Tag Archive: PTSD Sucks


Pain and Psychology

 

Lenalee from D. Grey Man

The human body can be strange. It’s put together in an interesting way, that, in many ways, seem a bit bizarre… like how one side of your brain actually controls the opposite side of the body, or how nerves in your back can cause completely disparate parts of the body when hit during a tattoo.

Then there are certain lessons that you learn as you get older.

I know it’s a matter of public record (and pretty easy to find a lot here) that I have CPTSD. It’s something that I live with and I try to work with in order to keep on, keepin’ on. I also have chronic pain from arthritis in my lower back. This can be more trying… oftentimes my back hurts and makes it difficult for me to do much some times. And then I have Celiac to top it all off.

Lately, I have been thinking about something that I remember them frequently mentioning in chronic pain class. Pain can cause issues of depression and anxiety. This makes a certain amount of sense, especially when it’s a constant. There’s an entire psychological spiral that comes along with chronic pain that’s filled with frustration and despair. I get frustrated because I’m hurting again and then sad because it stops me being able to do the things that I love doing, like dancing… or walking around for any period of time.

Then there’s CPTSD. There are many things that this does psychologically. It’s similar to PTSD, but there are other things that show up that are unique to this kind of PTSD. You can find out more about it here and here. The muscle tensing is one of the biggest physiological problems.

Celiac comes with its own set of issues. Mostly I’m fine as long as I maintain a gluten-free diet. If I get even cross-contamination, I wind up going through a series of physical and psychological issues, like brain fog, body achiness, exhaustion, nausea… the list goes on.
So, expanding upon the lessons from my chronic pain class… I have thinking about the nature of the pain that I feel.
Am I in pain because I’m feeling emotionally down or am I feeling emotionally down because I’m in pain? Is my pain exacerbated because I’m feeling down?

And, honestly, I don’t have an answer. I’m not entirely sure there is a definite way to answer any of these questions.

I do know that there is a connection between them.

This beg another question, I know that my CPTSD won’t go away because I’m not hurting. That’s not how it works. But if I can manage to control my back pain better, maybe it would be possible to feel better. It’s not a perfect theory. It is one that I can try to achieve.
So, that’s my goal now (once I’m over this current bout of gluten sickness). I’m going to work on trying to control my pain as best I can.

That is one thing that I can do.

Well, here’s to experimenting and seeing if I can make it work.

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Life… Life is a funny thing. Sometimes it can be great, filled with wonderful highs. Sometimes it’s filled with tragedy.

I’ve seen quite a few tragedies in my time, perhaps too many. I can’t make that judgment all myself, as I have no real outside way to know.

These tragedies have led to a lot of how I deal with things in my life… and it all contributed to my CPTSD. Honestly, I wish I could have had a more normal life. I wish I had a supportive family, no abuse, didn’t have a parent who was trying to kill me as well as themselves.

It can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with.

They become psychological triggers that create very real and difficult issues that make life a lot more difficult to deal with.

Recently I was triggered about my mom’s 5150 when I was like 6/7-years-old. It’s something that I remember with such clarity. It even came as a flashback over my reality. Flashbacks aren’t fun. You see and essentially go back and re-experience that moment again. It’s not fun… to say the least.

But I’m still dealing with the harsh reality of it all.

For me, this was the ultimate moment of being abandoned. I understand that my mom didn’t really have any control over the situation. I do. But between that and her trying to kill my sister and myself…

Yeah.

So, the bigger deal with this is that this has given me some deep-seated abandonment issues.

It’s a deal.

That shouldn’t be too terribly surprising. My mom disappeared from my life for a year during a formative part of my childhood. This happened a lot when I was younger. My mom would just not be there… even though I didn’t quite know where she was. This was the final straw. She was in a hospital. I was in an abusive household where I was borderline tortured for a year.

What did that tell me?

That not only did my own mother not want me around, but I wasn’t even important enough to be put somewhere safer.

That’s a hard pill to swallow.

I try to deal with the feelings that are tied to this as best I can… it’s a lot of work.

Thankfully, I do have some good ways to cope. One of them happens to be what I’m doing here. Write it out. Put it into words. Put it on some paper… or some pixels.

