What other shoe?

Oh, yes.  That one.  The one I was waiting for and nearly thought wasn’t coming.  But no, oh no, no, no.  There it is.

My mother has gone batshit cray cray.  Putting humor to this is the only way my mind can cope because this is just…Blank.  Wordless.  My mind can’t fathom it.

For years, my mind, the big parts, the little parts (especially the wee little ones), held onto my mother being the sane one.  Being the more protective and safe of the two.  She yells and slams the door and I sit outside of it crying as a 6 year old and begging her to forgive me for God knows what?  Doesn’t matter.  Her arms were safer than his.

She would tell me I was selfish right after my parents divorced and I wasn’t taking care of her needs enough.   She still didn’t call me a bitch like he did.  She would tell me I was beautiful… during the times she wasn’t criticizing me about my weight.

She cried on the side of the road and told me her life was a deep, dark depressive hole.  I had her move in with me so that her burden of paying so much rent could be lifted and perhaps she could escape the wrath of my father.  It did not happen.

I cut off contact with my father, and instead of being proud of me, she begged me to apologize to him for the sake of her life and her job. I was getting stronger.  I did not apologize, but I told him to take out his battles with me and not her.  She was still unhappy with this.

She kept expecting my constant apologies like I always used to give, but I continued to grow stronger, thanks to my friends, my job, my therapy, my ever-growing, ever-changing adult life forcing me to establish my own identity, separate from her.  She did not, and has not, been getting those apologies.  I am now labeled as a selfish person who fails to take the blame for the “thoughtless behavior that I unleash on others.”

I am now labeled as “physically violent.”  My mother tried to physically restrain me the other night, grabbing my wrists.  I made a motion, not a violent one, but an automatic reaction to pull my hands away, and she fell backwards.  Dramatically.  I say this because she has openly admitted to a friend and me that she has intentionally thrown herself off of the stairs for attention (then quickly added, as a child, as an afterthought).  Coincidentally, a similar incident happened a couple of months ago.

Back to our argument.  She fell.  I tried to go to my room and requested she go downstairs, to her basement apartment, which we agreed would be kept separate from my upstairs apartment.  I shut my bedroom doors.  She yelled at me through the doors that I will be alone for the rest of my life if I continue to act this way.  I opened the doors and told her, “What right do you have to say that, seeing as I am the one with a plethora of friends and you stay home alone all day?”

She did not hear this.  I walked past her to get the phone to call my friend so that it would diffuse the conversation.  I tried to walk out the front door.  She blocked my way and I pushed past her.  She fell down again.  Her arm reached out for the banister as she fell, and then she took it back.  She never makes any attempts to catch herself.

She screamed at me that I will be alone for the rest of my life.  Curious how this started?  It all started because she spoke again with my ex-boyfriend who is only 20 years old (I am 25), and he told her intimate details about his sexual abuse.  She proceeded to tell me as if it would make me want to get back together with him. She started to tell me details.  I stopped her and I said, “Before you go any further, have you even thought about what effect this might have on me?”

She ignored me.  I took that as a no.  And it hit me…She is pissed that I won’t tell her any fucking details about my sexual abuse from my father – her ex-husband. And I realized that I want nothing to do with this woman.  Nothing.

I packed a bag and left.  I stayed at a hotel that night and spent the next with a friend.  I am stuck in this house agreement with her until we’ve earned some equity and can sell it.  She has plans to renovate her downstairs area.  I asked her to please prioritize the door separating our two floors and that I would like a lock on my side.  She agreed.

She sent me a scathing text telling me to “NEVER touch her in a violent way EVER again.”  I told her I don’t want to be around her.  She said, “Trust me, I won’t go anywhere near you.”  Apparently, I have the whole world snowed.  All of my friends, my therapist, everyone I meet.  None of them know the “real me.” Only her and my ex-boyfriend.

Apparently, I am a threat.  Maybe I should wear a mask like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.

It’s too bad…. My fingers are so tired from typing all of this, I don’t even feel like typing out the whole story of the guy that came to my door and requested a “ride” from me, had scoped out my house earlier in the day and was convicted of kidnapping, assault, and robbery a year prior, and the police hardly did a thing. It’s been a fun few days.


