Sage's Journal

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CactusFlower

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Sage's Journal
« on: February 02, 2021, 04:55:44 PM »
(TW: child abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, violence... you name it because i just started and don't know what all's gonna come up.)
Where do I start? I figured I'd start one of these specifically for this even though I write long-hand in a notebook every few days. That's "regular" stuff.

I talk on the phone for the job I have at the moment. (I'm doing COVID-19 contact tracing.) Some people are not nice at all. In general, it's the men who are aggressive or belligerent or just outright butts on the phone. The women just hang up. (It's the minority of my calls, but still hard to take) I always end it politely, but once I hang up, I either cry or curse at the screen lately. Strangely, the one that triggered most of this was someone who was actually quite nice. he lives in the rich and white part of town and his daughter is still going to competitive gym classes 3x a week, even though those are supposed to be closed. (yes, i anonymously reported the gym.) He made some joking throwaway comment about it costing way too much and that was it. I remembered a comment my MPU (male parental unit, he doesn't deserve to be called Daddy or father) made when he made me quit girl scouts because it was a "waste of money." I ended up taking a week off work with all the junk that came up, including  a memory of some abuse. Now, I actually don't remember anything before the age of 6, so that was shocking. I'd had a memory I never forgot of one instance of sexual abuse, but my whole life I'd convinced myself it wasn't that bad and it was only one incident. other people had it worse, not much happened, the whole spiel. I haven't seen my MPU since I was 18, I don't even know where he is, really. So confronting him isn't really possible. Mom passed away in 2013 and honestly, I'm glad she doesn't know about this. it would have broken her heart, I think.

My BFF (like super BFF, we even have each other's powers of attorney just in case) is a social worker and brilliant. He's the first person in my entire life I ever told about that one incident. After a long discussion and an informal giving of the ACE test, he suggested I *might* want to look at complex PTSD and recommended a book called "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel Van Der Kolk". I got it off Amazon and started reading up on CPTSD.  Nearly everything I found was like... Holy carp. This is me, I do that, I've felt that, yes, check mark, etc. not everything, but enough to make me realize this wasn't going away, was connected to my physical issues, and wouldn't get better without actual professional help.  M (my BFF) told me about trauma-informed care and what experience to look for. A few more memories came up during that time off, which sucked. I ended up finding someone who I think I can work well with. She knew exactly what I meant, also loved that book, and has great experience. it's gonna be hard, but I also look forward to working it out, if that makes sense. I also bought a teddy bear for comfort. At age 50, I *have* my first teddy bear, but I'm not taking a chance on his falling apart, LOL.

So my next step is to figure out if I can keep doing this job. I actually hung up on a guy (yet politely, like "ok, thank you, click") and found it too hard to do calls with men Sunday. I work weds-sun. I need to figure out with my therapist what to do about insurance if I quit. She takes Medicaid, I just need to figure out the gap. I hate that all this came up now but I'm also grateful it did when I am finally in a secure place in my life with great support and love. I think my mind just finally said, "Oh, you're safe now, you're good.  OK, you can work on this, then." *rolls eyes* The more I read in the book, the more I underline. And the more I actually make sense of my life and why I do a lot of things. It's probably even connected to my fibromyalgia. I just want to get better so bad, even if the process sucks.

So... yeah. Here goes.  Also my trying to connect more with people.
 :stars:

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Alter-eg0

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2021, 08:25:29 PM »
I don't have much to say right now, just wanted to let you know i'm reading along & i'm rooting for you.

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CactusFlower

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2021, 02:50:54 AM »
thank you, that's a very nice thing to read and made my day after a blah day. :)

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CactusFlower

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2021, 03:09:43 AM »
Second therapy session today. I created a "safe space" mentally under her guidance with some EMDR to "set" it into place. It actually was helpful to pause and go there as we talked further. it is very easy to talk to her.  I emailed her the stuff I've been writing down: memories, feelings, dreams, etc., lately as kind of "background" Admitting that some stuff is embarrassing is in itself embarrassing. I also talked about quitting my job and she reassured me we'd find a way to work on stuff until the other insurance kicks in. I feel supported. It's... good? I still know it's not going to be easy, but to have a plan brings a speck of light to the tunnel.

