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Yes, Seeing Yourself In Horror…

Reading other’s posts has been full of horror for me. I remember, I remember. I was a teenager feeling the full despair and desperation, of loneliness and self-loathing. I feel it still sometimes, and I have patched myself together as best I can.

My parents still say things they don’t realize are so hurtful, but I am gradually learning to see it. I know I don’t have to react or justify my actions to them, because I am finally accepting that it is their sad way of getting attention. The hysterical thing is, if I can stop from responding, stop saying, “But that isn’t true!” arguing my point, it stops. I change the subject or say nothing – telling myself I know what the truth is, and that is all that is important. I feel sorry they don’t see this, but it is not my job to be their therapist. It is not my job to make them over into what I want them to be – because that is an impossible task.

I have accepted that they will never be the nurturing, trustworthy parents I wanted them to be. They have never been, and looking hard at the evidence, there appears to be zero evidence that they ever will. My expectations and dreams of what “could have been” have created such misery in my life. What a liberation to see it! And so terribly sad – I grieved a lot about that. But letting that mirage go has brought a lot of peace, too.

I can enjoy many good things about them. And, if they ever become what I dreamed of, it will be a surprise and a gift, not a constant let down that they don’t. It is only my job to set boundaries on how much I will let happen before I leave or end the conversation. And, I have more and more friends who sometimes teach me about life – like a good mother or father would, and that’s what I so need.

My inner critic will always be there, repeating awful messages. But I can add good ones, screaming them out if necessary in the bad times, and I can teach myself to recognize those evil words for what they are. My parents loved me as best they could, but their love was twisted and mixed with their own blindness. Maybe their parents’ blindness as well – as they say in Al-anon, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I know now, the awful things they do to me, were done to them, and they likely do to themselves as well.

Lately those nights I call the screams and knives (figuratively) where I cannot see how I am worthy for anything, I am starting to ask myself if the story line isn’t a bit seductive. Is it a grand play and I am the star? Oh, the horror of my self-loathing and awfulness. In this, I see I am getting the rapt attention I so want. The drama! The tears being ripped from the bottom of my soul! But really, do I need attention in this form? When I’m in the pit, I’m learning to ask, how is today so different from yesterday, when I had hope or felt good? The answer is always outside events that have given the critic in my mind more ammunition to say, “See you did it again, you will never be able to change.” Nothing about my inner me has changed otherwise. I might feel like life is not worth living and things will never change, but reality is that everything else in the universe changes. I am still the tender soul that lived in this body yesterday, and will be tomorrow.

Though at times I might feel hopeless, I will never take my life now because I am starting to trust that I am not alone. I am not the base and evil things my mind sucks me into thinking. I can step back from the story and know that no matter how awful I feel, it isn’t real. It’s like having a bad cold. It will pass. I am a good person, I just have to rewrite the tapes – like the playlist where you’ve gotten tired of a certain song. I put in good, and when I’m ready and willing, ask for the old to be taken out, or let it go.

We are already lovable and whole as we are. Perfect if we can only let ourselves see it. I am beginning to see how that might be possible; we can change how we act, but it’s about training the self-critic, not doing things to be more worthy.

To Mother

We all have letters we’d like to send, but know that we can’t. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser.

Letters where actual contact is just not possible.

Do you have a letter you can’t send?

Why not send it to The Band?

 

 

This is what I would like to tell my mom, and probably would if she weren’t in a fragile state. She’s been wheelchair bound since my second child was born and my daughter is now nearing junior high school. How she ended up in a wheelchair isn’t at issue at this point. Needless to say, she is simply too weak to hear this stuff.

 

Mom,

Did you ever wonder why I was so angry as a young man? Or why I only had a single friend when I was going through school? You should remember the angry tantrums that I used to pull. The anger I showed you was caused by a deep, horrid certainty that I was useless and doomed to failure. That I could never trust people or achieve anything of moment in life.

