Category Archives: incest

Same issues; new year.

FAITH

Greetings to all in this new year!

I begin 2013 with the same issues I had going into 2012. I’d like to think I am getting closer to healing but it sure isn’t happening at lightning speed.  This is where mindfulness and compassion come in.  I must have faith, focus on my life now and not judge myself harshly in my haste to get well.

Follow the link to a post from the early days of my blog that succinctly explain why I’m in therapy and what I have to work on.  Warning:  detailed account of incest.

https://mydepressionchronicles.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/the-effects-of-childhood-sexual-abuse-or-what-i-have-to-work-on-in-therapy/

♥ Daylily

Incest sufferer or survivor?

The past is coming to the foreground because I disclosed the fact my oldest brother molested me when I was a child.  This time I told my step-dad who was not around when it happened.  We’re talking about forty years ago and yet it still has the power to derail me. Twenty years ago I told my siblings and confronted my brother.  The dust had settled (or so I thought) until I talked to my step dad this weekend.   My step dad cried and hugged me and today I got an email in which he wrote that I’m brave.  I won’t go into all of that except to say I felt loved and supported.  It was the right move to tell him.

However, I am inundated with images and feelings that continue to have a firm grip on me.  The incest, the shame and guilt, the ways I misbehaved in the aftermath.

I wish I had the courage to do more.  I should be protecting others.  Courageously speaking out in public.  Sharing my story to help others.  Stopping the pattern of childhood sexual abuse.  But I can’t because I still carry shame and a prevailing sense of unworthiness.  I should, I should, I should… Oh, the guilt of it all.

Here are some examples that hurt deeply because it is not fair that I still feel guilt around incest:

I stole from my brother’s coin collection when I was 10 or 11 years old.  Just as he snuck into my room at night, I would go into his room and unlock this tool chest that had stickers all over it saying, “Keep Out.”  I took the coins that were old but still in circulation such as silver nickles, dimes and quarters and used them at the local penny candy store.  My heart fills with shame for my actions.  It was not me doing that.  It was the violated girl getting her payback.  Sometimes I feel he deserved it but other times I get this surreal feeling that I was driven by outside forces and I feel shameful. I never ever would have done such a thing if I hadn’t been sexually abused and so the shame in intertwined.  What I did and what he did.

I got into a car accident and totaled the vehicle my brother was to get for his birthday from my mom.  He was so mad at me and I felt guilty for it.  I wonder if I subconsciously wanted to screw him out of the car.  Again, I can go between feeling vindication and feeling shameful for crashing my mother’s car.  What I did and what he did.

There should not be any sense of shame or guilt on my part when it involves the brother who committed incest upon my prepubescent body.  But there is and I’m struggling right now.

Each time this brother brought up the things I did (and he did have the nerve to blame me!) I wish I had the courage to say, “You took away my innocence which is worth more than any coin collection or vehicle.”

I never said that.  I should have.

My life is in a flashback.  I feel weak.  I was abused and I should not carry shame.  This fight with myself that I judge what I feel is the inner critic speaking.

I’ve written about my desire to be mindful and compassionate and it must begin with me.  I’ve got to quiet the inner critic that allows for a continuing sense of shame and guilt for something that happened so long ago.

Tears are bubbling at the surface because my feelings are so raw.  Fuck the shame and guilt.  I want them out of my life.  2013 is the year I recognize the ways I make myself suffer and focus on how to rid myself of feeling like a failure.  I will be the survivor I like to call myself but right now I do not feel.

♥ Daylily

Freeing myself from shame

Wonder and astonishment are the best words to describe what I am discovering about myself. I always felt different from the rest of the world. My intellect told me it was because I suffered an incestuous experience that isolated me from others.  However, knowing the cause of an ailment does not make it better. Instead, I suffered more with the knowledge that I couldn’t get out from under my own self-loathing. As many survivors will tell you, we learn to fake wholeness in order to keep up the façade of normalcy. It is painful enough to hate yourself and it would be more painful to have others know those reasons because they would hate you, too. I know that thinking makes no sense unless you’ve learned to protect yourself through self-loathing; then you too would understand how real it feels – so real that others would admonish you if they knew. But, something is shifting and I no longer feel like that girl who is hiding her sense of inadequacy.

