Tag Archives: sexual abuse

Strange “memories”?

Sometimes I get these… memories? They are weird. They come from the visual perspective of the adult, but the physical perspective of the kid… it’s very confusing and uncomfortable. 

Any emotional memory connected to it isn’t immediately apparent, though I might hazard a guess that there’s fear and anxiety that comes along with them. Most of that is muted though. It’s quickly overtaken by discomfort/disgust at the thought of ever having possibly perpetrated anything like that. 

It’s really weird to experience…

It’s mostly triggered by seeing infants or young kids just in diapers. I feel things in my body as if it were happening to me, but I see it from an outside perspective, as if I were the one doing it. None of the physical sensations go along with being the one doing things, but all the visuals are of that… 

Super disturbing.

Really want to talk to someone about it, but Dr C is still away till Monday. Gonna have to sit with it till then, unless I text her, but I don’t really want to interrupt her week away…


Fictional parallels

So, the plotline of one of the characters on Blindspot continues to unfold. I had initially thought that they dropped the story line, but they moved forward with it the last several episodes. 

It originally stared last season when one of the agents ended up arresting his former coach/mentor on child sex abuse charges. The agent (Reade) initially thought that only his peers had been abused, but one of his old friends from that time clued him in to his own abuse. Reade had no memory of any of it. His only hint at proof came from a tape with his own name on it that he found in the coach’s apartment among the stash of tapes the coach made of the abuses.

They introduced some minor hints around it being accurate, but they didn’t focus much on it. Mostly, they showed Reade’s avoidance of it. Looking back, they did a pretty decent job of portraying the denial/overwhelm stage of remembering abuse. 

The most recent episode ended with Reade sitting down with Zapata to watch the tape he had stolen from the apartment. 

The whole story has my interest piqued. I can relate to so much of it: the total dissociation of any memories for decades, the sudden confrontation with an alternate “truth”, the anger, the denial, the pushing it away… I find myself holding my breath to see what happens next. I want to know that I’m not totally alone in how I’m experiencing things… and I want to have some sort of guidebook through all of this. I know Dr C says this isn’t abnormal, but it’s nice to see it presented that way more places than just her office. It’s kinda like feeling alone for so long, then finding someone else that sees things the same way you do. I know it’s just a TV show (and they can still take it in the direction of Reade never actually having been abused), but it’s relatable… it’s the same relief I find in going to the new group (though that is technically over as of Monday). 

I dunno… I forgot where I was going with this post. Maybe it was about finding something to relate to? I dunno… Blindspot is proving to be a decent show despite the frequent cheesey-ness. And unlike Nashville, it’s handling the child abuse ramifications more accurately. Nashville introduced ptsd basically in one episode, then “resolved” it in the next. Blindspot is taking a more accurate approach to the topic. I just hope they follow through on it rather than end it with the whole thing simply being a “scare” for the character…


Impossible things (a letter to no one) 

Sometimes I wish I could materialize you here in my living room, where I’m comfortable and engaged in art. It’s easier to talk sometimes when I’m distracted by the flow, but still connected to the inside. 

Sometimes it’s hard to fit all the talking into that hour. Sometimes it would be easier if we could just do art together and I could talk when things popped into my head; when they felt ready and comfortable to come up. 

It’s safe here alone with just the dogs and my art. Sometimes I wish I could start that way, but bring you in to talk to when I was able. Sometimes I wish you were here without me knowing, so I could get past that censor and shame, and maybe you could help me with the stuff that’s too raw to bring up out loud and in your presence. 

I could get lost in my art and music, and you could watch without me knowing. Then, you could blink in when I wanted to talk… it would be safe and non-threatening. I could communicate the things I’m too scared and ashamed to tell you about. 

And while we are on the topic of impossible powers, maybe it would be good if you could read my mind and tell me for sure if I’m making this all up. You could point out the lies and show me where I’m exaggerating. You could look at the stuff that’s all a jumble and help me understand it. You could take an outsider’s perspective without the emotion, and you could tell me I really am making it all up just because I need to feel worth your time and attention. I want attention… (and even as I think that, I can feel hands on my body and between my legs. It’s creepy. I don’t want attention. I don’t want to be special or pretty or paid attention to. I want to melt into the fibers of the carpet and hide away from everything. I want to disappear).  


Triggers in random places

I saw this article on my Facebook feed, about a father who sexually abused his daughter several times, but will be spared jail time “for the sake of the family”. I understand the denial and reaction from the family (it sucks, but it’s all too common). What kills me is the court’s validation of that denial (though that doesn’t exactly surprise me either)… I didn’t think I’d have such a strong reaction to it, but it’s hit a nerve. 

