Category Archives: abuse

Flow or No

Whether it is because of the PTSD or otherwise, I tend to work in spurts or fits and starts. I keep thinking I should just be able to schedule something for a few hours, I can, but mostly don’t.

I need to accept that the abuse, panic attacks, and PTSD all make a regular schedule very difficult, if not impossible, as much as I’d like otherwise.

I need to stop fighting this and just accept it as the way I flow, period. I think when/if I can do that, the panic attacks or vestiges of them will lessen dramatically. It’s my belief that the panic is due largely to people being able to “see” what I’m doing or have done. I have a lot fewer problems, like nearly none, when I’m working for other people. This is only the stuff I do at home.
fits & starts2
Can I repeat, again, how much I really, absolutely hate the woman who abused me? It totally sucks to have your brain be your main enemy. It sucks more to view any finished project as something which will be attacked, belittled, or sneered at, whether it’s a clean kitchen counter or an art work. This just makes getting anything done a real challenge. [And I needed more of those, right?]

P.S. Reading this, I realized t’s wrong. I don’t hate her. I hate what she did to my brain. If it wasn’t that no matter how much work I do, this will be with me forever, I would have very few feelings about here at all.

She’s gone, her daughter is gone. The memories of what she did just make me feel sorrty: for her that she could be so nasty, her daughter and myself because she felt it necessary to emotionally attack two innocent little girls,, who grew to be wounded women because of it. It was just a waste.

Advertisements

Lapfull of Warm: Completely Unexpected Result

DH and I went to my fave yarn shop last weekend. My holiday gift was yarn this year.

While we were checking out, the woman working asked about my muffler. What yarn had I used, how big were the needles? Would I tell her the pattern? She wanted to make one!

OMG!!!

I was shellshocked. The 2nd piece I ever finish and someone who works in a yarn shop wants to copy it???

I haven’t posted anything because I think it’s like the first book. For months I was waiting for someone to say, “No. Sorry, we really didn’t mean it.” and I refused to let myself get excited about the book. This was similar. I haven’t really let myself even think about it. But I sat in the car last Saturday afterward, and nearly cried.

Long way in two years ‘eh? From a 10 stitch square which traumatized me so much it took me 4 hours to knit to a piece which is good enough for someone who works in a yarn shop to want to make!

I still shake when I’m knitting and I think about it. If I knit and I’m not distracted by something I still want to cry. I still have issues with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th stitches casting on and casting off. But if I distract myself enough? I can knit some, and I guess I do all right. . .OMG!

J

 

 

Lapfull of Warm

Over the past week+ you would think I was a youtube addict. I’ve watched Nero Wolfe TV shows, music videos from Burlesque (the movie) and a lot of the “blind auditions” at The Voice.

Why? Well, especially with those auditions, what I got was distracted, just enough that I could knit.

On occasion, I’ve noticed what I was doing and the fact that the muffler I was knitting had gotten longer and longer and the ball of yarn correspondingly smaller. When I did, my hands would shake, I’d make mistakes, and  I’d fix them. My back would get cold and when I wanted to cry I’d look at the video, whatever it was — and keep knitting.

Of course I do have a life that doesn’t include sitting at my desk, knitting and listening to music or half-watching video. But. . .I tied the piece off about an hour ago. I  have 2 strings one on each end to weave in. There is one more ball of this yarn here. I may (or may not) make fringe for this. I don’t know. But it’s done. I intend to use it.

My heart is pounding a little. My palms were sweating as I did the last few decreases.

Somewhere, there’s a little girl, sobbing curled up in her bed because she doesn’t know what’s “wrong”with her, crying on the top of the cliff she was too “cowardly” to jump from, in a hospital because she doesn’t know how to cope with the world, and, and — there’s a thousand slides of the wounded child/youngster/woman I was, defeated and dragging herself  — plodding to her next probable failure, somewhere. . . .

There was usually just enough hope and whatever the F it is that always made me a fighter, from my first breath.

I got a man who stands at my back. I started winning sometimes. There are friends who “get” it. I got diagnosed. I won a lot more.

Then there was knitting: the fact that knitting was traumatic was not just laughable on the face of it, but it seemed absurd. Last year, I found someone and took a lesson. I knit and I knit and I knit — until I knew it was possible for me to do so without a total meltdown. Then I quit.

Last year, my husband’s holiday gift was a gift card at a local high-end yarn shop. I bought this beautiful yarn. For a long time I thought I’d just hang the skein on the living room wall. The skein got misplaced in the rearrangement for painting the living room. That didn’t matter as I’d stopped knitting.

