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Best Place in the World to Be

19 years ago, Hubby finally took me on our first date. He was 21, in college, and working as a cook at a steak restaurant and never had evenings free. I was 17, taking my senior year of high school at a community college – where I met Hubby – and working at a pizza shop, a library, and the hospital. But we made time for each other.

After months of hanging out together on campus, studying together, eating lunch together, holding hands and staring at each other – it was finally time to see if this friendship could be something more.

I was so confused by him. He was unlike any boy I had ever known. He was sweet and gentle. He was content to just hold my hand and didn’t pressure me for anything more. I wasn’t actually sure he wanted to be anything but friends, but filling the role as my only friend at that time in my life, I was fine with that.

He put me in charge of choosing the movie. I called moviephone (no internet back then!) and found something I thought a guy would like. It was Ghost in the Machine, a sci-fi thriller. I wasn’t too nervous getting ready, I felt safe and comfortable with him. I was looking forward to it, to seeing him, to having a good time.

He knocked on my door, to my Mom’s apartment, where I had been living for a about a year at that point. He looked nervous, and much neater than I had ever seen him. And was that new shirt? (I think it still had a tag – hee hee) He was freshly shaved, not stubbly, except for his mustache, but that looked nice and trim. His long dark, nearly black hair was pulled back in to a ponytail. (Yes I fell for a ponytail man – Don’t judge me – I was a child of the 80’s I was also in love with every member of Van Halen, Poison, Guns ‘N’ Roses and every other bad boy of rock in those amazing hair bands) And he smiled a nervous smile. I giggled a little that he seemed nervous, but was flattered by it. I didn’t know then that I was the first girl he ever took to a movie, or ever wanted to date.

He put his arms around in me in a greeting-type hug, and whispered something like “Wow, you fit perfectly”. It was very sweet whatever he said. And then we headed to his truck. He held my hand as I maneuvered my weak leg up and into there, then closed the door for me. I gave him directions to the theater I had chosen and away we went, peeling out as he accelerated out of the parking lot in his little pick-up truck with a slightly oversized engine. We both miss that truck.

I marveled at how he could drive the entire time with only his left hand, since his right was not about to let go of mine. (Awww)

We walked in to the theater, and it was freezing cold. The snow on the ground has frozen stiff, and crunchy and squeaky. We both started giggling and time stood still as we “squeak-squeaked” our way down the treacherous sidewalk.  He held my hand, and kept his arm up a little to steady me in case my weak leg lost footing. It was natural to him to watch out for me like that – I didn’t ask, he just did it. And it felt natural to accept his help.

Cover of "Grumpy Old Men"

Cover of Grumpy Old Men

Finally inside the theater, and I scanned the movie showing times and felt panic. The movie I had selected was not there! And there was no movie right at that time. My heart was racing and I felt like a fool for messing this up. I told him the phone must have been wrong? I waited for him to be angry or call me stupid or anything like I was used to from other men in my life. But not him. He just said “No big deal, let’s just choose another one. How about ‘Grumpy Old Men’? That just started and might be funny” I said OK, but still was internally belittling myself and trying to figure out how I made this mistake.

Now I can’t remember if we got popcorn or drinks. I just remember sitting next to him in the dark, and the way he sat so close, closer than ever before, and basically held my entire arm, not just my hand. I snuggled my head on his shoulder and lost every worry as the movie started. It was a very funny movie, and the audience made it funnier. As the actors were ice fishing in a shanty, someone behind us kept saying “What in the world? How’s is he fishing in his living room?” We tried to stifle our giggles throughout the whole movie, in between wondering if he was ever going to try to kiss me. I wasn’t sure I wanted him to yet, but I was very confused why he wasn’t.

I can’t remember if he took me straight home or not. Perhaps there was a coffee shop? Or maybe we talked out in the truck a while? I can’t recall. But I will always remember our first kiss, on our first date. He pulled me in close, and just held me in his arms a moment, and then as we pulled apart, he leaned back in for that kiss. A very sweet, tentative, polite kiss, but it was enough to let me know he wanted more. And it was the first time I wanted more from him too.

We said good night, and I soon heard him spin his tires again as his truck left my driveway. I just smiled and whispered good night to him, still smelling his after shave, still feeling his lips on mine. The world was suddenly full of possibilities. This man was different. And he liked me.

Happy first date anniversary to my Hubby, who is still sweet, gentle, and taking care of me after so many years. I’d be lost without him, because he is the one to bring me back every time I lose my way. He is my lighthouse on a stormy sea. We always find our way back to each other, no matter how far we may drift apart. And we still fit perfectly in each other’s arms, best place in the world to be.

 

Understanding Does Not Mean Instant Change

(content may be triggering today – explicit details of abuse ahead)

I am an impatient person. Sometimes I am a desperate person. It is not a feature of myself that I am particularly proud of, but it is true. And it is especially true about my recovery. I am soooo ready to be all better, to put all of the past in the past, but it simply does not work that way. Even though I understand the changes I need to make in my life, I struggle to make them. Why? Because I am human.

I am trying not to beat myself up about some setbacks in my healing process. Trying. See, I also understand I am human and imperfect, but it is hard to change the self-hating habits too.

Yesterday I started posting about my sexual healing journey. I finally feel like I can discuss these issues. I try to be happy with that, because that is huge, but I want more. I want to be better now! I want to stop thinking about my childhood trauma. I want the slimy tentacles of this past abuse to get out of my brain and leave me alone. I used to think I was so damaged by my monstrous father that I was also a monster. That kind of thinking led to a few suicide attempts about 10 years ago. I used to think it would be better to kill the monster within me, as I had no hope of removing it. Slowly, I started to see those tentacles were no longer living, but were deeply embedded like shrapnel. I had to get them out, but the digging was so painful, and required small recoveries from the process itself. Finally – I found the bottom and feel like I have the understanding to truly heal. (God I hope I found the bottom, but part of me thinks I probably haven’t and will have to dig and battle a bit my entire life)

Another mind-whirling section of The Sexual Healing Journey, by Wendy Maltz, showed how to identify and remove triggers from past abuse from our daily lives, and then from our sex lives. It had a series of questions meant to be helpful. And I suppose for someone who had experienced 1 attack, or 1 instance of sexual trauma, that this could be helpful. The idea is to (at least for now) never repeat something the abuser did. This makes sense in the case of rape or other brutal attacks. But nothing my Dad did to me all those years were physically painful, and were things that could be part of a healthy sexual relationship. Excluding every way he touched me would mean no sex life at all. OK. So gulp, breathe, keep reading.

