Dancing Candle, Dancing Mind

I’m sitting here in meditation, staring at a candle flame, trying to just be within each moment. Just sitting there, watching this little flame.

It’s an unusual candlelight, this one. Although there are no drafts or fans or otherwise air movement about, this little flame is dancing about like crazy. Up and down amd left and right. Nearly sputtering out then bursting forth ablaze again.

As I sit here I realize that this little candlelight is doing exactly what my mind is doing just now. Nearly going out into dissociated haze. Jumping alight with this slim thread of what feels like peace that I’ve been chasing all day. Dancing left dancing right. Am i under threat or not? Do I cut my losses and run, to never see my therapist again? Or to go in tomorrow after a three-week absence and spill my guts about how much I have been struggling and how even though i know it’s only a case of the transference bug I still have the feeling that she will be going away from me soon?

Up down left right dance Splinty dance.

And then as I sit here I realize that despite the wild machinations and meanderings that this little flame is going through…..it remains lit. There is a commitment to itself, as if to say hey I may be a crazy little flame and I may be all over the place, but I am still giving off light and color and warmth. I’m still here.

And so it is with me. Banged up as i may be, as anxious as I seem to need myself to be, I’m still here.

So I will be jumpy and twitchy and be unable to keep still–yes. But I made it. I know that this show is just the drama queens’ (the Teenagers’) way of saying we don’t like this this is just like all the rest. But it’s not.

It’s 2010. I am a grown woman. I have chosen to remain here. I may be dinged and the Voices may be screaming but my light’s still on.

Now the only remaining question is what do I do with the next 25 hours. Really–ya gotta laugh.

Dancing Candle, Dancing Mind

I am humbled and feel tremendous gratitude toward the courage, compassion and wisdom in the submissions posted for this month’s Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. I know well how much guts it takes to put out our stories and the work involved in helpful steps we can take in order to gain and regain our lives. Thanks so much to all of you for sharing your stories, your wisdom, and your artwork. Ok, I’ll stop my ramblings now–on to the good stuff!

POETRY

I’m starting with the artsy stuff first because, well, I’m an artsy person.

Susan Kingsely-Smith gives us a work of great beauty. She says: There is hope there is Light. The Road to Freedom from the Past is full of potholes and yet there is hope TITLE How do I? I will

RIck Belden tells us of the pain in nogt being validated when we told. Heartbreaking TITLE scapegoat’s cross

ART THERAPY

Amanda Kobeshimi submits some beautiful photos that accompany a description of a survivor with a compelling tale of life with DID TITLE Season’s Greetings from the Demon World

HEALING/THERAPY

Always a popular topic, especially so during the holiday season, when so many of us struggle.

Laura aka Simply Green tells us how to use compassion to help your abused child TITLE Compassionate Parenting: Meeting Needs

One of my favorite writers, Darlene Ouimet, gives us a blog from Emerging From Broken on the beginning of her emotional healing. She tells it like the process thru healing was for her. I identify with and learn so much from her–if you don’t follow her you really should. TITLE The Beginning of Emotional Recovery :: Emerging From Broken

Pandora, a dear friend, says: This is a discussion about a therapy session in which an alter of mine came out, bringing with her all the hideous and abject horror of her experiences of systemic child sexual abuse. TITLE Child Minder – Paul:Week Four

Paul from Mind Parts says “here are some thoughts on what are the essential tools to healing from dissociation and trauma” TITLE Cultivating Skills

Darlene Ouimet shares one of my favorite blogposts as well. It’s a hot-button topic and one that puts me up on a soapbox quite often, too. TITLE Forgive The Abusers? A bit of a Rant :: Emerging from Broken

ADVOCACY AND AWARENESS

From Tracie fills us in on Awareness of new and obtrusive TSA procedures, a very hot topic for this busy holiday season TITLE Vacation Choice: Naked Pictures or Federally Mandated Molestation

The wise Patricia Singleton asks: “Are you aware of who you are because of your struggles in spite of your struggles? Now THAT is a good question! Read what she has to say TITLE A Short Biography – Who Am I?