I am immersed in a book that so concisely describes my emotional pain that it blows me away. It’s truly extraordinary! How uplifting it is to read another person’s description of my life. If a book was written that matches my struggle there must be others out there who are buying and reading the same book. You have no idea how liberating this revelation is.

Sounds simple; pretty basic, really. Didn’t I say I always knew what my problem was? And don’t I know that 7 out of 10 women are sexually abused? So what is so special about this book and this moment in my life?

It is as if the stars have lined up perfectly and I am feeling what I’ve intellectually known all along. A new sense of freedom like no other. The emotional work I’m doing is paying off. Practicing mindfulness is putting me in touch with my negative thoughts and emotions in a way that’s allowing me to be aware of the hurt and pain, acknowledge it and then release it. My shame is diminishing and I am feeling stronger.

The following quote is from the book I’m reading.

“As the light increases, we see ourselves to be worse than we thought. We are amazed at our former blindness as we see issuing forth from the depths of our heart a whole swarm of shameful feelings, like filthy reptiles crawling from a hidden cave. We never could have believed that we had harbored such things, and we stand aghast as we watch them gradually appear. But while our faults diminish, the light by which we see them waxes brighter, and we are filled with horror. Bear in mind, for your comfort, that we only perceive our malady when the cure begins.” Francois Fenelon (1651)

Daylily

How childhood sexual abuse affects my marriage

It’s not news to anyone that a child who was sexually abused suffers long-term effects that carry over to adulthood. The early trauma is not an event that can be isolated because abuse touches all parts of a person’s identity, their social-emotional lives as well as the perceptions of themselves and others.

I have written about my experience of incest. I was prepubertal and research shows that the onset of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) factors into measuring the extent of trauma. Some studies show that younger children are somewhat more vulnerable than older children to trauma. I don’t need research to tell me this; of course a brain that has not developed (especially in terms of maturation and puberty) would be more affected. Other research shows that if the survivor lacks a sense of being protected by their parents, which is especially true with incestual CSA, the trauma can be worse. When I say trauma, I broadly speak of all the ways a child could be hurt; the more trauma the more far-reaching the effects and the harder the road is to recovery.

I’d like to address how CSA has affected my marriage of 23 years. I struggle with the ability to trust and be intimate with my husband. I fear re-traumatization if I stay in any relationship with the potential for emotional harm. When my fears over-power my rational thought, I want to escape. Yesterday in my blog I shared that I felt my husband does not respect or value me. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve had similar fears? More than I can count. Just about every time I don’t get my needs met.

My marital relationship is a concern but I am awakening to a realization that the bigger problem is that I continue to replay the same stories in my head. Recovery is hard because I keep my shame, guilt and sense of unworthiness hidden.

My thoughts regularly turn pessimistic and I fall into an all too common space in my mind that is self-protective. The proof is in every journal I ever wrote. I go between drastic states of believing that my husband is safe and loves me to an overriding sense that he hates me. Realistically, I am not in a relationship with a man who hates me. The relationship is unpredictable because I cause it to be so. A published piece of scientific literature about CSA says that dysfunctional family dynamics may occur in the families of survivors. These include “denial, unpredictability, lack of empathy, lack of clear boundaries, role reversal, a closed family system, incongruent messages (body language differs from speech) and extremes in conflict (too much conflict may result in abuse, too little may result in hiding problems and not dealing with them).” (Engel, 2000)

This is my reality — I do not think or react normally. CSA causes extremes in the quality of my intimate relationship with my husband.

My past shoves its way into the present and I re-live feelings of trauma and express myself in an extreme manner. I’ve never been diagnosed with a personality disorder of any kind, so this behavior is your standard post traumatic stress disorder. The reality is that my husband does not hate me nor does he think I’m stupid.

Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, I believed he hated me. I admit throughtout the day, I was recalling my childhood and I suspect it triggered my thoughts to go into protective-mode, hence the previous blog post threatening divorce. I have similar journal entries from the past 30 years, stating my husband doesn’t love me and I would be better off without him.

He proved me wrong yesterday by working in the kitchen all day, cooking the Thanksgiving dinner, from stuffing the turkey, to peeling potatoes to heating up rolls in the oven. I showed up just in time to set the table. He didn’t complain and in a sense proved he is good to me, to the kids and to my emotional health.