Next section asked details about the abuse, like time of day, time of year, what I was wearing, what the abuser was wearing, etc. This part is meant to avoid triggers, and again, I could see how this would be helpful to a rape victim. The idea is if you were raped in the early morning while jogging through autumn leaves, that you may have more triggers in the autumn, in the morning, and while jogging or seeing people in jogging clothes. Makes sense. But see? I had some form of abuse every day, every time of day or night, every time of year, from age 3-16. Pretty much if Dad was in the room with me, I could expect to me groped, fondled, grabbed, or touched by some part of him. He could do these things in plain daylight because many of them would look innocent – I think. (I have to think this way or I can’t bear to think of my family members not protecting me) These are some of the memories I had to sort through while reading this book. Each example happened many, many times in some form throughout my childhood, not isolated events.

Example, if I would stand at the kitchen sink getting a glass of water, he would come up behind me, put his hands around me to fondle my chest and kiss my neck and ear and whisper horrid things (I still feel his breath on me, can still hear those words) if no one was looking, or if they were, he would wrap his arms around me and grind his pelvis into my rear. I assume it looked like a bear hug. I don’t know. All I know is a little girl should not know what her father’s erect penis feels like rubbing on her bottom. He’d bend his knees and slowly stand up so I could feel him the whole way along my bottom until his erection was in the small of my back. Then he’d walk off as silently as he approached. It would be over quickly, just a minute. But the nausea, confusion, and shame would last forever, until his next touch. That would be just one time during the day, a normal occurrence, a normal part of my life. I have memories of this particular action from ages 8-16, when I was tall enough I guess. When I was younger he did that same move only while I was lying down. When I was younger I thought it was his knee rubbing on me sometimes. (see how matter of fact I have to be – this was my life) So I don’t like being held from behind and can avoid this trigger.

Example, when I was little, maybe around first grade? I would often sit on his lap, as little girls do. Sometimes he’d get me to straddle just one of his legs and would bounce and push his thigh into my crotch, asking how I liked that. Or if we were at a table, he’d have one hand in my crotch or up my shirt, out of sight under the table, while we sat and played games with the brothers at that same table. He’d usually just grab and hold still, and I’d hold my breath, because I knew it would be my fault if he got caught. And I remember him getting caught and laughing it off, saying “Oops how’d that get there” and no one said anything else. Later he’d tell me we had to be more careful, that no one could know I was his special girl and I’d be in trouble, because it was very bad. I remember being so confused. I had no idea what he was talking about. I didn’t know why he wanted to touch me or keep it hidden. I didn’t know. But I wanted to be a good girl and he was scary when he was angry, and so I helped him keep his secret.

Example, I used to have asthma attacks in the middle of the night. Or nightmares. Or I wet the bed. Or I would see scary things in my room. (I know now it was actually him hovering over my bed) Many things would frighten me. I have so many fuzzy memories of waking at night and then being comforted by Dad, but it took me years to realize he was the thing that had actually woken me in the first place. I used to think he had come to my rescue when I called out, but see, he was already in my room, that’s how he got there so quickly. On other nights, I would awaken and seek him out in his room. Mom would always say “Go back to bed” and offer no comfort. But Dad would open his arms and say “It’s ok, you can sleep on my side”. It felt so warm and safe in his arms, I’d fall right back asleep. I’d wake up with his hands inside my top, and his penis inside my underpants. And then I’d freeze and I know now that my mind left my body. I knew I had to be quiet. Good girls were quiet.

I used to feel guilt and shame about choosing to sit on his lap, or going to his bed. But see? I was not the wrong one. I was doing what little girls do. He was doing what monstrous, psychopathic pedophiles do. He used my love against me.

So I am left with the damage.

I startle easily, actually scream if someone touches me unexpectedly, or a loud noise, or even a quiet noise can startle me to the point of nausea if unexpected. Some days this response is extreme, and a simple “Mom?” from my child can have me scream and jump onto the ceiling fan. I forget where I am , what I am doing, and it takes several minutes to regain composure. It takes several hours for the heart pumping, choking and adrenaline to wear off.

Some days I don’t want anyone to touch me at all. Including kids and Hubby. No hugs, kisses or snuggles. Not even a shoulder tap. On those days I can’t stand to go to shopping, for fear a stranger will get too close and send me into a panic. I hope my kids still feel loved on these days. I do my best to connect in other ways, without touching, but some days I just can’t do that either. I know Hubby struggles on these days, as I pull away from his return-from-work kiss. He’s supposed to understand and not take it personally, but I know that must be nearly impossible. I would be hurt if he did the same to me.

The part that really stinks, is the no-touch episodes come on with no warning. I can be going along fine, enjoying – no cherishing – snuggly moments and then BAM! Terror! I can’t breathe! Stop touching me! I try to contain this terror and not frighten the kids, and get myself out of the room, usually to work on the computer or do dishes or some other natural sounding excuse. Sometimes Hubby doesn’t know that is why I left the room and comes over to rub my shoulders or sneak a kiss or playfully swat my bottom. I still freeze sometimes. I can’t always tell him to stop. I just gulp and pull away and make him ask what is wrong.

 

I Solemnly Swear Never to Endanger Humanity by Parallel Parking

I intended this post to be Part 2 of the Ghosts of Therapists Past. But as I continued that story, it really just became about my Senior Year of high school doubling as a freshman year in college, the year in between therapists. And then it really became the struggles of how I learned to drive with a handicap in my Juior year.  So I changed the title a few times – These words are the ones that wanted to come out today. Sometimes we have to write the story that wants to be told.

