Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘somatic memories’

Torrent of Fear Leah Day

Torrent of Fear
Leah Day

I am massively confused, so please bear with me while I babble.

I don’t know what’s quite so wrong with me right now, but I don’t seem to be able to find my hope. I so rarely lose the sense that I am certain that things will turn out OK in the end, even if I know that it will be painful and may take a long time to get there. But for the last few days, that sense of hope is just gone.

I feel as though everything is wrong in the world and that even the best things are shadowed somehow.

I don’t know how much of this is a remembered sense of despair from when I was a child and how much might be depression right now. It doesn’t feel like a normal depression, but I don’t usually find myself in the grip of an emotional memory for days on end. In fact, I think that it would be a first for me. But that is more what this feels like.

After all, “I” know that this is a phase, and very painful phase, but I have been through painful phases before. I will eventually work through it. I don’t rationally agree with this thought, even if I can’t emotionally shake it off right now.

And then when you consider that I have had no desire to end my life for months, the fact that I had the wish tonight that there was some way to kill off all of me that remembers and feels anything about my family and just leave enough to be a mother for my daughter is a sign that something is amiss inside. Given how completely out of the blue it was, I suspect that it is a remembered desire to end the pain.

The last couple of weeks have been very, very difficult for me. I am trying my hardest to learn how to manage some very intense feelings of rage and grief, but I’m not really succeeding yet. I feel as though I have been sucked into this emotional vortex in regards to my dad, what happened with him, all of the unknowns about what happened, and my mother. My ability to disengage and give myself a break has been as its lowest level for the last several months. I’ve done a bit better today, but that isn’t saying much. There are a lot of different parts to what I am dealing with, but the most confusing of which are those that are memory related. I’m not going looking for memories, but it’s like I’m just surrounded by them and things are being triggered all too often.

Lately, I have been dealing with so many memories of sensations, emotions, and vague impressions that are I believe are from something real, but are so disjointed that I don’t know what actually happened. It is extremely difficult for me to deal with knowing that something really, really bad happened and having some vague idea of what it probably was, but not actually knowing. I strongly suspect that sometimes my mind may try to make sense out of the confusing information that I have and in the process fill in some of the blanks, without my being aware of it. This is hard for me to admit, because it is all too close to “making things up,” but I understand now that it is a need to make meaning and give some form to the terrifying pieces of information that I do have. And it isn’t like I’m doing it intentionally- it’s something my mind does in the background. For all I know, those blanks are filled in by pretty much what happened. Or they could be filled in by something that the information reminds my adult mind of, but might not have happened. I believe that this is why I keep on being warned that I can know in general what happened, but I can’t be sure of the details. I so seem to be developing a sense as to when this might be happening, and I try to take a step back and give myself an extra reminder to not rely on that memory to be literally accurate.

Right now, my most present conflict centers around a teen part. I know that I have had a sense/seeming memory of this part sitting on the floor of the bathroom of our house at the time, crying. I have seen this many times over the last 9 months or so. My intuition is that little to nothing physical happened with my father while we lived in this house, but what did happen is that I kept on getting triggered and so I lived with the sense of despair that nothing would ever be OK again. I do remember that for several months when I was 13, I would sob on my mother almost every day. The purported reason was because of social adjustments in school and while I was having trouble there I also seem to remember either at the time or afterwards thinking that my reaction was stronger than the problems warranted.

There is something that has been very disturbing to me in a vague way over the last while. I don’t have any physical memories that I identify of abuse during this time, but there is something else there. Then, tonight, while I was sitting in the bathroom, I got those memory type things that are almost too clear in the way that I identify as possibly being “fill in the blank” “memories.” Sitting here, writing, it has occurred to me that when I was a teen, I might have been triggered to being afraid and imagining certain things that might happen with my dad. He used to take me out on father/daughter “dates” to movies mostly and I can easily imagine that in my traumatized, dissociated brain, that would have been very threatening to me. It would have provoked fears of what he might do, which I probably would have dissociated, in an attempt to keep everything tucked away. This “feels” right- that I was terrified inside that he was going to rape me and I struggled to manage that fear the best that I could. It makes sense of why I have memories of crying in fear and emotional pain and I have images (with some emotional content) of being raped, but there are no physical or emotionally intense memories even though those types of memories are predominant in other ages. My heart goes out to the teen me; what a burden to try to manage without even really allowing myself to understand what I was trying to manage. I don’t know if I had some inkling of memory of abuse from when I was younger, or if I was as clueless as I seem to remember being. I don’t know which would have been worse: vaguely remembering being abused by my father or having these overwhelming fearful/despondent/painful feelings that I couldn’t make sense of.

Yesterday, I said something to Mama Bear about desperately wanting for someone to hold me while I sobbed on them and I immediately realized that I was experiencing a child/teen desire for my mother to hold and comfort me while I sobbed on her. I think that I was connected to memories of when I was 13 without being aware of it and that is why I have been experiencing this sense that everything is wrong and nothing will be right again. Even if I was mostly dealing with memories on the inside, I can only imagine how much despair would be evoked in a 13 year old who was going through sex education, starting to be aware of boys, and who had been sexual with her father and grandfather.