Joanaa Tiger talks about the senselessness of violence giving us ten instances wherein warning signs could have been acted on to avert horrid crimes TITLE Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

AFTERMATH

VoicesUnsilenced is a very powerful writer of the aftermath of child abuse. She tells her story with courage and fortitude in the face of trauma. Here’s what she has to say TITLE won

Nesher gives a great informational piece on the aftermath of trauma. TITLE Childhood Abuse and Clinical Depression in Adults

SURVIVOR STORIES

My bud Hope For Trauma talks about the stress of the holiday season on her alters. I put this piece in this section because her words echo throughout the year. TITLE 5k’s & Turkey Burgers

From Tracie says “This is a great project for survivors to participate in.” It’s yet another way to speak out, tell your story, and obliterate the silence” TITLE My Name Is Project

Patrticia Singleton talks about choosing a position of gratitude throughout the year, not only during the holidays. Strong piece! TITLE Thanks Giving

Tim Fischer gives us a compelling survivor story. Spend a few moments with his powerful images and notice what your mind thinks about it TITLE The Ghost of Halloween Past

My dear DragonHeartSong takes a courageous look at multiples and their struggles TITLE The holidays approach – good news; bad news

IN THE NEWS

Paul at MindParts gives some thoughts on the recent Oprah Winfrey show with 200 men who have survived child abuse. Interesting TITLE Why I Did Not Appreciate Oprah’s “200 Men” Show

Steven and Debra give us a fabulous poem on recent changes at the TSA. Read this twice. TITLE Opt-out to the Beltway TSA and Their Airline CEO Cronies: Take Your Planes and Shove ‘Em

AND FINALLY…..HOLIDAY TRIGGERS!!!!!

Patricia Singleton says sometimes shutting down is all that you can do to get through the Holidays. Hear hear. TITLE Shutting Down To Get Through The Holidays

My buddy Sharon Sanquist gives us some survival tips on how to deal with moment-to-moment stressors and triggers during this challenging time for so many of us. She’s a great writer and has a way of bringing clarity to just about any confusing issue. Go down to Comments to read her valuable help!

Lisa Kift the ever-wise creator of the Relationship Toolkit also gives us some survival tips. If you haven’t been to her website–do so today. Skip down to the comments section to see what she has to say. If you’ve not been to Lisa’s Toolkit on her website — you need to go!

My good buddy Ravin has been through so much in her life. She has more compassion in her soul than any ten people I know. Read her story of what the Holidays are for her in the Comments section below. I prize her life and so should you!

I personally did not write a blog for dealing with the holidays because I lost track a day or two before Thanksgiving. Meaning I just faded away. Apparently some of the littles were out and about, why I do not know. Since I have been seeing the Mighty C, I’ve been co-conscious. My personal history is that Christmas Eves I was brutalized more than any other time of the year. So–I lost a few days. Could be worse, could be raining. I get used to it as the weeks pass, but it’s always a bumpy ride at the beginning of the season. My wife is great, she knows it’s a tough time for me. We always end up doing all the fun stuff that’s plentiful here. And it ends up being a good time as I get involved as an adult. But it’s a rough go for awhile.

Again, thanks so much to contributors here. It has been an amazing opportunity for me to be allowed the privilege to read and consider their strength, wisdom, and compassion. Happy Holidays where you can get them! And remember–it’ll be over soon 😉

Call for submissions-Carnival against Child Abuse

I will be hosting the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse for November. Our theme, which you can choose to address or not, is….what else….ta daaaaaaa…..drumroll please….. HOLIDAY TRIGGERS! It’s a tough time for many survivors and thrivers. We’re shown all these images of perfect, happy homes, fried turkeys Santa Claus and dredles. Which for so many just didn’t ever exist. Oftentimes the abuse was ratcheted up a notch. Happy Holidays, indeed.

Feel free to say whatever the heck you want to about the Holiday Season in this month’s Carnival. Ranting and raving is allowed, please add “trigger” to rough stuff. It’s also a great time to talk about how you cope with it all (hint for you professionals out there especially!).

