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Posts Tagged ‘alone’

Leah Day Winter Wonderland

Leah Day
Winter Wonderland

I took my daughter to see the new Disney movie, Frozen, last week. There was a scene where one of the characters fled what seemed to her to be an impossible situation, one where she had been trying to conceal a large part of who she was for much of her life. In Disney fashion, she breaks out into song, and I cried, particularly through the first part of the song. I looked up the lyrics tonight, and I can see why they resonated with me…

Let It Go

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know

I think that I’ll go and cry again. And keep on trying to work to the day when the rest of the song might better reflect where I am.

Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

Of course my version would include being able to freely feel all of my emotions, so I want to be able to cry about everything I need to cry about. But what would it be like to be able to simply “let it go”? To let go of all of that control? To stop fighting with myself? To fully know that the past is in the past? To no longer be controlled by the old fears and the old rules? What would it be like to be free?

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I don’t know why this is hitting me so hard tonight, but I feel so broken, so worthless, so contemptible, so despicable. I hate myself and I wish that I didn’t have a duty to my daughter that requires me to keep on struggling. I want to give up. I’m tired. I hurt.

It’s at times like these that I hear a little voice say, “Please let me die.” But I know that I can’t. And I even guess that tomorrow or the next day or the next I will be glad to be here. But right now that thought feels so impossible.

I am angry at myself for feeling this way and for some reason I wish that I could just beat myself up. I’m tired of trying so damn hard all of the time. I just want for things to go along smoothly for a few weeks.

I think that part of how I am feeling is about this stupid thing that I am over reacting to with Mama Bear. Just last Monday, on the way to my session, I felt like I could finally say that it felt like all of me was willing to finally forgive her for something that happened last fall, which left parts of me feeling rejected for being parts. And now we suddenly have this thing that just shouldn’t be a big deal, but somehow is one for me, and I know that my trust in her has been shaken. But she has done nothing wrong. If I can react this way with someone I have years of experience with, who has shown herself to be trustworthy over and over again, and who didn’t even do anything wrong, it leaves me feeling like my ability to feel safe and secure with people has been so badly broken that I am just hopeless.

And part of it is my mother, but I have already shed so many tears over my mother… How many tears do I need to cry? When does it become just a waste of salt water? When does it mean that I simply need to just get over it all and move on? Why can’t I hammer myself into a shape where I am OK with my mother? Why do I have to be so damn needy? I hate myself for needing right now.

Tonight, I wish that there was some way to just make myself into an automaton who took care of the needs of my husband and daughter. I don’t want to have any needs of my own. I don’t want to have memories. I don’t want connections that hurt. I want to stop existing and just leave a shell that can fill my place. But even if that was actually possible, my daughter and husband need more than just something that can go through the motions, so I feel trapped.

I feel like such a d#$n burden right now. I am tired of asking people to prop me up. I am tired of asking for support. I am tired of feeling weak and too easily hurt. I just want to throw the me that keeps on getting hurt out the window and finally be done with her. I’m supposed to be able to add to relationships, not just take and take and take. Where is the me that is worthwhile? Isn’t there a me that has some value?

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Right now some of me feels like I should just go climb into a hole, disappear, and never come out. I know that I shouldn’t feel that way, so I am resisting it, but it is there. I don’t even have a clue why I am feeling this way, although obviously it has something to do with everything that I have been stirring up lately.

Somehow, I just feel like I am bad. I am someone that no one in their right mind would want to love and take care of. That I should just give up, stop resisting, let myself die, and leave everyone in peace. And these feelings so obviously do not belong to my life now. They clearly are displaced then feelings. But knowing that only lets me keep from drowning in them, it doesn’t make them go away.

And then in another direction, I feel so done with myself over all of this. It seems like enough already. OK, I have realized how bad it was. OK, I can see what a bastard my grandfather was. OK, I have wallowed in self pity over not being protected by my mother. But nothing will change what happened. So get over it already, just move on. Just deal. Who the f##k really cares? Why should anyone care? It was all so long ago. I just feel so angry at myself. Why the h##l can’t I buck up and just get past it all? I hate how needy I am. If I haven’t gotten better after all of this time, then I am hopeless and it is time to give up on me.