I’m angry and crying and so sad…

Some of what the family said to gain leniency for the father are things I’ve heard within my own family growing up. While the circumstances were not the same, the denial of abuse among certain family members took the same path…

My heart is breaking for the little girl in that article. I want to run over and protect her myself, since no one else in her life seems to want to do it… regardless of any “evidence” that the dad will not assault anyone else, the kid deserves to feel safe and supported. She shouldn’t be forced to continue to live with her abuser, or to see him ever again. It’s not fair to her (even if she feels she needs to protect him)… her life will never be the same because of him. She will deal with this the rest of her life. Yeah, she may get to a point where she’s more healed and balanced, but she will be forever impacted by not only the sexual abuse, but her family’s rally around dad… who is there rallying for her? She must feel so invalidated and worthless…

What are they teaching their kids with this, that you can break someone, but as long as you’re sorry it’s going to be ok? Bullshit.

It’s not fair… she deserves so much better.  


They feel far away

It doesn’t feel real anymore, those “memories” that felt so real when I lived down south. The further I get away from having lived there, the less convinced I am that they were real…

Dr C says that it’s “normal” for trauma memories to be encapsulated & only accessible during certain conditions… I believe her because I trust her expertise, but at the same time, I doubt the validity of my own experience. Yes, if they are true, they explain a lot of seemingly random and unexplained things (like my strong negative reaction to male genitalia, my intense dislike of being touched unexpectedly, the weird body sensations that seemingly never leave, the huge gaps in my memory…). But…none of those memories feel real anymore. As out-of-touch with my earlier adult life as I felt while living at home again, that’s how out-of-touch I feel with what came up living “at home”. The only difference is that I had proof of my early adult life (a resume I could look back on, friends, my wife, journals to re-read, etc). I don’t have that for my life growing up. The only journals I still have are ones that talk about friendships and kid things. There’s nothing in the book I found that would corroborate the story in my head. There’s no person that could or would validate it. Bitch took my journals from middle and high school when she stayed in my room after I had moved to my aunt & uncle’s house down the street for my senior year in high school (they were already dead and the house had been sitting empty for a few years. Some vandalism happened. I jumped at the chance to get away from my parents’ constant battles and offered to “live” there). It started as only sleeping at their house, but eventually I spent more and more time there. At the point I left for college, I had been living at the house full time for several months. My mom moved in there shortly after I left for school; she needed an escape from my dad also… he was really abusive to her. I think she used the excuse that I had left my animals at the house and they needed tending, combined with the house needing the “security” of being occupied. My brother stayed with him in their house, but he had always been safer with G. There were a lot of double-standards flying around when I was little, from both sides (though it took me a lot longer to see some than others). My brother got away with a lot by my dad. He was held to much different standards by my mom & K. The same was true on the flip side; I got away a lot lighter with mom & K than I did with G… I realize now that so much of what I thought was normal growing up was actually really abusive. I had thought my brother escaped much of it, but in reality, he just caught it on another front. 

I’m connecting with some of those memories that came up while living down south simply by having talked more about growing up, but they still feel just barely out of reach. It feels like something I can just barely brush my finger tips against if I reach out really far. They don’t feel totally fake when I think about the specifics of growing up there, but they still don’t feel real either. Part of it is that I don’t want to delve into describing them too much here. What if they really are simply a sick, twisted story I tell myself. If I wrote about them, they would potentially be damaging to those others involved. Unlike the domestic violence incidents, I have no corroboration to them and they are not “public knowledge” within my circle… it feels irresponsible to write too much about them right now. Another part is simply that they are very disturbing to me. I’m afraid of thinking about them and accidentally flooding myself with trauma memories I can’t contain. They do enough of that unbidden, there’s no use inviting it outside of the safety of Dr C’s presence… 

They’ve faded again for the most part. It’s back to the faint tingles in my body, the echos of touches… these I can handle at this level for the time being. There’s no drive to cut the memories out of my body. They don’t trigger a desperation to be rid of them at the moment. They had in the past; it’s how I ultimately ended up at The Center in DC 5 years ago this past week. They had tripped me over into desperately doing anything to change the sensation in my body. I didn’t understand them at the time, I just knew when they got bad, I needed to cut the feel of duckboy out of my body… and in my dissociated state, I admitted to the doctors that there were other memories I was trying to cut out, but the only ones I consciously remembered then were the duckboy ones (it was a combination of disturbing and validating to go back and read that the concept of other sexual abuse had been brought up years before I “remembered” it down South. I have no memory of telling the doctors at the er, but apparently I did during more than one visit. And I didn’t read those files till after the memories surfaced with De; after I had switched to TL)… if I think too much about them, or let my brain wander towards those memories, they intensify and threaten to flood again. I can’t afford that right now…

Now I’m afraid to write any more and also afraid to put this down to try to sleep. They feel closer again, threatening again… I feel like I have to keep rambling to “hold the door” against them, but not rambling in a direction that helps them push forward. Maybe if I put this away and try some music I’ll be able to sleep for the hour or so before I have to wake up. I could ease some of the tension and just cut, but that would bring about a whole host of external consequences I really dislike. Better to sit with those urges instead of giving in. I’d break my “clean” steak also, and that would be frustrating to realize in the morning… yeah, better to try to listen to music and sleep a bit more.


