Super triggered

Got super triggered at this mixed SLAA meeting tonight. I wasn’t sure if this was the right one for me and tonight kinda proved it. Way too many men (young and old), plus weird dynamics all round. It was really hard listening to men talk about their porn and lustful addictions and objectifying women. I know it’s a safe space and people are coming there to get better, but I found myself starting to feel really sad and angry. When it came my turn to share I was brutally honest about how I felt. I said it was hard for me to listen to men and I understood many had been abused, but it just made me feel so angry and shameful and scared, because I was abused by multiple perpetrators. I was finding it really hard to not cry and also to stay present. Afterwards, I left straight away and I rode home on my scooter. It’s 125cc so can ride pretty fast on freeway and I pretended I was Lisbeth Salander from Girl with a Dragon Tattoo (the one played by Noomie Rapace) and that made me feel tough. I screamed out loud when I was riding fast and swore heavy profundity at the perpetrators. It made me feel a bit better, although I did wonder if I would really care that much if I had an accident and catapulted in the air to my death. It was fleeting, as I thought God has kept me alive for this long, I might as well keep on going to see what he has in store for me. That’s progress I guess. I have just sat in the suicidal ideation in the past, so it definitely is shifting. Now, I just feel sad and empty. I just want to be held and I am glad I sleep with toys and dogs.

Touching the deep wound of shame is hard. I can only do it a little bit at a time but I am sure it will all add up. Sometimes I am angry I have to heal and recover, but I guess I don’t really know what else I would be doing. The real world doesn’t really interest me, at least most of it doesn’t. Mmh… I think I just got stuck in my head because it feels safe in here. That’s my protective mechanism. I can feel myself get sucked into my self like a vortex and it feels like an opiate. It’s a place where nobody can get me and I feel so good about that. This is dissociation. My safe drug. It’s a place where nobody gets hurt because nothing happens.

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Meeting more survivors

Today I had two women sign up for the boxing writing workshop for survivors of child sexual abuse. One woman identified herself as SRA (satanic ritual abuse) and I said, “I am too!!” And then I cried! I’ve never done that before but I just felt blessed by God that someone like me was attending the workshop. She’s dissociative too and has parts. So far I think five women are doing the workshop. Everyone seems to come from very diverse backgrounds, which I think will really give the group flavour.

Last night at the SLAA meeting, this young girl shared about her abusive upbringing. It was such a sad story. She was told she was completely worthless and was molested at various points in her life, abandoned by her family at 14, homeless and being on the streets, was subjected to more and more abuse. My heart just went out to her and I said to her after the meeting, “I am so sorry that these things happened to you”. I felt tears welling up. I guess through others stories I am connecting with my pain, i just felt so sad that she has been treated so badly since she was a little girl. People can be so cruel. Darkness is so extreme. I wish more people understood and believed us. She looked like a deer caught in headlights. Victims faces are just so scared. Growing up in a state of terror and hyper vigilance, it is not surprising.

I have become secretary of Wednesday night SLAA meeting. It just kind of happened but I feel really drawn to this group. It is women’s only and personal stories. There is something very healing for me to connect with women in a safe environment and talk about the abuse, my confused sexual identity, the acting out and maladaptive behaviour. I feel like I am in some feminist movement from the 70s and I am really liking it.

Self worth

Tonight was a very beautiful meeting at CoDA. There was something about being in a room full of 30 people, sitting in a funny circle, sharing their truth. Bearing witness to people’s vulnerability felt special and safe. People were grappling with their sense of selves, who they knew they were meant to be, but couldn’t seem to connect with. Buried underneath dysfunctional characteristics and traits.

Tonight the topic was on self worth. I shared that I felt I had to do some grieving here around this. I grew up with a shame based identity and never felt worthy. I never even felt a sense of self. I was dissociated and I rejected myself. I hated me. I have often wished I had never been born. I have minimised, denied or altered how I have felt for so long that I didn’t even know I felt this way. Yeah, parts of me did, but I couldn’t emotionally connect with the feelings. I felt sad tonight to reveal how unworthy I have felt. How my unworthiness has driven me- in almost all my decisions and behaviours.

