Kate (www.kate1975.wordpress.com) wrote a post about child sexual abuse as an adult. This weekend it will be 16 years since my father last sexually abused me.

*Sexual Trigger*

The first weekend in July in 1994 I was 28 years old and my parents drove to my home, unexpectedly, with a rented truck and my aunt and uncle and emptied out my home and said I had to move in with them. I don’t know exactly why or at least I don’t remember. That night in the Holiday Inn motel my 2 year-old son was sleeping next to me when I felt something on my leg. It was 2:45am and my father was in my bed, had pulled back the covers and pulled up my nightshirt. He was molesting me and I think would have done worse if I hadn’t woken up. I said “No more.”, pulled down my night shirt, and put the covers back on me.

I didn’t say “No more” like an empowered you-can’t-do-that-to-me-anymore woman. I said it, and meant it, as a very tired, betrayed, fed up, hopeless, single mother, depressed, just-leave-me-alone woman.

I feel embarrassed that it happened and that I didn’t have enough self confidence to protect the toddler next to me, much less myself. I realize I was still, or had reverted back to, a sexually abused child frame of mind.

My son doesn’t know that his grandfather did that to me while he was lying next to me. Someday I would like to tell him, though.

It took me several months and three therapists and a psychiatrist to finally find someone who could help me. As Kate wrote, it’s difficult to find information or insight for people who are sexually abused well into adulthood. However I did, but it still took 14 years to really get on the right track therapeutically.

So, Kate got me thinking, and I feel it’s an important issue to think about, and I’m very glad she brought it up.

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Febuary 9th Was a Long Day

February 10, 2011

Step 1. Ask therapist to PROMISE not to get mad at you before you even sit on the floor.

Step 2. Hand her suicide kit containing 40-50 narcotic pain killers, X-Acto knife, and alcohol pads along with note for her that reads “I’m really, really, really sorry”, etc., and expresses urge to self-harm while she watches.

Step 3. Let it all fall out. Don’t think about anything. Just let it fall, fall, fall, fall out.

Step 4. Buy a Caramel Mocha at McDonald’s, after she feels you can drive, with the window down, so that freezing cold keeps you aware all the way home.

Step 5. Don’t stop at the grocery store. That is a bad idea.

My brain separates mom’s abuse from dad’s. Dad’s abuse has few problems being remembered. Mom’s is under different layers, or at least filed in a different way. The first layer is her basic disdain that I was born a girl instead of a boy that would carry on the family name. Another is about having red hair and her disdain (jealousy? Hard to tell the difference. I’m not good with emotions). Another is about having long hair as a child because dad liked it, so she had it cut into a page boy haircut when I was nine. Another is about neglect – physical and emotional. Another is the conflict between “good” mom and “mean” mom, which is further divided into physical, emotional, and sexual abuses.

The parts that were created to protect me from dad have a much smoother time revealing themselves and accepting that it’s safe now, it can never happen again, etc., and it’s easier to figure out what they need to create a space inside for them.

The parts created to deal with and/or protect me from mom feel more complicated. Memories of her abuse are more linear, so I can think back and know what happened, but I always wonder why, what did I do wrong, why does she do that to me, why does she say that, why does she like so-and-so more than she likes me, why doesn’t she love me, what can I do to get her love………

I was going over a list about the effects and/or signs of incest a while back and I was saying to myself, “Oh yeah. Dad did that. And that. And that. Oh, that was Mom definitely…”, but I ignored what mom had done and only focused on the father-daughter incest.

I know my mother is a wrong creature, but I also divided up what she did into a few categories: she was jealous that dad had sex with me (without stopping it or getting help), she was an RN so she needed to try the new medications to make sure they worked (She said I was her guinea pig.), and if she couldn’t stop dad from doing what he did she could watch and laugh (which is what she did, and still does, when I’m hurt, in pain, having a bad day, out of a job, spill something on me, fall down, etc.). For whatever reason this made some sort of sick sense to me and I never thought of it as sexual abuse. I thought she was simply a souless, empty, pathetic, fucking bitch from Hell. Another question that plagued me was why am I the one being put through all of this. She spoiled my sister rotten and I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong besides not being born a boy (something she recently reminded me of again).

So the more I learned about myself, how my System functions, the difference between right and wrong behaviors, healthy versus unhealthy, the more I saw that besides the emotional and physical abuses I suffered at her hands the more many of them fell into sexual abuse as well. They usually overlap each other, which makes it more confusing. Many things she did were only sexual, and often that felt like some revenge or payback I don’t understand.

The threats and consequences about telling anyone what she was doing are also there, just like dad’s. Recently I’ve met two alters who were created to kill if I told. The one created by my father’s threats is called M, and his job was to make sure I commit suicide before telling anyone the horrible things dad did, especially the things that have surfaced over the last 15 months. The alter created by my mother’s threats is called Andy, and his job is to kill me, like a hitman. I thought that was an interesting difference. M makes sure I commit suicide, while Andy actually kills me. I’m not exactly sure what that means or if it is common to mother-daughter sexual abuse (MDSA) survivors.