My Senior year of High School was therapy free. I thought I was fine, and had put all my troubles behind me. I focused my attention on being perfect and getting into college. I left High School and attended a community college full time through a state funded program. I got permission to overload my courses and take an extra class each semester to cram more in, free college credits I was thinking. I had decided I was going to be an engineer, something fabulous and impressive in the medical field, so I added volunteering at our local hospital to my schedule. (How I hated that! I started in pediatrics and it broke my heart to see sick kids. I tried cardiology, and it broke my spirit to see naked old men – they have no modesty left)

I didn’t want to ask my parents for money, so I had two jobs – one at the library and one making pizzas. (I started working at age 15 with a fake birth certificate my Dad made for me so I could stop costing him so much money and actually be useful) Well 3 jobs if you count the odd babysitting jobs here and there too. I gave myself $2 a day for food. I had more, but I wanted to save my money for college, and to limit my calories. I didn’t know it, but I was basically anorexic then. I would pack one piece of fruit in my backpack for breakfast, and then buy a taco from Taco Bell, or a baked potato from Wendy’s for lunch. I only drank water.  In between meals, my main fuel was actually Tums. (I had my first stomach ulcer that year, and self-treated it with a few Tums each hour before giving in and seeing a doctor the summer before college.) Mom usually had something at home for dinner to make for myself or reheat. I left each morning about 5am, and returned home each evening about 11pm. This schedule allowed me to do all my homework on campus, go to work, and volunteer, and also allowed me to avoid seeing or speaking to my Mom – pretty much ever. Sometimes she would be sitting in a chair waiting for me to come home, and say something like “wow, you’re out late tonight” And I would say “Yup” and go get ready for bed.

But I need to back up and describe how I got myself this freedom. To have my own schedule I needed my own car.

While I still lived with my Dad, I saved up and bought an old car from my Dad’s mother and paid my own gas and insurance, and nearly daily repairs for that lemon. Ironically it was actually yellow, though theshade was more banana milkshake than lemon colored. That car leaked from every orifice and I had a jug of water for the radiator, quarts of oil, tranny fluid, and power steering fluid that I topped off every time I started it – but that’s how I met my handy Hubby (and a few other guys that wanted to rescue a pretty girl and impress me with their car knowledge, but don’t tell Hubby that), so no hard feelings. OK, that’s not true. Lots of hard feelings. How did my parents think it was OK to let their girl drive something so unreliable? One night, after an evening class, I headed home from campus about 10pm and my car died in the middle of the parkway. I coasted it in to a parking spot and walked home, alone, in the snow. Made it home about midnight or so, and Mom just said “You’re home late” and I just said “Yup”. I got up extra early the next day to walk to my car – I brought extra water and oil. The battery had died, and I managed to flag someone for a jumpstart. I was terrified to be late for class, but made it just in time. All the walking, especially in the cold, caused my leg great pain to be dragged that far past the fatigue point. I didn’t worry about the pain though, pain was a constant in my life. I worried that the twitches from irritating the nerve would cause me attention. I did my best to hide my flaw. I never asked for help or complained, just handled whatever life threw at me.

I also have some hard feelings about acquiring that car. I never thought much of it at the time, but with my new eyes, I see how terribly I was treated. So I need to back up again and explain. Nothing like telling a story in reverse. (Bear with me – I have no idea where these memories are coming from today – best to just let them out)

My spinal injury in 7th grade had left my right leg weak and withered and slow. I could walk, but with a slow pace, and with extreme effort and concentration I could step on my left leg firmly to painfully drag my right along. I could not drive a regular car with my right foot. They put a restriction on my learner’s permit, that I could only drive with a left-foot pedal. My dad did not believe this was true, and made me try, for hours on hours, when I still lived with him at age 15 to make my noodly leg push the pedals. Back then I had no spatial awareness of my leg, the disconnected nerves made my brain think my leg was missing when I was not looking at it. So to watch the road, and not my foot, was just impossible and it slid right off and would get wedged under the pedals, requiring my hands to pull it back out. He put a full glass of water on the dash of his car, and said I could drive his car if I didn’t spill any water. A drop always spilled as soon I touched the gear shifter to reverse, and he would laugh, saying he didn’t know why “we even let women learn to drive at all”. Then he would get cold and furious and told me I wasn’t trying hard enough and I just wanted to be difficult and special. He seemed to think that I dragged my leg around for all the great attention. Yes, Dad, I loved being called a freak and laughed at by cruel adolescents.

English: Dual controls for student driver cars...

My driving instructor had to be brave and ride in my handi-cap adjusted car – no dual controls for him (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My dad was pissed, and was not going to be driving his gimp around forever, so he made some calls for me and found a place that sold handicap equipment for cars. I remember how irritated my Dad was that he had to deal with this. He told me that pedal would cost $600 and that he’d have to drive to the next state to get it. Not sure how much of that was true now, since I still use a left pedal and get it quite easily. It turns out I am not the only annoying gimp in the world that wants to drive. (dark humor there, sorry, to avoid getting angry) So I saved my money, the $600 plus gas money for him to drive so far for it. I even took him out to dinner that week to repay him for his kindness in wasting a day for me. I realize now he probably was just avoiding shipping costs and purposefully adding to my guilt. But it sure worked then. So then I had this pedal, one step closer to every teenage dream of freedom and driving. But Dad would not have that thing installed in his car, no way would he have a reminder of my weakness in his own car, and no way would he allow them to drill holes in his floor to do it.  A few more months of saving and I had a car. I called the driving school that all my friends were going to, and was denied. They did not have instructors certified to work with handicapped students. Sigh. Lots more calls and I found one that would take me, for twice as much money as the others, since I was obviously a liability.

And then came the driving exam. I passed the course, but only had driving time with my pedal with my instructor. My Dad would not drive in my car with me to practice, as he did not accept that I needed that “handi-crap” pedal (he had so many terms of endearment for my impairment) and would only help me if I was willing to do it the right way. He put a full glass of water on the dash of his car, and said I could drive his car if I didn’t spill any water. A drop always spilled as soon I touched the gear shifter to reverse, and he would laugh, saying he didn’t know why “we even let women learn to drive at all”.  I think I did that twice before giving up on him. So I took the exam with just a few hours experience with my pedal. The left-foot pedal is mounted on the left of the brake pedal with a bar that extends across the floor and attaches to the actual accelerator. I needed a specially certified exam proctor as well, and had to wait for one to be available. My test went fairly well, though I did bump each cone during the maneuverability portion, having never attempted this before. The proctor passed me anyway, but made me promise I would ever attempt to parallel park. I promised – and actually have held that promise to this day. I will walk several blocks just to avoid a parallel parking situation. Humanity is safe from that one threat at least.

The Ghosts of Therapists Past, part 1

I have been seeing a therapist for 20 years now. From age 16-36, wow. (I mean some form of mental health professional, not the physical therapists for my back and leg injuries – that story is coming soon) I have learned how to get the most out of therapy by preparing for it first, being honest and targeted within it, and then being gentle with myself afterwards. That’s not how it started though.My attitude towards therapy has changed over the years and so has my actual therapist. Many times. Meet my first 2 here.

