Tag Archive: ptsd


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.

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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.

The next major event that I remember was my mom not really being there for me. At the time, my mother was undiagnosed for bipolar. She was medicating how worked best for her at the time. While I understand that, it also meant that I had to step up and do more than I was even prepared for. I wasn’t even 10 at the time. I felt that I had to be responsible. In many ways, I resent having to give away my childhood and a part of my innocence.

While I know that there’s nothing that anyone could do, because my mom was undiagnosed. I’m also angry and sad about it. I had to face many hard realities before I was really prepared for them… and in some cases I had no preparation for them… like seeing my grandfather’s body at the funeral home. It’s that moment that I pinpoint my changing opinion on death. This is probably one of the healthiest responses I’ve had. I don’t fear death. I accept it as inevitability. I don’t let this realization allow me to do things that will kill me, at the same time, I’m not afraid either. I treat it with the proper respect it should while not shying away from it. So, one positive takeaway from this was that.

But the negative… that’s also there. And it’s more numerous than how I deal with death.

My sister and I remember more than we really talk about. We’ve seen more than we care to discuss… but those memories are so hazy to me, probably because I didn’t want to acknowledge what was really happening. More than anything, I felt neglected. I felt like I didn’t matter. I wasn’t important enough for my mother. This was later confirmed when my mom apologized to me for driving while heavily intoxicated because she was trying to kill herself. Except she wasn’t just trying to kill herself, she was trying to kill me and my sister as well. I think I already kind of knew that because I have always felt like maybe I didn’t deserve to live. This really haunted me after my rape. The rape helped confirm this thought I had. I’ll get to that later though.

That’s probably the hardest thing to try to tackle as a child… that I’m not important enough to be a reason to live and that maybe just maybe I didn’t deserve to be alive. These thoughts still haunt me to this day.

Honestly, I know that my mom wasn’t in her right mind. Unfortunately, this is the hand she was dealt. She may not have realized that this was an issue until her diagnosis. So, I can’t really fault her for this. That doesn’t mean that it still isn’t a reality… and it still really hurts. Even writing the paragraph above hurt straight to my heart. Just because I understand the situation, it doesn’t make it hurt any less. And, of course, there was the day that she was hospitalized… it’s good that she was because then she could get treatment.

At the same time, this made me scared because I had no idea what would happen to me or my sister. I knew my dad mostly worked at night. There was a degree of insecurity there. When we had to go and live with my mom’s ex-best friend, it felt like we were just people who could be passed on. I still deal with this issue, especially when it comes to relationships. I feel like I’m a transitory person… or just there for now. I haven’t had many people tell me that I am in no way temporary in their life. I can count the people who have told me that way and not treated me that way on one hand.

I still struggle with that and it’s a constant fear. Because it was so easy to pass me along to someone who beat and tortured me. I’ll get to that explanation in a while. I try to remind myself that I’m not transitory. People genuinely want to be with me. It’s hard to see that sometimes… and it’s interesting, because I never thought it was from my sister and I being handed off to someone who beat me.

Since I’m enjoying feeling less encumbered from having done a lot of work on dealing with my rape, I figured maybe I should tackle the bigger and scarier monster in my closet. This is one that I wish that I didn’t have, let alone have the need to kill it with fire. And, since I actually dealt with the rape fairly quickly… thanks to writing and having visited the place where I was raped. Now it’s time to do the other.

I’m not sure I need to visit the places I was abused. I have been back to them since the abuse happened. Every time I go there, there’s’ a certain amount of anger that accompanies me. I think that’s largely due to the fact that I don’t understand what I could have possibly done to deserve any of it. Like, what could have been so bad that I deserved the beatings and the words that I received?

So, I guess the best place to start this is at the beginning…

My childhood was… not optimal. I think that’s the best way I can put this. After all, there’s a lot that happened. I was given a set of circumstances that most don’t deal with. To this day, I have no idea how I managed to fight through it all. I had to be strong all of my life. I never had a childhood.

OK, I need to stop dawdling. I’m stretching this out because if I put it in words on a page, then I can no longer sweep it under a carpet. I have to face that this is what happened. This was my childhood. The enormity of that almost gives me pause. Then I remember how hard things that discuss abuse hit me… like an emotional Mack truck. I have to get through this, despite the pain.

The first instance that I remember of physical abuse was at the hands of my father. Granted, there was an instance that I was too young for it to pop into my memory where my mom beat me for saying no… and not just a slap or a spank. I was repeatedly hit… according to my mother. I’m going to take her word on that because I can’t think of a parent who would openly admit to repeatedly hitting their child. Which is good that she admitted that she not only did it, but she did realize what she was doing and stopped. This seems about right because the psychological slide downhill happened after my memories start.

My dad was in a motorcycle accident before I was born. He was in a semi-coma for several months (I’m not entirely sure about the length of time… it might have been just a couple of months. He has brain damage from the incident. It’s not bad enough to have incapacitated him or leave him in a vegetative state. It was bad enough that he doesn’t seem to have matured past being a teenager. To this day, he still acts a lot like a teenager. This is something I have accepted as the way he is. I don’t remember him ever being any different. This is also not an excuse for what happened. More, it sets the stage for what happened.

