The Second Visit

Getting to know someone new is always a bit of a slow process. Today was my 2nd appointment with my new therapist. It went so incredibly well. I feel so relaxed and things just kinda flow out of me. I think going to therapy has increased my happiness and decreased my depression. I have been depressed because I have felt alone. I don’t really have anyone to talk to day in and day out about my struggles because even the most faithful friend or family member doesn’t want to hear about my issues all the time. It’s like my dad has told me. He is so happy that he is finally getting to talk to “me” and not my problems or my anxiety triggers. I can understand that too about my friends. I felt like I was scraping out of a deeper and deeper hole when I had no one to talk to. I was scrambling to get a footing without a therapist to help me. Now that I have someone I can count on and depend on- my “fix” has been met. I still get very terrible migraines and headaches during and after an appointment. But I know that is to be expected. I also know that once an appointment is over- I need about a 2 hr nap if not more. I am not saying everything is perfect. I am still pretty tired actually. I am starting to feel a whole let better. 🙂

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Triggers Everywhere

I woke up this morning thinking this will be an excellent day.

I woke up and check Facebook, there is this feminist video that is going round and I decided to watch it. The video has little girls dressed up as princesses using the Fbomb to get their point across.

The little girls started talking about how 1 out of 5 women will end up being sexually assaulted. They kept saying the word rape. This is my trigger month. I am hyper sensitive to this month because this is when my rape happened.

Personally, I don’t want to talk to about it. I get too depressed and anxious. Sometimes it gets so bad I do not want to be at work. I work in retail so when I see strange men I don’t know, I get overwhelmed, which working in retail happens a lot.

There used to be a man that would come into my old job all the time that looked very similar to my rapist and I would go into an internal frenzy. So my question is- is it healthy to continue to let my body feel this way? Because I tend to block it out and push it away.

Granted my rape happened in 2006, but this is the first year I went to counseling and resurfaced all this stuff. People, even my family, don’t really understand why it affects me so much after it has been so long.

They don’t even understand why my abusive home memories still affect me the way they do either. My family, the ones I trust enough with this, just say “You should be over it by now”, “Why can’t you just get over it?” “Stop being a victim”, “I thought you’d fight more”…

Really? Come on! That just makes me want to cut myself all over again. Or just fall off the face of the earth and leave everything behind. I tell myself those things all the time. I just want to be heard. Talking about a sexual assault is still too taboo sometimes for normal conversation… so how do you know who you can confide in that can help you or just be there to listen?

Sunday Trigger Words

Okay I am going to do this. Ugh I really really really do not want to do this but I promised myself and my husband that I would. I couldn’t go to ___ last week because of all my triggers. So I promised I work on associating good memories or neutral meaning with my trigger words so that maybe I can go this week.

 

My Faith Trigger Words:

Sunday

Church

Pray

Christian

He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed

In Jesus Name, Amen

Jesus

Jesus Christ

Meet and Greet

Certain Bible Stories are also a Trigger

Songs are triggers

Bible

Scriptures

(I have so much anxiety right now, I am shaking… it is hard to think)

 

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.

black-woman-silenced

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.

obey

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.”

Sea_water_Virgo

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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Speaking in Quotes

whoever-spares-the-rod-quote

 

 

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.

The Lone Balloon

Every traumatic event that has happened in my life except a few I can either tie my m. into or directly from her. So you can just imagine the sort of triggers I have. They always bring me into this loop of love, hate, sadness, brokenness, confrontation, anger, hopeless, longing- the list goes on. I have never had the luxury of telling her off and bringing her to her knees. I would like to do so, especially when I was a teenager. I wanted her to be reminded of everything she had done to me and be so incredibly sorry she had no choice but to be heartbroken.

On the other hand I want to yell and scream at her everything she has made me feel and confront her on everything. I actually tried that once but more peacefully and honest. She ignored everything I said and just said I need mental help and how “attacking” I was and that I didn’t see her doing this to me. Then of course my s.d. piped up and told me how wonderful my m. had been to me and provided for me all these years.

Most of the time though- I just wish I could forget her. I wish she wasn’t my m. I wish the person treating me like this was just a friend I could easily cut out of my life and forget. Honestly there are times I wonder what it will be like when she dies. Will I be sad or will I feel like I can finally be myself without having to worry about her? Kind of like the saying “when the boss is away…”  When she is gone I can have free contact with my sisters?  I love them dearly but they are still under her control and household. They were born several years after me.

They have been home schooled all their life and have no idea about what goes on between m. and I. And I think if they did they would see if more from my m.’s perspective than mine because “she is an amazing mother”. And to them she might be, but for some reason I am a trigger to my own m. which she wishes to cut out. So far she has done a fantastic job at. Emails now only on birthday and holidays that are generic greeting cards. No calls, no invites to recitals, birthdays, dinners, lunches, events, holidays- nothing.

