My Own Backyard

Samuel on the lake….

Odd to look ahead to a vacation with sons and their families with ambivalent trepidation. Accepting the way things are due to the long term effects of PTSD from the severe repeated traumas of childhood sexual abuse, replaces any sadness by choice. Things are how they are and my body has its own ideas of what is safe. Being around others besides my cat, Samuel, and the array of birds that love my little secret garden puts my system on alert.

The warning bells clang and sleep wouldn’t come without medication. On the fourth night it had to be doubled up. Last night at home, in my own little oasis, sleep came at the usual time because my entire body unwound.

Vacation was a success. I did not step on any toes, and let things flow. My tendency to be critical, a life-long tool at keeping others at bay, was stashed away. Warmth extended outward, and warmth from grand-babies and sons flowed in.

But it did take a toll on my body which will not fully relax around others, even family. Like Dorothy in Oz, “There’s no place like home.”

 

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7 Ways Family Members Re-victimize Sexual Abuse Survivors (as seen on Psych Central)

The haunt from the second wounding, that of origin families re-wounding the child now grown woman, never goes completely away. It comes up again and again with pain so deep the core anguishes as if freshly pierced. This is as helpful now as it was when first posted.

Second Wound

Twenty years ago when I first disclosed to my family that I had been sexually abused by my brother as a child, I never would have guessed it would mark the beginning of a long, confusing struggle that would leave me feeling misunderstood, dismissed and even punished for choosing to address my abuse and its effects.

The response from my family did not start out this way. Initially, my mother said the words I needed to hear: she believed me, she was pained for both her children, and she was sorry. My brother acknowledged the truth and even apologized. But as I continued to heal and explore the abuse further, my family members began to push back in ways that hurt me deeply, and only became worse as the years went on.

Disclosure of sexual abuse can be the beginning of a whole second set of problems for survivors, when…

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On The Lake

In to the mountains and onto the lake with sons, their spouses and children, Samuel and I. As the mist rises over the cool water, all are still asleep. The nervousness of past gatherings has stilled just as my interior has.

Being in a group is more pleasant. A determination to care for myself, work at centering, and enjoying each moment takes precedence.

And because both sons are doing well, thriving at work, growing their families, and engaging socially, detaching and paying closer attention to my own needs is possible.  

PEACE

To feel settled after a life of upset is to be honored, appreciated and focused on. Anxiety over every interaction caused such grief and an altered state of mind that was never at peace. How could one person make such a mess of every situation?

Or was it because every situation was handled by anxiety rather than a connection internally where soul decisions are made?

Decisions coming from within is a new thing of wonder. My mind is not deciding. In the night when sleep won’t come, my being grapples with something that needs attention. Come morning directions are made from the spirit; what to do next and how to proceed. It’s a powerful ‘feeling’ not to be ignored, not a thought but a force welling up. 

Instead of an electrical buzz directing my life, responding to others in a way that is not of my soul, the settledness comes because decisions are based on my needs, morals, and what feels right for me. Peace comes knowing that I have invested what I feel is in-line with my beliefs. 

Dropping the burden of the belief,  ‘I’m bad’ born during the formative years of childhood during the period where I was victim to sexual attacks by brothers, and which cemented into my personality, has been integral to the awakening ability to enjoy what is around me.

A tiny difference in the environment is savored on walks in the meadow such as the one lone red leaf tipped up in the green grass. Around and around I go each time noticing its individuality and beauty. 

Just Be

The struggle is to make room for all the feelings and not run. That door is locked, open it, let it air. Because closing off one room causes stagnation. Free the feeling by feeling it and acknowledging it is there which allows for quicker dissipation.

Running from a feeling freezes and locks it. There it stays until the door is opened. The tendency is to escape from feelings of sadness or loneliness on this bright sunshiny day. Yet those feelings accompany me daily as part of my whole repertoire.

Note those and move on, because other feelings also exist. When burying one, you bury them all; the bright greens of summer while walking the meadow as the soft breeze whispers through my hair, the heron startled by my presence lifting off with such grace to fish farther down the creek, the intense quiet of a summer day interspersed with a distant train plaintively blowing the warning horn and song birds happily chirping.

Move through the day allowing whatever is there. Don’t be afraid, don’t censor, just breathe and just be.

At Peace

Last night’s rainstorm broke the week long oppressive heat as cool breezes fluttered the curtains. The morning temperature requires a light jacket while sipping coffee as birds chorus a happy hello. All is well internally and externally, calm and gratefulness prevail.

My interactions with sibling Seth in the city were at my discretion, not his. Inviting me along with Samuel who was asked to help install a washer was not something that felt right. Declining the invite left me feeling something more was needed.

While cutting lavender and the basket burgeoned with this year’s hefty, generous crop, the idea of a home warming gift took shape. The antique basket from storage in the basement made a beautiful container.

Samuel drove me to the city the next morning to offer our house warming sentiments. We enjoyed a visit over coffee and cookies. It was satisfying to go on my terms, at my discretion, and in my own time.

My assessment of Seth is so different, seeing him as he is, off the pedestal. The choices he has made require that at 70 he must still work. The new home is in a posh neighborhood so that raises the price extraordinarily.

My assessment of others has drastically changed because there is connection internally. The life-long feelings of ‘less than’ are replaced with feelings of equality. And that allows for a peaceful existence in-between the times of chaos.

PERCEPTIONS

Over thinking the toxins spread to others in the origin family by the eldest sibling after his sexual attack against me when a child, swirls in my head upon waking. Sipping coffee as the red sun rose, the realization struck that it wasn’t about how others were infected with Tom’s poison about me, snickered in manipulative put-downs over the years, it was how it had annihilated my thoughts and feelings about myself tainting my view thoroughly.

That is where the work needs focus, how his treatment affected my self-esteem, destroying it. The traumatic attack still repressed, committed by Danny, shattered my brain and psyche. Tom’s treatment of me over a life-time shattered my spirit, emotional well-being, and core personality.

Feeling alone with the world against me, feeling ganged up on, belittled, smirked at like a piece of rotting meat, these are the feelings spawned in my growing up years amidst the group of people called family.

These are the feelings that need attending to now. Not how his treatment might have soiled others views of me, but my view of me.