I found the skein about 2 weeks ago and couldn’t keep my hands out of it. Eventually I rolled it into a ball. I started pieces and ripped them out and started something else. Nothing got finished, of course. Then I started a 20 stitch thing not all that hard, but not boring either.

I finished it tonight. I’m shaky, scared, wanting to cry — and fighting a smile. Because I won.The muffler is over 5′ long and it certainly has mistakes. I don’t care. I have a lap of warm stuff which will keep my neck warm,  imperfections and all, I’m proud of it.

Take that Abuser!!!

PURSUE Happiness

This is what I used as a reminder and still do, when appropriate:

Put Up, Remember, Shut Up, & Endure

When things got really bad, I’d use the “pursuit of happiness” idea, with this as an acronym, to get myself through. I’d remind myself to be greedy and/or fiercely vigilante, that I deserved happiness, it was something I’d wanted and worked for, for decades.

This is for dealing with others’ actions. Sometimes I had to grit my teeth, shut up, and deal. (Often my being able to “deal” wasn’t being able to deal with whatever was going on currently, but a focus on the future, the possibility that things would change at some undefined future point.) I expect this to be true for the rest of my life.

When people have called me “brave” or “strong” I’ve always said that’s not true.

It isn’t true — I am STUBBORN. I use PURSUE to remind myself that stubbornness, an unwillingness to accept that the world is F’d up beyond hope is my “superpower.” It’s my form of being passive aggressive. I put up, shut up and endured, while dreaming not of hurting the person harming me, not of a world where whatever wasn’t happening, but of a world where what was happening here/now was a distant and unimportant piece of long ago.

I encourage you to be stubborn, in appropriate ways. The world doesn’t owe you anything, others don’t owe you anything. But you owe yourself to try and make your future the best and brightest you can. That means not hurting others, not lashing out, not blaming, but getting on with your life with joy — when you can.

It’s what George Herbert said: “Living well is the best revenge.”

Not Feeling Brave

Or in fact like doing anything at all, except hiding.

Yesterday I went to storytelling. Fine. Talked about stigma, my idea for how to talk about it. My overall impression is that the circle is bored with what I have to say. I came up with an alternative way to approach my problem.

My problem is just this: I’m not afraid of public speaking, in general. I’m terrified to talk about myself and my past issues. Same reason I’m stalling on the memoir. Makes me cringe when people say things like you’re strong, because you know? I’m not.

Stubborn enough to keep fighting myself is one thing. Talking about that in a semi-closed loop (like the ‘net or my friends) is also okay. Talking to people in general isn’t.

I was programmed to believe that people in general would reject me. Yes, I know I’m not the “flawed” human I was brainwashed into thinking I was. However, I WAS brainwashed. And unlike someone who gets PTSD and their brain changed as an adult or young adult, I have no memory to use as a bulwark against the mantra that was woven into my DNA. Of course, I also don’t have the “WTF is wrong with you?” that folks who get PTSD as an adult have as I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have it.

Ironically, I want to talk about the stigma related to mental illness, and the stigma stuffed into my brain is stopping me, cold.

I don’t know if I really want to push through it. I “should.” Yes, I know. But another thing about being 60+ and having fought this damned stuff for 55 or so years is that I’m tired. It’s not an adventure. I’m not determined. It’s just the next, obvious step. It feels like this and the memoir are what I was “meant” to do — but despite all the decades of feistiness, I just don’t seem to give a damn.

I’m not merely tired, or weary, I’m drained.

That is mighty weird since I have fought for the life I wanted, literally since my first breath.

 

 

I May Offend You with This Post. If so, I’m Sorry!

I have been contemplating religion a lot. Partly because I realized the Abuser’s mantra that “God can’t love you, if He did, you wouldn’t be in pain” has been (along with the equivalent piece about my family) the hardest thing for me to “fix.”

My family, in the form of my brother, and I may just get to be easy acquaintances, although I doubt we’ll ever be friends — we have few interests in common. My brother made a real effort to see me in my own world and not insist that I meet him in his. I didn’t have to be a student to his college professor and we tried. I don’t expect we’ll ever be buddies, but we can be friendly. He didn’t sneer at me, which was what I was most afraid of. I know him well enough to know/see it when he’s mocking people. He wasn’t.

So my human brother can at least respect me. And, given that I realized not too long ago that I could have loved my sister if she hadn’t kept propping her ego up by making me less to her more, then what does that lead me to with God?