I just realized something… I was mostly an A student. I have only ever failed one course and it was that year. I failed PE the quarter that they did sex education. I refused to do the project for it and I wouldn’t go to school the day of the test. It’s like I tried to tell my mom that something was wrong. I don’t remember having any understanding of why I couldn’t deal with the class. I assume that I must have attended the class, in body at least, but I have no memory of it. I just remember all of the conflict and shame around failing that class, but being unable to take advantage of the opportunity to make up the test or turn in the project late.

I don’t know what to tell that 13 year old inside of me, because she is really hurting. The reassurances that work with the younger parts don’t seem right for her. And for the moment, nothing comes to me when I “listen”.

Well, I’m not sure that there was much here for anyone else, but I figured some things out that were quite useful. So thank you for “listening”!

Read Full Post »

Katie Pasquini Masopust Painted Canyon

Katie Pasquini Masopust
Painted Canyon

I hate my father right now. Please don’t tell me that I should forgive him or that hating him hurts me more than it hurts him. I think that sometimes there is a time and place for hating someone. For me that time is this period when I am finally accepting not only that my father abused me, but allowing myself to see and feel how that has affected me for most of my life. It is my way of laying claim to the certainty that what he did was completely and inexcusably wrong. He harmed me so badly. Yes, I am determined to recover from it, but I have spent 4 decades paying for his misuse of my body and my trust. I am so far beyond angry about that and I hate him right now. How else does a person express the level of rage and revulsion that she feels when she finally allows herself to experience what it was like to have her father do things to her that only lovers should do to each other?

I hate him for the fact that I have been experiencing body memories for 20 years, but my mind couldn’t let me know who was creating those sensations. I have spent decades remembering/feeling him doing things to me that no father should do to his daughter. This week has been especially intense in terms of body memories. There is one in particular that has come up repeatedly and brings up such feelings of rage. He taught me that he could take things that feel bad and combine them with pleasure to make them feel good. I feel so much outrage at both what he did and how he manipulated my body.

I hate him for daring to touch me, for acting like he had a right to my body. No one has a right to my body other than me. No one. Definitely not my father. I hate him for not caring about what his using me would do to me. I hate him for how my husband is paying for my father’s actions.

I so wish that he was not a part of the world. So much of me hates him so much right now that I wish that he was dead. I wish that I could wipe him off the face of the earth. I am so angry that he has a comfortable life when he has caused me so much pain. I hate him.

I hate him for the fact that I cooperated. I hate knowing that I did what he wanted for me to do. I hate remembering doing things to make him feel good. I hate that he gets between me and my husband when I try to touch my husband.

I hate him for not loving me. If you love someone, you don’t use her in a way that is going to scar her for life. Love and forcing your child to have sex with you just don’t go together. Don’t tell me that you loved me. I haven’t bought that lie in years. You were proud of me and glad that I could make you feel like you had done a good job by raising an accomplished daughter. I hate you for using the fact that I wanted your attention and wanted for you to love me when I was a child, though. I was so confused, because at last I felt like I was useful for something, but it felt wrong somehow. What you did left parts of me feeling like I’m only good for sex- I should just be used and then thrown in the trash. Or maybe that’s both you and grandpa.

I hate him for the fact that I think that things didn’t stop when I was six. I seem to remember things happening when I was 8 or 9 and then again somewhere in the 10-12 age range. I just hope that they happened for a little while and then stopped until they started up again. I thank God that he was in the military and would be gone for 6 to 9 months at a time, so I know that I definitely had periods of safety that way.

I hate him for the fact that I may lose my mother over his abusing me. Yes, she is the one who will have to choose how to respond if/when I tell her whatever I tell her. As much as I wish that I could avoid it, listening to myself, I suspect that I am going to need to confront her with some very unpleasant truths. I also fear that she won’t be able to deal with them. If he hadn’t abused me, we would have had a fighting chance if we only had to deal with the abuse by my grandfather.

At the moment, though, I think that I most hate him for my having to live with the physical memories. In most of them, I’m not even entirely sure what he did; I just know that he produced certain sensations in me and I know what sorts of actions on his part would do that. I get to go through the day, experiencing body memories at unexpected times. I might be sitting in the grocery store cafe, making a shopping list, when I feel myself being penetrated so painfully that I just want to curl up in a ball. Fortunately that happens rarely, more often it will be a case of my driving the car down the road and I will experience intrusive feelings of penetration. Or I will be standing on the playground, waiting for my daughter after school when I have phantom feelings of being stimulated. I was at the ballet tonight and I briefly experienced the memory that my mind is most struggling with with week. I know how to deal with it so that no one around me knows that anything is going on and I don’t let it stop me from getting done what I need to get done, but it is so wrong that I’m still feeling things that my father did 4 decades ago.

