Disclosure at new depths (TW).

 

Thursday afternoon procrastination is something I know well. It is a time for therapy preparation and that is not something that I usually look forward to. I have a little less time today, due to working a longer shift. However there is certainly adequate time, should I set my mind to it. Except, that I am doing everything but.. I have cleaned a little, re arranged my flowers, taken care of my boys, made a drink, had a snack, put laundry away etc. etc. And now I am here, in the hopes that blogging about my thoughts will be enough.

I am having body memories, ongoing on and off since my last therapy session. Partly connected to my last session and some that seem disconnected right now, however it’s likely once I face it, I will find myself saying “Oh yeah, now I get why I was feeling that”.

I am back and forth between cramps- as if I were having a period and more recently, jaw/ mouth pain. The jaw and mouth pain isn’t something I usually like to admit to, mostly, because I’ve always been embarrassed and ashamed. As someone who has been a victim of rape, to talk about a body memory that includes jaw pain, it is pretty obvious what caused it. And that has always caused me much embarrassment and shame. Now I feel I can be frank. I am in pain because my body is remembering the brutal oral rapes I suffered. 

That I can be open and honest- here and with the right people- shows progress, I think? It shows that the shame has shifted somewhat, doesn’t it? I am able to admit something that previously would have me muted by such embarrassment. That has to be progress. Understandable, of course, it seems to be the way with sexual abuse particularly, but staying silent only serves to further my own discomfort and suffering. 

Body memories and flashbacks, nightmares and triggers, usually mean I need to talk about a memory with my T. Often a first disclosure, or at least re examining a previously disclosed memory, normally at a new depth. What is going on for me is both, I suppose. It’s not like others however.. these are unclear, intertwining memories.

It isn’t like I haven’t talked about oral rape with my T before, because I have, but as I blogged the other day, there are more details that need out. It’s not limited to oral rape, the stuff that is getting to me is the “day to day” stuff he did. It isn’t the big memories that sort of stand alone in my head, but the mass of memories that I haven’t been able to unpick. They are all so messy, in terms of what I remember.. things that happened all the time, over and over.

 

*Trigger warning. Survivors, please be careful.. I haven’t been overly detailed, but it does refer to my sexual abuse. *

*Friends and family, please be warned. If you don’t want to know about my abuse, please do not read any further.*

 

This stuff is close to the aspects of abuse where the control was at it’s peak. Hence my apprehension.

It was as if I was owned by him. Where I had to seek his permission for the most basic of things and do sick and horrible things  in the hopes that the permission would be granted- which it often wasn’t. This was abuse that I suffered most days/ nights when I was 14. My body was a mess from his continued rapes/ sexual assaults and the only way of coping with the pain was to create a world of my own to escape in.

These things require a new level of disclosure. Things my T is aware of from previous discussions but not at the level I need him to be. These memories need out, but in order to purge myself of the trauma that remains, I know that I have to be detailed, more so than I have ever been before.

How do I do that? It is hard enough to describe the way in which I was abused- to use the horrible words necessary to describe rape… but more details, of humiliation, of pain, of the disgusting things I remember..God, how do I tell him?

I have to find a way, because what was previously enough, simply isn’t any longer. Because I feel, more than I ever have and I guess it makes sense that what worked before is no longer sufficient. I am finding that I need to tell differently, slower than before and at a new and deeper level. 

It’s kinda funny (weird, not ha ha), how I spent years hiding this, with an absolutely desperate need to keep it all inside and now it’s quite the opposite.. the need to tell goes so deep, I feel like I have little control over it. Strangely, it kinda reminds me of childbirth.. where it doesn’t matter how much it hurts, no amount of fighting will stop that baby coming out. Your body takes over and does what it needs to do.. this is so similar in that way. My body and my mind have always known what to do to protect me, they have saved me a thousand times over. The urge to get all this out is taking over, my body is hurting and my heart is aching. I trust myself and so I will follow this instinct, which tells me, that it doesn’t matter if I refuse and it doesn’t matter how much I fight it, this stuff will come out one way or another. 

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The importance of telling your story.

I think most survivors reach the point where they want and need to tell their story. They need to be heard, not just about what happened to them, but how much it hurt and how it still hurts..the damage it did, the damage they are still trying to repair.

I have been in therapy for some time now, telling my T about my past. As time has passed and I have become more used to telling, I have noted a difference in disclosure versus telling my story.

Disclosure to my T feels almost medical, like a necessary procedure in order to kick start the process that is healing. Now I have reached the point of feeling, it is as if I am sharing my story, rather than disclosing. The more I feel, the more I need to be heard and the more I need to share that story with (some of) the world. 

