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.

My boys.

Today, is difficult, I’m very sore, tired and grumpy. The rain during the school run, the young boy yammering on at me, the toddler screaming because he was wet (but refused the pushchair rain cover) all added to my stress. I have been hyper vigilant, so the crowds at school and the people walking behind me were quite difficult to handle. I was fighting dissociation at work and now I’m home I just feel exhausted. But my children are close by, the youngest singing and dancing “Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes”, the oldest playing with his cars on the rug and I remember just how good I have it.

I don’t blog about my children much. But right now I want to write about them, I want the reminder of just how good my life is now.

Things have been improved in recent weeks and with that I’ve noticed a change in mood with my children. Normally, I’m quick to anger and I spend a lot of time and effort in keeping that from my boys. I manage that mostly-they are clueless -but all the emotional toll is on me. It leaves me exhausted.

Over the last few weeks, I struggle less often with that anger. I’m more patient with the children, I feel more natural with them and more relaxed too. It’s not always that way, today for example, I’m back to struggling once more. But in general, things have improved a lot. I’m thrilled with that, I have hated feeling so stressed out and so angry around my children. The effort to hide it from them and to be the level mother they need, has been so incredibly hard.

 

My Boys:

 

My oldest child is beautiful,  he has big eyes that draw you in. The first moment I saw him, I couldn’t believe his beauty. He was the smallest baby I had ever seen, he had to wear “tiny baby” clothes and “newborn” were way too big. I was so thrilled to be his mummy. He slept well from a young age, fed regularly and generally he was a dream. I struggled with depression and PTSD a lot after his birth. I admit, it took some time to bond with him, but I loved him from the start and somewhere along the way he suddenly felt like mine and now I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

He was quite an independent baby. He was happy to sleep alone, happy to sit and observe the world around him, happy to just be. Now he is a bit older, he is shy and quiet around new people and situations. In the last year or so (since starting school) he has needed a lot of comfort and a lot of reassurance, which isn’t a problem for me.

He was once a daddy’s boy, but now he is definitely all me. He is kind and he is sweet, on occasions he has even comforted me when I’ve been down. He is such a charmer, he tells me I look pretty, or that he likes my hair, he finds things in my favourite colour and present them to me. He has learned to tell me when he wants a hug (so he doesn’t just throw himself at me), he understands that we don’t jump out on people in our family, he knows we don’t scare on purpose. He takes it all in his stride. He is an amazing little boy and I am so proud to be his mum.

 

My youngest child, also a boy, I refer to as my baby. He’s not really a baby anymore I suppose, but for now he continues to be “baby”.  He too is beautiful, he is loving, affectionate and quite needy. He has been needy since he was born. He always needed to be held, always wanted to be attached to me. I used to carry him in a sling so he was always close. He was a chubby baby, he fed often and slept very little. He has definitely been more of a challenge than his brother!

From the moment he wakes, he wants to be with someone, he cries as soon as he opens his eyes until one of us is with him. He still needs someone to sit with him while he falls asleep. While it can be tiring, I wouldn’t change it, there’s something very special about soothing a child to sleep.

He is a little behind with his speech, but manages to communicate his needs to me (and his dad) quite well. Around other people, he is incredibly shy, he becomes mute with people he doesn’t know and even those he does know, his speech is selective. He too is a bit of a mummy’s boy. We hear all day, “mummy do it!”. He is a nervous child, yet strong willed. He has loud and long tantrums that can be difficult to handle, but I wouldn’t change him, not for a minute. I adore my needy baby.

I am so lucky to be the mother of two awesome little boys.

 

 

I have never considered myself to be a natural mother, I certainly couldn’t be at home all day with them. At times I’ve felt pushed to the edge by the demands of two small children while also dealing with PTSD. But, all things considered, I think I have shielded them well from it all and that is evident in recent months. I have changed, but they are consistent, they are no happier or less happy than a few months ago. They have remained unaffected by all of this. And that makes me want to weep with relief. I’ve been so afraid, so paranoid that my issues could affect them and I know now, that has not been the case. I am determined to continue to move forward, to let go of the fears that still hold me back, so one day I can look back and confidently say, that the boys have never been victims in this.

Trying to no avail

 

Yesterday, to try and reduce my stress, or at least to not add to the existing stress, I tried out a new after school routine,. It seemed to go well, my children certainly responded well and seemed happier for it. I had more energy and felt better for doing more with my children, I’ve missed them lately. Unfortunately, I suffered for it last night, it was a bad evening. I was exhausted and symptoms were heightened. It was if instead of the new routine relieving me of stress, it just delayed it. I actually felt worse in the end.

