SHE RISES

And then stillness. The waves subside and calm prevails. But for how long? Is it my mind observing how peaceful things have been stirring it up causing havoc just for variety? Or is it years of suppressing trauma, unprocessed at the time of the events due to the type of trauma; childhood sexual abuse.

Because no family will , (rarely) take that child and hold her in their arms lovingly. Or give her the medical and psychological intervention necessary to heal and have a life. Want a life.

How many times has the wish come for it all to be over? How many more times will I wish it? 

A child sexually abused is cast out. Not out in the middle of the road, naked, alone and cold. But inside, naked alone and cold…still with the monsters, and now the collusive family who wants her kept quiet.

There she shivers, from cold. From terror. From aloneness.

From there she must grow. Her body does even if she wishes not to. She must traverse all the steps of life that others climb, but her journey is always naked, alone and cold. No one to help, because she was trained not to ask, not to talk.

She is mute. Alone. Naked but no one sees. Reactive to every stimulus, because PTSD does that, makes every nerve on edge for what’s to come.

There are too many challenges making one wish not to be here. For it all to be over.

But she is a warrior. Each one a warrior, the ones that don’t make it too. No one knows this, not even her. But someday she does. One day she rises yet again, knocked down over and over, she rises, tries again, and begins to see, feel, and know that inside her resides courage, beauty, and strength.

She blooms into a powerful woman, a beautiful soul that shines from within radiating outward onto a aged face that sparkles with peace, knowledge, and depth.  

 

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Captive of the Negative Brain

It’s the PTSD. Remember that? The thing that you spent most of your life not acknowledging because nobody else ever did. (which would have made it real, and more importantly would have brought intervention with the possibility of recovery) Laying my head down the thought comes, will I get to sleep tonight? Never a good sign. It is as if I’ve already made up my ever restless mind. 

PTSD made living so unbearable, wearing my body down over the years as I tried to keep up with others, so much that the effects became life-long. It literally broke something in the brain, and all the pathways to it. Negative thoughts  take hold choking me. There is science behind it, but don’t ask me to explain, or do a research paper. (I have enough to worry about) The neural pathways are funky, even the slightest disturbance fires them up.

That’s what happens when trauma goes unprocessed. My family, and most family’s, sure as hell won’t give credence to sexual abuse occurring within their midst. Intervention is crucial at the time of the trauma(s). Will it ever be? Will sexual abuse to a child by a family member, or friend of the family, or even the camp counselor ever be talked about openly? So that the child can process the trauma?

I know I would have needed to talk about it, all of it, over and over again. Just like my grand-son after the terrific car crash where his baby sister and mother were beside him as the  lights swirled, and the ambulance paramedics  loaded them all onto stretchers. 

He spent many visits with me in the garage and on the driveway putting up bright orange emergency cones, and turning on the red flashing lights Samuel had installed on his battery operated jeep. The story started with Mommy holding up her hurt arm, and his sister crying. But over time he became the paramedic saving everyone. The hero mastering the situation that threatened his psych now healed. He went on to other things, the crash no longer holding his mind, memory or nervous system hostage to the terror. . 

That is the intervention needed but never comes, a safe accepting environment where the trauma, like any other trauma, can be worked through with care, love and patience.  

That must change for our little girls (boys) to survive. The dirty details others are uncomfortable listening to need to be spoken. Only in hearing the evil things done to little ones will change occur. It is happening in your family, behind the closed door bedroom where the children are ‘exploring’ but it goes too far because one of them already knows more that they should, or in the tent out in the backyard, the tree-house at the neighbor’s, at Auntie Peg’s when Uncle George is home, at Scouts, camp, or anyplace when you are not watching, noticing, and intervening.

It could be as simple as saying, ‘OK you two, find another game to play,’ with a smile, not a look of horror on your face. Or keep the door open,  don’t allow long periods of time out in the cute little playhouse where nobody’s watching. Watch. Kids explore. And too often older kids, even young children, have learned too early what feels good ‘down there’ and act out for more on other children who don’t yet know.

Having sexual feelings awakened at too young an age causes it to expand to other children quickly. It isn’t always an adult, adolescent, or teen. It can be a child of the same age as your own child who had it done to them, and now knows about the powerful feelings that feel so good more is naturally wanted. 

