Trigger Warning & Discussion Guidelines

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kitten 1I 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.

Also, be kind and compassionate to ME. If you want to stroll by and attack me when I fuck up (which I’ve done, and I write about it) or because you don’t like queers or what-have-you, or if you want to fight about the psychiatric profession or EMDR or anything else, please know that I screen all comments and I just won’t let them through. This place is not a debate page. It’s a personal blog, and I’m blogging for connection and support.

Major Victories

Posting from my phone so I’ll keep it brief. I am calm. I am content, in this moment.
This weekend I decided to focus on one thing I felt I was particularly guilty of in sabatoging my relationship, which was dwelling on the negative. And I decided that I would let go of small annoyances and tones of voice, and just BE.

We didn’t have an argument once all the long weekend.

BAMF

Second: I dealt with kids who flipped out over homework AND a difficult client AND anxiety and I didn’t yell ONCE. Nobody did. Nobody assaulted me, either. Or vice versa.

WE ARE ALL BAMFs.

And last but not least: I bought myself something I love. On a whim. 

It will keep me warm this winter during the coldest parts and it is beautiful and my son made fun of me all weekend for freaking out a bit (“what kind of monster spends money on herself how could you”) but I fucking DID IT.

Ain’t the only one spinnin’

game-over

My little sister with  undiagnosed and therefore untreated BPD has issued the ultimatum that she is unable to be part of the four sisters anymore because we all hate her and she has shown us all nothing but love.

She is, in fact, viciously verbally abusive, completely erratic in her behavior, and exhausting. I should probably be relieved to get a break from her (and that’s what she kept saying: “You’re free from your obligation as big sister! You should be glad to be free from the burden!”), but instead I am just sad and furious and I feel like I’m going to vomit.

She has also scared me incredibly by making ominous references to ‘secrets and lies’ and making up things I never said. I think her paranoia is beginning to become genuinely clinical and I am so, so worried about her.

She tells me she thinks this is all us being resentful of her from childhood and it can’t be about who she is now and if it is she doesn’t want to hear it. She can’t hear it. And I know she can’t. So I said nothing, except that I wanted her to get therapy, which I say endlessly and she ignores every time.

People used to always say how amazed they were by how close the four sisters were.

“Foxhole friends,” I would joke. Ha ha ha ha ha.

I hate what my mother has done to her.

I hate that I can’t fill that empty gaping maw in my sister’s soul, because I am a codependent and I want to, but also because I am her big sister and I want to protect her from all the agony she is in.

I hate that I saw every single manipulation she performed with clear eyes (this is really about another sister and I repairing our relationship and she is jealous) and yet I STILL had to leave work because I couldn’t stop crying and I couldn’t concentrate.

I hate that I actually hung up on her, which I’ve never done.

I hate that my mom finally got what she wanted: to divide us and to break our bond. She was always so poisonously jealous of how much us sisters loved each other.

Well, Mom, you won. Congratufuckinglations.

I am not okay.

giphy

I am definitely spiraling.

I just googled ‘signs you are sabotaging your relationships’ and yelled BINGO within a few moments.

I did EMDR on the Mom Beating from last time. This time my focus was whether I deserve bad things to happen to me, or just whether Bad Things Will Always Happen.

Apparently Trump being elected was not enough of a bad thing to happen to me, so I have to go out and find more bad things to make happen?

I am exhausted, I am cold, I am endlessly worried about money, I am sick, I cannot stop fighting with my autistic kid, I cannot stop fighting with my partner, I have flipped out over very valid and minor criticism at work with fear that they’ll probably fire me for being late to a meeting.

Most of the time, I feel like I am barely keeping my nose above churning water.

Right now, I feel like I’m being rolled by an alligator.

I was hoping that this blog would be a practical resource to folks and a support to me but today I got nothin’.

BONUS: I have the kids tonight! This is going to be AWESOME.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Evil

63b45a4f9384d1ee5d867eb2d15a54efToday my evil aunt who once tried to drown me in a swimming pool and who has fiercely protected her husband from numerous accusations of child molestation and attempted rape (I was one of the molested) turns 70.

Her brother, my dad, didn’t even make it to 60.

I find this fact enormously depressing and a little enraging, which is silly. I do not believe in an all powerful, all-controlling God.

I guess I am mad at Aunt Evil’s heart for continuing to beat, and angry at my father’s heart for stopping. There you go.

Also I’ll bet a zillion dollars that Aunt Evil voted for Trump.

NaNoWriMo Fail. Parenting Fail.

no-writing

I decided that I would use National Novel Writing Month to work on a memoir that would be for my eyes only.

It would clear the way for other writing, I told myself. And maybe someday I’d be able to use some of it with names changed and things as an actual memoir.

Ha ha ha not going well.

