Posts Tagged 'Friends'

Demonising parts

I was talking to someone yesterday who got me thinking…  I’ve talked about S several times in this blog – she was born to protect the rest of the system from the sexual abuse and to cope with the psychological and physical abuse from the sister.  I’ve said that I respect her, but I’m also scared of her – what she holds and what she does.  I’m now wondering if is it possible for those factors to co-exist?

Yesterday, I became very aware that I have pigeon-holed S…  I am comfortable with labeling her as the “sexual one”, and the one who “lives and breathes sex”.  But what I forget when I say that, is that she is more than just “sex”.  She has shown this in the past by talking to other survivors and NOT turning the conversation to sex.  Another indication that she is more than what I imagine her to be, is one of her interactions with Kriss earlier this year.  Yes, that conversation involved sex, but it was discussing the past.  She was trying to heal.  I wonder how often I have put the brakes on her healing…

I’m not really sure how to deal with this information.  I know that I’m not ready to face what S holds.  I also know that I don’t have to re-experience every aspect of the past in order to heal from it.  But on some level, I will need to face what S had to do.  I truly admire her strength and courage.  She stood up to the sister when no one else could or would.  She has come forward at other times to help us when we’ve felt bullied, so I know she is more than sex.  But it’s so easy to pigeon-hole her with that label.  The ultimate in irony and hypocrisy – we HATE being labeled with a diagnosis, yet I gain comfort from labeling S.

Realistically, my next step should be to talk to Liz about S.  But this will bring up the whole sex issue.  I don’t think I can do that, there’s so much shame, disgust and rubbish tied to our ideas and feelings about sex that I don’t know if I can.  But I also know that I need to do something.  S is acting out in ways that are harmful, possibly as a way to gain some needed attention.  If I don’t act soon, how much damage will I do?  What is worse, finding out what it will take for S to be heard and healed, or ignoring it all?

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Now playing: Dixie Chicks – Wide open spaces
via FoxyTunes

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Alone

The mother has gone and we’re alone.  It’s a very odd feeling after her being here for so long.  I knew there would be some reaction after she left, and there was.  It wasn’t tears, grief, or even relief; but rather a sense of wanting to “reclaim our territory”.  The house, body and reactions almost feel as if they belonged to the mother while she is here.  I know that this is our sense of wanting to be the perfect daughter for her, but it’s quite disconcerting to look back on it and realise what had happened.

While she was here, we tried so hard to appear “normal”, and we quite often succeeded.  She was much more accepting of the times when any form of normalcy was impossible.  This gave us hope that she was more accepting of us, but that hope was put under question yesterday when she stated that she is going to come off the anti-depressants that she’s been on for the last year.  Our fear is that this accepting attitude will disappear when the drugs wear off.  I know that the drugs have shown that she can be accepting, but that acceptance was covered up by her inability to cope with what life sent her way.  She hasn’t been in therapy or learned new skills to cope with life, so with the drug leaving her system, will those stressors mean that she will again not be able to cope?

When we got back from dropping the mother off at the airport, S ended up calling Matthew.  It turns out his intentions have changed from talking to his house mate, to something else.  This was the trigger for a night of self-injury.  We’ve just cleaned the house, mowed the lawns and did some gardening to distract and possibly punish ourselves for allowing S to come forward and act out.  Which of course infers that we have some control over the switching, which we don’t *sigh*.

We have a two week break from sessions with Liz as she goes on holiday.  She asked if we wanted to text her while she was away, we said “No, we’ll be fine”.  Liz said that she knew we would be fine because we were survivors and had the skills to ensure that no matter what happened, we will still function.  I think she has more faith in our ability to not self-destruct than we do.

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Now playing: Brooke Fraser – C S Lewis Song’
via FoxyTunes

Google maps as a therapeutic tool

Several years ago we tried to create a hand drawn map to show our therapist where the different places we talked about were.  This turned into a triggering and self-destructive experience as a young one came forward and was overwhelmed by looking at the different “bad places” on the map.  Last night we tried something slightly different.  We were talking to another survivor online and we decided to try using Google Maps to show each other significant places in our present and past.  It was an interesting experience, it didn’t have the tactile component that caused the dissociative switch to a younger one who would see the exercise as a threat or a trigger for a flashback.  Instead it became an exercise for the computer literate, analytical thinkers.

The road where we grew up has been covered by Google Street View, so we could see how that house looks now.  This was probably the hardest part of the exercise.  It looked like such a normal, boring, middle class, typical New Zealand house.  Our old bedroom window is visible, but we couldn’t look at it.  The most we could do is look at the garden, this has changed dramatically.  But there was no indication that anything awful happened in that house.  In some ways this is comforting, as it helps us to understand why no one asked any questions about us.  We were the quiet girl from a sometimes rough family – we were the lucky one in many peoples eyes.

We probably ended up with about 12 markers on the map; these included schools, places where the father worked and a few other random places where abusive events had occurred.  We became very conscious that there had to be some “good” markers placed to try and balance the “bad”.  But we tried not to dwell too much on efforts to balance things out, but rather to purely put a marker in the map.  By doing this, the place became just that – a place.  It was where something bad happened to us, and that will never change.  But that place became a blue marker on a map, it wasn’t about the emotions, events or anything overwhelming.

