Alone not Lonely

It is a rare family that discloses sexual abuse upon one of their own by one of their own. Instead the child is silenced due to the family’s shame. And she is left to hold the trauma’s within her and bear the load on tiny shoulders.

So much stolen. Family stolen. Family that grounds us, terrifies. Family that grounds, betrays. Family that grounds a person through life, gone.

Because a child grows, and she learns that it was not her fault, and she opens the wounds to heal. But family betrays her again. To remain she must be silent.

For many, taking a life all over again is too much, and she goes it alone. She has always been alone anyway. The ones who did it, the ones who knew and did nothing. And if they didn’t know then, they know now. 

And still betray. Still abandon. Still stay silent, as silent as she was forced to be. There is no one to stand testament to her pain. Not family. But others who become more family than blood. There is trust in the world if you persist in finding it. 

Advertisements

Kindness to Self

After trying to help a friend who struggles with very similar self-esteem issues rising from the sexual attacks by beloved family members in childhood, after emailing the supportive letter, I wondered at my own words later. Each and every day I must fight the phantoms of my own beginnings, and the cruelness of psychological patterns that are incurred due to the traumas suffered. 

Expressing anger? Nope. A natural defense coming out of a nurturing childhood. Not mine.  Blaming oneself for any and every negative occurrence, even those that have nothing to do with me? Yes, yes, yes. Raymond, a psychiatrist once seen regularly, called it ‘personalization.’  At least there’s a name for it. 

These conditioning’s were learned early. A child must blame themselves. If we didn’t where we would be? With no family, and a child needs their family no matter who there are or what they’ve done. As once stated in a book read early in my confrontation of the true facts of my family and childhood, “It’s the only game in town.” 

So as a child, she takes it in as if the sexual attacks were her fault because there’s no other way. The insanity of it has shortened lives, either by one’s own hand, or by so many other medical issues that plague a body due to all that trauma trapped inside.

When anger isn’t expressed in the moment, this wonderful thing others are capable of with such immediacy, tears come. Pent up feelings need to unload somehow. Yes hurt is present, but more so, feelings that are unexpressed. 

I was taught to be silent, even about the theft of my body. Healing afterwards, as crucial as a setting a broken arm, surgery, or stitches, did not occur, causing all the implosion of rage and hatred for what was being done to turn inward. Attacking oneself has become a way of life. 

Why fault that little girl who had to keep it all in? She is in there, getting hurt all over again.

I wish my adult self had the tools to protect my little one. But how could I learn those? I chastise myself for that, and for not shouting back anger in the moment now as deserved.Of course I couldn’t as a child, but it is still a difficult struggle even now. Criticizing myself for these losses isn’t kindness. Yet it’s my first reaction after another’s cruelty, stupidity, insensitivity, and that list goes on and on.

There’s as many ways to be hurtful as there are people. And each time it is all about the other person. There are some who pick up on who would be a good victim for their ‘oh so subtle’, and not so subtle attacks. Learning never to express anger makes a person vulnerable to those who lack character, are weak, and take advantage of others.

Like Tom, my sibling. Like another close family member who repeats what Tom did, though he has moved away and is also losing his memory. There are many ways to take advantage of a person who never had a say in her own life.

One, like me, who wants to treat others fairly, with kindness, not vindictiveness even if hurt badly can be easily mistreated on an on-going basis. When another wants his or her own way and can get it, they manipulatively keep taking.

Removing myself from such toxicity has been successful, but not always possible. Taking the hit keeps me up nights, but improvements are being made there too. Kindness. Forgiveness of self, which can then extend to others for their quirks, hurtful ways, and selfishness. 

It is enough to break a person, which is why kindness to self is something to nurture like a baby plant or helpless kitten. The job each day is working on kindness to self.

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.  

 

TRAVELS

The lonely theme, or ‘left out’ feeling so entrenched into my being is questioned then explained. It is no wonder that feeling crops up time after time, even when what lies beneath is peace and ease at how things are now.

