Therapy, December 10, 2010 and other stuff

I had to tell my therapist that I haven’t been taking my meds today.  I wasn’t looking forward to it.  Surprisingly, she took it rather well, especially when I explained the side affects I was having.  I think it helped that I have a med appointment on Monday and only have a weekend to get through.  I know that’s all that’s keeping me going right now.  I’m having major manic mood swings.  I have been talking really fast and stumbling over words because my mind is racing.  I am happy and okay one minute and annoyed and pissed off the next.  And a few minutes later it switches again.  I can’t stand this.

She told me today that I do a very good job at talking about everyone and everything but myself.  I will admit that I do go off on tangents from time to time, but it’s all about things affecting me right now.  For example, we were talking about how I withdrawal to get through the hard things.  I shut myself off from the pain (ha I try).  But we were talking about how I can be blunt and direct and even mean when someone pisses me off, unless they are someone I care about.  Then I walk over glass to keep from hurting their feelings and to hell with mine.  She told me she’s surprised I can even care about people with as shut off as I am and I proceeded to tell her what I feel saved me from total lack of feeling.  It was the birth of my cousin when I was 11.  He became the center of my world for many years and in fact, I mothered him more than his own mother did.  It took me a few minutes to detail the relationship between my cousin and I, but I don’t feel like I wasn’t talking about myself.  I was talking about a relationship in my life that made a difference to me, my responses to that relationship, and how that relationship has stayed with me.  So even though I talked about my cousin and things in his life, they all affected me and are a part of me.  I’m a very complex person, if I do say so myself.

As usual, though, I left therapy feeling more than a little drained and beat up.  Song on the radio made me cry…The Climb, Miley Cyrus.  “The struggles I’m facing, the chances I’m taking…sometimes might knock me down, but no I’m not breaking–and I, I gotta be strong, just keep pushing on.”  Yep I was bawling.  Then my husband called.

The cows got out and he got someone to go get the kids from the bus stop, he didn’t know when he would be home, he was on his way to the farm.  This set me off.  I was depending on him.  I needed him to get the kids and be there to support me when I got home.  Therapy is hard and I need some support to get my feet beneath me after it’s over.  He’s not the only one who can go chase cows around, get this, a fenced in field.

First he set up for my elderly neighbor who had a stroke 6 or so years ago and has very little balance to walk to the bus stop to get the kids.  Great, just what I need.  My neighbor who already expects so much from me to fall and hurt herself getting my kids from the bus.  But then, the cousin I babysit for said she could get them.  Of course, she’s a busy as everyone else and made it to the bus stop just as the bus did.  Then I get home, have to get my daughter ready for dance, get my son bundled back up and head to the bank to get the money to pay the tuition for dance.  I have to leave in about 5 minutes to go pick her up…I’m going to have to bundle my son up again and head out.  I needed him and I feel really let down right now.

We’re getting McDonald’s for dinner tonight.  I’m done.  Can’t handle anything more right now.  I’m just done.  Why can’t someone just take care of me or put me first once in a while?  It’s bad, because I know he does try to take care of me but at this moment I just feel let down.

My Head Has Finally Exploded

Okay, so maybe avoidance is a bad thing.  After my short post before my trip to the school for another music class my mind began to race.  I’ll try to make some sense out of the thoughts, but it may be difficult.

I’m in a car, on a road.  It’s a rough road, but I know where I want to end up.  At least, I think I know.  I have an inkling that I’m going in the right direction.  But my foot is on the brake and even though I want to step on the gas and keep going, I can’t seem to do it.  I don’t know if I’m going the right way or even if I’ll know when I get there.  Am I going north when I should be going south?  I have asked for directions, but no one will give me a straight answer.  Can I overshoot my destination and end up somewhere worse than where I started?  Do I even want to take this trip?  Do I have a choice?

It’s a waking nightmare.  I have enough nightmares when I’m asleep, but now I’m having them when I’m awake too.  Am I even making sense?  I don’t know if this is conflict or just plain confusion.  I just know that suddenly all it’s all I can think about.

Am I doing the right thing pursuing this?  Could I stop pursuing this if I wanted to?  Where are all of the “aha” moments my therapist said I was having?  I can’t think of a single one right now.  They’re forgotten or lost or just gone.  I don’t know.  I can’t concentrate.  My usual articulation has fled and I feel like any minute I’m going to start grunting.

