Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did…

As Elton John has said:

Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind

I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah

So much on my mind!  It has been a long time since my last post.  I’ve been working hard in therapy, trying to understand my “parts” and integrate as much as possible.  My process is being interrupted, as I have to leave my therapist of 9 years – the only one who got it.  We’ve done so much work.  I’ve been so successful.  There is so much yet to do.

I’m not sure how I’m going to locate another therapist.  It seems all I can do is find someone, and interview them.  Hey therapist person – do you know about Mother Daughter sexual abuse?  Do you believe in it?  Will you be able to help me keep moving forward?

I don’t want to dwell.  I’ve been able to spill so many of the demons through the stories I’ve told.  I’ve learned so many coping skills.  I want to maintain and grow, but I need the person I work with to understand that this is woven into my fabric.

Or do I?

I’ll keep you posted on that.  My therapist, K, thinks not.  He seems to think I’ve done a lot of work and I can sort of keep my eyes forward, and not worry so much about the junk in my trunk.

Not sure how I feel about that.

Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind

I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah
I’m still standing yeah yeah yeah

Dropping little reels of tape to remind me that I’m alone …Playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home

I’ve referenced this song before. Hate Me by Blue October.  Those lines –

Dropping little reels of tape to remind me that I’m alone
Playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home

Sometimes, often after a therapy session I have this storm in my head.  Where all the parts of the committee of chaos get together and have a town hall screaming match.  The focus is laser on the convos in my head and everything real around me dulls and recedes,  I tried to capture it tonight.  I used my dictation software that I use for my job to say out loud what I was hearing as it was playing out in front of me.  I know I edited some things – chose what to repeat and what to ‘forget” but I got a lot of it.  I left the pronouns alone, the sentence fragments.  Transcribed only the words.  Tried not to do a second edit as much as possible.  I think I got it.  A lot of it.  References to Coyle and Petal are from a book I’m reading – the shipping news.  Maybe more on that later.

After the jump.  For our protection.

Continue reading

Sorry seems to be the hardest word.

I realized the other day, with the help of my AMAZING therapist, that my mother has never expressed remorse for any of her actions against me. I guess I shouldn’t have been, but I was REALLY surprised by that. I held this image of her that made her out to be misunderstood – she REALLY loved me but her illness got in her way. She wouldn’t have hurt me if she thought she was really hurting me – it was all care taking.

But that’s not true, is it. I cannot remember one time I got an apology. Not for an accusation, an argument, a missed birthday or late pick up. Not anything. Certainly not for anything abusive. It was always my fault. If I hadn’t made her angry…If I could be trusted to do these things myself…If she didn’t have to protect me.

Even that last one – not protect me because there was evil in the world. Protect me because I was too stupid to not attract evil.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that my mother could have been so self-absorbed, narcissistic, hurtful, that it was willful. I keep searching my memories for something. A gift that was thoughtful, an” I love you” that wasn’t a manipulation, a selfless act. Even when I would get decent grades or have a good performance in sports or music, it would be about her. MY CHILD takes just after me.

I remember one time she hosted a dinner for my hockey team. I begged her not too. All she did was gush about her spaghetti sauce and make sure everyone complimented her on it. I left halfway through and she didn’t even notice. It was not about me. Never about me.

Can there be comfort in that? Can I begin to let go of the thoughts that the abuse was all about me? That I was bad, not good enough, etc? If everything else was about her and her needs, maybe the abuse she enacted upon me was about her and her needs as well. Maybe, just maybe, I can see my way to getting rid of some of this shame.

“And then she whispered, “How can you do this to me?”

Life has been trying. I have been trying. I am tired.

My mom, my abuser, is dead. Has been since 2001. Last Friday was the anniversary of her death. Usually I breathe a sigh of relief on some days. It’s complicated for sure – I have complex emotions and over the years I’ve done better with managing them. There is always some fragmentation but I had been pretty certain it would be an uneventful year. I usually get plagued with the same thoughts – go to the grave or not? Mark the day or not? Mourn for the mother who was sometimes decent or not?

This year was different. This year has been one of many changes. As I continue to lose weight I scrutinize my face and my body for signs of my mother. As I loose weight I feel more exposed and vulnerable. There have been some sleepless nights and panic attacks in clothing shops. As I scrutinize myself in mirrors I remember all the times I was paraded around and put on display.

Right now I’m battling a leg infection. I was in hospital for a few days on iv antibiotics. As the doctors puzzle over what I have, some scary words are being thrown around. “Malignancy.” “Aggressive auto-immune.” “No idea, really.” “Biopsy.” “Multiple cultures.”

My first thought, truthfully, was that my mother was coming to get me. Mad at me for talking, even though it’s only to my therapist. Furious at me for being angry at her and blaming her for my flaws.

Right behind that was the fear of dying and having to come face to face with her. What if she scammed her way into heaven? What if I’m so rotten I hook up with her in hell. What if there is neither heaven nor hell, and I’m reincarnated into this dynamic all over again because I haven’t learned “this lesson.” What if we all just warp into some other parallel universe where I’m left looking over my shoulder.

Needless to say my PTSD is in high gear. I hear her everywhere. I jump at the slightest sound. I’m torn between wanting to find her and torch her and wanting to prostrate myself to her. I cry. I cry a lot.

I have about three weeks to wait to get all of my test results in. It’s going to be a rough road. Any suggestions are welcomed.