I’m working through it and trying to make it through what I have to work with.

It’s hard, but it’s a struggle that I continue with. And I take it day by day and moment by moment.

ritsuka crying

Screenshot from Loveless

Yeah, Me Too

To put a little context to my “me too” comment. TW/CW: all kinds of abuse, harassment, and molestation. I won’t pull any punches, this is not going to be graphic, but I am talking frankly about what happened to me. More importantly, by actually talking about this I’m working on getting a handle on all of this craziness.

Toshiya 3

Toshiya from Dir En Grey

I am a survivor of long-time abuse. My mother tried to kill me and my sister while she was trying to kill herself. I understand that she has bipolar, but it’s really hard to try to find self-worth when your mom is the one trying to kill you. To this day, this and the fact that I had to be a mother at the age of 6 to my younger sister, is why it eats away at me when people talk about how good their mothers are. Everyone has a right to share whatever they’d like on their pages. This is a cross I bare. It’s something I need to deal with.

I was beaten with a wire hanger when I was a child. I was beaten for 30 minutes while I pleaded with my mother to have her step in and stop. I’ve been beaten with wooden spoons, yard sticks, ping-pong paddles with holes drilled into it. I’ve had my mouth duct taped shut because I was squabbling with someone as a young kid. I was spanked until I was strong enough to fight back. I was neglected. I was molested as an infant and a child by neighborhood children I thought were my friends. I was repeatedly raped by a classmate for a year when I was 13 and then was publicly molested by that same person when I was 16. I’ve been emotionally abused, put down, gaslit by boyfriends. I had a boyfriend hold my wrist so hard they left black bruises. I’ve been molested by men when I was too drunk to consent… to then be blamed for it and the man’s side taken. I have a boyfriend who still actively try to destroy my life because I left them. I have been called crazy, fat, ugly, stinky, stupid, idiot, and more names than I can care to count by friends and classmates. I had a boss ask me specifically about my private life.

Yes, it happens so much more than it’s talked about. Yes, it happens to men too. I have two dear male friends who were raped by women. Some of what was done above was done by women… To another woman. *It’s never ok for this to happen to anyone.*

Let’s not dilute the fact that women are more likely to be killed by their partners. Women are disproportionately more likely to be victims of abuse and raped. These things are incredibly underreported because men are taught that this can’t happen to them, and if it does that it makes them less of a man. Women are always blamed, not just by society, but by the very people who are supposed to care for them, by doctors, nurses, and law enforcement.

It’s time to take our heads out of the sand and hold the abusers accountable for their actions.

Picture from Final Fantasy XIV

Like many who legitimately have PTSD (and unlike those who like to make light of how serious a mental health condition it really is, but that’s a rant for another day), there are things that’s people can talk about that will elicit a specific emotional reaction. Unfortunately, there is little I can do to control this reaction. I can try to control it, even attempting the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques I’ve learned to try to control them. This doesn’t particularly work for me. I seem to function better on actually feeling whatever it is that I happen to be feeling at the time. It makes it easier to process feelings that I’m feeling than to try and subvert them.

I was recently triggered by an event at Burning Man. I didn’t go again this year for the same reasons I haven’t been capable to for years. It is costly to go. So, I didn’t see the event that made the news. And you know what, I didn’t have to. Instead a vast majority of my friends repeatedly talked about and posted the pictures of it. I didn’t need to be right there for it to be a triggering event because everyone else kept talking, regardless.

Suicide is a very delicate thing for me. It, in and of itself, can be incredibly triggering to me. And so, with seemingly everybody talking about it and not a lot of places for me to go for respite, I had to try to control how I was feeling. I managed to do it despite fighting off gluten sickness and exhaustion. I managed to do so for 6 days.

And on the seventh day I couldn’t fight anymore. I was tired. I felt emotionally worn out. And so, then I had to deal with emotions that I hadn’t for days.

And when I do that, it often becomes much worse because I haven’t processed and started letting myself heal. Instead, I kept hurting myself. When it gets like that, I get past anger and vere into hopelessness. That’s where I was. It’s harder to dig myself out of there.

