Tag Archive | roots

Triumph – Poem 3/30

Rooted in torment, shame, and guilt

innocence lost, my prison was built

 

swallow the pain

chin up and smile

never the same

never a child

 

the root is diseased

No way to break free

that voice in my head

was torturing me

 

you are nothing

I feared that was true

you can’t do it, don’t bother

I’m sorry, you’re right, Father

they’re better off without you

I heard that before

they won’t even miss you

Just breathing’s a chore

 

the root is so strong

tired of the fight

I just wanted to sleep

for the rest of my life

Full of despair

I called on Death

hoping peace might be found

in my final breath

 

I’ll never know why

Death did not take me

Why’d I get the chance

to go on, to be?

 

years of silence

leting go of the lies

so many secrets

shedding the disguise

 

the root has grown weaker

it barely remains

new growth has formed

from love and not pain

 

you are disgusting

stop telling me lies

no one will love you

my spirit will rise

You can’t make a difference

I do and I’ll try

You can’t tell our story

I can. It’s your turn to hide.

 

the root is not silent

still alive in some way

but I choose not to listen

Not me. Not now. Not today

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(c) 2013 Roots To Blossom

Roots To Blossom Haiku – Poem 2/30

Iris Purple Top View 1788px

Iris  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thaw, rain, nourished roots,

Alive! Pruning and growing,

joyfully they’re blossoming.

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(c) 2013 Roots To Blossom (haiku)

Don’t Lament Time Lost Healing – Recovering From Sexual Abuse

http://positiveoutlooksblog.com/2012/11/03/right-time-quotes/ Click to visit the original post I used to struggle with this one. I guess I still do a bit – the idea that I am only now growing up and taking charge of my life, that I missed out on a ‘normal’ childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. That type of thinking gets us no where fast. Better to think that all those earlier years were not lost, not wasted, but shaped us into who we are now. Of course that thought was not comforting at all when I did not like myself, or even accept myself. Actually added to my ‘life is pointless’ train of thought.  I guess every abuse survivor gets stuck on the “Why me?” every now and then. I don’t have an answer for that, and I suppose I never will. But I have mostly accepted that and am now able to define myself in other ways. Yes, I am an abuse survivor. Yes that shaped who I am. But it didn’t shape all of me. I have been me all along. And the parts that have been shaped, are still capable of being shaped. People are much more like clay than stone. Life makes impressions on us, may even flatten us at times, but it is never too late to get back on the potter’s wheel and take another spin. Every day we have another chance to shape ourselves – and the possibilities really are endless!

I have recently discovered so many parts of me, my attitudes, my inner thoughts, my beliefs, my actions, and my perceptions were all shaped by my childhood. I have discussed before the need to sever the taproot of my monstrous father that was still feeding me foul, putrid lies. Many of my beliefs came crashing down on me this past November when I questioned again, if I could ever be happy in my marriage. We had come so far into the world of intimacy – I felt closer to my husband than ever, closer to him than to anyone, closer than I ever thought possible. But then I panicked. I felt trapped into ignoring my past, pretending I was not in daily pain and triggered with horrifying memories when he touched me. I realized that disassociating my present mind into some other safe place had become such a habit that I didn’t even know I was doing it. And then I didn’t know if I could stop. I wanted to turn back time and un-realize this. I didn’t think I was capable of healing my sexuality. I thought the task was too large. I thought that my Dad had done too much damage to my spirit to ever allow someone to connect to me spiritually. I was wrong. I started reading The Sexual Healing Journey, by Wendy Maltz, a few months ago. I finally finished it last week. This was NOT an easy task, to read this book, to face my troubles, and wonder if there was any hope. I highly recommend this book to any adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse – but only when you are ready, and only if you have support. I had my therapist and my husband, all 3 of us working together to understand, and then to heal.

