I was listening to a podcast interview that sparked a memory. Between the ages of 17 to 18 years old I seemed to attract father like figures into my life. At that time I was doing a lot of adult drama classes. I met Abe and we became good friends. He would take me out for lunch and we would drink heavily together. I liked being taken out for lunch and drinking wine. I felt mature and he was good company. I think Abe was an alcoholic and I don’t think I had the maturity to understand much or ask him about his past. I think he had been married and had children. We spoke about him trying to break into acting and film. What would I have known though really? I was just some eager girl who was spending her time on community filmmaking projects. I think we worked on a couple of things together. Anyway my mum and dad met him as he drove me home one day. Abe drove a lovely old Mercedes. I remember my mum doting on him, but she was never like that with my boyfriends who were older than me, but nowhere near Abe’s age. In fact my parents were always rude to the guys they met that I dated. But with Abe, they liked him. I also befriended Gavin who was another actor. We spoke dirty to each other and were always inappropriate. It was consensual – I don’t remember who started it, but I can see now that it was weird. A man in his late 40s/ 50s shouldn’t be talking lewdly to a teenager. It’s just wrong.
Later I was drawn to the BDSM world for a little while. Now I know I was unconsciously searching for power and control over the things that happened to me. I wanted to have control but also I wanted to be controlled. In some ways by being controlled, it meant I was in control of the pain and the fear… I was subverting the experience. But it was all a lie and thankfully I woke up to my self before I had gotten too far into it. It was a confusing time that’s for sure. I felt like I was watching someone else live my life during that time. D.I.D. hey?
Now I feel paralysed. Exhausted and paralysed. I have to pack up my stuff but I feel like I can’t move or do it. I don’t have the energy. I feel like I am watching me – outside of me. I just need a good sleep I think. Tomorrow is a new day.
Taking hallucinogenics at such a young age (14), my mind was opened up to a very expansive way of thinking. The trouble with this was that it happened with no verbal accompaniment. My mind enlarged on a metaphysical level, rather than intellectual or emotional. I flew out into space and never quite made it back. I live very comfortably outside of the normal realm. I find great comfort being inside my head. Okay, okay sometimes it is painful and terrifying, but when I hover on the outside, like I am right now, I experience a blissful state of freedom. What is underneath this? The immediate thought is terror, then denial.
I was conditioned to hate myself.
I was conditioned to destroy.
I should take myself off to a third world country so as to be less introspective. I have missionary parts you know. They might go one day. Live in Africa. Would I still be able to exist? I felt the shift tonight. It was like a drug. It felt so good to come out. I was 16, high and I skateboarded around the neighbourhood at 6am on ecstasy. Freedom. Careless. Of course I never thought I would grow up. I used to talk to trees. They spoke back.
I was programmed not to tell.
I was programmed to forget.
I think everyone has just been in a frozen state for such a long time. We thawed out. Some did. There was a restless awakening. World events. Energetic shifts. We are very sensitive. T said women challenge the patriarchy by living. That confused me. I am the worst feminist ever. I don’t even know how to talk to women. I live silently in the head anyhow. I communicate psycho-kinetically. I understand that my existence means nothing and that is the great paradox. It doesn’t stop me from trying. I gravitate in awe. I delight in dreams. I come down hard, crashing. I disappear. I guess I’ve chosen the easy path. Cut off, separate. Appear only when necessary. Otherwise, I remain dormant, silent, unspoken. Am I inferior for being sullen? For being incomplete?
I was beat into submission.
I was beat. I was beat. I was beat.
Sometimes I wonder what the point is. I remember P prayed some months ago to release my suicidal ideation or programming. Recently I wonder if it is gone. I still feel empty for sure. I still wouldn’t be sad if I got really sick or found out I didn’t have long to live. Life can sure feel like a big chore. Most of the time I’ve been feeling positive and as though I am starting to find purpose. Age helps. I always wanted to get older so I wouldn’t have to feel the angst of my 20s- that decade sucked. My 30s have been better as I’ve grown into myself. But it’s funny I now see the gap more between me and younger people. My priorities have changed. I do feel older- different. More connected but yet completely removed. Funny how life turns out like that.
