Sundays are a Trigger

I have until July 1st to see my therapist so time is precious. She told me a story about how when you talk about old wounds in a safe place and work through them & the emotions it brings to you- you are cleaning your abscess.

Abscesses are wounds within the skin full of pus and without proper treatment, they grow inside you destroying more flesh and causing more pain. But when an abscess is treated, the doctor has to go in and remove all the toxins, pus, dead flesh and clean the wound. That leaves you with a huge, tender opened hole.

Sundays feel like that to me. I had to go to church every sunday and put a smile on my face. I had to hide the abuse, go through the ritual of sunday morning church, worship, tithe, notes, prayer, communion and more.

Now since my abscess has been cleaned out and I have cut out the poison in my life- I had a huge triggers aka open holes when it comes to my Christian beliefs, sundays, prayer and worship. You would think that once you deal with pain and the emotional turmoil that you get better and feel better. My reality is I actually trigger easier, have migraines, I get so mentally exhausted and my nightmares are worse/more frequent.

I confronted my therapist about this. I am so puzzled as to why I FEEL more things. I used to just be numb and stuff things down inside of me. Now I am feeling every emotion all at once sometimes. With her soft smile and warm eyes she told me that she is proud of me.

I had to check me ears. Excuse me? You said you are proud of me? Have you been listening to the stories I have just been telling you? I feel worse! I trigger more easily and I am so exhausted anymore. How can you be proud of me when I feel so horrible, overwhelmed and just guilty for not being able to even say a full prayer for more than 10 seconds?!

My therapist simply smiled at me again. “Have you felt the need to self harm?” I looked at her blankly for a second. I answered no and that kind of surprised myself actually. I always turn to self harm when  I get overwhelmed and I hadn’t thought about that once recently when it used to be an everyday thought. She told me it is because I am allowing myself to feel my emotions and go through it.

It is like the default way I deal with things is to cut and stuff. Since I have turned away from those as a natural response- I am now no longer numb, depressed and stuffing. I am feeling, vulnerable, experiencing and dealing. That is why she is proud of me. Realizing that- I am proud of myself. It takes hard work to be in this place. It takes even harder work to allow yourself to feel.

I just can’t wait until my open sore is healed for good.

No Longer Silenced

Therapy was a break through for me and so was yesterday. I think it just all clicked in my brain. I know I still have a journey ahead but I am making some huge steps. I have ALWAYS feared my m. whether I would like to admit it or not- I did. I would fear she would take my sisters away for good, I would fear of disappointing her, I would fear of the degrading letters and emails she would send. I would fear I wouldn’t measure up, gaining too much weight, not pursuing the career she approved of, not living the life she approved of. But mostly I was fearful of losing my sisters.

My therapist sat back after she heard some more stories I shared with her. Just to hit on briefly about how I cannot go into a church sometimes and sit through a service without triggers. I can’t see families together because mine isn’t. I can’t hear the familiar Bible stories or verses because it’s pounded into my head. It brings back painful memories of childhood. Not only would memories verses be plastered all over the walls in her house but she would play a tape for us of the Bible at night that we would have to listen to to fall asleep. We’d move from church to church, lesson after lesson, daily readings of the Bible together. Memory verse contests, home schooled teachings of the Bible, video tapes of the Bible would sometimes be the only thing I would be allowed to watch. IT was horrendous. Everything was pounded into us & shoved down our throats. There was never a choice involved- it was forced fed.

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A couple of the most prominent verses are “Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Colossians 3:20. I didn’t EVEN HAVE TO LOOK THAT UP! I knew it by heart. This one I did have to look up, Ephesians 6:2-3, 2“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

Those two verses are seriously the first two you learn growing up in that house. I lived there til I was 14 and had to visit there until I was 17-18, so I saw my little sisters and how they were raised. If they didn’t comply, they weren’t spanked- they were literally beaten until they stopped. Not just 1 smack with discipline- it was smack, smack, smack smack smack!