With 8 kids and two parents busy with so many, the feeling of lack runs through me. Not lack of basic needs, but emotional ones. Adding to that the badness that grew inside my being from the sexual attacks after Dad’s death, the abandonment of death added to the list of traumas.

What is most needed now, is what I can give to the little girl abandoned. What the adult me can do. When these themes run through me it is time to be gentle, loving and kind. Not thwart the goodness but dissolve into it like falling onto a cloud.

Each piece can be extracted and studied, the losses, one by one. There were many. Though others may not appreciate my worth, because looking from the outside you cannot see, I know, and I can.

As the day opens with the red-gold sun pouring over the far trees as misty fog swirls over the field, it feels like a beginning, each day a new start to the adventures beyond, and more acutely the adventures within.

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. 

The Call of the Loon

As the canoe paddle dipped into the lake, the loon called hauntingly. There was trepidation about going for our annual camping trip in the Adirondacks, though our trips are only three nights as opposed to 7 during all those years raising our boys. And aren’t you supposed to listen to those internal whispering’s?

And we seem to draw the worst camping neighbors from hell having to call the camp office to get them to shush after quiet hours. Or the lone drunken man who the camp office called the police for. Then the campers who decided to leave at 1 AM shining their truck lights  directly into our little pop-up while packing up noisily.

But this year peace, if you don’t count the car doors slamming at 11 PM, or the mosquito population which hampered sitting outside greatly. Except one night. For whatever reason, mother of the earth gave us a break. We peered at the campfire well into the evening unperturbed by the atrocious monsters after the sun set with its glorious array of colors, salmon, rose, and aqua.

It was a successful trip despite the ride home where an over-sized Mac truck got pissed off at us when we merged back onto the highway after gassing up. He should have gotten over but must have braked instead. To retaliate he used his 10 ton vehicle to take revenge pulling  close in front of us just long enough to scare the socks off me, then out again on his merry way.

That is why highways don’t impress me. People. Hotheads driving murderous weapons. He could have killed us, and all the drivers around us. 

It is good to come home. Summer finally has arrived and floating in the pool has begun. Round and round looking at the clouds, one like a cat ready to pounce. Round and round go my thoughts well into the night unable to sleep. Finally my thoughts died down and sleep came.

The grooves in the record of me began their taunting so very young. The constant replay hears a new voice, the she who is really me, not the thoughts of a child alone, traumatized, and left to herself, blaming herself for the rest of her life for what others had done. Carrying the secret shameful burden of everyone. Those that did it, and those that did nothing to help. 

The burden has been heavy, and the boulders are still being lifted. Others in the origin family do not speak of it as it’s embarrassing. That means I’m embarrassing. The two do not connect inside me. It is embarrassing to talk about so don’t, but to heal that is what was needed.

People say they care in speech only. Hide, and you are loved and accepted. Be yourself and be alone. I want to  live  long enough to feel free of the origin family’s grip on me. To speak clearly and loudly to what was done. This is what happened. This is who I am. This is how I survived. I want to lift the shroud that is so suffocating and just be me. And in the process say, Fuck you. You didn’t help then, and you don’t help now. 

No one possesses the courage and depth to stand beside me. Not one.

 

SHE RISES

Sometimes the most fear filled confusing periods are right before great change. But hanging onto to the boat in tumultuous waves without a life jacket feels so scary. Lost at sea.

Then homecoming, when the scent of the candle is noticed. Before it was in the warmer all day without the ability to absorb its aroma. Being apart from my body happens often. Being away from my center, a place that I’m only beginning to know and get comfortable with, feels more and more unbearable.

But home. Home where there is a place for me in all my seeming weirdness, where every person is unique, special and needed, every single one.

All my traits others don’t like are accepted because that is how I survive. And all my survival tools are admired, not scorned and hated. But I can cast off those that helped but now hurt. That is the battle raging, and the gap is closing. So close. So close.

From great despair, torn down to ash, she rises, over and over again…