I find myself describing therapists’ offices in minute detail and not mentioning what anyone said. I find myself skipping over stuff that matters. I cannot push forward with it anymore.

Here’s what I don’t want to write: My autistic son and I got into an actual fistfight more than a week ago.

He has gotten as tall as me and nearly as strong and while I have famously lost my temper with him a few times in the past, I have always just restrained him in a full Nelson when he got violent himself. I’ve always held him while he bucked and fought and tried to bite. I’ve dealt with him hitting me many times without getting violent myself and I had the bruises on my shin to show for it.

This time I couldn’t get him into the full Nelson, and I became triggered and began hitting him back. My jaw and my eye socked throbbed for days and then were tender to the touch for a week. Although he was fine afterward, which tells me I had some control over myself, I still hit him back. He completely triggered my fight response, merely by being too large to easily control anymore and making me afraid.

I didn’t want to write about it; the last time we engaged in violence I lost people I thought were my friends: in spectacular, hateful, judgmental fashion. I didn’t want to write about it; people have started having very hostile reactions to my kid’s violent actions now that he’s bigger and I can’t really take it without getting defensive and protective. I didn’t want to write about it; how do you write about your son punching you and you punching him back and how complicated and confusing this is when some people will see it as straight-up abuse and some as self defense when I think it was probably a combination of both?

Today in an EMDR session I went over a bunch of incidents of my mother’s physical abuse: one when I was six and I sat on her bed, my arms and legs and the back of my head throbbing from a beating, filled with rage and fiercely promising to myself that when I was sixteen I would kill her; one when I was nine and called her a bitch and she beat me for what seemed like a very long time with her fists and kicked me with her strong legs while screaming at me as I curled into a defensive ball; one when I was eleven and she beat my wet bare skin with a wooden brush as I stood there, arms crossed, totally dissociating and she gasped desperately: why isn’t this hurting this isn’t working why don’t you cry; and once when I was nineteen and she hit me for the last time with a hairbrush– I pinned her to the refrigerator, avoiding her flailing legs, explained that if she ever touched me again I would break her left arm at the elbow, and demonstrated how I could do it by causing pain but not actually doing it.

Interspersed with all of these memories was my memory of the fistfight with my son. I don’t know if my subconscious is trying to say that I’ve become just like my mother or what. I don’t know if our fight was self defense or abuse but I think it was more complicated and a combination. I do know that berating myself and believing the ‘friends’ I’ve had who told me I was just like her doesn’t seem like a way to keep myself safe around my children and I need to do something other than self-flagellation.

In two weeks my son and I and hopefully my ex start a parent-child DBT group. I hope this will do something. But I am worried.

I see now that anyone of a certain size who punches me in the face is not safe around me, and this is unlikely to change no matter how much therapy I get, and I don’t know exactly how I feel about that.

On the one hand, you probably shouldn’t punch your mom in the face and if she punches you back you will have Learned A Valuable Lesson. And you probably shouldn’t punch your children no matter what happens. On the other hand, sometimes autistic people simply do not have control over their violent outbursts and people with PTSD can get triggered and react physically with very little warning even to themselves, and it can feel very out of control in the moment.

Aw, motherfucker what a shit show.

I hope DBT will be magic, because I feel like magic is what we need right now.

Lack of Self Care

interior-of-mountain-farmhouse-appalachian-mountains-near-marshall-north-carolina-by-photographer-carl-mydans-e1410818224221

My baby sister just texted, all annoyed and grossed out.

Because she’s been coughing up worms. For weeks.

I was like GO TO A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY

And she’s all: now now I don’t know WHAT I’m going to do let’s not overreact

My mother viciously abused me and the sister below me physically. She neglected the last two.  Despite the fact that this particular sister grew up after we were in a much more stable financial position and we had clean running water and a reliable sewage system,  she was crawling with parasites all the time: lice and worms and fungal skin infections. Sebaceous cysts that calcified because no one bothered to lance them that required surgery later to remove.

She truly believes that this is just life: you sometimes cough up worms and it’s just gross and annoying.

She has plenty of money and access to modern medicine but my parents trained her to believe she is not worth even REALLY basic modern ‘luxuries’ like FREEDOM FROM WORMS.

I am so angry right now I can barely see.

Oh great I just googled roundworms and they can move into your EYEBALLS. But she doesn’t want to rush into things.

My mother grew up with everything her newly middle-class parents could give her, with constant access to doctors and in a sparklingly clean home. She fucking recreated the Appalachian childhood her mother suffered, in the suburbs. And none of us thought we deserved anything better.

If we cared about cleanliness or grossness or anything we were selfish and materialistic and easily repulsed (read: wimps).

I want to fly out to my sister’s town and take over everything.

Which is horribly codependent, I know. Learned it at my mamma’s knee.