One of the things that I have been incredibly proud of (and I think to a certain degree, rightfully so) is that as someone who’s been dealing with CPTSD as long as I have, I have nothing bad to show for it. I have almost all of the symptoms of it… and yet, I’m a largely functioning person. I work, I’m not an addict, I’ve never been arrested, I’m not a hooker, and more importantly, I’m still here.

As time goes on, that starts making it harder and harder. The desire to find ways to stop this pain becomes more appealing. Who wouldn’t want to be able to step out of the trauma-filled haze in order to feel better? I find escapism increasingly desirable.

And yet I still have yet to give in. Thankfully I have a ray of light. The FDA has found Ecstasy to be a breakthrough treatment for people like me. This is great because that mans they can study it more. But that means that treatment is still out of reach for a while.

In the meantime, what can I do?

I have no clue. Try to avoid Facebook more? I don’t know if I have a good answer for that. I shouldn’t have to. I also shouldn’t have to see people repeatedly posting articles with pictures of someone who decided to take their own life either. It would be great if everyone was sensitive to the emotional needs of each other. That’s also increasingly not the world we live in. So, I’ll feel and deal with my anger, my rage, my hopelessness, the hole in my heart that should have been filled by parents who loved me. I know that I’m broken. I feel lucky to have found people who want to help and by people who accept me as family. It’s that which gives me hope and keeps me going.

Little Girl Lost

ritsuka-cry

Ritsuka from Loveless by Yun Kouga

There are things that are hard for me to describe, even as a decently educated writer. The hardest is to explain what being triggered is like. It’s not just discomfort or being upset. I wish it were simple. Then again, of PTSD were easy to understand, then there wouldn’t be as much misinformation as there is about it.

Right now, I’m deep in the bowels of a very deep and profound triggering event. I’ve gotten past the anger that is usually what I feel first, anger and sadness. Now I’m working on tackling a near-crippling self-doubt and depression. And that’s not the only thing that’s living here, that’s just the guardians of the house.

Deeper inside the house that trauma built is a deep hurt of a child who was left to be the adult. A child who never knew what it meant to be wanted. A child who was tossed aside and was beaten and abused for decades. A child whose parent came back later after she learned how to cope with things most children don’t start approaching until late middle school or high school.

Inside this house is a little girl, lost and afraid… on her own to fend for herself. No matter what color of happiness she paints on the outside of the house, she can’t just ignore the misery inside.

This is probably just a simplistic snapshot of an incredibly complex and insidious set of neurological responses. It’s something that people want to trivialize because it’s easier to make fun of people who are deeply troubled. At least that seems to be the American way of things.

And that’s what makes this all so terribly difficult. I have a lot of things that I know I’ll never get any closure for. That makes it so much harder. I have no way of getting closure. One of the people is no longer amongst the living. Others I have no contact with… and that’s probably for the best. I would need to sever that relationship regardless… and then there are relationships that I’ve been told I need to sever, but it’s not going to be so simple.

I start to feel so helpless because I can’t figure out how to move away from the relationship that seems to be more emotionally detrimental as time goes on. I feel like no matter what I do, that I’m stuck. I have no clue how to take care of it. There’s never really any one good way to pull away from abusive relationships. There isn’t. Even though I know what will help me in finishing healing, I haven’t a clue on how to break away from it. Unfortunately, my therapist isn’t being any help, regardless of how many times I’ve reached out.

I feel so lost right now.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a lot of writing. Emotionally, it’s been difficult to motivate myself to do much more than want to hide under blankets and ignore the world. I’m now working on trying to do more. I’ve kind of gotten to the point where you wind up so stressed that your body starts to tell you. And I mean more than just insomnia.

I can’t see this state getting any better in the foreseeable future, so I’m going to do a brain dump. I feel so stressed now that I can arc lightning between my fingers. That’s pretty bad. Some of this might be stuff that I’ve talked about before in my spotty writing schedule. A lot of it won’t be. I feel the need to extract it all from my head.

New Year’s is supposed to be a time of great hope. What sort of awesome will this year bring?