Dinner was followed by some television and then mutually satisfying sex that left me completely satiated. So much so, I forgot to take Klonopin at bed time and slept well regardless of missing my medication. This morning, my husband initiated more sex and I responded positively because he proved he could be trusted yesterday and so I felt safe.

This flip-flop in my thinking is the aftermath from CSA. It’s so paradoxical that half the time, I can’t trust myself. Is my husband loving or is he full of hate for me? My distorted thoughts aren’t reliable and so I’ve learned to go into isolation-mode when I feel unloved and low on self-esteem. I don’t want to do anything rash or sudden because I think it will hurt me more in the end to not be with this man I’ve loved for 30 years.

My instincts are good because it protects me from doing further harm to myself. Otherwise, I would still be living out my adolescence with sexual promiscuity, an eating disorder and drugs. I realize that when my thoughts turn to self-hate, I should isolate myself in order to stay safe. This defense mechanism has kept me in a good marriage, allowed me to raise well-adjusted children and kept me employed.

Things are beginning to change. I’m recognizing these stories and past patterns of thought are hurting me. No doubt they impact my relationships, and especially my marriage; but I count my blessings. I’ve never threatened divorce, I’ve only fantasized it would be best. I know it wouldn’t be the answer to my problems. My husband is aware of my past CSA and has stuck by me. He is a good man and I am ready to change my thoughts so that I can both give and accept love fully.

Daylily

Confused with PTSD

My therapist confirmed that I was exhibiting classic symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) during the “Radical Forgiveness” workshop I attended.  I guess I put myself too far out on a limb and was dangling by a twig.  I had no way to protect my mind from the onslaught of feelings that got stirred up and I resorted to what I know, to disassociate and shut down.  I told Lynn I can’t remember what I said.  What others said.  What I was supposed to say.  I can’t remember the names of anyone (including the leader) although I said their names many times in the workshop.  href=”https://mydepressionchronicles.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/2188/”>

Radical anything should have been a red flag,” said Lynn.  “Yes,” I agreed.  “But I wanted to practice mindfulness and be aware of my negative thoughts toward myself in order to move on.”

Lynn told me, “You know what your problem is.”

Hmm?  I am wondering what  a person does if they know what the issue is –poor self-image, self-protectiveness skills in abundance and a facade that no one sees through.

I am trying too hard to fix my psyche. I think I know what I need to do.  Share my issues with safe people, open up to my feelings, get healthy in mind and spirit through exercise and meditation.  I’m doing all of that but the acronym PTSD keeps popping up in my thoughts and scaring me.  I fear my own feelings.  I shut down with my own thoughts.  My coping skills are to not deal with raw emotions.  I dissociate. I also drink to escape.

Sometimes, I am strong and can deal with this vision of my life.  Since my medications were increased I was doing well but then I saw my therapist.  She spoke words that I haven’t heard in years. Back 25 years ago, when I was working on sexual abuse issues, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I thought that was in the past.

I wonder what Lynn thinks of me now that she recognizes the depth of my issues.  PTSD is not small potatoes.  It’s overwhelming and I don’t quite know where I stand right now.

There is this general feeling that my whole life is a fake out.  Every “intellectual” interaction is blocking my true self.

Of course, that can’t be true.  My mind is playing evil tricks on me.  It’s those stories my narrative self has taught me along the way.  I blame myself rather than seeing things as they are.

Since I saw my therapist, I have not been able to meditate.  I feel no peace.   I have been preaching about mindfulness but I’m unable to find that stillness in my brain.

I will stay focused on the goal, which is to accept all of me and see that my thoughts are not me they are stories I’ve told myself.

But, again, I must ask, what do I do when the stories take over and feel so real? 

♥ Daylily, who apologizes for this unedited post.  I know it’s all over the place and I sound mixed-up.  To try and intellectualize my feelings would be one more attempt at a fake out.  This blog is the real me and right now I do feel confused. ♥

Feeling vulnerable

I’ve made amends with my brother who committed incest upon my prepubescent body. The crime has been forgiven but not forgotten. I have let go of the anger and animosity because those feelings only eat away at the victim, which I am no longer. My brother apologized, sought out counseling with his pastor and showed me he had true remorse. I learned to forgive but it wasn’t easy to work through the aftermath of PTSD. I can officially say I no longer relive the events.