Writing this out is conflicting for me. I feel an inner sigh of relief, ashamed, and scared. I still don’t know where to go with this subject and I hope I at least shed some light and understanding on what happened and what is happening at this point. Please don’t be afraid to ask anything. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Note to self: Never, ever, ever schedule therapy and a breast care center appointment on the same day again!

Since this past Febuary I have been seeing a nurse practitioner for a breast problem. It’s not cancer, there are no cysts, and everything is normal except for my nipples. For nearly a year-and-a-half they have not relaxed and are constantly irritated. I have tried vitamin E, vaseline, warm compresses, cool compresses, different detergents and fabric softeners, bought new bras and new clothing. Vaseline helps the most, but it’s not fun or comfortable to put it on and then cover it with a bandage or skin tape at night.

It was nearly six months before I made an appointment with my GYN to ask what is wrong with them. Then I had to go to the breast care center where I was naked from the waist up (with a front-opening robe) for two hours while my breasts were poked and prodded and sqished and examined. I tried everything she recommended and nothing seemed to help. It wasn’t until I broke down in her office and said I’d had enough that some progress was made.

Before my nurse practitioner began working at the breast care center she worked with sexual abuse victims, children and adults. I hadn’t told her about my abuse history before, but as soon as I did she gave me a completely different list of options to help ease the pain and irritation. She suggested I ask my nipples to tell me why they felt so irritated, and I did, and I broke down again, but it really helped.

My breast problems began as I started to collect narcotic pain killers and blades for my suicide plan. While I felt suicide was the answer at that time, my body (and part of my brain) was screaming to reconsider. It just happened to focus more in my breasts. I think that’s weird, but I am weird, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise. Knowing me, it could have been my left pinky fingernail.

I have been using this “ask the body part what it would say” idea on other body parts since then. If I have a headache, I’ll ask my forehead why it hurts. The week before last the answer was, “Because you have a sinus infection, dummy.”.

While this technique does help, it also brings up feelings or memories I am not prepared for sometimes, so I don’t recommend this to everyone. Then I have to work through those feelings or memories, which has made therapy much more interesting lately.

Asking my body why it hurts or why it’s irritated is helping me to reconnect with it. Along with that comes actual emotions that I don’t completely understand. Feeling emotions in my body where the damage was physically done is helping me to forgive or understand my body little by little. As of yet I haven’t made any incredible strides, but little-bitty ones, and that’s okay for me. My brain still feels like an alien entity, but very slowly my body is becoming more real. It is also frightening at times, but I feel it’s necessary for me to become the person I want to be eventually.

This is just a different technique that I have found to be helpful, but I do not use it too often, because it can be overwhelming. When I know I’m in a safe space I may ask a body part why they feel shaky, irritated, or just plain bad. I never ask that when I have been triggered or have trouble coping at the time. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, and I asked my therapist before I tried it at home, but it has made a positive difference for me inside and outside of therapy.

So, I wanted to share that today before I go outside and do damage control. The winds were so strong yesterday that they picked up our shed, spun it 90 degrees and set it down across the yard. Only the door came off and a few things on the shelves fell down. The weird stuff always happens to me.

One secret down….

October 28, 2010

I told one of my biggest, biggest secrets today in therapy. There were no psychic assassins stationed outside of the office door. No one followed me home or tried to kill me at the video store. McDonald’s didn’t poison my food. My dogs didn’t attack me when I got home. There wasn’t a bomb in the mailbox.

So, the secret is out there and I’m okay on the outside. Not so good on the inside, though.

I even printed it out and my therapist didn’t set it on fire or turn into some hellish creature and threaten me. She nearly started to cry and I didn’t know if I should feel guilty about that.

That’s all. I am so fucked up. Back to Coping Land again.

Fun with flashbacks

October 26, 2010

It’s fun with flashbacks again. All day, all night! Straight from my brain. No middlewoman necessary.

There are many things in this world that I am skeptical of. It may be that I simply don’t want to believe that people are capable of horrific acts against each other. I want to believe in the power of love for children. I want everyone to support each other and help their fellow humans.

My flashbacks tell me a different story, and it is mentally and physically excruciating to even type this little post about it. It reminds me of the movie Howl’s Moving Castle when the Witch of the Waste put a spell on Sofie so she would not be able to tell who put the curse on her. During each flashback I need to constantly reassure the alter holding the memory that she is safe and she doesn’t have to hold this secret any longer. It hurts my chest, it makes me panic, I start sweating profusely, and I fight hard not to dissociate. I’m not forcing the memory, just supporting the alter and letting her know that it is okay if she wants to share it now. Sometimes I only get a glimpse of the memory, sometimes I get quite a bit. Either way I am in shock. I never judge the alter’s experience. I let it come through and then support the alter in our safe space.

There is a lot to take in, and while the alter firmly believes it is the truth, I feel skeptical and I don’t really know what to think. So much of what I believed has already gone kablooey that I am trying to take these memories seriously. I want my alters to trust me and have faith in me. Eventually I would like us to come together, or work together.

