Easter Hope

What does Easter mean for you? Is is about chocolate? (I am not judging, chocolate is awesome.) Is today about family? Are you a Christian, have you been to church to celebrate today? Or is it just another day for you?

For me, Easter has always meant very little. As a child and a teen, I went to Church every week. On Easter Sunday, I would attend an Easter service of celebration. Along with everyone around me I would exclaim “He is Risen”. We would shake hands- supposedly sharing joy and hope with each other. Except I did not and could not feel it. I gave very little thought to (and nor did I care) what those words could mean for me.

I was being sexually abused, how could I know hope or joy?  I did not see that Jesus had paid the ultimate price for me. In fact, it felt like an insult when I was told that Jesus had died to save me. How was I saved when I already felt like death had found me and condemned me to Hell?

How could I understand that Easter was to mean a time for renewed hope, when I could not remember ever having felt hope. The darkness of the abuse was like a thick black shadow over my life,- past, present and future. I could not remember the joy and hope in my childhood, I could not find any joy or hope in my present and my future did not seem to exist. 

I did not care that Jesus had died to save us all, I did not care that he rose again. It meant nothing to me at all.

At most Easter was about an Easter egg hunt, eating Easter chocolate and having a lovely roast dinner with family. In some ways today is no different, it has already or will include an Easter hunt and then eating that chocolate. There will be an awesome (if I do say so myself) roast dinner with my husband and my children. Those things are traditions, I do not want them to change. But this year is different for me. I am different.

I finally feel that hope others talk about at Easter. I have enormous, wonderful hope for the future. Hope for happiness, hope for healing and hope for peace. I am not sure what that means for my relationship with God, but I am certainly less resentful than I used to be- I have hope things will continue to change.

There is so much pain evident in the blog posts I am reading today. People feeling as I have and sometimes still feel. It makes my heart ache particularly today, for those people who have seen, lived and been touched by the agony of abuse. 

If you are one of those people, then I want you to know that even in the depths of despair, hope is there. I want you to know that when you cannot see past the darkness and you are feeling as if you are losing the battle, every breath you take is a win. 

If you have been or are in crisis, you have probably heard the same as I have- “one day at a time,” or even “one hour at a time”. An hour can feel like a life time when you are in the agony of flashbacks, or suffocated by shame. Forget one day or hour at a time and take it by each moment instead. Each moment is step on your journey, a step further away from the past and a step forwards on your path to healing.

Please do not give in, you deserve to heal and you deserve to find peace. There is always hope.

Hatred

*Trigger Warning -swearing*

I am lost in a vast red mist.

Seething with rage because worked sucked, body memories continue and PTSD symptoms are pissing me off. I can see what I am doing, that I am not helping myself. I know later there will be hindsight where I will find steps I should have taken to ground and to reduce stress today. But right now I am angry, I feel attacked and out of control. My children are clashing, one is grumpy and demanding.

I am tired of unwanted disclosures, of gossip and ill feeling at work. On days like today I feel stupid for ever believing that I am ready to be a part of the rest of the world. I resent work and the people there for how under attack I feel and equally hate myself for blaming them for my failings. It is my issue, not theirs.

I hate him too, for making life so difficult. I fucking hate him right now for the spike in hyper vigilance and for the sheer terror I felt when I returned home to an empty house and the back gate wide open. And I hate him, for making me hate myself for that fear too. I hate him for the grooming and control that did such a number on my self esteem that in these moments I cannot find anything but feelings of self loathing.

I want to be a better mother than I am being this afternoon. I want to laugh with them, play with them, cuddle with them; not grit my teeth as they hug me nor clench my fists as they yell and fight. I am not handling them very well right now. And I hate him for that and I hate me too.

I feel as if the new self I am discovering is lost today. I want her back. I want that strong, brave, loving, kind person to return to the fore and take control again.

PTSD sucks. I hate him for doing this to me.

“In spite of ho…

Originally posted on I am a survivor:

“In spite of hopes to the contrary, pornography and mass culture are working to collapse sexuality with rape, reinforcing the patterns of male dominance and female submission so that many young people believe this is simply the way sex it. This means that many of the rapists of the future will believe they are behaving within socially accepted norms.”
― Susan G. Cole

 

 

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Body memory hell (and something new)

Ouch Ouch – I feel beaten up tonight. My pelvis hurts, it is as if there are bruises once more, on my hips and groin and elsewhere (any more would be way TMI). I ache, I feel sick.

I should be feeling awful and in a way I am- but there is something else there too that I have not noticed before. I feel in control, which may seem crazy because I cannot control these body memories. Strangely, I feel bigger somehow. Deep shame as usual and sick at the memories, yet different to normal.

I am finding it hard to explain. I hurt like hell, I hate the reminder, I feel the usual (and then some) shame trying to suffocate me, but I feel kind of removed too- though not emotionally detached as I have been in the past.

I actually woke with this inflated feeling- minus the body memories this morning (which isn’t entirely strange, after a conversation “bigging me up” yesterday). Now I feel as if the body memories are partly a resistance to that feeling. Does that sound crazy?

It is as if there is a fight within me. A part of me (enjoying) feeling bigger/ stronger versus the part that controls the negative/ shaming voice that has plagued me for so long.

I am positive that the main reason for the body memories is due to my need to talk about the recent “anniversary” (the physical pain I feel supports that). I cannot help but feel it is more than that though, the battle inside feels real, a resistance, a fight.

I wish I were seeing my T Friday so I could explore these feelings. I feel a slight thrill at the sense of control I have had among all these hideous body memories this evening. I am intrigued, I want to know what it is and if there is a way to  feel this way when triggered again.