” I have to block out thoughts of you so I don’t lose my head
They crawl in like a cockroach leaving babies in my bed
Dropping little reels of tape to remind me that I’m alone
Playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home
There’s a burning in my pride, a nervous bleeding in my brain
An ounce of peace is all I want for you. Will you never call again?
And will you never say that you loved me, just to put it in my face?
And will you never try to reach me?
It is I that wanted space”
–Blue October

I can see clearly now the rain has gone…

Wow, so that was an intense 48 hours.  Just a shout out to indicate I’m ok.  I did some major self care today.  I got fingers and toes done for a fancy wedding coming up this weekend, and it included tons of massages.

Sometimes massages can trigger me – especially in a  nail salon.  They can feel out of place, and forced on me.  But today was nice. The women were soothing and they always asked before they touched me.  There was a lot of reframing the self talk in my head, but it got easier, and I relaxed into it.

I’m grateful for days like the last two, followed by days like today because they prove to me that recovery is possible as long as I soldier on.

Speaking of that – Thank you to all the veterans and current soldiers who are or have protected me.  I am sorry that your job brings so much pain and suffering to you.  You are heroes.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – or, To My Therapist

I am sorry that I’m telling you this way.  I’m sorry that every time I have something big to say I can’t just say it to you – I have to write it down.  I have to practice it in the fake therapy session in my head, and then I have to try to recap it all for you.  Only I can’t explain the crazy, so I write it down.  And then I feel bad, like I should be able to tell you adult to adult.

I wish you could be in the therapy sessions in my head.  I thank you though, because obviously over the years you’ve taught me what to do and say  to myself.  So you are there in a sense.

These therapy sessions aren’t planned.  It’s like if some other part of me starts wanting to tell you what’s going on in here.  If you could witness it, if I could really relay it to you, I think it would tell you a lot.  I think you could help more.  But I can’t do it.

Part of it is because I can’t quite get there in your office.  I’m always held back – always conscious that I’m on my way to work, or to home, or some other place where I need to be “put together.”  I want to tell you after, but it seems so silly.  So far away by the time a next session roles around.  So here it is, thirty minutes later, and I’m doing my best to recap it for you.

It happens when I’m driving.  Always when I’m driving.  It’s really hard to sob and drive.  And I do – because it’s not just in my head.   I’m living it in some sort of warped PTSD driven roller coaster from hell.  But you get me through it.  Or your teachings do.  I don’t know – too confusing.

Tonight’s psychodrama…where do I begin. 

I realized that to get to the next place in therapy I need to start talking to you about some different things.  Mostly, I need to be able to talk to you about sex.  And about what I’ve done, and what’s been done.  I live it too much right now.  I don’t remember it, I live it.  I cry and shake, and get sick, and want to hurt myself.  I don’t, but I want to.  And I say horrible things to myself and it’s not nice.

But I haven’t been able to talk to you about it.  I guess the easy answer is that I’m ashamed.  And I am.  Ashamed and embarrassed.  Of the things I’ve done, of the effects they still have over me.  So instead you talk me through that in my head which lead me to realize that I’m also scared.  Of you.

We addressed this once before I think, I think you suggested that I reacted in some way that showed you I might be afraid.  I thought I had that handled, because really, to your credit, you are one of the most trustworthy humans I know.

Earlier, before this storm in my car, I had written a post about a different guy, and I realized something – I have been taught to think that everything bad that has ever happened to me has been my fault.  I have some power over people that makes people hurt me against their better judgment. I am bad.  I say that to myself a hundred times a day on a bad day.  I hate myself because I am bad.  And part of me believes that.  Part of me believes that if I open up this box of garbage you will – I don’t even know what to call it – forget yourself?  lose yourself?  Either way you’ll hurt me.  Maybe you’ll mean to pat me on the shoulder or something, but it won’t be in your control.  That’s how bad I am.  I remember getting scared of another male therapist that I connected too – once he started to show me that he felt bad for me I got scared.  And I left before he could hurt me.

And really, let’s be honest, you should sort of feel bad for me.  I feel bad for me.  Sometimes I can’t quite fathom that any of this stuff actually  happened to anyone, let alone me.  And intellectually I know that I have that much power – but not everyone inside my crazy head knows it, and I don’t know how to convince them.

I’ve been wanting to leave lately.  I’ve been feeling like things were good, like I was good and this was a good place to stop.  Or drop down. Minimize my exposure and risk I guess.  But the smarter part of me, or maybe the older more rational part of me who actually knows you as the professional you are, and knows me for the work in progress that I am, knew there was something bigger looming.  I don’t think I knew what before tonight.

So there it is.  Parts of me, or at least one, is really afraid of you. Terrified I guess.  Terrified you will hurt me, terrified you will tell me this is all too much for you to manage.  By the time I hand you this, if I hand it to you, I will no longer be able to connect to the intensity of it.  I already feel silly for writing and thinking it.  But I shouldn’t out-therapist you.  You get to be the therapist and do whatever it is you do with all the crazy info.

I am sorry, for what it’s worth.

Trigger alert

Please don’t read this if you’re easily triggered.  I write a lot here.  While it was healing for me to write it, and to post it, I don’t know if it will be healing for anyone to read it.  I talk about how a person can be abused by more than one abuser, in more than one type of situation.  I talk about how sometimes survivors can become offenders.  I talk about confusion over sexual orientation.  I talk about the scripts I wrote to survive my mother’s abuse.  Continue reading