photo by patricia
March madness indeed. A beautiful sunshiny spring day called as the sun burned off the thick fog. While meditating my breath didn’t feel like enough air came through and the emergency system kicked in. Is this the day to die? What a nutter the other part of the brain mocked. The heart began beating in fear as the adrenaline kicked in.
Going out to the new deck Samuel is building I cry, “I can’t breathe through my nose. Am I having a heart attack?”
“I can’t either,” he stated, “We probably caught a low grade virus from the grand-kids. I’ve been sniffling for two or three weeks. You’re OK.”
I needed that reassurance and calmed down yet later in the day felt the same violent fear as if superseding all else, mainly common sense. After a few years with scary visits to the hospital my body and psyche are experiencing a delayed response.
Though calm through most of it at the time, now that things are healing my delayed emotional responses are kicking in. Every little thing sets me off compounded by my relentless harassing of myself over my own silliness.
What about kindness? At age 8 the lesson learned was that I was on my own and not worthy of it. No one came to my aid to soothe or protect me from relentless marauding brothers.
The message learned? Unworthy, less than others, sub-human or not even human. Self-hate became embedded into my personality. It is daily adventure to explore kindness. Some days are more successful than others.
When I remember the ongoing work of granting permission for loving kindness towards myself, warmth seeps in like a soothing soft blanket, hot bath, or cup of cocoa; even moments of mother’s love, like a cool hand on a fevered forehead, rare as those times were.
It is like a door opening wide to the sunshine. Softness melts my icy interior, tenderness replacing cold harshness. Of course you tend to become anxious easily. It is part of the ptsd. Not your fault. Remember?
Trained to keep horrors to myself meant I was the horror. It filled and consumed me having no escape or place to go. A child takes it all in blaming herself. Others encourage it to help keep the family shame quiet.. forever.
Even last spring now in my 60’s, brother Seth said after learning I wrote a book about my life, “Why would you publicize the family’s dysfunction?”
It was all about him. That interaction came only after months of no answers to my emails, rejecting me with his silence until I confronted him. My need to belong puts self-respect on trial.
Ousted at age 8, I am ousted again. Who is this brother I thought I loved? The panic of being ejected once again from the ‘family’ sent me to the ER with an overnight stay to rule-out a heart problem. Anxiety took hold and I couldn’t calm ‘her’ down.
Unable to be in my body easily or comfortably makes it difficult to discern true medical issues from those of the heart. The heart can be affected in many ways.
His response last spring is the same response from the so called ‘family’ at age 8. Be quiet, hence be nothing. It is as if I await their permission for self compassion, waiting for one word of acknowledgment that never comes.
Where were you Seth after I told you Danny fucked me as a little girl? Did you stay around to keep me safe? Did you do anything? Did Don stay around to protect me from abuse after he came running into the bathroom due to my screaming because “it stung down there,” after the rape?
No one intervened in any way. My pain became compounded embedding into my psyche permanently with chronic PTSD because of the enforced rule; be silent or be abandoned.
Caught up in this concept of unworthiness that the family encouraged in order to keep their secrets safe is a hard concept to erode then rebuild.
Leaning to open the doors to my soul with kindness, acceptance, and love is a continuous journey towards peace, warmth and freedom… It is long and hard won, re-claiming my right to be here.