I brought a letter my m. sent to me on my birthday so my therapist could see it. She was astonished. This card didn’t look like a birthday card and it was a blank card originally. It wasn’t signed by the whole family, (I got nothing from my sisters but a group voicemail), it was just signed by m. But it was written in to the max of just Bible verses about love. Make me puke! My therapist had then told me that I have been severely Spiritually Abused by her.

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She picked up the card and said, “How many more times do you want to go through this?” That didn’t really sink in until the next day to be honest. But what she said next hurt so bad I couldn’t believe she said it. She said, “You already do not have a relationship with your sisters. You are not in their lives.” I got a lump in my throat and my eyes started to burn. I had never heard that or thought of that. I told her how much that statement hurt but I couldn’t repeat it. So she said it again. I flustered and started crying. “It hurts you because deep down, you know it’s true.”

It is true. All this time I had been fearing the most damaging thing my m. could do to me and she has already done it. My therapist let that soak for a minute and then began to comfort me by saying another truth. “You don’t have one now, but you will have an opportunity. They will come to you whether they are 18 or older, and your mother will no longer have control over them legally. And ya know what, I am so proud of you for actually being able to even attend church with how much you have been through. You may not be able to go when you have triggers but you need to learn to separate the difference between your abuse and what it’s like to have faith.”

The next morning I sat up a Googled Spiritual Abuse. I found this really good article/site that talks about how God doesn’t approve of spiritual abuse. Matthew 18:6, “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

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That is the EXACT moment of when it all clicked in my head. The reason why I never ever could really go against my m. or step dad fully was because of the guilt of disobeying God. I had to honor them, and obey them in everything. That meant eat what I was told to eat, sit when they said sit and be who they said be. It all makes complete sense to me now. Thinking on this is actually comical to me now, how easy it was to fool me. I can see it plain as day. And now I know God is not thrilled about this at all! It is not my fault, I was a little one she caused to stumble. She is control and power hungry. She twists the words of God to benefit her. And it is better for her to drown in the sea.

Once I was able to see all that so clearly- I felt God stand behind me and empower me to do what I did next. My therapist recommended that I speak up. I kinda shook at the thought because I didn’t want to, I couldn’t imagine doing that. She asked why. I responded, “because I don’t want to stir up the hornet’s nest.” She asked why again. I couldn’t come up with an answer. Fear. Fear of what? My sisters are already taken from me. It was because back to that key thought, “well if I do that, I am not honoring my mother and father, I am rebellious, ungrateful, horrible daughter….” THOSE aren’t my words- that’s what I’ve “been trained” to think.

So next, I went onto Facebook. I made a status talking about how I do not want a relationship with my m., I have never had one with her. (I don’t ever call her mother, I call her by her real name) How it breaks my heart I have to have pre approval to be able to see my own sisters. And that I am not going to stroke her ego to just maybe be able to see my sisters. How my m. uninvited me to this past christmas, how I never hear from her for months at a time and I want nothing to do with her. I am done being silent.

Now my m. doesn’t have facebook but my aunts, uncles, cousins and friends do. I didn’t post it to be mean or to get back at her. I posted it to let everyone know what they have always assumed. I then later posted another status saying that no one has to choose sides mine or hers. And that if you have a relationship with her you will still be able to have one with me. Also that I will never talk about situations about her unless that person asks- then I will answer.

I got a lot of support from my friends and family surprisingly enough. But the family that is related to both of us pretty much stayed out of it. Except a couple people who said “it takes two”- meaning I am at fault too. Well, I am not and some of my friends stood up to them for me, which was nice.  I didn’t expect to “start a war”, I am just letting people know I’m not faking a relationship with my abusive m. anymore. Then that is when my therapist’s question that lingered in my head was answered, How much more are you going to take of this?.     None.