So now what? Perhaps there’s a middle ground somewhere? If not, well at least I was a better mother for my boys while they were awake. The feeling terrible is not ideal and not something I want, but I’m willing to go through it, if my time with my children and my parenting is improved by delaying the inevitable stress. I am probably getting ahead of myself, no two days are the same and I certainly will explore other avenues rather than merely accepting that I have to feel terrible.

I was discussing it with my husband earlier and he suggested perhaps I am trying too hard to make things better and I should accept that things are crappy right now. I’m not likely going to feel good and enjoy things while I’m in the midst of therapy. I see his point, I know I put way too much pressure on myself  and I also know realistically, I cannot just make this go by changing my attitude and my daily routine. But, I want to try to make it better for myself, I don’t want to give up and just embrace feeling terrible. I know I feel bad, I know I am in pain (and need to be in pain), but I need to do everything possible to make it easier for myself. I’m not sure I am doing that though? In trying to improve things I seem to be adding stress.

 

Today I had an unexpected day off work (childcare issues) and so it was just me and my youngest at home all day. I was grateful, I felt so terrible this morning, I really didn’t want to go to work anyway. We had a low key day, stomping in the leaves and generally spending some quality time together. I didn’t think I had done too much, but maybe I have because I feel horrible right now. Reflecting on the day, spending time with my boy, having time to ground and to have a clean and tidy (important to me) home, with a casserole cooking by 2pm, should have been a good day for me. It certainly would have made me feel happy 2 years ago. I don’t feel good or happy, I don’t feel like I’ve achieved, I just feel like a wreck.

I don’t want to be someone who complains all the time, or finds the negative in every situation, but I feel what I feel. I am trying so hard to make the best of this situation yet I feel like I’m going crazy. My chest is ready to explode and the symptoms are hitting me hard, one after another. I don’t know what else to do other than keep trying, if I stop trying then that feels like giving up. Giving up is a very dark road to go down. I’m afraid of stopping, I’m afraid what that may mean, but I’m a mess. I can’t keep this up. I don’t know what to do. I wish this was over, I can barely stand this.

 

Dark heart?

 

Have you ever seen the TV series “Once Upon a Time”? You should, it’s good 🙂

Throughout the series the “Evil Queen”, or the “Evil One”, rip out the hearts of others. The hearts are red and glowing. It’s not as gruesome as it sounds, it’s very fairy tale like, which I guess is what they are going for. The Evil Queen, Regina has her own heart ripped out on one episode and observes how blackened it is from all the evil she has bestowed on others.During another episode, Snow White has her heart pulled from her and is shocked to see that it too has started to blacken from an evil deed she did.

This  part of the show has really resonated with me, particularly right now with what I’ve been dealing with in therapy.  I have been carrying a massive amount of guilt and self hatred since I was 16 years old. I have blamed myself for what my friend went through, I’ve been deeply ashamed and battled with myself  since that day. I felt as if it were a huge dark secret that I had to keep to myself, the longer I kept it inside, the bigger it became. I hid myself away, I didn’t allow myself to ever get close to another friend like that again. I feared I was the cause of pain and destruction, I suppose I felt cursed. I fully believed that a part of me was dark, that in some sense my heart was “blackened” too and the longer I kept the secret, the more the darkness spread.

When I first began to confront those feelings, it felt as if that “blackness” had taken hold. As I told what went on that day, I hated myself, I felt like I had given myself over to evil. Dramatic, perhaps, but I was deeply upset and incredibly angry with myself and what I believed I had put my friend through.

In a small amount of time, that has changed and continues to change. I do not believe I am evil, I do not hate myself and though I still carry deep regret and guilt, I know on some level at least, that it was not my fault.

My heart is not dark and it never was. What I was consumed with, though poisonous, was never mine to begin with. I look forward to feeling well enough to knowing the relief of no longer feeling cursed, no longer feeling evil and no longer hating myself. I look forward to beginning to love myself and I look forward to truly feeling worthy of love from others too.

 

To the Owner of my Nightmare (another letter to him)

 

To the Owner of my Nightmare,

I’ve tortured myself with this for fourteen years. FOURTEEN years. I’ve dragged this around with me, I’ve blamed myself, I’ve hated myself, when I should have been blaming you and when I should have been hating you. You and him. Not me.

