Moving forward

It seems like forever, since I saw my T. I feel like a different person to the one who met with him just 3 weeks ago.

I think I have been different for some time, but too caught up in PTSD stuff, to notice the changes taking place, right under my nose.

It is now I feel I can breathe again, that I have been able to reflect on all the progress I have made.

I have written for hours on end. Recording, reflecting, expressing and healing. I have cried, more than I ever cried before. Crying, limited by PTSD triggers, but with many more tears than there have been previously. I have faced the hardest anniversary so far and I grieved like I have never been able, or allowed to do before. It was agony, but I am finding with agony there is a strange sense of peace.

And in my pain and honesty with myself, I have found new depths of healing. With every tear I have managed to shed, I found myself another step closer to freedom.

Over the last few weeks, I have made some decisions, one in particular is a pretty huge, life changing decision. Just by being able to make these decisions, I see the change in me. I have found that I want and can, at last, put myself first.  I have my own hopes and dreams and wants and needs that I have never really dared to have before.

 

I do not want to return to therapy tomorrow. I feel strong and alive and with such desire to move on. I want to be done talking about all those who hurt me. I do not want to give them a minute more of my life.

Yet, return I must. Because although the end is near (of therapy, at least), I am not quite done yet. So tomorrow I return to begin to tell him the remaining secrets left within me. I am resentful of that and afraid.

Wish me luck.

 

Healing through pain.

It has been almost a year since I wrote Easter hope.  A day where I felt such excitement and hope for the future. This Easter day is a little different. The close proximity to an Anniversary has me feeling raw. It has been the most painful anniversary I have ever faced.

The hope I felt last Easter is still there, though, I am finding I have to dig a little deeper within myself to find it right now. While my heart is heavy, I look out the window and see buds on the trees and new flowers opening. There is life all around me and where there is life, there is hope.

Friday was the anniversary of the most physically traumatic night of my life. Saturday morning was the anniversary of the lowest point of my life. It was the height of my trauma and this year I have felt it much more than any of the years before.

Today, it is over and I am safe. For those things, I am glad. For the life I see growing around me and for the changes within me, I am glad.

Yet, I am still hurting today. I cannot simply switch off all that I felt yesterday. I am still grieving, for the child I was and for what was done to her and all that we lost.

As my children hunted for eggs this morning, with joy and glee, I found I had to leave the room to hide my tears. Tears of joy, tears of relief and most of all, tears of pain.

I am in so, much pain. And because of him, the tears cannot spill for as long as I need. The black hole returns quickly and the emptiness threatens to swallow me. Today, like yesterday, has so far been about tears and then grounding. But unlike yesterday, today at least, there is relief too.

Relief that it is over now. It was seventeen years ago and my body has healed and now it seems my heart is too. He won’t do it again, it won’t happen again. It won’t. I have survived it already. I am safe now. I am safe from him. I am safe with me.

Thank God. Thank God, I am safe. Thank God, I am healing.

 

The Anniversary of my biggest loss

Today I woke into safety, I woke into warmth and  I woke into love.

What amazing feelings!

I am holding onto those feeling as I face an anniversary. I am keeping them with me as I struggle with the aftermath of a difficult afternoon and night yesterday and with the body memories that began this morning.

I have been moving around my home, rearranging my beautiful flowers, taking in the scent of the clean laundry hanging in the utility room. I have been looking out the windows at my lovely garden, the birds, the squirrels, the amazing trees that surround us. I have been moving between my rocking chairs and my window seat. Grounding, grounding. Reminding myself that I am safe. I am warm and I am loved.

 

But I cannot shake that night and I cannot shake that morning. I cannot get past that while he was celebrating yesterday he could have remembered me. It’s my memory, my pain, my trauma, yet he shares it too. And worse still, if he chose to remember yesterday, he would have done so differently to me. With pleasure perhaps, with power. With a smile on his face. Of course I do not know for sure, I am not in his head.. and that is where I am finding such distress. I do not know and even if I did, I cannot control his thoughts.

This week, my T suggested that while I cannot control his attachment to me, I can control my attachment, to his attachment. He is right,  I am still attached. Preoccupied, disturbed and distressed that he can choose to remember too. I do not want to share this with him.

I often think that he haunts me, but if I’m honest, sometimes I am sure it is me that is the ghost, still following him. That, at least, is something I can change.. in fact I am doing so already.

 

 

That night was hell and that morning after especially so. It was Friday 3rd, and he spent the night violating me. He broke me, yet it is the trauma of the following morning that is hurting me.

That morning, I think a part of me died, or perhaps more, a part of me got stuck there with him, trapped in time. I am certain, when I finally got away that morning, that something of myself was left behind. And he still has it. It’s still with him. And I don’t know that I can get it back.. and even if I did, how could I ever bring it back to life? Can your soul die? In part, at least? He destroyed something and though it may be in pieces, he still has it. It’s real, it’s gone and I know because I feel the loss – the gap, that I have never been able to fill.