And I wonder where all of this self hatred is coming from? I usually have more compassion for myself than this, but I feel like I am pitiful and people should only feel contempt towards me.

Mama Bear says, “It is difficult to do what you are doing and you must feel frustrated and angry at times with the situation but be as gentle as possible with yourself.” But I don’t feel at all gentle. I feel so angry that I want to rip myself to shreds. I’m tired of trying to be understanding of myself. I’m really tired of trying to have a positive attitude and do the right thing. Right now I just hate myself.

I can even see that all of this is “inappropriate.” But so much of me wants to be allowed to hate myself right now. Somehow it feels safer and easier than feeling compassion for myself.

Later Addition

And now it is a couple of hours later and much of the intensity has faded. In fact, I feel a bit embarrassed about this post, because I should have been more cognizant of how temporary of a state it was likely to be. I’m not yet capable of feeling terribly compassionate towards myself, but at least I no longer hate myself with a passion and wish that I could destroy myself.

It’s pretty obvious that I was triggered into this and I believe that it has something to do with some of what has come up over the last few days and starting to address it in a session. I’m not going to try to go into an analysis of what happened, because I don’t want to risk being drawn back into it or something else. Maybe I will later.

It never ceases to amaze me just how much it seems like the state that I am in is the new norm, when I am triggered like this. Fortunately, I have experienced thinking and feeling things that don’t really fit me enough times that I was able to keep some awareness that this was likely to be a temporary state; unfortunately, that awareness was tenuous this time and the feelings and thoughts in that state were extremely compelling.

As of right now, my self assignment for tomorrow is to remember how to be kind to and gentle with myself.

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This has been very interesting for me. Thank you for letting me know what you see in the picture. One of the things that another group of friends and I discussed is that we all know the back story and so it is impossible to not be influenced by our knowledge. The one person who saw it who knew nothing about the story just remarked on how the expression was guarded.

However, I find this picture to be very enigmatic and I can change my mind about what the expression means from one minute to the next. Of course, there is no knowing exactly what was happening right then. I have only the vaguest memories of the trip this was taken on, never mind when this picture was taken.

As an experience, looking at it, I really don’t have much of the sense of, “Oh, yes, that is me in this picture.” Yes, I can recognize that the features are the same as in other pictures, but I have the response, “That is me?” On the other hand, I have this young need to take this picture in to my next session, plop it down in front of Mama Bear and say, “This is me! I really was there! I was supposed to always be the happy, smiling child, but this time, this was me!”

There are a few things that strike me the most about this picture…

First: This does not seem to be the expression of a 7 year old. To my mind, it looks like it comes from having experienced things that no 7 year old should have.

Second: I seem to simultaneously get the message of, “I am all alone, help me.” and “Don’t you dare come near me.” One of the things that I seem to remember from that time is this pervasive sense of being alone and needing someone with me, but I would guess that I did not trust the person behind the camera to satisfy any needs for connection. It is so clear to me that I was standing very alone and seemed isolated.

Third: I am used to seeing seven year old perpetual motion machines who even when still have a sense of life and who tend to share every emotional up and down. The girl in this picture is terribly self contained and restrained. There is some sort of emotion/message there, but it is impossible to be sure what it is. I think that it is so hidden because I was used to not displaying emotions that would have been uncomfortable for my parents.

And finally: I get a sense of strength from this child. There is nothing defeated looking about her. In pain, yes. Sad, yes. Uncertain what to do, probably. But she is not about to give up. I’m not even sure that she knew enough to know what to hope for, what would make her life better. But there is a core of steel there- it’s like I can glimpse the “I will not be crushed” attitude that is what enabled me to survive relatively intact.

So, looking at this picture, I can’t help but thinking again, “I was this child?” And then, “This is the child who I connect with memories of X, Y, and Z happening? I was this size? That was my face? That was the body that bad things happened to?”