Your submission doesn’t have to be original, you know. You can submit something you wrote five years ago that works for you. Participatiuon is the buzzword here. Of course, you can just ignore this month’s theme and talk about any of our regular monthly topics:

-Advocacy and Awareness
-Aftermath
-Healing and Therapy
-In the News
-Poetry
-Survivor Stories
-Art Therapy

The purpose of the Carnival Against Child Abuse is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse – physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, verbal – are discussed. We highlight blog posts from child abuse survivor stories, survivor art and poetry, child abuse as a topic in the news media, as well as PTSD, dissociation and other areas of the abuse aftermath that adult survivors are forced to deal with. We link to hopeful posts about therapy, recovery, and healing from abuse. All forms of child advocacy and awareness are included.

I’m looking for new posts that you have written specifically for the carnival, or an old post from your archive. You are not limited to just one submission! I know that (surprise) I have alot to say about all of this stuff, so expect to see it. Again–participate! It’ll help you feel better!

You can submit your posts here using the form, or you can email your links to me at splinteredones@gmail.com

I’ll be taking submissions until midnight Tuesday November 23rd and the Carnival will be posted on Friday the 26th.

Thank you! I’m excited to read all of your fabulous submissions this month. Namaste _/|\_

Cat Therapy and CBT

I’ve been having abit of a bad day. I can’t seem to be able to relax, to just let things flow. My home has some bad mojo in it at the moment, but I’ve put up some pretty good boundaries and that shouldn’t be impacting me as much as I am allowing it to do so.

I’d had a bit of a shin thing going on, so my normal recourse in these situations, running, is out. I’ve gone down my list but I just can’t seem to get to my coping stuff today. It’s comprised of various creative outlets but today it feels like I’m made of cardboard, just a box of nothing much. My therapist would advise me to try doing something even if I don’t feel it and she would be right. But for some damn reason I just can’t get there from here. Even my meditation is off today.

Sometimes you’re the windshield sometimes you’re the bug. Today I am definitely the latter.

I was sitting on the couch, trying to be conscious of my breath, shedding each icky though as it arose, one after the other, when my huge cat Silas jumped up and laid down on the wide leather arm. He looked at me, closed his eyes, and instantly fell asleep. I absentmindedly started to scratch his favorite place, right behind the ears. He started to purr (Silas has the loudest purr of any cat I’ve ever owned, which is many many cats), leaned into my hands. His eyes opened, he gave me a good “meow”, then closed them again and renewed his pleasure mode of just digging being petted.

It hit me like a thunderbolt. Dharma was giving me a present of my cat just at that moment. I noticed how completely he was in each moment. Just being fuzzy, warm, comfy and cared for. He wasn’t thinking about the past or considering future paths. He wasn’t thinking about filing quarterly taxes he couldn’t seem to get to today.

Silas was just noticing how happy he was in each moment.

I petted my cat for twenty minutes, just noticing him noticing. I became aware that my body was releasing tension I hadn’t even realized was there. Just sitting there, listening to a deep rich cat purr and allowing him to be happy.

Allowing him to be happy. I forget to do that for myself. I have this life that is healing, but I’ve been missing the big point of why the healing is taking place. It’s not that running or painting or writing or playing piano make me happy in and of themselves. These activities allow me to give myself permission to experience myself thru their action. Sure, there’s dopamine release and endorphins when I’m running or doing yoga.

I’ve misunderstood CBT for a long, long time. I have always thought substitution of positive activities to be distractions from what is really going on. So it rankles as much as it helps. But just as thru the actions of my perpetrator the person I was had changed, it’s thru self-expression that I am able to learn who I am becoming.

As I type this I am staring at the light of a candle. I breathe softly on the wick and it moves. Thru action it is altered. It’s essence remains the same. It burns, plain and simple. I can directly impact its motion but it stays true to itself. Just burning, one moment at a time.

There is an essence in me that burns serenely. Just like the candle, just like Silas, who’s still sleep-purring next to me. It’s so simple and yet so hard. Now all I need is a cat I can put in my pocket and I’ll be all set. I’ve decided to rest for the remainder of this day. Non-harm to all sentient beings includes me, after all.

