Archive for July, 2015

Over the last few months, I have been struggling to deal with my father’s abuse. In particular, I have been struggling with the conflict between believing and not believing myself about it and finding some way to live with the knowledge of what happened.  It has been an incredibly painful time, full of grief, shock, disgust, shame, and other difficult emotions. At the same time, however, there has been a visceral sense of relief inside that I finally am grappling with this mess rather than running from it. 

Probably the hardest single thing so far was the everyday me finally really getting it that those vivid, tactile memories of my father raping me aren’t something that my mind just manufactured. There is a real basis for those memories. This is something that I knew intellectually, basically, but I couldn’t let myself believe it. Believing it came at a high cost. It left me in an agonized chaotic state. A part of me kept on vividly imagining life threatening self injury, wanted to be dead, actually wanted to be stomped out of existence.  With Mama Bear’s assistance, I have found more equilibrium again, partly through making sure that I cry out some of that deep, searing grief and pain at every session, but I didn’t feel like I was making any real progress. 

Yesterday, to my surprise, I had an intense need to write out what happened with my father. It didn’t include everything that I think happened, but it included what it felt like I needed to include for right now, to give a shape to the picture of what happened. I did it in multiple sittings, stopping when it began to feel overwhelming. 

Today, I feel lighter. Sad, but less pressured. 

Some things really strike me from what I wrote. A lot happened. I knew this, but writing it out made it more clear to Me in a more connected way. Meaning, all of those things that happened are connected. They aren’t just horrible isolated events; they made up an important part of the years that I lived with my parents, even though I couldn’t bear to remember them for decades. Although I only included the basics, not much at all in terms of individual memories, when you look at the basics of what happened over the different ages that I was, it all adds up to A Lot. 

 I have talked with Mama Bear before about how it seems like if what I remember happened, then I should have been a complete mess all of the time. I shouldn’t have been able to function as well as I did. She always responds that that is one of the purposes of the dissociation. Looking at all of this together and yet also in a not together, protected way, I get that today. Last night, I was more connected to the parts that remember and I Felt (emotionally) that these things happened to me. Today, the protective dissociation that buffers and gives Me a healthy distance is stronger and instead I know that parts of me Know those experiences, but I can’t live my everyday life and Know those experiences at the same time. So for me, most of the time, my mind makes them feel like they didn’t happen to me, even though I know that at other times I experience them as having happened to me. 

I wonder how I could have not known what was going on at night; could the dissociation have been that efficient? But then I experience conversations with Mama Bear and My psychiatrist (whom my parts will come out with) when I truthfully answer questions or think that I am sharing everything that needs to be shared, only to realize days later that I omitted things because they just weren’t accessible to me during the conversation. Not in an, “oh, I can’t remember something” sort of way, but in a simply not there at all way. If that happened now when I have this much support, I’m not being abused in the now, and I have so many more skills to manage things, it begins to become imaginable that the dissociative boundary between everyday and the abuse was that strong while the abuse was happening. Everything would have broken down, other wise.  

How could I have sat across from my father at the dinner table and known that he might rape me that night? How could I have appeared ‘normal’? I don’t think that I could have. 

This is the way that my brain works. It’s too much to Know what he did, so it feels like it couldn’t have happened, unless I’m connected to a part that experienced it or handles something related to it. But going around with parts all active and feeling what happened is too disruptive for everyday life. They need to be treated gently. 

I think that I’ve been waiting for a switch in my brain to flip and for me to have experienced how real the memories feel enough times that the current me is “convinced” that I was abused. But it isn’t a matter of convincing. I’m convinced. I’ve been convinced for a long time. It’s simply that what happened with him is too overwhelmingly horrible for me to hold in a truly knowing way, in the everyday. It takes over and all I can do is manage my feelings as best as possible and survive. The trauma simply still is that intense for me. 

Ok, then. So, really, my mind is doing just what it should be doing. It’s protecting me. So, I need to learn how to work with it better and not try to insist that it do what I think that it should do, when obviously that doesn’t work well for me. 

Easier said than done. But I will do it with time. 

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My new little friend

    We brought a puppy into our house a couple of weeks back and in general he is just a doll. He is 12 weeks old and a very happy puppy. 

It is wonderful to have another dog to begin to bond with, although I still miss my Georgia girl. But something inside of me eases when I bury my fingers in his fur and rub the sides of his face, as he stares up at me with those brown eyes and bright grin. 

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I Remember


The text is a variety of definitions, homonyms, etcetera for “memory.” The face is over music- the music is from “Mrs Robinson” and this part says something along the lines of, “you’ve got to hide it from the kids”. Along the side, I wrote, “I remember.”

Acrylics, collage, paint pens on paper

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