When I was 16, and finally able to ask my Mom for help, to get me out of my abusive Father’s home, she made him pay for a therapist for me. This was ugly for many reasons. I was not ready to deal and heal. I was moved from a psychopathic pedophilic Father’s home to a passive-aggressive narcissistic Mother’s home. My life was not instantly better, and honestly not much improved. It was actually more difficult, because now my Father was angry and unpredictable to me.  I was much more afraid of him than when I lived with him and basically knew what to expect. And my Mom was a complete stranger. We had barely spoken our entire lives, and barely saw each other since they divorced 4 years prior. So I had to put my trust into all these adults that I did not actually trust.

Mom drove me to this first therapist without telling me what we were doing. She seemed to have forgotten that by age 16 I could actually read quite well, and knew what building we were entering. I could tell she was nervous, but determined to be strong, to do the right thing. I asked her if I had to go in, and she said Yes, that I needed help. I didn’t understand at the time just how much help I needed, or how anyone on this planet could help me. Mom went in by herself first, for just a few minutes, then we swapped. I wonder what she told them. How to sum up my  life and needs so quickly.

My first impression of my first therapist was that she was just like my Mom, only older and a professional. Old, graying hair swooped out asymmetrically, patronizing smile, strong perfume. She asked me to sit and pointed to a chair, and then just stared at me. I gave her a polite smile, then looked at her book shelf. “Oh Crap” I thought as I read those origins of psycho theory titles. Then this stranger, this very smelly stranger, (I still hate strong smells, highly sensitive, I just wanted to open that door for fresh air) said, “How are you dear?”

I looked her right in the eye, and gave her my best and often practiced “you are an idiot too” look that I gave most adults in my life. Then I answered her first in my head. “How do you F-ing think I am? I’ve been molested for 16 years, my mom never cared until I made her, my Dad is now pissed, I told my boyfriend too and now that’s all weird, and I’m afraid all the people at school will know, and now I have to live with my Mom and everything is different, and all I want to do is leave this crazy life and go to college and start my real life, not this pretend hell I have lived so long” And then I said out loud, boldly, “I’m fine.” And looked away, showing her I did not need her.

Somehow an hour passed with her asking stupid questions, like

“How is school”

“Fine”

“How are your grades?”

“Good”

“What do you do after school?”

“Work”

“Do you have any good friends?”

“Yes”

The Hare-Brained Hypnotist

The Hare-Brained Hypnotist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw her a few times a week to play 20 questions each hour. Finally one day they took me to a different room down the hall, and introduced me to a different therapist. I saw “hypnotherapist” among her titles on the door. I was immediately thinking of Bugs Bunny holding a swirling disc and saying “Look into my eyes, you are getting sleepy . . .” I also thought, “well, this could be fun” and this room did not smell like old lady perfume. It smelled spicy, but gently, like cinnamon toast. And she had a rainbow of throw pillows piled on a chair in the corner. And her books were less Freud and texbook, and more Oprah and Buddha and color therapy. I finally looked at the woman leaning over her desk, she was much younger, less smelly, had nice brown hair and caring eyes. She did not ask me anything. She gave me one of those bright colored pillows to hug on my lap, put on some oriental type music, and just watched me. Then she told me about herself. I learned that she was married, but did not have kids yet. She had some cats and dogs, don’t recall the details. She never asked me anything, and so I never spoke that entire hour, other than hello and goodbye and a few nods of understanding. I left feeling very proud of myself for costing my Dad whatever she charged and never saying a word.

The next few visits with her, she had me do various relaxation exercises. We never spoke of my Dad. She taught me how to flex and relax my muscles and breathe deeply. She taught me how to visualize happy scenes. She wanted me to feel good, and I liked her, so I told her it was helping. All these fools thought they could “cure” me in a few hours. Kids are so resilient, and I must be ok I had good grades in school, right? I even let her think she was actually hypnotizing me a few times. She was trying so hard, I just couldn’t let her think she had failed like the first therapist. And I didn’t want to fail either, I wanted a good grade in therapy. I just didn’t know the goal, they gave me no rubric or syllabus, so I didn’t know what to do  in there. And I hated it. I just wanted to be left alone.

One day I went in and she asked me to choose a pillow and place it on the floor. I raised my eyebrows, but did it. Then she asked me to lay down with my head on the pillow. And close my eyes. I did not like that, but I did it. I felt so stupid and exposed lying there. Then she took me through the relaxation narrative we had been doing in the chair. It actually felt really good. And then she started some counting nonsense, and said when she got to 3 I’d be even more relaxed. And kept doing that, over and over until she said I was now at the deepest state of relaxation possible. She asked what color my thoughts were. ?? I stifled a giggle, so she wouldn’t know I was NOT completely relaxed and hypno-anythinged. Instead I very calmly said “Green”. Then she asked me to flex different muscles, and would ask me the color of my thoughts in various states of flex/tension. I said colors to her, and she said “ahh” each time, like it made perfect sense. I thought she was completely looney tunes, and that I could probably help her more than she helped me at that point. She eventually brought me out by reversing the counting, relaxing commands. I played along. She was just so nice and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

I don’t remember how I stopped therapy, if they pronounced me better, or I begged enough to stop, as it was interfering with my busy schedule, or perhaps my Dad and insurance stopped paying. I just know I stopped going after a few months. That was my junior year of High School. I found out I had enough credits to get out of high school early. I was determined to get out of my Mom’s home, get out of this city, and leave them all behind. I went to a Community College my Senior year of high school and thought everything would be OK if I just worked really hard and didn’t have to look any of my peers in the eye any more. I wanted a fresh start, where I was normal, and no one knew I was broken.

I did start using some of those relaxation techniques each night to fall asleep, but didn’t really get good at it until many years later. I was basically trained by my situation to never sleep deeply, always waiting for my Dad to enter my room at night. Afraid to sleep and wonder what he was doing before I woke up. Hated that sense of confusion and powerlessness. He typically left shortly after I was awake and pushed him away. He did it that way to make it seem like I was in control of ending it. Like he only did what I wanted and stopped when I wanted. Sick bastard. I understand this now – I didn’t then. It worked on me. It worked. I would try to barricade my door without being obvious by leaving toys or books in front of it, because he would get angry if he knew I was doing it on purpose. I would try to stay up all night and sleep at school or friends houses. I still have sleep issues and likely always will. But it is a bit better now when I can convince myself I am actually safe.