Bullying is Nice and Packageable

It amazes me how many resources have been allocated from whatever other things they were doing to the issue of child bullying. As a lesbian, I was horrified but not surprised when in one week several gay kids killed themselves because of torment brought on by other assumedly non-gay kids. I was out as a teenager in the mid-seventies. It was not easy. I had other things going on in my life that made it easy for me to not really register the cruelty of my peers. But I was just lucky that they didn’t get to me, too.

There’s all this stuff about bullying, where do bullies come from how they’re all over cyberspace, what if my kid is a bully, how do I ensure my kid doesn’t become a bully. I saw something on twitter yesterday that said that over 70% of parents’ greatest fear for their children is that they’re a bully. Really, your greatest fear for your kids?

Celebrities have popped up all over the place, decrying bullying, contributing to support for gay teens, doing press releases and their celebrity thing. Donations donations donations. PR PR PR.

I will say this once and will erase any comments that ignore it: this is a very, very important social issue. Bullying is brutal on both parties. There is little protection a parent can give their kids if they’re victimized. Gay adults are bullied around by our government but kids–that’s just plain interpersonal cruelty at a very fragile time in a person’s life. I would never want to be a teenager again.

However. All this sudden and socially popular focus on bullies and their victims seems to me to be a tremendous luxury. Again–I am not diminishing the pain these poor kids have to deal with. There needs to be greater attention paid.

But when one looks from the eyes of a former child whose life was threatened and nearly taken, who has been thru horrendous sexual assault….I have got to say I find it all abit offensive.

Here’s the issue. Bullying is a new thing here, there are issues related to schooling children, teaching them compassion, fixing them if they’re violent little jerks. Is it the schools or is it the parents? Genetic? Tabula Rasa? These are questions that can be looked at without anybody’s hands actually getting too dirty. Oprah and Ellen and Alec Baldwin can stand up and say Hey There Don’t Be A Bully and it’s a neat little package. Sure, a few kids died, but nobody has to do any real soul searching, any digging up bodies, any dealing with mass wreckage wrought on little girls and boys by (mostly) people they know and trust. As has been going on since time began. Nobody wants to count the suicides.

Nobody has to deal with un-PC issues like sex trafficking, or RA or how survivors get thru their lives. That stuff is hard, the visual images and storytelling don’t really fit daytime or primetime TV. And who wants to hear about stuff that is so grotesque, so horrific such a nightmare.

We are out there, an army of CSA survivors. We tell our stories when we can, and many of us do. There’s an entire wing of psychology that tries to help us live the best lives we can from amongst the wreckage. There’s no secret, it happens every day. Every single day. To countless little girls and boys.

But despite our presence, nobody is going to galvanize in a couple of weeks a national effort to help us. There’s a line in the sand of what is dealable and what is not and nobody wants to see us. We’re not hard to find, it’s just…nobody wants to know. There will be an occasional sensationalistic thing on some tv show about a woman with 52 personalities and how weird she is. But nobody does a Purple Twibbon for us.

Where’s Ellen? Where’s Alec? Where are they? Patting themselves on the back for doing such a great job on the latest socially current fad. Where are the financial resources? Where’s the help? It’s sitting over here in my neighborhood, Heinousville. Just on the wrong side of the tracks.

Once again. I’m a lesbian, I think it’s horrid what kids have to deal with. There are always some cruel kids and there are way too few resources to help their poor victims. But I have waited for 48 years to get my cause to walk down the red carpet and get all the interviews. It’s sad and demeaning to get that you are just too dirty.

Get off your ass and save your children. Save your friend’s children. Package a Cause and sell it to America in a three=hour concert with texty donation setups. People are raping your children and you are not listening. Their lives are interrupted and stolen from them. Probably by somebody you know. Teach your kids how to say NO. To daddy, to mommy, to anybody who’s doing bad stuff or who says bad stuff. Pay attention to keeping them alive because a third of your daughters will face sexual assault by age 18.

What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Oh Crap, Justice

A month ago today a violent jackass hit my brand new car. This guy was so in my face, screaming and threatening me, that I actually hallucinated and thought he was my primary perpetrator, Uncle Norman. He looked like him smelled like him sounded like him. I had a horrid flashbacky hallucination that this guy actually WAS him for about an hour. I was totally freaked out.