While a lot of this is standard fare for a teenager, you never informed dad about any incident as far as I can tell. He was never the kind of man to sit still for such nonsense. Did you stop to think when you told me as a very young child that I was a “surprise?” It didn’t take me long to figure out that “surprise” meant accident, and that you didn’t intend to make me. From that time on, I wondered if everyone would be happier without me, or if I even was truly wanted in the home.

What about the grades, Mom? You know, when I began failing in high school and you would hide the facts from Dad. Of course a child would accept help in such a way. I didn’t want to be in trouble at home AND school, after all. It’s a repeated pattern with you.

Consistently, you would “shelter” your little boy from Dad’s wrath, which was rather corporal, yet never over the top. Yet you failed entirely to protect me from sexual predators. Yes, mother I was molested as a child. I, your little boy, was fucked by a teenage girl belonging to a “trusted” family. My innocence was gone by fourth grade, Mother. Then, listening to your gossip, I learned that you never really even liked that family and thought their mother to be disgusting and immoral. Why, then, was I allowed to mix with them? Did you never wonder why I didn’t have any friends or why I quit playing with the other children from that family? I really believed that my molester was my girlfriend. You have no idea how confused and hurt I was when I saw her with a boy her own age. I had no one to confide in, and as children who are abused often feel that they would get into more trouble.

You were already struggling with demons of your own, of which I had known a little from the time I was in second grade when you were first hospitalized for “stress.” Junior high came around, and while I seemed to be okay, inside I was dying. I felt completely alone, as sex abuse survivors often do. I went through those three years with one friend who I met in fifth grade.

Then, you decided you were divorcing Dad. We moved out and lived for a few months in another town. You went back to father because, as I later found out, he bribed you. Yes, he cashed money from his retirement account and gave you a lump sum of cash to spend at your discretion. That caused me to lose a lot of respect for you. That was a single summer and back to the home. It was fucked up mom.

Junior high progressed. Even then I would have horrid angry outbursts of hopeless despair which should have caused some questions. Mom, why didn’t you do anything to get me help then?

High school came along and I gave up my choir aspirations. I didn’t have the confidence to try out for the high school choir, even though I had pulled straight A’s in all my choir work for junior high and earned a place on the Honor Choir. Indeed, I began to give up on everything then. I didn’t have many friends and had no visitors or invitations during summer breaks to anything. You never wondered why I never went steady with a girl, and asked only one out, and only then after repeated assurances that she would say yes? I pushed away my best friend in this time, in favor of what I thought were better friends. I’m lucky he forgave me, when I asked for his forgiveness.

I joined the Navy, only to flunk their psych evaluation and be sent home after five or so weeks. So there I was in the airport, defeated. You were so out of it, Mom. Dad was obviously exhausted. Apparently, it was getting near to another stay in the hospital for you. Not that they did you any good, except for to get you to decide to pretend everything was okay, so you could get out. Do you remember that ride home and the crazy things you talked about? In any case, Mother, you couldn’t handle your little boy leaving and broke down again. I needed some strength and real help then, Mom. But you, once again, were in trouble. I felt guilty by even thinking, “Dammit, I need my parents right now!” But Dad was dealing with your outbursts and insomnia. And so, once again, I kept my secrets and felt an utter failure. I know you’ve had difficulties Mama, but this isn’t about you right now.

You must realize that I was neglected by you in a few ways. Sure, you kept the house clean and meals on the table, but you never would inform my father of things that he had the right to know, like my failing grades. I was allowed to withdraw unhealthily into fantasy-like video games and television. You didn’t make me do the the things that I should have been doing, Mom. Dad could have helped you with that, if you would have let him. But I knew you, and I played you to keep the bad grades secret, just like any teenager would do, given the chance.