When my grandfather abused me, it was almost always with me facing away from him or in the dark. I have always wondered why he did this, and it is something that has caused issues for me, because it means that I have few visual memories of what happened. But I look at those eyes and I have to wonder if maybe he did have a bit of a conscience and he couldn’t bear to have those eyes looking at him. God, I just can’t imagine seeing those eyes and then going ahead and violating a child.

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I am feeling so confused these days…  I feel like I am having so many different conflicting reactions, with so many powerful feelings.  I almost feel dizzy, like I am being spun so many different ways and I don’t have a chance to fully think or feel through anything.  It’s all leaving me feeling a bit lost and uncertain about what I am doing and where I am going.  And the way that I feel is so very different; it is like I am somehow partially slipping between different states, even though “I” am still the constant.  This is disturbing for me, because the age range is so wide and I don’t seem to be settling into anything consistent.  And I don’t have a clue as to why I am suddenly doing this.

There are the times when the anger comes up and it is just so powerful.  I don’t know what to do with it and sometimes it is like there is a part that just wants to use it to destroy the inner me and pulverize everything that is inside.  I feel so much self hatred at those times and at the same time so much helplessness.  I want to cry and I want to scream, but I just sit here quietly, holding it all inside.  Sometimes I find myself saying, “I hate him!”  But most of the time, it’s like my mind quickly skips into and skips out of the anger again.

I keep on finding myself in very young states that just want to be helped and comforted.  Frankly, these are these easiest to deal with, because I know how to help them and I can help them.  I find that I can help to ground them/me together into a sense of safety and security.

I slip into a state that is so connected to feelings of despair and start to think of bridges and icy water.  Don’t get me wrong; I will not do anything to harm myself.  I know my responsibilities to my daughter and husband and how much harming myself would hurt the people I love the most.  Besides, most of me just doesn’t feel that level of hopelessness at all.  I believe that it is a remembered hopelessness far more than it is a present one, but it still is a distressing state to slip into, even briefly.

I find myself on the edge of memories that I am currently trying to not engage with.  Most of these are memories that I have experienced many, many times.  Some are newer.  There is a distinction here between experiencing them and remembering them.  If I can just remember them, it isn’t so bad, because there is more of a knowing, narrative quality about it.  Experiencing is very hard, though, because in some way I am in the memory and there is no distance between it and at least a part of me.

I am so quick right now to completely discount all of these experiences as soon as I feel even remotely normal.  “Things really couldn’t have been very bad.  I must be completely crazy to be even consider possible some things that some of me seems to think happened.  I am a horrible person to even entertain some of these possibilities.”  It’s like as soon as there is even the possibility of denial, it goes into effect.

I am so torn right now and I feel like I am reaching out for myself, but I don’t even know where I am.

Yesterday, my path seemed so clear…  There is something that may or may not have happened and I just can’t deal with figuring out whether it did or didn’t happen.  Whenever I try to go close enough to what seems to be memories, my mind just feels like it is blasted, but when I step back and just concentrate on comforting and soothing the young parts who need to feel heard and connected, then I am able to ground and help all of myself feel so much better.  So it seemed obvious to me: stop trying to figure out what happened and just concentrate on comforting and strengthening.

But today I feel like I am being tossed in so many different directions at the same time and I have lost that path.  All I know is that I keep on wanting to say that I hate myself and I know that I am grieving and I feel lost and alone.   Mama Bear has reminded me to stay as oriented to the here and now and in my fuller self as much as possible.  Excellent advice.  If only I was doing a better job of following it.  I wish that I understood why I am having so much trouble doing it right now!!!  I thought that I was getting stronger and more stable, so what in the world is happening to me?  Have I just been fooling myself?

I don’t know…  All I know is that I have to keep on trying and hoping that I find a way to feel steady and solid again before long.

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Right now, I want so much to be able to go someplace where people would see me and to be the hurt and frightened child that I feel like and to feel free to cry out those emotions so everyone can see what I am experiencing. I hurt right now, and I’m so tired of looking ok. I want for people to see what this much pain really looks like. This is what sexual abuse looks like.

