Flashback fallout

Flashbacks, eating disorders behavior, sexual abuse, self injury. All of these things are in this post. It’s been a day. A very bad day. And I haven’t slept, and I need a place to put this all down and get it out. In a few hours, I’ll see Bea. Maybe she can contain this mess. I don’t know. But in the meantime, I’m posting this messy post. It might be triggering. Please be careful. Skip reading it if any of the above mentioned things might be triggering for you. Xx

I have to be up in 3 hours. I can’t sleep. If I’m still up in an hour, hour and a half, I’ll give up and start drinking coffee. This is so typical for me. I’ll be thankful that I have the nanny until 2 tomorrow, and maybe nap and then feel guilty, or lounge in bed and do nothing and feel ashamed and lazy, or do household chores and feel exhausted and then have no energy to give my daughter in the afternoon. But really, what will be new? Mom hasn’t had the energy to live up to her usual “mom-ness” anyway. But today, today, I cleaned and cooked dinner and ate almost nothing. A few handfuls of cereal, coffee, tea, water. I cut. I maintained control. I had a flashback, but I got through it. Life went on. I yelled at my daughter, a burst of anger over nothing, something dumb, something so typically 4. Ugh. But I kept control, I reigned it in. I scared myself. But I stopped the yelling. I cleaned, I made dinner, I played a little, I painted nails with her. I have a plan to be better tomorrow.

Why is it that I only seem to be able to maintain control of my life if I’m starving and cutting and barely sleeping? I don’t understand myself. Why is it when I’m falling apart at the seams, breaking in pieces, and hiding, I can accomplish nothing but extreme hatred of myself? And if I’m working through things in therapy, sleeping and working through the nightmares, the flashbacks, the memories, attempting to eat (it may not be “good” or “right” but eating is eating and there are only so many safe foods out there) and not throw up and not cut and not hide and be honest, I can’t seem to do anything, keep up with simple daily tasks like laundry and dishes, sweeping, cooking, grocery shopping, lesson planning, dusting, ext. Oh, yes, it’s these times when things get organized, furniture gets moved and big things get done; whenever stuff gets too much, and I don’t want to think, I’ll find a big project. But the day to day stuff lacks.

I don’t understand myself. Shouldn’t it be better when I’m not hiding, not faking okay, not shoving everything down? On Monday, Bea read the angry list out loud. And I lived, and she didn’t decided I was this terrible awful person. And I started to really think about the ideas of “Mom left me. He hurt me. I didn’t have a choice.” I thought I was okay with that, with the idea of it, becoming more real. Tuesday and today I hid behind chores and perfection. The bubble is back, a little. But not in the good way. All the out of control, scary feelings are right there.

I had this memory, this one thought, hit me today, out of the blue. I don’t know what even triggered it, exactly. I think it was partly Kat, something she said. And I just flipped out. But even as I was yelling at her, there was this memory right there, this picture, this feeling. His insistence on helping me change into pajamas, and tuck me into bed, and just this huge overwhelming feeling that I didn’t need help, I was big, but he was in charge and I couldn’t say no, and standing at my dresser, pulling out pajamas, looking out my window wishing my parents would be pulling in the drive way, but knowing they wouldn’t be home yet, it was too early, and feeling so lost and just left, and….I don’t know, not okay, because she left.

And so later, when Hubby got back home, I took a bath to try to feel human again, and calm down. I ended up cutting. And then I focused on cleaning and organizing. And Kat didn’t get a lot of mom time, I played while I cooked dinner, and I played during dinner, and after dinner we painted nails. But that was it. And it was dinner time when I realized I hadn’t eaten, and panicked over the food on my plate, and chose to not eat. And I felt more in control, and stronger. Calmer. Better. Like it was really okay, finally.

There was another memory pop up, when I laid down for bed. I had pulled the blankets down and folded them back, remade the bed with new sheets earlier in the day. And when I sat down and went to pull the blanket over me, it was like suffocating. I couldn’t find my breath. He would pull my blankets in over me, tuck me in, rub my back and it would all be so normal. Singing Jesus loves me. Like it was just a regular thing, nice. I hate that song. Hate it. He didn’t leave though, after. He stayed. And pulls the covers back down. I can’t do anything. There isn’t anything to do, except what he wants to do. But I can’t leave, or hide, or say no. I already agreed before. I already played this secret game, and promised it would be a secret. And he’s my friend, and he is in charge and it’s okay because it doesn’t hurt and it does feel good sometimes, and there is no reason to feel sick in my stomach or scared like this. But I do. And I didn’t understand why, not really. It was all confusing. There wasn’t anyone to talk to, or ask, or tell. Not my mom. She left me. She left me with him, and she left me emotionally. Not my Dad. He doesn’t see. They need perfect. And good, perfect girls don’t play secret games like this, I’m pretty sure of that.

And so it’s 3:46am, and I’m still awake because a memory that popped in my head has felt too real, and too frightening, and I’m too afraid too sleep. I’ve read a book, watched a TV show, and now resorted to writing it out. Because there is nothing left to do.