If I believe that I was likely NOT unlovable at birth, then I can accept God/Jesus/Christianity — right?

No.

It isn’t that I don’t think Jesus was likely the Messiah — he might well have been. It isn’t that at all. It’s the “get out of jail free” thing. I don’t want to be forgiven, or not in the traditional sense anyway.

cross

Where I am — seeing myself as flawed and that being okay, is a huge step up from where I was for 50+ years — thinking I was damned, vile and had to be perfect to be merely adequate. To go from that to seeing myself as so flawed that I then need redemption seems like going backwards. Am I perfect? No way.

This is also tied to forgiveness. I don’t believe in that “get out of jail free” card either. I’m sorry. I don’t think if Attila the Hun or Hitler had said “I’m sorry” and done whatever religious conversion that it just washes it all clean. No. More, I want to be responsible for my own actions. I’ve hurt people. I’ve been nasty, judgmental, done careless things which got other people hurt. Done them as a kid, done them as an adult. Am I sorry? Yes. Do I want to be forgiven? I don’t really know. I would like to know that whatever stupid, careless, selfish, arrogant, nasty, hateful, etc. thing I’ve done to or caused for another did not result in lasting harm. I’m afraid that isn’t so and yes, I regret each and every one of those instances.

By the same token, other people have done that type of thing to me, sometimes for decades (my sister for example) and with the repeated pain, I don’t want to forgive them, don’t want to hold the pain/anger tight either. I just want them removed surgically from my life, and no, I do not want to forget the pain — because it is instructive.

I think I have a different perspective about pain, especially emotional pain, than many. I have this completely overwhelmed grieving child stuck in me. I can’t make her feel better. I’ve never found the edges or end to her pain. It’s basically a baby’s grief of abandonment. Not rational, not limited, not controllable.

Because of that, and having to cope with it nearly as long as I can remember, people and things which consistently added to my pain I have written out of my life. No, I don’t want the anger or the bitterness, but I  can’t afford to forget either. That grieving baby takes a chunk of my resources. If person A or situation B consistently pushes me that way, it’s too expensive.

That colors how I feel about God and Christianity and that “get out of jail free” card. I didn’t need Jesus to die for my sins in order to be able to live with myself. I had to learn to live with myself without Him, as He was part of the “proof” that I was beyond redemption. If I hadn’t learned to live with my flawed self, I would have kept trying to kill myself until I succeeded.

Having gotten where I can live with being both flawed and human, I have no desire to “chase” forgiveness or redemption. I also have no interest or intention in pursuing relationships which continually push my buttons.  My mental health has been too dearly wrought.

At the worst, an encounter with these people can cost me two weeks of well being. Ask yourself, who’s worth two weeks of happiness or just being okay in your life? If you’re me, the answer is: no one.

The irony here is that this means I’m also denied the comfort of religion, and the Abuser wins again — sort of. This is still the best I can manage.

PTSD/Abuse Trap

I realized something the other day. That is, that since the “Breakthrough” post what, last week? (link) I’ve done a lot of work on the house, got 2 rooms cleaned up and culled, and no emotional/PTSD backwash, that is, no panic.

I also, after Thursday, when I got done with the 2nd one with help, stopped working on it and intend to not work on it (except to maintain or restore those 2 rooms) until next Monday. And no guilt, that is, no beating myself up with “shoulds.”

Both of those reactions were part of the trap the PTSD/abuse/self-esteem/brain washing (whatever) issues most of my life:

If I worked on something, it wasn’t done well enough or quickly enough, and mostly it wasn’t finished at all. When I quit, I’d then beat myself up because I was a loser who never finished anything.

A few years ago, I realized I had a similar trap about dealing with pain. I call it the Emotional Function Badguy. When I created this graphic, it was the first time I saw it was an endless loop I could not escape.

function bad guy

The PTSD/Abuse Trap was similar:

Clean?

(yes) -> Panic!

(no) – > Vile/Disgusting!

Keep cleaning?

(yes) -> Not fast/good enough! -> Panic!

(no) ->Wimp!


Again, there’s no way out. No positive side.

What’s different this time?

Clean?

(yes) -> No panic

(no) -> I did good, I can take a few days off.


If you’re me? The change is bizarre. I’m relaxed. It’s okay that I’m not cleaning. It’s okay that the rooms have degraded somewhat; I can fix it,. It’s okay. I can clean or not, and that’s okay.


F’n amazing.