Am I dealing with true conflict over trying to heal or is this another bipolar episode?  I can’t even discern the difference at this point because my mind is racing.  It doesn’t feel like an anxiety attack, at least not yet.  But I don’t have anything pressing me at this moment.  I’m sure if I had to make dinner or help with homework I would fall to pieces.

Up is down, down is left, and nothing is right in my world today.

Conflict, Therapy Assignment

I’m just going to start a list of things I feel conflicted about.  This post will probably be edited several times, but here goes nothing.

My grandmother:  do I love her, do I trust her, do I trust her with my kids?

My husband:  am I a good enough wife?  are the problems I have too much to ask of someone I love so much?

Sex:  I enjoy it, but sometimes I feel guilty or have flashbacks and it’s ruined.  Do I do it out of obligation or do I want it?

Fantasies:  why do my fantasies make me feel so guilty and dirty?  if I hadn’t been molested would I even think of some of this stuff?  do normal people think of this stuff?

My kids:  am I good mother?  do I spoil them by trying to make up for all of the love that I didn’t have?  do I protect them too much?  do I not protect them enough because I’m trying not to smother them out of reaction to what happened to me?

A job:  I was laid off in September.  should I look for another job at this point?  am I stable enough to hold a job right now?  what if I find a job I like but screw it up because I’m so screwed up right now?

My mother:  I want my mother in my life, but I can’t handle her drinking.  How do I hold onto this relationship?  Should I hold onto this relationship?

My mother and my grandmother:  the pressure they put me under is almost unbearable.  every conversation sends me into a tailspin.  I’m strong and resist doing things I don’t agree with, but how long can I keep it up?  my husband gets angry every time they do it to me but that only makes it worse I think because then I want to defend them.  it’s tearing me apart.

My in-laws:  I love them and they have been good to me, but sometimes they make me nuts with demands requests on my time.  It’s I need this printed or I need that designed or can you make this call for me or what do you think about this?  why am I supposed to have all the answers?  why do they ask when they aren’t going to take my advice?  why can’t I say no?

Being a pushover:  I am a strong, capable woman.  I have no problem telling people like it is when it comes to my husband or my children or most anything else.  why do I have such a problem saying no when it comes to myself?  why can’t I just tell people that I’m too busy to take on another project right now or that it’s too stressful for me to be responsible for their problems as well as my own?  okay so I don’t want them to reject me because I tell them I can’t do things for them all the time, but is that the only reason they care about me?  why do I let myself be used?  do they even realise that I feel used?

Making decisions:  why can’t I make a simple decision like what to make for dinner?  why is it so hard to decide if my children should have another snack before dinner?  why am I able to make decisions about things that are really hard, but the little things confound me and make me want to cry?

respect:  I am 32 years old and yet I feel like others around me are so much more mature and deserving of respect.  why do I look at other adults and see authority and when I look at myself I see weakness?  others don’t see me that way, why do I?  why do I think I’m constantly being criticized?  am I paranoid?  is the world really waiting for me to mess up and fall on my face?  how long can I keep pretending to have it all together?

Attention:  why do I want to do drastic things to get attention?  why can’t I follow through on most of those things?  why doesn’t someone see that there is pain inside of me and give me some of the attention I crave?  why do I feel I am neglected?  am I really neglected or is this leftovers from abuse that should have been recognized and stopped?

Answers:  why can I solve everyone else’s problems, if they would just listen to me, but not my own?

Control:  why do I always have to be in control when what I’d really like is for someone to take control from me and make the decisions and take care of me?

Myself:  why do I always feel so alone and yet when around others am uncomfortable?  why do I hide in social settings?  why do I feel pain and sadness sometimes and numb others?  why can’t I escape my past when my abuser has been dead for 18 years?  why do I worry that the small peace and happiness I’ve found this week will be yanked away from me at any moment?  why do I ask questions that I don’t know the answers to?  why do I ask questions that probably no one knows the answers to?  why can’t I just go with the flow and live life as it comes?  why do I always anticipate the worst?  why do I want to hurt myself?  why do I long for physical pain?  what is wrong with me?

Therapy, November 11

After the harrowing night I put in last night, I walked into therapy today with a list of things i wanted to cover.  I was proud of myself for getting everything out too.  I read her my poem “My Invisible Scars.”  I swear I could see her eyes fill up with tears.  She told me it was good enough for publication.  That made me smile.  I pushed on.  I then read her “Conflicted” and the post that sparked it.

She warned me against reading other people’s blogs because this early in my journey too many triggers could cause setbacks.  But she feels I have made a lot of progress in the last two months.  She called them “AHA moments.”