Yeah… I’m not sure I even got a moment of that thinking, after all, 2015 ended so horribly. I still haven’t received pay from my paid writing gig. It’s something I love to do, and it really sucks and hurts to not get paid. This is especially true because writing means so much to me. My current more-off-than-on boyfriend decide his new girlfriend ranks higher than I do (BTW, this has been obvious twice more since then).

So, yeah… those are two huge things. I tried to make the best of it, but something else decided that it wasn’t meant to be.

So, what of these two other times I speak of (after all, the work thing is pretty self-explanatory)?

Well, even though we’re not really dating now, I still bought a Valentine’s gift for him. I don’t know why, maybe hopeful or wishful thinking. I don’t know. I did. He got me… nothing until I mentioned that I had something for him. I’m sure he got his girlfriend something, but I didn’t rank as important. Now, granted, this is supposition. I can’t prove this is the case. Given that I had to wait two months, it’s not boding well for him having thought about giving me anything.

The other was fairly recently… when he decided his overnight was more important than something he had planned to do. Something he and I talked about. This isn’t just shades of the original purpose of going to therapy, this is the exact reason why we’re in therapy in the first place. So, all that money that I’ve spent since last December is now flushed down the toilet. I can just hear my personal therapist when I see him next.

Of course, these aren’t the only things going on. These are the most immediate.

Because I’m not getting paid for the months of writing I did (and no real way for recourse, thanks for protecting artists, labor laws), I’m now looking for a job… doing the one thing I hate doing, office work. Hell, at this point, we’re so close to broke, I’m ready to say, “Fuck it!” and go back into retail. It’ll probably break me down so badly that I will barely be able to function, but I know that I could probably get a retail job easier than an office job where I live because of stupidly ridiculous requirement of a bachelor’s degree for answering a phone and greeting people.

This has been really gutting for me. I thought that I finally found a place where I could just write and be happy. I can’t. I’m looking for more writing jobs, but even technical writers need a background in it, even though I know I could do it and do it very well.

Frankly, at this point I feel so beaten down by life again (because 25 years of emotional/physical/sexual abuse wasn’t enough) that sometimes I wonder if I have any value. I wonder if I’m just a drain on those in my life.

God, writing those two sentences were hard… enough to bring tears to my eyes in a public place. Which for me is hard, I prefer to be stoic at worst.

I keep trying to think positively and find some sort of positive thinking to help me trudge on… I’m just not sure I can.

Hell, let’s be honest here… I pulled myself out of several deep, dark holes. I’ll pull out of this one. I haven’t killed myself or had my spirit broken yet. I’m a survivor. It’s all I know how to do.

OK, not all, but it feels like it now.

Thankfully, all is not doom and gloom (even though it feels that way).

I started a class last week about learning how to cope with all the stuff from my Complex PTSD (or CPTSD). I did manage to have a lovely, restful weekend… something I’ve been desperately needing for months. I’ve been putting out resumes, despite how little I think of myself right now. Something will come through, right? I’m also looking for group activities that are either intellectual, creative, or healthy/physical exertion in order to stop myself from self-isolating. It’s not healthy for me to isolate myself, even if my brain is telling me to do so.

I’ll just keep telling myself, “I’m a survivor. You’ve been through worse. You have people who care for you. You’re no longer alone.”

If I say that enough, maybe it’ll finally get through my thick skull.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having quite the hard time of things. This isn’t surprising since this is the time of the quarter that I hate so much. That’s right it’s PMS and on into that horrible female affliction known as a period. I’ve never really enjoyed it… I don’t know many girls that do.

For me, it’s always been a horrible mass of pain (I get horrendous cramps), moodiness, and general discomfort. The pain I can handle. Sure, it can be double over and can’t move bad. Frankly, physical pain just doesn’t hurt as much for me.

Then there’s the hormones. This I hate.

OK, I don’t mind my hormones. I hate the psychological mess they make me.

Normally, I get pretty weepy and generally low-level depressed around this time of the month. But not this time. Nope… because that would be easy and expected. This time, I have to be dealing with a lot of emotional go-booms and dealing really heavily with my PTSD from abuse.

This makes me an even bigger mess.