I suppose in some ways, it was opening the door to further exploration about what occurred at each of those markers, but I really don’t think that is necessary.  Those markers became an acknowledgement.  They were the sign to us and our friend that a little girl was once hurt in that place.  Our friend respected that and some of us internally needed that…

Trying to eliminate the dirty feeling

I’m not sure if it’s because of our mild OCD tendencies or control issues, but when we get a sense that something is dirty because of any abuse or sexual context, we find it very hard to go back to it.  This is only when it pertains to something that has happened to us, if anyone tells us something about themselves, there’s no problem.  So it’s all about self-hatred and self-disgust.  This is what happened with this blog after our entry Dirty and disgusting.  There was a need to delete the blog and everything to do with the incident.  It had become dirty by association and needed to be eliminated.  This sort of thinking has meant that we’ve abandoned or destroyed all sorts of things over the years.  If we’re unable to compartmentalise and suppress the incidents, we need to get as much distance between us and any reminders as possible.

To try and eliminate the feeling about the blog, we tried to write an entry about a totally unrelated concept during lunch yesterday.  But, on the way home M pointed out how flawed the thinking was, so we had to delete it.  This brings us to this entry.  We’re trying to minimise the feeling of dirtiness by talking directly about it.  I don’t know if it will work or not, but it’s worth a try.  We may still need to change the layout or move the blog, I’m not sure.

When we’re like this, we have a tendency to throw up more walls, so our comments become more left field than usual (sorry Paul, you got the sharp end of an example of that); or are obviously without any sense of compassion as our “no affective response” protectors make their presence felt.  Usually I can stop the commenting when we’re at this level of functioning, but not always.  I suppose that’s a sign that our mental health is on a downward spiral, just need to find something to reverse the trend or find a plateau.

Dirty and disgusting

Note:  This post may trigger due to sexual references.

It’s not been a good day.  We were meant to go over to Tauranga to see the ocean, but the mother woke up with a cold, so those plans were cancelled.  This meant that we were left on our own for most of the day as the mother tried to sleep the cold away.  In the morning this was fine, we went out and cleared our mail from the post office and found that a series of DVDs we’d ordered from England had arrived a week earlier than expected – yay for Amazon.uk and the Royal Mail!  When we got home there was an email from our American friend.  In that two line email, he managed to make us feel dirty, disgusting and used.  He was manipulating us into trying to scare away his current housemate who thinks that dissociation is fun, he thought the way to do this was for S to talk to her and then have phone sex with her.

S was used to please women during the CSA.  She knows how to please women as well as men.  Our friend wanted to use that ability.  It’s been a long time since we’ve felt that used and manipulated.  We know it’s the wrong thing to do, but S feels an irresistible pull to please our friend by doing what he bids.  The only thing that stopped the phone call was the mother being in the house.

We hadn’t heard from him in over a week, so thought he was finished with us.  We’d talked honestly about something that happened a few weeks ago involving S acting in a self-injurious way and he’d reacted in such an odd and negative way, that we thought he was disgusted in us.  But now he is blatantly trying to use our dysfunction for his own needs.  It’s been a struggle not to self-injure today.  S badly wanted to act out.  We tried going to take photos, but there were too many people around.  We felt too dirty to be near other people.  Children were everywhere and we had this fear that we would contaminate them with our filth by being near them.

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Now playing: Death Cab for Cutie – I’ll follow you into the dark
via FoxyTunes

Music, soothing and snobbery

Jennifer Riley over at Psych Scamp recently shared some links to research about music therapy.  Until this final prompt, I never really considered the role that music plays in my life. When I wrote about Oceans soothing me, Paul responded that music gave him a similar feeling.  I didn’t really think about this at the time because I was so caught up in my feelings about the ocean, but I think I can understand a little more about what Paul was meaning now.

I know many people use music to soothe and to help tell their stories – Matthew (our American friend) often uses music to indicate how he is feeling and to try and take away the pain; Secret Shadows lists music that has a special meaning for her within her blog; and Sophie used music to help tell our story when creating the Little girl lost clip on YouTube.  But for me music has often been a noise in the background, it’s not something that I really thought about, but I feel fear when it isn’t there to break the silence.  I suppose in many ways, music is a form of protection for me.  But for others in the system, music has a totally different meaning… a few bars of heavy metal and R is fronting, ready to take on the world; One prefers the blues and Motown so he can lie back and restore energy; Sophie prefers Pink, Brooke Fraser and alternative music, while  Katie loves anything that will mean she can dance around.

Our taste in music has always been fairly eclectic, with classical being one of the few genres we don’t listen to.  I know that the main cause for the lack of classical music in my life is the influence of the father.  He would make fun of those who listened to classical music, saying that they were elitist snobs.  I have no memory of us listening to anything other than what he described as, the local “rubbish” radio station.  I have no idea what his idea of good music was, but it wasn’t anything that the family listened to.  A week ago, we were sent a link to some classical music and from that list we went straight to two pieces which were in the middle of the list.  This in itself is odd, we usually have to work through lists from top to bottom.  But these two pieces (Cantique de Jean Racine and Silouans Song) were picked and recognised by part of the system immediately.

As I write this, W is telling me that we got told off for listening to the Concert programme by the father.  I think listening to classical music was her rebellion against him.  While we listened to these two pieces, there was calm throughout the system.  It was a different calm to what we experience when near the ocean, but I think this is because more of the senses are involved with the ocean experience.  But still, there was a sense of peace.  We all listened with respect to something that held importance for a young one.  It was her quiet protest and we all admire her strength and courage.  But we also just loved the music, it held a fascination for the rest of us.  I know those of you who know classical music will be able to tell me why those two pieces are amazing, but for us it wasn’t about dissecting something to understand it.  Listening to that music was purely about being there and being surrounded by something soothing.  That is a special gift.

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Now playing: Brooke Fraser – Shadowfeet
via FoxyTunes

Are they safe?

A young one going to make sure that her secrets are safe. I’ve been told off for the post about secrets. Thank you to those who helped me through yesterday – your comments and time taken is greatly appreciated. When we’re not so raw, we’ll try to find a way to show our appreciation.


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