So, this weekend he came to visit and of all things the conversation turned to WordPress. Brother recommended that Husband set up a free website using WordPress. B showed H his WordPress site and tried to explain widgets, themes, etc. I was cooking dinner and drinking wine while the conversation unfolded in my kitchen. I stupidly spit out, “I use WordPress like a diary except it’s public so I get feedback.” My brother immediately searched for my name using Google on his iPad and he came up with only job-related stuff. I laughed and said to him, “You don’t think I would use my real name?” He said, “Oh so you have a pseudonym?” I agreed and joked, “Don’t go looking for it either.”  B replied “oh, yes, I’m going to become a computer sleuth and find your blog.”  I think he was joking, just as I was.  The conversation changed and I went back to cooking.

Holy shit, that was too close for comfort. I write about my childhood experiences regarding what he did to me and the past and present came dangerously close.  Could he find my blog if he wanted to?  He is very tech-savy so I am worried.  It’s not a good feeling to fear  him reading my blog.  If I ask myself what’s the worst that could happen?  The answer would be that he would get inside my intimate thoughts which I banned him from 30 years ago.  He would learn the aftermath of his abuse.  Nothing else would happen.  He would have no one to tell because his dirty secret would be aired.  But, I don’t want him to know about my pain and depression from childhood trauma and abuse.

I am considering closing down my blog. I thought I was no longer fearful of speaking about my past but a panic sets in when I visualize my brother finding my blog and reading my personal thoughts. I feel vulnerable.

If my blog disappears one day, you will know why.

♥ Daylily

The guilt is too much

I’m in unknown territory in terms of the emotional work on my past that I have never previously delved into. The words are hard to find because I feel guilt and a sense of failure, which I typically do not expose. I keep the walls high around this way of thinking and rarely expose my weaknesses.

The truth that my mom is imperfect is extremely difficult for me to write about. She raised me in a way that her needs came before mine. I remember things about her life during my childhood more than I do about my own life. I have selective amnesia for most of middle childhood, ages 5-12 but I remember my mom’s divorce from my father, the jobs she had, the therapist she relied on, her pursuit and attainment of a Master’s degree. What do I remember about myself? Not much except I tried to be the best at everything to hide my sense of inadequacy. I was competitive. I was the fastest girl. I was also the tallest girl. I was one of the best in gymnastics, the high bar (due to brothers) and I could always make people laugh. I hid my lack of self-esteem by portraying a person who was better than others. I grew up with this false identity.

My last post recognized my mom’s shortcomings. I’ve been trying to meditate and learn to just “be” with the idea that Little Me didn’t get what she needed and a void was left behind.  My goal is to fill the emptiness so that I feel whole and worthy of my own love and acceptance.

I’m doing pretty well with this grief work on my own but this morning I made the mistake of saying something to my mother during a phone call. My sense of remorse is enormous.

I’m fully present and aware of how badly I feel to call my mom out on her narcissistic traits.

I want to drive 300 miles to be with her, to show her I still love her, despite what I said.

I wish I could take it back.

It is my fault. Not hers. How dare I blame the person who raised me!

A mother can do no wrong. It is the child’s fault. I am and always will be a burden my mother had to bear.

What happened on the phone?

My mom and I were talking about menopause and her memory is failing, given she is almost 80 years old. She has rheumatoid arthritis and had knee replacement surgery last month.  (You get where I’m going – with all these things wrong with her what possessed me to speak up about my own little issues.)

I tell her I am having hot flashes and migraines, all due to menopause. She says, “I don’t know why you are having all of these problems, my menopause was fine.”

“Oh, no, it wasn’t. You were on hormone replacement therapy from when I was in high school until the 90’s. That was 15 years, at least. You don’t remember your menopause because you took hormones.”

Gulp, I did not just challenge my mother, who lives in a state of denial and believes she never had any troubles in her life. I have played that game long enough, of believing I have the problems but she never did.

Quickly, I try to set things straight by reminding her that her Dr at the time recommended she get on hormones due to calcium loss and the fear of osteoporosis from low estrogen levels. I gently tell her, “I know it was a long time ago and you may not remember.”

That sets her off and she justifies her need for HRT by reminding me, “I was dealing with a daughter who was kicked out of school for smoking in the bathrooms all the time and she had to be taught by this crazy lady.” [True, I was expelled for half of my junior year of high school and my mom found an old lady to tutor me so I didn’t fall behind. She puts a lot of pressure on academic achievement so for her to have to attend meetings with the school principal and superintendent because of her out-of-control daughter was too much for her to handle].

