Finding the strength…continued. 

My mother went to her therapy session and didn’t speak about it until the day before her next one. She came upstairs and told me that her therapist told her that she’s (my mom) not a mind reader and that I have to tell her what I’m needing out of her. 

She then proceeded to ask me questions, details, about the abuse that occurred. I clammed up, physically, mentally, emotionally, and told her that I can’t talk about it because I was getting really triggered. I asked her if she knew what that meant. She chose not to answer that question and deflected to something else. It eventually got to the point where I was begging her to stop, to stop talking, stop trying to get details, stop invading my boundaries, but she just kept pushing on because she didn’t hear any of that. 

I was so miserable being in my own body, all I could do was crouch down and grab my hair and keep from screaming because I couldn’t even stand the skin on my own body. To try to get my mother to understand how triggered I was (and she said that she “knew what triggered means”) I said, “Well, all I want to do right now is drive my car into a fucking tree.” She had no reaction. She was just upset at how angry I was at her. Which really wasn’t anger. It was more despair and hopelessness than anything. 

The conversation ended abruptly when she said that my best friends, my closest friends that know me almost as well as my therapist and are supportive as hell and would kill for me, don’t know the “real” me, the “hostile” me. 

I visited with my friends – the ones who don’t know me well – and they talked me off the ledge. Quite literally. I also got in touch with my therapist via email just to let her know what was going on. 

To add horrible insult to a gaping hole of an injury: my boyfriend told me that he intentionally didn’t answer my texts or calls that day – the day when I was in so much despair – because he said he could tell “from my text messages” that I was angry. And he didn’t want to speak to me when I was angry. When I told him that I was in despair and hopeless, not angry, he argued that it was the same thing for him, but I told him it’s not for me. He didn’t believe me, because he did not believe my own perceptions of my own emotions. 

He has spent too much time with my mother. She spent months planting a bug in his ear about how easily I get angry and how loving and caring and altruistic she is. 

I have stayed with my best friend the past few days because I have been in too much despair to be home. She came with me back to the house last night to get a couple things and when she heard my mother and I getting into it, she came downstairs. We all, all three of us, argued for over an hour. My mother claimed she followed me after I said I was suicidal but all of the places she said she went were totally incorrect, so she was lying. She screamed at me when she asked more questions as a request for details about the abuse and I said that I couldn’t talk about it. 

The conversation eventually ended cordially but it doesn’t matter to me anymore. Nothing has really changed. And my boyfriend still won’t talk to me for some reason, and I don’t understand what I did wrong, and I can’t get him to talk to me. I finally got in touch with his friend today just to make sure he was ok, which he is. But this is all tearing me apart. My boyfriend is standing up for my mother rather than me, because he has only seen the side of her that is happy and sweet and unconditionally loving. 

And I feel like I have gone crazy and like everything and anyone that gets too close to me falls apart. 

Finding the strength to stand up to family

If anyone really reads this, I am sorry that I have not been posting lately.

My mother and I have had a very contentious relationship since I told her… You know. I had hoped that her knowing the whole truth would help her understand me a bit more. But it hasn’t. If anything, things have gotten worse, because I have just gotten more frustrated and angry that she has continued on with her life like nothing has changed and hasn’t echoed one word of support.

I’ve told my therapist our conversations and she has told me, “Oh she’s good” when it comes to how she twists things around to make them about her and pin me a corner without an escape. But today was different. Because this time, I knew there was no way she could pin me in a corner.

She got into it with me because I made a “unilateral” decision about the horses (she often says she will defer to me because I am the “expert”). The issue was only about some hay nets that I wanted to use. When things escalated, I walked away.

Then I decided to come back downstairs. Because I was tired. I want to come back to the house that I own and enjoy it, not be afraid of the occupant waiting for me.

I asked her to name one thing she has done to support me since I “told her”. For the SECOND time since I told her about everything, she actually asked me, “Since you told me what?” As if she has forgotten what I told her. I said, “Are you freaking kidding me?” And she said something like, “Ok, ok – but you said you didn’t want to talk about it.” I told her that that didn’t mean I couldn’t use some sort of words of support every now and then.

She then started going on about how she has always been supportive of me all throughout my life and how could I say that about her, so on and so forth. And I stopped her right then and I told her, “No. You don’t get to make this about you. What have you done for me since I told you?”