And as much as I clearly need to talk about this “anniversary” again, I really want to too. I mean, really, really want to right now. I need and want to talk about it. I miss my T very much this evening.

 

Three weeks almost over, just over a week and therapy restarts. I hope I can find some peace from these body memories until then. Wish me luck.

 

 

I was sexually abused

*Potential Triggers*

“I was sexually abused”.

I don’t know how or when I will get used to those words or the enormity of what they mean.

I cannot imagine that a time will come when I will utter those words without my voice wavering. 

Perhaps one day it will no longer be a shock? Maybe in the future I won’t feel as if my legs are turning to jelly whenever I say those words? 

Today, at work, one of my colleagues told me (some more) about her abusive past. 

I excused myself from the office and gave myself a little time out to recover. I was thinking about what this poor woman had been through and how conflicted it makes me feel (for various reasons) and I thought to myself “I can’t imagine how horrible that was for her”.

Instantly I felt stupid because I can imagine to some extent, I have been physically abused too, though of course our experiences are not the same. And a little (spiteful) voice inside told me that my abuse was mostly sexual and therefore shameful. It shouldn’t be talked about like hers could be.

All of a sudden, I could not see past my own experiences. Selfish perhaps? But those words (and the shame) were like a flashing neon sign above me, I could not avoid them. They made me want to hide. What if others could see? They would know my shameful secret.

“I was sexually abused”  

Then I was hit by a wave of nausea and darkness surrounded me. All that was left, was a distinct smell and heavy breathing, that I knew did not belong to me.

I grounded quickly.Yet somewhere inside, something shattered- again. And though people were around, I couldn’t help the pool of tears forming in the corner of my eyes threatening to to escape. 

Once again, those words had hit me with the weight of a train. Tearing through me, leaving a mass of destruction in their wake.

What could I do? I was in work, I could hardly sink to my knees, no matter how much my legs threatened to give way.

I did as I always do. I am me, after all. I am well rehearsed-I know how to hide it from the world. So, I cleaned away the debris and I covered the gaping wound. A patch to keep in the pain and to get me through the day.

Will it always be this way, will those words always cut through me like a knife and drown me in shame?

How do you come to terms with the knowledge that you were sexually abused? When does it stop feeling so shameful? If it is not something to be ashamed of- why can I not make that shame go away?

 

Battle weary

Do you ever weary of all this? I don’t mean just the every day fight to overcome your past, to heal etc etc; but weary of reading it, weary of seeing it, weary of writing about it, weary of hearing it, weary of remembering it. Sometimes, I wish I could have a real break. A break from my past and a break from reality.

 

Some days I am stronger than others, on those days I can read about the horror other people have and are going through, but often it’s just too much. I feel guilty for that. I won’t be someone who buries their head in the sand because they can’t handle reality. But sometimes it’s just too much. It hurts.

 

Today is one of those times. I am tired. I hurt so much I physically ache. I am angry, my chest is aching in an effort to contain all that I feel. And then I inadvertently read something about today being international something or other to do with victims (I clicked off it right away, so didn’t really take it in) and I felt instantly sick. 

Normally, I’m all for awareness- it’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong. But right now it’s just another reminder that I understand and right now I’m tired of understanding.  

 

It’s an anniversary for me today and I find that I am feeling the same as I did that day- used, broken and ashamed.

 

I’ve done all the right things, kept to a routine, eaten well and stayed hydrated. I am surrounded by grounding and comforting items. I wanted to write, but couldn’t face my journal today (so sorry, you’ve got me venting here instead). I’ve stayed away from the news, the TV has been comedy shows only, the radio has stayed off, other than this, my laptop has remained closed today. I’m trying. Hard. I’ve got comfort food on the menu tonight and my husband on standby for when I am grounded enough to crawl into his safe arms (struggling a bit with touch right now).

 

But I am worn out from all of this. Tired of hurting, tired of fighting, tired of knowing of horrors of the world that people around me are ignorant to.

I am tired of understanding, tired of knowing about rape first hand, tired of knowing about abuse, tired of seeing it going on in all around me and feeling so utterly powerless. Powerless to stop it for others, powerless to change attitudes towards it and powerless to make it go away for myself right now. 

 

I am feeling kinda battle weary right now.  This will pass, right?

 

Freedom

Prisoner. 

That was a new word for me in therapy on Friday. My T seems to think it is fitting and I think he may be right.

There was no escaping the abuse, there was never another option for me. Even when everyone else could see an open door, there was no exit for me. I was a prisoner even without restraint. I was enslaved by fear, trapped by his grooming; I may as well have been in chains.

I had resided myself to my fate, even seemingly complicit in my despair. I was shackled to him and I’ve been fighting for release ever since. 

I have not known freedom for as long as I can remember. Freedom was just a word that other people used, it never had any meaning for me. My life was his, my actions a result of his own. Like dark shadows over my life, those imprints of his control still remain. So I work tirelessly to scrub away those marks in order to free myself from his grooming and control.

 

And you know what? It’s working! I am getting closer to the end. I have tasted that freedom in recent months and let me tell you, it is exhilarating.

You see, it is like he has remained with me all the years. It is as if his weight is still on my chest, crushing my lungs, just like back then. Every breath I have taken since, laboured; each inhalation, an effort and that effort is exhausting. It has been such a battle not to give in. That has been my fight everyday for over sixteen years. 

But as I reconnect with my past and work to over come the numbness that has sustained me for all this time, I am learning how to feel all that is buried within me. And with every single second of agony I allow, I find there are true moments (no matter how fleeting) where the enormous pressure is lifting and I can breathe at last.

With every uninhibited breath I am closer to my freedom. A Freedom to feel, a freedom to think, a freedom to choose and freedom to be. 

 

Freedom

 

  1. the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.
  2. the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.