The problem with relationships

In high school, as a teenager who just wanted to fit in, I “decided” I wanted to date a guy who had been a friend of mine for a couple years.  We began “dating” after some typical high school giggly crap.  Our “relationship” lasted two months.  He was very sweet to me and seemed pretty excited to be dating me.  I did not feel the same.  He wanted to hold hands and hug in public, I did not – but I did anyway.  He wanted to hold hands and hug in private.  I did not – but I did anyway.  Sometimes he would wrap his arm around my shoulder and it was as if there were little bolts of electricity jarring me with every touch, and I just wanted to get rid of it.  I specifically remember a time when he put his hand on my right shoulder, and my skin was crawling right around each of his fingertips.

We kissed twice during our entire relationship.  Neither of us really knew how to kiss, so it was very awkward.  Just like everything else with our “relationship”, he enjoyed it, but I did not.  I pretended as if everything was fine, for his sake.  I quickly realized that it wasn’t fair of me to continue to lead him on as if I were happy being with him.  I still respected and valued him as a person and a friend, but I couldn’t handle dating him.  I didn’t know why at the time… All I know is I felt very messed up.

I broke up with him on or just before New Year’s Eve.  Mainly because I couldn’t handle having to kiss him again, which I knew he wanted.  I’ve been told I broke his heart.  I never could understand how that was, considering those two months, for me, were very faked.  He and I remained friends for a short while, although it was strained.  He got over me, though, and very soon was dating someone else.  I was truly glad for him.

This was when I was a junior in high school at the age of 17.  I am now 24, and I have not dated anyone since him.  I’ve had no interest in dating.  I kept trying to convince myself that eventually the right person would find me, but I don’t think I’ve been truly open to the prospect of dating, and perhaps other people could sense that.  In the time that has passed since when I first dated in high school, I have realized that the core reason behind the issues I had with dating was the years of abuse I suffered beginning when I was five years old.  And it had made me so frustrated, because all I want is to be able to care for someone and to have someone care for me.  I’ve felt, and continue to feel, as if that is an impossibility for me.

Many of my friends have recently gotten married and/or had children.  I’ve never been one to be jealous of this kind of thing, because I’ve never felt lonely being a singleton.  Being in therapy for years now, I have simply been learning to be comfortable with myself.  I have no idea how to incorporate a significant other in that.  However my thinking started to change when my two closest friends recently got engaged, and I realized that maybe I’m preventing myself from living a full life.

I’ve “tried” online dating before.  They were very pathetic attempts.  I talked to a few guys and even got to the point of possibly setting up a time to meet one.  But I’ve chickened out every time, coming up with a lame excuse as to why I couldn’t come and then being afraid of talking to them ever again.  I decided to give it another go around the beginning of December.  I had a different attitude in approaching it this time.  I wasn’t tying my self worth into a man’s perception of me.  I didn’t care if someone suddenly quit responding to me.

I started to talk with this one particular guy, whom I’ll call J.  He was kind and funny in his messages to me and seemed to be genuinely interested in what I had to say.  We talked back and forth for a few weeks before we recently decided to meet up at a local coffee shop to get to know each other.  As first dates go, this one wasn’t too bad.  Sure, it had its awkward silences and flat conversations, but we also shared some laughs.  I noticed, before, during, and after this date that I did not feel anything in regards to J.  Not that I was uninterested; it was more that I convinced myself so completely not to care about him or how he feels about me that I shut everything else off as well.

Regardless, I made plans with him to go ice skating.  Neither of us had ever been, and living in a mountain resort town, we both felt it was about time we learn.  After a scheduling change due to weather, we went out to dinner and then went skating together, followed by some hot chocolate.  There was much less awkwardness this time.  Things were a bit easier, the conversation lighter, and we laughed much more freely than before.  J even admitted to having skated a few days prior so that I could hold onto him as I learned.  This ended up being good, as I was able to hang onto him to keep from falling.  I’m not naive enough to believe that he didn’t just love that.

Later that evening, he was driving me back to my car, and I felt my nerves start to kick in.  I knew what was coming next, I could tell he was expecting it, and I was terrified.  I kissed a man for the first time since I was 17 years old, and I felt absolutely nothing.  I pretended as if I was fine, though.  He seemed very happy.

Then I got in my car and felt as if I was on the verge of a breakdown, but I couldn’t cry.  I was caught between numbness and something that I can only describe as disgust.  Not at him, and not exclusively around the actual kiss, but the fact that I participated in it.  There was some part of me that was so astonished and disgusted at what had just happened.  I drove home in complete silence, no music playing at all, because I couldn’t comprehend my reaction.