I tell Mom, “I was really angry in high school. I know it was hard for you but would you rather be the person watching a teenager with anger problems or be the teenager living with that anger? I think it was harder to be me dealing with all of that rage.”

Mom replies, “I don’t know why you were so angry. I had you seeing a nice therapist once a week.”

“I did see the therapist and that was good you sent me there.” Truthfully I don’t recall her name or anything that occurred in her office. But, I do give my mom credit that she taught me to seek outside help.

“I wasn’t ready to talk about the real issue at that time. That’s why it didn’t help.” Mom and I both know by “real issue” I mean the sexual abuse by her first-born son, my brother, upon my prepubescent body but neither of us say “incest” aloud.

I talk in the safety of the third person and say, “Children don’t expose their pain until they feel safe and it wasn’t until after college that I spoke to a therapist about that.”

My mom’s head is spinning, I can tell she has lost focus and doesn’t know what to say. I quickly feel I’ve overwhelmed her and I say, “I apologize for bringing all of this up, I was just talking about menopause.”  Her response is, “it’s just stupid.”  That’s the stroke, the surgery and her recent move speaking because she never used to say things offhandedly that don’t make sense.

I feel bad that I put my needs first and now I try to back pedal. Be a good daughter. Ask about her. Talk about her wonderful new retirement home. The superb dining service they have. She tells me what she and the three others at her table had for dinner last night. I agree her new residence is like a 5-star hotel. She talks about the “culinary arts school” nearby and that she has a reservation for dinner tomorrow night. She tells me about the colleges her new friends attended. Her safety is in intellectual pursuits and knowledge and I play along. I agree that all of that is wonderful, blah, blah, blah.

But, I can’t take back that I told her my high school years may have been difficult on her but they were worse for me, living it.

I cannot believe the overwhelming sense of guilt I feel.

I should be helping her as she ages and begins to lose her full physical and intellectual functioning.

Wow, this sense of shame and remorse is so powerful I can’t stop it. I hate myself.

My mom couldn’t help me then and we know she can’t help me now. Why did I even speak up? I love my mother and I didn’t want to cause her pain.  Speaking up was a bad idea, it only hurt both of us.

Daylily

Self-help book leads to questions…

Reading self-help books may not have been such a great idea because they always start with what’s wrong and then lead into how to heal.  The book, Will I Ever Be Good Enough?, spends the first 9 chapters recognizing the problem and how narcissist mothering effects your entire life.  But the subtitle is Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.

I wonder why self-help books take so long to get to the healing?  I’ve read 120 pages of this book and thus far I’m so deep in self-pity that I don’t know if I have the strength to go on and finish the last five chapters about ending the legacy.

Does anyone know what I mean?   When a book hits too close to the surface of your most vulnerable feelings and every page feels like a re-traumatization?

I’ve had a long marriage that I’ve committed to for 24 years.  We’ve had our ups-and-downs but we both try not to carry resentments around and it’s kept our relationship alive and intimate.  Well, that’s what I thought but I’m reading the chapter on how daughter’s who didn’t get love from their mother’s end up repeating the pattern in their adult relationships.  I thought everything was generally okay in our marriage but the author says “we choose a partner largely on an unconscious level… we are attracted to the familiar….you will likely find someone who recreates that mother-daughter pattern of behavior.”  She goes on to infer I have chosen a partner that can’t meet even reasonable emotional needs because that is what is familiar and feels safe.

I’m having a self-pity-party right now, feeling like I’m such a loser to be with a guy that loves me like my mom did.  Emotionally detached, constantly busy, moving through life focused on his own needs.  Yes, I’m weak right now and believe that is true.  And it’s my fault entirely.  The vicious cycle of the mind of an abused/depressed woman.

I can’t get better when I get stuck on the part about where I am in my life and how fucking stupid I am to have allowed myself to be in this position.

I’ve got to keep reading, only 13 more pages until I get to Ending the Legacy.  I’m almost there…I will continue the book and get to the ideas for recovery, the chapter titled First Step.  I’ve come this far; I can read 13 more pages to get to the healing.