And I have always used my mind to mentally escape wherever I was. I got through years of abuse, and years of boring classes that way. I have always had my mind elsewhere. Always creating stories and poems in my mind. Always creating wild vacations and meeting amazing people in my mind. Always seeing myself as brave and heroic, exploring new lands, and doing fantastic things in my mind. I daydreamed of living in the rain forest, just me and my best friends, a tiger and a macaw, with a crazy modern lab hidden in a primitive tent to research new species and cure cancer. I dreamed of that until I found out the rain forest is full of spiders. Big hairy spiders. Then I switched my dream to biomedical engineering in an American facility without spiders, and my cats waiting for me at home. I saw myself at award banquets, and people with back injuries like mine thanking me for my research that allowed us all to walk easily again. I also saw my Dad in prison, forever, watching me excel on the news. I actually still struggle to keep my mind in the here and now. That is also getting better too.

And so I am preparing to see my current therapist tonight, what sparked the memories for this post. I am now being completely honest with her, not needing a good grade, and not caring if she feels like she is doing a good job with me. No longer sabotaging my own therapy and healing and growing more this year than ever in my life. I have more moments now looking forward to future moments, rather than dreading how to survive yet another day. Life is mostly good right now. Feels so good to realize that.

 

 

My Kids Must Think I Don’t Remember My Childhood

Luckily, children are, by nature, quite self-centered. They are content to have the world revolve around them, and don’t ask much about me. Except my kids are getting older, and asking more questions now. I am usually taken off guard by their questions, and especially by the timing of them, and if I don’t have a ready reply, I give a vague, “Hmm, I don’t remember”

An example of my reluctance to share my childhood memories passed off as forgetfulness:

I was painting my daughter’s face to look like a kitty for Halloween, complete with whiskers and splotches, she was so cute! And while I was painting, and telling her she looks cute, and exchanging meows, she asks me what I was for Halloween as a kid. Whoah. Ummm. Look away, fight off bad memories, search for one worth sharing, try not to vomit, turn around and rinse the paintbrush in the sink, deep breath, and finally answer, “Oh honey, that was so long ago. I think I was a ghost one time, maybe a nurse, but never a cute kitty like you-meow” See how I get the topic back to her, while shielding her from my internal storm. Maybe one day I’ll let her see some of that storm, but not yet. Neither of us are ready for that.

So what did her innocent little question force me to remember? This story, is to illustrate my innocence, how a child thinks, and his sickness, how I now know how a pedophile thinks.

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I remembered first, in 4th grade, when my dad made a french maid costume for me. Yes, he made it himself. I remember him taking my measurements, cutting the fabric, and hand cutting and hand sewing the skirt, the top, the apron. I remember he gave me a blue garter for one leg, and I was excited to find a blue feather duster that matched it. I had no idea he thought I looked sexy. I remember watching the movie “Clue” and I thought that maid was funny. I knew what maids did, and thought my costume was just a uniform. I wore it proudly to school for our annual party and parade around the school. I did not get to parade that year. I walked into school and was immediately attacked by giggles, snickers, and gasps from the other kids as I removed my coat in the cloakroom.

I remember one boy said I looked like a prostitute. Now, here’s the funny part, and illustrates the innocent child in me – I knew the word prostitute, but associated that with something good, but also thought it was something male. We used to watch “Night Court” as a family, and I learned from that show that girls were hookers, and boys were prostitutes. I had no idea what those people did, other than dress funny and snap gum at the judge, I really thought it was a good thing, people seemed to like them and the audience always laughed on the show. And so, armed with my naivety, I proceeded to correct this boy in school that only boys could be prostitutes, and I was obviously a maid, and shoved my feather duster in his face. I was used to being right, and had no idea just how horribly wrong I was.

A teacher noticed the commotion and saw me shoving the duster in that boys face, and she let out a “What in the world?” and pulled me quickly into the girls’ bathroom. She asked me why I was dressed like that. Again, I was used to being right, so I bravely said, “Umm, it’s Halloween??” (I knew enough to keep the duhh, to myself, but just barely) She said, “Yes, but why are you dressed like that? Give me that (pointing to the garter) and put your coat back on, and come with me.” I was then escorted to the secretary’s desk while the teacher went into the principal’s office. I didn’t mind. This was more fun than whatever morning busy work she had planned. I had no idea what the problem was, but I rarely knew what the grown-ups around me were squawking about.

So I sat there kicking my feet and heard something like, “No answer, just have her keep her coat on. I don’t think she meant any harm.” I assume they tried to call my parents, who were both at work, and had no cell phones of course, and were usually unavailable. The other number would have been my elderly next door neighbor, who I now know was usually drunk and did not answer the phone unless she knew who was calling. So I got to go back to class, and parade in my coat. I figured my skirt was too short for all the rules or something, they never really said anything to me. When my classmates asked why I was wearing a coat, I simply said “I was cold”.  I figured out something was wrong, that I did something wrong, but I didn’t really know what exactly. I was used to being confused. And I was used to that knotted up feeling in my stomach, the burning in my face as I blushed and tried to hide my mistake.

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So some questions come to mind. Why did my Mom allow my Dad to make that costume, and then sent me to school in it? Surely she was not as naive as I was, so she must have been afraid of my Dad. Afraid to say anything or go against his wishes? I don’t know. Why didn’t the school follow up on this? Did they ever speak to my parents? Or did they just forget about it once the day was done? I don’t know. I can only guess. Or how about my brothers? They were already in middle school and high school, why didn’t they tell me? Well, they probably did not actually see me or even know about it. We all had separate lives, Dad made sure of that, on top of different school and schedules. I don’t know.

Other years I was a gypsy, a figure skater, a cheerleader. That’s all I can remember. It worries me the years I don’t remember, were they even worse than the maid and I have blocked them out? I don’t know. All I know is, I was never a cute kitty.

