Free?

 

Upon reflection, I’ve come to notice my tendency to cope with certain experiences by dissecting them, and laying blame and shame at the feet of others.

Finding ‘evidence’ of how I’ve been wronged so I can make judgments of others, is merely a distraction from the true reality;

I am deeply hurt. I have no control over the actions of others.

As long as I cope with the after-effects of abuse by pointing out the flaws in others, I cannot truly heal. I cannot truly be free.

It is impossible to know, for sure, the motives of others. All I can do is attend to my pain.

Whenever I write or think the words ‘I am powerless’ or ‘I am weak’, there is a distinct feeling of release; of letting go. In our society it is really not the done thing, to assert ‘I am weak’; it’s thought to be negative.

So why does it relieve me? It’s as though powerfulness and a sense of control are the fundamental illusions I’ve been painfully clutching onto my entire life. I’m tired of it.

I am weak. I am mostly powerless – there are much, much stronger forces in this universe than me. I have been hurt by others, and there really is no comeback. It is my job to face the truth of my own suffering instead of pushing it away. It is my job to love myself even though I am weak and vulnerable and can have my heart crushed.

From now on when I feel compelled to point accusingly at others, I endeavour to look inward instead, simply asking;

“What hurts here?”

 

 

May we all face the truth of our own pain

 

Best wishes everybody

 

 

 

I am free

 

Today I learned that my mother has maintained contact with my father – at least in recent years.

She ‘told’ me of her meetings with him – without telling me outright. Mentioned certain things whilst omitting the fact that he was involved.

Anybody who has experienced similar abuse will recognise this game. The abuser gets off on (unnecessarily) showing us just the edges of a picture that they know would break our hearts if seen in its entirety. My mother has long engaged in this kind of taunt.

Sometimes I’d figure out the truth for myself, and confront my mother about it. I was a fantastic victim – brought  truckloads of drama and self loathing to the role,  whilst my mother drank in the show. It makes me shudder now.

Since I’ve been learning about and developing the personal boundaries that I was never before allowed to develop, I’ve sometimes wondered how things would be different if I saw my mother a year or two down the line. Through my own personal responsibility and my own growth, perhaps our relationship could be safe. I would have resumed contact mostly for my mother’s sake; she doesn’t have any friends and part of me still feels I owe her something. This past year without her in my life has been safe. So much safer.

 

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The above statement really touched me. It is comforting to know there are others in the world who ‘get it’; who understand what it means to have been little more than a puppet, a glove, an accessory for someone else. For decades. To wake up in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or beyond and realise you have no idea who you are, what you like, what you want…

Shortly after ceasing contact with my mother I wrote in my journal:

 

I sit in the dark 

and wait

for her to turn on the light.

 

Nothing ever felt real until my mother made it so.

Now I don’t know who, or what, my mother is. I don’t believe there is any semblance of solid representation of this person. More and more upon reflection and with the few things I’ve learned since ceasing contact – I believe my mother is a kaleidoscopic persona. The face, the words, swivel around to represent whatever she thinks those in front of her want to see or hear in the moment. This is why she appears to have no morality.

 

I write this partly as a reminder. I’m not sure if it’s common of people abused since infancy, but I have a tendency to minimise abuse; a tendency to ‘forget’. A tendency to go back for more, thinking this time will be different.

No. Like my recent epiphany that the abuse wasn’t personal, and the way that knowledge seeped into my bones… this too is seeping in. It’s done. There will never be a going back. My mother will die, or I will die, and there will be no goodbye. I’m at peace with that. In fact, the idea brings me peace.

 

My husband said he’s not surprised my mother has been in contact with my father. He said that I never knew love from my family of origin, but that he, our daughter and I all love each other – and he believes there is more love to share, friendships, in the future. What kind and uplifting words.

Sometimes I feel ashamed for writing about my abuse – but  it is what lead me here. It’s the swamp I am rising up and out of. Recovery is a long process, and one I think I’ll be engaged in until my final day on earth.

Recovery is messy, painful, hopeful, and beautiful.

I feel so blessed to be here.

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May we find joy in recovery

 

 

Just be

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Each day there are times when I remind myself to forget about striving, and just be.

I’ve noticed that minus the striving, a lot of troublesome knots fall apart without any effort required.