My husband and I were open to each other when we first met.  He cried about his mother abandoning him and I cried many times when his love was so strong it nearly scared me away.  How is that not finding someone different from my mother?  I never told my mom she shouldn’t bother loving me because I was defective, I would only think it was a reason for her inability to love me.  But in our early years of dating, I told my husband (H.) I wasn’t worth it many times.   I tested the shit out of his ability to tolerate my unstable emotions.  He always stood by me and professed his love; H. passed with flying colors.

My mom never said she loved me, except in letters and cards.  It was the same with my dad before he passed away.  I grew up with a bunch of intellects.  (Side note—since my mom went into a retirement home, I say I love you after every phone conversation.  She always acts surprised but answers back, “I love you too, Dear.”)

My husband is emotional and needy; he tells me that he loves me more often than my parents ever did.  He is Italian (not trying to stereotype just stating a fact) and comfortably expresses all of his emotions – sadness, happiness, anger, disappointment, whatever.  I have learned a lot from him.  He’s taught me its okay to react and then to let it go.

Then why do I feel I chose someone who can’t meet my needs?  Maybe it’s that my needs can’t be met.  There is an empty hole that my mom left when she didn’t know how to give me the love I needed.  I carry it to all my relationships.  I don’t really blame my husband for our lack of intimacy.  It’s all me.

I can put on a façade, however, and do the right thing.  Yesterday was H’s birthday and I catered to him all day.  The children and I gave him cards, presents and I made a 7-layer chocolate cake because he always says my cakes don’t have enough frosting.  This one did and he loved it. I intentionally bought him a card with a sincere saying, “you are the perfect man” although I saw funny cards that are typically more my style.  I did what I knew he would appreciate.  The only thing I didn’t give him on his birthday was sex and I know he wanted it so today he pursued me.

I hate to always bring my intimate relationship onto this blog and I swore I would not do it again.  But, then, the whole love/intimacy/sex thing is such a major part of my growth.  Sex and intimacy is a key factor with all survivors of sexual abuse.

My husband had just returned from a week-long trip and I could tell he wanted intimacy.  He always seems to want me more after he’s been away.  Sex has been the farthest thing from my mind because I’m all wrapped up in my problems and issues (after delving so deeply into this book, Will I Ever Be Good Enough?).

I tell him, “I’m not in the mood.”

He’s persistent, though.  He whispers in my ear what he wants to do to me.  His whisperings are all nice things that will please me.

I tell him, “I’m just not feeling that way right now.”

H. keeps at it and while we’re in our pool he’s constantly pulling me against him so I feel his interest in me.

I tell him, “My head just isn’t into it.”  It’s as if he doesn’t hear me because he tells me what we are going to do later, after the kids have gone to bed.

Going back to the book, I’m certain my behavior is unhealthy and indicative of a dependent/co-dependent relationship.  Why can’t I give back when my husband is offering love to me?

I try to be loving and give him a hug in the pool.  I lean up against him so he can hold me.  Then when the kids are all in the backyard playing a game, and we’re alone by the pool, my husband is using the hair clipper to buzz his hair (which is a regular routine of his).  He tells me to come over and get a haircut so he can lick me later.  I know exactly what he means but I’m scared of showing I might like what he has planned so I say, “The kids will see” although they won’t because they are behind high hedges, laughing and playing with their friends.  H. asks me to come over and help clean up his haircut around the ears, which I do.  We’re close and I’ve been with this guy long enough to know he won’t hurt me but I still hold back.  I also know if I don’t show I trust him his feelings will be hurt, because he is putting his emotions out there and I know it’s a bit of a dance that I must reciprocate.  So, before I can run to safety, I pull my bathing suit bottom to the side and he gently buzzes my public hair.  Just around where he wants it to be short for his own enjoyment.  I don’t like the feeling of the stubble but I go along with it for him.  At least he doesn’t request an all-out shave because that I would refuse.  No way do I want my female parts to look like a prepubescent girl.  It would be a flashback to when I was sexually abused as a child.  But, he has never suggested he likes that…thank goodness.

WE jump back in the pool and, as soon as I get out and dry off, H. asks if I am going inside now.  I hear the hope in those words and say, “Yeah, I’m going to take nap.”  I should say do you want to join me? But lately, I’m feeling low on self-assertiveness.  That’s all he needs to hear, anyway.   H. is out of the pool in a flash and beats me in the house and upstairs to our bedroom.  I won’t go into the details but this guy of mine tirelessly works on pleasuring me.  It’s taken me a long time to realize that he actually gets excited when I feel good from what he is doing.