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you. – Maya Angelou

 

In recent weeks I have been telling my T how it was for me back then, how much it hurt-while I was still able to feel (before I shut off emotionally). We talk “incidents” but sort of skirt around them, talking about them, but not in detail. I have been talking to him about it as a whole- at least the “stuff” that was done to me when I was 14. That is new for me and it’s horrible. I hate it. But, I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t healing for me. He hears me. My T sees me and he hears me. He is hearing my story. It helps, it’s necessary and I need this, so, very much. 

I have talked and continue to do so to a few individuals about my past. It is becoming increasingly more important and the benefits are greater than ever before. It helps to tell. I want to tell. How it felt, what he did and how badly I was hurt. I need to be heard. Not for sympathy, nor for attention. Simply, because I need people to know and to witness what no one knew back then. I deserve to be heard and understand as much as is possible. 

 

The last few weeks have been rough- more than rough. Unfortunately, I have had other issues and memories contributing to an already difficult time. I am doing my best to shelve them as much as possible and in some respects I am succeeding. One particular “incident” though continues to bother me. 

I don’t feel it is on my mind because I have issues or concerns. I don’t need to disclose it again. I have done that, but what I haven’t done with this, is tell my story. I am issue free as far as this is concerned. I would even go as far as to say that I am not just living with it, I am living beyond it. A few months ago I posted on here to say I felt free from the men who did it. That still stands. I think. Yet the need to tell my story remains. 

I don’t mean I need to tell all the vile details- that is for me and my T only, instead it is simply a want and need to share some of that awful experience with another person. 

I see my T tomorrow and I desperately do not want to side track to this incident.I am hoping by reaching this understanding that I need to tell this story will be enough to sort of appease that need for now. 

Does anyone else ever feel that way? Desperate to share? I am at the point where I even considered putting my story out here and that has always been a huge NO NO (and after a mental shake, remains so).

Our lies (Letter to my abuser)

I lied for you, because you told me to, your web of lies has been hanging over me ever since and weaving through my life.

We were full of deception, together it seemed, in a cunning disguise. What you told me to, I said without question. Though the cost was high, I kept the truth locked away. I did it for you, because you taught me to.

And I’ve done it ever since, lied to keep your secret, lied to keep the truth hidden, even from myself. I let them think it was me and I let them think it was OK. I carried my identity, hidden behind that stereotype. It was easier to be what you made me, than to ever tell the truth.

 

Now I’m unpacking the boxes I filled high. I am uncovering the truth, I am revealing your deception and taking off that disguise. But the further forward I go, the more I waver. I hate to admit it, but I  am afraid of you still.

Fear of what you might say or do, if only you knew that I’m going against what you said. Fear that each time I tell what you did, I get closer to the truth. The  truth shines light on your deceit and it makes you transparent. I hate what I see, I hate you. A hate I did not believe I was capable of feeling. And that hate is all at you. Not at the monster, but you, the one I loved.

Because now I see who you are, I see you are just like him, the one that resides with you, the monster within. And I have to wonder if you are the one, the one responsible for all of this. I am starting to wonder if the pain is far worse than the traumas I have lived.

I am heartbroken over you, my 14 year old self is in bits, I feel that devastation and it’s killing me. How could you have lied to me, how could I have lied for you?

You did a number on me, didn’t you? In a few short months, those lies became my truth. And as the lies are leaving me now and I am uncovering the truth, I find that somewhere inside a deep grief is waiting to be released.

I feel lost, who was I really then and where has she gone? It’s as if my identity has been ripped away and my heart broken in two. The delusion of who you were is no longer there to protect me and I am starting to feel some of it now, what I should have done before.

But I know it will be worth it, every single ounce of pain. Because as I continue to allow the truth to be free, I feel you leaving my life. Your lies are the poison and my truth the antidote. Each time I let it out, I am purging you from me. And one day you will be gone and finally I will be free.

I’m doing a little better this week (so far at least)! My PTSD symptoms are so much calmer, I am quite easily managing any that come my way right now.

Saturday was difficult, but Sunday was so calm, grounding and peaceful (as peaceful as it gets around here with two young children).

I know my sessions with my T are helping, disclosure helps so much. I hate doing it, I wish there were another way, but it works. I was quite ill last week, yet after telling what I did Friday, I feel so much more relaxed.

Sure, as with every new disclosure, tons of issues have been thrown in the air, things changing and feelings shifting, but  it was worth it for the relief I feel right now.