On the one hand, I was pleasantly surprised with the evening.  I enjoyed my time with J and felt happy that I’m finally establishing a close relationship with someone.  On the other hand, I couldn’t stand being in my own body.  And both of those conflicting feelings are still stirring in me now.

He texted me later that night to make sure I got home safely in the snow, that he had a wonderful evening, and he can’t wait to see me again sometime soon.  It’s a couple days later and I will be going to his house for dinner and a movie.  I’m terrified again.  He might think that I have more experience in relationships than I do, although I know, in earlier conversations, that I told him how little I have dated.  He is a safe guy, the rational me can tell.  But I’m still scared.

They have been quiet for a long time, but there are parts of me that are convinced that I am too messed up to be able to have a normal relationship with someone and that once he sees the real me, with all of my issues and flaws, he will run in the opposite direction.  I almost want that so that I don’t have to deal with the sheer terror of this, but rational me knows that new things are supposed to be scary.  I suppose they are just a little scarier with a history like mine.

I’m very scared about what he might be expecting from me this evening.  I know I need to prepare myself to have some sort of conversation with him about expectations if things are moving too quickly for me.  A part of me is convinced that will be the nail in the coffin, though, because he’ll realize just how messed up I am.

It’s times like these that I truly hate my father for what he’s done to me, making me incapable of having a relationship, just like he predicted.  Maybe I can prove him wrong.

A revelation

I found out today that my father had a sexual harassment suit against him a couple years ago.

I keep thinking that if I’d taken action against him, that would never have happened. And I’m being hit, more and more, with the realization that maybe what I seem to remember did really happen. Because, apparently, I still don’t trust my memories.

And I also keep thinking that now, if I do take legal action, maybe I wouldn’t be blown off. He has quite a history with the law – embezzling, tax evasion, now sexual harassment – although, somehow, he’s managed to avoid major jail time. The most time he’s spent in jail is a week for embezzling many years ago.

My mother was the one who shared with me that he had a sexual harassment suit against him, and she said that what the woman said about him was “outrageous” but that she believes every word of it. But I still adamantly know that she would not believe me if I told her about him, because she always insists that he used to truly love me. No wonder my idea of love is totally convoluted.

He is truly a psychopath. He’s copied me on emails recently that he has exchanged with my mother regarding their divorce. He sent me a copy of the divorce papers he was served with last week and copied me on another a couple days ago. After not having any contact with him since last year, I’m finding it hard to get these emails from him.

So, I’m feeling very triggered right now. I wish I had someone to talk to about this, but I don’t, not really. I see new T next week, but I’m not sure if this is something I’ll be ready to talk to her about. Last week was our first session, and I like her so far, but this is such very personal stuff to share with someone I hardly know. I feel painfully alone with this at the moment.

The last of the therapies..

Last group session today… We’re having a pot luck. I’ll be sad to leave. They’re a great group of women.

I’ve considered talking to the main T there to see if she would be willing to meet with me individually, but I’m too terrified to do that, and I feel like I would be betraying my T. But I am not handling all of this very well. It has been a dark few days.

Regardless of that, I still know that I do not want to go back to my T, except if I possibly decide to have a session or two for closure. I can’t handle the weight of her impending retirement. I can’t allow myself to grow closer to her with the glaringly obvious truth that it can’t last for much longer.

I’m ambivalent about talking to the group T, because although I really like her, she’s knowledgeable about sexual abuse and its effects, and she already knows me a bit, her specific orientation of therapy (CBT) makes me think that maybe she either wouldn’t want to work with me or that it just wouldn’t be a good fit. I worry she thinks negatively of me for having worked with my T for 3 years.

The past few weeks in group have been both helpful and incredibly painful. I’ve seen in so many ways how I have been “trained” (a word used by several in the group as well) to think and act certain ways, and after so many years of being like that, plus 3+ years of trying to change that, the fact that I still feel nowhere near being able to break from those thought patterns is so immeasurably disheartening. I nearly had a panic attack when we talked about our basic rights, like the right to say no, the right to feel feelings, etc. We were handed a paper last session that had a list of healthy boundaries, and I don’t have any of those, either.

Last time, since it was our next to last session, we went around and shared three things we all liked about each other. So when it was my turn, everyone told me their three things that they like about me. I was fine at the time – a little nervous – but not that bad. But I broke down on the way home. I just can’t seem to handle all of the things they’ve said. The main T said that they have nothing to gain by blowing smoke and saying things that aren’t true, and that I can trust that they don’t have an ulterior motive. I did appreciate her saying that, because it was probably just what I needed at the time, but the whole experience was completely overwhelming.