Sage

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notalone

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2021, 03:26:40 PM »
He made some joking throwaway comment about it costing way too much and that was it. I remembered a comment my MPU (male parental unit, he doesn't deserve to be called Daddy or father) made when he made me quit girl scouts because it was a "waste of money." I ended up taking a week off work with all the junk that came up, including  a memory of some abuse.

I can see where his comment was so triggering. It sounds like you have a therapist who knows what she is doing and who is compassionate.
I am a bit older than you, and fairly early in my process, I bought a teddy bear too. He is looking scrawny, ragged and loved now.

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CactusFlower

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2021, 04:48:16 PM »
:) I found it amusing and interesting that both my therapist and my BFF, who are both social workers, were the only two who (when told about the bear) next thing out of their mouth was "what's his name?"
LOL
And it's Cocoa.

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notalone

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2021, 01:34:07 AM »
I like the name you chose.

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CactusFlower

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Session 3
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2021, 07:07:04 PM »
We did a tiny EMDR thing, but wow. There's so much difference between reading about it, and it actually working. I was stunned. We also talked about some connections I've been making, trying to see past events through the eyes of an adult rather than the child that experienced it. She made a connection I hadn't even thought about. Thought he'd possibly married Mom out of convenience upon returning from Vietnam. here's a single woman with a kid (which was "awful" back then and hard), he probably needed a "model" family for his life and career, etc. I was thinking he married her because it was convenient, no matter what he told her about love. Yet... Jan mentioned there might have been a possibility, even subconsciously, on his part of grooming. That... It's a nauseating thought, but entirely possible. You don't normally just start abusing someone like that out of the blue. it was complicated, but definitely something to think about. Especially since I can now see that he really didn't like Grandpa much and his actions stopped while grandpa lived with us. Since I'm a writer, Jan gave me some "homework" to write the "poem no one would read" from the viewpoint of the two year old girl asking for help.  I haven't started yet, but there's a phrase rattling around in my head. I have a feeling this is going to be very unpleasant.  But I want to work through this. I can't remember years of my life, dammit. Good or bad, it's mine and I want it back.

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CactusFlower

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2021, 12:13:47 AM »
I read a fascinating article today at https://www.anniewright.com/forgiveness-why-you-dont-need-or-have-to-forgive-anyone-if-you-dont-want-or-feel-ready-to/ that really resonated. I've never believed in that whole forgiving someone for something they did wrong just because it "makes you the better person." Screw that. So, the definition of forgive is
to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
or
to pardon an offense or an offender.
To pardon means to release someone from the liability or penalty of an offense.  To absolve means to free or set free from guilt or consequences.
So no, I don't damned well "forgive", or pardon, or absolve, the Male Parental Unit from what he did. I haven't seen him since I was 18 (and I'm 50), but he has no excuse for what he did. He is liable. There were consequences. He did something wrong and nothing I think or say will make him not guilty. So no, I don't have to forgive him for any reason. I'm still a better person than he is, I survived, and I'm starting to work through this.

Sage

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saylor

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2021, 01:10:59 PM »
Thanks for sharing. Iím more than happy to forgive when itís warranted, and it can feel good to do so, but I donít see a way to forgive someone who exhibits zero remorse and/or continues to do damage. In that case, I see no path forward. I canít comprehend the concept of forgiving someone who acknowledges no wrongdoing

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CactusFlower

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2021, 04:56:41 PM »
Absolutely, Saylor, that's the key. I feel someone can only be forgiven if they actually are truly SORRY and want to atone/repair what they did. But if there's no remorse, then forgiving them does absolutely nothing but let them off the hook.

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CactusFlower

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2021, 10:11:02 PM »
Had something interesting happen this morning. It was laundry day. We have an older apartment that's part of a Triplex, and the house was built in the 30's, so no washing machine. It's the laundromat for us. Anyhoo, this guy was there sitting on the other side of the folding table while we waited. (My bro and I tend to just play on our phones while waiting) he started taking things out of a backpack and setting them on the table, just moving them around, taking them in and out.  Very... odd behavior. But he was setting them down a little hard. I found myself starting to breathe faster and my heart racing because it was like someone passive-aggressively setting their stuff down harder when they're mad. But I told myself to chill, he's not approaching us, maybe he's just... you know, being a little strange.