You did all that shit with my older sister, to the Nth degree, keeping her from facing the music for so long that she’s now a drug addict with no job, car, house, or self-respect. I escaped that because all along, since second grade, I have resented you. Yes. Resented that I couldn’t have a mommy that didn’t pick crazy fights with dad as we were watching a baseball game, eating dinner, or whatever. A mommy that wouldn’t freak out at tiny problems and scare the shit out of me with lies fashioned to keep me safe, that only served to inhibit my sense of trust in the world. A mommy who didn’t get so tired she wouldn’t talk to me or Dad and had to be taken to hospital on regular intervals.

I love ya, Mom, but you sure fucked up bad.

Four kids, one alcoholic, another a depressed, self-loathing mess (me) and a drug addict forever child. My oldest brother is the most well-balanced of the four of us, and I truly believe it’s because he spent the greater majority of his time with Father. Why did you “protect” us three from Dad so much? I have a good relationship with my father now, but my brother and sister haven’t spoken with him in years, in any meaningful way.

Do you know why dad was so grumpy all the time, mom? Because he slogged his ass of in a coal mine for twelve hours a day, six days a week and came home to either a batshit crazy or a sweet as pie wife–he never knew what to expect. He paid your way, Mom, and you resented him for it! He never made you stay home, you could have had your own money. Instead, you spent him into debt with secret credit cards, on more than one occasion. I remember the fights. They were the only ones that had any kind of justification. In other words, Dad was right!

You even kept him from forming decent relationships with the majority of his children.

Mom, I love you, but you have messed up three of your kids. That is a fact. I am now thirty six and struggle daily with feelings of empty, horrid loneliness and depression. These things are only bigger for me now, and I resent that you had every reasonable signal that something was very wrong with your child and you did …nothing. NOTHING!

I am now a father, and if one of my children began behaving the ways that I did, I would most certainly get them to someone for help. It’s not normal to rage the ways I did. Now I know it’s because of the injustice of abuse and the feeling that I wasn’t really wanted in the home.

I’m fixing these problems now, Mom, and without your help, just as before. It’s fucked, and I’m still kinda pissed off that all the signs were there. Sure, it was the early nineties. You watched enough talk shows to see at least one child psychiatrist telling parents signs of trouble in a kid. This fucking rock I’ve been toting for so goddamned long is a big bastard now. I’m pissed that I’ve had to do that carrying for so long. I’ve learned so much in my reading that I know that things wouldn’t be so bad NOW, if you would had done more THEN. Maybe you could have found yourself some decent help along the way, too.

I’m taking action now, Mom. I’m a big boy and have been taking care of myself. I’m getting the help I need, but my problems are compounded now by a failed marriage and the breakdown of my little family. This isn’t easier. Time didn’t make this shit go away. Indeed its only become worse.

I will overcome.

I love you mom. I hate you too. I don’t like it, and certainly this is going to be something that I address in therapy. But I’m doing it, finally, and that’s the point.

It’s Been A Year

In the United States, every 107 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted. Four of every five sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. 68% of all sexual assaults go unreported to the proper authorities.

Why? Why do so many sexual assaults go unreported?

Shame. Self blame. Embarrassment. Fear that no one would believe their story. Fear that they may have caused it. Not wanting to be the victim. Wanting to move past the sexual assault. There are a multitude of reasons why sexual assaults go unreported.

Just as there are a number of types of rape (gang rape, date/acquaintance rape, intimate partner rape, statutory rape, sexual assault), there are a multitude of responses to sexual assault. Each of which is completely normal.

This April, The Band Back Together Project is shining a light into the darkness of sexual assault. Please share your story of sexual assault so that we can Light the Darkness.

All are welcome.

Here I am, a year later.

It never really gets any easier. You just learn to live with it.

It was a year on 12/14 since the night that I was raped. I posted on this site a week or so after it happened and to me.

It was a silent cry for help.

I guess this is what this post is too …I know I need help. But I’m scared to get it.

How do I tell someone that I still don’t see myself when I look in the mirror?

How do I tell someone that I don’t trust a single man that I know or see because I’m terrified of what they will do to me if I give them my trust?

It’s been an entire year and I still can’t get over it.

When does it go away?

When do things get easier?