While I know I’m not alone, I feel even more afraid to ask for help. I’m afraid that I’m going to be judged because I can’t handle my shit. That I can’t just get over it. That I can’t pack it up in a nice little box and put it on a shelf somewhere to ignore and never see again.

I really wish that were the case. I wish dealing with this all was that simple.

Then there’s the worst part… I feel so damn emotionally needy that I don’t know what to do.

So, what of these go-booms you were speaking of earlier?

Well, funny you should ask…

I know that issues with one of my partners has been very well documented. The biggest part of it started in December. Then it looked like we were working through things, albeit somewhat slowly. Then he has the audacity to do the same thing for a second time. Not just once, but twice. So, yeah… I’m pretty angry, hurt, and frustrated. I feel that the time and money that I’ve been spending on couple’s therapy has been a huge waste. I’m not even sure, at this point, that there’s anything that might be left to salvage because of how I feel. You know how the saying going, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

In dealing with this, huge “Do Not Touch” buttons have been hit. That means that I’ve been triggered pretty hard… to the point of a panic attack. One of the things about complex PTSD that’s different from garden variety PTSD is that you won’t just get visual flashbacks, you also get emotional ones. All the emotions come flooding back… and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.

And, I had to deal with my ex-boss. This is something that I haven’t really talked about. After all, it’s not all that important, normally. So, he decided to sit on my check two weeks after I quit. I had the mediation session for that. I will say this, I didn’t even get close to what I deserve. I got a fraction of it. At the same time, I do feel a good amount of vindication. You know your ex-boss is an asshole when the deputy commissioner tells you that if the wait wasn’t 7 months for a hearing, you should totally pursue that. That’s pretty bad.

The past three paragraphs have happened in the last week. This isn’t over months, this is in the last 7 days.

So, here I am… this huddled mass of hurt and pain… and a certain amount of anger. I’m not angry at anyone but the people whom I should be angry with.

Then there’s the hurt and the pain. This is the hard stuff… and I do mean hard.

This is the stuff that can make me ask the questions I don’t like to ask, because I know exactly where my mind is.

Yeah, I’m asking them.

So, what do I need now? I need love, reassurance of that love, I need to be held, and hugged, and all sorts of things that have to do with physical touch. I need it from the important people in my life. I need people to check up on me. I feel so pushed back to when I was a teenager that I feel awkward asking for what I need because, in my mind, I feel like I’m not going to get it. That I’m going to be told what I was told all the time when I was a kid, “You need to fight your own battles.” I feel both powerless and voiceless. (Yes, I appreciate the irony of the last sentence, given that this is in a blog post.) I want to ask for it… and constantly, but I’m too scared. I want to talk to my supportive partners about this, but, once again, I’m too scared. This is the only way I know how to. It’s the only thing that served me well when I was a teenager.

So, maybe that’s the point of what I’m writing this. Maybe it’s to get it out there. Maybe it’s to give voice to how I’m feeling because I don’t feel like I can accurately convey it verbally. I don’t know. But right about now, I feel hurt… hurt, sad, angry, frustrated, and alone, even if that is of my volition (but not really because CPTSD is a bitch).

Welcome to emotional flashbacks.

The Path Back

Now that I’ve actually confronted a lot of my fears and negative emotions from my abuse… I have other things that I need to deal with. All of which are dealing with this thing called abuse. None of it is any fun. You know what, it’s something that I do need to deal with. It’s something that I’ve hidden from for… well, more years than I care to count.

It’s something that I have decided that I can no longer sit on. It’s something that I’m not sure serves any purpose. I have cut out pretty much everything in my life that brought me here.

So, how do I fix this?

I honestly have no idea. I’m feeling triggered from having worked it all out. I figured out what feelings and fears come from all the different instances of abuse. Each instance has made it increasingly difficult for me to trust people. I’m at the point where the only way I can trust new people is if the people who I trust trust them. That’s a pretty sad way to live. I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of being afraid of being abandoned. I’m tired of the insecurity that this all breeds.

More than anything, I’m tired of feeling like I’m an outsider. PTSD is an asshole… and with more information and learning about how things like sustained abuse can affect the brain, it’s interesting to see how I see it in myself.