My sister and I would often stay up late. I have always been a night owl. I still am. This wake up early rubbish is for the birds. It’s at this time, my mom was already starting to experience issues with her bi-polar. So, we’d still be up pretty late… like to the time when my dad was coming home from his swing shift (I think it was swing shift, I’m not entirely sure what time it was because we didn’t have a clock in our room).

Now, I have no idea how or why my name was written on the table in our room. But it was. I don’t remember doing it. I’m not sure that I did… actually, I’m pretty sure I didn’t. My dad was very mad when he saw it and asked who did it. I said I didn’t and my sister said it was me. He grabbed a metal hanger and proceeded to spank me with it. I still remember what it felt like to this day. Metal hangers sting more, even if there isn’t a lot of surface area to the hanger. I kept crying that I didn’t do it, but I was still hit. I’m lucky that the hanger didn’t do any permanent damage or drew blood… I just remember how I felt. I felt scared. I felt that I wasn’t being listened too. I also felt betrayed. This wasn’t a one-time instance. Any time something happened, I’d get hit. It got to a point where I’d be afraid where I’d get hit for nothing again, because my dad was mad. I remember just feeling so helpless. I would lie there and get hit.

Now, my dad has apologized for doing this. I’m not sure whether or not I can get past this. I did nothing and got hit. Of course, this isn’t the only instance where I would be blamed for writing my name on something. I’ve written about that instance before, so I won’t go into detail because I covered it all before and I’ve processed that instance.

But this… This is…

It’s hard I try to view things realistically. I try to have faith that nothing malicious was meant. But… it’s hard to do that when I remember how I felt every time the hanger hit me. I remember feeling incredibly small. I felt like the scapegoat. That maybe the start of why I feel like I deserve all bad things that happen to me, despite whether or not I did it. This might be the start of so many negative thoughts about myself. It’s not the only cause, but it’s a major source.

Sometimes it’s weird how these chains of thought develop even when one processes through all their personal stuff.

I didn’t think I was going to find this whole new random thread among the clutter of others. But as I was writing about my rape again (because each time I find another piece that I hadn’t worked on before). This time… something that has been a huge glaring part of my entire childhood peeked out to say hello.

Lately I’ve been getting plenty of reassurances from my partners that I’m not alone and that they’d be there to help in any way they can. For me, it’s mostly in the form of reassurances. I have to work through this old frayed knot to take it apart and fix it and make it stronger. And the more I picked at it yesterday, I kind of had a come to Jesus moment in the form of feeling horrible about myself.

One of the things that stuck out to me was something I always remember my mom telling me when I was younger. So, along with the abuse that I dealt with when I was at home, I was also relentlessly bullied from the age of 8, which is also when I started puberty… or maybe it was 7. Anyways, when I was far younger than I should have been.

I used to ask my mom for help, because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re a young kid, right?

Well, I was never really offered much in the way of reassurance of any kind (which is why they tend to be so powerful to me now). Nor was there an offer of how to cope with the teasing or how to help me lose weight (which is funny because I was a very active child). Instead, I was told I had to learn to fight my own battles. That’s not exactly the most helpful of pieces of advice, now is it?

Especially when you’re an 8-year-old little girl who doesn’t understand why she’s the only one in her grade that needs to wear deodorant and a bra. Where people would make fun of my relentlessly because I was fat, because I was poor… both things I had little control over at the time.

So, instead of anything that would ease me through this abuse, I was once again left to fend for myself, to figure out the best way to deal with it. I did this with no knowledge of psychology or why any of this was happening in the first place. Every time I had a problem I couldn’t solve because I lacked the knowledge to do so, I had to handle it myself.

It was said so often that I stopped asking for help. There was no purpose to ask for something that I wouldn’t get in the first place. So, I spent most of my times trying to figure out how to fix these things… something I had no knowledge of how to do at the time.

So, no wonder I beat myself up relentlessly over why I couldn’t fight back when I was raped. All I ever heard was fight your own battles. It’s why I never told anyone about the rape until I was 18 and taking an abnormal psych class. I looked at the DSM and looked at what I had been experience for those long 5 years and realized that was it. I was dealing with my rape and it made it hard to live.

Even when I sought help, I did it on my own. I went to an outside therapist that had a sliding scale. I didn’t use my health care… but realized that I needed more care than I could afford that way.

Everything I’ve dealt with has been a self-struggle, not by choice but by piss poor design.

So, someone telling me that they’re there for me is a little strange. I’m not used to support. When your life has been entirely self-preservation, the idea of a life raft quickly becomes a little strange. I’m never sure how anyone can help. Especially as I work through this, I’m not sure what more anyone can do but be a sounding board and offer reassurance both verbal and physical, if physical is possible.

This has been… well… pretty much a life-long struggle.