 

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The Words that Heal

Last time I visited my therapist she said to think up of an action plan of what to do when I feel overwhelmed. I have been drawing a blank these past couple weeks and I couldn’t figure out anything. I saw this post on Yahoo the other day that talked about an Anger Box for newlyweds.

You get a box, you and your husband write love letters to each other  whenever you want and however many times you want. Fill up the box and then shut it. Then whenever you feel like giving up/calling it quits or get so mad at each other -you will open up that box and read your love letter written to you by your spouse. It helps remind you what it is truly all about.

I do have a blessings box. That is when I write about blessings God has provided for me so I do not forget about him. I have kinda slacked off/not being noticing the blessings during my “haze”. And like my last entry (speaking in quotes) sometimes I just don’t want anything to do with God because of my abusive triggers.

My task today besides cleaning the house and going to therapy will be to get these boxes together and start writing some letters. I might write on the outside what it will help for. So for example I will write a letter that will explain how life is so beautiful and all my plans if I become suicidal. Also my husband’s letters will help remind me how much I mean to him and that will help.

Another one is if I feel so overwhelmed by sharing living space with others- I will write a letter about how much of a blessing they are. Or if I can’t stand to read a scripture because of a trigger- I will read a letter I wrote to God. I struggle with seeking attention to wanting to be covered like a nun. I also struggle with extreme anxiety, nightmares, fantasies, anger, depression, self-esteem, using food as my comfort, exercise abuse triggers, anti social behavior and more.

I haven’t developed anything else for that action plan but I know this will help. I am excited to start this journey of helping myself heal. I might even put a couple letters I write to myself on here to share. I have a lot of work to do. 🙂

 

Speaking in Quotes

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I love getting birthday cards, emails and letters from family members around my birthday. It is so enlightening and I feel so loved when that happens. But there is one person who always sends me cards or emails that all she does is speak in quotes from the bible.

This makes my insides want to puke. I myself have a very hard time with my relationship with Christ as it is. Sometimes I can’t even sit in a church that I love because the triggers are so bad. Here recently since my birthday I haven’t been able to bring myself to do my daily devotions or prayers.

On one of my birthdays a couple years ago I got a card that said,”Thank God you are alive one more year to serve him.” And that was it. Nothing else was said. No “I love you” “I miss you” “Happy Birthday” “You mean so much to me”…. it hurt. I was shocked.

I still can’t even bring myself fully think about it but this most recent birthday and card was the same. The card was blank on the inside and my m. wrote in it from cover to cover. All the words that were in it were just quotes from the bible. It breaks my heart.

How in the world can I get over it? I mean I know to not expose myself to it but what about the times I can’t help? She is my mother, which means family. I don’t want to cut myself off from everyone of my family members on her side just to avoid her. I know I need to be stronger and I want to get there.

Honestly, sometimes I really don’t even like to think about being a Christian. I know being a Christian is to be loving, sweet, forgiving and to be kind. But the home I grew up in it was manipulative, judging, rules, harshness, grudges, discipline, abuse- nothing about love and forgiveness. And that is what I think about at first. I really hope God understands. I don’t want to be like this. This is probably one of the worst triggers I have currently.

Little Poison Stings

I went to my 2nd therapy session yesterday nervous, anxious and excited. I love going to therapy because I love reflecting on questions that challenge me. I also am nervous about what will be talked about because I have noticed therapy can be a trigger. I would rather bury all the memories and emotions then go through them one by one. I worry about how I will feel afterwards. Will have nightmares, will I be too irritable or be trigger to self harm? Yesterday’s session was really good. No nightmares, not a lot of irritability and no self harming. 🙂

We are going through the initial paperwork so my therapist/counselor can get an idea of what I have been through and possible treatment plans. I do have to say my anxiety doesn’t feel like it is flowing over the top all the time anymore. It is only unbearable when a trigger has been flipped in my mind. I am trying to rely on God more and focus on what to be thankful for. I am also walking our dogs around where we live to get my mind off of things and to exercise but not to do it alone. If I were to exercise alone- that would be a trigger.

