************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keys to Integration

A day of chaos. It isn't the first, not the beginning, but the culmination of a few weeks of inexplicable turmoil. Even now, trying to describe what’s been going on is sending me reeling around in several directions.
Where to start...?

Often, I've written about things after the fact. It’s quite different to be in the middle of it and try to blog. By giving you the retrospect view, I believe there is one fact that has not been obvious – and that important piece of information is this:

When I am beginning to integrate a part of me, I am unaware that it’s happening.

 So, for the last few weeks, what was I aware of?

• A general sense of unease that was growing each day.
• Blocks of missing time that were increasing in length and number almost daily.
• An increase in the amount of support I needed from outside of myself.
• Overreacting to situations.
• Being completely aware I was overreacting but unable to stop it.
• A growing sense of panic.
• A sense of impending doom.
• Emotions that had nothing to do with what was actually happening in my life.

So, how do I define integration?
  1. I accept the concept of the “inner child.” There is a part of me that was formed in childhood that stays with me, forever.
  2. I accept the concept that my current situation can sometimes trigger emotions about a similar situation from the past,. This can cause me to overreact or react in ways that I might not if I were able to be completely rational about the current situation. I believe this happens to everyone – not just people with emotional issues. Someone complains that you made a mistake and a forgotten event from your childhood is triggered somewhere in your subconscious. You don't even remember the teacher who wrote a bad grade on your paper and how you felt you didn't deserve it, but the unresolved feelings come up in a similar situation. The anger and frustration from the old situation makes you react strongly to the situation of the present.
  3. "Compartmentalized memories" is concept I accept. To some degree, everyone pushes some things into a side pocket of their brain (like the forgotten school paper I spoke of above.)
When you put your keys down because you are distracted by something else, and then can’t find them later, where did the memory go? You eventually track them down, and then think, "oh, yeah, the phone rang right when I came in the door." You answered the phone, unconsciously put your keys down, and you know you did it but you have actually setting them down.
Where did the memory go?
If you forget someone’s birthday, even though you know the date and meant to send a card, that is another form of a “compartmentalized memory?” You obviously have the knowledge somewhere… but it wasn't available at the time you needed it.
And in accepting the three premises above, it seems to me a good way of  understanding dissociative disorders. From my own, personal experiences, I could never doubt the reality of DID because its real and present in my life, but seeing a logical explanation helps me understand it on another level, and maybe it will help you understand as well.

So, the last few weeks have sucked and it only dawned on me yesterday that all the chaos is because I've been bringing home another fragment of my inner child. "She" is "me" and always will be... and now I have access to more of those hidden pieces of my past.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Stubborn Twelve-Year-Old

Left/Right Writing (after failed anger work, this morning.)

What are you thinking and feeling?

Sad sad sad
I don’t want to hurt you.
I don’t want to hurt.
I am not ok.

I know. Me either.
I don’t want to take it and hold it and handle it all the time. I want it to all go away and let me live my life.

I’m sorry.

No! Not you. You need to stay. You need to feel it so we can be done with it all.

Are you sure that works?

No. They tell me it does. We’ve tried everything else, though. Why not this?

We tried crying before.

Yes, but we weren’t safe, then. Now we are.
I can keep us safe.
I will keep us safe.
I know I can
I promise I will.

I don’t know how to cry and I am NOT a crybaby.

No. You're not a crybaby. You're strong. Really strong. You can take so much… but you don’t have to. It’s time to let it go.

(long pause) I’m strong.

Yes! You are!

Then I don’t need to cry.
It's very frustrating. I am exhausted. I don't know what else to say to her... to myself... is it true that crying is... necessary?
Does it get better then?
Because I can take a lot. Really. A LOT.
I just don't want to take it anymore.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Being angry at someone doesn't mean you don't love them.
Being angry doesn't mean you'll be punished.
Thats why it was okay to be angry at God.
Its just anger.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Freaking Out Again

I think I feel more confused every day.
I am "in action" but it feels very random, like "lets try this and see what happens" not like "this is the next thing I need to do."