I do understand that everyone has the capability to see a bit of everything in themselves. It’s frequent that medical students do this all the time. It’s something that I’m aware of… which is why I tend to be a bit more skeptical. At the same time, it’s hard not to look at it and say… yeah, I can totally see this. You can’t be abused for 25 years and it not have a negative affect on your psychology. In many cases it forms the neurological responses in the brain. The brain re-wires itself in order to handle pain responses. It becomes a core part of your personality.

The thought of that scares me. The thought of trying to fix this and losing myself is scary.

Of course, the reality is that something like this can’t be fixed. There is no such thing as fixing. There is, however, trying to work around these responses. This is where I am. I want to work around crippling anxiety. I know that I can feel genuinely happy, if anything the time I have spent with my Significant Other and my new partner have taught me some very profound lessons on finding grounding people… people who I feel genuinely and amazingly happy with. I am just tired of this undercurrent of fear, anxiety, and depression.

So, I’m working on it. I’m not just working on it personally. I’m working on it clinically as well. I want to be the best version of me. No matter how much I embrace who I am now, I know that I could be better. This isn’t about being a perfectionist or anything of the sort. This is about me feeling comfortable in my skin. I’m hoping soon that I can be, finally.

It’s going to be work, just like all things in life.

There are some things that are worth working for. There are some reasons that are worth it. All of which are my own. I just want to be the best me I can.

These are issues that I still struggle with, to this day to one degree or another. I do have a better sense of self-worth, but I still think that if something bad happens… that I did something wrong for it to happen to me. The degree to which this instilled some severe issues with me is pretty bad. And what comes after just helped demolish more of the already crumbling foundation that is myself.

So, one would think that once my mom was out of hospital, that life might be smooth sailing, right?

Yeah… not so much.

My mom and divorced and she wound up meeting and marrying someone else. And, while that sounds all fine and dandy, this guy was a piece of work. I use was because he died of lung cancer my senior year of high school. I don’t have any fond memories of him either.

After my mom and him were married, first he would beat me… until I got both too big (they got married when I was 8) and too strong for that. After that, it was a constant barrage abusive words. If that wasn’t enough… I was also horribly bullied at school. I was an early bloomer, so I hit puberty before anyone else did. I heard it all… and I heard it for years. I heard it pretty much up until I changed schools in high school to make a positive change for myself, including someone threatening to kick my ass.

The bullying was pretty consistent. Granted, it couldn’t even compare to what people go through now. Everything was done face to face. There was none of the anonymous ganging up that we have now.

That wouldn’t have been too bad (OK, it was bad enough in and of itself), but it wasn’t the only place I was constantly hearing a barrage of hurtful words. I would hear it all the time at home. My stepdad would put me down all the time. It was a constant thing. I’d hear how ugly, stupid, and fat I was. I was always a bitch. I was called lazy. It affected me so profoundly that I would withdraw from people. I felt like I had no choice. I didn’t have a place I could go to where I would be accepted. At school I would be made fun of, at home I would be told how awful a person I was.

I would go to my mom about this, but she wouldn’t do anything. She’d tell me that I need to fight my own battles. I would tell her that my stepdad was also doing it and she wouldn’t do anything. I would tell her things that were private, only to have it thrown back in my face by my stepdad… where he would then be even crueller to me. It’s because of that I don’t feel like I can trust many people. I always have the fear that people will turn on me and that I can’t trust someone with a confidence. More than anything, it made me feel like I couldn’t trust my mother.

I didn’t feel like I had a safe haven away from the pain of being emotionally abused. I was abused at home and at school. Once I was raped, I didn’t know what to do. It was so bad that I felt a strong desire to not want to feel anything. I started thinking about doing heroin then. Anything to numb the pain inside of me. I never did heroin… instead I would cut myself. Anyway to make myself hurt as much on the outside as I did on the inside.

Then my stepdad was diagnosed with cancer that he later died from. Before he died, he apologized for the years of abuse… which I’m pretty sure would have continued were he to keep living. I still think it was more to clear his conscious than it was to make me feel better. I said I accepted it, but that wasn’t really the case.

Of course, this isn’t where the abuse ends.