This blog is helping me a lot. I have been able to channel what I want to say publicly without having the consequences of unmasking my identity.Plus I have the freedom to write about whatever I want. In my previous blog I titled it The Broken Record because with my m.’s actions it feels that way BUT I also feel like a broken record. For years I have spoke on and explained things that have happened in my life. My loop of emotions and what I feel I must talk about. I keep talking and feeling the same things. I am stuck in a sand hole without a way to climb out.

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During my 1 hour session I gave the counselor some emails that have really hurt me from my m. one from Easter which I talk about in The Broken Record, and also one that uninvited me from this past Christmas. She told me she was able to see how my m. sends and uses her poison. The empathy I see in my counselor’s face as she reads the emails is so comforting. I’m not used to people “getting it” or understanding my side or feelings at all. I am used to family scolding me for my feelings and denying they are real.

I received a phone call before Easter from a family member who didn’t like what I would say about my m. I tried to confide in her about my emotions and tell her the stories. Instead, the family member viewed it as if I was hating on someone that was so nice, sweet and someone she really looked up to. Well she called me this past weekend and apologized for everything. Which is HUGE! My heart was so overjoyed with this news. Not only did she apologize but she said that she can understand/see how I feel.

She is a very sweet hearted woman and wouldn’t go into too much detail after that. With her phone conversation I realized something very important. The relationship I build with her, my sisters, and other family members from that side do not need to be pulled into the middle of this. But rather be loved, and cherish and build a relationship with them. I don’t need to prove that my trauma was real to anyone.

All my life I have tried to latch on to family members from that side to “open their eyes” about my m. To try and get some conformation that I wasn’t crazy and to tell them everything that happened behind closed doors. I even wrote a 1/2 of a journal writing examples to my sisters to give to them one day but now I realize that was all in vain. I need to build the relationship with others for what it is and not use them to make myself feel better. My intentions are good but that would place anyone in an awkward position.

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Enough is enough. I am not longer giving my m. the dominating control of my life. I no longer speaking about it to other family members. I am no longer going to harbor or stuff my emotions down. I am going to deal with it privately and get better. I am deleting the emotional control she has over me.

My counselor said that her emails are the way she injects a little poison at a time in me. It is one avenue she has control over me. I no longer respond to her emails because it is a worthless fight. She doesn’t comprehend or care about what she does to me. The counselor asked me what would happen if I were to block her emails. I just sat there wondering, “But what if I miss something that is loving, what if she apologizes, or what if she invites me back in and I miss it?” Without even hearing my thoughts the woman with the clipboard said, “You have to realize every time your m. contacts you- it is poison. Like a little poison injection each and every time she emails you or contacts you. She uses shame, religion, lies and twisting the truth as her manipulation. There are relationships that are good to have in your life, and then there are relationships that are toxic. She is a toxic relationship to you. Every time she contacts you it is toxic.”

For some reason hearing those words gave me clarity. She is totally right. My mother is toxic. And with that being said I have realized that every email ever sent to me is toxic as well. It always hurts. I am hoping for a loving mother to come one day and just sweep me up, owe up to everything she has done and to drop the mask. I am done waiting and I am done with the hurt. I am ready to get and to be better. I moved her email address to spam- so I will not even be notified when she sends me an email. I feel empowered already.

 

The Little Girl

I am sorry for not posting in the last day or two, after No Noise- I had to emotionally take a break. That incident was really traumatic for me. Since Easter is literally just around the corner I thought this would be the perfect time to tell you how I got to know the real Jesus. If this is the first blog you are reading of mine then you wouldn’t quite understand that statement.

I have setup a time to regularly see a counselor/therapist for my anxiety, depression and traumas. One of the forms of abuse she pointed out to me was my Spiritual Abuse I get from my m. Spiritual abuse is hard to overcome because it turns God into the bad guy when in reality he is not.

