LIARS, MANIPULATORS, DECEIVERS

Very often the weak character of others instills great doubt in me because my tendency is to blame myself. And the hurt coming with being blamed (by me) goes deep as if my insides might crack.

Since beginning the journey of learning to love and accept myself, with it comes a wiser eye to the truth. Others who do not like my truth or my need to tell it, seek revenge in the form of niceties that sound so sweet yet cut to the bone.

That is the social norm; don’t yell, don’t tell the truth, cover it up with lies, but do harm anyway and don’t get caught.

People closest to me do the most harm, and go to the greatest lengths to conceal what they do. Flower it with lies that sound believable but aren’t true. There is no way to confront such brilliant masqueraders.

I despise liars, manipulators, and vengeful people disguising themselves as something other that. And no wonder considering what was learned early in childhood.

Tom, who spent his life putting me down so skillfully that even intelligent people in the group of people I was unfortunate to be born into (origin family) didn’t realize they too began treating me badly because of the light cast on me. Tom made it OK.

And Chet who threw the pack of Wrigley’s Chicklets down the hall, “Get it, if you get there first you can have it.”

I did, it was empty, then he plowed into me dragging me down the hall to my mother’s bed half-way suffocating me as he yanked down my pants rubbing his penis up and down on me then ejaculating.

Who would like being lied to after that? Deceived? Manipulated? And everyone does it to some extent, but some are masters at it.

My quiet life suits me. People ARE dangerous.

LOSS

Tears fall while talking to Shane on the phone, but he knows his mother well. He goes on unperturbed offering kind words in a soft, warm loving way. He understands how much it hurts when Cory visits then leaves.

“Be gentle to yourself,” he said, chuckling because we go through this every time.

There is something about Cory visiting home then leaving which rips a hole inside me. Most mothers miss family members who live far away, but my feelings of loss are exacerbated because of the separation from the ‘origin family’ to keep myself safe and authentic.

Once the self-flogging about every little thing that wasn’t perfect, including me, had worn itself out, and enough tears shed, a tired calm has begun to replace the jittery anxiety. A little wine by the fire helps too.

One so tired out to be able to rest and sleep, but for me the opposite happens, my body moving while th rest of me tries to catch up. On 4 hours of sleep- buzzing around putting toys away downstairs, laundering sheets, remaking beds, putting Thanksgiving stuff away, and zipping around like road runner on speed.

But slowly, ever so slowly, my center will be found. It just takes time.

ORIGIN FAMILY DANGERS

Home-made apple pie for Don & Seth

It’s always a danger asking two siblings to visit from the city, but felt the risk was worth it. And it did kick me in the butt during the night after waking to use the bathroom.

Tossing restlessly in bed for a few hours, going through the moments of the visit. Really? Do you have to? Great effort was put into NOT doing that, yet when soul speaks it is often in the middle of night.

Feelings of self-worth tend to plummet around those called ‘family.’ And this time was no different, crackers in my hand before bed letting the carbs melt on my tongue satisfyingly. Carbs produce happy chemicals neutralizing those negative feelings about ‘self.’

Food has always been about a different kind of hunger, that of self-love and care, a desperate lack of both until recently when gentleness, kindness, and acceptance of ‘self’ magically dissolved the cravings for something to numb that cloying need.

It is hard labor being around those who are loved yet not trusted, and who cause such toxicity in their insistence of treating me like they once knew me; malleable, pleasing, and unassertive for my own needs.

It took herculean effort to stay inside myself, losing that groundedness momentarily but mostly feeling whole.

So, it isn’t an occurrence that will happen often, but this time progress was made. And sleep came finally, waking a few hours past my normal waking time.

The body has a way of giving itself what it needs if my mind makes room for it by cutting through the gnarled jungle of memories and old habits to discover my true (worthy) self, finding peace.  

SUCCESSFUL FAILURE?

Lost in the thicket of my mind, the past, the inability to make the present perfect, or at least better in my own eyes. Rather than failing at a relationship, maybe it is the other person not willing to meet me halfway.

Maybe Don wants the ‘Patty’ of before, the clinging, needing, pleasing ‘Patty,’ not the woman I’ve become today.

It is Don, the twin who survived, who once fathered me, taking me into his home during my early twenties after his twin, sibling Danny, succeeded at taking his own life.

The confusing mess of a family was all over the place, and so was I. Living at home after leaving college one course short of my AA degree. Mom was heavy into alcohol.

Don took me in with his wife and young daughter. Supported me as the pieces of my life were temporarily patched together; a job, signing up for the Army, then eventually my own apartment.