Last week I had this feeling that maybe I needed some more help than I could get once or twice a week. I don't know. Maybe I should have listened to that feeling. It's the first time I've ever seriously considered going to a hospital. I've always felt like I would rather die than do that. I don't even know why. It's just not something I could ever imagine myself doing.

I have noticed, since about tuedsay night, that I don't feel that muted sense of the world. Everything isn't hidden under a veil and things are not quite so dark as they were. No. Now there's intensity. Instead of being shut down constantly, I find I fluxuate between anger, sadness, disappointment and hopelessness.

Dealing with the day to day stuff right now is so much more than I can take. I feel like I don't have a right to how I feel. I have to keep pretending with the kids and when the phone rings and at the grocery store and I am having a harder and harder time doing that. I see myself just screaming at the world and telling them all to go to hell and leave me the fuck alone
and that is not what I want to do.

No solutions today. Just honesty. This SUCKS.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Patience, Faith and Hope

So many things are running through my mind. It feels as if time was moving at record speeds, yesterday… now today everything has come to a stop. Maybe it’s so I will have the time to process the years-full of stuff that seems to have happened in the last week.

About my father:

It is intensely sad.

As a child, I couldn't accept that it was not about me.
As long as it was about me, it meant that there was hope.
As long as his lack of concern for me was related to something innately wrong with me, there was a chance I could fix it.
By admitting and completely internalizing the idea that it was about him and his issues all along, I have admitted that I can NEVER change the situation. I have no power over it. He will never love me as a father is meant to love his child.

I don’t think I could have survived that knowledge as a child, so I hid it from myself. It was right there in front of me all along, but I refused to see it. It's another "revelation of the obvious."

The fact that I can see it now points to the strength I have gained along my journey. It’s incredibly hard, but I will survive it. I can do that, now. I can live without that love because I am finding out how to give it to myself.

I was lucky enough to talk to a lot of people yesterday about all of this. I heard a lot of wisdom (and a little bit of crap – but sometimes you have to dig through that to find the real gems). I was comforted by how much people seemed to care.

One good friend, in the real world, gave me two important pieces of this puzzle.:
1) God doesn't tell us what to do. God gave us free will.
Okay. I see. My father has free will. His actions do not reflect God.
2) It’s okay to be angry at God. God has big shoulders, and can take it.
I took some comfort in that. Being angry at my father was never tolerated. Consequently I have had a lot of guilt and fear about my anger at God.

Last night, I finally had a conversation with God. I haven’t been able to do more than rant for a while now, but I finally broke down and put out there the rest of what is real and true in my heart.
I asked for help.
I asked for patience.
I asked for faith.
I don’t know what more I can do.
Now I am looking for those three things and trying to apply them to my thoughts as they come. I think I turned a corner last night. It’s still going to be rough going, for a while, I’m sure, but I have hope again.

That is the real difference.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Living Death

Living Death

The Way He Says Her Name

"I was thinking this was like being in shock -
its how I remember feeling after being in a car acciedent.
Everything is moving in slow motion.
The world is muted, undefined around the edges.
I am going through the motions but there's no meaning to any of it.
I suppose it's grief."
              - Email to my therapist, this morning.
It is really sinking in, lately.
There's nothing wrong with me.
There has never been anything wrong with me.

Oh, I've done things that were not pretty and perfect, but so often I was reacting to things beyond my control. I was a child long after my body grew to adulthood....
but recently, I have noticed that I don't feel like a child anymore. I am gaining a sense of who I really am, and with that I am falling out of self-blame.

And, oddly enough, that is what is making this feel so hopeless.

Some part of me has always believed that the things I heard as a child were true: that it was my fault; that if I could only be good enough, my father would love me as he does my sister. I keep remembering my mother telling me that I could be "the apple of his eye," if I just...

My father would always put a condition on any offer. When he held things back from me - even things he freely gave one or another of my siblings - he was careful to tell me which of my imperfections was "forcing" him to punish me in this way.