We talked about how I’ve decided to separate my grandfather into two different categories/personalities.  My grandfather and my perpetrator.  My grandfather who did good and unselfish things for me that were about protecting and care.  My perpetrator whose goal was grooming and his own sexual gratification.  I think it concerned her that I’m trying to split him like this, but I’m just can’t see everything good he did as grooming.  He did good things that didn’t lead to touching and molestation.  He picked me up from school when I was sick, covered me with blankets when I was cold, made me food when I was hungry.  And when he did those things he didn’t touch me and he didn’t ask for anything in return.  That is my grandfather.  When he put me on his lap while reading the newspaper, brushed against me going down the hall, even just gave me a kiss goodbye (something common in my family) he was grooming me.  Getting me ready to accept the abuse as just another touch from pap.  I knew the difference then and I know the difference now.

We only touched briefly on my grandmother.  This is really the first time I’ve admitted to being angry with her.  Although my mom told me tonight that I did say I was angry with her before, I don’t remember that.  If I said it back then, I don’t think I really meant it or perhaps it was just too traumatizing to be angry with her and I’ve blocked the memories of those feelings.

She finally got around to agreeing with me that I’m broken.  I described myself as a broken vase.  The one that ended up in 100 pieces that you try to patch together and the wrap scotch tape around to hold together.  She told me that was my five-year-old trying to hold it all together.  And I understood that.  Sometimes I feel like a child.  So afraid to make a decision because it could be wrong, so afraid to speak out for myself because I might be rejected or hurt someone else’s feelings.  So damn angry.  We drew a picture and I’m going to draw it again and refine it a bit.  It was a picture of all the parts of me that are ripped apart by my invisible scars.  But there is more to the picture than what we drew today and I have two pictures in my head that are crying to get out.

She told me I was intellectualizing to avoid the emotions.  I understand that, but at the same time I’m sitting there with tears running down my cheeks.  I’m feeling emotions, even if I can’t articulate them.  I tried to get her to give me just one of the answers that I am searching for.  Just one, to give me some hope and enlightenment.  Of course, she wouldn’t.  She just kept telling me to that I reject myself and I need to learn how to love myself.

She explained it, but I still don’t understand how a person can reject themselves.  I’m stuck with me.  I’m not getting rid of me.  I can’t be someone else no matter how much easier it would be.  I don’t deny that I’m screwed up over the things that happened to me.  I can admit to the abuse and I’m starting to talk about the details of what happened.

I am just confused.  She wants me to focus on the conflict inside of me, so I guess that is my goal for the next 10 days.  I’m going to make a list of all the things I feel conflicted about as they come to me.  But not tonight.  I’ve been 36 hours without sleep now.  I was extremely manic today because of it.  I had all this nervous energy and now I’m just feeling drained because of it.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

So many things to talk about.  So much has happened in the past two days that has opened my eyes and many of my scars as well.  So (and yes I know I really seem to like the word so) here goes.

I am a Christian.  I regularly attend church with my family.  I don’t always get to hear or participate in much of the service because, well frankly, my son is 5 and our church is like a second home to him.  And thus, he acts like he is at home some Sundays.  Yesterday, however, he was on his best behavior and I got to listen to most of the sermon.  Did you know that the phrase “the truth shall set you free” is actually a biblical phrase spoken by Jesus?  I didn’t.

Jesus was speaking of himself as the truth and all we had to do to be free of the sin that keeps us from Heaven and the Father was to look to him.  I understand all of that and I do look to Jesus to A) light my way to Heaven, and B) help me through the hardest days of my life.  But that phrase takes on another meaning entirely when you have been abused.

As I was listening to the sermon, it dawned on me that the truth truly would have set me free from my abuse.  But I wasn’t strong enough to tell the truth.  I needed those around me to see the truth and shout it out for me.  I needed someone to say that it was okay for me to be a child, to be the one who needed protecting and then do it.  That is the truth.  I needed it to be okay for me to be weak, I still need it to be okay for me to be weak.  That is also the truth.  Those realizations are hard for me because I’m the protector.  I’d gotten through much of my abuse by telling myself that I was saving my cousins from going through what I was going through.  I still protect and take care of the people around me.  I take care of everyone but myself.  Unfortunately, when I need someone to take care of me I am utterly disappointed.  And there is where I lose the truth because I know that Jesus will always and has always taken care of me.  I know that every minute of my suffering Jesus was bleeding beside me and bringing me out the other side, not unscathed certainly, but still alive.  And now, because of the strength Jesus bestowed on me, I am a stronger person.  No one will ever make me a victim again.