I notice I am bitter in some areas of life. Parts of life that I haven’t forgiven myself for. In therapy today my T said parts have been so conditioned to feel bad and wrong, as though everything is their fault. When those parts get activated I feel so alone, so bad, so unworthy. Exile parts. The firefighter parts come out (these terms are from inner family systems therapy). The firefighters act out- the sex addict parts, avoidant parts- basically they are designed to keep me away from the pain and feeling. The feelings so deep; so profound, they could consume me. Of course this is a lie, at least I think it is. So far, I have not died from feeling. People die from not feeling, suffocating their emotions. Repressing them. In between all of this, I feel like I’m on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I am used to feeling this way. I plateau, then chaos ensues (I’ve likely created it) and the teetering toward the edge of breakdown occurs. I wonder if this is to do with the programming. Meaning, the cult took me to the extreme- the edge, of death, insanity, pain- then I split. I keep repeating it. I live at knifes edge, within self. Outwardly I appear okay. Internally I beg for forgiveness. I am connected yet sad and lonely. I yearn for intimacy. When I have it I feel empty, or dissociated. I wonder if I will ever feel alive and whole. I keep going because I believe others who have gone before me, who are whole. I believe God will get me there. Tonight is just a dark night. They pass. I’ve been here so many times to know that. I think just saying “Jesus loves you” can be patronising. It’s a simplistic turn off to non believers, a poignant reminder to the faithful. A billboard just can’t express the profundity of His love, I get it, so why bother? Is it the sentiment that counts? Will the message be lost otherwise? It must be through our relationships and actions surely that God works, but sometimes I feel like I’ve stuffed them up so badly, I am just turning people away from the Lord. Why trust me? Divorcee? Bisexual, confused, weirdo. That’s what I feel like tonight. A big weirdo. I no longer know truth. It slips from my fingers. I dissociate.
I write in my head. I want to write here but my thoughts get all jammed. I judge myself. Got to push through it. I feel scrambled. So much is going on, good stuff, intense stuff and I have hit a wall of exhaustion. I put an offer on a cute little one bedroom apartment and it was accepted, subject to finance. I should know this week. Then I have about two weeks to move out and put stuff into storage temporarily. At the same time, writing my PhD, finishing film and thinking about next boxing writing workshop. My head may explode. I’m really leaning into God as I don’t know how to do it all. I guess it is just one day at a time. I just want to get my PhD done but I am genuinely feeling overwhelmed by the writing. I am interested in too many things I can’t decide on a frickin theory. I have one but then I keep getting confused. I just need to turn to God to ask Him to help me simplify it and keep focused. I read others works and I think they are better than me. I struggle to think what I have to say is good or important or unique. I know I have to keep challenging these beliefs.
I feel like the abuse has scrambled my thinking. I guess writing it out is a good way to challenge that. It’s the no talk, shut down programming. Sabotage/ unworthy. Sad I keep returning to that. It just underlies how I think and feel but I know I am getting better and stronger. I feel loved and looked after, but I’m also scared. I’m going out in life alone. I have S, but it feels like my adult self is driving this and we are not integrated yet. She’s moving full steam ahead and I haven’t caught up yet. It’s like I’m running late for an appointment that I have to make. I just don’t want to stuff things up.
My head is a rock. I am compelled to throw it against the wall. They told me.
My head is a brick. It smashes on the floor. I dropped it. Too heavy.
My head is tight. A clenched fist. She punched me in the face. He laughed.
My head is a lamp. The globe burnt the glass. It is stained black.
My head is a cassette tape untangled.
My head lays on your lap. It is vulnerable. My head is tied up – it breathes sideways.
My head shouts obscene nothings. Empty air. Cool doorways. Upstairs she is cooking. Time erupted. Time became abstract collections of ideas. Fragments. Pieces of me. Time ticked inside my head.
My head is an old clock. My head is her hurt. My head is his – forgotten.
I have heard Rob Goldstein talk on Beyond Your Past podcast and find him very relatable. In his first interview with Matt Pappas (spelling?), Rob talked about living well with D.I.D. and helped me reframe my multiplicity. In this podcast he talks about being a high functioning D.I.D. survivor and I think that’s me too. I am very active, I work, I am doing my PhD, I am in recovery, I run writing/ boxing workshops for survivors of child sexual abuse and trauma. I am training for a half marathon and most of the time I am together. Mind you, last night I dissociated intensely, but I am able to bounce back these days after a night or day of being out of it. Rob also talked about the duality of having internal parts who don’t want to put themselves out there in life, in contrast to the more active host. I definitely experience the sabotage and internal parts who don’t want to be seen or heard. They are embarrassed to even exist. The shame core planted by my abusers. It’s a process to shake off and change but I know it’s getting better. I think D.I.D. people can be seen too much as patient rather than empowered individual(s) who use a highly creative and complex coping mechanism to live their lives. My dissociation is a gift from God. I believe my ability to dissociate is what has kept me alive and able to achieve so much.
You can listen to Rob’s interview here: itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/beyond-your-past/id1143688126
My body is water. Drowning. It flails.
My body is cold like the sea.
My body is strong like an ox, to protect me.
When I make contact, I am surprised. It feels soft. I feel nothing.
