SCATTERED

Yesterday after the rains finally cleared…

A willful, spoiled, tyrant of a four year old stripped me of centeredness, confidence, or any belief in myself.

“Should I order chicken?” I asked Samuel, one of a barrage of questions about what to do about very simple mundane things that he wouldn’t know the answer to anyway.

Feeling scattered, I dump a puzzle out but don’t have the where with all to really sit and do it. Puzzles help to center me, forgetting that this feeling of scatteredness has been a way of life and even still can visit daily. There are ways to get back in there… to my core where wise answers come.

Losing weight makes it scary. How to keep losing it, feeling bones that had been hidden, feeling good, all ripped away by the rejection of a toddler making a war out of his way vs my way. Perhaps going along and letting him be king of my house like it seems he is at his own, is the best way to be happy?

Dr. Phil’s quote, ‘Do you want to be happy, or be right?’

I want to be happy, but something in me won’t allow disrespect from a child at any age. It is untenable to me, but my belief is that it is also harmful to a child. A child fights to have his or her way, but really does not want that kind of power. They need to know that the adult is in charge no matter what kind of fit is dramatized.

Yet doubts creep in, fear, and indecisiveness, not just about Bennett but about even little decisions. This wave of ungroundedness creates more questions about what’s going on and how it provokes memories of the past which really aren’t so past. The feelings of rejection for doing no wrong, but rather being ganged up on.

The feelings of being talked about, as in way back as a child hearing Seth in the kitchen with his teenage friends thinking I heard them say something about me. Seth, though not one of the attackers, chose to be closest with Tom through the years, the eldest attacker and the only one still living.

But what was happening was I was being attacked, I was not the one who was wrong, but felt that way ever since no matter how much work is put into uncovering the real truth. This has become the bedrock of my personality, my way of responding to just about everything; being wrong, bad, or even fit to live. The courage and work it takes to counteract this is enormous and ongoing.

These issues thought to be healed from are even present, and little bratty Bennett has poked a pin in them. Tom comes to mind while meditating. As the pounds dissolve there are thoughts of letting him know exactly how badly he hurt me.

Because he never got it. His one attempt to talk via phone wasn’t about ‘I’m so sorry, can you ever forgive me,’ it was excuses.

“I was so young,” he said.

After the call my fury sent me out to the forest to bang on trees. YOUNG? You were in college, home on Christmas break! You were old enough to be prosecuted.

During meditation when thoughts are to still, my mind whirled as usual. It is only the last moments when the buzzer goes off that my mind quiets. But this time my busy brain imagined sending an email with a link to my book. Maybe send a book. But really, do you want to share so much of yourself with a creep? Perhaps just the chapter about him? Now that’s an idea.

But then, why bother? Leave them all behind to be whatever they want to be as a group, and go on as I am, plodding along, but discovering on my own path that there’s beauty and peace both around and inside me. The deep wounds will not likely go away completely but need to be lived with. Those sorrowful feelings need space with the joy.

And that is the trick, acceptance of it all, opening up all the doors internally, letting the air flow between each one. Escape is not an option on the path to health, love, joy, and peace.

Yesterday after the rains…

THE PRESENT

So easily a soul becomes lost though nothing seemed to have changed externally to cause it. The mind can be a terrible place, full of things to sway one back to the past, not a good place for my mind to be or stay.

And the critic? The critic is so used to being the boss, she also hogs the stage beating at me until nothing is left of the person created who is liked and feels full with self-esteem.

Coming back to center takes a bit of work, but mostly time. Grass by the creek moves gently with the breeze relaxing me with birdsongs pacifying my spirit while remembrances of all the times Mother Nature held me when my real mother didn’t have the time or willingness.

Thinking of her, my real mother, gone now for 12 years. And why now? Perhaps it is that a friend from childhood has died, one of two friends who loved me so thoroughly that my own mother’s love paled in comparison.

To know a dear loved one is gone from this world leaves a hole. To look at origin family members to fill it is like drinking poison. Only because they are no longer on pedestals, but are real humans with as many foibles as me or more.

At least so many years of therapy helped with my sanity. Thinking that duty calls for me to help if possible, it is much more feasible that each of them seek their own therapy. It is not my responsibility, nor is it healthy. Keeping my own sanity when falling into the pit of depression is enough of a job.

And it does call, and too often. A movie, a dream, anything brings back the past and sometimes with a boom, whacking me down, a machete of memories that takes much will to pull out of. A thicket of the past too easily tangling me to become mired in.