This guy was used to bullying women, it was easy to see. His insurance company at first denied any culpability but I kept on them and finally they reversed their decision and accepted responsibility.

Good thing, right? Great thing, right? Justice for Splint. Finally.

I was really happy about this turn of events and pretty full of myself for handling a tough and complex situation. For sticking to my guns. For not being a victim. Hooray.

Then yesterday came and I had to take my car in to get a new bumper. And it has left me just so, so sad.

Children are wailing inside me. The teenagers are up in arms. They don’t know that it’s 2010, that we are safe that I am taking care of them. All they know is that Uncle Norman appeared again, so he can likely come to get us soon.

Justice should be a good thing. But all I can think is how we will never have justice for the damage wrought upon me as a kid. I had thought I was okay with that, that it’s time is gone and it just is what it is. Living the best life I can is the best that I can do because there is no justice in the world.

However. There appears to be Justice. It seems to be something that I can have. And it makes the pain of never getting it for the atrocities wrought upon me that much more prominent. I am angry and I am sad. I’m grieving now and as much as it seems a totally inappropriate reaction there it is anyway. I don’t lie to myself, I feel whatever I feel and try to deal with the blowback when it comes.

I am grieving for all those kids who are me. I am depersonalized and seem to be floating above my head, watching things happen as if I am in a movie. A bad, bad movie.

I will persevere. I will be okay. I can snap myself out of it. It’s 2010 and I a m an adult woman. I am tough, I am turning that corner where I have left my victim status behind. I will have my day, I’ll go see my clients and I will continue to work on my song. I still can’t run, which would be so helpful. But I’ve promised to be careful and my legs seem to not want to heal after my last major run a week ago.

I just don’t wanna talk. There is a question in my mind of why I ever felt that anyone has been safe–as much as I know that I am exactly that. I just need to step away for awhile. I will be okay, I’m just so sad for those tiny little me’s inside.

What Kids Think

What does a two-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHH

What does a three-year old think when somebody rapes them?AHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a four-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a five-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a six-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a seven-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does an eight-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a nine-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a ten-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does an eleven-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a twelve-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a thirteen-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a fourteen-year old think when nobody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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Dissociation Time and Hope

If you look for it there’s alot out there about dissociation. Are trauma memories real or not, is DID real or not, how trauma exposure at a young age causes children’s brains to store traumatic information and subsume it into Alters, little timebombs of memory that can sit forever in one’s mind and impact their entire life of choices, social capabilities, and of course sex.

But there’s a crushing aftereffect of chronic dissociation that isn’t much discussed that requires a great deal of understanding if any therapist is going to be helpful to the patient. And that concept is Time.

I do not have a concept of Time as something that marches forward. I understand intellectually that it’s the year 2010 and I am a grownup. I know that my perps are dead and they can’t come back to get me. I know too that at any moment I can stumble across a trigger and be suddenly thrust back to 1965. Literally, be there in that year. I have smells and sights and feelings and sounds and physical pain exactly as it happened so long ago.

In my world, things are coming at me constantly bombarding my body and my mind. My job is to quickly sort out what goes where. ice cream, for example, doesn’t need much fending off I can let it in without much of a thought. But these split-second evaluations of people interactions, messages in the media, seemingly “safe” video…..much more challenging. I imagine myself in a particle accelerator, tiny pieces of who knows what constantly assaulting me. My job is to fend off the bad stuff before it gets to my hypervigilance zone.

It’s not easy, but it’s how I grew up. And even now, 45 years and more later, processing in the same way. Permanent victim.

There are many, many ways this perspective on my life is not such a great thing. One, as I say, is the permanent victim status. Things coming at me, assaulting me, and all I can do is to fend off the worst of it and dissociate thru innocuous information. But the real biggie is that I have no sense of future. Of an awareness that time passes. I have no timeline in my head, just a series of still shots.

This fucked up lack of understanding of time gives me no ability to dream. To want. To really understand what improvement means. To envision goals and meet them. If I can’t look forward how then can I make plans? How can I say oh one day I’d like to xyz? How can I have any sense of a purpose for my life? and if there is no purpose, how then do I ever dig out of the nightmares of my kidhood?