My T encouraged me to “park” what I disclosed if I found it all too much this week. It took a few days, but I’ve managed it. For now I have emotionally detached. It makes it easier to talk about, it makes it easier to write about. I can start to look at the issues it has raised, I can begin to explore the feelings it has revealed. I don’t want to remain emotionally detached (as I have with some previous disclosures), because I don’t want to have to do it again. But for now, to get me through to my next therapy session, emotionally detached is what I need. 

The first thing I will ask my T when I see him is “do you believe me?”. It is something I find the need to ask after each disclosure. It’s not as urgent as it used to be, now I know him well enough to read his body language and his reactions. But still, that reassurance is a big deal for me. It’s something I crave a lot. I need to know I am believed.

While I have told my T worse things than what I did on Friday, it still sounds so far fetched and unbelievable. His long exhale, his shift forward in body language, was enough for me to know he was with me as I told. I felt believed, understood and I knew I wasn’t alone. I didn’t need to ask him “do you believe me” right then, but since I’ve detached from it and had time to consider what I told, those doubts have crept in.

What I went through, it really does sound unbelievable, especially if you know me and the life I have now. I have been safe for ten years now and even find myself wondering if it really took place. I talked about it some last night and as I heard it out loud (in the way I just don’t when I’m really feeling it), it sounded like a lie- made up or at least exaggerated.

It helps to talk it through, it is the only way I will accept it. I choose what I reveal, I remain in control with what I am saying, I never want to say too much. I worry all the time about over sharing, these things cannot be easy to hear. Mostly, though, I fear that my own thoughts of “that sounds made up” are being thought by those I am sharing with.

I remember it, as if it were yesterday. It is as if the memories have been burned into me and there is a giant scar, running through me.  Yet, I don’t believe it half the time. How do you get past that? How do you deal with how unbelievable it all sounds? How do you accept it, when you can barely get your head around it yourself? Will this constant questioning of myself ever end? Will I always be so insecure and afraid?

I just cannot understand why anyone would want to hear these things, I cannot understand why they are willing to share my pain. I wait, to be called out as a liar, or an attention seeker, I fear it everyday. Will that ever go?

If I barely believe my own story,  how can I ever expect anyone else to believe me?

My fault? (That damn question again)

Is it my fault?

That is a question I’ve been asking myself often, for a very long time.

As therapy has progressed and I have moved forward, that question has continued to bother me from time time.

Each time there’s a new memory revealed, I find myself asking that question again. “Is it my fault?”.

Sometimes the weight behind it, is not what it was. I know the truth, intellectually at least. I know what my T would say, the argument against, the rationale.. however, the question continues to bother me, time and time again.

 

A new disclosure on Friday and it was horrible. It seems to get harder as I move forward. I feel more than ever before. I’m not simply telling a story- emotionally detached from the reality- I feel it now, every word I say. It was  incredibly painful.

I couldn’t tell my T everything, it was too much to deal with in one session. I was in danger of reliving what I went through, so I purposefully left some of it for another time.

One of those things I left out is really bothering me (and I’m angry that it is already bothering me, can’t I get a break??). Among other things, it is leading me to that question again- Is it my fault?”.

I cannot really explain here because that would lead me to feeling exposed and vulnerable again and I’ve felt that enough the last few days. I do not wish to share the details of my abuse here, certainly not right now.

But I cannot shake it- is it my fault at least in some way? My own actions, participation- it’s not as simple as that I know.  When is choice, not really choice? Willingness, not really willing?

I know I was groomed, trapped, coerced and forced. I often did what I had to just to survive. I don’t mean I believed I’d be killed if I didn’t, but it was  for my own emotional survival. I did what I had to for my own sanity.

I guess I find the need to justify myself, I find myself trying to remember what my T has said when I have previously shared my feelings of guilt and fault. I need that reassurance right now. Because I cannot get out of my head that at least some of that particular day, was down to me-my fault.

I so don’t need this right now, I’m still trying to recover from my therapy session on Friday.

More disclosure?

 

I am done fighting it, done complaining, done feeling bad for myself. The decision is made, soon (tomorrow hopefully), I will tell my T the memory that has been bothering me.

It’s in the way and you know what? I’ve done such a great job containing it the last few weeks, it’s time to let go and let it out. I’ve done well, but I can’t keep it up indefinitely, who could? This is agony, it’s horrific, no wonder it’s been making me so ill.

I think it’s OK to look at this as being compassionate for myself. I deserve to let this memory out, I deserve to be free from this torture, I deserve to take another step forward, I deserve to heal.