When will I be myself again?

Childhod

My mother would often threaten me that she was going to get really sick and die if I didn’t obey her like a good child does. She would often say how horrible of a kid I was, and how my attitude was going to destroy my life in the future.

In front of people she would say how smart and creative I was, but how I would get on her wits and make her loose control.

Funny, how she had strength one day to beat me up and the next she was in bed complaining of how sick she was from who knows what. I spent most of my childhood ignoring her complaints about her health, her overly-frequent visits to doctors and how she would loudly and dramatically announce she had an annual breast exam the next day. She also spent a lot of time saying how unloving I was by not caring for her and giving her the attention and care she needed.

I refused to let her control me. I refused so hard, she made sure to cut out all my other outside-relationships and to leave me hopeless each time I reconstructed my life back together. How she would talk to me about my friends when I was little, claiming they stole things from me or where jealous of me. And how in the blink of an eye, I had no friends anymore. I still have problems trusting friends. 

Finally for once in my life, I feel like I have control. Now that I moved a whole sea away from her and that I have cut phone calls, and only Skype every few months for an hour or so. And even still, I can’t stand her.

This last year has been so constructive to my life, I have done a complete twist in myself and feel so much different. I am happy, I have a stable life, and no one is there  sabotaging it. She doesn’t have enough resources to try to.

I can’t imagine inviting her to stay over. Why would I want that? She brings it up on every call. I really wouldn’t want her here. I know her, she won’t behave herself.

 

I Have Been So Incredibly Stupid…

If you read my first post, you know I lived with a man who couldn’t tell the truth if his life depended on it. He cheated repeatedly, all the while telling me he loved me more than anything, that he couldn’t imagine his life without me. He said I was his future.

Funny how he could never treat me that way.

He had stepped up his drinking to a horrible rate. He didn’t feel he should keep promises, like showing up at work, if he didn’t feel like it. He drank until he would pass out. I tried not to be co-dependent, but his clients know me, so I was always the one who was stuck having to tell people he wasn’t coming. He certainly didn’t care if we had money to pay the bills on time.

I worked consistently from the time I was 18 until I had to go on disability. I had beautiful credit, so that was what we lived on. BIG mistake on my part.

He went to rehab, lied his way through it and was released after 90 days. He was drinking again within two weeks. He went back and forth to rehab a couple of times, but he always lied and would be drinking again as soon as he was released. It got so bad that I kept getting calls from the fire dept, police, or paramedics. They would find him passed out in a park, and tell me I needed to pick him up. They would never help me. They would lecture me about how he needed help, as if I didn’t know, but for one reason or another, they couldn’t just take him to detox or arrest him.

One day, he drove drunk and thankfully only did damage to our car. I said I had had enough. I told him he needed to go stay somewhere else and think about what he wanted out of his life. He was drinking to maintain, and then went on a binge. He refused to answer my texts, even though I could see he had read them. I warned him he was setting in motion things that could not be undone. He still would not answer.

I am disabled, so I’m not able to work. He abandoned me with just $57 to my name. I have no way to pay the bills, no way to pay for my medications, no way to buy food. I waited, and finally, I filed bankruptcy. Just like that, my entire life’s work down the drain. I could not be more humiliated.

A week later, he finally decided to talk to me. He said he loves me, he just needs some time to work on being the right kind of husband. I told him I wasn’t sure the opportunity would still be there. So now, he’s calling me every night and telling me how much he loves me. Each night, he has sounded more and more intoxicated, so I know nothing has really changed.

I have supported him, through the drinking, for SIX years. He would always say he wanted to be sober, so I kept trying to help. Obviously, he doesn’t want to quit drinking. So, why do I feel so bad? Why do I feel like I’m letting him down, when he has never once been there for me?

When I had my knee replaced, he was too drunk to take care of me. He stole my pain medication, and I never did find out why. I guess he wanted to make me suffer through physical withdrawal like he has to when he dries out. Would someone who loved me put me through that?