The book starts out fairly early with a chart that literally blew my mind. I had no idea I had so many unhealthy thoughts, attitudes, habits, behaviors, and feelings about sex. I have included the chart below. I’m not listing out which ones I had specifically, but let’s say only about 3 of these fell onto the healthy side. I was literally shaking and in tears after just reading this chart and realizing all the work I had to do to heal myself, and have a healthy relationship with my husband. It was honestly all too much, combined with Thanksgiving stresses (I have not shared that story yet – just too much to tell) and I felt like I had to start on my own, without Hubby any where near me while I sorted things out. And that was another huge reason for our healing separation back in November, when he stayed at his parents’ house for a while. We weren’t bickering about taking out the trash or disagreeing about raising kids – we were trying to recover from my childhood trauma. Something worth mentioning here – Hubby did not have many unhealthy views of sex at all. And he had no idea, that all these years, these were my inner thoughts. It was devastating to us both. To think that I had 18 years of marriage with so many unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. At first I was so saddened by this that I could not function. I was angry at life for damaging me. But then, slowly, I started to read more of this book, talk more to my therapist and Hubby, and started thinking, “What if I can get better? I could have a whole healthy life ahead of me to look forward to, to share with a man who loves me! What if this book is right? What if I really can actually heal, and not just tolerate being hurt and unhealthy?” And so I jumped in to this messy business of healing. I threw out every idea I had, and was ready to start over. I’ll try to fill in some of the details of the past few months in a few more posts here, but as you can imagine, this is not easy to write about, and even harder to hit that publish button. But I know I am not alone in my struggles, and if my words can help even one other person, be it someone who was abused, or someone who loves someone who was abused, well, then, I can hit publish.

Sexual Abuse and Addiction

Healthy Sex

Sex is uncontrollable energy Sex is controllable energy
Sex is an obligation Sex is a choice
Sex is addictive Sex is a natural drive
Sex is hurtful Sex is nurturing, healing
Sex is a condition for love or devoid of love Sex is an expression of love
Sex is “doing to” someone Sex is sharing with someone;
sex is part of who I am
Sex is void of communication Sex requires communication
Sex is secretive Sex is private
Sex is exploitative Sex is respectful
Sex is deceitful Sex is honest
Sex benefits one person Sex is mutual
Sex is emotionally distant Sex is intimate
Sex is irresponsible Sex is responsible
Sex is unsafe Sex is safe
Sex has no limits Sex has boundaries
Sex is power over someone Sex is empowering
Sex requires a double life Sex enhances who you really are
Sex compromises your values Sex reflects your values
Sex feels shameful Sex enhances self esteem

Chart From the Sexual Healing Journey, by Wendy Maltz

 

 

 

More resources from Wendy Maltz at http://www.healthysex.com/

The World is Scary Without Walls

Experiencing life and ME without my protective walls is scary. No, it is terrifying, and painful, and I want to retreat and go back to my safe fantasy world.

Being aware and mindful and experiencing every emotion as it comes, rather than carefully controlling them has not been a fun ride the past few weeks.

The shell of who I presented to the world is not just cracked – it is shattered. Getting real for the first time – ever – really sucks, to put it in simple terms.

I’ve lost my written voice for the moment, as I am in survival mode, and feel out of control. My emotions that I used to keep at a pleasant level for all, are too intense and have me cycling between tears, terror, and fury each day. Some of the emotions are coming from no where, no trigger, no event, just spewing up out of me because I am allowing them. But I am not allowing them, I have no choice. I am me, and those are my feelings – blah. I hate this. I don’t feel safe as me. I don’t even like me.

I have realized that it was easier to accept I may be a bad person, and may have deserved the childhood abuse. The problem was me. That was easier to accept than the reality that I was unloved and abused, and that I was a beautiful innocent child, deserving of love and protection and guidance.

I created a fantasy world where bad things did not happen. I was the perfect student, because no one looks too closely at the perfect student. I had to hide my reality from the world so I could hide it from me. I see the patterns  now in every action I ever took. Every choice I ever made, in school, in college, in boyfriends, in marriage, in becoming a mother – every choice was to fulfill the fantasy that I am OK and that bad things did not happen to me.

Well, bad things did happen to me. And I am not OK. But I will be, one day I will be OK, I just have to get through the terror of seeing my reality, accepting it wholly, so that I can accept myself wholly. I don’t know how long this will take, I have taken any deadlines off the table. I have no expectations any more. I have never been where I currently am. I am relinquishing the control, letting fantasy me slip away, and letting the hurt, terrified girl within me see the world as it is. I am allowing a few people that seem safe to help me on this journey. I don’t trust them, but I am taking a leap of faith and holding their hands anyway. I can’t do this alone, no one can. That is the biggest lesson I have learned in life.