Mucking out of that quicksand to the present, to the moment, to the beauty around me that yesterday looked so bleak. All in one’s mind, a tricky place that takes will to direct and adjust the direction as to how I want to live— in the present with gratitude, peace, and love.

Find ‘her’, the person you’ve worked so hard to build, give ‘her’ all the love, care, and gentleness you never were able to give ‘her’ before. It is OK to love you. Only then can you truly love others.

Stuck in a Loop

Ten days later my footing is still shaky wondering what happened to the person growing into love for herself. Attempting to be part of the origin family group took me back hundreds of paces… or so it seems.

I don’t want to hear about the third person not there, my younger brother Stevie who lives upstate. If he wanted to tell me these things about himself he would have. Don’t you two tell me how worried you are about him. You’re worried about him? What about the cocktails you consume every night Seth? Your alcoholism is raging.

What about your need to have a group of people together Don, working at it diligently- a group of people who can’t help each other grow? And where you discuss another who is not even there? Being around those stuck in loops, pretending they are not, impedes growth exponentially.  

I don’t want to worry, especially about those where any relationship is not grounded in safety, loyalty, or true care. I still feel like a puppet attached to their strings easily manipulated by fear, rejection, or guilt. Guilt at blocking all from emails, but if I were to look in that folder, my bet is that nothing is there anyway.

For my own safety and well-being that distance is needed, but guilt consumes me. Who I used to be becomes me now. Where is the Patricia who likes herself? Who allows freedoms, happiness, and growth? Who looks beneath the surface and knows wisdom?

My mind goes in circles, round and round, thinking about each of them, and I don’t want to. I want to be here now, with the land, with people I love and trust; Samuel, sons, grand-kids, and most especially my cat. A cat won’t hurt you. A cat is loyal.

Where is the wise voice that answers softly with the truths you need? It will come, it will come. You’re OK, you’re OK.

HEAVEN

It has taken an entire week to come back to a place where peace had cupped me in her arms. A week to come back down from severe PTSD affecting all systems dramatically causing real illness.

Without understanding why, the sad truth is that origin family members are like drinking poison. Go ahead drink it, but the sickness comes after…. every time. It was OK for a while when meeting with one at a time, but becoming so immersed with all three, as Seth’s wife was indisposed, became overwhelming.

They talk about another not there. If you have something to say to someone, say it to them. It does no good to discuss it with others. More importantly it’s disrespectful along with cowardly.

There is still a part of me wanting to do what others seem to do so easily. Attend a brunch, go on a spur of the moment camping trip, whatever. But again, no, my body will not comply splintering in a million pieces.

Coming home it took days to unwind. Finally peace seeps in fully. The sweet scent of blossoms are noticed, my breath is felt, and the songbirds fill me. By the creek the gift of a graceful heron fans her enormous wings as she glides past over the water looking for another fishing spot.

Heaven is again discovered as the sun shines down warming like an embrace, right here in my back-yard.

Mysterious Exciting World

A week of confusion and turmoil finally calming me back to my soul with input from friends, my son, and a friend far away, never meeting her in person but closer to me than anyone I know. And… Mother Nature, restorative, curative, and finally after several days of resting my tired mind, the energy arises to go out and be with her.

The walks bringing me back to myself. How easily the split occurs. With the origin people, that group one is born to with ties like tentacles, the gag order reduces me to robot like living. Home again among friends who accept me as I am with no hidden past, there are also no hidden agendas to shut me up.

Nature cradles me in beauty, the meadow filled with buttercups, daisies soon to join them. Carp in the creek as big as sharks nibble on the banks of the water, their gigantic sleek bodies twisting above. The breeze blows the leaves with a soft rustle above me. Slowly I move back into my body, soul, mind, spirit, and emotions, claiming them, feeling them, becoming one once again.

The day opens not depressingly as it did all week, but with wonder, mystery, and excitement. What pleasures await? What other goals can be achieved, realized for the first time in years? Because as freedom inside myself grows, freedom from the chains of childhood and the forced silence, talents, abilities, special qualities, and magic to achieve goals and become who I really am increases tenfold, blossoming like the flowers around me.

What else lies inside waiting to be discovered, nurtured, and developed? Like stoking the tiny spark into constant flame, that little kernel of self-love is still there. Sometimes I must hack down the brush and heavy foliage to find it, that harsh critic blocking me all the way. Persistence pays off, patience helps too.

But there it is, a spark to coddle into flame warming my entire being with friendship to self. To feel all that is there without judgement or denial. To investigate the wounds still needing care and release. To allow the wise voice to take precedence and try not to allow the willful child to run things again.