During my mother’s decline and subsequent death 13 years ago there was friction between us that hasn’t resolved, nor is likely to. Taking me out to the hallway of her apartment because I’d said something wrong, he chastised me on making things worse. That moment a rip tore inside me that won’t be mended.

The father-like figure disappeared. There’s not been a way to establish a new balance since. I become a cowering puppy who did wrong. During her last illness I did make things harder which wasn’t my intention. I became frantic losing the only place where a morsel of love could be found, from my mom. It came with strings, but having no love inside myself, it was all there was.

Am I the failure, or is it just to be? That in his gathering of the two other brothers, and a cousin or two, in his efforts to make a ‘family’ which also includes a fourth brother, the last surviving abuser of my child’s body and a torment to my mental health throughout adulthood, that I just don’t ‘fit’ in.

That I don’t want to, because ‘fitting in’ means going backwards, way, way, back to the invisible doormat I once was. I don’t know how to be with ‘them’ and still be me. Every try I become a dithering drooling pleaser.

Yes, me, Private First Class 50 years ago.

GENTLE DENTLE

The dentist said the area was traumatized by something crunchy and hot. It had been unhealed almost two weeks and constant pain with it. Then showed me photos and it looked awful. Tears began to fall. Partly relief that it wasn’t something more serious and that the medical appointment earlier went alright too, but also that my disconnection to my body is so stark and harsh.

To chomp down and injure myself? It isn’t uncommon for me to cause myself injury unintentionally. Once a hygienist told me to floss better. At the next appointment she was aghast at the cuts in-between my teeth. “Your gums are sliced in-between each tooth!” she exclaimed in shock.

She said floss better. For me it meant harder, and faster, no gentleness required, or I didn’t really know how to be gentle with myself. Others, yes, not me. I wasn’t raised to be kind or gentle to myself, though if my mother were alive, she’d also be aghast for my saying that.

But when you are required as a child to keep horrific traumas in your little body and psyche you learn quickly- you don’t matter and also learn disconnection/dissociation. The body in one place, the mind in another.

That was how to escape someone doing things to my body that felt horrible, disgusting, and sometimes too terrifying to stay inside it. That way of living became habitual because nowhere felt safe again. There are still monsters lurking around every corner.

And, don’t I deserve it? Afterall, no one came to help once crushed under the wheels of the Mack Truck of sexual attacks by brothers loved and trusted. (but became the monsters of my dreams awake or asleep)

My work now? Gentleness, kindness, compassion, and acceptance of self. With no guidance, roadmap, or history of it, it still can be done. I am doing it, albeit slowly, but doing it.

HEALING? Yes & No

The Morning Goddess: enthralling throughout summer due to the unusually cool nights.

Talk of ‘healing’ makes my stomach turn. There is no healing, only managing the damage done. Well, there is, and isn’t.

The horrific feeling of being abnormal has mostly healed, though left with struggles of self-esteem permanently. But my internal ‘home’ offers more welcome and understanding as to why that exists accepting it with a more loving embrace.

And yes, admittingly there is healing in many areas, yet much damage was done by silencing me as a child causing irreparable damage than cannot be healed, changed, or reversed in any way, only coped with daily.

These are the truths of my life. To silence me at age 8 after a violent rape. To not administer medical attention. To leave me all alone with it stuffed inside for decades, because you and your cohorts (your sons) couldn’t bear that truth be told- that caused irreversible damage. Not what they did but silencing me and forcing me to be alone with it.

An 8-year-old child? Pummeled again and again by your other sons as they satisfied teenage lust on my little body? All alone. Suffering. Holding it in then- and for my life to come, until you died. (in my fifties)

By then it was too late. Though it all came out in my writings, every egregious ghastly detail, and with it the joys that were stuffed too, the damage was done. Repression represses joy too, creating a walking robot without feelings.

After you died I started to live, learning wholeness and love for self. It was my choice to remain gagged so that the little crumbs of love you gave could sustain me because I had not yet learned to love myself. How could I when who I was had been locked away?

The chronic severe C-PTSD is here to stay. There is no denying it, or if so, as with much of my life trying to keep up with others, unhealthy ramifications occur. There isn’t fear to jump in and try, but rather an outcome of disease. In trying to do things my body cannot cope with the severity increases exponentially.

Like camping. As the camper left yesterday swirling panic almost descends watching Samuel get it ready for the buyers to take it. Neither of us want to let go of over 40 years of camping in the woodsy mountains- campfires, biking among the pines down to the pristine lake, canoeing, our paddles softly licking the water’s surface as the loons near-by take a dive, sunsets of salmon, rose, and magenta, so many pleasures let go of.

But good-bye it was, along with all the gear, because my body cannot cope with being anywhere but home. When not home, finding my own home internally is about impossible.