Ok, so it isn’t just anyone that I most want to be forced to see it. It’s my mother. I want for her to not be able to hide from just how bad this is. In some ways, I wish that I could make her feel it, just for a bit, so I could be sure that she actually understands what the damage feels like.

I still want my mother so much, but I want for her to really be with me, not sort of be with a me who is afraid to show the hurt parts, because I know that she will run if it gets to be too much.

But I’m not going to get what I want, so I’m left craving people who can see and tolerate the pain that I am in. And I simply can’t get that any time I need it from any one place now, the way that I should have gotten it as a child. But that would have required for my mom to able to see that something was terrible wrong and then to be able to stay with me emotionally and help me tolerate the pain. But she didn’t, so I didn’t. Now I am left piecing it together, which is much better than not getting it at all, but feels so utterly inadequate when I am deeply connected to a child part who desperately needed her mother and is now left sitting alone in the living room. And I think that is a grief that I simply have to mourn.

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Today has continued the trend of being difficult, but not impossible.

I think that the hardest thing is that I am having trouble feeling fully “me” today. There are some times when I feel like there is an overlay of a slightly different experience on the way that I am experiencing things. Usually it goes on for an hour or two, although in times of significant stress it has gone for days, maybe even weeks at a time. Today, it has persisted almost all day long.

I feel like my body is two different sizes at once. There is the body that I can see, which obviously is my adult body, but it seems like there is a ghost image of a body that is smaller. If I close my eyes, I can both feel where my fingers are physically in contact with the keyboard, and I have a physical sense of fingers that are shorter and palms that are smaller.

Today, I have only spoken from my adult voice, but I have felt the urge to say things differently. It is like a voice that sounds differently and uses different words is just behind my own voice.

I am both aware that I am an adult who is quite tall and very able to take care of herself and I feel small and so very physically vulnerable.

I think that I have only moved in my normal way today, but there is a strong awareness of another way of moving.

There is an eerie sensation of not being the only one looking out of my eyes.

I know that this all means that I am partially stuck in a memory state/part and I really need to be better grounded in the here and now. In fact, I have been aware of memories being right there, pushing at the edge of my awareness, several times today. I even know what some of the content is, enough to know that I really don’t want to remember. It isn’t violent, but it involves clearly feeling what it was like to feel my grandfather’s body in contact with mine. I think that there is little to no sexual content, but the thought of experiencing that skin on skin contact just makes my skin crawl and leaves me wanting to crawl into a safe corner and cry. It’s just too real.

So far I have managed to keep it to knowing that the memory is there, if I were to let down the barriers and allow myself to fully remember. Earlier, I almost sent my daughter and husband out of the house, so I could have the privacy to fall apart and cry and scream, but I know from past experience that indulging in the urge to do that doesn’t “just get it out of my system,” but rather it seems to set it there more firmly. It activates more of the trauma responses. Even though the urge is to act out my fear, I know that the best way to help myself is to work to calm my system as much as possible and let this pass by me for now.

I just don’t want to do this alone. I am tired and still drained and frankly ill equipped to deal with caring for myself while experiencing such difficult memories. Besides, I don’t have to do this alone and it really does help to have Mama Bear there, making sure that I don’t end up getting completely sucked into and stuck in the experience.

There are times when “I” know something, but so much of the rest of me is close to the surface and the rest of me doesn’t have the same understanding. I know that the vulnerable, hurt parts of me will listen to Mama Bear though. So, earlier in the day, I sent an email to Mama Bear: “I don’t have to remember, right? It is OK to at least say, “not right
now.” I’m trying to convince all of myself of that.”

This was her response: “You have remembered many times. You don’t need to keep thinking about it in order to know what has happened. It is not only fine for you to ground and enjoy the now, you owe it to yourself and the life that you have made to care for yourself and to live the now. You honor your full self when you calm yourself and allow yourself to live that life that you have so beautifully made.

Most of me was able to hear her and settle a bit better into today. My hope is that maybe tomorrow I will even more fully and concretely be me. At least I can hope for that.

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