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My Dad also made me go to scary haunted houses with my much older brothers. I remember one time when I about 6 years old, actually holding onto the car door as he pried my fingers off and carried me inside, laughing at my fear. The lights were flashing, I could hear screams and chainsaws. It was terrible. It was an old run down factory or warehouse or something in the middle of darkness, with busted out windows, doors hanging askew, cement floor covered in blood. And then once he got me inside, they all left me. Just went on ahead and enjoyed themselves. I was in some sort of maze, in the dark, but with purple flashing lights and scary bloody characters everywhere in each flash. All these different scenes of people being murdered, mad scientists, body parts with no owners, blood everywhere, loud noises that hurt my skull. I backed in to a corner and cried, maybe screamed, not sure, until one of the scary characters saw me, took off his mask, and told me it was ok, he would take me out of there. He looked like the age of my big brothers, and I remember his sad eyes and messed up hair all looked real, like a real person. I didn’t want to touch him, but he took off his rubber hand and offered his harmless little pinky and I took it, just enough to not lose him. He stayed with me outside until I spotted my Dad, angrily waiting by the car, asking what took me so long, he was about to leave without me. I whispered “I’m sorry Daddy”, and got into the car as he said something about wasting money on me – the admission to that horrible place, and then discussed the horrific scenes with the boys the whole ride home. Like, “did you the see the guy shaking when they cut off his head, woah, yes, that was AWESOME,  . . .  how about the skull that lit up and laughed . . . I saw you jump you pussy . . .Did not . . .”

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See, I have so many of these memories. Every day, every holiday, every occasion. And so, when my sweet little ones ask me about my childhood, I just have nothing to tell them.

Remembering the Good of a Painful Childhood

Tree-House

Tree-House, a place to dream (Photo credit: Ronan_C)

As I pull myself up out this sadness, I want to focus today on positive thoughts. I spend so much time thinking about how the abuse in my past has hurt me, and held me back. Today, with the rain, and hurricane Sandy approaching where my company is based, even though I work remotely and my home is safely tucked away mid-country, states away from the coastline.

So I have tried this exercise before, and it never works for me, but is recommended in many self-help books. I try to think of happy memories, because even though I grew up in a dysfunctional family full of abuse, we had good times too. Really, we did, if you can squint your eyes and overlook the context.

  • Mom had a nice dinner ready everyday at 5pm. Everyday my dad would come home at precisely 5pm and we would have dinner. We were not rich, but dinners were plentiful. I never had to worry about cooking or cleaning when Mom was around. I had other chores, but the kitchen belonged to her.
  • I believed in Santa. There was always something special for me under the tree.
  • I had a treehouse and swings. I spent lots of time out there reading, writing, and imagining all kinds of great stories, and best of all I dreamed out there. dreamed of the places I would travel to, and things I would experience.
  • I had nice clothes. Never expensive name brand cool stuff, but I was always warm. Mom also took care of laundry, and I can’t think of even once that I would open my dresser and not find clothes in it, neatly washed and folded for me.
  • I had a computer, coleco/atari, and CD player. Dad was a computer programmer, and so we were always first to get high tech stuff. I learned to type before I learned to write.

I have to stop here. I have a “but” for each of those, and so I know this exercise is done. Maybe it will work for someone else though.

I am grateful I grew up in a warm, clean home, with enough clothing and food. That is all I wanted to say today. (It’s absolutely not all I want to say, and I’m actually feeling angry right now, this exercise makes me angry. Like wow, thanks for providing the basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing, but we actually needed a lot more than that to feel secure, and loved.) Geez, this didn’t work well at all. But now I have some energy for that treadmill that has been mocking me in the corner.

And wait until I post my memories of Halloween.  The anger is not misplaced, not one bit. And anger can be good, supplies energy to make more changes.

Ranking My Traumatic History? No, I Am Not a Number

The “Angry Heart: Overcoming Borderline and Addictive Disorders” made me angry. In a “how dare they” kind of way.

Many parts of this book have been helpful, could be helpful, for anyone with a traumatic history. It has excellent techniques for stress reduction and taking responsibility for yourself. It also at times trivializes my life by trying to quantify my trauma. Some things don’t need numbers or comparisons.

I started to fill out the PTES (psychotraumatic exposure scale) on page 70. Rather I read the first line, and said “What?? Seriously??” out loud. I did not actually fill it out, but then skimmed the rest. I don’t want to figure out why my scanner is not working or figure out if I’m violating copyright laws anyway, so I’m just going to write a few examples here.

|yes or no|    how many months   |   Score

Level V   – Sexual and physical abuse (from parent, peer, sibling, other);  X 1=

– Sexual abuse only (from parent, peer, sibling, other)  do I add parent/sibling separately?;  (16 x12= 192);  X 1=192

Level IV – Physical abuse only;    do pets count? ;        X .8=

– Viewed physical or sexual abuse;        does porn count?;   X .8=

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Level III – Parents emotionally belittled you on a regular basis;  yes; (most of 192) ;     X .6=100

– Parents emotionally manipulated you on a near daily basis;        yes        (18×12=216) ;   X .6=130

– Parents went through a bitter harsh divorce ;       yes        36 ;       X .6= 21

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Level II – Same-sex parent avoided close relationship with you ;  yes;   216;   X .5= 108

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Level I – Very little hugging, kissing, or other types of healthy affection; yes ;  216  ;    X .4=86

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OK, so you are supposed to only count abuse under age 18, because according to this book we were responsible for the abuse in our early adulthood since we were in fact adults and could have chosen different situations by then. So I stopped my numbers at age 18, but the emotional abuse continued until I attempted suicide at age 25. Anyways, then you are supposed to add up your “scores” (isn’t that the most terrible word ever? Does this make you angry too?) and divide by 12 to get the years. If your ahem, score, is higher than your actual age, basically you are screwed. OK, the book didn’t say screwed, it says “If your total PTES score exceeds your actual age, you are probably experiencing some of the more severe borderline symptoms . . . urges to hurt yourself or serious addictions, trouble completing school or keeping a job.

So, if you’re good at math like me, you can see my score is way over my age, and I did not include every item here. The book also tries to prepare you for the terrible scale, by saying “If you find you cannot manage your feelings (for example you feel very angry as you recall unpleasant memories) take a time-out and relax with some music or a soda. I didn’t even read the scale, but was angry at that sentence telling me to chill with a soda if I can’t manage myself.

I can’t stand books that presume they know how I feel, and then trivialize those feelings with a scale and asinine suggestions. Oh, a soda, if I had only ever thought to just have a soda, I wouldn’t have any troubles. Thank you for the soda cure to managing my feelings.

So, if you remove large, insensitive portions of this book, some sections actually do make sense and provide some useful strategies to balancing energy, reducing stress, and putting things in to perspective. I really liked the self-diagnostic on page 200, to check why you had a mood swing.

And the PAS (positive affirmation slogans) are a great tool when stuck in a negative spiral. Here’s a few examples:

I can trust without fear

Feeling loved fills me with joy

I am safe. I am secure. I am good.

All my resentments are fading away.

I am calm and relaxed.

I will let fear pass over me and through me.