I can’t forgive him for abandoning me with no money or food. He obviously didn’t care about me, so why do I still feel guilty and sad? I know I deserve better!

Healing

So, I’ve just realized that I’ve been in an emotional, physical, and verbally abusive relationship for five years. I am in the process of healing.

You would think that healing comes easily. It doesn’t. Every day seems like a struggle. Sometimes I hate myself for the person that I have become: fragile, weak, heartbroken, depressed. I thought that I loved this man. He told me that he loved me, and I told him that I loved him, but everything changed so fast. The gentle, sweet talking man that I thought I knew turned out to be an angry, jealous, bitter abuser. I can’t help but think about the chances that I had to walk away.

I met him on a Christian blog. I discovered my spiritual side wanted to learn more about the Christian faith. He sent me a friend request, and I accepted it. I invited this man into my life because I thought that he was a fellow Christian with good intentions. Being 19 at the time, with many problems in my personal life, I realize that I was also naive. I did not think about the repercussions of pouring out my heart to a complete stranger.

Not long after we had met, he started to tell me that he loved me. Soon after, I gave him my phone number. I thought that I could trust him, and I gave him my address. Over time, he would send me gifts: candy, clothes, money, and other things. He told me that I was the only one, different from the other girls that he met. He made me feel loved, in his eyes I was perfect.

The more we got to know each other, the more serious we got. Since the relationship was long distance, we kept in touch with each as much as possible, maybe a little bit too much. We would literally stay on the phone with each other for hours. What I thought was a sign of care was nothing more than his way of control. If I did not return his phone calls, he would text me constantly. When ever we got into an argument, and I would ignore him, he would threaten to commit suicide.

Months into the relationship, I noticed that things were beginning to take a turn for the worse, but since I was going through a tough time in my life, and I needed someone to turn to, I chose to ignore the signs. A began to notice his jealousy, especially after I would tell him about my male friends. He punished for my honesty when I was only trying to establish trust. He started degrading me and calling me names. I thought that this was normal and forgave him after. He then started to send me pictures of himself, some sexual in nature. I was uncomfortable with this, but I did not tell him. I thought that sex would bring us closer since we were so far apart.

After seven months of communicating by phone, email, and text, I took a bus to meet him in Mississippi. I was scared, but felt that this would show how much I really wanted this relationship to turn out. When I saw him for the first time, I felt numb. I didn’t feel attracted to him, but did my best to make him feel loved. When I got to his house, I was nervous. His mom didn’t know I was there and I didn’t know anyone. We ended up having sex that first night. I didn’t enjoy it, but I felt like this would make everything official.

After two weeks, I returned home. I moved out of my parents house and stayed with my grandparents. We continued to stay in touch and we told each other how we wish that we could be together. One day, after an argument with his mother, he decided that he wanted to leave home. He wanted to come live with me even after I told him that I was not ready. He left anyway. I was scared at the fact that this man would come to my home even after I said no. I was worried about what my family would think.

When he got to South Carolina, I met him at the hotel to help him settle. I began to feel responsible for his homelessness and I stayed at the hotel with him. When he ran out of money, he asked if he could stay with me. As worried as I was, I let him.

Since that day, my life has never been the same. I live with a predator. He’s a completely different man from the man that I thought I knew. He accuses me of sleeping around. He’s looked through my phones, and even broken them. He destroys things that have value to me.

I’ve been sexually abused by this man. He touches me inappropriately without my permission. I’ve been physically abused: punched, kicked, slapped, bruised. I’ve called the police on him three times. He’s been arrested once.

I became pregnant by this man. The abuse did not stop after I got pregnant. After my baby was born, he started to isolate himself from me even more.

I wanted to share this story because I wanted to let any one who has been abused know that you can heal. I had to get on my knees and pray for healing. I accepted Jesus Christ into my life so that I could be saved. I know that Jesus loves me, and you, no matter what anyone else says. When we know that we are loved, we begin to love ourselves: then we can heal.