I am unstable and unpredictable right now. I can lash out in anger one moment, and then feel afraid or tearful in the next. The force of the bottled up emotions seemed overwhelming at first, but it is already smoothing out – a bit. The return of panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks was a shock. I feel like I have been trampled. But I think I need to let these things happen, and not force them into submission by sheer will, which is what I have done for so many years. I need to feel them, feel the terror, feel the outrage, and let it pass through me once and for all.

I thought I could control it. I thought I was OK if I had no outward PTSD symptoms. I had no idea it was all just waiting for me beneath the shell of perfection I so carefully crafted all these years.

So now I am real. Hello. My name is Roots To Blossom, (one day I’ll attach my real name to that statement) and I am an abuse survivor. My childhood was terrible, traumatic, painful, horrifying. But nobody knew. I never let anyone know, so that I also would not have to know. No one deserved what I went through. Not even I was bad enough to deserve the daily emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse delivered to me by my own dad. He was supposed to protect me. I was supposed to trust him. It wasn’t my fault.

It was NOT MY FAULT!!!

Severing Diseased Roots to Overcome PTSD of Sexual Abuse

Taproot of Callirhoe involucrata, Purple Poppy...

Taproot  (Photo credit: Vietnam Plants & America plants)

My blogging friends and community have done it again. We are all connected here on our personal healing journeys, but what we find is so similar and helpful to each other. I feel supported and understood for the first time in my life. Look at how we are working together. One blogger reads a poem I found meaningful and adds on to that with another blogger’s post and it all combines to something very powerful indeed. We have the power to heal ourselves. We really do.

http://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/roots-to-blossom-post-set-me-thinking/

http://lifebegins45.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/ptsd-and-moving-past-the-triggers-to-better-change/#comment-700

Excerpt from above link: “The monster has a tap root. One that he uses with cunning skill. Gaslighting, manipulation and brainwashing. He uses it to grow that tap root straight through what makes US strong, healthy trees (I know…bear with me). It’s like a parasite that uses all life energies around it to survive, while sucking that same life force dry from living things around it. The damage he caused also has it’s own tap root. Separate from him, it’s developed into it’s own ‘living’ breathing entity, in a way. That’s what gaslighting and psychological abuse creates in the survivor. It’s it’s own seed, that grows when we ‘feed’ it. Another thing, with the tap root firmly placed, you can cut the tree without killing the tap root. Often times, a new tree will grow from the root. The only way to kill it entirely, is to sever the tap root. See where I’m going with this?”

My response to this blog: “This has really made me think. I often don’t trust my own perceptions and judgments. I know it was started from my abusive parents, but that root remained. So when I met someone who was not abusive, or did not mean to be abusive, I still got hurt, because that root was so deep in me and still feeding me putrid, rotten thoughts. And then, when depression got its grips on me, and the first thing the doctors and therapists tell you is that depression makes your brain lie to you, causing you to mistrust everything in side your own self. It was from that place that my husband unintentionally emotionally abused me. My situation set him up to gaslight me, Wow. I see this now. He became the one I trusted, more than myself, and that unhealthy boundary has caused an imbalance and much resentment between the two of us. My diseased root is so strong within me, that even though it has been hacked and severed, it only takes one drop of malnourished activity to set it growing again. I am so grateful to have found such a supportive environment here to discuss these issues. I am determined to kill that root, once and for all. I thought I could grow blossoms on my diseased root, as I named this blog. But now I’m thinking I need to grow new roots completely. Hmmm.”

Hubby is gone, staying at his parents to give my mind and body space to heal and grow. He is so hopeful that we are close to actually making me “better” and I love that he is so enthusiastic and supportive, but honestly not as hopeful as he is right now. The problem seems too big, that monstrous root still holds me down. I don’t want to keep Hubby away from his home and children, but now that I see it isn’t his actions, but his presence that makes me doubt myself, makes me rely on him, and makes me afraid and guilty and shameful – well I know now that I need to kill that root too. I’m afraid to hope about forming a new one there, can’t even think about that right now, as it feels too far away, too many steps. He can hope about that for us. Right now my hope is a selfish one for me alone. I am hoping to be me, free from the evil that raised me.