Yesterday

Yesterday I was very unwell from hypovolemia, and before I reached the hospital something humiliating happened to me. I ended up sick and anxious by the side of a busy road. Not dressed properly because my sarong came off as I lunged out of the car, begging for help with an upper leg cramp that felt like it was tearing my leg apart. I’ve never experienced a cramp like that before. My husband had been attempting to drive me to the hospital. Emergency services despatched an ambulance to our house but failed to inform him and so we decided to go via car. The ambulance soon met up with us by the side of the road. I was taken through to hospital and given 3L of IV saline (IV saline tends to ‘stick’ better than oral fluids when my polyuria is out of control).

 

This morning I felt shame.

Suddenly I envisioned walking up to Buddha, who was sitting serenely underneath a tree by a river. I told him the whole story and of my shame…

I was certain Buddha would understand the gravity of my situation.

Once I finished talking, Buddha smiled at me and said:

“So…? That was yesterday”.

I left the riverbank, happy.

 

 

 

 

Medical care: Physical illness & trauma

I’m slowly developing an understanding that my medical condition and my psychological suffering are not independent of each other.

I spent a long time denying that I was still in pain after being abused throughout my childhood and young adulthood. In reality, the abuse was ongoing; but as a result of denial I wasn’t able to act and protect my husband, daughter, nor myself, appropriately.

My perception was that medical doctors would not assist me with my medical condition if I owned up to my emotional pain. I tried to become a person completely untouched by my illness, my physical limitations, my very real losses – in fact, I felt I needed to become better for it. A kind of hero, whose super-power was ‘oblivious joy’. It was an exercise in self-preservation; there are undoubtedly some doctors who will not care to help a person with an intractable medical condition, who also has trauma issues. Doctors’ efforts might best be saved for more readily treatable patients anyway (I appreciate the logic).

Not all doctors are like this though, with some medical doctors acknowledging and accepting the interplay between the body, mind, and trauma.

I wanted and needed assistance with my medical condition, and was petrified of medical neglect — an echo of the neglect I’d suffered growing up. Many times I remember feeling as though my father was abusing me all over again – via doctors who wouldn’t take me seriously due to the PTSD he’d created within me. I felt that the only way to legitimise my medical condition was to appear entirely logical, unfettered, and untouched – shoving aside the damaged and scared parts of myself.

It’s taken a long time for me to embrace all of it – and I’m finding that by acknowledging more aspects of myself, I’m starting to finally heal parts that would otherwise never have healed. And any healing has got to be a good thing. Ironically, my recent experiences with doctors have been markedly more positive since I’ve made changes in my life. I suspect I’m less anxious and less combative these days (the old me would undoubtedly disagree). I don’t fight for medical care any longer… and yet I more readily recieve it.

More and more I don’t think of my illness as ‘purely’ a neuro condition. I use a wheelchair when I am out, some days I cannot sit up in bed, and some days I receive IV fluids in hospital as my body uncontrollably purges them – because I am hurt. That’s really all it is. I am hurt, I am wounded… with all that it means, and all that it encompasses. And I’m letting go of the shame.

This, is healing.

 

 

To learn more about the interplay of trauma, the brain, and the body I thoroughly recommend reading ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ by Bessel Van der Kolk.

 

May we all find healing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t personal

Just a quick note to share a rather wonderful development:

Since writing my last post, in which I likened the dysfunctional family system and coping mechanisms to the coping mechanisms of my body with it’s dysfunctional ANS…
something clicked. And so far, it seems as though it may truly have stuck. The realisation that ‘the abuse wasn’t personal’ (and so I should stop acting as though it was) feels like it has seeped into my very bones.

I understand it’s all a bit odd. The abuse that I suffered feels about as personal as interaction can get. I was all but razed to the ground by the abuse. But that’s the point – it felt extraodinarily personal, yet I’ve come to believe it actually was not. The abuse I suffered was little more than a means to an end for a struggling entity grasping at survival; grasping for normalcy, and enough stability to enable it’s continuation. I was collateral damage. Unlucky me – yet, at this stage, I’m the only one learning what freedom is.

 

May all beings find freedom.

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(My latest painting. I paint based on feelings)

Go well!

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