So, I hate him right now and I feel no guilt over hating him. I spent so much of my life trying to look at him positively, to my own detriment. Now I need to look at him honestly, even though that means that I hate my father. I’m guessing that the anger will ease eventually; it has for my grandfather. I’m not sure that I will ever be able to forgive him, unless he is able to apologize to me (which won’t happen), but I do hope that I will come to the point where he doesn’t matter enough for me to waste my emotional energy on. For right now, though, hating him is a part of my laying claim to being able name my reality. He hurt me badly enough for me to hate him. I’m not just angry at him, but I hate him.

Read Full Post »

Birth of a Super Nova Artist: Ludmila Aristova http://ludmilaaristova.squarespace.com/abstractions/

Birth of a Super Nova
Artist: Ludmila Aristova
http://ludmilaaristova.squarespace.com/abstractions/

I’ve learned something this week. Actually, I’ve learned more than one thing, but I’m going to talk about the fact that I finally got it through my thick skull that when I keep on experiencing the same thing over and over inside, that is what I most need to be talking about in therapy, even if it is something that I desperately want to avoid talking about.

The longer I avoid it, the more persistently I will keep on experiencing it. I can try to deal with it on my own and that used to work somewhat, but it just doesn’t anymore. At the moment, I am desperately in need of an outside witness and that is one thing that I absolutely can’t provide for myself. So, the sad fact is that I have to find my courage, grit my teeth, and figure out how to address issues with Mama Bear that are terrifying/shameful/disgusting/mortifying/horrifying/and whatever other negative adjectives that you can think of.

The healing here precisely is about no longer being alone with whatever it is that brings up these intensely difficult feelings. It involves seeing that another person can hear about internal realities that I want to deny because I am terribly ashamed and for her to react with compassion and understanding, rather than judgement and rejection. It means experiencing someone hearing me say over and over and over just how badly I was hurt as a child and responding with acceptance, support, belief, patience, and love, not abandonment.

I simply can’t do this alone. I have to trust myself to talk about what I am experiencing, especially when I am afraid to talk about it. If I keep on feeling the same body memories over and over, maybe this isn’t the time to do memory work, but maybe I do need to simply say, “I feel X sensations and I have X emotions about it” and I need to know that someone hears me. If I keep on hearing voices say, “He raped me,” then I probably need to talk about how I believe that I was raped with things and I’m just not ready to know anything more right now. If I experience vague memories of lying there, watching something happening, knowing that I have to stay still, maybe I need to talk about how young I feel, the helpless feeling of not being able to move, and how even though I’m remembering feeling small and helpless, in the here and now, I’m not young and helpless.

For whatever reasons, it has been very difficult for me to bring into sessions what my parts are telling me. I have felt as though I couldn’t trust them, because I couldn’t know for sure what is “real” and what isn’t. But the fact of the matter is that I don’t have enough other information to work with for me to do the work that I need to do. What my insides can tell me about my experience is the best that I’m going to do. I can’t trust my parents to give me a clear, unbiased, and full picture. And anyways what my parts believe is real for them. If I ignore the fact that they feel like they were raped, because I have no proof, how will I ever heal? I will still have these festering wounds inside me of parts who believe that they were raped.

I just wish that it wasn’t so difficult to face what I have spent most of a lifetime avoiding. I’m glad that I seem to have an internal compass, telling me where to go next, if I’m just brave enough to use it, but sometimes I wish that someone else could take over being brave for me. At least for a little while.

Read Full Post »

I have had a rather odd experience today and I’m wondering if anyone has any insight into it…

I have been having these brief but vivid memories off and on all day- at this point for 14 hours. But they aren’t trauma memories at all. They are from the same time frame that I have been predominantly dealing with lately- the period of time when I lived in Hawaii, between the ages of 7 and 13.

They are memories of going to the beach. I just “see” short clips in these memories and while I know that there are other people around, they are not in the memories. Instead, I can feel and see myself unrolling a beach mat and smell the smell that only goes with a beach mat. I can feel the sand as I burrow my hands and feet into it. Actually I get multiple experiences with that. One is of soft, white, fine sand and how it is hot on the surface, but cool as I burrow down into it. Another is the coarse grittiness of the wet, slightly grayish sand at another beach, as I sit at the edge of the water. Yet another is sitting there with sand running through my hands. I can feel my hands pushing through the water, playing with the water pressure and experience how delightfully cool it is. I can smell the scent of the coconut oil that people used and hear a slight scraping noise from a folding chair being settled into the sand.

Only one of these is not a familiar memory to me, but I don’t remember having quite this level of tactile detail in the past. And I don’t remember ever having benign, even positive memories pushing at me, nudging me when things are quiet. They aren’t intrusive in the way that traumatic memories are, but they have been persistent. The other odd thing is that there is just a touch of that sense of being there that I get with traumatic memories.

It isn’t really a problem that this has been going on today, but when something is such a striking change from normal, I can’t help but wonder, “Why?” and “What is going on?”

So… I am open to hypotheses here…

Read Full Post »

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Read Full Post »