I’ve completely chickened out and moved myself out to the living room, turned on every light available, and made a cup of strong coffee. In all honesty, if there were a few more lights to turn on, I’d be happier. I’m sure Hubby will lecture me about it in the morning, when I get home from therapy. He’ll tell me how I should have gone to bed, how he got up at such and such time and couldn’t believe I was still up, just reading a book, or worse, he will have woken and realized I was up and out of bed at some ungodly hour, and he won’t be able to believe I would get up like that when I complain about not sleeping and am supposed to be working on fixing my sleep cycle. I’ll get defensive and mad, snap at him, push him away. He’d never think to approach it in a way that is gentler. Like asking me if it was a rough night, giving me an opening, to tell as much or as little as I like. Instead he criticizes me for things I can’t help, and makes me feel dumb, small, silly…..it’s yet another opportunity to open up to him that won’t happen because of his approach. Because it makes me feel like I don’t matter, like I’m not good enough, like I’m screwing up and doing things wrong, ruining his perfect world.

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21 thoughts on “Flashback fallout

  1. My eyes tear for you as a little girl, and the woman now coping. Of course you fall back on your coping mechanisms, I do too. And who wouldn’t? All the people I sometimes wish I could be because they haven’t had their insides torn apart, their world turned upside down, and have always known wholeness… the very same people would struggle too if attacked in childhood.
    Dam that fucking pig. It is so fucking sickening, singing that song? While getting ready to fondle and use you because he is a selfish, demented, diabolical swine.
    I feel sometimes I make more of my struggles than I should, but it’s more that others want to go about their lives. Daily life for everyone includes struggle. So sometimes I just have to know it’s OK to attend to my needs. I was up at 3:00am too. The dental thing has upset days, not just the half hour there.
    If your husband seems to be critical, instead of pushing past him in anger show the feelings behind the anger. For me it’s pain and I cry. Anger is just pain after all. I did think about what’s different for me now in my marriage. But still have no answers, none at all really. But one thing I do different is show my pain instead of raging. I need to curb my mouth though and haven’t reined it in as you may have noticed.

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    • Thank you for saying this…..that you fall back on old coping mechanisms too, im sorry you were up at 3, too. I totally get the dental viait upsetting things for days.

      Maybe whats different in your marriage is your husband reconizes your anger is pain and you work to not push away from him? I don’t know. Thank you for all this. Xx

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      • You’re brave. More real, more authenric, more me is what i want to be. Bea says by the time I’m her age, I will be the most authenic person ever because of all the work I’m doing. I’m learning. I am starting to see that some of the things i think of as fake me are real– like my desire to help people and make them feel better, be happy. Thats me. Its not fake. It was just hidden in the fake. I’m feeling wordy today, so I’m going to stop here, except to say i admire you for being so authentic.

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      • Thank you. Bea says that although abuse is not good, never good, never okay and it was not okay or right what happened (she wants to make that clear), if we had to find something good that came from it, she believes I have an ability to really empathize and understand people, to really care, to be able to deal with, and even like, difficult/cranky/hard to please people, ext. She claims there is more there than most people have when I am allowing myself to be authentic. She says the other “good” thing is that the little girl parts of me have allowed me to relate to my daughter so well, better than a lot of parents. And with Kat’s autism, she has difficulty communicating, learning, ext, because of the little girl parts I have, I can see where Kat is coming from and what she needs.

        Bea says that people who have suffered trauma and worked through it have this depth when they are authentic, this ability to feel more with the other person, to understand more, ext. She says we are able to understand things others might not, able to be more forgiving, less judgemental, ext.

        I don’t know of any of that is right, but I hope I am that person that Bea talks about. Because that person sounds like someone I want to be, you know? And I guess, in a lot of ways, I feel like those thing describe the survivors I have gotten to know through the “inter-webs”. The people I have gotten to know are so kind, so understanding, generous, able to make me feel supported and understood, validated…all through an iPad screen. So perhaps she is right.

        And, again…..I am wordy today. 😊❤️

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  2. My heart goes out to you. You are going through such challenging times. It takes great courage to face it all. I resort back to old behaviors to feel in control ever so often now. Usually I choose things that make me feel self hatred because that was my comfort zone. It is what I knew my whole life. I knew how to be in control with that. I am glad you have Bea today.

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  3. It’s very unfair that a selfish man can misuse a little girl and then she’s the one who is still suffering from it many years later! No wonder you feel angry and upset! It’s a hard thing to deal with those memories. Sometimes when I am dealing with mine, I manage to go to work but can’t do anything else – no cooking, no cleaning, no errands. Everything falls to my husband. And even though he is understanding and supportive, sometimes I burn myself. It’s control, release, and punishment all rolled into one. Over time, I do it less than I used to, but it’s still there as an option. All this is to say, I can relate, and I really feel for you. Please don’t blame yourself if you can’t always stay on top of all the demands or if you use old coping mechanisms at times. You are taking care of the deep psychic wounds that selfish man inflicted on you. As those wounds slowly heal, you’ll have more energy, you will get into a sleep routine, and you won’t feel the impulse to burn yourself.

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    • Thank you. Just thank you. I hate when i cant do laundy and dishes, ext. It feels better to hear that you do the same, and everything falls to your husband. I feel like such a failure, like a bad mom and wife, like no one else screws up like this. It helps to know others do, too. I feel less a failure for some reason, and less alone. I’m sorry and grateful you understand ans relate. Xx

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    • Thank you Jay. Your hugs always help. I hate that my story makes you sick, butat the same time, it also in a strange way, validates my upset and anger, that I am not over reacting for feeling like this. Xx

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