So we come to today and my therapy session.  A big part of our discussion was actually about freedom and the fact that I don’t feel free and comfortable with sexual touches.  My therapist is trying to get me to a point where I disconnect with my grandfather.  She pointed out to me today that part of me still loves him or thinks I should love him or wants to love him.  Well of course I love him I told her.  Everything wasn’t bad.  We had Friday night pizza night and I got to keep the quarters and dimes from the change.  When I was sick at school he would drop everything and come pick me up and not abuse me.  When my father threatened me or my mother he took charge and protected us from him.  But as long as I continue to call him Pap (at least according to her) and continue to “love” him, I am not going to be able to put the shame and guilt on him where it belongs.  I will never be free of my mistrust because someone whom I love and trusted hurt me in a most despicable way.

So am I supposed to hate him?  Jesus tells us hate is wrong.  Jesus didn’t hate those who crucified him, in fact he begged for their forgiveness.  Can I disconnect from my grandfather, excuse me, my perpetrator without hating him?  I hate what he did to me.  I hate what he stole from me.  I hate the lingering feelings of revulsion and the suffering that still plagues me 18 years after his death.  Can I hate him?  Do I have to hate him?  I guess those are questions for the next therapy session.  In the meantime, I think I’ll look to Jesus for the truth.  I know he suffered with me as a child and still suffers with me each and every day.  So I guess the truth is, I can’t make this journey alone.  A series of incidents brought me to this new therapist purely by luck and perhaps she is the one to help guide me through this process.  But if she is, then surely Jesus led me to her and will walk by me every step of the way…and that is the truth.

Awful things I can’t admit to

Dearest Husband, this is a post you DO NOT want to read!  Should you choose to read it, well you have to deal with the scars it’s going to leave on your soul.  God knows I’m having a hard enough time dealing with mine.

My last two therapy sessions have had a repeating theme that I haven’t been able to talk about as yet.  I think this may be causing some of the depression described in my last post.  It’s hard to even type the words that she spoke at this point, but I think I need to get it out.  So here goes.

She wants me to say or admit or whatever that some of my abuse felt good to my body.  There it’s out.  The horrible, sick thing she wants me to say.  She says that the body is made for those things to feel good and it’s only natural that some of it felt pleasurable.  Okay my gag reflex is going into overdrive at this point.

My response…well he never physically hurt me that I can remember.  Did it feel good when he performed oral sex on my 8 or 9-year-old body?  I’m choking on the words, but probably.  And probably is as close as I can come to admitting that anything might have felt physically good at this point.  I feel horrible and guilty and shameful for even saying it probably felt good. 

The fact of the matter is that I can’t remember a lot of the feelings.  I can remember the day when he was doing things to me and I looked down on my own body being manipulated and used and had this feeling of dread wash over me and knowing it was all so very wrong.  I know that every time he touched me after I could feel a piece of my soul dying.  Did those feelings overwhelm anything that before that point might have felt pleasurable?  Again, I say probably.

So why the guilt and shame, even if it did feel good, it’s not my guilt and shame right?  I was just a child with no control over what was happening to me.  I was a sad little kid whose father turned out to be a nut, whose mother was little more than a kid herself, whose body was just a little too chubby for the other kids to resist teasing.  Hell, I was the  perfect victim.  But he was the perfect abuser.

He made me feel loved.  He took care of me.  I always knew I could live with my grandparents and have a roof over my head.  He would protect me from my dad.  And since he loved me so much, well wasn’t he just showing me his love?  Who was I to tell him that the way he showed love was wrong?  Who was I to say no?  Even though I can remember him telling me that I could say no and he would stop, could I have really stopped it?

And there’s my guilt.  Because I never did say no.  I never told anyone either.  Of course, he was the only one who really loved me, or so he said.  And no one would understand that he was just showing me how much he loved me.  And then they would send me away or take me away or something equally horrible.  And I would have nothing and no one to love me or take care of me.  Also, if he was doing this stuff to me, well then he was leaving my cousins alone right?  (Thank God, he really was leaving them alone.)

I know now that I couldn’t have said no.  Oh I could have, but the next time who knew what it would have been.  Maybe his patience would have run out and I would have been raped instead of just molested.  I found out later that he did rape someone long before he ever molested.  But, when he told me that I could say no, he absolved himself of the guilt and shame and put it on me.

So, the big question that keeps coming up in therapy…did it feel good?  Probably.  But I don’t remember it that way.