I knew it that morning, I knew it was wrong and I’d never be the same. I knew it as I woke beside my monster, I knew it as I lay frozen in a terror. I knew it as I wondered if it were possible to be fucked to death. I knew as I wondered, if I was already dead. And I knew it when the door was wide open, and I still could not leave. My will broken, my choices gone, my identity – my very self, obliterated.

You cannot go through something like that and not lose something of yourself.  You just can’t.

 

That part is gone, I am sure of that. It is no longer mine and perhaps, I will always have this gaping hole..but I am safe now and I am warm and I am loved. And it is within those things, that I am healing and it is within those things, I am finding new life.

 

 

Choosing to heal.

 

* Trigger warning for SI*

I really want to share this with someone, it’s kinda scary to do so, but I’m going to be brave, because I think it’s important that I be honest about this.

 

I did something today. Something completely unexpected and out of the blue.

I think doing this “something” will prove to be incredibly healing for me.. the pain and the anger that vibrated through my body as I did this “something” has to be a good. It has to be healing. Because I didn’t push it back down, not this time. I let it out. I let it breathe. At least until the tears came and I was forced to ground.

This “something” isn’t altogether why I am writing, or what I want to share- mostly because I cannot share the details. Instead, it’s more about another thing that happened during this “something” this afternoon.

In the midst of what I did today,  a disturbing thought more than crossed my mind. One from back then. One that came from her- the person I used to be. This thought was about self destruction, self hate and self mutilation. And it was close, far too close.

After the “something” I did today, I knelt among the debris, breathing, shaking. Recovering. It felt like the debris was sort of calling to me – as crazy as that may sound. Even crazier, it felt like someone inside was listening. I don’t even remember doing it, but I must have reached out and taken a piece, because suddenly it was in my hand. I was dissociating somewhat, I guess. I remember being preoccupied by the way this shard caught the light. Any danger seemed so far away.  There was such temptation and there was familiarity and a great deal of need. Complex, chaotic, need. Need that can exist, no matter how empty and numb you may feel. It is a feeling, we have touched on in therapy lately…and it’s horrible. And it’s scary. It would seem that in the wrong setting, it can be dangerous also, as today has taught me.

This is where it gets hard to admit.. but I came as close as I have been in years to letting her take control. I am ashamed to admit, but I got as far as running it across my hand, more than once.

Too close. But I stepped in and I saved myself. I chose not to apply pressure. I chose instead, to feel the anger. I chose instead, to feel the pain. And most importantly, I let them both breathe. For as long as I could stand it.

Today, I think I made a huge step in healing, by this “something” I did, but more crucially, when my old self wanted to self destruct. I chose recovery,  I chose self care. I chose me.

Strength?

I’m tough. I am the strongest person I know. Is that conceited? Either way, it is true. I have endured much and have lived to to talk about it.

I escaped my abuser and I found a good man to fall for.

I am strong.

I’m not sure I always was.

Where did that come from and why does it bother me so?

In therapy we somehow got on to talking about a friend who helped me. Someone, who was his victim too. Someone who saved me more than once and someone I relied on to help me cope with the pain, the panic and the fear. We talked about her for some time. It proved to be very painful and incredibly upsetting. I wasn’t altogether successful at holding back the tears.

I have been writing about her since I got home. I ache. Not for her, I don’t miss her. I don’t want her. She belongs back then. In my memories. But in talking about her, once again I was touching on who I used to be.

It’s a very strange place to be. Not quite grounded, but not “in it” either. It’s scary, but also a powerful, intense place to sit.

I remembered how I used to feel and I do not remember strength then. I relied on her. And most of all, I relied on my abuser.

When it got too much and I couldn’t calm down, I relied on her gentle touch, to bring my breathing under control. It was her closeness that stopped the shaking. I couldn’t do it for myself. Not then.

And then there was him-who could shut down my pain with just a look. It worked. I was grateful for that at least.

Did I grow strong over time?

Is my strength a direct result of what was done to me? That disturbs me. I do not want to be strong because he made me so. I do not want to be able to shut down my pain because of years of his control and fear enables me to do so.

I need this to be mine. Not another result of grooming.

My strength. Not his.

 

Why after all we’ve talked about today, is this my focus? My T suggested that I may need to talk about her again, however it may be more like how we dealt with disclosure, sometimes once was enough. Perhaps he is right? I get the feeling that we stumbled upon her because she blocks where I need to be (which I am guessing my T suspected too). After talking and writing about her, she is moving out the way and what lies behind her is mountains and mountains of pain.