If time doesn’t go forward, how do I go forward? It’s a tough question. I can look at this moment and decide how safe I think I am, that’s about it. I can’t say in ten years I’d like to be xyz. I can’t say I have a purpose and it’s to help people in abc ways. I can’t think well I’d really like to retire to a ranch in New Mexico or Idaho or wherever. Because that time doesn’t exist for me.

We never hear about the consequences of lack in fluid timeline but it is an integral part of real healing, or so I believe. Looking beyond the past or this second and making any kind of real decisions about my life. If my traumas had started later in my life I might have a sense of something to go back to, to recover. But I am building from scratch.

I hear letting go of the past and it’s consequences are the key to getting beyond mere survival of trauma. That things need to be of value, that I need to let happen a sort of letting the shit go. But it’s really not that simple.

It is all about learning about time. About how to go about incorporating a clock in my brain that goes forward. That is the real trick.

I suppose I will have to write about this, describe it, get it out there that time bends for child survivors. Because I just don’t really see it anywhere. C gets this as much as one can and I am very fortunate for that. She’s constantly asking me what I am going to be doing…tonight or this weekend or whatever timeframe. My inability to picture the meaning of her questions is how I came to understand that I don’t know how to do that. I have a calendar and I put stuff into it and every day I do those things that pop up. But this is the way I’ve learned to manage the world ahead. I am still a slave to my calendar, events are still happening TO ME.

Dissociation. Time. Hope. This is the real key to healing. What I’m saying here probably makes no sense to very many people, but the mental health community has to get this perception in order to do much good to those of us who missed this part of development.

Not The End.

My Genital Mutilation

So when I was a kid one of the things that I survived through was genital mutilation. Very painful very bloody. Not exactly castration but similar. I had always thought it was a permanent thing, this constant pain that I just blocked from my mind and split away from my body. It got fixed about a year ago and that’s really a cool thing.

So last night I’m watching a documentary on the National Geographic channel called I believe Inside Koran. It discussed guess what the Koran and how it can be sliced and diced to justify just about any human behavior good bad or indifferent. Fascinating. It was in the middle of processing just what the Koran says about the relationship between the sexes, the marriage contract, women’s rights.

From out of nowhere there’s a picture of a little girl half-laying down, a view from the top of her head. “She’s cutting me she’s cutting me owwwwwww it hurts it hurts it hurts”. You guessed it. There in front of me is a little girl who is undergoing genital mutilation. I don’t know much about kids she was maybe 5 years old or so.

It was over in a few seconds. As soon as I registered it I started screaming. Wifey in another room is saying change the channel, sounds like she’s speaking in another language. But somehow I get to the remote and get it onto something else.

When it first happened I didn’t know what to do. I was vomiting and was feeling that physical pain again.

Here comes the good part. Somewhere deep inside me as I’m throwing up is saying You Can Choose dear. You can decide to attach to this mess of shit or not. You can just let it go and all the pain will vanish. Just fix it in your head and send it packing. You can bring it back to talk with C about it, but this is just another trigger, just let it go.

And so I did. I have something of a hangover today, like shadows are tapping at my brain, and I fear the memories will come flashing through. But I have the feeling that I can just keep it up, just keep pushing them away as they appear, and I will be fine. At least until I see C tomorrow at any rate.

You can use your life to gain strength. You can choose. It takes pain and practice and depression and tears and fright. But isn’t that how you’re living at least in part now? So. Today, choose. Let it go.

Permission to be Stronger

I have therapy homework this week. I asked for it, usually C will say go live your life then tell me about it. But this past Wednesday when I said just tell me what to think about this week I need a rest from my head, she gave me some. She didn’t just spit out a rote thisiswhatitellmyclientstodowhentheyaskforhomework kinda thing. She looked piercingly in the distance for a few minutes then started to talk.

She said think about giving yourself permission to be stronger. Give yourself permission to come into your own, to sort of give birth to the very strong woman who you are. She says I’d be interested in what you have to say about that. You don’t have to DO anything right now, you don’t have to CHANGE anything right now, don’t work that hard on it. Just entertain the idea and let me know what you came up with next week.