God has really protected me and I am so thankful. Even though I lived out a shame based identity, I know I have “acted in” much of this- through isolating, withdrawing and shutting down. I’m not saying that’s admirable by any means, i guess it might manifest in other ways for some/ like crime or sex work or getting into abusive relationships. I’ve been saved from these things, although could have gone close.

I am working to build self worth at the moment. I am making the general acts that I do more intentional/ like running or going to the gym. These are acts of self care and I want to acknowledge them. I do these things because God wants me to be healthy and because He believes I am worthy. And if He thinks this, then I must be. I know it will take time to fully accept this, especially as there are many parts still to be integrated, but as the functioning host, I can practice self worth.

A woman talked tonight about how self worth must come from within. We cannot get it from anything else or anyone else. I believe as God renews my heart that I will be able to access the Holy Spirit, Yeshua within me and that He will pour out His spirit onto others through me. I can’t wait for that to happen, but I know I still have so much more work to do.

This year is about practicing radical vulnerability and radical self acceptance. I think the addict part of me thrives in the idea of “radical” . Because of my extreme abuse, I have often had to experience things in “extreme” ways to get a reaction from within. I am reframing this, so rather than it always being about learning through pain, it can be about learning through self care and love. I know being vulnerable comes at a cost for me- it brings up fear, self loathing, shame and triggers dissociation/ but on the flip side it gives me an opportunity to practice the radical self acceptance. I have the willingness and desire to trust that God will take care of the rest.

Rendered hopeless.

Tonight I just feel full of sadness and fear. I went into work mode and was able to switch off by “doing”. It was work that needed to be done and if not I would have felt otherwise guilty. I recognise I am in control. I am not trusting God. It feels scary. I’ve withdrawn again. The intensity of the feelings too much to tolerate, yet I know that’s what I must do. The negative thinking consumes me. “I’m disgusting, ugly, no good, a loser, a failure, self pitying, worthless, can’t be trusted…” on and on it goes. Better I am alone, can’t handle my own company. I long for death. I know tomorrow is a new day.

Did some prayer work with P on Friday and it felt good. I was so tired on Saturday. I saw S, I felt vulnerable with her. Deeply intimate and loving. She has her guard up and I am so sensitive to it. Too sensitive. It makes me withdraw. No one likes to get hurt. What does it matter? I’ve been hurt enough, so has she. It feels like she’s doing the push / pull dance with me now. It’s just so instinctual for the abuse survivor. I know there’s a way out, it just takes intense recovery work. I am doing it, it’s just going to take time and practice. I just have to focus on the program of recovery and learning how to trust God bit by bit with this stuff. Let go of the outcome. I know He understands. I just feel like it’s two steps forward, five steps back. I guess I am just afraid. I am deeply and utterly afraid to let go.

One day at a time.

Today I woke feelings so tired and full of fear. I realise how fearful I am and how this drives my thinking, behaviour and actions. It is hard to sit with these feelings as they start to morph into sensations of disgust and shame and embarrassment. In these moments, I feel embarrassed to have a body and I would prefer to curl up into a ball under my bed covers. But alas, my ‘keep busy’, ‘workaholism’ programming means that I have two significant appointments to be accountable for, plus numerous other tasks to attend to. In some ways that is good because it keeps me distracted, but in other ways, it just prolongs the experience. It keeps me avoiding the feelings, the memories. I guess that is why some people have breakdown’s hey?

