Ravages of Thoughts

The need to write each morning sometimes brings forth a post without depth, without full truth. Not because there’s fear of honesty, there’s fear of self. The thoughts going through led me to overeat in old ways so that later my head hung over the toilet.

How could a frilly little post be written in the morning, and later in the day food was consumed in a way that was sword-like? Cut off the thoughts, don’t feel anything but this pain, not those other pains.

Writing about being in my body, then not being in it. How else would one consume such junk? Others don’t do this. Others have flat stomachs. At times they use discipline, but aren’t white knuckling it. They don’t use eating to blot out thoughts and feelings.

A cascade of bad feelings rain down. A walk with a friend at the mall brought two days of achy legs. It was more than usual, the standing around while she shopped. She’s fine, and would have walked the mall again.

My abilities are much more limited. I so want to re-join chorale on Tuesday nights, and a friend offered to pick me up. But coming home at almost 9:30 pm would rev up the usual wind down period upsetting the delicate routine. Others there don’t suffer this. Why me, why me, why me?

Thoughts of brothers dying and how young the offenders were, one at 28 by intentional overdose, one at 52, the other 67. My fault in my own special way of thinking. If I hadn’t been there they wouldn’t have abused me, and then have to life with it for the rest of their lives.

A fucked up family. It makes me sad that they didn’t have a chance. Each one could have felt better about themselves, and done better. But the care a child needs, which goes far past the basics of food and shelter, were never provided. 

The other one, now 76, is still living. Far away. Why now do these thoughts come? Is it the rinsing of winter? All the bad thoughts come crashing down. Looking at my puffy body, there’s not trust of my tuning in to its real caloric needs while the psychological needs pull so searingly. Escape. 

Since the age of 8, eating became a way to escape. There is a way. Bending over a toilet due to ravages by my own hand is no escape. It is not about eating. It is about thoughts, memories, and feelings. Being in a being who I don’t want to be.

 

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The Things We Learn

And so it goes, recovery. Shane forgives, why can’t I? We spent time together watching his son play in his basketball tournament winning by a landslide. But more sweetly was time with Shane after my regretful expression of long standing anger which had built up over time. 

Shane’s voice sounded dry and some ground needs making up. The call this morning started with the same coolness, but ended with ‘love you,’ something he had left out of the last few calls. We will resume our monthly lunch dates, though his office is on the other side of the city.

There hasn’t been lunch dates the last few years because after three hospital stays in one year, fear had grown in my belly. Even shopping at the grocery store brought uneasiness, anxiety, and ungroundedness.

As health restored, and internal bleeding became better controlled by the daily high potent antacid, my bravery at doing more increases. That long ago stomach stapling caused severe complications due to the newness of the procedure putting my life at risk over the loss of so much blood.

Though one ER doctor pressed for blood transfusions, another suggested recovery was possible without it, Over the 4 day stay a few years back, I managed to improve without the transfusions. But at home full recovery took many months to heal the internal opening made by the surgeon in ’85.

Eating often caused debilitating pain for hours afterwards. Now that things are more stable, lunch dates might be a very good way to again spend some time with my busy son. He sounded happy to hear of resuming our lunches. So mending occurs on all levels. 

So often my own sufferings are kept to a minimum when it comes to relaying them to my sons. Why burden them? Yet being factual is also necessary, which means being upfront about challenges. 

Things we learn along the way…

The Butchering of a Soul

a memoir by Patricia  Grace 

My stomach is still sore from what I did to it. The old ways come back and won’t go away. It is a daily issue to temper them, the eating till sick ways. To punish myself I eat. I knew eating what I did would cause problems, so ate more.

Then spent the rest of the afternoon until bedtime in pain wondering if it would stay down. It was the kind of pain that occurred after the stomach stapling in ’85 when more than a few tablespoons of food would put me down on the cold tiles of the bathroom floor in agony waiting to throw it up. I spent a lot time there because butchering my stomach did not take away the real need to eat like I ate. 

Hating myself. My mind twisted into the past where the only feeling was self-hate and punishment. All the work in decades gone by dissolved, and back there I went, where eating and throwing up were the only ways out of terror.

How can one go so easily backwards? Yet self-hate for causing my son pain of any kind comes easily. Which is why there are also too many times when things don’t get said that need to be said. I don’t know how. I don’t see that changing. Opposites. Where is the middle, that place of rest where such extremes co-exist?

A person permanently present in my life does things I’d never even think of doing to another person. She targets me with a precision that destroys. Sabotage. The confusion of why continues. Perhaps it is my need for space, or that I see her as she is.

I accept her as she is, just be honest and upfront.  How do you confront someone so wily? You don’t, which is why such exhaustive underhanded efforts are plotted then carried out. The slipperiness of her self-esteem is as desperate as mine.

How we choose to recover our sense of worth is the chasm that won’t be bridged, and most likely won’t be brought to the light. That kind of slyness through the years by Tom is what had the power to kill. Not the sexual attacks, but the invalidation afterwards eroding my self worth to less than nothing. I had no right to be here. 

It is not self-loving to put into your body something you KNOW will cause pain. Blocked into a box, no way out. So suffer, then figure it out. Time to say no. You are punished, now move on. Is this a cycle to suffer till death?

Fuck me. Fuck life. Why is it so hard for some, yet others go on their tra la la ways without these mixed up dark thoughts in their heads of who does what and why, and I am always the target? Targeted because I lack a voice, able to speak up for others, but not for myself. . 