Stress is only temporary; I will prevail.

I will not hurt myself.

I will care for myself.

I do not obey my impulses.

I will keep my body and mind healthy.

Other inventories can be used to gather a person’s history, but I have never seen one rate my life events quite like this PTES. Here is a link to a  survey http://www.info-trauma.org/flash/media-e/diagnosisToolkit.pdf. That one was uncomfortable, but did not make me angry, no ratings, no scales.

Discarding the Mask

(Graphic stories of handling pain ahead)

Mask statue2

As I step out more in the world, and dip my toe in unknown waters, I have realized I wear a mask. I need to work on discarding this mask.

I recall my Dad always telling me tears never helped anyone and to “knock it off” or “stop making a fuss”. These lessons started quite young with skinned knees, or even sucker punches from my big and not so gentle brothers. These lessons progressed to where I could endure amazing amounts of pain without making a sound, and barely a grimace. I learned to keep my face calm and still to hide the pain.

Climbing

I still shudder when I see those points on top (Photo credit: dailydoseofjoshy)

One day in middle school, I had the not so brilliant idea of riding my bike and walking my tiny mopheaded shitzu dog simultaneously. I wanted to visit my friend and let her little sister meet my doggy. I got about 20 feet down a fenced on both sides bike path when doggy when crazy and tangled his leash in my pedals. I was terrified to hurt him, and afraid to step on him, so I leaned over and grabbed the fence to stop us without putting my feet down. I was successful in stopping the bike and not squishing doggy, but I also succeeded in putting the poky twirly top of a chain link fence completely through my hand. it went through my palm and poked out on the top of my hand in the fleshy area between thumb and first finger. I tried to pull my hand down and realized it was stuck, and that I had to lift it off first before pulling down. I had to climb the fence a little to get enough leverage with my other hand to push the injured one up, while still holding the leash in that hand and balancing the bike on my other foot to keep it off doggy.

I knew I’d be in trouble and called stupid. So I never told anyone. I went home, calmly put away my bike, locked it up, unclipped doggy and hung up his leash, then went to the bathroom to treat my wound. Myself. Dad always used peroxide on us, so I dumped it in, and stared as it bubbled through to the other side. (sorry if that’s too graphic, but that image is burned in my memory) I controlled my breathing, by barely breathing at all. I rinsed it out with running water, and stuffed some gauze into a few bandaids and held it until the bleeding stopped and the throbbing began. Then I cleaned up all the blood drips from walking in the door down the hall to the bathroom. I didn’t want anyone to know I had been so careless and stupid. I was afraid he’d take my bike or dog away as punishment. Or punish the dog for hurting me, he often kicked that little fuzzball.

So by the time my brothers came home for dinner, and my parents were home from work, I was calmly doing homework and my workout in my room. I hid my left hand under the table at dinner. No one noticed, no one asked. I felt so relieved. I had gotten away with it. (yes I thought i got away with doing something wrong, not that I had an accident that may require medical attention) I think now, as a mom, and I can’t believe it did not get infected, or give me tetanus. I know it should have had stitches, as it kept bleeding for several days. I just packed gauze and bandaids in my backpack to change it at school. I even bought more with my own money so no one would be upset that I used it all up. The scar on that hand is so thick and just another reminder of how I grew up.

I was not allowed to express sadness either. I was “stupid” for crying whenever the pets died (which was often, way too often in my house), they were just “stupid beasts”. I saw ET in a movie theater as a small child, and saw adults crying all around us. I felt like crying, but the adults with me did not cry, so I did not either. My dad caught me crying one day after reading a book where the little girl’s best friend died (sorry don’t recall the title) and he laughed at me for “getting caught up in the silly, emptional, frivolous world of fiction” Didn’t I have enough sense to know those stories (those stories that I loved and read daily) are made up make believe trash and a waste of time?

I also learned not to show happiness, because he might find out why I was happy and take it away from me. I pretended not to love my pets, and ignored them when Dad was looking, to protect them.

So today, I still find myself resorting to this completely blank, emotionless mask. No one knows what I think or feel. I have to remember to smile. It is not automatic for me. Like someone passes and smiles, I have to think “Oh I should smile too” and then I do, and then I wonder if I paused too long, did it look awkward. Can they tell I’m not like them?

I’m finding my mask is dropping with my family, my new friends. But it is still in place most of the day, most of the time, and always there for strangers until I decide if they are “Safe” or not. But one day, I hope to discard that awful mask completely and let everyone know I am really a lively, passionate, energetic woman, not this robotic, lifeless drone.

Getting Naked, Proceed Carefully – part 1

(mature and triggering content)

I started this blog to delve into issues in my life caused by childhood sexual abuse and show that I survived. My father molested me and sexualized me from as early as I can remember, so I assume he started before I was 3. My much older brother molested me for about a year, fuzzy memory here, but I think I was in third or fourth grade. This has of course affected every part of who I am, and made a natural exploration into my own sexuality as an adolescent or young adult impossible.

I’m going to start with some early thoughts and make this a series that gets closer to my current thoughts, if I am brave enough to hit publish on the current ones, that is. Somehow writing about my childhood and adolescence no longer seems like me, and I am able to remove all (some) guilt from my choices. My goal here is to document these early memories and thoughts for myself to examine my progress and growth. My secondary goal is to open discussion to others that were hurt in childhood and offer a safe place to see we are not alone. I can finally discuss these topics with some perspective, and I think (hope) it will no longer trigger terrible depression and anxiety. I guess this is kind of a test for me to too in that way.

I started pursuing boys in Kindergarten. I remember wanting them to like me, no NEEDING them to like me, and to think I was pretty all through elementary school. I needed their attention. I stole kisses in the back of the bus or behind a tree on the playground. I was obsessed by boys, and devastated when they did not return my affection. None of them were friends, we did not play together or even talk much. I always had a boy on my mind, and would doodle his name, draw goofy heart pictures with our initials, practice writing my name with his last name, and always tried to prove my love in terribly embarrassing ways.

By third grade, I had already seen so much porn, and been told so many dirty jokes, that my vocabulary was mature and disgusting. I would try to impress others with this knowledge, and get only blank stares back. I assume they told their moms what I said and were told not to talk to me. Or they just chose not to talk to me on their own, but my dirty mouth never got me any where. I learned not to share my inner world, and became known as “quiet” and “shy”, even though I am not, and never was.