It’s a good assignment for me. I have lived my entire life from a perspective that dictates that I just respond to what comes flying at me. Good bad indifferent, I fend off the world. It saddens me to realize that at 50 years of age, some 38 years after my abuse stopped and nearly 15 years in therapy that I am still viewing the world from a victim stance. I asked her–my god when do I stop being a victim? She said you are very astute just getting that this is where your brain functions tells me you are beginning to get over it.

Whenever C talks about me taking charge of my own life I kinda freak. I know I do so because she will say wow check out your body language hon this is making you really anxious. Why is that?

It’s too much responsibility to have control over my life. C says you’re a successful businesswoman and after all that happened to you you’re still here. You have a relationship that might not be perfect but you’ve been able to keep it together for over 15 years and that is amazing. She says you’re already doing it, you are already taking control, you just don’t want to admit it. Why?

I say then I guess I don’t know. C says not so easy darlin’ you’ll have to think about it and open your mouth about it. She says I know it feels like you’re shooting in the dark right now but that’s okay because if you start to fall I will let you know and you can think about something else.

So here I am. My mind is going ummmmmm….got nothing. But there are some things I do know about this. I know that it scares me to let go of my primary perp. As horridly as I was mutilated by the man, he was all I had. I have the tendency to disregard my newborn health and progress as much as I treasure it. I suppose he has been with me my whole life and without him I still feel like I’m nothing. Nobody is there. Like shouting down an empty well.

As long as my perp has continued to strongly influence my behavior I am not alone. Somebody else knows what happened to me. And until I can really truly and fully let go of that self-perception as someone who was horridly abused as a kid and who had all these really horrendous things happen to her at least I have an identity.

For nothing will happen to me in the future that can have anything close to that kind of impact on me. Seems like my life was over at 12 when the bastard finally stopped going after me and just vanished into thin air.

And so I have held on to this identity I have some meaning in the world.

Just reading the words that are coming up on this screen causes me trememdous self-loathing, shame, a sense of being totally full of shit. Jesus. There it is again, victim victim victim. Even if it’s only me doing the abuse. This is what I know.

My readers will know that I am entranced by the concept of neuroplasticity. I see literal images in my mind of the old road and Springtime that’s new neural pathways. I’ve been having some great success with taking these gambles, and it gets easier to seek them out the more I do it. But this one causes me to completely recode my awareness of my place on the planet. From somebody whose only value is to be used as sadistic cruelty to an adult woman who controls her own destiny, who has tremendous power to determine her life.

So. How do I give myself permission to become myself? So far I’ve been doing okay trying to just change my behaviors and the messages coming at me from my mind. And then sit in C’s office and let her tell me the significance of acting as I have. “It’s your life, is that what you wanna do?” Yikes. I didn’t even know what she was talking about the first time the words came from her mouth. Now I’m getting an inkling of the concept. Scares the shit out of me.

One tiny piece at a time. This is the secret I suppose. So my little bit for the next few days is to think about letting that victim thing go. I can feel changes, a few at least. For instance, I no longer have to hang onto the idea that no one has ever suffered as much as I have. My entire life I have had to have “the worst” to justify my intense pain. Not so much any more. Not at all really. I now tend to embrace in my mere survival. I am comforted by not being so isolated, so totally alone in the history of my anguish. AS long as I was isolated from the rest of humanity I could remain some kind of monster. I am not alone so not isolated so not a monster.

I am a human being, a miracle of kids’ toughness and ingenuity. Just like everyone else on the planet. So I am much better able to establish an identity that is separate myself from other people in terms of human need. Boundaries? Son of a bitch, I have them. This is pretty damn huge for me.

As I’m typing I can hear the voices screeching. Now I can tell them to just shut up, which more and more often is working. I am like the first nuclear bomb test. Nobody knew if the thing was even going to work but by damn it did. And it changed the world.

Certainly there will be more to come on this topic but it is time to put it away for now. Because I said so. Because it’s good self care to put this away for now and go do something. I think I’ll take a little run.

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