So many years of pretending because that was required to be part of a ‘family.’ That caused the damage. Traumas kept inside caused physical ailments that worsen with age. The spirit, mind, and body are connected, and so much has been injured due to forced censoring that no amount of therapy of any kind will relieve or fix.

Only loving care to manage it. All the many things that need attending to are only attended to in the safety of my own home. And it does not have to make me weep, it can be decided on instead to bring me joy- joy in living, joy in finally feeling I have a right to be here too, joy in the little things which sweep me away with their beauty. Joy in that I finally honor the reality of where I am and why, learning who I am and liking what I find.

PEACE

Underneath the noise there is calm. Beneath the chatter in my brain, peace, deep peace. Losing it too often to the negativity dwelling from past voices. The gnarled way back on to the path takes presence, and a belief that it can be found, a belief in myself.

The warmth of the morning sun while resting on the patio. Hummingbirds helicopter by, whizzing past my head to the abundant flowers all around and the feeders, so close even a finger movement scares them away. But only for a moment, they come back.

The chipmunk thinks its hidden beneath the Hosta leaves chewing away at a nut swiped from the hedgerow, yet it full view from my comfortable chair. Little bunny comes out from behind the woodpile unsure of what to do next, then finally hops off onto the grass.

This peace evaded me while fretting over an impulse to ask Seth either to come for a visit or go with us camping. Getting to the core of this fervent wish there is the gnawing yearning for the family of origin that could have been, not the existing one.

Why disturb the peace? Why not choose to keep it, which means respecting my own needs, not trying to help or heal others? It is in dealing with my own pain, confusion, and lack of centeredness, that wholeness, self-awareness, growth, healing, wisdom, and peace, oh great peace, finally comes.

KINDNESS TO SELF

Resisting the urge to invite Seth on our one-night camping trip has been hard. That primal need for clan, but more so guilt in not asking due to his circumstances and how much he would enjoy a trip out.

His wife’s curvature of the spine makes it such that they don’t do trips. She can barely walk. And he took such great pains buying and revamping a van into an overnight hotel complete with queen bed, fridge, and electrical abilities too many to mention.

Yet last spring when he came, my anxiety combined with dire sleep issues, made the visit to our favorite glen a horror not a pleasure- trying to please him, trying to ensure he had a good time not attending to my own needs. It became a blur of tiredness, not the relaxation usually offered by the falling sound of water in the glen and streams.

The pull to invite continues. If he had wanted to spend time with me he would take me up on the offer to bring his cute doggie down for a run in the meadow. He hasn’t, and only came with Don as if two together is what, safer?

Our outing is moved ahead to next week because after a dry summer it has started to rain. Homing in on my own needs over others is a new experience. The training to do otherwise breaks the mold in every way.

Dig deep, what is best for my being? I have days to contemplate and hopefully resist the urge to do something impulsive rather than mindfully healthful.

You can decide it’s fine and make it so, only finding out after how wrong you are, knowing all along that is so anyway. Or take stock in my well-being and honor it.

TERROR & TRUST

Photo by Patricia

Losing my way, the forest thickens, darkness creeps in. It’s no wonder being scared happens so easily; a toad suddenly hopping before me makes my heart leap, then chastising myself for it.

My world caves in when hearing from Seth in the city, the pull to try to make more of those ‘family’ feelings, to have a family or origin. Swirling ‘ifs,’ all conclusive to one thought of the critic’s choice, you’re fault.

It’s because of me that no closeness exists between Seth, Stevie, or Don. But is it? Isn’t it more so than any interaction with them, and the standard treatment tossed my way, brings me back into the darkness of my soul, a place where most of my life existed?

That terror was the closest thing to me, living with monsters who attack is terrorizing, and those that lived with it and did nothing, even to this day do nothing, certainly do not stand by me in loyalty and testament to what was done- all are reason to be wary of.

Of course trust is an issue. So, take all my love and give it to those who are trustworthy, the family built on my own.

BE ME

It is a foreign concept to care for myself and my own needs over the guilt my mother instilled. The urge for clan is primal, and after several weeks of calm, the pull erupts again, so much there are dreams about interactions.

My mind plays out scenarios of our ‘family’ being loving, caring, and connected. But each attempt made fails, bringing me backwards to the sister they knew who was malleable and molded into an invisible ghost.

It is like tearing my spirit away, yet in doing so, my spirit freely becomes who I was meant to be, thinking, or believing all along I’d lost her to the unwanted hands upon me as a child.

She is still there. In saying no to others who have pressured me throughout life to do and be who they want, and instead choose more healthy ways of being, this admirable person emerges- me.