This has been a true nightmare, countless times I have woken shaking, and screaming, not because of what you did to me that day. Oh no, I couldn’t even allow myself to hurt over that. No, the guilt has been my worst nightmare.

You blamed me, they blamed me and I believed you and I believed them, so easily. So damn easily. And that’s your fault too, for grooming me to think I was nothing and for making me so accepting of that blame.  Your lies were toxic, they have been running through my veins, taking over my heart and soul and turning me against myself. I want that to end. And now I believe that this is the beginning of that end, finally.

I don’t know how you live with this, because I couldn’t. I haven’t been living really, not properly. I assumed everything that happened since that day was deserved. You must be drowning in secrets and shame, because I have been. I haven’t allowed myself any friendships as close as me and her, for fear of hurting them. So many opportunities wasted, so many beautiful people that I have held at arms length, all because of you. But you see that is changing now and I’m opening up, not just releasing my secrets, but letting people in and letting them love me. And I deserve that love. You, do not.

It’s been my worst and my most horrific nightmare; now it’s time you have it back. It’s not mine and it never was.

Not Yours

Learning to Love Myself.

Not Ok.

 

I am trying so hard, every damn day and I can’t do it, not anymore. It’s too much, too difficult, I wish there were another way. I’m giving it my everything I swear. It doesn’t feel enough, but I don’t have more to give. I am so tired, so tired of fighting this all the time. Oh this isn’t a suicidal post, I don’t want to die. I want to live. I want to heal and I want to live.

I’m doing everything right, everything, I’m helping myself, but it’s not working. I don’t know what else to do? I’m in pain, I feel trauma, I’m carrying guilt all over one thing, one day. I know I need to talk about it in T tomorrow, but I know even if I start it won’t make it go, not yet. Short term it will get worse, it always does. I know this, I have done this several times over now. But worse? I can’t handle worse than this. But I know it isn’t going to get better until I take that step and face this. I’m afraid, afraid of telling, or not being able to tell. I am afraid of the pain, afraid of not being able to contain all the other memories associated with it. Perhaps I’m wrong and relief will come by just starting? Oh I need some relief from this.

I can’t contain the tears but I can’t find relief in them at all, so they are just making me angry and making my head hurt.

I feel guilty for writing this post and for moaning again, why am I bothering, what am I even looking for?  I was so determined to feel better this week. I’ve started each day positive and determined that the day would be better than the one before. I’ve tried, I swear I’ve tried with every part of me. I’ve thrown myself at it, I’ve fought. I’ve got back up every time I’ve been knocked down. I’m sorry for failing. I’m sorry for not handling this, for letting down all those with faith in me, those who tell me I’m strong. I’m not strong, not enough at least.

I don’t know what to do.. what do I do? What can I do other than wait it out?

More anger.

Today was a better day and I am pretty sure that’s a result of my rant post last night. I felt lighter right away. After a short while I found myself with energy and I just felt better in general. I slept well and this morning was OK. 🙂 Work was fine, but I’ve struggled somewhat since I got home. I seem to be full of anger again. I guess I have a whole heap of repressed anger and any gap left from my release yesterday has been filled with more anger.

This evening we’ve had a friend over, we had a few low key fireworks and frankly, I am exhausted. Angry, drained, stressed and just feeling crappy. I think perhaps I take on too much. Work is nuts and despite going through an intense time in therapy, I’ve increased my work hours. I’ve less time at home which isn’t good for me, work is a good distraction, but home is grounding, home is comfort and home is safe. I come home exhausted, then have two small children to deal with. Perhaps, inviting a friend over and cooking a big meal for us wasn’t the best idea. I feel spent. I want to socialise, I want to see friends, I want to do nice things with the children (such as the fireworks), I want to live. But perhaps I should accept that I can’t do as much as I want. Perhaps I need to do more self care, be gentler with myself, allow myself much needed rest and down time.

Tonight I have that horrible stressed out feeling, I’m dissociating which is normal with stress. I don’t want to feel like this and I can’t but help feel that it’s a bit self inflicted. I’m annoyed because I was feeling OK this morning, I hoped that would continue all day and it hasn’t. I don’t like feeling anger. I don’t want to be an angry person, I don’t want anger issues. I want to be a loving person, I want to be full of love, not full of anger.

I may feel crappy, but I am pleased that today was better than it has been. And though I don’t like it, I know the anger is necessary right now, it’s normal, valid and to be expected. In future, I will try to make more of an effort to treat myself better and to allow myself rest time.