That part yearns for the loving family she never had. Another part riles things up when success is prevalent. My job in that group of people that some call family was to fail. Be bad, do bad, carry their burdens. And no wonder my life was spent not wanting to live.

That is no more. Success reigns. Peace sustains. All that I need, I have.

Friends Are Family

My beautiful grand-daughter Cindy….

Hearing the ding of emails coming in, taking a breath, a sigh of relief calms me knowing that any emails coming from the culprits of those in the so called origin family will be diverted to junk mail.

I’ll never see them or know emails are there unless I look. And mostly there won’t be any. No one interacts much unless wanting something, which is rare. But it’s a necessary step right now to feel safe, find my freedom again, and be at peace.

The emails come from friends, those few that are real family, trusted and supportive in a honest way, not in ways that serve only them. And in they come, reliable, loving, and filling the ragged holes that the origin family ravaged with their fake interest and hollow words.

Friends, the family made after years of work, commenting on the video and photos of my 8 year old grand-daughter in a huge dance competition where she recently took first place among all the area dance studio’s participants.

Oh to see her whole, loving, and complete, the age when I was first attacked. An age where the longing for ballet classes was not to be because food used to survive the traumas put too many pounds on to my little kid frame.

She’s a winner to us regardless of any wins, her grace and beauty overflowing. Tears fill my eyes while watching, and joy sent sparklers of shivers down my legs to my toes….

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The Kernel of Self-Love

You need to accept that this craving for family will always be there. That the fantasy you create in your mind is much better in all ways, certainly healthier.

In my minds creation they are the people you wish them to be, the ones you adored in childhood because you didn’t know better.

Feeling pulled down, locked in, inauthentic, pleasing, pleasing, pleasing, freedom lost. My body became sick, all organs affected, heart, colon, nervous system, a betrayal of myself and all that is believed in.  

And you know, you must know that this pull is for life, and that you’ll reach out again. Try not to. Keep the life you’ve built. Life is hard enough sorting out the moments quietly trying to feel each one.

The trip has been arduous, the oasis found only after a life-time of work. And that work continues and needn’t be hampered, even damaged by the wants of others.

The pressure has been great. But relenting to it brought illness, dis-ease, and toxicity as if drinking poison … freezing my body to the core- spirit, mind, and emotions.  

Just because another wants, doesn’t mean you have to give. The work done, untied as if it never happened. Stop giving up yourself for the needs and wants of another.

That little kernel of self-love, that warm glow you’ve begun to foster needs your full attention towards Y-O-U. It’s OK to love you… with tenderness, softness, kindness, gentleness, and lots of cuddling. Yes, you can hug yourself!

SAFETY

Days later my body is still tight, freedom lost to the ages where in adolescence I was slave girl to Seth for 2 dollars a week.

There by the campfire bantering away, no way like the being in the meadow where peace reigned in my core. Just a play-doh woman of what he could relate to while sipping from his cup filled periodically rather secretly with more booze from a container by his feet.

Freedom gone. Did all that sudden planning come from the child in me still craving the family once known? And what of wise woman who knows better?

Though probably temporary, or not, all have been blocked from entering my email box.

“If one of them calls, don’t answer it,” I tell Samuel.

And the video chats won’t be answered either. Safety. One needs safety from their family of origin? Yes.

Family Is NOT Blood

Today’s Blooms

“How are you today?” Shane asked on his usual drive back from dropping off his son at school, a phone call looked forward to every morning.

Dissolving into tears I reply, “Not so good. I can’t be around ‘them’ meaning any of the brothers who keep pressuring me to join in their little group.

Thinking it was good for me, and meeting some kind of obligation to ‘family’, I called Don last week. He was glad I finally accepted his invitation to the city for bagels outdoors in his garden. But then in one breath he also added, ‘I’ll ask Seth too.’

Don picked up on my lack of excitement about adding people to the bagel brunch so stated he’d keep it just us if that would be more comfortable for me. And more people easily overwhelms me. But I said go ahead, ask him. (where did my wisdom go?)

So though it seemed like a normal get-together, that night after over three weeks of pleasant sleep patterns and joyful days of walking the meadow, medication was required to sleep.

Interacting with conspirators that forced silence from me about early repeated traumas awakened memories, taking me right back to age 8 and all the ways I used to be…. doormat, pleasing, invisible. Those that imposed this gag order heaped dirt over the grave of who I really am or could be.

