I am devoted to this blog being about healing, not abuse porn. That said, sometimes to talk about healing I will have to talk about hurting. Please consider this sticky post a trigger warning for every entry for childhood abuse of all kinds. If you are having a difficult day, this blog will still be here tomorrow! Consider looking at this picture of a kitten, instead, for now. Be kind and compassionate to yourself.
Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of my beloved father’s death.
This is the sister I know the least about. This is the sister who knows the least about me. We have always held each other at a cordial distance. I hope it’s cordial. She is so quiet and plays her cards so close to her chest I don’t really know.
I am a nervous flyer in general; being late and missing flights is one of my strange preoccupations and I am always a wreck until I’m sitting at the gate waiting for them to call. I am also disabled and each airport treats us differently. And the flight is at OH DEAR GOD NO o’clock in the AfuckingM.
I also have an autoimmune issue that kicks in with exhaustion symptoms quite often in the heat, and I’m going from a relatively cool Northern city to a very hot city, and she REALLY needs my help.
I am always convinced I will let my sisters down. I was her mother figure when we were younger as she didn’t have a real one, and the dynamic is quite a strain. I wasn’t a very good mother to her. While I realize it wasn’t my job, I still wish I’d done the job better. Protected her. Taken her with me when I moved out. Noticed how neglected she was more than I did. So much remorse and guilt around this particular sister.
Also, I am always wary of discussions with any of my sisters that might veer motherward.
My family also always bought the stoic, never show weakness thing, so I’m going to have to be vigilant in forcing her to take my help, and I’m going to have to hide it if I feel remotely tired in the least. That part is going to suck, because I also have to balance it with self care, such as making sure I eat, stay hydrated, and stay as cool as possible.
And I think I need to plan on falling apart when I get home; my last visit with another sister, the depressed re-entry caught me by surprise.
I am not good at self care. AT ALL. I am not good at it. Hopefully this week and its aftermath will help to teach me.
I rarely start a blog post with a definition, but this one’s important and it’s rarely used nowadays this way outside of psychiatric circles:
Psychiatry. an expressed or observed emotional response: Restricted, flat, or blunted affect may be a symptom of mental illness. . .
In this particular case, my ‘affect’ is not blunted but heightened. It is that of rage. Even when I am feeling irritation and thinking that I am expressing simple irritation, I appear to be enraged to others.
I’d thought that I was getting better this way, but I just hurt my uncle a lot in what I thought was an eye-rolling FB exchange and which he thought I was so furious with him that I was on the verge of cutting off contact.
Some of that’s on him, of course, and the fact that this is how my dysfunctional Irish-American family acts when we are angry with one another in general: to stop speaking, and so of course he fears I might be doing that, but when EVERY interaction that feels mildly unpleasant to me is perceived by the other party as devastating, it’s important to look closely at my own actions.
I really thought I was getting better that way: appearing more relaxed and non-threatening. Guess not. Frustrating, but good to know. Then I can address it.
I won’t link to it here, but my editor interviewed me this weekend about a short story that was clearly about enduring and surviving child abuse. It went live today. I was honest both about a good parenting decision my mother made (which I may have made too big of a deal about) and also that I’d had a flashback that prompted the story. Anyone who is paying attention to that interview will know I was abused as a child, and anyone who also reads the story will probably figure out it’s my mother.
Baby steps — but steps — toward never self-censoring again.
I’m scared, though.
I needed some stability and some money. It was very flexible. I could have done it in my sleep. I was clearly too weird and probably too cocky for them. I am simultaneously relieved (I didn’t really want the responsibility) and disappointed.
I am NOT filled with panic and self-loathing.
I’m going to call this a win for EMDR.