See, take this taproot imagery a step further. My dad placed that initial damaging, parasitic root, but just like any invasive plant, those roots spread to every relationship I have. The foundation of my marriage is nourished on a diseased root. That is why we can change all these external actions, change so many of our interactions, and why we appear to be growing, but we are not yet thriving.

I am committed to killing the root, and growing my own. I really am. It will take time and self-love.

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The rest of this is intense and triggering

I bought a new book yesterday, The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Wendy Maltz. I am afraid to read it, but based on what I have read already, it claims it is going to help me heal the sexual wounds of being sexually abused for so many years by someone who should have protected me. As I write this, I don’t believe I can heal that part of me. I feel too hurt and broken. And afraid. I feel naked and exposed and so, so vulnerable. As the first new root extends from the seed, it needs just the right conditions to continue to grow. I have no instructions for what these conditions are, and so I keep trying something new. And although plants need fertilizer, they die when too much shit is dumped on them too, and I have always had way too much. That’s really all I’m asking for right now, is just the right amount of tolerable shit. What a funny thing to wish for.

So far I am reading about blocks to healing, and that false explanations by an abuser lead to false beliefs that we carry into adulthood. I was bale to believe it was not really abuse, not really that bad, just how daddy showed his special love for me. I allowed that belief to remain for a very long time as I grew up, because I had to. The alternative was just not acceptable. My reality was not acceptable, so I believed the one he created for me. That was how after grooming me since, what I now think to be, since birth, I had no other reality and never knew to resist or even try to stop him. There was nothing wrong with it, except how it made me feel inside. I also did not like taking medicine or brushing my teeth. I remember thinking it was just another part of life like that. Shedding that other reality took me so many years after the abuse ended. And I created my own, new reality then, that still was just as false. It was the world where I was OK. Everything thought I was OK. Even me.

Until I wasn’t.

So it has been 10 years since I attempted suicide, and only now am I ready to get real. We’ve been trying to fix our marriage as if it is a “normal” marriage with petty issues that everyone has. I have been playing a role of wife and mother, keeping my emotions in check, and displaying what I thought I should. And crying privately. I have been showing Hubby I was all better by being wild in bed. Because if I can do all those acts, then surely I am OK? No. No I am not. Those acts leave me feeling cheap and violated. If he initiates, I internally panic, and then force my body to respond by placing my mind elsewhere. When I initiate, it does not come from love or even emotional desire, but some sense of power to be able to seduce someone, and a sense of needing to please him. I don’t feel attraction for him. If I do, I wouldn’t feel safe or in control. When I go out dancing with my crazy girls, I feel intensely attracted to other men. Not usually random strangers, but men I know from our circle that we hang out with. Someone who knows my name and greets me, and is kind to me, but we don’t actually know each other. I feel wild inside, rebellious perhaps, and love that out of control feeling as I fantasize about going home with them and enjoying each other’s bodies with no hang ups, no past baggage, no hesitation. I think this is the ultimate fantasy for me, because it can never happen. First of all, I have never, and will never cheat on my husband. Second, I would be terrified and run away even if I somehow managed to go home with someone. My pain and baggage will always be there, (although this book says I can remove it eventually) and so this is purely fantasy. I have no guilt over this – any more. I used to think I was a terrible person and wife for having these thoughts and feelings.

So what if I can feel that attraction for my own husband? What if?

Life Would be Easier if I Weren’t Nice

Boundary

Can I keep my boundaries intact? (Photo credit: ank0ku)

I am possibly still too concerned with how others feel, and put too much responsibility on myself for making others happy. Why do I think this? I am very stressed right now. I would rather sleep than do anything else. My dreams are not restful.