Nothing has changed except me. I then invited Seth to go camping at our most favorite spot in the glen. Don and his wife came too. All this since Friday, the ramifications still clutching my soul, holding me down feeling victimized all over again, their puppet on a string.

My body shut down and didn’t begin to relax till coming home. There’s still a far way to go to resume my peaceful life. Sleep will not yet return. Memories flood my brain especially after Seth sent an email of photos from the trip but also added the eldest, Tom.

Seth has been Tom’s life- long buddy, always choosing to spend time with him and almost no time spent with me in any way except rare emails. Little in the way of actually being together. Seeing his name was a kick in the gut, including Tom who destroyed any semblance of the little girl I was.

Tom, who crept up in the night to suck on my little girl vagina while I slept. I awoke in the middle of the night to see his head down there wondering what was happening. My younger brother and I were given the yearly treat of sleeping end to end on the the couch by the Christmas tree falling asleep watching the Christmas tree lights. Tom was home from college for Christmas break. I was 8 years old. My grand-daughter is that age now.

Tom treated me horribly after that and decades more until cutting off all ties permanently. He would constantly put me down around others to make me look less than human. Then his crime wasn’t so vile if I wasn’t worthy of life. He did it so slyly no one really noticed, or if they did, did nothing to confront him. His campaign of destruction did destroy my self-esteem more than everything else suffered silently, the rape, the endless attacks, too many to count done by other ‘brothers.’

When you touch me like that, you lose the right to be called brother. You are nothing to me. Three others have died leaving me with feelings of relief and safety. But these three- Don, Seth, and Stevie- who did not touch me that way are also NOT SAFE.

My invisibility became solid. Seeing that email with Tom’s name added numbed me and made last night’s sleep impossible as memories stole my peace. I have asked the Stevie, and Don not to add me to their emails that have Tom in the list. So I don’t get any emails because they much prefer Tom.

Those requests are recent. It has taken over 60 years to ask for a scrap of respect. Seth ought to know better. But he denies that I even suffered such tragedies early on. How else could he make one of my attackers his best buddy, just as the others do too.

He also drinks heavily which probably has turned his brain to mush. Another reason to keep my distance. Alcoholism is very much a part of my growing up family, first my father, then my mother.

Seth’s modes operando is denial. When sending a link to my book he wouldn’t answer my emails for months. When I tried to repair that rift, his response was that I shouldn’t be putting our family’s dysfunction out there. (the book is entirely anonymous with made up names for everyone)

That denies my very existence. Around him I don’t feel good, nor can I be myself. I turn into the doormat that never can please, waiting on him, trying not to offend him, being a robot of who he needs me to be.

My son immediately says to his weeping mother over the phone before starting his work day, “I’m proud of you. You reached out and tried to make it work. Everyone’s older, there’s less time, and you tried. Don’t beat yourself over it. You will work through these feelings then know again it cannot work.”

“But I keep doing it, like a moth to flame,” I cried, adding, “I thought I’d regret not trying then one of them dies. But I regret trying.”

“Well, everyone wants family,” he gently added.

“I can’t love them with them. I can only love them afar.” I said, a mantra tossed aside when the need for family pulls thinking this time will be alright.

It isn’t, it won’t be. Love from afar, even if the love is for the idea of a what a loving brother would be…and accept the loneliness that comes with the knowledge that this group is NOT family. I do best as an orphan.

SUCCESS

Success scares a part of me once totally unconscious of. Looking at the scale, seeing the numbers drop. Well, eat. There is something about excess weight and feelings of safety, once thinking that reason was bogus. But no, it is real. It means men looking at me, even at this advanced age.

Both flattered and fearful, taking the reins of my own path and goals anyway— success continues and the numbers decline. But as my body changes, albeit slowly, there must be time to adjust to each half pound.

Is that a flatter stomach? Is that a bone? It frightens me, yet the drive is not going away this time. And how many times since age 8 have 50 or more pounds been shed? Too many to count.

Age 8 when the attacks began, and though several living in that same house knew of my vulnerability and terror, no one helped to protect me from further trauma(s). The message, carry the burdens… which translates to repeated failure in every venture. Staying down for the ease of others means taking the hit myself.

Excess weight always brought feelings of safety along with numbing to the facts of my existence. But in unraveling the knots, going deep into my center, all things are possible. There everything needed resides. Maybe this time my parts can stay together for the very first, feeling safe, in my body, and slimmer.

Face the fear, live fully, embrace all there is. My being is as deserving of good things as any other…