More than anything, this pisses me off. I’ve always felt like I have always been forced to be the adult. I have to be responsible. I have to be in control. I never had a chance to be that child. I had to fight my own battles. I had to watch my sister. I had to provide my food (as in it was in the house, but I had to earn to cook very young). I had to be beaten into submission by any and all means possible (as you can tell, that turned out so well).

Some days I just want to end it all. I’ve been an adult for almost 30 years now. I’m tired. For someone as young as I am, I shouldn’t be so world-weary… yet, here I am. Aged well beyond my years because I had no choice. And now… now I want the freedom to act reckless. I want to be able to do the things that I never could when I was younger. But, for the most part, I don’t. Someone needs to be the adult. Someone needs to be responsible. And I wear that mantle far too often.

Thinking about all of this makes my heart weep. I don’t know how to be a child because I was never one. Why did I have to be the responsible one? Why did I have to be the adult? Why couldn’t I have been able to depend on my parents?

Why did I have to fix everything? I was a child and didn’t have the tools at the time. I wasn’t being told this as a teenager, I was being told this as an eight-year-old. That’s a lot of responsibility for a little kid… and why did I have to do that in the first place? I wasn’t a parent and I certainly wasn’t old enough to understand everything that was going on.

The more I write about this, the angrier I get. I hate that I even had to relinquish my childhood. I hate that I couldn’t ever experience what it really means to be irresponsible. I have no idea what childhood means. To me, it was looking after my sister. It was trying not to get beaten. It was just trying to make it through the day without negative comments about my weight or that I was poor.

This isn’t exactly the childhood that I wanted nor is it one I think that anyone really deserves. It’s what I have to work with though. Sometimes that’s all you really got. So, I’m going to make do with what I have and figure out how to be comfortable accepting the help of others. I like being in the place where I can get help… I just wish I was more comfortable with people reaching out to me.

I made a promise to myself this year. It’s a pretty big goal, especially because I gave it a deadline, but I tend to look at things and tear them apart to make sense pretty quickly. Every time I listen to music from when I was in high school, it takes me back to that time… and how I felt. This was further amplified when I took a day to wander around Telegraph.

Even though things were so different, they’re also very much the same… So, I’m going to attempt to sort through my fear, loathing, and inner pain that I felt all throughout high school in context to the time it was happening. That means talking about the nineties as I remember them from when I was in high school.

Oh, the halcyon days on the nineteen nineties…

Yeah, right. It was all but halcyon. My life was in turmoil. I was abused both by friends at school as well as my family. I had no real sense of safe space. It took me many years to understand that safety isn’t just four walls, it’s the people who you invite into your family. I become more aware of that as every day passes.

Maybe it’s because I now feel more capable of being myself instead of fitting in some pre-poured mold that is gender. I now know the people I’m with are going to accept me for all of me, not because of expectations.

I certainly didn’t necessarily have it when I was younger. I also didn’t understand what my gender really was. Being non-conforming was… difficult. It was so difficult to deal with because there was a lot of puerile jokes, including repeatedly calling me she male… This is what my friends called me.

It made me realize how angry I was. I didn’t lash out like most teenagers. I didn’t lash out at my parents or do things like drink and smoke when I was in high school. My issues… were a little more personal, even if lashing out at my parents would be the entirely appropriate course of action. I did it by hurting myself. More importantly, I did it by cutting myself. It’s a behavior that I kept up with for… well… I think up until I was 25. I’m more to lash out on myself than anyone else.

This included my desire to do heroin. This amplified exponentially after my rape… which occurred not even one month after I started my freshman year. Surprisingly, as hell-bent as I was to actually shoot up… and having it repeatedly offered to me… for some reason, I couldn’t. Everything in my wanted to sublimate, to take the pain away by any means.

But I didn’t…

And I’m not sure why.

I dealt with the pain every day. I would often not fall asleep until 4:30 in the morning, only to need to wake up 3 hours later to go to school. Every time I went to school, it was this cruel reminder of what happened to me, how it felt to be cornered and incapable of leaving. It also brings up the mixed feelings of how I should have been able to fight back, but I didn’t. It’s something that I always take out on myself. I consider myself to be a strong woman, yet I couldn’t fight back. I couldn’t get out of the situation myself. Which is something my parents and specifically my mom used to tell me. I need to get myself out of difficult situations.

This is probably why, by and large, that I tend not to talk to people about my issues. I largely deal with them myself. I’ve never felt like I could talk to anyone or depend on anyone… I have always been made to feel that I can only really ever depend on myself… in all ways.

So, I always feel like I should have had the ability to get out of that situation. It makes me cry sometimes because I didn’t/couldn’t fight back.

So, that’s something that I still struggle with. I blame myself for not fighting. I don’t blame myself for the rape itself. That’s something that I need to stop doing. I need to look at myself and realize that it’s not something I could have really controlled.

And while I can say it, I don’t necessarily believe it. That’s the hard part, believing that I couldn’t have fought. I don’t know what to do about it though…

But it’s something that I have had in my life for over half my lifetime now… and the older I get, the bigger a timeframe it will take up. It can’t be like this forever. And it’s something that I will work on and kill (hopefully with fire).