It’s been 4 months since I found myself in a retrospective analysis of my life caused by distress, emotional pain but also numbness, fatigue and exhaustion, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and dissociation, difficulties controlling my emotions and responses and difficulties being around other people. I didn’t want to do anything but lay down and listen to music or lay down and do nothing.
If I was sitting, usually up in bed, I wanted to write, only writing could keep me going. It was almost like if I was writing about it, it was wasn’t about me, I could write about this person on the page for whom all these thoughts and information seemed to be forthcoming. It was a great distraction. I’ve barely been out. Just for essentials or when I’ve really pushed myself.
I have now owned my abuse history. Shared that I was subject to sexual abuse as a child, shared that my mother was abusive emotionally and used to go into rages that were physical and I have shared my experience of what a drug rape was like.
I have finally realised that the abuse I experienced from my deceased husband was very significant and that he meets the description of someone with “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. It’s remarkable I stayed with him so long although now I’m connecting with other Survivors of Narcissistic abuse I see how it happens as well as seeing alot of shared experience.
I write and this is what I currently have to share. I’d rather be making up a story about the log formation I saw from a distance on the pond the other day that looked like a witch. But what I have to share presently is this.
It was odd, at the time the abuse was flooding me, that I really felt the need to be heard by someone and I didn’t have anyone really. I wasn’t talking to my sisters. I don’t talk to my Mum about anything that isn’t superficial and my best friend is abroad. So I chose 2 inappropriate people, a new and an old mother figure in my life. I shared my poems with them and bits of my book and what was on my mind and they kindly provided a crisis intervention. It served me for a while but ultimately I’ve had to become independent with it and sit with it alone again until I get some therapy.
In sharing with them I was basically accepting all these phrases that I really don’t like “I was subject to child abuse” *I was raped” “I was a victim of Domestic Violence”. These phrases cause me great unease, I almost wince. I don’t want to be part of one of those clubs let alone all. It’s more than unease, it’s a sickening feeling and perhaps that’s part of why I’ve disconnected from the memories for so long in addition to the way trauma can affect people in terms of processing it.
I also feel these words bring such a sense of helplessness and I don’t like it. If you consider helplessness as “lacking protection and support” it is not so bad, that’s a dictionary definition I found but you’ve got other synonyms like “powerless” and “weak”. People don’t separate the two meanings. I suppose finally I must feel shame also. And guess what, I don’t like that word either.
I probably was weak and powerless against my abusers but I find it hard to accept. I’ve even tried to regain power by fantasising about some of my abusive scenarios and re-writing them in my head that I wanted it, it was my choice. I don’t recommend this, it didn’t work for me and just gets confusing and stressful. I think I’m going to stick with lacking protection and support as my way of looking at helplessness and of course I don’t need to use the word helpless but it’s one that came to mind.
The words abuse and rape are ugly and dirty. They represent ugly and dirty things. I don’t want that kind of ugliness associated with me. I did not want to be subject to it and it’s a paradox that I don’t want anyone to know about it, yet I’m writing and sharing it albeit under Pseudonym. On the one hand I don’t want people to know but on the other, I do want to be heard. I think it could be because I’ve spent more of my life being abused than being loved. This phrase I picked up the other day resonated this for me:
“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable”.
I feel there are stereotypes about what abused people look like, how they present, what they are like, day to day and I don’t want to be one (I’m also sure it’s not true anyway). I only told my Psychiatrist about one of my abuse things and so he was recommending me for a therapy that wasn’t the right type. Then I had to add the full story. That must have been shame right there.
I either reel it off like a shopping list or I allude to it. I’m trying to get Specialist Trauma Therapy as I have a combination of a sustained Bipolar Disorder relapse and Complex PTSD. In speaking to my GP I found myself saying “This (name of service) is really good for people in my situation”. Why couldn’t I just say “Its’ the best place for people who have suffered repeated trauma” or “They have a Specialist Sexual abuse” service. It might have been a bit more meaningful than “It’s good for people in my situation” What part of your situation for goodness sake!
Everything is in words isn’t it? Well I find it is. I’ve not been able to say Survivor either. I remember crying and saying to my Music Therapist “I’m not really feeling like a survivor, I’m a f***king victim”. But I’m changing already on that. I was victim to a number of nasty crimes. However I have survived them, I’m regaining strength and I’m trying to heal.
Still I don’t really want to be part of this. If I’d never said it out loud or written it out it might be less real. But feeling real must lead to healing eventually. The suffering was real so acceptance should ultimately be freeing.
It will have a freeing effect on my relationships and my friendships. I have become much more aware of boundaries, where I give too much, where I take too much. The key thing is that I never really knew what was acceptable in a loving relationship as my mother daughter relationship was such a poor model and that’s why I accepted the Narcissistic abuse not really recognising it was wrong.
Rage was normal for me with both of them as was emotional abuse. She blamed me, he blamed me, She said something was wrong with me. He said things were wrong with me. She said she was right. He said he was right.They both tried to control me. Although the Narcissistic brain washing and manipulation from my husband took it to new heights. His should have got a prize for his Coercive talents.
I may not like the word abuse but it’s just a word. I’m sad it’s taken me so long for my mind to be able to process it and the reality of it in my life. At least I can be sure it will not happen again. My self worth is more now and I have an understanding of the way abusive people work.
Love Alice x
Survivor of Domestic Abuse, Child Abuse, Rape.
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