed. For them, it’s how they do things. I was a bystander as they did  the same things to other people who were a part of their inner circle. I can assume that it will never occur to them that they have behaved in a less than friendly way towards my family. For a change, I won’t be holding a grudge over it and If I run into any of them I will be able to be courteous and compassionate.

This step is like landing on the Moon for me. I have never made it this far. I am full of gratitude instead of anger.