Maybe this is the craziness of spring that causes slight madness as the depression of winter mixes with the warm sun, twirling my emotions at will. Something that makes so much sense one day, mortifying me the next, wishing so fervently to take it back but can’t.

So I ask forgiveness, and go on. But it is me who needs to forgive me the most.

 

SEXUAL CHILDHOOD VIOLENCE

Childhood sexual abuse? That term makes the crime seem mild. Sexual assault gives more truth to the violence. And it is violent even though using a child for one’s sexual gratification is easy because there is love and trust. An attacker fucks with the body and the mind.

What’s broken can’t be mended, ever. Trust. Gone. The ability to love? My cat, yes. My kids when little, yes. Other little kids, yes. No one else really, or a moment at times when the guard walls come down.

It is always a violent act, though no discernible violence is used. As a child I felt ashamed, and bad. My brother used that to his advantage. I pretended sleep after the first attack which suffocated due to lack of air and breath. 

I had no one. I was alone. And have felt on my own ever since.

My Passion

It is exhausting erecting boundaries where there has been none. My body feels limp, tired,, and as if run over by a train. The back and forth with my son, knowing that one of his responses was written at three in the morning, has also kept me up in the middle of each night with worry about him.

Worry about him, juggled with the need to take a stand for myself and say, NO! No I will not be talked into taking all the blame so that everybody else can feel good. I need to live and be able to care for myself too.

And somewhere along the line, he needs to find the voice to speak up to his own wife who takes, and takes, and takes. I am tired of her laziness trampling all over me. She is a very spoiled girl in her thirties. 

Exhausting. Until the day of my death, speaking up will come hard. It feels foreign and wrong. When a voice is stolen, it does not come back, not without a superhuman amount of effort coupled with exhaustion, and many, many tears.

Like a muscle unused it remains limp and weak. All the years of my life, I’ve watched others express anger in the moment. The longing for that consumed me with jealousy. Others hear anger from another naturally, as if unfazed and expected. When you’re hurt you say ouch. When I’m hurt, I stuff it.

To do otherwise will continue to be hard. To know when enough is enough, and take a stand is hard. Especially with those I love so much, but with anyone. It has always been that way since the day I was silenced at eight years old.

Telling Seth Danny fucked me as a little girl of eight? No one came to help. No one came to stop it. No one helped me heal Talking about it even now 60 years later with brothers who didn’t abuse me is not allowed. I have no family other than my sons, grand-children, and Samuel.

Writing my feelings is my air. Writing is how I keep alive as a whole human being.

 

The Vicious Cycle of Childhood Sexual Abuse

The tears drip down as email after email goes back and forth between me and my son. The more we share, the better I sleep. It has been too much held in for too long. Not wanting to hurt him, I held things in. And in, and in, and in.

And in the process have allowed myself to be taken advantage of and treated poorly. That helps no one, not him, not me.

After reading the post shared before on my blog called, I Am Beautiful, one thing mentioned by the other author, Aishwarya Shah, was that overeating was a form of self-abuse. There are many other ways too, but that is my go to. I don’t want to abuse myself with food anymore. When hurt by others, I eat.

What if I respected myself not to overeat? That would force speaking up, and expecting respect. Because not doing so leads to eating. But others resist this change in me, preferring I continue being a doormat. My husband, my son, and certainly my daughter-in-law who tramples all over me, and probably always will.

But I don’t have to trample on myself and treat myself badly. And I don’t have to tolerate it from others either, even my son. I have felt much guilt over my son. He was also sexually abused at the age of two. Immediately upon learning about it the offender was taken away never to be around him again. Though I took action, what I allowed to happen to my child has haunted me all these years. 

I have needed to forgive myself for that, and in the process proclaim my right to be treated with dignity and respect. Instead of allowing transgressions because of the guilt for what I felt I allowed to happen, I need to take care of myself now. I cannot change the past. And at 36, if he has issues about his childhood, he needs to do the same.

Dissociation and Its Many Forms

photo by Patricia

Not wanting to settle into the grief that winter brings, I finally do. Running from my center is my normal. Coming to center takes work, and a wanting to. Why would I want to go there if it hurts?

In the air wafts the scent of lavender and balsam from the hand-made sachets filled with my own lavender. The balsam was collected on various trips to the Adirondacks when we visit the shops.

The scent is always present, but I’m not

It’s only in coming to the present that its full gifts are revealed, not just grief, fear or sadness, but so much more, even if only the simple gift of nature’s earthy scented bounty.

After a week of limpy wimpy staying indoors due to sub-zero temperatures and wind, I finally ventured out to sunshine and cold crisp snow. Attaching snowshoes while indoors made slipping my feet into them so much easier.

Around and around the meadow, each lap becoming easier as my lazy heart woke up, pumping it a way needed every day but neglected. My happy heart lifted my mood, and every other system enlivened with health too.

Escaping from the present is not always conscious. I can slip in and out of my ‘safe place’ at will, though sometimes it happens automatically. But there are other ways of escaping, eating is one of them, bringing the numbness craved since childhood when the tactic of overeating to escape arose in order to survive the unsurvivable.

The backlash of this once valuable tool needs constant confrontation as to the efficacy of its use now, and mostly, kindness, compassion, and care.