***Warning: Possible trigger. Post contains description of abuse.***
Sometimes I fuck things up pretty bad. It’s like I can come up with the best laid plans for things to go smoothly…to get shit done…to work on the real stuff that really matters. And then for whatever reason, this thing inside of me sabotages everything and it all goes to hell. And in therapy they talk about ego states and being stuck and having these fragmented pieces of ourselves that come out in different situations. And I always thought and felt like that was a bunch of shit…until recently when it makes a lot of sense. Not so much like DID…but these protective traits that come out and are uncontrollable…traits that are triggered by stress, danger, hurt, vulnerability…it makes sense to me. There are many times prior to my therapy sessions that I feel fine and have goals and plans to get to business and take care of shit…but then these fucking defenses pop up and there’s stonewalling and deflecting and excuse making…and no matter how hard I try to fight it, it feels like I can’t.
Today was kind of a shit show. I don’t know exactly what happened…it was like this other person took over and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. And that is so fucking frustrating!
It is crazy hard to feel like there’s this shit out there…this “abuse”…and it feels so overwhelming and big and consuming that I can’t even verbalize it. It feels less real being just a thought in my head…but it’s also this thought that has emotionally taken me over and has hijacked my ability to manage it and the feelings surrounding it.
Today J told me about the comments made about the booze in his office (the booze I gave him as a symbolic gesture of turning a leaf over and healing). The inspiration it caused…the insights its brought people. And it makes me a little bit sick…feeling like a huge failure and a fraud. Because even though I’ve kicked the drinking for the moment, I feel like I’ve filled that addiction…that coping mechanism with something different. I’ve turned into this gym junkie…spending several hours most days during the week working out. I’m using sex instead of alcohol…like a lot of sex. Trying to elicit feelings of control…trying to fill a void, an emptiness, and replace the aching with pleasure. And so while I’m working hard to kick the drinking…I’m no better now than I was when I was drinking…I’ve just changed my vice, but the behavior is still the same.
So now, here I am. With a few moments to myself…I think now might be a good time to try to pound out the hard shit and see what happens.
There are two moments that I can remember. One was in California and the other back east. The event in California is very clear…the one back east is hazy. Both events feel like they are removed from my life. They aren’t built into a cohesive storyline with the rest of my life, but they feel like these events that are snapshots, but don’t fit into my timeline. I can’t place the events before or after these moments, and it’s unclear exactly how old I was. The only real frame of reference is where I was living at the time they happened.
In California I was 4 and 5 years old…went to Pre-K and Kindergarten there. There was a time where I was playing at my sister’s friend’s house (which was weird because I almost never played alone with her…and hardly ever was it at her house…nobody likes little sisters tagging along). We were in her bedroom playing with barbies and she was make pretending they were having sex. I didn’t understand what that was and she told me she’d show me and all I had to do was take my pants off. She licked my vagina but told me that I didn’t have boobs yet, so that it wasn’t really sex because her brother said so. Her brother was 12 or 13 at the time.
The other event happened back east. We moved there just before I started first grade and we moved after I finished third grade. My sister’s friend’s family moved back east a few months before our family did and we moved a couple towns away from them, but not so far that we didn’t still have play dates. We had been dropped off at their house to play for the day. We ended up playing a wrestling game with us three and her brother. I was on the brother’s team, and my sister and her friend were on a team. I went into a bedroom with him while my sister and her friend went in her room to make a plan to win the game. He told me the best way to win would be to get naked and run after them. I wasn’t so sure about that, so he showed me. He took his pants off and said that if I rubbed him, I would see how we could win. So I did. I didn’t know what I was doing, but he told me to take my pants off too and he’d teach me how to win the game. So I did, and he rubbed me. The whole thing lasted maybe 7 or 8 minutes. I’m not sure what happened after that…just that we went back to playing with our sisters.
And there it is. These two small moments that equate to probably about 15 minutes of my entire life. 15 minutes out of the nearly 19 million minutes I’ve lived…and they hold so much power that they’ve changed me…changed how I do things, how I see things, how I respond to things. And that’s pretty fucked up.
Is there more that I’m not remembering? I think that there is. I think there is a lot that happened when I was 7 and 8 years old that I don’t remember that has been too much for me to be able to handle. Even now, there are very few memories during that time frame that I can recall. But I find it interesting that all of the things I DO remember strongly suggest abuse and are identified as a response to abusive situations. Becoming irrationally afraid of things…particularly the dark. Becoming super shy and withdrawn. Starting to wet the bed after being potty trained for years. Acting out…stealing, lying, sneaking around.
So there it is. The horse shit that has been ruining my life, that amounts to next to 0% of the entirety of my life and when taken a look at…is relatively benign and insignificant “abuse”. I wasn’t brutally raped…I wasn’t beaten or starved…my life wasn’t in danger and I didn’t face death. The events that happened to me…that I can recall…they aren’t events that should be that traumatic. And yes, I know…trauma is different for everyone and it’s best defined as something that feels overwhelming and an individual feels unable to cope with. But the problem with that definition is it makes me feel weak. Like I should be able to overcome that…I should be a stronger person than that. I have worked with and supported individuals who have been through way worse shit and fared way better than I seem to be doing. And I should have more strength…more resilience…more of a capacity to deal with shit.
And I guess that’s it. Because it feels like such a small blip…such a minor offence…I should be able to figure it out on my own. To therapize myself and just get over it. Use my skills, my coping mechanisms, my positive affirmations to remind myself that I can do it. To just get over these things and leave them in the past where they are and where they don’t mean anything. And yet here we are…unable to live a normal life…unable to cope with the aftermath of it all…unable to figure out how to get over it all. And maybe I never will figure it all out. Who knows.