I told her how much it hurt that she has done nothing to support me since I told her months ago. Her ability to go on with her life as if nothing happened is like her not believing me. She kept saying that I told her I didn’t want to talk about it and that she didn’t know what she was supposed to do, and just like I have told her before, I reiterated that I don’t have the mental or emotional strength to teach her what she’s supposed to do or how she’s supposed to deal with it. She has to find someone else to do that. I asked her, “How can you expect me to help you do that sort of thing when I am still trying to figure out how to deal with it on my own?”

I asked her if she had any idea what it takes for me to simply make it through the day. She didn’t reply. I told her that it takes everything I have to not react to every tiny little trigger. She still did not seem to know what to say.

Then she said, with a resentful tone, “So all of your friends know?” And I told her that only one other person (besides my therapist) knows. Then I left. Because I couldn’t stand to be in the same room with someone who was making my problem all about her. Even after all of these months of me trying to nudge her in the right direction and give her tips and hints of what she can do to be helpful, she chose to make everything about herself. So I just left.

The next day, she told me that she sent an email to her therapist and told her everything that we had talked about. 

I will have a whole separate post about everything that followed. 

The cat is out of the bag.

Yesterday, I did what I had sworn, or parts or myself at least, that I would never, ever do. For my own protection and for my mother’s sake.

I can’t say it out loud but I can write it. I told her that I was sexually abused by my father. We have had major fights over the past several months, and last night, it got to the point where I just said, you know what, I don’t care. And that’s exactly what I did say. I got home from work and went downstairs to my mother’s “apartment” to ask her if we needed to straighten anything else out. She just turned her back and told me to read my email.

In my previous email to her, I told her that I had a right to be angry, and in her response, she said that if I find fault in everything she does, then of course I will think I have the right to be angry.

After I read that, I went downstairs and just said, “I’ve never told you this just because I wanted to keep from feeling guilty about dad. But I just don’t give a shit anymore.” All I could say was that the abuse was more than verbal. She asked if it was sexual and I said yes.

Point #1 that hurt me to the core: it mattered to her whether or not he completely “raped” me or not. That word makes me so squeamish… And for some reason I associate it with more “grown up” people. But I nodded.

Point #2 that hurt me to the core: she immediately admitted that she found him having sex with another woman in my room, with me in it, when I was two years old. She said she kicked him out, but she obviously let him back in and remained oblivious for years.

I should cut her some slack. And I’m trying to. But I am a complete and utter mess. And then I got into a car accident today, first ever, at my own fault.

I don’t know what to think but the pain of having her know is not relieving. It is suffocating.

Dealing with the grief of death

I’ve had several posts that have been in draft form in here for months. None as worthy of posting as this one.

I blessed to be able to own three horses now. However I always intended on keeping one of my horses – we will call him T – forever. And, forever in horse language is until they pass away from old age. T was only 11. He should have had at least 10 more years ahead of him.

Instead, I was out with a close co-worker friend of mine after work one day and get a panicked text message from mother, EMERGENCY – T. It’s bad.

My stomach drops but I immediately pick up the phone and call her. She is sitting with him and answers the phone. In between tears she tells me that she found him laying down and that she called the vet and they think he broke his leg.

I don’t hear anything else after this.

A broken leg is a death sentence. I broke down in the middle of the store we were in. We were trying on clothes… I never shop for damn clothes… And my friend heard me and was hurrying to finish up but in the meantime I had random strangers coming up and asking if I was OK.

No, I was not OK.

I had T for nearly 8 years. He got me through times in my teenage years when I was suicidal and had no one. When I needed to escape, I would go out to the barn and just be with him. Sometimes it wouldn’t even involve riding. Just being there with him was all the therapy I needed. And I would cry with him. It was the only safe place to cry.

We did some horse shows together.. Never as many as I would’ve liked due to money issues, but they were still good. That horse put me back together. In our first horse show together, we unanimously won our first class under both of the judges who were judging it. I was so happy and surprised that I cried after I left the ring. Not even when I won my world championship way back when I was 14 did I cry. This made me so much happier because the emotional journey that I had taken to get to that point had been so harrowing and yet there I was. And T was the one horse who willingly and bravely took me there, only wanting love – and some grain and hay – in return.

He wasn’t with me consistently through all 8 of those years.. For three years while I was in college, he was leased to a woman in Texas where he got to eat grass and hay all day. He was happy there.

Then we tried leasing him to another woman who had a nice, reputable trainer to guide her. 4 months later, T had lost so much weight, you could see all of his ribs as well as each of his hip bones. So despite the fact that I wasn’t sure how I would afford it, I took him back just to get him out of that situation. I had no idea that he had lost so much weight or else I would’ve taken him back much sooner. I’ve never been so angry in my life as I was at that woman for neglecting my horse. She didn’t do it intentionally – she didn’t know better. But by golly if you are going to take on someone else’s horse, you sure as hell better make sure you know better.