Survivors have difficulty believing sex is not just for the guy’s pleasure.  I know I have felt guilty-pleasure for many years that I shouldn’t like sex.  But, I do and I’ve found a guy who it’s safe for me to feel vulnerable and truly enjoy sex with.

I should believe I’ve done better in my marriage than I did with the relationship I had with my mother growing up.

I admit I’m not a very emotional person but allowing myself to be exposed in my marriage fulfills an emotional need to connect with others.

Hey, connecting with one person on this earth is better than feeling disconnected to everyone.

But, I also wonder if it’s right or wrong that sexual intimacy fills the empty piece of me in a way that day-to-day interactions never have?

I don’t believe I’m validating myself through sex like I did in my younger years.  I think I’m actually making progress that I can accept my husband’s love, even if it is by physically experiencing it in action.

♥ Daylily

Progress is slow…

No major breakthroughs since I last wrote.  I see myself as slowly evolving and, regrettably, few forward steps took place in the last week.

I again went to visit my mother to help her post-operative and this time I brought my 11-year-old and I chose to stay in a nearby hotel.  Mom was disappointed and said, “I wanted you to make me breakfast in the morning.”

My reaction, which I did not express was, where’s I want to spend more time with you?  It was nowhere because that would require her to think beyond herself. (Daylily—check yourself on the negative thoughts!)

My son said to me, as we drove off to our hotel after dinner, “I want to get up early and go back to Grandma’s to make her breakfast.”

Didn’t I feel like an asshole?  Who is the selfish one now?  Me, who was only thinking of my needs when my mom is scarcely able to walk.  Sometimes it takes a person who is not enmeshed in the psycho-dynamics of a relationship to see the picture more clearly.

So, the next morning my son and I brought Grandma breakfast from the hotel’s buffet.  Mom enjoyed the donut while Grandpa ate the hard-boiled egg, sausage and bagel.

You may find this hard to believe but my brother, the perpetrator of incest upon my prepubescent body, went off with my son and Grandpa for a day of fun while I stayed back at the house with my mom.  My ability to accept my brother’s apology, the sincerity in which he confessed to me and went to counseling with his pastor, leaves me confident he will not harm my son.  Of course, my son is not an 11-year-old-girl and my boy was also with Grandpa.  But, I wasn’t in a panic so I feel good about moving-on and letting the past go.  I haven’t forgotten it but the traumatic events no longer have their hold on me.

Upon returning from my trip, house guests arrived from my husband’s side of the family and they stayed for the weekend.  Our nephew is 32-years-old and drinks beer like a freakin’ fish*.  The first night he drank a dozen beers and then, in the morning, he went to the local liquor store and bought more beer and began drinking before lunch.

I make it a habit to never drink before the acceptable “cocktail hour,” between 5 and 6 pm.  I – in no way – want to begin the day with the hair of the dog that bit me.*  (The only times I’ve had a drink early in the day is on deep-sea fishing excursions where it feels like time stops and it’s just you, the ocean and the sky.)  Our guests were lounging by my pool all day and possibly this nephew feels the same about pools as I do about the ocean…but I doubt it.  Husband and I discussed his excessive drinking and worried that he is following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps.  There is alcoholism on my nephew’s side of the family (not on my husband’s side but the in-laws.)  We worry if he doesn’t get intervention it’s not going to end well for him.

Well, my point is, when I see someone overtly abuse alcohol, it concerns me.  I know I will never be that person because I have so many boundaries around my drinking.  When I over-indulge, it’s private and self-destructive.  I don’t socialize/drive or go out partying.   But, I still admit it feels like a problem because I use it as a poor coping mechanism.

My two books from Amazon arrived (plus a fiction for when I have time to kill*).  I have been reading the book about narcissistic mothers and I’m seeing a lot of my mother but it’s not completely ringing a bell* for how my mom and I relate to each other.

I never wrote my “vision of wellness” that I mentioned in my last post.  I’m standing in stagnant waters* and not making progress.  I really should write that.