So, once this group is done today, I will no longer be in any therapy of any kind for the first time in about 4 years. The cold truth that I’m coming to realize, though, is that I don’t see myself continuing life in this way – if I choose to give up on healing. My mother is the only reason I’m still here, because I know it would devastate her if I ever did something. If/when I ever lose her, if I haven’t made some major changes, I know I won’t keep going. So, it’s either stopping now and waiting on a ticking time bomb, or choosing to continue with therapy with someone else. The energy for either seems to be escaping me right now.

Wondering about weakness

So I now officially have one week before I have to share my story in group therapy, and I’m terrified.

I’m the quiet one in the group – something that’s obvious to everyone there – and I’m always the last to share. I feel like it makes me the weak one, and I really hate that. But I’m naturally more quiet than most other people..I don’t know if that’s something I should try to change or just accept.

Does being quiet make me weak? In group today, one of the members said something that made me think that just because I tend to be last to speak up about things and that I am not quick to voice my opinion that I’m weak. It wasn’t directed at me at all, but I heard her comment and applied it to myself wondering if it was true. Her comment implied that people like me let life happen to them rather than capturing it.

And so, when I think about my story and what I want to share, I think of what happened. I was a child, yes, but this has me wondering all over again whether I could have prevented it. Or kept it from going on for over 5 years. Maybe it’s just my demeanor and overall attitude that allowed this to happen to me.

I also feel weak compared to another person in the group. She talks of how much strength her struggle has given her and how that’s what she’s taken from it. So what does it mean when I feel like I’ve only taken worthlessness and brokenness from my experience?

Regardless, I am going to try to be as open as possible next week. Every week during this story telling phase, the leaders open up by asking what that person (whose turn it is to share their story) needs from the rest of the group. I think all I need is to be believed, because I still often doubt my own reality.

At this point, though, I just need to get through tomorrow. I have a presentation for work for several hundred students and parents, and it’s going to be in front of my boss. Really, I’m only this nervous because my boss will be there. I’m the “baby” of the office, seeing as I’m 20 years younger than the youngest person in my same position, and so I’m constantly convinced that no one thinks I can do my job as well as everyone else, and I always feel like I have everything to prove and that I can’t make any mistakes. So, it stresses me out to say the least.

But I’m going to try to take it one stressor at a time. Presentation tomorrow…then I’ll worry about everything else.

I’m a little sensitive and very messed up

Things have been very busy and very stressful lately.  My living situation, which I had thought was going to be permanent for several years, may be in danger.  I’ve had to start working nights and weekends to keep up with work, not only because my workload is increasing but also because I’m having trouble concentrating long enough to be productive.  I have so many appointments for my knee, and my boss is continuing to give me veiled grief about the time I’ve had to take off from work.  Group therapy is very triggering.  We are in the middle of telling our stories, and I’ve had memories come up and it’s especially hard because my story is so very similar to 2 out of the 3 other women there.  So I’ve had nightmares and I’m feeling depressed and overwhelmed, which is leading to another spike in my suicidal thoughts.  And not to mention I have to take off more time from work for group as well.

When I shared my group woes with my T, she seemed surprised that we were already sharing our stories.  I told her that it’s a 10 week group, so there’s not a whole lot of time.  Even though she suggested the group to me, she didn’t seem to know that it was time limited like that.  She didn’t  approve of how quickly we’ve gone to sharing our stories, but there really isn’t much time to build up to it.  I explained to her that I was afraid to bring up anything about how I was triggered hearing the other stories, because I didn’t want them to feel bad for sharing.  That’s the last thing I want.  T was trying to help me find a way to mention it to the group but in a way that won’t make anyone feel bad for sharing, although I’m still not sure how to bring it up.  She said that if I find it triggering, others might find it triggering, too, which I had thought of..but I still don’t know.

She apologized to me for suggesting the group, since it is very hard for me right now.  She said she had hoped it would be helpful, but I told her that it is, but it’s just coming with a consequence.  But I am committed to staying in it, although I’m pretty sure that I’m not committed for me – I’m committed for the three other women in there, because I don’t want to cause a disruption by leaving.  And it is true that it’s helpful.  I am able to talk with people who intimately understand the ins and outs of everything that we’ve all gone through.  But it’s hard for me to figure out if the cons outweigh the pros.