Waking in the night, or unable to fall asleep without a sleep aid isn’t always about something wrong, something that needs changing, or something that needs paying attention to. Often everything is in its place, and my life is being lived in alignment with my beliefs and principles.

Nothing is wrong; everything is wrong. It is unprocessed trauma that damaged my systems permanently. It is PTSD, my little beast that won’t be tamed. My mind turns on the negatives which become louder in the darkness, rolling through like thunder, activating the system that has been on the edge since age 8.

The courage for family’s to intervene when Uncle Joe, Daddy, or even sometimes Mommy   sexually abuses a child at the time it occurs, saves her, and offers a road to complete healing. That is yet to come for most families who allow their shame to cause destruction to their daughters(sons). It just doesn’t happen, not yet. Not until we are brave enough to stand up and say this happens, and at a rate you don’t want to know about, which is why it happens. 

Recently I woke up dreaming of Tom. We were close by each other and seemingly alright, but I clearly remember thinking, He doesn’t know how badly he hurt me. He never asked, nor ever asked to be forgiven. No one did. The other three are dead. I don’t know about Chet’s two friends who also attacked me, having such fun while I suffered silently. 

I am 66. I still need to speak of what was done. I never had a chance to. And I may not live long enough to process it all and be done with it because the damage still causes suffering. I will do what I need to do until it is done. I want it to be done now, but wanting is not reality,  and denying what is doesn’t work. The damage is irreversible. Due to diligence, courage, strength and miracles, periods of graceful joy occur, then inevitably tumble into times that are not. 

BREATHE

Waking. Sit with it. Breathe. Just sit, as the little fountain gurgles, and the hummingbird’s wings make a flutter close-by at the feeder. Birds in the trees sing melodies while the damp earth emits fragrant scents of life.

Just sit. Let the shoulders relax, and breathe allowing consciousness and relaxation at the same time. Coming that far after a lifetime of anxiety is progress, a miracle really. So give room for it. Luxuriate in it. 

The Punisher

Life became an all-out war against myself. I made it that way when turning each day into a pass or fail day depending on the scale, just as my family had done. Lose weight, you are normal. The punisher took over, always ready to take on the job with glee; chastising, criticizing, stealing the joy out of life.

Take back the moment, which means dwelling on now, not the size of my body, and what a failure I am. Days became dark. The usual depression combated by working at positive self-talk deepened without knowing why.

Eating patterns developed in childhood to survive came on stronger manifesting into all that mattered. Life is so much more than about that.

None of the usual summertime pleasures were enjoyable, but robotically completed instead. All of my psyche turned on me, like it had much of my life. The only way these past few years that life became joyful was remembering that it is not the size of my body that matters, but the being inside it.

Yes, the body matters, but so does treating myself lovingly, which includes understanding why my food habits are such, not hating myself for them. Softness simply destroyed, gone, lost, and out the window.

I want the life back that says I am good inside my soul, no matter the outside trappings. To feel good about who I am, what I do, and what I say. Confront the beast that tells me otherwise, because that loud echoing from my past— the family I came from who taught me to be silent, meant eating to stuff it.  

How quickly I became lost. Interactions lately with each of them has poked the ‘beast.’ She arrived frothing with self-hatred stealing my joy.

I don’t know the answers, only that it is my life to love and I will.

 

E-mail to Non-Abusive Brother

photo by Patricia

The fact that I have to describe a sibling as abusive or non-abusive is what causes perpetual sadness and low grade depression in my life as a continual way of being. This brother, Don, was once like a father, as ours died when at age 8. We have become estranged since my mother’s passing ten years ago, but I have done my best to overcome the distance without much success.

Those in the family origin do not talk about important issues, so this email will be a shocker. Yet for me, it is imperative to be real.  

Dear Don,

As much as it would be nice to visit for coffee, the drive is difficult. So often you welcome me, yet you are the one who drove around the country for fun, and drives as a part-time job. Driving doesn’t affect you like it does me especially when it includes city traffic. I often wonder why you don’t make the drive here just to have a cup of coffee, or walk to the water to sit awhile. Though you came once with the boys, and another to take me to lunch in Williamsburg, and a few picnics including Samuel’s retirement party, just stopping by to chat is not a time I ever remember happening.

I have lost count of the times I’ve been up your way just for that reason. I have missed some picnics where Tom was also included. I reached a point where that became untenable. I also prefer getting together with others one to one rather than groups, but it isn’t reciprocated.