Therapy was very intense last week and I know that is one of the reasons for these flashbacks. At the end of my session I showed my therapist pictures of my children. I think that after one year with her I feel that she is an important part of my family and many of my defenses are coming down. My next appointment is Thursday and I just keep writing down these flashbacks to go over with her. I am coping okay, but it takes all day to cope!

I was going to delete my blog because it is becoming so painful, but I know I’m not the only one who has experienced times like these. Well, back to Coping Land!

Girl Talk

October 20, 2010

Over the past several weeks I’ve had to talk about “feminine” issues with the girls. Each time I address the subject I automatically use baby words (It feels like the little girls inside are nervous talking about it.) and that makes my girls laugh. It seemed to help, though, because they relaxed and really listened. After the giggles I used more clinical words, showed them pads and pantyliners, and talked about their concerns.

My mother never sat down to teach me about my own feminine issues, and she is an RN. I tried several times to engage her and she either ignored me or walked away. When I got my first period she dismissed me, made me leave the house, and I had to go next door and ask the neighbors for a pad. Thank goodness they had three daughters, but I was so embarrassed and depressed about it.

I went through life completely unaware of what my body does or why my body does. Once, I hid in the library so I could read Judy Blume’s Wifey (all us girls were reading it), and I didn’t understand how I knew the way the main character felt. I even became sexually aroused while reading it which made me feel very dirty and weird.

During my first GYN appointment (which I insisted on having) the doctor stopped and asked me “Are you sure you’ve never been pregnant? Because your cervix is soft and shaped like a woman who’s given birth.”. My mother was in the room and she jumped all over the doctor insisting I had never been pregnant, and how dare she accuse us of that. Later I tried to find information about my cervix and yes indeed, you don’t have a soft cervix for no reason. I also learned the reason why I didn’t have a hymen, either, as the doctor also noted.

I never let my mother come with me to another GYN appointment, or any appointment.

So anyway, there I’ve been, teaching my girls as much as I think they can handle and answering their questions honestly. My older daughter wore a pantyliner to school this morning just to see how it feels. I told her that when she starts menstruating we are having a Period Party to celebrate. She thinks that would be awesome.

My first 8 months

October 13, 2010

Recently I began to use the term “littles”. I have been avoiding that word because then I would actually be relating to other DID folk and would no longer consider myself special or unique. It would mean that there are other people out there with similar consequences to similar experiences. It may even mean that I actually exist, which I haven’t believed for most of my life.

If I admit  that there are little girls inside that chatter, play, scream and need hugs then I need to realize I was terribly abused and these beautiful girls came out and took the damage. They made sure I was able to continue living.

I don’t feel guilty that I, the host, was not there. I feel guilty because all this time I have been holding up the curtain and it’s time to let it fall and clean up backstage.

So, I have littles. I have a young man who is awesome at video games, especially arcade games. I have a New Age hippie who sometimes wants to know if I will getting any pot soon. I have more alters than I know, and I have a very dark place, way in the back, where there are even more.

I few days ago I wrote some prose for everyone and it is having an interesting effect inside.

All of these memories I have happened to this one body.
This one body experienced the abuse and trauma.
We are all connected within this one body.
We own these memories.
We own these experiences.
This is our physical body.
These are our collective memories.

That’s it. Nothing memorable. There has been a bit of shuffling inside as a result of it, though. I also felt okay talking about littles and alters in therapy today.

I talk about being DID, but I don’t feel that I could possibly be DID.

I understand we go back and forth with this diagnosis. I feel I have been “playing” DID until recently, and I didn’t want to write about this because I didn’t want people to lose hope or trust in me. Meredith is right about the first year (Damn her! :p) being so difficult and unbelievable. I had no idea. It’s a confusing maze and I don’t know which way to turn.

I’m not sure I’m even making sense.

 

Coping Season

August 11, 2010

Summer has been “Coping Season” here. That makes me think of hunting season, which makes me think of how I feel hunted by memories. Not haunted, because that would be spooky, and spooky is cool. A hoard of fragmented memories is constantly chasing me while I do my darndest to stay ahead. I’m not winning. They tackle me and beat me up most of the time. Hey! let’s see how many metaphors I can fit into one paragraph!

This is how it feels during Coping Season:

I can’t make my own art, so I have to steal it from other people. It’s all mixed up inside. There is no consistency. While one coping skill works one time, I have to try a different one the next. If nothing seems to help I often end up self-injuring.

Last month I decided to believe I wasn’t DID and hoped it would go away and now I’m trying to repair the damage that caused. In April and May I thought I had a good thing going. I had journals and cards for alters, daily internal meetings, and felt confident I could get through this process as long as I stayed focused.

I would very much like to be organized internally again, but I’m not sure how to begin. My therapist is terrific, but she feels our main focus should be coping until the kids get back into school. I agree with her for the most part, as the host, while others feel much differently.

Personalities are popping up, remembering, chatting, etc., and I’m trying to maintain some stability while the kids are home. I don’t want them to see me as broken, or as an explosive force, or whatever. I want them to know I love them and I am responsible and dependable.

“Coping Season” sucks.

Look at My New Ring!

July 24, 2010

I ordered this last week and received it in the mail today:

I put it right on, too. What do you think? How would you feel about wearing a ring like this?