Flashback Grows Up

Weirdest thing happened to me last night. Usually Xmas is a very rough time for me, stuffed with flashbacks and nightmares. Tgis year it’s been going swimmingly–none of that stuff until last night.

It was one of those dreams that go on forever, i hate that. Anyway, this dream started out like it has pretty much my whole life, chock full of incidents in which i am being sexually abused in one form or another…

And then, suddenlt, i was an adult. The other kids in the dream, various cousins who had witnessed these events over the years, were all adults as well. And Uncle Norman was both dead and in the room at the same time.

I was saying why doesn’t anybody get that this was wrong? My cousin Nornmie says it happened to all of us. I say it’s still not right and he shrugs his shoulders, says yah well it’s Christmas, look at the pretty tree.

It goes on like this forever. I, the adult me, says why isn’t anybody getting how wrong this was? Indifference in response.

Here’s how I am going to interpret this dream: I am an adult. Nothing is happening to me anymore, even though it’s Christmas Eve. I am safe now. My main concern is that nobody gets it, how horrid was the whole shebang.

Was. Past tense. I keep asking until I finally say well enougg from u people. It’s still wrong.

And then i wake up. It’s a big step I think, changing preoccupation in my sleeping mind from what happened to what is wrong with u folks that u won’t see it’s vileness. Deciding that it doesn’t matter if they get it or not. Still was wrong.

So yeah. Flashbacks do grow up. Cool.

The Holidays in Haiku

The holidays are upon us. Hellidays in my mind. There are so many IUDs and triggers lying about that i am constantly running into them at this time of the year. I’m not of a monotheistic faith so there is no attachment. Basically i see Christmas as a tradeoff to get the Druids to stop celebrating the Winter Solstice debauchery and move over to Christianity.

In any event, i thought i’d write a few haiku addressing the immense internal stress of this time. Not in any particular order, just little vignettes. So here we go

Holidays just suck
Perpetrator went insane
Ev’ry Christmas Eve

I didn’t have fun
The Christmas celebrations
I was always hurt

Santa Claus would come
With dozens of gifts for me
Ev’rything but love

Mom would lose her shit
Too much pressure I suppose
Guess who made dinner?

I would always cry
Internal bleeding hurting
Dad losing HIS shit

I have learned to cope
With happy happy joy joy
Some girls are having

My wife into it
(Recovering Catholic)
So we make our joy

Wife makes Peking Duck
I wrap most of the presents
On Dread Christmas Eve

Bacchanalia
Of the in-laws, not so much
They’re not a bright group

We’ll go to the Zoo
And see A Christmas Carol
Our traditions now

Lots of great presents
Reindeer antlers on the cats
Send out Christmas cards

But i hate this time
Usually fade away
A hybernation

January comes
And i will be back again
For now–toodeloo

;).

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.

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.

Break

Taking a break from twitter. Got slammed from a trusted corner now very very very triggered. It’snotmy shit but internalizing it anyway. Because I’ve survived trauma and that is what I do.

Not sure when I’ll be back. It’s all just an illusion anyway. There is no safe. Walked right into this one, moron that I am. I should have known better.

I am safe I am in no danger of harming myself or anyone else. Just need to really rethink all of this.

There are a couple ppl, u know who u are, feel free to DM me if you need help and I’ll get pinged.

Rethink. Hum it’s time. There is no safe but for what I create for myself and so I am closing this pipeline down for awhile.

Beating the trigger

Female circumcision is not a commonplace practice in the West so much. Most people don’t really even know what it is.

Female circumcision does take several forms. The form
That happened to me is very common in Africa to small girls. Not infants, kids. The pain at the event is indescribeable. It pretty much takes away any pleasure from sex. It is pain every time you walk or sit down or stand up. It is horrific. I was fortunate, I got mine fixed. Last year. It’s like a whole new world.

I was noodling around tweeting about my hockey team
Going to the Stanley Cup. When across my stream
Comes this message about the horrors of male circumcision. From a group against Genital mutilation.

Male circumcision. Infants. Done all the time, has been done in forever. Whenever the message gets across to me that the two are at all the same thing I lose my shit entirely. When it happened to me it was in context of sexual abuse. I was I think around 9-10. I flash back in the snap of a
Finger. I have always been lost in this pain for days and days and days.

But today I recognized right away that I had been triggered. This was a very familiar feeling but one I’ve lived without for a couple of weeks. So it really stood out.

So. While one part of my head was running away in panic and rage was stomping about, another part o me was saying you know what this is just let it go thru you. Don’t attach to it hon. Just let it be. My compassionate adul woman was singing me a lullaby. Shhh. Petting me on the head. That was gone. It’s over. It’s over it’s over.

I felt these waves of calm wash one after the other, covering me in okay.

Cool.

These triggers are my own fault

I should have known better. I love reading blogposts about people who are tackling and thriving from child sexual abuse. It’s like a how-to manual for me. Reminding me that there is another far better space for me to be. It’s hope.

But. I should know better by now to read posts about people who discuss how their developmental years negatively impacted their ability to take good care of their own children.

Don’t get me wrong. It must fake tremendous courage to deal with these kinds of issues. Must eat up the heart. So I say god bless you and thank you for your power.

But. Our illness reads these posts and the Voices start yelling. The littles panic, the sulky teenagers just get pissed off. And the adults agree with all of it.

We hear that we’re supposed to forgive mom and dad for their atrocious parenting.

Passing the Playground

So yesterday I am walking down the sidewalk with a fairly new client. Did’t know the neighborhood so we just took off walking.

Unfortunately we stumbled onto a playground. I stood, frozen, listening to the shrieks and laughter of little boys and girls. And suddenly I was about 5 years old, maybe abit younger.

I was instantly very very confused. What were these kids doing, just running around making all kinds of noise? How could they be so full of nonsense? What were they laughing at? What is there in this world to laugh at?

You see, the littles never got to play. We never learned so much about Fun. Our world was dark and scary and quiet. You have to be very quiet or they will come. These kids, with all their noise. They were going to make uncle Norman come. Surely they must know how much danger they are in?

Transfixed. Terrified. In such familiar ground.

Then out of nowhere we heard this voice in our head. You are not a little anymore dear. Those days are long behind you now. The danger has passed now you are an adult. You are with a client do you see him there? That big black Lab? He needs your help and you can give it to him because you know how to do so. You are an adult your name is (x). Breathe.

Oh yeah. That’s right. Adult now. Breathe. Call the dog. Smell the lovely flower-scented air. Okay Ricky let’s practice Heel some more.

And on I went with my day. This whole thing took I’d say maybe a minute. By opening my soul to the lessons Universe has to offer I was reset.

And so we turned away from the dangerous happy children and learned about how to walk on a leash.

Universe is real. Gratitude is real. Power is real. What a lovely lesson.