The road goes two ways. I’m sorry you can’t find your way here. I would love that but it seems it just won’t be. Shane has been too busy to have us for lunch which would be close to you, so I thought I’d just come anyway. Yet it is a challenge, and not easy for me though I can do it if necessary. I just wonder why you can’t or won’t.

I think of you often. I took the fall basket that I didn’t get around to delivering, and repackaged it into a birthday gift which probably won’t find its way to you house either. Day to day life is a challenge. Sleep is a challenge. Adding other challenges is hard. Even appointments are hard upsetting the routine of day to day, and the comfort and safety of home.

The traumas in childhood left lasting damage. I know you don’t want me to talk about it. A long while back you were upset with me relaying how much Penny went through, so why don’t I just get over it. So I won’t say more. And I won’t complain for that very reason either. I don’t need you to solve my problems like I once did.

I stopped after you  said that just once you’d like me to call without it being a problem. I get it. You have your own stuff, and going to you was inappropriate. I just wish you would have said so, not dismissed my challenges by comparing them to Penny’s and how well she does despite them. What is worse than repressed memories of rape?  I remember everything else done by three other siblings which is bad enough, including your buddy Tom. But what Danny did still remains repressed, though I know it was violent, and was rape. That is what causes so much terror in my life even now.

The other daily challenge is the intense feelings of badness that grew in me from age 8 becoming part of my personality. I work on self-esteem issues daily because I grew up feeling bad, that I don’t have a right to even be here or have a life.

This was meant to simply be a note to let you know I’d love to visit with you, but come here on occasion too?

Patricia

A System Corrupted

A feeling of satisfaction fills me when seeing the clock read after 7 this morning. The tossing and turning during the night was met with determination to let my soul know that the badness feelings descending upon it are habit, not truths.

You are OK. You are GOOD. And on went the soft voice of reality chasing the childhood demons away who have latched on since the sexual attacks were suffered. It is this damage that is the hardest of all that was taken.

It is tiring facing this each day, confronting the negativity that grew as my body grew. When a child is forced into silence over traumas that need airing, it is not the trauma causing the damage but this imposed tomb where feelings implode all on her own, the snakes wriggling outward with no place to go.

So much damage. Now my life is picking up pieces and gently placing them close to where they used to fit. And the work is tiring. Not only must the negative voice need taming, but depression is present each day, each moment of every day. Doing things to relieve that heaviness feels good, and walking is the best cure.

Yesterday it was little things piling up. No wonder it was hard to get back to sleep after using the bathroom. Samuel’s brother visited, the one who also raped a sister in high-school. And instead of joining them, I stayed relaxed playing games on the tablet near-by only occasionally joining in. No phony acting on my part.

Samuel and I had lunch after meeting an attorney for estate planning. That brings up thoughts of what the future holds, always close to my thoughts anyway. How would I manage on my own? I don’t believe I would.

Lunch was greasy, over-priced, and priced incorrectly. When confronting the manager about the mistake she reacted stupidly with stubbornness. No success.

None of these occurrences are earth shattering, yet my delicate system reacts and stays enervated in ways that are not healthy. Others rudeness, ignorance and insensitivities  through the years was usually put upon my own shoulders, and by me.

To have changed much of this is a miracle, lessening the load greatly. Unfair things still get to me sticking like burrs during the rest of day into the night. Padding along the meadow after forcing myself out after a busy morning brought relief.

A light sweat erupted furthering the feelings of satisfaction and delight. Buttercups fill the meadow with daisies beginning to pop out. The grasses, taller than me, wave and dance in the breeze while leaves rustle a soothing cadence.. This simplicity is what brings me peace.

 

 

FAMILY

Tenderly, like rocking a child, cuddle the little girl left alone terrorized by those she loved. You forgot how it was, how it is now, because others groomed you to. Be like it never happened because the shame of those that did those things to you, and the others doing nothing to stop it, or help in any way, is too uncomfortable for so called family— then, and now.

So alone I am. But do not abandon myself. The loneliness comes because no one stands witness to what happened. The story goes that others have so many other hurts, so how can I just think of myself? More honestly, they want family, even if those remaining are holey, not holy, but full of holes like a tattered old shirt blowing in the wind.

My gut pulls for family too. It always will. But just get on with life which is one I created of great beauty. I do so much better being apart from it, yet like a moth to flame still try.