It’s hard to be grateful that he was in that situation, but I am, because that’s what led to him coming back to me permanently.

I rent a nice little house with a 4 stall barn on 6 acres. I found it by accident.. I was just looking for a pet friendly apartment for me and my dog. But then when I needed to bring T back, this was a blessing. The fencing situation where I rent my house and barn is not very good. Mesh wire on the bottom with one barbed wire strand along the top. I’ve hated it since I moved in, but my horses never had a problem with it until last month with T.

When my friend got out of the dressing room and saw all of those people crowded around me, sobbing uncontrollably, she knew something was terribly wrong. I told her between choking breaths and she started to cry, too, and stopped and gave me a hug and told me she was sorry. Then she to me to give her my keys so she could drive me home and stay with me.

When we got home, T was laying in the paddock, covered in sweat. When he saw me, he started to pick his head up and almost whinny, but it only came out as a groan. I glanced down and over at his back leg to see and immediately knew with just a glance that he needed to be put down. All I wanted in that moment was for him to be free of pain. Screw what I was feeling.

I was in a white t-shirt and flip flops but I didn’t care. I laid down on the ground next to him and stroked his face and his neck and spoke softly to him. He lifted his head a bit and I shifted myself so that it was resting entirely in my lap and I just softly ran my hands along his face.

I asked my mother furiously where the vet was, since she said she had called him at least 30 minutes ago. He had apparently complained that it was his day off.

I called a friend who knows someone that’s close to the vet who typically can get him to show up quicker. I told her that T needed to be put down now and we needed Dr. L here 30 minutes ago.

Dr. L pulled up about 10 minutes later. Fucker.

He came up all cheeky, talking about how T had worked himself into a sweat and then saw the damage. I just begged him to stop wasting time and please put him down. Maybe if I hadn’t rushed him, he would’ve done it right.

He gave T a sedative that should’ve made the process of giving the final injections much easier but he didn’t give enough. Probably didn’t account for the fact that his heart was beating at twice the normal rate due to the amount of pain he was in, so it would take more sedative to have the same effect.

I think he partially missed the vein for the final injections. T started seizing before he finally laid his head back down for the last time. It took far too long for my sweet boy to be put out of his misery.

As far as what happened and what kind of injury he had – it appears that T was rolling and got his leg caught in the mesh wire fencing and dislocated his hock (the equivalent of a human’s knee, except in the back leg) trying to get it out. I believe when he tried to stand up on this dislocated hock, it caused further injury up his leg, resulting in worse fracturing higher up. However, we will never know for sure exactly how it happened.

We laid him to rest under an apple tree at the back of the property. I took most of the next week off of work, because I was crying too much and too often to do anything effectively. And, I had decided I wanted to create a garden for T’s grave, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else until that was finished. I did it all in 4 days. It has a natural rock border with a wave petunia pot hanging in the center on a shepherd’s hook. There are two sunflower plants, two Shasta daisies, and two Ruby Tuesday heleniums. In the center is a Linten Rose. It has evergreen leaves but doesn’t bloom until toward middle/end of winter. I thought it was nice because it gives T flowers almost all year round. I have solar lights dotting the garden with refracted light. In the center of the garden, I arranged the slate stones around the base of the shepherd’s hook and put a solar light there. At night, the reflected light looks like a halo and the stones look like wings. I didn’t even mean for it to look like that, but it’s so beautifully fitting that it does.

In dealing with the grief of this, I feel guilty for celebrating the positives that have come out of it. When I was laying with T as we were waiting for the vet, I told my mother that I wanted to move. And so we are. We actually are in the process of buying a house with 8 acres and a barn. The barn needs updating, but a gift that T has given us is an insurance payout. We’ve had him insured for years, hoping we would never need it. But it is now allowing us to renovate the barn to accommodate my two other beautiful horses that I’m so blessed to have. So if all goes well, we will close on the house at the end of August. My mother is co-signing on the mortgage with me and is moving with me as well, however this house has two entirely separate living spaces, each with their own private entrances.

I’ve been shown how supportive my friends and coworkers are. They were all extremely understanding, although I know none could understand the depth of the relationship.

T has been giving me gifts for years, in many forms. These were his last ones to me. But something tells me that I will continue to find small gifts left by him for years to come. Nonetheless… The grief from his loss is still so powerful. It will take me a long time to learn how to adjust to life without him.