See - if that were true - if it was some fault in me - then I could fix this. But now I know it isn't true. My father rejected me. I could come up with a lot of reasons why that might be - for instance, my father was gone for the first year of my life. No biological bonding? Another issue is that (as much as I do not like to admit it) of all of his children, I am the most like him. As a parent, I know how hard it is to see your imperfections reflected in your children. I believe some of it is his own guilt that he sees in me at every turn - guilt and shame over things he will never admit, things that were certainly no fault of mine.

Regardless of the reason, there is nothing I can do that will ever change how he feels (or doesn't feel) about me.

When that first started to register, yesterday afternoon, I tried to fight it. My mind was racing and I went through every possible thing I knew that might help me 'fix' it. Then, sometime yesterday evening, this quiet hopeless sense washed all that away. The new sadness isn't raging and out-of-control. There's no panic or thoughts of hurrying to find relief. I feel calm, almost dead, inside, except for this bleak sense of hopelessness.

And so we come to God. The word God was something that sent me reeling, not all that long ago. Any mention of religion or spirituality and all I thought was, I'm out of here. 

But, after a lot of work and a lot of redefining all the terms that used to trigger that in me, I've finally begun building a a God of my understanding. Meditation and prayer had become an important part of my every day life.

However, recently, I've been avoiding meditation. I've been avoiding God because I didn't want to look inside at the the hot, red pain that was waiting there.

At my therapy appointment on Monday, my counselor used the word "rejection" when she spoke of my father.
It burned like acid.
Since then, little snippets of my past have been flooding in, making themselves known against my will.

My father  let all my siblings drive their cars. He even paid for their car insurance, but he told me I was on my own. I would never drive "his" cars and if I wanted to learn to drive, I'd have nothing to drive anyway - so I didn't bother.

It was as if I was a prisoner.

When I was sixteen, my father stopped buying my clothes and shoes. I was doing my part in this game we played. I was refusing to go to school.

So he said, "You have a job. You can pay for your own things. And if you don't go to school, you'll start paying rent, too"
I did start going to school... sometimes. On one occasion, my coat was stolen right out of my locker. When I told my parents, my father said it was my fault and refused to buy me a new one. So, I didn't have a coat that winter. I met my husband that February, and he clearly remembers that I had no coat. Regardless, my parent's continued to buy my younger brother's clothes and shoes until he was well into his twenties.

But I didn't resent my kid brother. Of my three siblings, only my sister had that honor.

The way his face softens when she enters a room... 
The way he says her name....

My father told me that if I wanted to go to college, I would have to stay in his house and obey his rules. My older siblings had both gone away to school, but the rules were different for me. And through it all, I was convinced it was my fault. It was something I'd done or should have done that was bringing this on me.

The word rejection, started a chain reaction inside me. Yeserday, I finally made the choice to sit with it, to look inside and see what was real. The outcome was the realization that there is nothing I could have done and nothing I ever can do that will change how my father feels about me.

I can't believe I never saw it before.
It is.
End of story.

People often give God credit for the good things that happen... so when something bad happens, how can they not blame God? Are we, on this Earth, so evil and awful that we constantly bring out the bad faster than God can fix it? If God is everything, then isn't he just as much the abuse and the abuser as he is the peace and the savior?

I can't even say I'm confused at the moment. Maybe I am, but I don't feel that way. I feel a dead-calm, resolute sense that this is hopeless. As an infant, I was born with the need for my father's love. I was not only denied this love, but was then shown, over and over, exactly what it was I could never have.

The way his face softens when she enters a room... the way he says her name....

To make sense of this, someone told me that "lessons" like this are God's way of bringing us to him. If this is God's plan, it seems cruel - as cruel as anything my father has done. Maybe in time I'll come to see it differently, but right now, my belief is shaken to its core.

Closing a Door

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Other Side of the Sister Saga

My father worshiped my sister. She was the golden girl, who could do no wrong. If he was angry, and she walked in the room, his anger dissipated. The way he looked at my sister was something I envied beyond reason. There had to be something really wrong with me, something lacking in me, because obviously he had love to give... just not to me.