I give myself credit that I’m thinking hard about my intentions to heal and I’m preparing for the day when I stop using wine as a crutch*.  I am the type that needs time to intellectually prepare for change, time to psych myself up for success.  If I fail, I will have trouble forgiving myself so it’s best to get all of my ducks in a row.*

I saw Lynn and she and I discussed triggers that cause me to block out painful emotions with wine.  She agreed that any feelings outside of the norm cause me to doubt myself and self-criticize.  I do not handle emotionally-packed situations without remaining completely calm and in-the-head.  I’m all intellect.  Then when I’m in private, and the emotionally-charged event/activity has ended, I don’t have the skills to manage the psychological aftermath.  I usually have no idea what I feel, except I dislike experiencing anything negative — it makes life feel out of my control.  I need to be in charge of my response to a situation and when a monkey wrench gets thrown into my plans* I suffer later.  As I said, I handle the moment with poised perfection but the shit hits the fan* when the dust settles*.  That’s when I wait until the acceptable hour and drink to continue to blot out the emotions of the day.  I just don’t think AA will fix this problem.  I need to recognize my emotions and express them appropriately.  That means learning self-acceptance.  When I put it like that, it’s fucked-up really.  I apologize for the harshness of my language but it is the best description for when I’m overwhelmed and not sure how I feel or how to proceed, such as now, as I write.

Okay this is spiraling downward* and we’ve had enough idioms for one post. ♥ –Daylily

*idiom

Setting the intention to heal


http://livinginprocess.com/about-living-in-process.php

Summer mode is here.  I work during the school year but I get a break for the summer months.  I’m drinking too much, staying up late and sleeping until 10 in the morning. My new antidepressants were working for a while and I was curbing my drinking and sleeping well.  But, with summer here all of that has flown out the window. It’s nice that no one really cares because my kids are older and my husband goes off to work in the morning. But, it’s also sad that no one notices my self-destructive ways. Except me, of course. And my therapist, Lynn, who recently told me my drinking causes me problems not the medications or depression, which I have always blamed first and foremost. I might argue that all of it causes me problems but that would be my negative attitude rearing its ugly head. And I don’t want to go negative in this post.

This is the post where I admit I need to make changes.

I am taking the first step by recognizing my habit of drinking wine is counter-productive. It serves an immediate need I have to make it through a typical day, acting normal and appearing in control when, deep within me there has always been a sense of self-hate and shame.

Children with histories of childhood abuse often develop negative thought patterns. They put the blame on themselves, rather than the perpetrator or their parents. It’s a fucked up way to cope with abuse and fears of abandonment (if we told on the abuser, we would be risking more abuse and if our parents knew about the abuse they would stop caring for us because we perceive ourselves as dirty and unlovable).

I’ve always known I hate myself but I have not tried to stop the onslaught of negativity in my head. Quite the opposite, I’ve just tried to hide my secret. My life from the outside looking in shows no signs of self-hate. I have painstakingly masked it with drugs, sex, addictions and needing to be perfect. These days, my numbing-medication of choice is white wine. I drink so that I stop hearing that inner critic. Respite comes when I drink in the form of a mental break from my own self-hatred.

I have low self-esteem, I lack a positive sense of self and my ego is shot all to hell. I believe if anyone really knew me they wouldn’t love me. I have been damaged since childhood. There, I’ve admitted it.

A Taoist philosopher named Lao-tzu once said,

“The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

This form of admission is not easy. It goes against my need to show the outside I’m perfect. And I don’t mean perfect as in material goods because that I’m not. I wear jeans, t-shirts and baseball caps. My car has a huge dent in it and I accept that kind of imperfection in my life.

My perfection comes from a need to act intelligent and always have a calm demeanor. I’m thoughtful and empathetic to a fault. I’ve always looked at other’s feeling and easily can mold myself to their needs. This trait that I’ve been burdened with somehow ties into a sense of shame and a need to please others so they will not see my needs. My needs are deeply rooted and complicated and I rarely get them met.

Anyway, I ordered 2 books on Amazon and I have begun re-reading a book I already own (but never delved into) called Healing from Depression by Douglas Bloch. It’s a workbook, of sorts that will make me really think about changing harmful patterns, beginning with writing a vision statement of what I would be like if I really was healthy and well. Not just a woman faking perfectionism.

Here is the inside cover of the book I am using as I begin my intention to heal.