After that, I would get into relationships that were highly toxic. At one point it extended past romantic relationships, but also into friendships too. I didn’t feel like I was worth any decent relationship. The friendships were about the same point as probably my most emotionally damaging relationships. I dated the guy for years. I kept trying to get him to approve of something, anything about me. He would never acknowledge that I would. He would constantly put me down. He would constantly make me feel like I had to do everything for him. I couldn’t have my autonomy.

I would dress up nice and he’d make me feel bad about it. I would need to do everything for him.

It hit me so profoundly that I would cheat on him repeatedly… then he would hit me with an even worse barrage of words. Every time it was designed to make me what he wanted. I wasn’t happy with where I was, but it was what I felt like I deserved. To this day, I still get the feeling that it’s all my fault. That I have to fight alone. That I deserve what’s happening to me. That I all I knew. Every boyfriend confirmed this, even those who tried to act like they’re more enlightened. If they couldn’t get what they wanted out of me, they would treat me poorly.

It’s pretty bad when you have someone get you to leave the dysfunctional relationship that you’re in so they can try to have their own harem. It became so problematic that I eventually had to take stock of what was going on and why I wasn’t happy. It boiled down to me being in nothing but emotionally unhappy relationships. I even took a year off to actually work on myself and to distance myself from it.

No matter how much I distance myself, I still have to deal with the emotions that are coupled with these issues. The feeling that I don’t have anyone to help me (despite the evidence of otherwise), that I’m constantly alone, that I’m not good enough to deserve anything good. I think that I deserve anything bad that happens to me. That I don’t deserve anything good. These are thoughts that I have no idea how to be rid of. These are thoughts that still plague me. They occasionally make me want to find a hole to just waste away in.

I keep trying to tell myself that I’m worthy to have what I have… but I don’t know if I believe that. I don’t know if I can let myself believe it. In many ways, I feel like the little girl being beaten into submission with no one to help me… and I don’t know how to ask for help. Recently, it’s become a daily struggle for me to ask for help. I don’t want to feel like needing help makes me a burden. I don’t want to feel like I don’t have anyone who can help me. I want to be able to accept the help of others.

More than anything, I want to stop being haunted by the thought that maybe, just maybe I shouldn’t really be here. That I shouldn’t still be living. That I struggle and fought so hard to survive, only to start feeling like it was for nothing. That I deserve to be alone. I’m trying not to fall into that despair, but it’s hard… and I do need help. I just don’t know how to ask for it.

Then there was living with my mom’s ex best friend… that was a living nightmare. Every night I would hope for some way to escape. I would wish that someone would take me away from this place. There were a lot of things that happened there that are absolutely beyond what would be acceptable to do to anyone.

Punishment in that house would come often for the eldest children. The younger children would get off scot-free. I remember plenty of punishment that would be about embarrassment. I used to love bananas as a child. I was punished once by being forced to sit on bananas… for something I don’t even remember, possibly something trivial because serious punishments were mortifyingly bad. Since that day, I can no longer have bananas without it evoking a response of disgust. It was so bad, that I just wanted to hide. I was constantly mocked, even while I was doing what I was asked to do. It wasn’t just by her either. Her children would also make fun of me. There was never a moment where I wasn’t being beaten down emotionally, if I wasn’t being hit.

The beatings, however, were bad enough.

I discussed it back in 2011, as I went to therapy to talk about the time where I was beaten because someone had written my name all over furniture that was mine (it was given to me by my godmother). She got so mad she repeatedly hit me. She wouldn’t stop. My mom was there and when I asked her for help to make it stop, my mom just watched. She did nothing. I have talked to my mom about this and she doesn’t remember it happening. Since she was out for the weekend from the hospital, it’s possible that she was heavily medicated. I just remember pleading for help, my eyes stinging from the tears as I was still being hit… and no one helped me. They all just stood there and watched.

After she was done, everyone left the room. I was left by myself, curled up in a ball, crying.

This might be the most compelling reason as towhy I have issues with asking for help. This, of course, is magnified by my mom repeatedly telling me that I have to fight my own battles. I’ve never had help, even when I needed it most desperately. So, it’s of little surprise that this incident might be the inciting incident.