When my sister left for college, there was a huge hole in our house. My mother’s depression deepened, my father began to spend more time away from home, and I was put in charge of my seven-year-old brother.

I was nine, the same age as sister had been when I was born.
I was given a key to the house, and told to get my brother to his second grade classroom, and after school I was to find him again and then come straight home. We were to close and lock the front door behind us. We were not to go out, let anyone in, or answer the door, and we were assigned chores to keep us busy.

I began to resent my sister.
If she had not left, I wouldn't have to take care of my brother. If she had not left, I wouldn't have been so alone all the time. If she had not left, my mother wouldn't be so incredibly sad, and my father…
…well, that’s very complicated.
It was easier when my father wasn't around much. His unpredictability turned my world upside-down on a regular basis. Even so, I was angry that he wasn't around. It was further proof that I had no value.
But most of all, if she had not left, I would still feel loved.

Watching her walk out the door had been like watching my mother leave, and all the anger of an abandoned child was mine.

Then, as Christmas approached, my mother began to cheer up.
She said, “she’s coming home soon.”
“She’s coming home tomorrow.”
“She’ll be here in a few minutes.”
She stood at the picture window in the front room and watched for her. My father paced the house.
Then, my sister walked in the door and my parents gushed over her.

While she was gone, I'd been given the responsibilities of a young adult. When she came home, I was suddenly treated like a child much younger than my years.
I hated it.

In time, my mother would start saying, “She’ll be leaving in a few days.”
And then, “She’s going tomorrow.”
And finally, “She’s packing her things.”
And then my sister would walk out the door again
And again
And again
And my mother's depression would walk in.

My resentment grew exponentially each time my sister left, came home and left again.

The two sides to the sister saga left me in complete confusion. She was the one I loved most, the one I needed most, and the biggest thorn in my side all rolled up in tight bundles. I hid it all behind a closed door, unwilling or unable to open it and look at the swirling emotions.

Three weeks ago, I opened that door... and I am finally beginning to understand and come to terms with all of this, but that is a topic for another entry.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sister Saga

There are so many secrets locked in my head, behind doors that I have been unwilling to open. For the last few weeks, I've been looking at one of those closed doors.

I think it took this long to look at it because I thought it was not about my father. Being angry at my father, finding new and never before thought of reasons to hate him, to hurt him, to justify my anger, that was easy. I had decided a long time ago that he was the reason for all of my problems. The more proof I had, the better.

My mother has suffered from depression all her life. When I was little, my sister was put in charge of me. She changed my diapers, fed me, dressed me, played with me. She was nine years old when I was born and I suppose my younger brother and I were like living dolls for her to play with.
She has always been a wonderful sister. She took good care of us. She comforted us when we were hurt, cheered us up when we were sad, and I have always loved her much more than a child loves an older sister.

When I was eight years old, I began to hear talk about college. My sister was going to leave - to head off to college. All summer, she prepared for this event. Things were bought, set aside in a corner of her room, for her to move out.
I knew she wouldn't go. She could never leave me. I was certain of it and I did everything I could to prevent it. 
Even as I watched her pack her things, watched her close a suit case, watched my older brother carry boxes down the long stairway, I knew she would not leave me.
She couldn't.
I was sure.
My father went out to the car, carrying the last of her things with him.
I stood in the kitchen with my brothers and my mother, and my heart pounded in my chest. The familiar “I can’t breathe” feeling swept over me.
I moved in front of the door. I was not going to let her go.
She couldn't leave me.
She just wouldn't.

I stood in front of the door and screamed, “I’m not letting you go!”
My mother told me, “Don’t make this harder than it has to be.”
A look of exasperation came over my sister’s face. She had tears in the corners of her eyes. “Dad’s waiting.”
I stepped out from in front of the door.
She hugged my mother and my brothers.
I refused to hug her.
She walked through the door, and she pulled it shut behind her, and – in my mind – that door has been shut ever since.

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.