And then when I got up to go check on my dryer, he says politely, "excuse me, ma'am?" I said, "Yes?" And he says "Have a lovely day." and hands me this little bitty cross he's clearly made out of Popsicle sticks with a heart bead glued to the center and all painted purple. (my favorite color) I politely thanked him, and felt myself relax. He was polite and said good day as he left before we did. So I'm glad I averted my freak-out, but I was able to read what was happening to me and know it was an over-reaction. I just put it in my purse. It'll probably go in the donation box for Goodwill later as I'm not Christian, but it was kind of a nice reinforcement to myself to realize my reaction is not always the reality of the situation. Sure, he was unusual, but he wasn't mean or angry or actually threatening. So I feel like that was a little progress.

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CactusFlower

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2021, 04:10:54 PM »
Been an interesting week. The laundry thing Tuesday, then Wednesday, I got my first vaccine shot. So happy about that, next one in three weeks. Now I can hang out with my BFF again. (He's already vaccinated.) Then a good session with my therapist on Thursday. We talked about gaslighting and how that makes me feel. I also realized that Male Parental Unit gaslit Mom as well. These were all things I had either not noticed, forgotten, or didn't want to remember, as usual, but it explained a lot. Even now, if someone dismisses or invalidates my feelings/experiences, my gut reaction is rage. I don't *do* anything about it, but I get intensely angry if someone tried to tell me I'm not actually feeling what I'm feeling or saying what I mean. But it was very revealing to realize how he'd gaslit mom, which was frustrating because she would believe him when he said, "She's fine." I wasn't fine, and I probably couldn't understand how mom couldn't tell he was lying. I feel a little guilty sometimes about being relieved that I wasn't the only one he was BS'ing.

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CactusFlower

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2021, 03:32:33 AM »
I attended my first live youtube weekly video/chat from the CPTSD Foundation with Athena (can't remember her last name at the moment. Moberg?) I joined their FB group and it's a wonderful supportive, active group of people. I missed last week, but managed to make it just now. The topic was Covert Incest. Gotta admit, I had no idea what that was and the name was kinda throwing up my defenses a little. But I powered on and found out it's not physical, it's when a parent/caregiver has an inappropriate emotional relationship with someone, as in treats them more like a spouse or therapist or BFF than their child. Once that was explained, its alternate name of Emotional Incest made more sense. And yes, I could see that my mom did this a few times. Rarely, but she did. They divorced when I was 11 and being a military family, that meant Mom and I had to come back to the States on our own and make it. I'm an only child, she was a single mom in the 80's, she was a very strong and capable woman. I've always been very proud of how she managed to survive and even thrive after being dumped and booted to the curb. But the more I process, the more I can see her flaws, the issues she dealt with, and where she didn't get it right and didn't have any support either. I remember a few times where the loneliness and how he treated her and everything got to her, and I'd end up being the one to comfort her. It always felt terribly awkward and dissonant to see Mom break down like that and not be strong. Also, due to my age (middle to high school), I felt uncomfortable being the comforter because i didn't feel like I had the skill to help or even knew what to do other than hold her while she cried. I get that she did the best she could, but that was a disservice to me because I didn't have the capacity to comfort her like a peer could.

It's really hard for me because I didn't think I idolized my mother, but I see now I kinda did and still do to an extent.  But the more I process about what all happened, the more I'm able to see her as a flawed human in her own right and I see more of what she might have been going through that I never picked up on. I'll probably discuss this with my therapist this week, because there is still an instinctive sense of guilt at saying "mom wasn't always a good mom". The head knows, but the heart is taking a while.

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CactusFlower

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Re: Sage's Journal
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2021, 02:24:23 AM »
Really really trying not to be triggered right now. Had a lovely weekend, but Monday (ugh) brought bad news. I did not make it in to grad school. I've sent off an email to the person they say to for "more detailed info", but I doubt they'll tell me why or where the application didn't work. I "met many, but not all, of our minimum requirements" blah blah blah. I'll admit, I caved and comfort ate. I'm trying not to cry because I can feel the depression creeping up and I'm really not wanting to go there. I can hear my F's voice in my head saying his usual stuff like "You should have known" and "What did you think would happen", etc. I really thought I'd get in with all my experience in related fields and stuff. It might well be that it's because my degree was in my late 20's and I'm 50 now. I'm also partially ticked off because the whole process isn't cheap in the USA. Between all the applications, the transcript copies, and this math class I took to refresh and prepare, that's several hundred dollars down the drain. Just... Ugh. Thank goodness I have my Monday night CPTSD Foundation talk tonight to listen to. I'm just trying to distract myself from this... grief, I guess it is.