I am speaking out a lot more about my abuse and I think it is starting to play havoc with me. Today I have an interview with the local paper about a writing and boxing workshop I am running. The idea is to give female survivors of childhood sexual abuse and trauma a writing prompt as stimulus, then to spend the first hour doing generative writing in response. After about 20 minutes, we stop and come together and share (if willing), then maybe write a bit more, then we spend the last hour boxing. The aim of that is to physicalize the writing, if possible, inviting the stored repressed trauma to unleash itself in a safe space. I am excited about being interviewed, but it also means “exposing” myself – as a survivor. I am unsure what repercussions there will be, if any. I guess I just have to be mindful that I have been silenced for so long and all my parts were threatened with death and torture if they ever talked, so it is normal for there to be a response from within about me speaking out.

I am also speaking out at 12 step groups more, identifying myself as a survivor of sexual abuse and ritualistic trauma. I feel really passionate about speaking this as a truth – to let people in the room know that I think most, if not all, behaviours come from abuse and we mustn’t silence victims and our parts anymore. I don’t have a disease, I have maladaptive behaviours that arose because my nervous system never regulated properly, I formed insecure attachments, I dissociated and never learnt to connect with others properly, nor myself. I have done what I can to survive life, to literally survive. Every day. I have found it difficult to absorb information and therefore to truly change. I have gotten myself into deep emotional crises as I am used to responding in situations of extreme pain. I have not learnt to regulate emotions properly and to sit with feelings is a foreign concept and brings up all the repressed terror and fear. It is important I keep acknowledging this and also reminding myself I am safe now and God is with me and together we can process the feelings and emotions. Apparently the feeling of an emotion (or the affect) only lasts for 90 seconds. If we can allow that to move through us, the experience is processed.

 

From the little ones.

Sometimes it’s hard being little when there is no one to talk too or play with and stuff. Like I guess we have the safe space and stuff but we want to come out and say hi and do things, but it’s hard because everyone is always busy and tired and stuff. We come out when we are scared or if we see things like dogs or funny cars or people on the street.

Most of the time we are sad and lonely but things have gotten a bit better since we woke up. Tonight our head hurts and the room keeps feeling funny, spinning and sometimes we feel a bit upside down. The host says that’s dissociation. It makes us feel a bit sick.

We try and tell the truth but it’s hard because no one believes us when we say we see demons and stuff, but we really do!!! It’s hard to be in this world even though we know we are only a small part of it and only little. Things always seem so big around us and hard to reach.

Good night. From the little ones.

Considerations.

What if I was to consider the abuse wasn’t my fault? Intellectually, this is easy to accept. Emotionally, many parts of me cannot entertain this notion. They still believe what the abusers said and / or still feel dirty and shamed by it.

Dear Parts,

Let’s put things in their rightful place. When we tidy our room, things go away in the place that is allocated for them. Socks go in the socks drawer, pots and pans go in one of the big kitchen drawers and glasses go in the cupboard. Sometimes things can get messy, but we have a good idea where things go in this house. It’s important to put belongings away and keep things in their place so we can find them when we need them. Would you consider putting the belief and feeling that it was “all your fault” onto its rightful owner? The people who abused you lied to you. They told you things like, “it’s your fault”, “you’re evil and bad and worthless”. They lied to you so that you wouldn’t talk or share what happened, because they knew what they were doing was bad. If you told anyone they could get into trouble and go to jail. They know that. They hate themselves so much that they want to project it all onto you, so they don’t have to feel their disgusting worthlessness. Sad hey? But we don’t need to worry about their feelings, we need to worry about yours. Would you consider visualising all that they said as an object of your choosing. It could be a ball or a sail boat or a scrunched up piece of paper, whatever you imagine is okay. Then, would you consider giving that to Yeshua who is going to put it in its rightful place. He may choose to show you what this is if you ask him and want to know, so I’ll leave it to you all to decide. He can handle anything you give to Him so you don’t have to hold onto it anymore. Anyone who currently lives in the safe space can throw down their objects or place them in a chute to give to Yeshua. You can do this at anytime. Anyone whose not in the safe space and wants to come out and give their objects to Yeshua and then go to the Hotel for Parts, can also do so at anytime. There is always a room for you and puppies that are safe and cannot get hurt.