When I sense my body, I feel their shame. I cut off. My mind is my body. I escape.
Rain washes over me. I am still dirty.
I fell in a puddle and only mud was on my pants. Stained.
My body acts like a machine. I push it, I charge it, I program it. I cover it.
My body is like your hand brushing over me. Discomfort. Embarrassment. I crave her soft hands to distract me.
Husband, soon to be sans that title, drew a cross on a blackboard we have at home. It really triggered me. My head went into overdrive as I felt like he was being manipulative and playing games, like my mother used to. I texted him and told him so. To me it felt like he was saying I should find God, or turn to God (implying I was guilty). I said in my text that my mother never had the language to express herself, so she would leave things for me to signify something. It upset me, because the truth is she could have found the language if she tried. Instead, her actions were manipulative and I was often left to mind read what she was trying to get at. It left me feeling mistrustful of her. I feel mistrustful of him at the moment. He texted me back and said it wasn’t his intention (to trigger me), but the image of a cross reminded him of a local church he had been going to for AA meetings. Later, I was driving and I ran a red light! Very unusual for me, but I got distracted momentarily and confused and it made me realise I was really anxious. I had a memory in the car. It was an image of being beaten by a cross. It hurt and I winced. When I stopped driving I wrote about it and the part told me they said “I was evil and was going to die if I ever told”.
The image of the cross he drew was a trigger to this memory.
Week 6; boxing, writing workshop. I cried a bit when I shared what I wrote. Stuff is coming up. The other women are getting deeper in their writing too. Then some of the male boxers came from the club to defend whilst the women punched them. There were many tears, much fear and anxiety, but also a sense of achievement and empowerment. That session is a whole blog in itself, but all I can say is that I was left speechless. It was pretty overwhelming and I couldn’t believe I had facilitated this. I had created this! I felt proud but deep down there was gut wrenching emotion.
I heard tonight a survivor say that he had substance abuse, anxiety and a deep sense of self loathing and he couldn’t figure out why he felt that way. I felt like that until the first memory of being abused hit me at the age of 25/26. But even after this admission, it took many years of truly emotionally connecting with the self loathing and other feelings. I was just so disconnected from myself, I couldn’t put language to my emotion or behaviour. Maybe that’s how my mum felt, so God offers me some compassion for her, after feeling angry today and after that memory. He is good.
I dissociated last night. A little one came out. We stayed at S’s and they didn’t know where they were. The noises of the house were scary and the little one missed our dog and Elle the elephant (toy). Too much change, too busy at work and lots of disruption. It gets hard on my system. I need to siphon off time to be communicating with my parts, writing etc, but I have a habit of getting very busy at work and self care, self regulation falls to the wayside. I do enjoy my work and can get very caught up in it all.
The habitual desire to stay in my head, isolate and avoid is strong. I don’t want to feel needed or wanted. I just want to be alone. It is safer that way. On the flip side, I love and need community and constantly strive to find it and or create it.
My husband is officially seeing someone else. We are sleeping in separate rooms and are not together, but it is hard living in the same space knowing each other is moving on with their lives, tinged by sadness. For me, it is also filled with guilt, shame and remorse. I feel as though everything is my fault. Maybe it’s not as simplistic as that. Life is far more complex I know. Especially for a trauma survivor. I sought the relationship with him for a myriad of reasons. One of them was that I didn’t think anyone else would be able to handle my multiplicity. I also sought a father figure and someone to look after me. I was addicted to him, I wanted to “fix” him- make him feel worthy, all the while I felt unworthy. But he was never bad, only loving and that’s what is hard about it.
He was loving but with an insecure and mean streak. Sometimes I felt like an object, other times like a princess. He was just a real man. And I needed that for a while, a long time, but it was also very triggering. I dissociated for close to three years with him. My child parts came out lots. I was emotionally avoidant. We rarely talked about feelings. I don’t think we both knew what they were. It was easy, pragmatic and… easy. Does it have to be anything else? I’ve still got a lot to untangle. I had the affair. I was selfish. My friend C says it’s not always one persons fault. I feel like it is all my fault. I married my father. I feel sad about that. Perhaps it was doomed. I’m embarrassed to admit it. Was it? I’m just glad I don’t have kids. That would be hard. I was too traumatised from my childhood.
He was unruly and authentically wild. He had a kind heart and a lost heart. He liked to take revenge. He would do little boy things to annoy me or get his way. I tried to control things. I was submissive. It worked for a while. From a biblical perspective, women are encouraged to be submissive. I can’t quite wrap my head around that as I don’t fit that bill, nor do I want to. I am just strong. So weak, but strong. I never wanted someone too good because I never felt good enough. My roots were in shame.
I started to grow out of that identity and everything came up for grabs.