 

I’m nervous, OK, scratch that. I’m terrified, seriously I am (given what I’ve survived, what a wuss, right?). I’m afraid that tomorrow will be the day, I’m afraid to let those words out, I’m afraid of the pain, I’m afraid of inevitable increase in symptoms. I’m afraid of the horror I may feel. I know it will cause body memories, I know I will feel as if it just happened. And unless you have been there, I don’t think I could begin to explain, the terror of feeling pain as if it were happening again.

I guess it’s OK that I am afraid.

 

I’m trying to think positively, trying to combat the anger and fear. I found myself just now thinking of some of the progress I have made. It’s all around me, in my every day life, changes that can be so easily overlooked. So as I sit here typing this, drinking tea on my favourite couch, I am looking around for those changes. There we go, there’s one right now. Earlier, I changed into PJs and right now I feel comfortable in them- huge progress.

What I wear has formed part of my security for so many years. I hated pjs, I felt dirty and vulnerable in them. I hated dresses and skirts for the same reason. While my clothing never changed the abuse (it isn’t like wearing jeans stopped him getting to me), dresses/ skirts provided easier access, at school, in town, whatever. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my jeans and long sleeves, I still change into them (if I’m not already) whenever I feel particularly bad. But for months now, I’ve enjoyed wearing skirts and dresses (with boots of course) to work, I’ve become increasingly comfortable wearing them, even alone out of the house.

PJs- well that’s been a long work in progress. I think pjs should make you feel warm and cuddly. They should give you lovely, comforting, feelings, making you feel relaxed and ready to sleep. But for me, whenever I wore them, I felt used and dirty.

Having been subjected to one of the most traumatic nights of my life; while wearing similar attire and forced to remain in that situation for hours after (when I was so desperate to shower and to change)- to reach a point where I no longer felt dirty wearing pjs, was a massive milestone. I am now beyond that. I have my moments, but mostly now I feel comfortable in my pjs.

 

A mini Mexican wave for me? At least a woohoo??

 

Tomorrow, is a scary thought, I am deeply afraid of what is to come, I will not downplay that, or pretend it  is OK. Because it is a big deal and it is not OK. It is not OK that I ever went through it and it is not OK, that the after math hurts so much. But, I have come far, by doing exactly what I hope (intend?) to do tomorrow. Which is to tell what he did to me, to free myself from that secret and to allow myself the time and the space that I deserve to heal.

 

Reflecting a little.

This time last year, I remember comforting myself with the thought that by this Christmas therapy would be done. I was wrong, nineteen months in and we are not done. I have come far though, I know I have changed, I know I am stronger.

I finished another journal last night, I spent a little time reading back through it, I ended up reading through April’s entries particularly. April has always been a difficult month, with an Anniversary of the most physically traumatic night of my life. I disclosed that incident to my T during April this year. My pain and anguish was evident in my journal’s entries, but it has made me realise how far I have come. I am not over it, I’m not sure anyone could ever get over something that horrible, I closed my eyes and winced in pain when I came to my journal entry that detailed part of what “he” did to me that awful night. But it was pain, not trauma. That is progress.

With what is going on for me right now, I think it was particularly helpful to read those April entries last night, or at least it has given me some hope. I’m struggling with a recent anniversary at the moment. I completely ignored it, pretended it hadn’t happened and hoped it would go away. With that and the trust/ fear issues I have had, it’s no wonder I am having so many nightmares and hyper vigilance. I ignored the nightmares and hyper vigilance, until the body memories started and I could ignore no longer. I don’t think I have ever become used to anniversaries but I have been better at dealing with them, ignoring is not dealing. I understand now why it’s been so hard for me lately.

Classic me, would be to beat myself up for ignoring the anniversary and making things worse for myself, but I won’t and I am not. Not only was I was having a rough time with trust and fear issues but anniversaries that have never been talked through are always more difficult. I’m in pain, I’m traumatised by what was done that day and I haven’t processed it (nor do I want to right now). I think it’s OK that I tried to make it go away, I think it’s OK that my only way of coping was to suppress and ignore.

I will not be seeing my Therapist now until the New Year, I won’t be disclosing/ talking/ processing this particular anniversary for a while. Even if I had therapy this week, I don’t think I want to or I’m ready. So it’s about getting through Christmas without ignoring how I feel and what memories are getting to me, while at the same time containing those memories, because I do not have the safe outlet my T provides for a few weeks. It won’t be easy, but I do feel better now I have more of an understanding of why and what is going on.

I am aiming for a low stress and quiet few weeks and hoping for plenty of grounded moments, so I can enjoy some of the Christmas/ New Year holiday with my husband and beautiful boys. And I am fairly confident that this time next year, therapy will either be over or almost there at least. That is a good thought to hold on to.