 

Pain that includes the reality of his control. And somewhere in all that I am caught up in a desperate need to find something of myself now (or before) in myself back then. By that I mean, something of me, the real me, perhaps that was there before, or would have been whether I was abused or not. Instead of the completely broken child that I am beginning to see in some of these memories now.

I lost so much. He took my body and he took my heart. Did he take my soul too? Was there anything left? Was I strong before? Did that remain and then grow?

I need for there to be something. A spark, a flicker. I badly need to find something he didn’t create. I need to find something he didn’t take from me. I cannot be a result of his abuse. I cannot.

 

Am I making any sense? I’m not so sure.

 

 

Needing him.

I have wanted to write since Friday. Journal, or blog. Something. Anything.

I need to write, I know that. I need something out. I can feel it.

Except now, I finally feel I can, I find myself hesitating. Although it seems as if my journal is calling to me, I am struggling to find the courage to pick it up. I hold back here, but maybe I can at least find some relief.

 

Therapy last week, was, as it has been for some time – excruciating. I was closer than I have ever been to who I was and more importantly, what I felt and what I feel.

I’m glad to have been able to step away from that somewhat since then. After a great deal of grounding this weekend, the triggers are not as persistent as they were on Saturday.

It was a scary and stomach churning experience on Friday (therapy day). It was like stepping back into my old shoes, right back into who I used to be. Looking through her eyes as the horror of my daily life unfolded before me. Hell. 

I connected with myself. And I could feel a familiar emptiness and most of all, need. An all encompassing need.

Back then, I could have killed for that need.

My T suggested that it was a need my abuser created and so he was the only one who who could fulfill it. It was engineered that way. For him. Not for me. There was no other option offered to me. My T said, had there been, I would have taken it.

Would I? Really?

I couldn’t explore that properly with my T, because more talk of control and choice caused a horrific flashback, therefore the rest of the time, was spent grounding.

 

I remember that overwhelming and all compelling need. Perhaps not as well as I did with my T on Friday, but it hasn’t gone. I cannot shake it completely. Back then it was my waking thought. My only thought. Him. And my need to be with him. No matter what that meant for me. Or anyone else.

It ruled me.

Or he ruled me??

It’s like he was surrounded by a powerful magnetic force. I was drawn to him. I sought him. I needed him. So badly. It was as important as air to me. Can you imagine that? Do you know what that was like? Do you have any concept of the depth of my need? I’m not sure many could. Terrifying. Until Friday, even I had forgotten- buried, what that was like.

 

As I got older and I was no longer exclusively his, or he mine, I found myself pining for him. My addiction remained. Although I saw him regularly, I missed him, so very much. Too much. And so I got hurt more. For him. For me.

My T suggested, that was at least in part, because I didn’t know how to function without my abuser. He told me what to do. He told me what I should feel. And no matter the consequence for asking, I needed to need his permission for even the most basic of things. It was what made sense. It was safe. He was safe. The world was a scary place without him. How messed up.

 

I needed him to save me. And he did. He saved me over and over again. Except the only thing I really needed saving from, was him. He engineered that. He created my need for his rescue and so I had to return. Don’t you see?

Does anyone see? Can anyone understand?  I owed him. At least, I thought I did.

My saviour. My addiction.

 

Loss

Is it possible to grieve through PTSD symptoms? Because I hurt. I physically ache, just as I did back then. Yet I am not traumatised, not like before at least. It will always be horrific, but I am sure it is not trauma, not anymore.

Then the physical pain has to be a manifestation of the emotional pain that I just cannot release, right?

The only release is to cry, and therefore that means, right now I have no choice but to try to keep it inside. I have been fighting the tears all day long. And fight it I must because to shed tears, is to plunge myself into darkness. Into a black hole, that is so deep and so dark that I am terrified I won’t ever find my way out. Until I find a way around that, the pain can only be released by my agony. Hideous, awful, physical pain.

Mother’s day was just too much, it reminded me of that day. And now I cannot shake the feelings of loss. And I cannot shake him either. What he did and what he caused.

*Big Trigger warning here. If you are likely to be triggered, or if you would rather not know some details of my abuse, please don’t read on*

 

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As I lay underneath my husband last night, I felt my abuser. Where I was safe and loved, he disturbed us. He interrupted something beautiful and intruded on what is ours.  And I was there, back there. It was no longer night and I was no longer safe. Trapped, afraid and in a great deal of pain.

That day he pushed me to floor, like so many times before, and he took. And he took. Despite my pleas, despite the blood, it would not end.

Then he abandoned me, leaving  me completely alone, with a burden I did not know how to bear.

And out there, in the cold and surrounded by death, we lost all that we had left.

 

 

I lost so much and it hurts. I hurt.

I wish someone could take this from me.