I’m alive.

Some big news, I just need to share……

I am a real, live, feeling person. Did you know?

I am not so sure I did before now.

All this time, there was someone real underneath all this show, pretense and trauma. Someone with thoughts, wants, needs and desires. And passion. So, much passion for life. Oh my word, I feel so alive.

I find myself wondering if other people see and feel what I do. Is this how everyone feels? If so, why aren’t you weeping all the time- whether with joy or pain? How on earth do you stay so calm and controlled? I feel like a toddler, discovering the world.

Everything is so much clearer. Beauty. And pain. All of it seems so much more vibrant than ever before.

Do you see it? The life? The peace? The freedom?

It’s so damn close, I can taste it and damn, is it so sweet… even the grief, even the pain. All of it.

* Trigger Warning*

 

In some ways, I’m in hell. The memories I am containing right now- hell. The body memories causing surging pain through my jaw right now- hell. I’m containing, suppressing. But it seems, even those things now make me feel alive.

My eyes are opening.. I see what is all around me as clearly as I am beginning to see what was back then. You see, I’m disclosing the worst bits to my T now. Yes the worst. The intimate details.. where I have to tell him the specific ways in which I was hurt, how it felt, what I smelt, how my body reacted, the things I had to do, the things I had to say.. things I have patchy memories of due to the level of trauma. In order to do this, I have to step back into the room in which I was hurt so many times. It began last week and so far, I’ve had to dissociate to disclose, but I’m getting closer, closer to feeling it too and God, that is where the freedom lies. The beginning at least. I’m sure of that.

Because that’s the key.. the very secrets I was certain I’d take to my grave…are my way out from under him, where if I’m honest, despite all my efforts, a part of me has remained.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fucking torture, yet I have to do it, because I know it is the only way to face who I used to be. And it is the only place I can face him. Only in that room, only by freeing myself from these secrets, can I truly see him for who he is and what  he did to me. This is beyond what he took from my body, instead it is what he tried to take from my heart and soul. It is where I find me.. and I know because it’s already happening. I am already doing it. This is where I take back control.

He told me no one would believe me, he told me my only worth was my body, he told me I was just a set of holes to be used. He told me it was all my fault. He told me I was dirty, over and over and over again.

He called me sexy, and he called me ugly. He called me slut. He called me slag and filthy whore. And worst of all, he called me his…which is why I’ve got to keep doing this, it is why I have to tell every sickening detail. I am not his, I will not be his, we will not share these secrets together. This is the only way I can be free. I am not those things and one day soon, I’m going to know that within my heart too. I’m going to win.. did you know? I am not sure I did.

I’m going to win, I’m going to be in control and I’m going to be free!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

International Women’s Day- And I am subdued.

Today is International Women’s Day and I find myself feeling subdued.

Perhaps it should be a day of celebration, to recognise the achievements of the great women who have gone before us and those who are in this world today. Instead, I just feel heavy.

Heavy from the constant weight of being a woman in a man’s world.

Improvements are being made and things are changing, I won’t deny that.. but I am under no illusions. Women and men are not equals in this world.

Today, I hoped to feel empowered by other women. Those who stand up and speak for us. Those who work tirelessly to bring about change for us.

I hoped to find my own strength, to perhaps even celebrate the steps made in my own journey.

Instead, I feel resentful. Instead, I feel beaten down. Again.

Because I am reminded that while I want to help change this world, I cannot. All my strength is used up trying to heal from what men did to me.

 

Trigger Warning here

This morning I woke from a PTSD dream. In this dream my abuser found me sleeping on my front. He climbed on top of me and I woke to find I could not move.  This man holding me down, was so much bigger and so very much stronger than me. My months of grooming, stopped me from crying out in fear, or pain as he did what he wanted to me. This was not just a dream, this was once my reality.

It is not a feeling I can shake easily this morning. I remember that helplessness and more over, I remember his utter power. I cannot help but feel that no matter how strong I feel, I will always be at the mercy of men. If they choose to hurt me, what chance do I have?

Yesterday, my husband and I were being playful in bed. When I shoved my husband in jest, he didn’t move an inch, as he shoved me back, he then had to grab me quickly, before I fell off the bed. Men are so much stronger than me. How can I ever fight back?

This morning, I am reminded what it was like to be utterly powerless. Right now, it seems to me that men will always have the upper edge.

 

It’s not just my own experiences that have me feeling sort of flat this morning. Just look around the world. The recent news story and documentary covering the gang rape of  Jyoti Singh in Dehli. And while that is absolutely abhorrent and the attitudes by some (and I fear many) men there, utterly shocking, it is not limited to India. A “well it happens over there, thank goodness we live in a civilised society” sort of response is not acceptable. Male violence is happening all over the world. In your part of the world, your country, your town, your street. Everywhere.

Look in the UK, at the more high profile cases such as the  Jimmy Saville abuse, or perhaps the Rotherham or Rochdale trafficking. Look harder and you see how the media is getting it so wrong too. Reporting rape as sex. Using terms such as “young girls sold for sex”. How on earth can we end this violence, when we are still calling it sex?

In the USA, on campus rapes particularly, have been making news lately. Where preserving reputation and the lives of boys and men come higher on the agenda than justice and care for the victims, who of course, are largely women.

What about the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls in Nigera? Again, men. Men forcing. Men controlling. Men exerting their power over women and girls.

And the list goes on. Forced marriages. Female  Gentle Mutilation. So called “Honour”KillingsInfanticide  and Femicide.

How is this equality? How is this anywhere near achieving equality?

Women and girls are dying everyday, because we are still regarded as inferior.

 

Even well known charities are getting it wrong.  This poster by the Salvation Army South Africa on Domestic Violence- a sexualised picture of a bruised women. I’m sorry, but where do I start with this? What on earth are we learning from this? Where is the awareness, where is the advice here?

 

The right noises are being made and I suppose for that I should be grateful?  Except I am not. We are still getting it wrong. Men still rule this world. It is largely men in the UK government for example. White, rich men, making decisions about issues that they cannot possibly understand.

I cannot see the end to male violence. I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel at all here and that is why today, on International Women’s day, my heart is heavier than ever.

Dissociation. My angel.

I’ve been ill the last few days. Thankfully it is over now, but I can tell you, grounding is very difficult when you wake at all sorts of time and day and night, not knowing where you are.

I’ve been dreaming a great deal. Nightmares of things that happened. Some of which I had forgotten.

I’ve written down what I can. And in doing so, I’ve noticed a shift. A change in my perception of who I used to be. Maybe this will help the shame?

 

Writing this today, has been hugely emotional for me. She saved me. Time and time again.

 

*Trigger warning here. Please be careful.*

 

Is it pitch black? Or maybe our eyes are closed, why can’t we tell?

The smell is overpowering. That stench is unmistakable. It makes us want to gag.

But we are frozen to the spot, we cannot move an inch. Are we even breathing?

We know we should not make a sound.

Not when it is so close, when we know what is to come.  The smell is growing stronger and we are beginning to lose ourselves.

Is she up there watching now? Why does she come back down? Why does she return here, where there is terror, where there is agony. When the threat is far too close now, why won’t she go?

Listen to me now. Can’t you hear it too? A buckle.

A zip.

We don’t have long. We can hear him breathing, we can feel the pressure close now.

I got this. It’s time for you to leave.

Go now and rest.