By fourth grade I learned that boys like lace and short skirts, and makeup, and nice hair, and perfume. I was still somewhat a tomboy in appearance, talking trash and climbing trees, but would attempt to “wow” everyone on special dress-up days. I remember one day getting ready for spring pictures. I had a brand new lavender frilly dress, new shiny shoes with small heels, and I asked my mom to do my hair. She had me sleep in her hair rollers, the pink spongy kind, and by morning my hair was huge! That is not recommended for natural curly, way too much hair on one head, like I have. She finished me up with a curling iron and hair spray, and my typical bouncy curls that used to reach mid-back, was curled up with so much volume it was above my shoulders. Think of the wife on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” but much, much bigger. My mom also let me use some lipstick. She told me I looked beautiful and sent me to school, and I felt higher than a kite! I stepped into homeroom, and EVERYONE including the teachers, secretary and principal laughed at me and had to go get other teachers to see me. I can kind of laugh now, but that was devastating. I recall one kid saying I looked like I fell off a boat. Sigh. I ran to the girls’ room and vomited, and then asked to go home. The rest of the year, I did anything to NOT get attention at school. I stopped talking, never dressed up, and got really good at being invisible.

By Fifth grade, they taught us “Life Skills” and I learned many facts about what I had seen in porn and from what my dad and brother were doing to me by that age. I became obsessed with puberty, as in I thought I was ready for it. I thought if I focused hard enough, I could will my body to sprout breasts and start menstruation. I wanted my body to look and feel like my internal thoughts. I wanted boys to love me. I wanted boys to stare at me like Angela, the girl with Double D cups already (ok, probably not, but since most of us had no cup size at all, sure seemed that way in my memory here). I hated her for the attention she got. I thought maybe if I looked grown up, those grown up activities would make sense. I still did not know at that point that it was not normal for dads and brothers to molest little girls. I assumed this happened in every family, and funny (not funny at all really) how life works, but that fact was proven to me in my choice of friends. I connected with another quiet little girl that moved in down my street. I went over there to play on her monkey bars and play that board game with the dice in the pop-up bubble. Very normal kid things. It never crossed my mind to tell anyone that while we played in her room or yard, her grandfather was raping her older sister. We just knew to leave to before he done, lest he come after us. One day he took off his belt and started beating my friend for allowing me to come over, and then he took a step towards me with the belt raised over his head. I ran home, never looked back, and never spoke to her again. I was afraid to get her in trouble. I thought it was my fault she got hurt, and thought she’d be fine if I left her alone.

PTSD or Just a Bad Memory, Who Cares What You Call It

A woman thinking

A woman thinking (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something on my mind today that I can pull out of the million of other things always on my mind: memories.

I have been trying to explain to hubby what it is like to be me, an adult survivor of child abuse. He is finally ready to do this, to know the pain I handle on a daily basis. He is asking so many questions, and seeing me clearly – because I have let him in. I don’t completely trust him, that he’ll never hurt me, but I do trust our marriage now, and that even if we do hurt each other, we’ll still love each other and help each other through it. That’s a lot of “each others”, now, isn’t it? And isn’t it wonderful? (Let’s pause and bask in that happy thought for a moment, mmmm)

Hubby is noticing that sometimes I go somewhere very far away, even though I am sitting right next to him. He started asking where I went. Well . . . Are you sure you want to know? I ask him. He says “Yes” quite often now.

The other night, my little boys asked if they could have a “sleepover” by inviting my daughter into their room. Hubby’s reaction was, aww, how cute, and sure why not? Because he remembered staying up late and giggling with his siblings, and playing cards, and telling stories, and making flashlight faces. But my reaction, was icy silence. Instantly, and with no choice, my brain is taken back to when I was their age, and what a sleepover in my brother’s room meant for me. When my own brother invited me into his room, and into his bed, and asked me to take off my underwear while I lie on top of him, and  . . . well I remembered the rest, but I have no need to type it out here.

Is this PTSD? No, I don’t think it is. Does it really suck? Yes, yes it does. You see, everyone has “triggers” for memories. It’s just that abuse survivors have so many bad memories to trigger. My husband relived a bit of his childhood too right there, but it was a sweet, light-hearted memory for him, not at all traumatic. Whereas mine makes me feel nauseous and worried about my kids.

Now, I do think I had PTSD, past tense – HAD. In that I had flashbacks, and they did not need a natural trigger, I could be washing dishes and suddenly reliving horrific scenes from my past. And they weren’t just memories, every bit of my body relived it, and I was exhausted when the flashback was done, and usually shaking and sobbing. That was me about 5-6 years ago, and what prompted me to return to therapy, as those outbursts were scaring my little girl, and making me detach from her and hubby.

But now, the memories are still there, still come to mind, but I don’t physically relive them. I don’t have any way to remove my past, and though those memories are fading with time, less vibrant, less real, they are still there in my roots. And though healed, the scars are still quite raw. I hope one day, to think back on childhood with even more distance and perspective, and it won’t hurt so much. Still hurt – just not so much is all I hope.

But today I am hurting, so much, as my head is full of memories triggered from a few things I read to try to support my husband on his journey of being married to me. His counselor recommended a book, and I went to download it for him and check something off my “be productive damnit” list for today. I did not immediately recall the book from the title, but as I read the excerpts and reviews, I then recalled this was the first book my therapist gave me nearly 15 years ago. It was “the Courage to Heal”  by Bass and Davis, and I remember just shaking and sweating and crying as I tried to heal myself and work through the exercises in that terrible, awful workbook. This is not a book I recommend to any survivor.

So then I started thinking, what books do I recommend? ? ? I came up blank. So I started looking at what is now available, to see if anything is worth recommending to hubby, or to other survivors. I read too many true life stories today. And now my heart is hurting, and I have to suck it up and get my work done, and get out of my hurt head and put on a work head. I have found no tricks to this, only time brings me back to focus. But I have deadlines today. I knew I had deadlines today. And yet I could not stop reading the painful accounts of other little girls. Why? Why today? And what do I do with myself now? Ugh. So I am hurting, and annoyed too.

So hubby calls and says “How was your day? Do you need anything?” WTF do I say to that? In the past, I would have said I was fine. Today I said, I had a rough day, and could really use some help with dinner so I can get back on track on work. He says, oh my poor sweetie, and that he’ll bring dinner home, not to worry about it. God I love him. And I love me too. So I know this will all be fine, and tomorrow I’ll be even stronger and know more about me, life, and love.

But knowing tomorrow will be better does not make today hurt any less.