photo by Patricia
The human body amazes. Mine has taken severe abuse, not by others, though that is true, but by me.
“Punishment,” I said to Samuel.
There was no other explanation. The eating machine had taken control. Things went down my poor stomach that weren’t wanted, and didn’t taste good. My head says that Sunday’s inability to sleep after a happy afternoon with friends, then calls from both sons, was part of the PTSD package due to what happened so long ago.
My personality says it is something different, that I’m different, an oddity, a belief ingrained along with the permanent damage from the sexual attacks endured from age 8-11, ongoing attacks on all facets of my being.
Living with the effects of PTSD from the childhood attacks of sexual abuse will not go away. The craving continues to forget those facts. Going along day after day, quietly and happily, these realities intrude with little warning or fanfare. Turning to food, stuffing it down automatically, kicks in. More damage is done.
I don’t want to be weird, a misfit, different. Perhaps a bugle ought to play alerting me to the whys of not sleeping then I could be better prepared to handle it healthfully instead of the knee jerk reaction of food stuffing.
The next day the bad eating continued even more severely, making me sick then unable to sleep… just like when I was eight and went to my mother tapping her lightly on the shoulder while she slept.
“I’m going to be sick,” I said.
She murmured back, “What do you want me to do, spit straw?” I went to the bathroom and threw up. The eating continued. She fed me, overfed me really in her zest to do something. But she didn’t stop the terrible nightly attacks. Nor did she do anything to relieve the belief that it was all my fault. That would be contrary to her need for a happy family to be on show.
That was her unconscious way of keeping me silent. That self-blame will keep the family secret in, and the shame. Her daughter’s weight bloomed along with the shame hidden in the thick folds of my skin.
She also wanted me to love myself, giving me the book, “How to Be Your Own Best Friend.” Mother, you split me, broke me in two. I have failed at that too.
You’d think I hate my mother. I love her. I also needed her desperately all the way into my fifties when she died at 91…desperately searching for the love that felt just out of reach.
Sometimes I take up where my mother left off, casting myself away like so much garbage. My poor heart pounded with the extra effort of trying to digest the food, while also trying to sleep. Giving up, moving to the couch, it slowed and sleep eventually came.
A great appreciation comes for my body and its tenacity for life even after so damage has occurred to it; some by my hands, some by others. My psyche also has taken a disturbing hit that is also permanent. My unwillingness to accept that has to be readjusted over and over.
Accepting what occurred and how that destroyed many aspects of my body and mind is a fact faced repeatedly because the urge is be like everyone else. Accepting these realities time and again is an ongoing job needing focused diligence. Acceptance, like patience, does not come easily.
The aspect of feeling abnormal and bad will always be there, ingrained into my psyche just as my wiring has been damaged by the feeling of constant danger lurking behind every corner.
Fighting the dragons and demons, and coming out of the dungeon to the light, is my work, and a daily challenge. So is learning to be kind and gentle to myself. As winter approaches the dungeon grows deeper, and darker, and the work becomes harder. It needs to be recognized, appreciated, and accepted.
No amount of denial helps. Acceptance and self-love does.