A pattern of tolerance for the negative

A theme for the week: tolerating triggering situations for the small benefits they may bring.

It was a topic of conversation during Monday’s session. It came up during the week, it came up again today, and it’s wrapped up in the self-harm… Dr C pointed out the pattern to me Monday, and suddenly it’s weaving it’s way through everything (well, at least, I’m noticing it). It’s even a thread through my healthier coping skills: Breathe through the tuff stuff to get to the other side… as Dr C pointed out Monday, it’s what I did to get through as a kid, and it’s what I keep doing. I get that it would be good for me to change that pattern, but there’s some comfort in it. I tolerate the bad for the bits of good…

There are however, aspects of life where I don’t follow that pattern anymore. My relationship with L is a great example of that. There is no tolerating of the bad to get to the good. Sure, we have disagreements, and both of us have our share of being jerks at times, but I think we have a healthy and supportive relationship. We try to address things as they come up, and we love each other. We avoid trying to make the other feel weak, scared, or small. We build each other up. We hold the other’s self-worth when it tanks. And we genuinely care.

It certainly wasn’t the image I had for a relationship growing up. I always thought I’d marry an abusive serviceman who would beat and rape me daily… I’m not totally sure where I got that idea from, but it had always been there. I would imagine being left alone to deal with the abuse, as everyone would ignore his behavior. I would be told to be quiet and let him do whatever because his job was stressful. I would swallow the fear and just get through the day…

So yeah, some places I’ve broken that pattern, but other places it’s still very present. I tolerate triggering shows and movies because there’s some part of them I’m interested in (Game of Thrones is one of them). I focus on the good parts of it to get through the uncomfortable parts… yet when Dr C suggested I stop watching it in favor of not having to repeat the pattern, I cringed. As triggering as parts of the show may be, other parts are highly engaging.

Similarly, when hanging out with some people, I sit through conversations around triggering topics because I’m not sure how to effectively set a boundary around it one they start (and I’m triggered). I know Dr C and I talked about effective ways to politely set that boundary, but when the moment came, my mind was blank. I listened to my friend talk about her familial abuse history. It triggered flashbacks and dissociation. I felt myself slip into a more detached space. For the life of me, I could not find the words to ask her to stop. The only 2 options that came to mind for changing the topic would not have been very comfortable (for me or her). So instead, I listened to what she said from miles away, and responded when I thought I should respond. I really wanted to scream or run out of there, but I was raised to be polite and courteous. That would have been neither (though probably right on target for a trauma response)…

Anyway, so yeah. Patterns. Fun.


Hell is…

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Went to a figure drawing thing at a local gallery tonight. The model was supposed to be a woman, but she was unable to make it at the last minute. One of the guys that had come to draw offered to model…

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I made it through the first 30 minute pose, but just barely. I focused on the light and the dark trying to draw the model. It was the only reason I was able to do it at all…

At the end of the first pose, I packed up my stuff and left. Tears started forming in my eyes as I walked out… sometime during the first pose, I had text Dr C about it. I was looking for permission to leave. She hadn’t responded at the point that I left, but I had no faith in being able to remain “together” for the other 4 poses. I lucked out with the first one – he had his back to me and I couldn’t see too much. I wasn’t about to push my luck with the other poses.

I fought tears the whole drive home. I couldn’t get the image of the model out of my head, but it wasn’t really the model… I cried harder when the body in my mind’s eye changed…

Dr C finally responded as I was pulling off my exit from the highway… “No, you need to know that you’re free to leave any room with an exposed penis in it.” (I had asked if it was a failure to leave after the first pose)…

L asked why I was home so early (the text that I was leaving early didn’t get to her). I clarified my initial text about the model not being able to make it. She asked if I was ok, and she saw through my fake answer… I wish I could explain what happened internally, but there are no words…

I poured myself a triple glass of whiskey. It’s helped to stifle my triggered reactions and the impulse to shred myself… idgaf that it’s not the greatest coping skill in the world, but I’m not bleeding, so whatever.