This wasn’t the worst thing to happen to me in that house. One night, while I was sick with flu… I was forced to sleep on the drafty living room floor. The room that I was sharing with the other eldest daughter (it’s easier to abuse that which you hate if they’re together) was being used by… I think my mother… or a guy who was living in the house. Her genetic daughter was given the couch, so I wound up on the floor.

I was so chilled because my fever was high. I curled up and tried to keep warm despite the fact I was ill. I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I was chilled to the bone with fever. I got up several times in the night to vomit. I would moan because my body felt so awfully… yet no one checked on me or offered to let me sleep somewhere other than the cold and drafty floor. It wasn’t until everyone was getting up and getting ready to go to school and someone finally checked on me, that they realized that I was sick. I was about to pass out from exhaustion and sickness. Then I was allowed to sleep on the couch. I spent most of the day asleep while trying to let the flu pass.

I remember thinking about how this was like Cinderella. Being forced to take care of everyone and being treated so horribly… and that maybe, some day, my Prince Charming will come to save me from this torment. I was 7-years-old. I was looking for anyone to be my savior, anyone to help me and save me from this torment. I felt more like a slave and less like a person. This is a fact that I never let show at school. I maintained many good friendships, while hiding everything that was happening to me. I felt like I had done something to deserve this. That it was my fault that I was being treated that way, so I couldn’t report it to anyone. I felt like I had no self-worth. I certainly had no agency there. They threatened to throw me into a pool that I wasn’t comfortable with. I would never swim there because I was afraid that I would drown. It wasn’t because I didn’t know how to swim or anything… after the beating where no one would help me, I knew that no one would help if I were to flounder and then wind up drowning.

However, none of this is the worst thing I dealt with while living there. One night, the youngest daughter picked a fight with me… and I fought back. I didn’t take anyone’s shit that night. I think I had snapped after being constantly verbally beat down for so long. So, instead of hitting me, she opted for something worse. She grabbed a roll of duct tape and taped my mouth shut, straight off the roll. Every time I would try to move my mouth, lick my lips, try to talk… I could feel the tape pulling skin off the area it was touching. The pain was horrendous. I remember thinking when will this tape be gone. Then thinking about what it would feel like to have the tape pulled off.

I ran to the garage to hide. I was so scared of the pain. I knew it would be worse than when I would move my mouth… and I knew it would be a fast yank followed by burning and pain. I wasn’t sure whether it would make the area around my mouth, and the mouth itself bleed. I hid in the garage, not wanting to be found. I would rather keep the tape on my mouth.

Eventually, the tape was carefully pulled off of my mouth… but I was scared by that point. There was no reason to have someone use duct tape to cover my mouth. Any time I see anything that advocates the usage of duct tape for bondage purposes, I feel such a pure and hot rage. When I mentioned this instance to a therapist of mine, they called what happened torture… and I would agree. I didn’t know what would happen, why it was happening… and the thought of it being pulled off scared me. When the tape was gone, the area was red. It still pulled skin off my face, but there was no bleeding. It was red and hot and in pain.

I have such a great amount of anger when it comes to her. It was so bad at one point that I called her, justifiably given my experience, a psycho bitch. Everyone wanted me to apologize. I didn’t I stood my ground. I can’t stand that woman. I don’t want to see her again. I’m so pissed off by the degree of abuse she did to me. I felt like a slave, the red-headed stepchild (ok… I am a redhead, but that’s beside the point), the whipping boy. All I wanted to do was to escape. I wanted to be free of the abuse, the negative words, the beatings, the fear that I might die there.

Now… all I’m left with are some deep-seated fears of never having any help and anger… lots of anger. It also alienated me more from my family. No one helped me. No one told her to stop or stood in the way in defense. She was allowed to do whatever she thought was fit… even if I had no idea why. It’s forever altered me in so many painful ways. It made it hard for me to trust anyone… especially people I didn’t know. It put me even further in my shell and made me shyer because I was constantly belittled. I had no sense of being a person worthy of anything… and that’s the worst part. I thought I deserved the torture and pain. That I must have done something wrong… even if I knew that I did nothing.