The Abuser will switch or manipulate God’s word to make you fit into the mold they wish for you to be in. So for example, my abuser always wanted to be right and be in charge. So the passage “Children obey your parents with all your heart-” is forever engrained in my brain, as well as “spare the rod, spoil the child.”

In my opinion that is a horrible way to grow up. I was taught about God and all the “Sunday School” stories but it was never about his tenderness or his true love. Love to me was a foreign concept. We would discuss it just like it was a thing, not an action.

Of course I have heard the story over and over about how he died for us and rose again and we are saved. But that sounds quite generic to me. It doesn’t have any personal attachment to me at all. I was more so taught of his anger if you didn’t obey him.

When I was little I accepted Jesus into my heart to please my m. Not because I understood what I was doing but to see her smile, to be proud of me and to draw me closer to her. It didn’t work. The spiritual abuse- the memorization, the stories, the fakery was getting worse- so I forgot about Jesus.

When I was 10 I was attacked by our dog in the face and skull (The Trees’ Secret blog). I remember sitting there in the hospital bed and truly feeling his protection over me but I still didn’t quite get it. I carried on without him. When I was 14 my dad received custody of me, which I talk about in The Switch blog.

My m. still had visitation with me and when I was about 14-16 I harbored some serious anger. I still don’t quite understand why I am so full of rage at times but it was bad. I drifted far away from anything that reminded me of Jesus because that reminded me of the abuse and the abuser.

All my life I just wanted someone who I could speak to freely and understand my pain and just be there. But no matter how many times I tried to explain- I just couldn’t find the words. I had no idea what I was going through or why I felt the way I did.

When I was 18- I was raped, which I talk about some of the flashbacks in the No Noise blog. I still didn’t heavily rely on Jesus at all. I wanted to do what I wanted. Why was I to listen to someone who was forced down my throat and was all about rules?

After the rape I became very promiscuous, sleeping with dozens of men. I got a thrill out of being wanted and desired. It made me feel sexy, powerful and fulfilled my need of being wanted that I longed for. It wasn’t until I was around 21-22 that I met my future husband and things changed. We both weren’t living the way we were supposed to but it was just something about him that made me want to be with him. I had never had a serious boyfriend before and didn’t really ever truly want one- he was the first.

It wasn’t until my cancer scare and being told I had a sexually transmitted infection that brought me to my knees. I felt nasty, dirty and filthy. I had to get a biopsy to check if the tissue on my cervix was indeed cancerous or not. We got the results back and it was clear. Nothing was there and the infection cleared up with antibiotics. I knew right then and there God had protected me. I had not had a single real pregnancy scare in all the times I had have sex, no STDs and no cancer.

It still didn’t really sink in about God’s love for me until I realized one day that all I ever wanted was someone to be there.  To know what kind of experience I had gone through. I always felt too scared to talk to anyone in the family because no one ever saw what my abuser was truly like. No one ever felt the loneliness I felt growing up. Who would believe me?

Everything with my m. is so rehearsed. Even at Easter Sunday Church or dinner she will say “He is Risen” and you are supposed to say “He is Risen indeed”. I am sorry but since when does it matter what you say or how you say it? Why is it a rule? It just feels completely fake and impersonal. Why not tell the story of how he spoke to your heart? Or of how he was treated?

There is a country song called The Little Girl by John Michael Montgomery, I had heard it before several times but never actually listened to it. I don’t want to spoil it for you if you haven’t heard it but even though that isn’t my life at all- the meaning at the end is the same. Jesus was there.

That melted my stone cold heart of bitterness I had towards everyone. I didn’t like anyone, I didn’t trust anyone, I didn’t care about anyone but when I listened to this song- it all melted away. My future husband and I got back into church, closer to our family and really started to understand God’s love for us. He pulled us both out of the darkness and God offered me a shoulder to cry on.

He knows everything I have been through, he still loves and cherishes me even though some people still despise me. He took everything that I was ashamed about and wiped it away. I still remember the things I did but the guilt is gone because I know I am forgiven from all the horrible things I did to myself and to others.

