photo by Patricia
The only other blogs I read are written by women who survived childhood sexual abuse. Two this morning were like healing balms as they each described how hard the holidays can be. Yes, it was hard. I am glad the day has passed. And I don’t believe I ever felt that way before, nor said that.
My sadness deepened. I believe I deal with low grade depression daily which is much greater in winter. Add a holiday where I sit here alone with Samuel knowing others are celebrating was hard. The feelings of being left out heighten to an extreme, and my acting out is absurd, childish really. Not something to be proud of.
Pouting, bitterness, being mad, all memories of how I behaved during the growing up years. Yet much pain lay behind it. My mother chastised me for my young ways of expressing it, “Bite off your nose to spite your face,” was a common chastisement. Or, “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
It is true, and I do that well. Hurt me, then I hurt myself tenfold. I will retreat, not partake in festivities, or laughter, the burden of what’s carried becoming heavier, though that seems impossible as the burden already was too much for a child to bear.
Plodding through the snow early on Christmas morn, lap after lap retracing my steps, there was a quiet voice gently questioning my mother’s rebukes, partly dismissing them. As a child you were not given space to express your pain. So of course you pouted, acted mad, retreated, and pulled all that you had away from her and anyone else… which meant my natural self went into cold mode. Even my cat doesn’t like that.
Others want you present not off in a fog somewhere. Yet often I go there, that safe place where nobody else is allowed or knows about. The technical term is disassociation, what I called zoning out until I learned it was a real survival mechanism that is common to those who were sexually abused as children. It becomes a way of life so familiar that noticing and feeling my body comes as a surprise, actually feeling the house I live in.
Unfortunately retreating and acting mad are still a reaction to hurt and deep pain. But the pain becomes unbearable because you haven’t learned to express it. Keeping it in without validation locks down a tight knot inside of me clawing at my chest to get out. The flow of energy is stifled and stuffed simmering in the stew of yesterdays.
It is hard to be gentle with self when the child takes over. And she will have her day. When the adult again takes the reins show gentleness and understanding to that child. She needs it.