Perception and perhaps some progress

J has told me many times that if I have a tendency to forget our sessions, I should try journaling. Well, I’m going to journal about this last session.

I so appreciate her patience with me. She’s incredibly thoughtful and is more careful than I think I’m even able to pick up on. I told her  about how I’ve had some horrible dreams lately.  She asked if I’d ever talked about what has happened in the past, and I said that I briefly touched on it with my last therapist.  What I didn’t included in that is how it was almost re-traumatizing to share when I can now clearly see that I wasn’t ready. But J encouraged me to share a bit, even very vaguely…Just nudging me to share a bit. I ended up sharing just a general theme of the dreams, which is more than I’ve ever shared with her before.

She checked in with me after I told her the theme of my dreams and asked if I would share what I was feeling. I told her that a part of me was very scared that simply talking about the events, even vaguely, would make them happen again. She asked if I could comfort that part of me and assure her that nothing like that will happen. I just said that I had no clue where to even start with that.

So she stood up and went and got a stuffed animal that she had on a shelf and asked if she could show me how she would comfort a part of herself like that. I hesitantly said yes and pretty much immediately regretted it. Hearing her talk to “that part” (which was really just her cradling a stuffed cow..) made me tear up. I fought tears the entire time she was talking, and when she looked up, I guess she could tell I was fighting tears because she just said that any reaction I might have is okay. I was relieved to hear this because I had gotten this impression that maybe tears weren’t okay.

We talked a bit about how hard it is for me to cry and when I told her that tears weren’t safe when I was younger, she said, “Well maybe that is where we need to start.”

We talked a bit more about the origins behind my fear of crying – or being open – with others. I eventually told her that I have a fear of people being nice or having any compassion for me because it always comes with a price. She asked if maybe I could take in that I am in a safe place with someone who will be compassionate without any negative consequences.

Toward the end we talked about my progress. She said that I am working very hard. I said that I feel like I’ve progressed very little. So she asked me to point out any improvements that I can find since we started working together. I said that I’m a little more aware of my feelings and I now realize that, through my work with horses, I already channel an ability to calm and center myself.

She asked if I’d like to hear what she thought, to which I said yes. I was curious to get her interpretation, and I also just don’t trust my own perception. She agreed with everything I said and also pointed out that I am staying MUCH more present than I did when we first started. She said that she “nudged” me a bit today in asking me to share my dream a bit and that she was very impressed that I stayed present. I was happy to hear that she thinks I’ve made progress. She also said that it has taken a long time for me to get this way, it will take a long time to work my way out.

I can’t remember now exactly what triggered this, but at one point she said that I have a lot of players. I said it makes me feel crazy and it drives me crazy. She said something understanding to that, like how it would of course make me feel crazy. I just looked at her and then said, you really believe me? You believe me when I say I have 10 different reactions to one thing? She simply nodded and said yes.

 

Her acceptance hurts and strikes fear in me.  

No matter how much time passes…

How is it that even after over a year with no contact, my father still has the ability to sway my thinking? Even though I have to work every day to keep all of those ingrained beliefs of his from taking me over, it’s nothing compared to the effect that actual words from him have. I doubt my own perceptions of the situation. After all, he did always say that he knew me better than I knew myself.

However morbid it is, I suppose I can only ever hope that once he is gone from this world, I can truly begin my journey of freeing myself from him. I’m tired of being broken so easily.

Being present vs feeling feelings?

My job really does deserve it’s own reality show… I could use a supplemental income. Too bad I deal with federal privacy laws as a part of my job and would go to prison for a breach of that sort.

My boss apparently thinks all of her employees, including me, are lazy, racist, discriminatory, and harassers. Isn’t that nice? It’s great working for an appreciative boss.

This is what I’m struggling with the most right now. It’s the line between accepting my feelings and allowing myself to get overrun by them. Similarly, I’m struggling with finding where my T’s line is surrounding this. As in, I don’t know what she “accepts” when it comes to my feelings. It so often seems like she works so hard to keep me present that she’s also encouraging me to stay away from all feelings. So lately, when I feel like I have so many strong feelings that want to come out, I am afraid to share them with her because I’m scared that it’s just not ok with her.

I should clarify this with her, but the catch is that I’m scared that my feelings about my feelings are wrong, too! In our last session I just kept thinking that I’m so supremely messed up… And when is she going to realize that and get fed up with me and quit being so patient? When is the other shoe going to drop?

I will try to write this out so that I can perhaps get the guts to talk about it with her next week. In the meantime, I’m going to try to forget about my demeaning boss and just focus on how much I appreciate all of my coworkers.