I know it’s hard because he isn’t physically here to be with you during your journey or mine. And sometimes to be honest- I resent him for that. I doubt him sometimes. I lose faith. I get angry. I don’t have all the answers. I am not perfect at all. I don’t go to church every sunday and I don’t pray before EVERY meal but it is something I am not judged on. He knows my heart. Even though we don’t have the perfect relationship- I strive to be better.  I am  his and love him with all heart. Why? Because he was there and always will be there for me.

“Cause He was there in my old house-
He held me close to His side”

John Michael Montgomery

The Little Girl

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Alphabet Soup

A, B, C, D, E is where I stop. I used to be able to say the whole alphabet. Sounds weird right? Well, my alphabet wasn’t like yours (hopefully). There was a Bible verse tagged to each letter that I have to remember and recite. Every day my m. would drive me to school- I had to recite these verses with where they could be found in the Bible.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of my spiritual abuse. It goes deeper than this but this is a good start. I was actually driven away from Jesus because I thought he was only about rules, regulation, memorization and worse pleasing my m. She would twist and turn verses in order to make her point valid and to make me obey. I was never taught about his true love but I was able to recite it like word vomit.

A- Be sure that your attitude reflects that of Christ Jesus

B- Be sure that your sin will find you out

C- Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you

D- Do everything in love

E- …?

Those might not be completely accurate but I hope you get the point. It has been over 10 years ago and I still know some of those verses. When I was in my “prime” I would go through all the ABCs and started another set of memory verses in the same format of ABCs.

I did it please her because in my previous blog I told you as a young girl I made the connection that if I did what she wanted and did it perfectly- I would gain affection and approval from her. I desperately wanted that. I thought that was love.

Now that I am older I realize what a true mother’s love is supposed to be like. It isn’t earned. It isn’t fake. It isn’t based on accomplishments that she would approve of. It is unconditional- like Jesus’ love for us. But I also was given a very false impression of his love too. In my mind I thought that if this is how she is and Jesus is like this too, I really do not want to love him at all.

I do not know what her end goal was with me in teaching me all of those things but all it taught me was to despise it. She calls it love- I call it torture. I was forced to do things she wanted me to do, to learn and to grow into what she wanted for me. I forced to clean everything, cook, sew, learn the Bible, listen to the Bible on tape, listen to the Bible at night, watch Bible movies, go to Church, go to Vacation Bible school (which was just at our house with my cousins).

I understand chores and I do not disagree but to the extent of what I was doing- wasn’t right. Meals like breakfast were planned out each day what I was allowed to eat. I had a couple options and that was it. For a snack I was allowed either apple, banana or orange. I use to always take the apple because I would be so hungry  and now I cannot stand apples. I do not like to cook or sew now because it was forced on me. I can do a little bit of it but it is too much of a trigger for anger outbursts.

The really weird thing about church was we moved around from church to church. We never stayed at one long enough. I will let you in on a secret of why I suspect that is… she longs to be valued at a church. For example she wants to be put on this “you are an amazing woman” pedestal by providing for the church. At small churches she wants to be in charge of music, help out the youth, hold a women’s study, clean the church, provide for the sick, cook meals and more. She wants to be looked at like she is superwoman. If she can’t have that or if people start to question her she leaves the church. I remember for awhile we would have church at our own home just because we couldn’t find one.

I am not meaning to put her down or to paint her in a awful light. I am trying to process all of this to help myself realize she is sick. She is not normal. There is a complexity in telling my story. I want my voice to be heard but I do not want to hurt her. I want to protect her and make excuses for her. If she ever found out about this- I would be even more so uninvited and despised.

I feel like I am an awful child for speaking out about this which causes me stress and anxiety. I feel brave enough sometimes to speak but other times I feel like it’s all my fault and I am just putting it on her. I am so messed up myself from all the manipulation- I don’t know which way is up, right, or down.

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