I am so sick and tired of being treated this way. I stay around trying to please her and be the daughter she wanted just so I can see my sisters and try and build a relationship with them. Now it doesn’t matter. This is the first year it doesn’t matter I am uninvited no matter what.

Speaking of being sick and tired and I am also fuming mad. I want to break down the door and fight for what I want. But when someone is mentally ill like my m. you can’t fight fire with fire. You have to be the bigger person. When I “be the bigger person” it feels like I am letting her win and I am just rolling over and taking it. My stubbornness doesn’t like that thought at all.

I have no idea as to why I am trigger to my own m. Maybe because I look like my dad, I am very close to my dad and she messed it up with him. Maybe it’s because she links me to herself and instead of seeing as an individual- she sees herself. That would explain some of the treatment. Also she has screwed up with me several times, including letting my sexual abuse happen right under her nose. Having our dog attack me, which I talked about in the blog The Trees’ Secret, and seeing the scars on my face. I don’t know what else it could be but it makes me feel ugly and like dirt.

Have you ever had such an intensity of wanting to love and forgive to then despising and hating? It really pulls at you and confuses your heart. Do you love or hate the person? Do you want to be in their life or not?

The hardest triggers I have to say is my sisters’ birthdays. They are so innocent, sweet and loving. I just want to be there to celebrate their life with them. But I am not allowed. Instead I get emails (if I am lucky) that tell about how much fun they had celebrating it and how perfect their life is. Talk about rubbing my nose in it. It hurts so bad I can’t feel it. If that makes sense. That has happened so many times over the years- it is just something else that I stuff down deep inside of me.

If I try and let myself experience those emotions I either get so worked up I am on edge for a few days/weeks after or I am feel so unwanted I want to cut myself over and over OR I will sink into a very deep dark depression. I have no idea how to deal with these emotions or how to express them in a positive way. So I stuff.

I do have a wonderful step mom that has been in my life since I can remember. I call her momma in the privacy of our own home. I can’t do it publicly or I will hashed out from my real m. And I would rather avoid that situation. Because my real m. loves to turn into the victim and make me out to be the bad guy every time. “See how ungrateful she is? And after all I have done for you…” “See, she is rebellious” etc.

When in reality I feel like my step mom is my m. Not to be disrespectful but she and my dad raised me up from the abuse, loved me, provided for me and what me to do what I want in my life. My real m. is kinda like that distant great uncle you see only at family reunions. And when you see him you think, “I am related to him? Hm didn’t know that, okay.”

Even at get togethers if I go- she doesn’t sit next to me or even talk to me really. It is awkward. It gets worse- she will act like we are the best of friends for everyone to see and how much she loves me. When in reality that is the first time I have seen her  all year. My m. never ever calls me on the phone.

I mean NEVER.

When she has it is so awkward and seems so fake. From the way she says hello, to the time limit she puts on it, to the way she says “I love you”- it makes my skin crawl. So for her to call me, means someone has died, literally. One time she called me after a very hard passing of someone on my dad’s side. As you guessed it- it took me for a loop when I saw who it was. She basically wanted information of how it went and how I was. When I say information- I mean just that. She looks at like “she would be in the know”. Well I am sorry, but if you aren’t there for me at all in life why do you think I would open up to you just so you can find out how it all happened.

I told her I was fine. There was a long pause as if she expected more. Politely I thanked her for calling and ended the call. She was MAD at me. And I can tell you because she will do things in spite of me when she is. It gets very old that I can predict down to the words of what she will say or do.

It is embarrassing for her not to know what is going on in my life when others ask about me. Which is probably what prompted the call in the first place. She takes great pride in having the “best mom award” and if I don’t see how awesome she is then that is my fault.

I think another reason why she cuts me out and my therapist agrees with this- I can call out her BS. Excuse the language but it’s true. I can see through her and that makes me take pity on her but at the same time I don’t roll over either. I maybe silent but that is because she knows not to provoke me. I pity her because she has some bad things happen to her when she was younger too. I have no idea about any of it but I do have hints about it. And I can see how when a traumatized girl turn into a mother herself, she can’t emotionally be available to her daughter because she doesn’t know how to be. It is too painful.

That is why I want help. I do not want to be like that. I want to break the cycle and be the best mommy in the whole wide world. I will love my child unconditionally, I will nurture that child into whatever he/she would like to be in life. And the best part is- I don’t want recognition for it. I don’t need to stand on a pedestal and get the attention for my ego. I just want that person to know how much I love him or her and how much I believe in them.

I titled this blog The Lone Balloon because that is what I feel like. I want to be involved in my sisters’ lives and esp. around birthday/holiday time. I feel like the lone balloon a little kid forgets to hold onto. I am continually floating farther and farther away and no one notices or cares.

 

 

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