At my last session with my T, she told me that she’d gotten a consultation with a therapist that is actually two states away, because of where I have been recently.  On the one hand it was comforting to know that she does reach out if/when she needs help, but it also makes me feel crazier since I’ve obviously thrown something at my T that she’s not quite sure how to handle or if she’s handling it right.  She seemed to focus more on my different parts more, asking about names and such.  She said that she’d seen many different parts of me the session before, which is probably true, because I really don’t remember that session except for about 5 minutes.  She said that many people have parts that conflict, like their head and their heart, but that I am a bit more “complicated” than that (which she said with a small smile) but that all of my parts are beautiful.

I know she means well, I really do.  And part of me is comforted by all of that, but another part of me feels so, so messed up.  After telling her everything about the group, I told her that I feel like I’m being sensitive about it.  She said I’m being sensitive for a reason.  But could I not just be overly sensitive?

I also discussed the memories I’ve had coming up recently, which revolve around all of those signs that something was wrong but that no one ever noticed.  And on the one hand, I do understand why someone wouldn’t say anything, because you just don’t know.  But I also just wish someone had said something.  Just one person.  One person over the course of 5 years.  You would think there would have been someone, but there wasn’t.  And I have to come to terms with the fact that there never was anyone…because somehow I still keep hoping that someone will save the little girl.

When I’m Alone

I have been struggling tremendously lately, with many things.  I still have 3x a week physical therapy, which means more people touching me, I now have an MRI for my knee on Friday and have opted to take a Valium (or two) and be vulnerable rather than panic from being in the machine, and work is picking up pace at the same time I’m missing at least 6 hours of work a week for PT.

The therapy group that my T has wanted me to join for a long time started up last week.  It’s exclusively for sexual assault and abuse survivors.  There are three other women and then two co-therapists, one of whom is in training.  I think she’s trying too hard to talk in that soft, soothing therapist voice, because I was secretly wishing she’d stop the act and talk like a normal person.  It’s not the voice  that makes a good therapist, it’s who the therapist is as a person.  The group is terrifying, and I was triggered just by being there.  The other women seemed to be OK, so of course I left feeling so much more messed up and worried that I’m too sensitive to be in the group.  The next time we meet, I’m considering talking to the therapists afterward and just mentioning that I’m finding myself easily triggered in the group.  Although I’m not sure what good that will do.

With all of this going on, I’ve had a lot of emotions come up.  And I’ve had a lot of times where I’m completely numb.  Many nights, including last night, I’ve longed so deeply to just end it all.  The scariest moments are when that desire comes on suddenly and very strong and turns into an impulse that is hard to resist.  I feel like I’m stepping closer and closer to the edge.  I have started to feel more dangerous to myself, too, because the main reason why I haven’t done it already is because of my mother, but I can feel myself losing the strength to care.

My T and I have a contract about this, too.  She asked me to reaffirm the contract last week, because she’s out-of-town this week.  So now the thing keeping me from doing it is to not hurt T.  A couple of weeks ago when I first mentioned that I was feeling suicidal, she asked if I had any concept as to how it makes her feel when I say that.  I said no, so she said that it makes her want to cry.  And she said that she wanted to tell me that not so that I can take care of her, but so that I can know that someone gives a shit whether I live or die.  So if that’s really true, if she really does care, then I guess it would hurt her, and I wouldn’t want that.

Reading what I wrote above, about T wanting to cry, brought up this question of why?  It’s still just so inconceivable that she could care that much.  Maybe I sound stupid saying that, but it’s true.

Regardless of everything I’ve written, I’ve still felt so trapped because it’s been so hard for me to find the words to explain what is going on in my head and body.  Driving to work this morning, I was listening to songs on my iPhone.  There’s a particular Christian song that I’ve always liked and have appreciated the lyrics, but this morning, they seemed to speak to me even more.  They’re the words that I can’t find.

When I’m Alone – Nevertheless

It’s been years in the making
In my skin I am shaking from the cold
I am tired from the taking
And my heart it won’t stop breaking and I know… 
Moving forward can’t be this hard

I’m just trying to find out
Who I am on my own
I had you right beside me
But now you’re gone and I know
That when the room clears I’m still here
Who am I when I’m alone?

They say time is a healer
But it’s more like a concealer for a scar
‘Cause it never really leaves us
But it can always find us where we are, we are
Who thought it could ever be so hard?