Last week I went to a painful, dark place, because during a dance performance I felt torn in loyalty to my friends, the other dancers, and to my husband and kids. I was unable to be there for all of them equally and perceived it as a fault of my own, not just a practicality of the evening and my current family. Last week I was so distraught by the thought of causing bad feelings in others that I was unable to enjoy myself at all, and then I got angry at the very people I was trying to take care of. I got so angry I resented their existence. Then I felt so guilty for those thoughts and feelings and got stuck in a terrible place. In the past, I have used alcohol and sleeping pills to force me to sleep, to numb those feelings, and run away. This time I trusted my husband, and allowed him to help me through that bad night and dark place.

But I’m still tired. And way too stressed. At first I thought this was from last week’s experience, some sort of residual from that extremely emotionally night. But now I think I know the real reason. My Mom.

I have more performances this weekend. My Mom said she wanted to come, and asked for all the details. Part of me likes that she wants to come, as it seems normal, and other dancers’ parents do come. But a bigger part of me does not want to share my joy with her. That part of me knows she will try to rob me of my joy by passing some judgment, making some comment, something will be wrong and it will be my fault. This is dangerous, because I was already thinking this way last week, just from my childhood training, and I did not need her presence to put me in the dark place.

My Mom has health issues that she claims prevent her from driving long distances, so she needs to ask one of my siblings to drive her the 2 hours to my city. Now I have to invite all of my siblings and their families. This is a public event, so I’m not exactly inviting, but informing, but, my siblings will feel obligated to come – to not let me down. Our family is still so dysfunctional, that all of us so-called adults are terrified of hurting each other.

So, I don’t care who comes to watch me dance. I’ll be in my zone and barely see the crowd. But before and after, that’s the problem. I am guessing my Mom will attempt to guilt me into spending that time with her, because they drove 2 hours to see me ya know. And I have already arranged for my own children to be somewhere else that evening, so as not to repeat last weekend. I want this time to be fun, care-free, stress-free. No, I need it to be. I need to get this stress out of me.

Will that be possible with my Mom, siblings, nieces and nephews there too? I guess I’ll find out. This will be the first time I have seen my Mom in person since establishing new healthier boundaries. She has backed off the smothering phone calls and emails. I’ve been flourishing in the new freedom, the reduced guilt, the decreased exposure to her negativity. Can I keep up the boundary when she is right in my face? I think I can, I think I can.

Life would be so much easier if I weren’t nice, and just told mom I did not want her there, or that I was not dancing. But the first would come back to bite me in so many ways, as it would take years of emails and phone calls of her reminding me of the time she was unwanted and just wants to support me but I won’t LET her. The second, the lie, just would not work either. My performances are videoed and all over the web, and they would find out. And I just can’t lie, completely lack that ability.

I’m going to try to be true to me, to keep my boundaries in place, and see if I can enjoy myself without falling back in to old unhealthy patterns of behavior with my family that formed my withered roots. Maybe they’ll all be so dazzled by my blossoms (blossoms, not bosoms, though my dancing dress is quite sparkly and gorgeous on me!) that they’ll forget to pick on me, and just enjoy the show. Am I asking too much there?

The Grass is Greener Where You Water It

Grasses

Grasses (Photo credit: Matt Ohia)

The Grass ain’t always greener on the other side, but it is always greener where you water it. Just heard that line in a song on the radio and wanted to post it to remember it forever. Isn’t that a lovely thought?

It was talking about love and relationships, and that you should put the effort into the current partnership instead of searching for someone new at the first sign of trouble. I think this applies to so many areas of life though. Life requires effort – plain and simple.

Recently I have been watering, or nurturing, myself first. I realized I grew up with no one to nurture me. Many parts of me were undeveloped, or had withered without care. Lots of sun, and no rain for most of my life. I had been lost in the weeds. And if you have ever gardened, you know how difficult it is to get started, to restore health to a neglected yard. But you also know it is possible to make tiny improvements with daily nurturing. And tons of hard work. And eventually, that barren, neglected, devoid of life landscape will flourish and grow and support life in a multitude of ways.

Luckily, our human roots are strong, and withstand any storm, any drought. My roots have been hidden, waiting for the first drop of rain, to send up fragile looking sprouts in all directions. A few have already begun to blossom, and more buds are ready every day. All I need to do now is take care of them, and trust that those that love me now, will also take care of those new little buds.

I can’t wait to see how many blossoms I can have.